Posts from May 2013

Sweet and Sour Beef Tongue, Eel With Raisins and Pine Nuts, 'Popes Peasants and Shepherds' Recipes

For past few weeks, my schedule has not left much time for book browsing so with a little time on my hands this evening i decided to pick up Popes, Peasants and Shepherds 'Recipes and Lore from Rome and Lazio' (University of California Press, March 2013) by Oretta Zanini de Vita for a quick browse.

It reminded me that in many regions of Italy as is case in France, most things can be turned into meals whether it's tripe, veal stomach or eel in Eel with Raisins and Pine Nuts and Tongue with Sweet and Sour Beef Tongue.


Some might be more comfortable with Gnocchi dolci alla romana ('Sweet Gnocchi') or'Maccheroni con le noci' (Sweet Pasta).


Picnic Your Pick for Mother's Day, Start with the Dips, Dips Recipes from Picnic Cookbook

After Soup Glorious Soup and Camping Cookbook, Annie Bell serves us The Picnic Cookbook (Kyle Books, June 2013).

If a picnic or backyard party is your Mother's Day choice, Annie Bell's Dip Recipes are a good place to start.

Let’s go: dips 

We love damning convenience foods, but where would most of us be without those plastic tubs of hummus, guacamole and the like. A lot of it isn’t bad at all, but that small homemade touch injects an essential element of nurture. In pretty much every case there are invariably one or two finishes that will bring out the best in the dip. Or, you could go further, as it takes little longer to whizz up a creamy dip using soured cream or Greek yogurt. Rustle up some crudités and olives and you are well on your way to a respectable feast of a picnic. 


Stir 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin into a 300g tub of hummus. Transfer this to a portable container

or bowl, drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice and dust with a little

more cumin.

For 4–6 people 


Stir 2 teaspoons of finely chopped coriander leaves into a 200g tub of guacamole. Transfer this to a

portable container or bowl, drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil, dust with cayenne pepper and

scatter over a little more coriander.

For 4 people 


Stir 1/2 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest and a tablespoon of finely chopped parsley into a 200g

tub of taramasalata. Transfer to a portable container or bowl, drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil

and a squeeze of lemon juice and scatter over some more parsley.

For 4 people 

Dips p


Stir 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped mint into a 200g tub of

tzatziki. Transfer to a portable container or a bowl, drizzle over some more oil and scatter over a few

tiny mint leaves.

For 4 people

Cheat’s aioli

The short cut to making an aioli uses soured cream instead of mayonnaise. It makes for an elegant dip,

as well as a sauce that can be slathered over food from the grill or cold roast beef

(see page 115).

Blend 300g soured cream, 2 peeled and crushed garlic cloves, 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice and a

little sea salt in a bowl and spoon into a clean bowl or container. Chill until required. Before you leave

the house, dust the top with Piment d’Espelette or cayenne pepper.For 8–10 people

Creamed Goat’s Cheese

This creamy dip can be tinkered with endlessly, using different ingredients and flavourings depending on

what you want to serve it with, but roasted vegetables are always a good starting point, as is a bowl of

feisty green leaves with a walnut dressing.

Whizz 250g fresh young goat’s cheese with 100g Greek yogurt or fromage blanc and 100g crème

fraîche in a food-processor until creamy. It will probably be slightly grainy, but that’s fine. Transfer

to a bowl and stir in 2 tablespoons of finely snipped chives. Chill until required. Before you leave for the

picnic, dust with paprika.

For 6 people

(* Recipe excerpted from 'The Picnic Cookbook' by Annie Bell-Kyle Book, US Edition, June 2013, all rights reserved, photography by Jonathan Bell)

Delicious Red, 'Reserve des Vignerons' Saumur Champigny 2010, 100 Percent Cabernet Franc

I met a delicious red yesterday,'Reserve des Vignerons' 2010 Saumur Champigny 2010, 100% Cabernet Franc.

A great buy at around $12.


You can explore the 'Saumur Champigny' appellation on May 26 (Biodiversity World Day) by foot, on horseback or riding your bike.

2011 Vintage of 'Reserve des Vignerons' is listed on sale for $8 at Astor Wines.

Put Your Stamp on Your Boxed Culinary Creations with Papermash 'From the Kitchen of' Stamp Kit

Put Your Stamp on Your Boxed Culinary Creations with Papermash 'From the Kitchen of' Stamp Kit.



Alternatively it will be a great gift to any friend who spends her-his spare time coming up with culinary delights.

Kit sells for £16.99 GBP, Papermash is based in UK.

