Saturday, December 12, 2009

Kourabiedes! (Christmas Baking, part I)

So I've been student teaching at a middle school where I teach social studies to sixth and eight graders. I've been talking to the sixth graders about holidays around the world at Christmas time - first in a general sense (Christmas, but also Hannukah, Eid al-Adha, Diwali, and Bodhi day because that was the only winter Buddhist holiday I could find!). Then we narrowed our focus on Christmas around the world - Sweden, France, India, Brasil, etc. And I promised them that I'd make them some Greek Christmas cookies. Well...I came through!

Since I wanted to make enough for everybody (there are 22 students, plus I know the 16 kids in my homeroom class would want some...and I'd like to give some to the English-language grade 6 my fellow teachers will want some...) so I needed a larger-volume recipe than the one I have in a recipe book, so I used one that Maria V. used in a post of her own, from Stephie's "Can You Cook" blog. This used imperial measurements (easier for me than metric, even though we officially adopted the metric system before I was born!), was double the volume of my usual recipe, was nut-optional and didn't include any alcohol (many recipes call for brandy or other liquors). I had to run to the store to buy orange juice (!), but it all worked out in the end...hours later!

I made one or two tweaks to the recipe - I can't have any nuts in the recipe because we have students with nut allergies at school, so instead of the almond extract that Stephie suggests, I added vanilla extract...I think it worked.


2c. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1/3 c. orange juice
1 tsp. baking powder
4 1/2 c. flour, sifted.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Cream butter till fluffy, add sugar and beat well. Add wet ingredients and mix.Combine flour & baking powder, sift and add to wet ingredients. Mix by hand, form into flattened crescents. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack, then place on a plate with a layer of icing sugar and dust each cookie. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Roast lamb and beer bread!

A week or so ago, Chris and I wanted to cook a roast on the weekend, so we got a venison roast out of the back of the freezer and tried to defrost it, but in the process it got a little warm so we decided to be safe, rather than sorry, and threw it out. Fortunately we had a boneless lamb roast sitting in the freezer too, so I started defrosting it on Friday, and Chris took over that part of supper. He used a sauce that he had cooked a venison roast in last year - Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, onion soup mix powder, worcestershire sauce, etc. It end up making a very tasty gravy, very easily. He also stuffed the roast with slivers of garlic, which is never a bad thing! This was all added to a crock pot and slow-cooked all day. At the end he took the meat out, added some Greek red wine (Kouros brand) to the crock to lift the fond and add a little more flavour, and made a gravy with the help of a little corn starch. Along with this he made some delicious garlicky whipped potatoes, and cooked up the last of the asparagus (a little too long, admittedly, and it was cold by the time supper was served, but it was still good...I just plain love asparagus).

Well meanwhile I did laundry all day (from 11am until...3?) - eight loads all told. Don't look at me like that, I haven't done laundry in two weeks, it's not that we make an inordinate amount of laundry! Anyways, when I was bringing the last load up it occurred to me that it would be awesome to have some nice crispy bread to sop the gravy up with. It was a little late in the game to whip the bread maker out, but there was just enough time to go to Sobey's before it closed and get a foccacia which I could crisp up in the oven. Well, I came in, hung up my laundry, and relaxed by grabbing my laptop and checking Facebook (there's three flights of stairs between me and the laundry room!) Anyways I saw that Heather had posted a link to a recipe for beer bread from Ezra Pound Cake. I was curious, because 1) I had a bottle of beer in the fridge, 2) I wanted to make some quick bread, and 3) I'd had beer bread before, and was fairly sure I liked it.

Well, it turns out beer bread is a "quick" bread which doesn't require yeast, which is fine by me! It is definitely closer to a biscuit than a bread though, so keep that in mind. Also, it doesn't taste much like beer - I used a locally-produced (Moncton NB) Pumphouse Scotch Ale, which, ironically, was the beer I was drinking at the Pumphouse while I was trying beer bread for the first time! It's really quite tasty and smooth - a little bit sweet, a little bit bitter, and a little bit smokey, I thought it would be a perfect candidate for this experiment (although next time I might try something heavier).

Here's the recipe, from Ezra Pound Cake .com!

Beer Bread
From Rebecca Crump (
Makes 1 loaf
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) beer
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (Note: Feel free to reduce to 1/4 cup.)
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-x-5-x-3-inch loaf pan.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
3. Using a wooden spoon, stir the beer into the dry ingredients until just mixed.
4. Pour half the melted butter into the loaf pan. Then spoon the batter into the pan, and pour the rest of the butter on top of the batter.
5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Ok, so there's the beer fizzing away on top of the dry ingredients...I maybe should have had a slightly bigger bowl? I also had a hard time getting all of the flour to mix in, I felt the mixture was a bit dry.

My other concern was the amount of butter. I used a frozen stick of President's Choice organic unsalted butter which I melted in the microwave, but it wasn't a full stick - it was like, 4/5s of a stick. And once I poured half of it on the bottom, I was thinking "this is probably too much butter"; by the time I was pouring it over the top I was thinking "Holy sh*t, this is WAY too much will either be crispy and delicious, or a soupy mess". you see what I mean about the excessive amount of butter (the oregano and freshly-ground black pepper were my own special touches)? I just found out about 2 minutes ago that Heather used the 1/4c. of butter, and I think next time that's what I'll do. The one step I don't have pictures of is the FIRE! Yes, that's right, as the bread was rising and the butter was sizzling, the butter was flowing out of the loaf pan and drizzling onto the element below...and started to catch fire! Flames, in my oven! Eeek! Chris had the good sense to snuff the fire out with a cookie sheet, and took it out. I suggested that maybe the pan could sit on the cookie sheet so it could catch the drips...and it worked! No more flames! Of course, this wasn't as impressive as the time someone I know opened up a toaster oven and a foot-long flame shot out, but still, a little scary!

