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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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Sunday
Jan022011

Charlie’s olive, goat’s cheese and roast cherry tomato tartlets

Updated on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at 3:58PM by Registered CommenterVix

I am still trying to pin down my father for some (any) of the recipes from Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. In the meantime, I have this canapé recipe from my sister. The tartlets are a little time consuming and fiddly to make, but the recipe itself is straightforward and they look great.

In the past I have found tartlets this small have not worked especially well for me because it is hard to roll the pastry thin enough so that it does not overpower the taste of the filling. For this reason, I have also found that they tend to be quite dry. Charlie has overcome these issues by using very moist ingredients, one of which – the olive tapenade – is strong enough in flavour to counteract that of the pastry.

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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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