(* Image from Papermash website)

Salad Inspiration, Roasted Red Pepper and Anchovy Salad from 'Spanish Flavors'

After Orange Scented Apple Bunuelos, a quick dessert to serve to friends from Spanish Flavors (Kyle Books, US publication January 2013) by Jose Pizarro, time for salad inspiration.

Roasted red pepper and anchovy salad on roasted garlic toasts 

The red peppers in Spain are outstanding and there is almost nothing better than peppers roasted in a proper wood-fired oven, a service that during my childhood was provided by the village baker. I’ll always remember the aroma that filled the house when my mother returned from the baker’s bearing a large tray of these wonderful vegetables. The combination of sweet roasted red peppers and salty anchovies is always a winner. This can be served as a tapas, as the larger Basquestyle pintxos or even as a light lunch with a dressed green salad and a poached egg. If you’re in a hurry, instead of roasting the red peppers, use a jar/can of Piquillo peppers, which are already roasted and skinned, and have a great smoky flavor. 

Serves 4

2 large heads of garlic, unpeeled, plus

1 fat clove, finely chopped

4 large thyme sprigs

11/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 large red bell peppers

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

8 small slices of rustic white bread,

about 1/2-inch thick

16 good-quality anchovy fillets in olive oil,


sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pepper salad 

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Remove the outer papery skin from each head of garlic and take a thin slice off the top of each one to expose the cloves.

Tear off a large square of foil, place the heads of garlic in the center, add 2 of the thyme sprigs, drizzle each head with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil, and sprinkle with a little salt. Wrap securely in the foil, place in a small roasting pan along with the peppers, and roast on the top shelf of the oven for 20–30 minutes, turning the peppers once or twice until the skins have blackened in places. Remove the peppers from the pan, drop them into a plastic bag and leave until cool enough to handle. Return the garlic parcels to the oven and roast for another 35 minutes, or until the cloves feel very soft when pressed.

Meanwhile, slit open the peppers, working over a bowl so that you catch all the juices, and remove and discard the stalks, seeds and skin. Tear the flesh into 1/2-inch-wide strips, and add to the bowl of juices with the chopped garlic clove, vinegar, the remaining thyme leaves, and the rest of the olive oil. Stir well together.

Remove the garlic from the oven and set the parcel aside. Toast the slices of bread. (I like to put mine on the bars of a preheated cast-iron ridged griddle long enough to give the bread a slightly smoky taste, then finish it off in the toaster.) Unwrap the roasted garlic, squeeze some of the purée from each clove and spread it onto the toast while both are still hot.

Sprinkle with a few sea salt flakes and some black pepper. Season the pepper strips with a little salt to taste and spoon onto the garlic toast. Garnish each slice with the anchovy fillets, drizzle over some of the pepper juices, and serve while the toast is still crisp. 

(* Recipe from Jose Pizarro's Spanish Flavors-Published in US by Kyle Books, January 2013- Photos by Emma Lee

Practice your Italian, Slow Food Story, A Film by Stefano Sardo

Top story on May 6th edition of Cronache di Gusto is Slow Food Story, a film by Stefano Sardo to be released on May 30, 2013.

Main character on Slow Food Story trailer (mostly in Italian) is of course Carlo Petreni.


Not sure when English version will be out.


In the meantime, practice your Italian.

Balzac's House to Museum of Romantics, 14 City of Paris Museums under 1 Web Roof, in English

Planning a trip can be time consuming even in our internet age if you need to look at each point of interest via their individual website.

Heading for Paris and hungry for a cultural fill, you will find all 14 City of Paris museums under one roof, Paris Musees....

History buffs will want to check The Catacombs while literary minded can delve into Balzac's House, and classical music fans could check cast of Chopin's hand at Museum of Romantics which is currently under renovation and offers free access to permanent collection (only partly accessible because of renovations).


Paris Musees web portal landed on my radar thanks to Elodie's Paris

(* Oasis of peace above is photo of garden of Museum of Romantics from their Facebook page)

Wine from Vienna, WienWein, Like Slightly Skunky Wiener Gemischter Satz

Few large cities around the world count vineyards within their vicinity.

Vienna is one of them.

Most famous of their offerings is Wiener Gemischter Satz included in Slow Food 'Ark of Taste', slightly skunky according to Alice Feiring.

Austrian National Tourist Office notes:

"Many are surprised to learn that urban Vienna is also a wine region. But within the city limits, 320 winemakers tend 1,680 acres of grapes – mostly in the river-flanking areas of Nussberg, Kahlenberg, Bisamberg and Mauer." 

5 wineries from Vienna banded together and formed WienWein to share their offerings with the world.

Amongst them Weingut Cobenzl whose wines illustrate this piece.