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marlena spieler

eG Foodblog: Marlena - Life is Delicious Wherever I am

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Greetings--at this moment, I'm in the heart of Hampshire, England. Its 9 a.m. and I would have started this blog earlier--say about 3 hours earlier when I first woke up--but couldn't figure out a good title for it. I'm still not convinced, but I'm getting thirsty for caffeine and hungry hungry hungry, so figured I'd better tap something out before I spent all week fretting and never got a posting made!

I decided on the title because I lead an unusual bi-continental lifestyle. I live in the Hampshire countryside of the United Kingdom, and write a food column--Roving Feast-- for The San Francisco Chronicle. i also write cookbooks, do broadcasting, and have a daughter in new york city. I'm here, I'm there, I'm inbetween, sometimes I want to cry out: who am i and where do i live?

This week I'm actually at home in Britain working on a project that will keep me tied closelly to the kitchen; more about that later. Last week we were in a shepherds hut on a greek island perched high above the sea. we were there for several weeks; i love greece, and this week will probably still be making a few greek dishes in an effort to extend the well being i get when i think of being there. plus i love greek food which is seldom made well in american or british restaurants, or even in many restaurants in greece either.

shortly after i do this blog, in a week or two, i'll be back in san francisco catching up on the tastiest stuff going on. so this is a good time to write a foodblog as will have time to devote to writing about each and every delicious thing we eat.

this week should be fun, too, because it is the tail end of christmas, and having missed the original olde english christmas, my british husband is trying to catch up with the christmas pudding, mince pies, and all the things he went without during our sojurn in greece.

and most of all, i'm really really glad to be doing this blog, because its getting me back in the egullet.org mode: i've been away tooooooo long working at things that seem so important! now i know that nothing is as important as egullet! right?

okay. i'm off to brew some caffeine. having brought back that finely ground coffee from greece. This morning instead of my usual dark roast french press, its going to be greek coffee, brewed in a briki, the little long handled traditional pot. i take my greek coffee metrios, that is with a medium amount of sugar. its thick, and strong, and fragrant, it smells like being in Greece!

in keeping up the theme, and because i've already been awake hours without eating and figure its lunchtime at least, i'm making us feta cheese omelets. usually i only make omelets for lunch or dinner, but hey, i'm not really locked into any time frame for any meal. i pride myself on being able to eat anything at any time!

Feta cheese omelet: learned to make this from a greek mechanic a long time ago in another lifetime when i drove my vw van to greece and broke down somewhere near patras. the mechanic fixed our car, and fixed us an omelet that i've been making in variations ever since.

today I have some really excellent feta cheese that i bought in the athens central market. it is made from sheeps milk and is very creamy and rich. i had a lot of fun speaking with the cheese monger there in my pidgen greek; i ended up making a lot of baaaa-ing noises in an effort to differentiate between goats, cows and sheeps milk. I break up a few thick slices of feta, so that they are bite sized, and add them to beaten eggs; probably 2 ounces of cheese to one egg. i'm using three eggs for the two of us. Heat the pan with a little extra virgin, then pour it in; the edges sizzle in the hot oil; then i turn the heat down, and pull up the crisp sizzled edges every so often for the liquid egg to run in. I like to keep the cheese dispursed evenly throughout the pan.

When the omelet is golden on the bottom, invert it onto a plate then turn it over in the pan and brown its top. Sometimes I do this under the broiler instead.

Okay, its ready to go; though i usually sprinkle dried oregano over it, today i have fresh dill, and green onions; i'll chop them and sprinkle them over the top.

i also have some pita--the greek pita without pockets--that i also brought back from athens. i'll warm that up too.

Speak with you later, after we've eaten and digested.

Marlena

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Drinking a cuppa right now, something magical and compulsive happens to us when we return to British shores: we just have to drink tea: strong he-man tea, with milk in it. i know i'm going to have to address this subject throughout the week.

