Posts from July 2013

Stone Fruits of Summer, Deep Dish Buttermilk Peach Pie from Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook

One cannot live on soup alone. After Chilled Beet, Orange and Buttermilk Soup from The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013) by Diane St. Clair here's one that puts stone fruits of summer to good use.

Deep-dish buttermilk peach pie

Ripe, juicy peaches nestle in a creamy, sweet filling in a flaky crust—there’s no goopy cornstarch-thickened syrup holding this peach pie together. Instead, buttermilk, sugar, egg, and butter combine to make almost a cheesecake-like base. It’s like a cross between a peach pie and a cheese Danish, and if that doesn’t tempt you, you don’t have a sweet tooth! Peaches are wonderful here, but any ripe stone fruit is good: Try sweet cherries or sour cherries, apricots, or juicy plums. Taste and adjust the sugar amount if your fruit is really sweet or really sour.

6 ripe, juicy peaches
1 Buttermilk Piecrust (page 150), arranged in a 9-inch pie pan
3⁄4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1∕3 cup buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄4 teaspoon almond extract
1⁄8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


1 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and drop in the peaches. After 2 to 3 minutes, when the skins split, lift them out and place them in a bowl of cold water.

2 Slip off the skins and slice up the peaches directly into the crust, and set the crust on a rimmed baking sheet. (If you line the baking sheet with aluminum foil, it makes cleanup even easier later.)

3 In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and flour. Beat in the eggs, then add the buttermilk, butter, vanilla and almond extracts, and the nutmeg, and whisk until smooth. Pour over the peaches in the piecrust and set the baking sheet in the oven.

4 Bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is just set. If the pie is not yet set, cover with aluminum foil and continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the pie is puffed and set. Let cool completely before serving.

Makes 6 servings

(* Recipe from The Animal Farm Buttermilk Cookbook by Diane St. Clair -Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2013- Photography by Colin Clark- all rights reserved)

On the Waterfront, Truck Stop London, 20 of UK's Best Food Trucks, Wood Wharf, August 1-2

Ten Bristish Pounds buy you a ticket to Truck Stop London on August 1 and 2, 2013 on the waterfront at Wood Wharf.

Here's Street Feast take on Truck Stop London:

"After a sun drenched and fun filled launch in July, Truck Stop will be rolling back into Wood Wharf on 1st & 2nd August. Each day features an awesome collection of the UK's best food trucks, with old fire engines, ambulances and milk floats serving up everything from ribs to sushi. Alongside the trucks, there will be a craft beer bar, a Camden Town Brewery keg party (for groups of 15-25) with a Rotary Smoke barbecue pit, a taco shack, the Rotary cocktail bar; all located on the waterfront at Wood Wharf with live music and tons of seating and eating..." 


Tickets available via Eventbrite...

Week-ends start early during London summer.

Appetizers to Lamb to Vegetarian, Slowly Organizing Our Recipes in 15 Categories

After sharing recipes for a few years, I thought it was time to find a way to allow visitors to the site to narrow their search.

We started today with 15 categories listed with their respective links in right column of 'Serge the Concierge' after mother category Recipes.

The 15 categories (listed in alphabetical order using model Recipes: Appetizers) are Appetizers, Baking, Chicken, Chocolate, Cocktails, Fish and Seafood, Gluten Free, Ice Cream and Sorbet, Lamb, Non Alcoholic Drinks, Pork, Salads, Soups, Vegan and last Vegetarian.

Some recipes like Chilled Tofu with Crunchy Baby Sardines are referenced in 2 (or more) groups for Tofu with Sardines both under Appetizers and Fish and Seafood.

Panelle-1 (2)

So far about 40 to 50 recipes have been updated to reflect this friendlier way.

We will add the rest as quickly as we can and hope to be done by September 1st, 2013.

Let us know how you like the change.

(* Illustration is photo from Panelle, Sicilian Fritters, Gluten Free recipe from The Country Cooking of Italy by Colman Andrews- Chronicle Books, Fall 2011- reproduced with permission of the publisher- all rights reserved- Photography by Hirsheimer and Hamilton)

Waiters Relax Outside, Closing Time at L'Auberge Bressane, Paris, September 2012

On an evening walk in Paris last summer (early September 2012), I caught 'serveurs' relaxing outside L'Auberge Bressane at closing time.


In The 25 Dishes That Define France (Travel and Leisure, Nov.2000), Christopher Petkanas praised Coq au Vin at L'Auberge Bressane as the real thing.

