Archive for the ‘misc.’ Category

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

December 20, 2008

People, since I have last spoken, a number of things have changed in my life. Within the last 10 days, I have turned 30, changed apartment (bigger, so much better and incredibly located) and acquired something I never dreamed I would own.

The move was ridiculously awful, and if you ever find yourself in a position to wonder wether you should move before or after you have three children, I urge you to do it before! Our kitchen ended up not being done on time, so we ate pasta pretty much everyday for about a week, until my sister came and saved us with champagne, good spirits and delicious sushis.

My birthday itself was not so fun, despite the fact that I absolutely don’t mind being thirty. In fact I have to admit I find it very chic (not sure when the novelty will wear off, though!). On the actual day, we went to ikea, a big box hardware store and took a stressful trip to our new local supermarket which is packed, this time of year and sells food at prices that boggle the mind. So it was a pretty normal day for a move but rather not so cool as a birthday.
The evening got better, as we had a dinner amidst boxes with some delicious cakes, our friend brought some candles for me to blow out, and I got some lovely gifts – one mostly, gifted by my parents who took their cue from my obsession of wanting a gift that would last and mark the birthday:

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And isn’t the color gorgeous? It looks so pretty in my shiny new white kitchen, I keep wanting to touch it and turn on the motor just to hear the lovely purring-sound it makes! I haven’t yet gotten around to using it, nor have I tried my shiny new oven. In fact, right now is the first ‘free time’ I have in about a month and I’ve felt so bad about neglecting the blog, that i thought I ought to give some news.
The stressful times are mostly behind us now, and we can focus on the good parts about moving, explore our new neighbourhood, enjoy our big and beautiful new kitchen and it’s shiny appliances and enjoy the view from our balcony.

Tomorrow we leave for my parents house were we will be celebrating Christmas. I’m pretty sure there will be cooking and baking, and I promise the next post will be a bona fide recipe+photo post.
For now, I will leave you with my best wishes for Christmas, I hope your year ends with as many great changes as mine did!

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November 15, 2008

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I got tagged by my friend d. over at alle meine ponies (don’t you just LOVE that blogname, btw?), and because I have been unable to pull my latest recipe post together due to some photo issues, I will now give you some

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Clothing

I have a very feminine obsession with shoes and an unexplicable one with grey t-shirts. I wish I could dress with a more definite or adventurous style, but the way we live (three small children and a lot of bike riding) often gives me an excuse for comfort over style. My favourite pieces this winter are a gorgeous leather jacket given to me by my mother and a lovely jeans blouse given to me by my sister, along with a handwoven and hand-dyed purple scarf from africa (my mother again).

Furniture

My ideal would be a mix of simple modern white and grey furniture, and a more flowery pink british style. My reality, sadly, is a few nice old pieces and a lot of budget-conscious ikea. On a side note, I am obsessively organised and forever putting things away and in their place.

Sweet

Chocolate. Hands down. I always joked that my ideal gift would be my weight in chocolate!

City

Berlin, Paris, Montpellier, Stuttgart. All sorts of homes.

Drink

Tea in the morning, water every other time. The occasional beer.

Music

I used to listen to music all the time; but sadly, I don’t have the time nor the mental space to really listen anymore. In the past couple of months I’ve liked port o brien, bon iver, mgmt, and alela diane. I also really like chamber music, especially the complete beethoven string quartets.

TV

American series mainly, lately enamored with gossip girl and mad men alike; but always tatort.

Film

No snobbery here: french films from the sixties, nostalgic films from growing up (stand by me, dead poets society, dirty dancing) and today, wes anderson, sofia coppola, south-american cinema but also big american productions.

Workout

Haaaahaaaaahaaaa. No.

Pastries

The first one that comes to my mind would be a proper, still warm pain au chocolat. After that, the list would be so long, one could make a blog out of it – oh wait…!

Coffee

Espresso, black, with added hot water.

I am tagging Cynthia, Berlin Reified and Tim.

edited to add: I am really happy to see that Anke Gröner kindly answered the meme as well, go read hers!

 

The Omnivore’s 100

October 1, 2008
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Between ignoring the laundry and obsessively watching re-runs of project runway and the other shows I love to hate, it has come to my attention that I am a bit behind on my blogging.
The horror! I have an excuse though, and a dramatic one to boot: I have been diagnosed with a slipped disc and am ouching my way through both work day and kids duties, which is why I am ignoring the laundry and prefer silly shows to anythong else at the moment. I also would like to add that I am telling you about the slipped disc, because I really like this expression. It sounds so… accidental, and somewhat sporty or maybe it’s just me?