In Greece we were drinking either coffee--and lots and lots of it!--or faskomilo tea, which is wild sage, gathered from the hillsides. Whenever we go out for walks we often find wild sage and gather it up to dry it for tea. My suitcase was filled with bunches of it on my way home! It is fragrant, and wonderful for chestcolds, bronchitis, or asthma (so they say in Greece). I just know that it is soothing when hot. And any leftovers I let go cold and drink it as iced tea, much to the horror of my British husband. He views all attempts at making iced tea as horrific.

Oh, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Michelle's foodblog from Israel! am just now catching up with it, as couldn't read it last week: our greek shepherds hut was without electricity.

Marlena

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I knew I adored you for very good reasons! First, I am a grilled cheese fanatic and tried to put that book on my Amazon wish list for Xmas...for some reason they didn't have it. :sad: Second, I spent 3 weeks in Greece last year...by no means long enough. But Greece spoke to my soul...the people, the food, the landscape. I hope you'll share many of your Greek experiences with us.

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i had a lot of fun speaking with the cheese monger there in my pidgen greek; i ended up making a lot of baaaa-ing noises in an effort to differentiate between goats, cows and sheeps milk.

You're multi-lingual between species, too! I would love to hear you "speak" the difference between goats and sheep. :D

Do you ever have problem with jet lag and the time zones what with your bohemian lifestyle?

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Drinking a cuppa right now, something magical and compulsive happens to us when we return to British shores: we just have to drink tea: strong he-man tea, with milk in it. i know i'm going to have to address this subject throughout the week.

In Greece we were drinking either coffee--and lots and lots of it!--or faskomilo tea, which is wild sage, gathered from the hillsides. Whenever we go out for walks we often find wild sage and gather it up to dry it for tea. My suitcase was filled with bunches of it on my way home! It is fragrant, and wonderful for chestcolds, bronchitis, or asthma (so they say in Greece). I just know that it is soothing when hot. And any leftovers I let go cold and drink it as iced tea, much to the horror of my British husband. He views all attempts at making iced tea as horrific.

Oh, I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed Michelle's foodblog from Israel! am just now catching up with it, as couldn't read it last week: our greek shepherds hut was without electricity.

Marlena

I am so excited Marlena! I am so jealous that you were in Greece. I really need a vacation.

Good luck this week.

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Guys, it is so great to be back!

Irish Cream: You are very sweet for your kind words!

and also for being a sister in melty cheese. But I mean: whats up with Amazon! not having my book for the Christmas season, don't they know that I get royalities! (seriously, i feel sad that you wanted to get the book and couldn't). I know: why don't you get in touch with the senior editor of cookbooks and tell him you wanted it and couldn't get it: thats: bill_leblond@chroniclebooks.com he should be able to point you in the right direction. or, if you are in bay area, i'll be there in a few weeks time and can give you a copy of my book as a prezzie. email me separately and i'll give you my usa cellphone. i mean, a fan of melted cheese must have melted cheese!

Mochihead: am glad you picked up on the subtleties of my greek feta cheese monger conversation: the difference between goat and sheep (cow is self explanatory). goat: mehhh-meehhhhh, and sheep: baaaaah-baaaaahhhhhh. i did know the word for goat, which is gidas, and no, which is oxhi, but i wasn't sure if arni is the word for ewe, or only for roast lamb. figured that goat and sheep bleating would be a bit surer a way to get that good cheese.

what was funny and wonderful was the way the cheese monger immediately identified which animal was which. i tapped into a universal (cheese) truth in greece! did i mention that the cheese was (and is, the little we have left of it) superb!

Michelle--swisskaese-- and Jackal 10: Wonderful to be with you guys again, here on egullet!

omigod its almost lunchtime! I don't want to let down the blog by missing a meal!

x Marlena

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Here they confuse mehh and baaah.

We have a yogurt here called Gourmehh and it is sheep yogurt. :blink:

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I LOVE cheese, especially good cheeses. And between you and Swisskaese, I'm now crying and suffering from severe cheese cravings. You just can't get great cheese here in Hawai'i. Except for goat's cheese.

mehhhhh-mehhhhhhhhh!