Bake Chocolate Rich with Salt Caramel Millionaire's Shortbread from 'The Picnic Cookbook'

Back to baking with this third excerpt (after Aubergine Farcie) from  The Picnic Cookbook (Kyle Books, June 2013) by Annie Bell

Salt Caramel Millionaire's Shortbread

I can think of several children, forced to name their all-time favourite biscuit or cake, who would without hesitation say ‘millionaire’s shortbread’. Although not just any old millionaire’s, it’s got to be homemade. The offer here has the promise of a good chocolate along with a caramel with a hint of salt. The white chocolate marbling is pretty, though not essential.

Makes 1 x 23cm square tin


225g unsalted butter, chilled and diced

100g golden caster sugar

200g plain flour

115g ground almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


100g unsalted butter

        70g golden caster sugar

1 tablespoon golden syrup

        275g dulce de leche (or Nestlé’s Caramel Carnation)

1/3 level teaspoon fine sea salt


200g dark chocolate (approx. 50 per cent cocoa solids), broken into pieces

25g white chocolate chips (optional)

Caramel Millionaire

Place all the ingredients for the shortbread in a food-processor and whizz to a dough. Butter a 27cm x18cm or 23cm square brownie tin and press the shortbread into the base, you can lay a sheet of clingfilm over the top to help smooth it. Prick with a fork, loosely cover with clingfilm and chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 140°C fan/150°C/gas mark 2 and bake the shortbread straight from the fridge for 45 minutes until very lightly coloured, then leave it to cool.

Place all the ingredients for the caramel in a small non-stick saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring until melted and amalgamated. Simmer very gently for 8–9 minutes, stirring frequently, then pour over the shortbread base and leave to cool for at least an hour until set, overnight is even better.

Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl set over a pan with a little simmering water in it, and smooth in a thin layer over the top of the caramel. If you want to marble the surface, then melt the white chocolate in the same way, and drop 1/4 teaspoons on top of the dark, and marble it by swirling with a cocktail stick or the top of a metal skewer. You have to work quite quickly here – if, for any reason, the dark chocolate starts to set, then you can pop it momentarily into a low oven until it softens again.

Set aside in a cool place until set but still soft, then cut into squares (a small serrated knife is best for this) and leave to set completely in a cool place, then chill. This sweet offering will keep well in a covered container for several days somewhere cool.

Kit: Sharp knife

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

Ice Cream at Freddo, Concert at Teatro Colon, Dinner at 10, Vanessa 10 Do's and Don'ts of Buenos Aires

Last published 10 do's and don'ts was Key West back in March...We travel further south with Vanessa Camozzi 10 do's and don'ts of Buenos Aires.

Vanessa Camozzi is an expat living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the owner of Fukuro Noodle Bar. Her love and passion for the restaurant industry prompted her and her husband (a native of Argentina) to open up #FNB in the heart of Palermo Hollywood. The couple decided to return back to Buenos Aires and finally open their own restaurant after spending the past ten years working in the gastro scene in the U.S.

Vanessa's 10 Do’s and 10 Don’ts of Buenos Aires: 


1) Visit the incredible landmark Palacio DuHau at the Park Hyatt and have a glass of champagne outside in the beautiful patio garden. Palacio Duhau is perfectly located on Avenida Alvear, in the heart of the French heritage district of Recoleta. 


2) Have the best ice cream you have ever tried in your life at one of Argentina’s many ice cream parlors. Argentineans know their ice cream—indulge in delicious flavors like dulce de leche granizado, malbec y frutos rojos, and chocolate suizo. Though there are many places to choose from I rank Freddo as one of the best ice cream shops in the city. 


3) Be sure to visit the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). The institution was organized around the Costantini Collection, and has continued to expand its selection of works from modern artists from across Latin America. The museum welcomes over a million visitors annually. 


4) Order Argentina’s national drink “Fernet with Coca-Cola” when you go out at night for cocktails. Fernet is a type of amaro, a bitter, aromatic spirit made from a number of herbs and spices. You can’t leave Argentina without trying it!   


5) Block out a morning or afternoon to get pampered at Gino Lozano hair salon. This full service salon will have you looking and feeling like one of Argentina’s many beautiful models in no time. Argentines take their time while getting pampered and don’t rush through any of the services they provide—so make sure to have enough time blocked out and sign up for a mani/pedi and a “brushing” (a hair blow out) It is so worth it. 

