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"I have done a quick calculation and decided that: You can reasonably expect 76,650 meals during your life, but to die only once. We can look on these everyday events as nourishment, sensual gratification, conviviality, cultural expression and, in accumulation, a commentary upon society and life. Surely that's enough for any intellectual."

Michael Symons

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Tuesday
Dec282010

Claudia's pomegranate and feta salad with mint and coriander

If you looked at the post I did yesterday showing the many delicious things I ate over Christmas, you may be surprised that the first recipe I am choosing to share is a humble salad. In reality it was far from humble; elegant, vibrant and sophisticated, for me it was the star of the show.

The salad is a wonderful balance flavours and textures. The casing of the pomegranate seeds, firm and crisp, give way to a plump, juicy centre, slightly tart in flavour. Cucumber adds extra crunch, contrasting with the soft, crumbly feta. The salty cheese also brings in the necessary savoury element, supported by the red onion, sumac and red wine vinaigrette. Coriander and mint are the final touches in this unrestrainedly refreshing summer salad.

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Monday
Dec272010

Not a turkey in sight

Hello, I have just woken up from a food coma.

I got to Oz safe and sound, so safely and soundly, in fact, that I am still waiting for something disastrous to happen. So far the only misfortune I have suffered is that I got sick on the day I left – swollen glands, headache, blocked nose and no voice – which is not much fun on a 22 hour flight. Now six days later I am still croaky and snotty because the ‘Christmas spirit’ (read excessive drinking) and flu don’t make for a very good match, but were both were unavoidable.

I can speak again now, but cognitive activity is still limited, so I am going to let the images do the talking. Show and no tell.

Christmas eve canapes

Olive, goat's cheese and roast cherry tomato tartlets 

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Wednesday
Dec222010

Merry Christmas, just

I'm dreaming of a bright Christmas 
Just like the one I want to reach
Where the barbeque sizzles
and children giggle 
As the sun shines gaily on the beach.

I'm dreaming of a bright Christmas 
With every snowflake that I smite 
May your planes be sprayed and de-iced
And may all the snowmen take flight!

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Saturday
Dec182010

Moussaka; an unexpected history

 

MOUSSAKA        A dish common to Turkey, Greece and the Balkans, made with slices of aubergine (eggplant) arranged in layers, alternating with minced (ground) mutton or lamb, onions, and sometimes tomatoes, often with the addition of a thick béchamel sauce. In some recipes, courgettes (zucchini), potatoes or spinach are used instead of aubergine. The dish is baked in the oven.

This definition from Larousse Gastronomique pretty much sums up my recipe for moussaka. If I were sensible, I would accept it as gospel and be done with it. It would certainly save me a lot of typing and you a lot of reading. But sensible I am not and having looked further into the history and origins of the dish I feel the need to share.

The definition refers to Turkey and the Balkans, but in fact the description which follows depicts the Greek preparation. According to Wikipedia, Turkish musakka is not layered, “Instead, it is prepared with sautéed aubergines, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and minced meat” and eaten with cacik and pilaf. The Bulgarian and Macedonian versions are layered like the Greek, but contain pork and beef rather than lamb and potatoes rather than aubergine. Like most of the recipes in the rest of the Balkan states, they are topped with a savoury custard.

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Wednesday
Dec152010

The 12 pains of Christmas

Christmas shopping elicits all sorts of feelings and emotions; here are just a few that I have felt this past week:

Anticipation

Gaiety (fleeting)

Disappointment

Angst

Irritation

Frustration

Anger

Despair

Fatigue

Cold hands

Wet toes

Sore feet

In that order.

These are my excuses for being a little silent of late. 

More soon, I promise.