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Have you ever made a Christmas pudding? I brought one back from England and it tasted a bit plastic.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of making one yourself, where is the best place to buy one?

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Here they confuse mehh and baaah.

We have a yogurt here called Gourmehh and it is sheep yogurt.  :blink:

Maybe the sheep and goats pronounce it in reverse to the Greeks, you know the way Hebrew is read right to left instead of left to write. Maybe the sheep and goats do the same thing.

and don't you LOVVVVVVE sheeps milk yogurt?!

Marlena

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Here they confuse mehh and baaah.

We have a yogurt here called Gourmehh and it is sheep yogurt.  :blink:

Maybe the sheep and goats pronounce it in reverse to the Greeks, you know the way Hebrew is read right to left instead of left to write. Maybe the sheep and goats do the same thing.

and don't you LOVVVVVVE sheeps milk yogurt?!

Marlena

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I looooove sheep, goat and now buffalo yogurt! I love to put walnuts or almonds and honey on it. :wub::wub:

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Here they confuse mehh and baaah.

We have a yogurt here called Gourmehh and it is sheep yogurt.  :blink:

Maybe the sheep and goats pronounce it in reverse to the Greeks, you know the way Hebrew is read right to left instead of left to write. Maybe the sheep and goats do the same thing.

and don't you LOVVVVVVE sheeps milk yogurt?!

Marlena

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I looooove sheep, goat and now buffalo yogurt! I love to put walnuts or almonds and honey on it. :wub::wub:

Yes, totally in love with buffalo milk anything: yogurt, ricotta, mozzarella! and actually in love with the beautiful animals themselves who have everything going for them, including a lovely curiosity of life. only weeeee little trouble with water buffalo is that they can fall into a stampede at the drop of a......name, hat, whatever. those guys love to stampede! the milk is so mild and creamy; is anyone making water buffalo mozzarella in israel?

meanwhile, you asked about christmas pudding. its kind of a family joke, as every year my british husband gets all excited and buys a whole bunch of different ones, and i steam it obligingly when the big day arrives, and even pour over brandy and ignite it (the best part of the pudding i'm convinced). but i just don't like to eat any of the puddings i've bought, with the exception of the purchased pudding that we had this year.

as i've mentioned, we were in Greece for Christmas, and someone gave me a Duchy Originals steamed pudding as a gift so i tossed it in my suitcase. In Greece we steamed it and flambeed it, and the three of us: one christmas-pudding-lover and three confirmed pudding haters, just gobbled up that thing greedily. it was delightful: not heavy, and not sticky, but rather rich and light and fruited, all at the same time. we ate the leftovers in the afternoon with tea, just cut into little morsels. some people use the leftover christmas pudding to churn into ice cream; christmas cake, which is similar to an american heavy fruitcake, is sometimes turned into ice cream or bread pudding. this year we brought a christmas cake that my husband had made--dense with fruit, and needing to be 'fed' with brandy every few weeks during the course of its ripening....anyhow he brought it to Greece with us. we ate it in slices, with tea, every so often, and it was very nice. what was even nicer was the see the face of Maria, one of our favourite village cooks (we've been to this village a number of times before, staying with friends who live there): she always loves to share her traditional fare and tell us the stories of why they eat this and when etc. so she understood the cultural significance of christmas cake, or gave it respect and significance above and beyond. she in turn invited us to her christmas eve broccoli blow-out: they eat piles of broccoli on christmas eve, and drink the juice that it cooked in. but thats another story.

meanwhile, as for making it myself, most of the pudding recipes call for suet (beef or vegetable) and i just can't bring myself to cook with suet. but i did come up with a recipe for a christmas pudding using butter. its not a long-keeping pudding, rather its a light little thing (well, light for a christmas pudding which traditionally is one of earths heaviest substances) that you have to eat within a few days of making. the recipe is in one of the books (From Pantry to Table) i published (and a james beard award nominee) before the whole cyber revolution, that is to say: i would have to type it out from the pages of the book.

you should definately try a good christmas pudding, and definately not bother eating a bad one.

xx marlena

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Here they confuse mehh and baaah.