Fifty minutes later I finally got to meet my bouncing baby beer bread! And it wasn't swimming in butter! Yay! I thought it was tasty-looking and crispy, but I still didn't know what the texture was going to be like - the beer bread at the Pumphouse was fairly bready, as far as I could recall...when I tried this, it was more like a homemade biscuit, which was and wasn't dissapointing at the same time. I like biscuits, and this is the closest I've ever come to making them, but it's not what I was expecting. Still, I'd do it again, just...with less butter next time. Speaking of butter, I noticed something interesting when we turned the loaf out to cut it...

OMG LOOK AT THAT CRUST!!! It's like somebody deep-fried it...which they pretty much did. Chris told me that he could feel butter oozing out of it...I believe him!

Also, next time I'm going to put some herbs and spices into it, just to give it another taste dimension...cumin might be nice?

Anyways I'm looking forward to snacking on some of this tomorrow morning for breakfast...maybe I'll warm it up and spread a little goat cheese on it? ;)

Thai green curry with pork and green beans over rice vermicelli

I made this curry a week or two ago and haven't had a chance to post it, but I wanted to make a point to, if only to remind myself that:

1) Yes, there is such a thing as "too much fish sauce". I kind of went from "hmm, kind of bland" to "flavour overload" fairly quickly.

2) If you have enough sauce in the pan, you can rehydrate rice noodles in it and they will taste AMAZING.

This is made from two pork chops I deboned, frozen green and yellow string beans, store-bought green curry paste, coconut milk, fish sauce and Vietnamese rice vermacelli noodles. I would definitely make it again but next time, I would maybe add more paste, not more fish sauce....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


I made halvas (the stove-top kind with semolina and syrup), and it's goopy. Like applesauce. I guess I shouldn't have insisted on adding all of the syrup and maybe should have just stopped when it got to the right consistency (and thrown the excess syrup out)? Or perhaps I didn't brown the semolina enough first? I added chilled syrup to semolina I had just taken off the heat, if that's any help...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hot cocoa

If you like chai tea, or chocolate combined with cinnamon or chilies, then you are going to love this.

I took a picture, which looked like crap, so I won't bother with it. I also modified it from a recipe from Michael Smith's Chef at Home...

Super awesome spicy aromatic hot cocoa

-milk (I poured some 1% milk into the mug I wanted to use, then poured it into the pot...this mug usually will hold approx. 3c of coffee).
- cocoa powder (I used 2 heaping tbs of Fry's cocoa)
- brown sugar (1-2 tbs)
- vanilla powder (a Greek product - I didn't want to use artificial vanilla, whereas Michael Smith calls for real vanilla extract)
- dark chocolate (I took a block of Baker's Secret semi-sweet baking chocolate, which is a smallish cube, and cut/shaved it all up into small bits, and threw it into the milk)
- one cinnamon stick, broken into a few pieces
- 3-5 cardamom pods, cracked
- 3-5 whole cloves
- sprinkle of powdered nutmeg
- sprinkle of powdered allspice
- sprinkle of freshly-cracked black pepper
- sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Heat this up at a low temperature, whisking often. Strain (I have a mesh strainer that fits right on top of my mugs), and drink slowly, enjoying the symphony of flavours dancing around in your mouth!

Friday, September 25, 2009


There were a lot of Greek dishes that I ate for the first time when I went to Thessaloniki & Chania in the summer of 2008, and dakos was one of those. My aunt would make these as a snack while I was staying with her, and they were just SOOOooooo delicious! I've had to wait a while to replicate them, because I can't buy rusks east of Montreal, and it's an 8-9 hour drive from here...

She (my thia Renna) sent us a giant package of food a while ago, and included in it was a bag of rusks from the little bakery in Galatas, my family's village. So that was one authentic ingredient tracked down. Another was the bag of good Cretan wild oregano, still on the branch. I'll never be able to replicate the cheese she used, because it was made by my uncle with milk from his own goats! (and it was every bit as amazing as you'd think!), so I had to settle for feta...and feta made in Nova Scotia (Holmstead brand), which isn't least it's produced by a Greek! My tomatoes weren't great, they never really are here. I realized they needed to be used up so I decided to take the plunge and use up my rusks so I could use them up, but they were already getting mouldy. I threw the softer of the pair out, but the second one was fine except for a bit of mould around the stem area, so I cut it off and used it (I wanted dakos and couldn't turn back now!). I'd read that it was best to put the tomato on first, THEN the olive oil if you have hard rusks you need to soften, so that's what I did...I threw the tomato in our new mini-food processor which left kind of a chunky, pulpy liquid. I was fine with this since I wanted the rusks to soften. Then I drizzled oil, crumbled some cheese, drizzled some more oil, then carefully crumbled my oregano over it all. I was worried that the rusks would have gotten soggy in the meantime, but they hadn't! In fact, they had absorbed little moisture at all, and were cutting up the inside of my mouth instead. Oh well, it was worth it because these were tasty! I think tastier tomatoes would have helped, and maybe I could have sprinkled some water on the rusks first? Dunno...

Καλή όρεξη!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I've noticed a few things while out shopping this afternoon:

1) Superstore (a local grocery store chain) has stopped selling their loose-leaf chai tea with whole spices. This makes me sad as it was awesome, and I am almost out. I noticed it on sale a little while ago but it didn't occur to me that it was going to be going out of production. They still sell a chai that comes in tea bags, but it just isn't the same! And here I was ready to wax rhapsodic about its charming qualities yesterday...

2) Superstore has heavy-gauge aluminum cookware, which I have been looking for ever since *somebody* in the blogosphere, I no longer remember who, mentioned that it was the secret to crispy, delicious pites. I want to buy the cake pan for this purpose, but can't decide if it's too small. Oh and speaking of Superstore, I bought some of their own-brand phyllo for my next project...we'll see if it's any fresher than the Krinos stuff they have at Scoop and Save.

3) I love halva. Seriously. And I feel a little ashamed to say so but I think I prefer a Turkish brand (Koska)! At first I thought it was too oily, but its creaminess won me over. There are times though when I do prefer a crumblier Macedonian halva. If anyone is keeping score, my favorite flavours are pistachio and cocoa (especially Koska's cocoa, because it has some flavour to it!), but I'd eat any halva if you coated it in chocolate!