6) Make sure to try and hook up with a local to go and have a real Argentinean “asado a la parilla” at somebody house. Asado is a term used both for a range of barbecue techniques and the social event of having or attending a barbecue, An asado usually consists of beef alongside various other meats, which are cooked on a grill called a parrilla, or an open fire. It’s an ABSOLUTE MUST TRY if you are in Argentina. Don’t forget to put chimichurri on all of your meats to add that final delicious flavor to your plate. And If you don’t know a local then head over to Pobre Luis a typical traditional restaurant that serves up killer asado. 


7) Drink coffee. Do be sure to have lots and lots of “cortados” while sitting outside in one of Argentina’s many cafes. The most popular traditional Argentine coffees are small black coffees (café solos), small espresso coffees with milk (cortados- which also come in larger jarrito size), and larger coffees with milk (café con leches). Sit outside in the sun like a real porteno with a cortado in hand and let the day pass by as you get nice and caffeinated with each delicious sip. Don’t know which café to choose? Try El Gato Negro you won’t be disappointed. 

8) Visit El Teatro Colón. It has just recently been newly renovated. The Teatro Colón is the main opera house in Buenos Aires and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. 

9) Spend time at upscale gourmet harborside of Puerto Madero. Puerto Madero was of course originally a port. It was built to accommodate the cargo ships of the day, but the increasing use of larger cargo ships around that time quickly rendered it obsolete. It’s now filled with a plethora of restaurants and cafes. Here you will be sure to have great food with a beautiful scenic view. 

10) Get a dose of dulce de leche infused “facturas.” Nearly every other block in Buenos Aires has a panaderia (bakery) where you can try these delicious sugared pastries. The most popular fillings are dulce de lechecustard (crema pastelera), and quince paste (dulce de membrillo.) You generally buy them by the dozen and have them during teatime or with friends while drinking “yerba mate.” Mate, also known as chimarrão or cimarrón, is a traditional South American infused drink, particularly in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the southern states of Brazil and to a lesser degree in south of Chile, the Bolivian Chaco, Syria and Lebanon. Mate is the perfect partner to go along with these tasty facturas. 


1) Don’t try to rent a car and drive yourself through this city. Buenos Aires is way too big of a city not to mention the people drive crazy--you can forget about everyone staying in their own lanes and following any traffic laws. The city is way too large to try and navigate solo or even with a travel partner. Public transportation is a much more viable and smarter option. Take the bus, subway, a taxi or just walk, as these are all better options.

2) Don’t make dinner reservations for 7:00pm. Argentinians do NOT eat dinner early and never go out at 6 or 7pm to have dinner. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weeknight or weekend. Everything in this city stays open until late and it’s completely normal to make dinner reservations for 10:30 or 11:00 pm. 

3) Don’t go to MicroCentro otherwise known as the financial district in Buenos Aires— it’s old, over crowded and overrated. 

4) Don’t be shocked if somebody kisses you on the cheek when you are meeting them for the first time— it’s customary in Argentina— no handshakes here. One kiss on the side of your cheek is the practice, regardless of your age or gender. 

5) Don’t expect the right of way when you are crossing the street. Pedestrians do not have the right of way. Once in a blue moon a car may stop for you to cross but nine times out of ten, they wont. 

6) Don’t take the trains, they are overcrowded and accidents seem to regularly occur each year. The trains are not well maintained so it’s not the best form of transportation to take. 

7) Don’t be surprised to see lots of dog poop on the streets and dog walkers walking up to 10 to 12 dogs at a time. Try and look down when you walk as much as possible or if not you will get a nice frequent surprise on the bottom of your shoe. 


8) Don’t come here with large bills in hand and expect to get change. Change is a highly coveted thing in Argentina. Taxis, kiosks and stores don’t just give out change willingly—so be strategic when you use a large bill, otherwise you may not be able to make your purchase. 


9) If you are from the United States, don’t say “No hablo espanol soy Americano/a” Instead you should say “Soy de los Estados Unidos” It’s considered rude to say you’re “American” since you are still in America just a lot further South. 

10) Don’t leave without coming to Fukuro Noodle Bar. If you’ve stuffed yourself over and over with tons of meat and malbec then come to FNB for some fresh ramen, craft cocktails, dumplings, steamed pork buns, and milk and cookies. See you in Buenos Aires!


Thanks Vanessa for 20 on the spot tips...

1949, Tube Branches Out to Epping, Poster Art 150, London Underground's Greatest Designs

Instead of catching The Tube at rush hour, lose yourself in Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs at London Transport Museum

It is one of many Tube 150 events marking 150th Anniversary for London subway system.

Museum invites people to vote for their favorite poster.

It is a tough choice, yet of all the images i saw I would go with Epping – Central line extension, K G Chapman, 1949 and its promises of a green escape.