We have a yogurt here called Gourmehh and it is sheep yogurt.  :blink:

Maybe the sheep and goats pronounce it in reverse to the Greeks, you know the way Hebrew is read right to left instead of left to write. Maybe the sheep and goats do the same thing.

and don't you LOVVVVVVE sheeps milk yogurt?!

Marlena

:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I looooove sheep, goat and now buffalo yogurt! I love to put walnuts or almonds and honey on it. :wub::wub:

Yes, totally in love with buffalo milk anything: yogurt, ricotta, mozzarella! and actually in love with the beautiful animals themselves who have everything going for them, including a lovely curiosity of life. only weeeee little trouble with water buffalo is that they can fall into a stampede at the drop of a......name, hat, whatever. those guys love to stampede! the milk is so mild and creamy; is anyone making water buffalo mozzarella in israel?

meanwhile, you asked about christmas pudding. its kind of a family joke, as every year my british husband gets all excited and buys a whole bunch of different ones, and i steam it obligingly when the big day arrives, and even pour over brandy and ignite it (the best part of the pudding i'm convinced). but i just don't like to eat any of the puddings i've bought, with the exception of the purchased pudding that we had this year.

as i've mentioned, we were in Greece for Christmas, and someone gave me a Duchy Originals steamed pudding as a gift so i tossed it in my suitcase. In Greece we steamed it and flambeed it, and the three of us: one christmas-pudding-lover and three confirmed pudding haters, just gobbled up that thing greedily. it was delightful: not heavy, and not sticky, but rather rich and light and fruited, all at the same time. we ate the leftovers in the afternoon with tea, just cut into little morsels. some people use the leftover christmas pudding to churn into ice cream; christmas cake, which is similar to an american heavy fruitcake, is sometimes turned into ice cream or bread pudding. this year we brought a christmas cake that my husband had made--dense with fruit, and needing to be 'fed' with brandy every few weeks during the course of its ripening....anyhow he brought it to Greece with us. we ate it in slices, with tea, every so often, and it was very nice. what was even nicer was the see the face of Maria, one of our favourite village cooks (we've been to this village a number of times before, staying with friends who live there): she always loves to share her traditional fare and tell us the stories of why they eat this and when etc. so she understood the cultural significance of christmas cake, or gave it respect and significance above and beyond. she in turn invited us to her christmas eve broccoli blow-out: they eat piles of broccoli on christmas eve, and drink the juice that it cooked in. but thats another story.

meanwhile, as for making it myself, most of the pudding recipes call for suet (beef or vegetable) and i just can't bring myself to cook with suet. but i did come up with a recipe for a christmas pudding using butter. its not a long-keeping pudding, rather its a light little thing (well, light for a christmas pudding which traditionally is one of earths heaviest substances) that you have to eat within a few days of making. the recipe is in one of the books (From Pantry to Table) i published (and a james beard award nominee) before the whole cyber revolution, that is to say: i would have to type it out from the pages of the book.

you should definately try a good christmas pudding, and definately not bother eating a bad one.

xx marlena

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Mmm, cheese! Keep talking, keep talking!

I'll be checking back to see what happened to the potatoes...

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Lunch! I forgot to tell you about lunch!

Husband went shopping, and as I have mentioned, is in a bit of British Christmas deprivation as we were in Greece. So along with the list of foods I gave him: fresh spinach, yogurt (ordinary cows milk, alas), chicken, he came home with 2 packages of aunt bessies roasted potatoes (buy one get one free) and a bag of frozen yorkshire puddings. i pointed out that the yorkshire puddings would probably be awful, but the truth about aunt bessies roast potatoes is that they are rather fetching, even though you know when you are eating them that the fat is of the worst kind.

so for lunch, in keeping with our rapidly dissappearing (in the British grey day) Greek spirit, we had: a Greek salad (more Israeli than Greek, though--I mean, reading Swisskaese's blog i felt as if i had a trip to Israel!).