I think that's all for now...hopefully I'll cook something of interest on the weekend...and then starting next week I'll have to try putting something in the slow cooker every Tuesday, because I have class from 4:30-7:30 pm and that way I have a warm meal waiting for me, without having to yang at Chris to do it for me!

EDIT: Actually, one more thing! While I was at Scoop and Save I noticed that they now carry Yiotis brand products! Or at least they carry some: the vanilla, chocolate, and "assorted" pudding mixes, the creme caramel, instant whipped cream, instant bechamel, etc. I don't know if I'd ever buy any of it (maybe the creme caramel?), but any time they start selling more Greek products I can't help but be happy.

Monday, September 7, 2009


So, I finally broke down last night and moved the box of phyllo from my freezer down to my fridge to thaw overnight...I was going to make a pita (Greek pastry pie)! Since I had a bag of mixed "Euro Greens" (kale, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.), I decided to make a hortopita, or wild greens pie. I knew I didn't have a lot of cheese (about half a pack of feta), so I combined some recipes from The Greek Mama's Kitchen: Authentic Home-style Recipes - part of it was from a leek and swiss chard pie recipe, part from a kalitsounia recipe. I cooked up a semolina, milk, and egg mixture, added onions and garlic fried up with cumin, coriander, oregano, and sumac (I thought the extra moisture of lemon juice would be detrimental) and as much feta as I had. I wilted the greens and pressed some of the water out of them, then went to work with the phyllo.

I'll admit it, it was tricky. The top sheets were dry and brittle, as were the bottom ones, which meant they would tear where they had been folded, or stick together, but once I got to the middle of the stack it was easier. I had some salted butter in the back of the fridge so I melted some, brushed it on the phyllo and layered the sheets in a baking pan, turning it every few sheets at a time. I poured the semolina mixture in, topped that with the greens, covered that with the rest of the phyllo except for the last one. I folded the excess phyllo toward the centre, covered that with the last sheet, and tucked in the edges. I sprinkled the top with cold water and sesame seeds, threw it in the oven, and...behold!

(mmm, crispy golden brown!)

Now that I've gotten over my phyllo-phobia, I'll be making a lot more pites! Maybe even every weekend! I think next time though, it'll be a baklava...

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Chris is currently making chili. Chris loves chili...but not beans. He does eat chick peas, though. So we're having chili with chick peas! I'm perfectly happy to try this, since usually Chris will only eat a certain brand of canned chili which has a beanless variety (this is the one flavour I can never find in the stores!). I'm hoping it'll be a success. Oh, and did I mention that it involves BACON! It should be pretty tasty then. The rest of the recipe is a variation on Canadian celebrity chef Michael Smith's Spicy Chili recipe.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I can't decide what to make for supper! Do I go with a lentil & rice dish and some sort of pan-fried chicken breast? Or do I venture out of familiar territory with a green bean and chicken thigh kokkinisto, à la Maria?

I've also got to get off my ass and clean out my fridge and take stock of my pantry. I suppose that starts with washing the mason jars...sigh.

In other news, we got a huge shipment of treats from my aunt Renna in Chania last week, so now I have Greek honey, Greek oregano, paximadia from the village bakery, delicious dried figs...awesome! I had to laught though, there was a bag of loukoumia in there, which expired at the end of June (it took this package three months to get here, for ridiculous reasons I won't get into) but I've been eating anyway. Obviously food colouring in Greece does not represent the same flavours as it does in North America: sure, the yellow was a citrus flavour, but the pink? It took me a moment to decide why my mouth tasted like soap, until I realized that the flavour was "rose". Having had roses in edible form for the first time when I was in university (a coworker once made candied rose petals at the historical village where I worked), I'm still not really used to the idea of something that tastes like perfume in my food. I've had rose loukoumi before (a chocolate-covered Turkish brand), but it's not at the top of my list. The green was even more of a surprise for me - one would think...lime? Sour apple? Mint? Even perhaps pistaccio? But nooooo, it was mastiha (gum mastic), which is another strange, herbal flavour that I didn't really experience until I was well into my twenties.

So I have a bag of mediocre quality bulk-section-at-the-grocery-store loukoumi (Turikish delight) in rose, mastic, and...other mystery flavours. Which I probably shouldn't even eat because they're like three weeks past their expiry date. So why am I craving them right now? Hmmm...

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Double post: asparagus & mushroom orzotto with pan-fried chipotle steaks, and beef/lamburgers

This is a two-parter, because I rarely get this thing to myself (my laptop is in the shop so I have to share with Chris).

Earlier in the week I read all of Elly's blog, and decided to make an orzotto with asparagus...I followed a recipe I found elsewhere which called for five cups of broth and one cup of white wine, but I didn't have any wine, so I went with six cups of broth (from bullion cubes...I know, I suck, but why buy or make broth when you can get bullion cubes?). Anyhow, I would definitely wait until I had wine if I was going to do this again, because it was a little too salty.

Basically, I fried some onions and garlic, toasted the barley for a bit, and then added broth two laddlesful at a time till it was cooked. I fried the asparagus and mushrooms in some butter in another pan and then added them to the barley, and finished it off with some asiago (the current parmesan-esque cheese I have in the house).

Doesn't it look good? For the main, I rubbed some steaks with olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and some chipotle hot sauce (it was either Tabasco brand or a Sobey's brand one, I've been using both lately), then pan fried them in some more olive oil.

Yummy. These steaks were especially tender. We only ate half of each, and the next day I put sliced steak on top of the left over orzotto we ate for lunch, and the steak was STILL juicy the next day post microwaving.

....ok, I was going to discuss the lamburgers in this post but Chris' laptop is really annoying (weird things keep happening while I type, as if the cursor had a mind of its own), so I'll save that post for another day!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Supper all to myself, part deux.

