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"Significantly, the charge (if it is a charge) has been levelled at the gastronomic essay and the 'learned' cookery book that they have an affinity with pornography. Certainly, both gastronomy and pornography dwell on pleasures of the flesh, and in gastronomic literature as in pornography there is vicarious enjoyment to be had." 

Stephen Mennell

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Monday
Feb072011

Larbilicious

One of the nice things about writing this blog is that I find out a lot of interesting things in the process. I have been making larb for years – it is a staple canapé for our annual Christmas Eve party and Dad entrusted me with it early on because it is extremely easy. I have always thought it was ubiquitous in Thai cuisine, just as it is in Sydney’s Thai restaurants, but I have just discovered that it is actually a regional dish from Isan, in north east Thailand, and probably originated further afield. In his book, Thai Food, David Thompson shares some theories on the salad’s historic origins:

A larp is an ancient salad. Some argue that it has the same origins as steak tartare, raw meat eaten with onions. The merchants of this part of Asia, the Haw, may have helped to spread the dish from the south-west of China and now, throughout northern Thailand, there are adaptations of this style of salad. 

Wikipedia suggests that larb may have come to Thailand from Laos:

Laotian cuisine has strongly influenced the neighboring cuisine of Northeastern Thailand (Isan) ... The most famous Laotian dish is Larb ... a spicy mixture of marinated meat and/or fish that is sometimes raw (prepared like ceviche) with a variable combination of herbs, greens, and spices. 

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Friday
Feb042011

Guest post: Chef Has (my Dad) shares his recipe for raita

As some of you may know, I owe most of my cookery skills, understanding of and passion for food to my Dad. I have asked him to share some of his infinite culinary knowledge with you by doing some guest posts every now and then.

This first post comes about largely by chance. Having seen my post on Kolhapuri lamb, which included a haphazard attempt at a recipe for raita, he sent me an email yesterday with the recipe he uses; I now know why his raita always tastes so much better than mine! I asked him to turn it into a post and also to explain one of the canapés from Christmas Eve, pictured above. The beauty of this canapé is that it look really impressive and tastes great, but is really easy. I hope this will be the first of many posts from Dad, or as he will henceforth be known, Hash Brown.

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Wednesday
Jan262011

Mrs Kumar Raste's Kolhapuri lamb, care of Dick and the Madhur

 

Sorry for my silence! I have been über, über busy in the week and a half since I have been back in the UK ...and even if I hadn’t been the fun factor in my mealtimes has diminished significantly as I attempt to do the same to my waistline; a healthy, but abysmal diet of exercise and be good to yourself pastas from Sainsbury’s, yawn!
 
In my post on NZ I told you about the extensive Indian feast cooked up by our hosts in Christchurch. Under the instruction of Madhur Jaffery (or the Mad Her as a Scottish friend of ours refers to her), Dick, Jocelyn and Cilla cooked up some wondrous dishes, including this lamb curry.
  
Within Maharashtra, as in much of India, districts, even towns, have their own distinct cuisines. Kolhapur is associated with the foods of the Mahrattas, who were once the bravest of Indian warriors, fighting both Moghul emperors and imperial British forces with great success.

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Tuesday
Jan182011

Sufficiently satiated in Sydney

Following the side trip to NZ, I had 3 days left in Sydney to fit in a few last meals just to make absolutely sure that I would return to London with significant extra baggage, and I am not talking about the contents of my suitcase.

Like with my last Sydney post I am going to share a few images from each meal, with more details about the best later.

Rosso Pomodoro

Diavola pizza

Rosso Pomodoro – Italian cuisine (trattoria); Shop 90-91, 24 Buchanan St, Balmain, NSW, 2041; Ph +61 2 9555 5924

 

Marigold 


Garlic prawn gowgee; Prawn & scallop gowgee

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Saturday
Jan152011

A wee taste of In Zid

What wuth the widding theah wasn’t much time for eatung out un NZ (In Zid). Stull, theah was plinty of gud food going.

OK, so this would be a lot easier if I’d studied linguistics, but you get the point.

From Sydney I made a short trip across the ditch for my cousin Matt’s wedding; this was the main reason for my visiting the southern hemisphere, although you would be forgiven for thinking filling my stomach was the primary motive.

While I didn’t have much time to eat out in NZ, the Brown’s know how to do good food well and so I still managed to fit in most of my favourite quintessentially New Zealand dishes (namely fishes).

The highlight of the wedding canapés were the whitebait fritters.

Fresh New Zealand whitebait, lots of it, held together by egg and possibly a little flour, although if there was any I certainly couldn't taste it. The fritters were served simply, just as they should be, with lemon and tartar sauce. 

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