Our salad had: chopped carrot, Persian/Japanese cucumber, Turkish green/yellow pepper, long red italian/hungarian pepper, lots of red onion, and cracked green olives from the athens central market; i dressed the salad in salt, vinegar, lemon and extra virgin olive oil.

With it we had slabs of that lovely sheeps milk feta. baaaah. meeeehhhhh.

and Tzadziki: cucumber, yogurt, tons of garlic, olive oil and lemon. a little fresh dill and mint. I'm always amazed that tzadziki isn't EVERYONE's favourite food as I love it so. i go into automatic if i'm left in the kitchen and there is yogurt and cucumber available. i always present it to people as if its the greatest culinary treasure anywhere and they smile politely (though i'd like it noted: they always eat it up!). Anyhow its wonderful to be in Greece where tzadziki is treated with the respect it deserves!

We ate the tzadziki as a dip with the.......yes, you guessed it: aunt bessies roast potatoes.

my husband is now having a nap to sleep off the mound of potatoes he so happily snarfed.

see you at dinner time. what am i going to make with that little chicken?

i'm thinking avgolemono, as i have a whole backpack full of lemons i picked from the tree the day i left greece.

x marlena

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Between you and helenjp, I think I'm going to be in a virtual food coma for the next week!

Do you ever make your own yogurts? Were there any problems with customs when you brought back your foods from Greece? I'm so in envy right now, because like with the cheeses, there is no great Greek food here. RAWR!

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Do you ever make your own yogurts?  Were there any problems with customs when you brought back your foods from Greece?  I'm so in envy right now, because like with the cheeses, there is no great Greek food here. RAWR!

I used to make my own yogurt, and every time I think that my yogurt supply is heading downhill, i threaten to make my own yogurt again. for one thing, its cheap. but the only problem is that at the same time i feel my yogurt supply is going downhill, its always the same time that i feel my milk supply is going downhill too. and the truth is that i'd only bother if i could get a nice very very fresh sheeps milk.

the sheeps milk yogurt we get in Greece is very thick; if you drain it even a little its more like cream cheese than yogurt. though you can get it in the ordinary plastic tubs that yogurt comes in other places, you can also get it in ceramic bowls; after you've eaten the yogurt you get to keep the bowl. they are somewhat fragile and don't last long, but i swear that i can taste the difference (but maybe thats because i like using the bowls afterwards). sometimes you can even get the yogurt in a ceramic bowl in the turkish/greek part of london and i snap up a few when i'm in the neighbourhood.

one of the great things about living in the EU is that you can bring stuff from one country to another without a customs hassle. actually though you can bring most cheeses into the usa from europe. i was surprised at how many you can bring in--last time i went through customs in sf, only about a month ago, the inspector said when he saw my stash of cheese (most spanish; i had ewes milk, goats milk, and cows milk cheeses, and also a cheese using all three milks), 'there is something wrong with this!' when i asked him what was wrong he said: whats wrong is that you dn't have more cheese! you can bring more if you want to!!!!!!

first time i've encountered a customs guy with a sense of humor, but i was a happy girl hearing those words. its the young cheese that are the problem apparantly.

oh, and he did snag the jamon that i brought back. he's probably chewing it happily this very minute.

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Tzatziki is a major food group in our house too, so I want to compare notes. I always grate the cucumber into a tea towel, then wring it tightly to squeeze out all the juice. Is that your method too? It makes for a messy towel, but the resulting juice is great. Last time I mixed it 1:1 with nigori sake and made an elegant little cucumber cocktail.

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Tzatziki is a major food group in our house too, so I want to compare notes.  I always grate the cucumber into a tea towel, then wring it tightly to squeeze out all the juice.  Is that your method too?  It makes for a messy towel, but the resulting juice is great.  Last time I mixed it 1:1 with nigori sake and made an elegant little cucumber cocktail.

mmmmm.....cucumber cocktail sounds like my idea of refreshment.