So, the significant other had to work another evening shift, so I had the kitchen (and couch) to myself. After my disappointing experience with mussels, I couldn't decide whether I wanted more seafood, or something totally different. I ended up getting a bag of frozen shrimp, and a bottle of sundried-tomato alfredo sauce, as well as a carton of mini portobello mushrooms. To this I added, obviously, some fettuccine I had at home, as well as some frozen peas, and at the end I added some grated asiago and a chiffonade of basil, to celebrate the planting of my little mini herb garden (cilantro, oregano, flat-leaf parsley and basil). The sauce went AMAZINGLY well with the basil and the last of my retsina, which made me pretty happy!

Tomorrow: I'm cooking some of my buy-one-get-one-free pork sirloin chops. Question is, what to do with it? Some sort of curry? Maybe just fry it with some olive oil and drizzle lemon on it? There are about a million things I could do with it...

Regular gourmet top 100, versus the Cretan version, versus the Canadian version!

1. Greek spring lamb slaughtered just before Easter. (To make this Frederictonian, I would actually go back to the original venison. Or maybe moose.)
2. malotira from the Lefka Ori (White Mountains). (I don't know about the Lefka Ori, but I've certainly had it. A Canadian equivalent...well, we have all sorts of herbal teas, but I would have to go with peppermint tea here, because it's my favorite.)
3. strapatsada - (I've made this at home, but I don't think I'm any good at it. My equivalent would be my famous scrambled eggs - oregano, a dash of tobasco, and a slice or two of processed cheese. Yum.)
4. Steak tartare - in Greece, meat is never eaten raw; there is no equivalent. (I would have to go with a rare steak here...because we don't eat raw meat either! Unless you're the governor-general eating raw seal heart up in the arctic. There, I guess I'll take this list a bit farther afield and throw in an arctic delicacy.)
5. Crocodile - Cretan ibex, locally called kri-kri, an endangered species, often hunted by poachers (Andrew received negative comments concerning his inclusion of endangered species; the fact that they are endangered does not detract from how good they taste) - (never had crocodile or kri-kri, but the equivalent endangered food here would have to be a wild salmon.)
6. Black pudding - splinogardoumo: the Greek equivalent of blood sausage (we don't do anything like this here. I'll say a soft, smoky sausage from one of the German vendors at the farmer's market will have to do!)
7. Cheese fondue - kalitsounia (traditional Cretan cheese pasties) made with malaka cheese (we do have cheese fondue here, which has been trendy the last few years, but I've only tried the chocolate fondue. So fondue will stand.)
8. Carp - fried red mullet; it doesn't look like a pet, so it will be more edibly desirable (hmm, local fish would have to be a yellow perch, not that it's any great delicacy.)
9. Borscht - avgolemono (egg and lemon) soup is the Cretan signature equivalent. (Never had borscht, but I love avgolemono so I'll let it stand.)
10. Baba ghanoush - melitzanosalata is just about the same thing. (...except you'll always find baba ghanoush here, and not melitzanosalata. So the former, not the latter).
11. Calamari - we find ourselves at the source (Delicious if done properly, fried kalamari rings are a pub staple in Fredericton).
12. Pho - this sounds about as boring as my husband's family's recipe for kreatosoupa (meat soup, made with beef, using the same ingredients as fish soup, with fish replaced by Greek stringy beef); eat at your own pleasure. (I had pho in Londontario at a restaurant called Ben Thanh, and it was...ok. I really shouldn't have gone with my friend's suggestion to get the ultra-authentic version with tripe and tendon and was a boring broth with rubber bands in it, essentially. Tendon means fat, basically, and tripe is just rubbery bits with spiky offshoots. Apparently I like my offal grilled...anyways, somewhere in Freddy does serve this (Racine's?), but I wouldn't get it again. Here I would suggest instead some good chili.)
13. PB&J sandwich - Greeks don't commonly mix their sweet with their savoury; a BLT is much more preferable to Andrew's choice. (People in Fredericton do eat PB&J sandwiches, but I was never big on them. My mom grew up eating fluffernutters though, so I'll add them instead - peanut butter and marshmellow fluff, on white bread. Classic.)
14. Aloo gobi - there is no substitute for a curry in Greece, and as a curry fan, I would have to agree with Andrew. (We have this here now, but only in the last five or so years. I prefer chana masala, myself.)
15. Hot dog from a street cart - souvlaki, indisputably. (I love both hot dogs and souvlakis! Don't make me choose! But to be a local, and true to my blog name, I'd have to suggest a donair (local name for a gyro), from my dad's stall (Pano's) at the market. I prefer tzatziki sauce on mine, but many locals, especially those with ties to Halifax, prefer "sweet sauce". To each their own.)
16. Epoisses - there are plenty of excellent Cretan cheeses widely available all over the island. (Oka, a cheese which was invented in the province next door, Quebec.)
17. Black truffle - local varieties of these can be picked in our forests. (We have morrels in the woods here, but I don't know if anyone eats them.)
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes - I've had koumara wine (made from the arbute berry); give me grape wine any day. (They make regular grape wine at Kings Landing, but I've also seen strawberry wine, dandelion uncle makes blackberry wine too.)
19. Steamed pork buns - steamed bread is not a Greek comestible, but if I were to choose my own favorite meat-in-bread food, it would have to a Kiwi sausage roll. (Another Fredericton favorite? SAMOSAS. There used to be only two real options: Patel's or Samosa Delite. Now that Patel has retired (heart attack), the market has been flooded with imitations, including frozen ones at the supermarket. I like the veggie, lamb, pork or hot beef or hot chicken from Patel's, or the hot turkey or hot beef from Samosa Delite. At least the quality of the latter has improved from the early days (chopped chicken with paprika instead of curried ground chicken? Seriously?)
20. Pistachio ice cream - good ice-cream is expensive in Greece, but it does exist: my favorite in Hania is banana ice-cream from Klimatsakis. (To be a good little local, probably something with maple in it. My favorite growing up was always "Death by Chocolate", and I'd get it at Corburn's on the way home from camping; I guess the equivalent now would have to come from Skinny's Scoop, out on Keswick Ridge. And yes, I do like pistachio ice cream!)