Another thing I have been interested in lately is this list, which has been coursing the internet:

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred

So much so, in fact, that I have pasted it here and followed the instruction, thus giving you a clear picture of what crazy things I have eaten in the past:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.

2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.

3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at http://www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

1. Venison

2. Nettle tea

3. Huevos rancheros

4. Steak tartare

5. Crocodile

6. Black pudding

7. Cheese fondue

8. Carp

9. Borscht

10. Baba ghanoush

11. Calamari

12. Pho

13. PB&J sandwich

14. Aloo gobi

15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses

17. Black truffle

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes

19. Steamed pork buns

20. Pistachio ice cream

21. Heirloom tomatoes

22. Fresh wild berries

23. Foie gras

24. Rice and beans

25. Brawn, or head cheese

26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper

27. Dulce de leche

28. Oysters

29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda

31. Wasabi peas

32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl

33. Salted lassi

34. Sauerkraut

35. Root beer float

36. Cognac with a fat cigar

37. Clotted cream tea

38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O

39. Gumbo

40. Oxtail

41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects

43. Phaal

44. Goat’s milk

45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more

46. Fugu

47. Chicken tikka masala

48. Eel

49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut

50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi

53. Abalone

54. Paneer

55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal

56. Spaetzle

57. Dirty gin martini

58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine

60. Carob chips

61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads

63. Kaolin

64. Currywurst

65. Durian

66. Frogs’ legs

67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake

68. Haggis

69. Fried plantain

70. Chitterlings, or andouillette

71. Gazpacho

72. Caviar and blini

73. Louche absinthe

74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill

76. Baijiu

77. Hostess Fruit Pie

78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong

80. Bellini

81. Tom yum

82. Eggs Benedict

83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant

85. Kobe beef

86. Hare

87. Goulash

88. Flowers

89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate

91. Spam

92. Soft shell crab

93. Rose harissa

94. Catfish

95. Mole poblano

96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor

98. Polenta

99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee

100. Snake

Reading the list, I was struck at the exoticism or lack thereof, of some of the dishes, but all in all realised that I had the luck of tasting most of these things as a child. Food played a strong part in my upbringing, and I am hoping to pass this on to my children as well. What I didn’t eat as a child, I got to try in New York (huevos rancheros, pho, mole poblano, bagel and lox etc) when I was interning in 1999 (cue the song!), or was introduced to by my husband (PB&J, where were you when I needed you!).

You can see from my list that I am not a big boozer or crazily obsessed with eating something extra spicy. Things such as absinthe have never quite sparked the romantic interest as much as a tasting menu at a three star michelin restaurant would. But even that I am not so sure of.*
Actually, I like simple food. And thanks to this list, I now have a great excuse to post the simplest and greatest Goulash. The author calls it a little black dress of a recipe, and I couldn’t agree more. My only complaint with it is that it needs a couple of hours in the oven. However, I am working on a version that delivers the same tender and slow simmered delight but uses a pressure cooker. I will update if the results are any good.

Please feel free to tell me what foods you would like to eat, have eaten would never eat etc in the comments, I know you are reading, so come out and talk to me! And tell me if you can think of a shortcut for the goulash!

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Smoked Paprika Goulash

prep time: 10min, cooking time 3h
heavy cast iron pot with a tight fitting lid, or fitted with tin foil as a lid

600-800 g of beef for goulash, cubed
2 tbsp flour
1 tbsp smoked paprika (I use 2 tsp of sweet smoked paprika and one tsp hot, it still ends up a little overly spicy for children, though)
1 onion finely chopped
1 400g can of whole tomatoes (I like to use canned cherry tomatoes, because they are consistently less acidic than reg. canned tomatoes)
1 cup water

Preheat your oven to a fairly low setting (150°, in my case). Toss the meat in the flour and paprika**, make sure to coat the cubes really well. Heat the oil in your pot and gently sweat the onions until translucent Add the meat and brown on all sides. Add the tomatoes and the water while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot. Cover with the lid (or tinfoil) and leave in the oven for about three hours. Serve with polenta, potatoes or maybe even pasta.

*I also haven’t been super specific in pointing out what I think of every food on the list, for instance, I don’t think I would enjoy goats milk in anything other than cheese, but I got a little lazy!

** I usually toss the flour/paprika in a clean plastic bag, add the meat, close the bag and shakeshakeshake