Sometimes I do grate the cucumber, but it usually depends upon 1. the type of cucumber (it has to be a cucumber with a good strong cucumber flavour) and 2. the size of the holes in the grater (they have to be pretty large shreds to my taste).

as the shredded method does, as you point out, make a lot of juice and need to be squeezed, the lazy marlena usually makes tzadziki by dicing the cucumber and just letting it drain in a sieve into a bowl. Or simply mixing the diced cucumber into the yogurt and pouring off excess liquid as it gathers on top of the mixture. only problem with this is that the liquid isn't as lovely as the cucumber juice you squeeze out. but the whole method is so much easier. also, i really like to bite down into the little chunks of cucumber as am a total cucumber freak.

sometimes i salt the diced cucumber which not only pulls out excess liquid but gives the cucumber a slightly pickled flavour.

Do you use mint or dill? I use what ever is at hand, though sometimes I use both. i'm a sucker for herbs.

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Oh, hurray! Your column is one of my favorite parts of the Food section in the Chron.

And who knew you could bring cheese into the US from Europe? I thought the government severely frowned on all those lovely unpasteurized cheeses? Or if you're bringing them in, they figure you're on your own, risk-wise?

Of course, this would mean I'd have to get to Europe first, to bring home cheese. I can see the conversation with my husband now. "Honey, let's go to France." "Why?" "So I can get some cheese!" :laugh:

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Oh, hurray! Your column is one of my favorite parts of the Food section in the Chron.

And who knew you could bring cheese into the US from Europe? I thought the government severely frowned on all those lovely unpasteurized cheeses? Or if you're bringing them in, they figure you're on your own, risk-wise?

Of course, this would mean I'd have to get to Europe first, to bring home cheese.  I can see the conversation with my husband now. "Honey, let's go to France." "Why?" "So I can get some cheese!" :laugh:

I think that going to Europe to buy good cheese is very sensible.

In fact, I would never ever come back to the US without cheese! I think that everyone on every plane that lands in the US from europe should be required to have a certain amount of cheese in his/her suitcase.

The big surprise is that some people don't want my cheese offerings when I arrive. they are frightened. how can anyone be frightened of cheese?

once i didn't know you could bring cheese into the usa, and i brought 50 lbs directly from a visit to france, and the weather was hot, and the little beagles were being very nosey of my suitcase and i actually reverted to divertive techniques. i was in a terrible state, imagining myself in the big house, and all for no reason: i was perfectly legal! (to be specific, though, certain young and gooey and raw cheeses are still forbidden).

And I'm so glad my column is your favourite in the chron food pages; thank you for telling me so! (God knows I love writing it!)

x marlena

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Of course, this would mean I'd have to get to Europe first, to bring home cheese.  I can see the conversation with my husband now. "Honey, let's go to France." "Why?" "So I can get some cheese!" :laugh:

Do you need a better reason?

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Have you ever made a Christmas pudding? I brought one back from England and it tasted a bit plastic.

If you don't want to go to the trouble of making one yourself, where is the best place to buy one?

Swisskaese - Some recent discussion on cooking with suet, to add to the discussion. Suet will produce a much lighter pudding then butter and a pudding boiled in in cloth will be lighter then pudding in a bowl (although the former is more difficult). My suggestion would be to make your own, as it is easier and will most likely taste better. Maybe try a lighter style of pudding first, such as a cloutie pudding.

Marlena - Greece the the UK? Quite a transition in regards to food, I am looking forward to hearing more about your UK project.

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*raising hand* I have the book Melt and I love it. Last year when It was my turn for a foodblog on egullet, I featured your prosciutto and fig jam sandwich. It was yummy. I'd love to see some more from the book.

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    • By KennethT
      OK, I'm back, by popular demand! hehe....  After being back for 2 days, I'm still struggling with crazy jetlag and exhaustion - so please bear with me!
       