21. Heirloom tomatoes - they grow in our garden. (We have these, I guess, but they seem more trendy than traditional. We have all sorts of heritage vegitables at Kings Landing though, so perhaps a rat-tail radish, some golden beets or one of our many, many rare breeds of apples can substitute?)
22. Fresh wild berries - wild blackberries in Fournes; to date, I don't know anyone else who picks them apart from myself. (We have wild blueberries, raspberries and blackberries here; I've also been known to pick teeny tiny wild strawberries.)
23. Foie gras - offal is eaten in various forms in Crete, and there is plenty of variety available. (I love fried liver, but you'll be more likely to find liverwurst here.)
24. Rice and beans - Cretan pilafi, especially that which is served at a Cretan wedding, is simply heaven. (I'll go the opposite direction from Maria here, and pick baked beans in the New England or Quebec style, with maple syrup and bacon.)
25. Brawn, or head cheese (there's just no getting around this one. We don't do it, and my introduction to the concept was while reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House in the Big Woods" as a child...). The closest we come would probably be "cretons", a quebecois treat I only discovered this year but still have not sampled.)
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper - Greeks don't eat overly hot peppers; piperonia (bud-size hot red peppers) are grown as ornamentals and are added to soups - we grow them ourselves. (Canadians aren't big on peppers - they're at the grocery store, and we do use some of them, but they aren't really typical. I'd have to go with some grilled rainbow bell peppers here, that's more our style.)
27. Dulce de leche - try a good Greek rizogalo; tasty, and very good for the stomach. (I love ryzogalo more than dulche de leche - for something Canadian that you just won't get in Greece, try some maple syrup, or better yet snow candy, maple syrup that has been poured over clean snow, then rolled up onto a stick, making a sweet, sticky, smoky, caramelly treat!)
28. Oysters - preferably from Bluff, New Zealand; my parents often served these in our shop - in their raw form, they are pure ambrosia. (I'm not much for raw oysters, even though Malpeque oysters from PEI (another neighboring province) are some of the best in the world. I love PEI mussels though, so that's my substitution.)
29. Baklava - we find ourselves at the source. (I love namoura (sammali) from the Lebanese vendor at the market, but for something original, a cheesecake lollipop from my cousin Renna's stand at the market (cheesecake in a chocolate shell and rolled in something sweet like crushed toffee or toasted coconut, on a stick? Yes please!)
30. Bagna cauda - here's a regional alternative: grate a clove of garlic into some seasoned grated fresh Cretan sun-kissed tomato; add chili if desired, and enjoy with good quality sourdough bread (not sure what to substitute here...but an old favorite is molasses on bread.)
31. Wasabi peas - try salted chickpeas (we call them (a)stragali, the Greek word for "ankle", as they are shaped) with a nip of tsikoudia home brew. (We have wasabi peas...but they make your mouth sting after a while. I prefer to stick with mixed nuts, thanks.)
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl - we have nothing like it, and I can't wait to try it. (Mmmmm, clam chowder! I love clam chowder. Doesn't need a bread bowl, though.)
33. Salted lassi - Greek strained yoghurt with drizzling honey. (I tried a salted lassi at the new Indian restaurant here in town, was plain yogurt, watered down, with pepper sprinkled on top. It was too tangy to really enjoy, and although it did cut the heat of my food, it was too tangy and yogurty to drink straight - I think I only got through half of it. I really wanted to switch with my bf, who had a mango milkshake! The local creamy drink would have to be a Tim Horton's iced cappuccino.)
34. Sauerkraut - stamnagathi; there is no salad quite like it. (Sauerkraut is sauerkraut...I think I had it, once, on a German sausage at the market. I don't think I particularly cared for it.)
35. Root beer float - I've had a spider, but this has nothing to do with Cretan cuisine. (Root beer floats were once common here, and are sometimes resurrected (the fast food chain Wendy's - or maybe it was McDonalds - did them for a while, and I had my first and only one there. There is a soda fountain in an old drug store downtown that does them, but nobody ever seems to be at the counter when I'm in there. I'd rather have a gazoza in Crete, thanks!)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar - salata zonianon is supposedly the best kind of smoked greens you can get, according to the Dutch...(I think my bf would substitute scotch for the cognac, and beg me for the cigar (he wouldn't get it!))
37. Clotted cream tea - staka dip (with fried eggs) (OMG staka is so good! But you won't get it here. If we're talking creamy teas, though, I'd have to go with a masala chai...made on the stovetop with real whole spices and real milk! Yum!)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O - try a Yiotis cake, if you're inclined towards cake mixes and the like. (I've never had either or these. I have a soft spot for Nescafe frappes with Baileys Irish cream liqueur, though.)
39. Gumbo - we find ourselves at the source. (Gumbo is a "Cajun" dish, and since I live in the original Acadie, I will offer instead the much milder - but still delicious - Acadian "fricot".)
40. Oxtail - surely it can't be more exciting than goat's or sheep's balls. (I don't know anyone who eats oxtail maybe the Newfie treat which is "flipper pie"? - I don't eat that, either.)
41. Curried goat - we eat plenty of goat in Crete, so this could be replicated. (We don't have curried goat here, but we do have curried lamb, if you know where to ask.)
42. Whole insects - cats, dogs and hedgehogs were eaten during the war, but insects were definitely not. (I have no alternative...and no desire to eat any insects!)
43. Phaal - only if you're into self-flagellation; the closest equivalent in Crete would be super-strength tsikoudia. (Nobody here serves phaal, but I make a pretty mean vindaloo!)
44. Goat’s milk - my grandmother gave me fresh goat's milk to drink as soon as she'd milked the goats without boiling it, and I remember it was the best milk I'd ever had to drink. (I love goat's milk, but it's a specialty item here, in the heath section. I suppose full milk, down on the farm would be the equivalent.)