I also very much like Wimbledon, Andrew Power, 1933...

Can't make the trip to London, you can purchase both Epping and Wimbledon posters via Poster Art 150 on London Transport Museum online shop.

Exhibit runs until October 27, 2013.

(* Image of Epping-Central Line Extention from Museum Blog)

French Love Taboule, Clotilde Dusoulier Eggplant and Fresh Herb Tabbouleh from 'French Market Cookbook'

During my 2 weeks stay in France last summer, Taboule was on the menu of most picnic and lunches we were invited to.

So I was not surprised to find Taboule recipe in The French Market Cookbook, Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, July 2013) by Chocolate and Zucchini Clotilde Dusoulier

Eggplant and Fresh Herb Tabbouleh
Taboulé d’ aubergine aux herbes fraîches

I have a great fondness for the North African style of making tabbouleh, which calls for couscous rather than the Middle Eastern bulgur wheat, and uses a greater proportion of grain to herb for a more filling salad. The classic taboulé revolves around tomatoes, cucumbers, and mint, but I prefer this eggplant version, spiked with a mix of herbs and a sesame dressing. Throughout the summer I’ll make salads like this one to serve as my workday lunches, taking advantage of how effortless it is to prepare couscous: I’ll make a big bowl early in the week, and eat my way through it on subsequent days. But this particular tabbouleh is fit for a crowd, too; I always serve it at the party I throw for my birthday every July.

Serves 8

1½ pounds / 680 g small eggplants
Fine sea salt
2 cups (12 ounces / 340 g) whole wheat couscous
1 small red onion (4¼ ounces/ 120 g), finely diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups / 480 ml boiling water
1 rounded tablespoon all-natural tahini
1 tablespoon harissa, homemade (page 000) or store-bought, or more to taste
¼ cup / 60 ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup / 30 g sliced fresh mint leaves
1 cup / 30 g sliced fresh basil leaves
1 cup / 30 g sliced fresh cilantro leaves


1. Cut the eggplants into ¹⁄³-inch / 8 mm dice. Put in a colander, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt, toss to coat, and let rest for 1 hour. This will help remove any bitterness. Turn out onto a clean kitchen towel and squeeze gently to absorb the juices.

2. Set up a steamer. Steam the eggplant, tightly covered, until very tender but still holding their shape, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool. This can be done a day ahead and the eggplants refrigerated.

3. In a large heatproof salad bowl, combine the couscous and onion. Stir in the olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Pour the boiling water over the couscous. Cover and let stand until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes (or according to package directions). Fluff with a fork
and set aside to cool.

4. In a small bowl, combine the tahini, harissa, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir in the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, making sure it is incorporated before adding the next to prevent curdling. Add 2 tablespoons water and stir until smooth. You want a dressing that’s pourable, but not too thin; add a little more water as necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

5. Pour the dressing over the couscous and toss to combine. Fold in the eggplant and mint, basil, and cilantro. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. The salad will keep for a few days.

(* Recipe from 'The French Market CookbookVegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen' by Clotilde Dusoulier, published by Clarkson Potter, July 2013, All rights reserved...Recipe photograh by Francoise Nicol)

From Meiji to Modern Exhibit, Japanese Art Goes Global, 19th to 21st Centuries, Newark Art Museum

Driving past Newark Art Museum yesterday, I noticed sign promoting one of their current exhibits From Meiji to Modern, Japanese Art Goes Global, 19th to 21st Centuries...

"During the Meiji Restoration Period (1868-1912) the Japanese government re-oriented its economy from farming and fishing to one increasingly based on industrialization and international trade—mirroring national transformations created by Gilded Age Americans and Victorian Brits. The arts of Japan catapulted to the world stage through international expositions in Europe and the United States heralding the first truly global artistic age.  This exhibition celebrates Japanese artistic preservation, re-invention and transformation from an elaborate Edo aesthetic to Victorian excess, through sleek Art Nouveau and structured Art Deco to modern minimalism and the complexities of contemporary art and craft."

"This exhibition features a unique work entitled Central Park, New York City by artist Motoi Oi. Explore the fine details of this work through the virtual scroll."


Japan in my 'backyard' for Tokyo Thursdays # 261

Previously: Creamy Pink Cloudy Cherry Sake from 'True Brews', Make your own Nigori

(* Illustration: Dragon and Crystal Ball, Signed: Koreyoshi,  Late 19th century, Silver and rock crystal

H: 7” W: 10” D: 6.75”,  Bequest of Joseph S. Isidor, 1941, 41.236a,b...courtesy of Newark Museum)