      This year, for our Asian adventure, we went to Bali, which for those who don't know, is one of the islands in Indonesia.  Bali is a very unique place - from its topology, to the people, language, customs, religion and food.  Whereas the majority of people in Indonesia are Muslim, most people in Bali are Balinese Hindu, which from what I understand is a little like Indian Hinduism, but has more ancestor worship.  Religion is very important to many people in Bali - there are temples everywhere, and at least in one area, there are religious processions through the street practically every day - but we'll get to that later.
       
      Bali has some food unique to it among its Indonesian neighbors, but like everywhere, has seen quite a bit of immigration from other Indonesian islands (many from Java, just to the west) who have brought their classic dishes with them.
       
      Basically all Indonesians speak Indonesian, or what they call Bahasa Indonesia, or just Bahasa, which, anyone who has read my prior foodblogs wouldn't be surprised to hear that I learned a little bit just before the trip.  Unfortunately, I didn't get to use any of it, except a couple times which were totally unnecessary.  When speaking with each other, most people in Bali speak Balinese (totally different from bahasa) - many times when I tried using my bahasa, they smiled and replied, and then tried to teach me the same phrase in Balinese!  As time went on, and I used some of the Balinese, I got lots of surprised smiles and laughs - who is this white guy speaking Balinese?!?  Seriously though, tourism has been in Bali for a very long time, so just about everyone we encountered spoke English to some degree.  Some people spoke German as well, as they supposedly get lots of tourists from Germany.  As one of our drivers was telling us, Bali is heavily dependent on tourism as they have no real industry other than agriculture, which doesn't pay nearly as well as tourism does.
       
      While there are beaches all around the island, most of the popular beach areas are in the south of the island, and those areas are the most highly touristed.  We spent very little time in the south as we are not really beach people (we get really bored) and during planning, decided to stay in less touristed areas so we'd have more opportunities for local food... this didn't work out, as you'll see later.
       
      So, it wouldn't be a KennethT foodblog without photos in the Taipei airport and I-Mei Dim Sum, which we called home for about 4 hours before our connection to Bali...
       
      Beef noodle soup:

       
      The interior:

       
      This was the same as always - huge pieces of beef were meltingly tender.  Good bite to the thick chewy noodles.
       
      Xie long bao (soup dumplings) and char siu bao (fluffy barbeque pork buns):

    • By KennethT
      Recently, there was a thread about stir frying over charcoal, which immediately brought to mind memories of eating in Bangkok in July 2013.  At that time, I hadn't gotten into the habit of writing food blogs, and considering that I had some spare time this weekend (a rarity) I figured I would put some of those memories down on paper, so to speak.  Back then, neither my wife nor I were in the habit of taking tons of photos like we do nowadays, but I think I can cobble something together that would be interesting to folks reading it.
       
      In the spirit of memories, I'll first go back to 2006 when my wife and I took our honeymoon to Thailand (Krabi, Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Singapore and Hanoi.  That was our first time to Asia, and to be honest, I was a little nervous about it.  I was worried the language barrier would be too difficult to transcend, or that we'd have no idea where we were going.  So, to help mitigate my slight anxiety, I decided to book some guides for a few of the locations.  Our guides were great, but we realized that they really aren't necessary, and nowadays with internet access so much more prevalent, even less necessary.
       
      Prior to the trip, when emailing with our guide in Bangkok to finalize plans, I mentioned that we wanted to be continuously eating (local food, I thought was implied!)  When we got there, I realized the misunderstanding when she opened her trunk to show us many bags of chips and other snack foods.. whoops...  Anyway, once the misconception was cleared up, she took us to a noodle soup vendor:


      On the right is our guide, Tong, who is now a very famous and highly sought after guide in BKK.... at the time, we were among here first customers.  I had a chicken broth based noodle soup with fish ball, fish cake and pork meatball, and my wife had yen ta fo, which is odd because it is bright pink with seafood.  I have a lime juice, and my wife had a longan juice.
       
      This is what a lot of local food places look like:

       
       
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