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more - barrel-aged wine. (Two words: "ice wine".)
46. Fugu - one's man food is another man's poison; Cretans eat stifno and avronies, both of which are considered toxic in other cultures. (We eat fiddleheads, specifically Matteuccia struthiopteris, which can give you food poisoning if improperly cooked...)
47. Chicken tikka masala - if the English can invent a dish and christen it Indian, they can invent a Greek dish too: the BBC has a recipe for vegetarian moussaka using lentils instead of mince; eat at your pleasure. (The Halifax-style donair would have to be the equivalent...)
48. Eel - moray eel; one of the tastiest fish I have ever had, eaten within hours of being caught in the region of Sfakia in southern Hania. (We have eels here, but we don't really eat them...sometimes it shows up in grocery-store sushi, in a smoked state.)
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut - Yotis millefeuille is considered the culinary climax in terms of boxed cake mixes. (A Boston Cream doughnut from Tim Horton's!)
50. Sea urchin - we find ourselves at the source. (We don't have them, don't eat them, and there's no substitute, although lobsters are similarly prickly.)
51. Prickly pear - we find ourselves at the source. (I think they occasionally appear in grocery stores, but not often.)
52. Umeboshi - as a salted dried fruit, I found it quite revolting; similar prunes from different varieties are also sold all over Greece. (We don't have this, or anything like it. Eww.)
53. Abalone - as I have tasted the real thing in New Zealand (which we call paua), I won't replace it; it is simply divine. (Again, not something we have here, except in the form of jewelry. I'd substitute scallops, since we already did mussels.)
54. Paneer - Cretan mizithra is much the same kind of thing as this Indian cheese. (Plain old cottage cheese...which I don't like.)
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal - Goody's Junior meal (it's just as plasticky, tasteless and fast). (Big Macs are common enough here, but I have eaten at Goody's...can't remember what I chose, though.)
56. Spaetzle - Cretan hilopites are just as gooey. (I submit another Acadian delicacy: poutine râpée.)
57. Dirty gin martini - tsikoudia, especially the night it is distilled, straight from the spout. (I guess Screech maybe?)
58. Beer above 8% ABV - beer is produced in Greece according to non-Greek traditions; one could instead try home-brewed Cretan rose wine, after it has been left to mature for five years; we are still drinking from my late father's barrels. (mmmm...give me anything from Picaroon's, anytime.)
59. Poutine - fry some potatoes on a gas element (not an electric ring) and sprinkle some mizithra cheese over them - they'll look more healthy rather than cheap and nasty. (Poutine can be amazing! Especially with real cheese curds! Mmmmmmmm!)
60. Carob chips - haroupia (carob pods); they remind you of chocolate, but aren't eaten any more, except by goats; my father remembers them as his first candy bar. (Can't say as I've ever had carob...)
61. S’mores - such processed culinary wonders are unheard of in Crete. (There's nothing like S'mores straight from the campfire!)
62. Sweetbreads - although sweetbreads are eaten in Crete as part of a dish containing offal, the guts, heart, spleen, liver, kidneys and sweetbread cooked 'ofto'-style - thrown onto burning coals - are a more original version of offal, often eaten this way by hunters overnighting on mountains. (I can't remember the last time I had sweetbreads, but they are delicious.)
63. Kaolin - try sea salt by the teaspoon if you desire that much to eat something that is generally speaking considered edible; it's especially tasty when you have collected it yourself from a salty beach and added it to your Greek salad. (...apparently my mother found me with rocks in my mouth once as a child...)
64. Currywurst - sounds very much like a melting pot culture's meal; try making a moussaka which is completely unrelated to what the average Greek will consider is moussaka - again the BBC is an expert on such concoctions; or maybe a Greek salad with the wrong type of tomato. (A tuna fish salad with curried mayonnaise!)
65. Durian - no such thing as stinky fruit in Greece, or any kind of fruit that needs to be banned from hotels and public transport systems, for that matter. (I once turned down the chance to try to a durian milkshake at a Vietnamese restaurant. I don't need to try something that smelly!)
66. Frogs’ legs - spicy chicken wings can be just as tasty; far less troublesome, more easy to find. (I once went to a Chinese buffet in Montreal where the fried frogs' legs were the only thing worth loading up on...but yes, in Freddy beach, chicken wings are much more common and delicious.)
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake - poor Andrew, you don't know the Cretan xerotigana, do you... (Beaver tails?)
68. Haggis - most cultures in the world have their own version of this Scottish specialty; in Greece it would have to be kokoretsi. (Mmm, the "haggis" (mostly just liver) at the Highland Games...)
69. Fried plantain - fried battered unripe bananas probably taste very similar; this is a popular fast food staple in New Zealand fish and chip shops. (Everybody and their dog serves sweet potato fries and spicy mayo in Fredericton. Why? Because they're awesome!)
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette - Cretan gardoumia are an Easter specialty; another way to enjoy the ingredients used in this dish is as a soup called patsas, popularly served in old-fashioned mayeiria rather than tavernas. (Seriously, Canadians don't eat much in the way of offal. So in its place I will suggest the Prairie favorite, perogies.)
71. Gazpacho - never heard of cold soup served in Crete; gazpacho salad would probably go down better. (Serving gazpacho in Fredericton would raise eyebrows. Stick to a can of Campbell's cream of tomato soup - the only thing I could eat after I had my wisdom teeth removed.)
72. Caviar and blini - fine food is recognised everywhere in the world; although I can only think of sea urchin accompanied by sourdough bread as an interesting alternative in Crete, I would also be inclined to keep this one in as is. (I'd rather have some tarama and crackers, thanks!)
73. Louche absinthe - I don't like ouzo myself, but my bet is it could safely replace this French drink; it certainly transforms its colour with the addition of water. (I agree that ouzo would be a good alternative to absinthe, based on the description of the latter.)
74. Gjetost, or brunost - we can safely say that there are plenty of Cretan cheeses available for all tastes. (I can get gjetost here, I just choose not to try it.)
75. Roadkill - I thought it was just us Cretans who did this; ask any Cretan hunter how he's caught a hare, and I'm sure this method will have been used by him at some point in his life. (No thanks, I like game and all, just don't scoop it off the side of the road!)
76. Baijiu - tsikoudia will do just fine, and probably tastes better. (I kind of like tsikoudia...better than I do ouzo.)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie - again, if mass-produced high-fat high-calorie prepared refrigerated food is something you crave, one could replace that with a Greek baker's milopita (apple pie). (Never had it, if I had to substitute a similar store-bought treat I would go with a Jos. Louis...if it's a fruit pie we really want, then a strawberry rhubarb pie, please!)
78. Snail - we find ourselves at the source. (I love Cretan snails...too bad we don't eat snails here.)
79. Lapsang souchong - Cretan teas are famous for their clear natural taste and medicinal values; try malotira and diktamo when you come here. (I guess a saskatoon berry tea would be the only Canadian-only tea I can think of...I have some packets at home a friend sent me, and I think I tried one once, but it didn't really blow me away.)
80. Bellini - this is all a matter of personal taste; limoncello can't be beat in my mind. (The essential Canadian cocktail would be a Caesar.)
81. Tom yum - I think a good kakavia (the Greek version of bouillebaisse) can easily replace it. (A good seafood chowder would work here.)
82. Eggs Benedict - I would have to agree with Andrew; we all love a cooked egg with some bread, and it can take many different forms according to culture. (Eggs Benedict from Cora's are always delicious! Bonus points for Cora being Greek!)
83. Pocky - these biscuits look similar to mass-produced chocolate coated biscuits that are sold all over the world in different forms; I doubt the Japanese version is any better than other types of biscuits of this type. (Pocky is a special treat for North American anime's the mystique and not the taste that's so appealing, but it does come in amusingly strange flavours.)
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant - a meal in a mayeirio in the Agora of Hania; nothing quite like it...(We're not known for haute-cuisine here. Try The Palate, The Blue Door, or Racine's; some of the hotel restaurants are very nice as well (is Bruno's in the Delta still open?). For adventurous quality cuisine, Carribean Flavas is hard to beat!)
85. Kobe beef - good Greek beef is hard to find in Greece; if you're worried about too many stringy bits in your meat, try lamb or goat instead. (I love a good piece of beef no matter where it came from!)
86. Hare - we find ourselves in the source. (Fresh wild rabbit, fried up by my dad, served with somemade Greek style fries = YUM!)
87. Goulash - fasolada and lentil soup (fa-kes) are both considered national Greek hearty soups. (I'd go for winter or summer fasolada any time, but my father ruined lentil soup for me by putting too much vinegar into it...)
88. Flowers - we find ourselves at the source. (I enjoy the odd nasturtium every now and then!)
89. Horse - like crocodile (number 5), this cannot be substituted. (The thought of this pisses people here off, as seen in the recent debate about a horse from Kings Landing that was going to be sold for just this purpose, to be consumed in Europe.)
90. Criollo chocolate - chocolate is not a Cretan product, but it doesn't have to be Criollo chocolate to taste good. (I love 85% cocoa Lindt chocolate...)
91. Spam - corned beef and canned luncheon meat used to be very popular in Greece when people were not able to keep products fresh; it'snow considered a kind of old-fashioned meat. (My father used to love canned luncheon meat, which he called "Meat for the War". Of course, we never had "Spam", that was brand name - we made do with Kam and Holiday brands, which are probably Canadian.)
92. Soft shell crab - we do this with shrimps when they are small enough, especially when they have been barbecued; ifsmall crabs were avaialble as frequently as shrimps here in Hania, I would probably eat them in this way too. (Most of the crab we eat here is actually pollack that's been artificially flavoured. Now and then you see crab legs...which I think I've had, once.)
93. Rose harissa - this complicated sauce sounds like it can be replaced by a good spicy sauce for stifado or soutzoukakia, which can be used to flavour spaghetti, potatoes and rice. (We've got nothing like it, so I guess it stands...)
94. Catfish - skate is also a very tasty fish when fried. (We have catfish too, we just don't tend to eat a lot of it. I know I've caught them before as a kid though.)
95. Mole poblano - see rose harissa (number 93). (Another sauce that's unique.)
96. Bagel and lox - these should be mentioned separately; lox is not a Cretan specialty (and quite frankly, our cuisine is too rustic for such a refined food item), while the Greek koulouri is unbeatable for taste and shape. (I love this, but I use local cold-smoked salmon, philly cream cheese or, if I don't have any, a slice of havarti, and any grocery store bagel I have around. Delish!)
97. Lobster Thermidor - this sounds as special as the Greek version of bouillebaisse (kakavia), and just as expensive. (They served some sort of dish like this at my baptismal dinner, which was put on by a well-respected local Greek chef. I, being three years old, ate bread all night and played with the waitresses.)
98. Polenta - xinohondro; an old-fashioned wheat rusk, still enjoyed by people who have developed this acquired taste. (We don't do polenta here, but we did make johnny cake at Kings Landing...which of course is more like a regular corn bread...)
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee - a cold, frothy frappe coffee, while sitting on a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean sea on a very hot summer's day. (You can get Blue Mountain coffee here at Carribean Flavas, but usually a meal there is expensive enough that I have no desire to add an expensive coffee to it.)
100. Snake - try hedgehog, another unusual meat; it was eaten during the war. (I already mentioned bear and deer, so here I'll try something that's more of a veggie: dulse.)

The rules for the game Andrew invented (from Very Good Taste) are as follows:
1) Copy his original 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 linking to your results.
5) My additional rule: Try to think of local alternatives that most of us who don't live near you will not have heard of and will be similar to something on Andrew's original list.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I'm still getting the hang of formatting my blog - the pictures never go where I want them to! I have to go in and change the HTML around! It's kind of annoying!

Anyhow, I had been craving ryzogalo for a while, so I decided to make some! At 8:30 pm! I had to go to Sobey's for some homogenized milk (3.25%?) and some more eggs. I followed the most common recipe that's floating around - it's a recipebazaar and, but made a few changes. First, I added a splash of vanilla, 'cause that's just how I roll. Secondly, I found 3/4 c of sugar to be overkill, and I needed something to cut the sweetness. Lacking a lemon for zest, I used some of my bottled Sicilian lemon juice. I also used arborio rice because it was the only short-grain rice that I had in the cupboard...which made the corn starch and egg yolks kind of unnecessary. I think next time I'll skip those, or go straight for the long grain rice...but somehow, using Uncle Ben's to make ryzogalo just seemed wrong...

Also, it seems I need to acquire some sort of shaker for my cinnamon, because the spice jar that it's in has huge holes which means that when I want some cinnamon, I get LOTS of cinnamon. All at once. All in one spot. Whether I'd like the finished product to look pretty or not.

The bf and I had this as a snack, eventually (how many times did the pot of milk boil over...I don't even want to think about it!), and he loved it! I never did tell him it had "raw" egg yolks in it. And now that I've managed to do that, I should try making spaghetti carbonara again...

This post is dedicated to those late, lazy summer mornings in Galata, eating my aunt's chilled ryzogalo and drinking my chocolate goat's milk...

Mussels from Sobeys - not a good idea.

So, yesterday my boyfriend had to work a late shift, which meant I would be alone for supper. This meant that I could actually eat seafood for once (yay!), and my thoughts turned to mussels. I had some about a month ago at my parent's place, where my father BBQed them and they were sweet and smoky and succulent! I took the left-over uncooked mussels home and cooked them the following day with some garlic, parsley and either wine or beer, I can't really remember now. Point being, it left me hungry for more.

So I headed to Sobey's after work, not remembering how many mussels I would need. First I asked for half a pound, then when that didn't seem like much, I asked for a full pound. Content, I purchased my little friends and headed next door to the liquor store to find some wine to cook them in. I wanted a small bottle, but they didn't seem to have I went with some retsina, since I know that I like it and it was ridiculously cheap ($10-$11). I kept the mussels with me while I was in the store, since I didn't want to leave them in the car (remember this part for later).

Once I get home I assemble my ingredients: retsina, garlic, and coriander. Almost Greek, but not quite. I can't help it though because I love coriander and it really worked with the retsina! After taking my pictures, I ripped open the bag and began inspecting the keep the closed ones, and tap on the shells of the open ones - if they close that means the mussel is still alive, or at least he will be until the retsina starts to simmer! If they stay open, that means they've already died, and they go in the garbage. Here are the good mussels:

And here are the bad ones:

I found this to be a bit of a dissapointment - over half of the mussels I bought, in the garbage! I should have known, they were cheap and there were a LOT of them there at the counter...

So, I cooked my little friends, and they were tasty, but I had the heat too high and cooked them too fast for the juice to taste like much more than retsina. Still, very delish! Although certainly not the best I've ever made...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Keftedes & hummus

The other day (Saturday?) Chris decided to try his hand at making keftedes, those delicious little fried Greek meatballs which are equally good served hot or cold. He's always liked them but having them at Greek Easter at my aunt's house reminded him just how much he liked them, and he decided that he wanted my mother's recipe. One phone call and a trip to Victory market later, we were set. I was surprised to note that my mother's recipe calls for crushed saltines rather than milk-soaked bread, but I won't argue because they taste great.

(recipe to follow)


Last night, knowing that I'd be taking the last few keftedes to work with me for lunch, I decided that I wanted some hummus to dip them in. Ingredients? A can of chickpeas (water reserved), three or four teaspoons of tahini, some salt, lemon juice, 3-4 cloves of garlic, tabasco sauce, ground cumin, ground corriander, paprika, parsley, and a dash of olive oil. Whipping the tahini at the beginning with some reserved chickpea water and lemon juice gives the end result an amazingly fluffy texture, which allows you to cut down the amount of oil used in the dip - I poured a thin stream in at one point, but mostly saved it for a drizzled garnish at the end. I don't normally add any parsley, but I had some on hand thanks to Chris' craving for keftedes, although I have to admit that it didn't really do much for the flavour of the dish. My first experiences with hummus included a "sixty pepper" hummus, so the tabasco is a nod to that preference (I don't think I go overboard in this deparment since it's not nearly as noticable as the garlic or lemon, or even the tahini).

The results? Chris claims he "doesn't really like hummus" and said that he didn't want any, but pretty soon he was taking my mini tostitos away from me and dunking them in the hummus, and ate enough for me to say that yes, he does indeed like hummus! I'd post some pics, but I've already finished it off along with the keftedes. This, combined with a delicious lemony pilaf Chris made the other night, made for a very satisfying lunch!

Food-to-eat-before-you-die meme

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 linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

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 brunos
t75. 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

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Goan pork from the Patak's website

Originally I was going to make the saucy slow-cooker version of this, but that fell through when I discovered that I had bought the vindaloo paste, and not the cooking sauce. Then I got lazy and let my boyfriend cook it for me while I went to Greek class.

Goan Spiced Pork
(Maas Vindaloo)
Serves 4
Preparation Time 15 mins
Cooking Time 45 mins
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medim onion, sliced
4 garlic cloves, sliced
2 green chillies, deseeded and sliced into strips
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced into strips
1 green pepper, deseeded and sliced into strips
2 tbsp Patak's Vindaloo Curry Paste
450g pork fillet, trimmed and cut into thin strips

Cooking Instructions
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the onion for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and green chillies along with the peppers and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the Patak's Vindaloo Curry Paste and cook for a further minute.
Add the pork and cook for a another 5 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons water, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the pork is tender and cooked through. Add a little extra water if too thick, or reduce slightly if too thin.
Serve the spiced pork with steamed basmati rice and Patak's Brinjal Aubergine Pickle.

The result was sooooo dry, and kind of bland. It was aromatic, and definitely had some heat to it, but lacked flavour, and without any sauce to speak of, the basmati rice kind of overwhelmed the pork and peppers. If I cooked it myself, I would have added more paste, or more water/oil, or chopped tomatoes/tomato paste to make it saucier. Something. I have to admit, the pork loin (which I got at Victory, the best cheap butcher/market in town) was dark and flavourful, and was a nice change from the chicken curries I usually cook.