Posts from October 2015

Hamlet for Halloween? 'Presenting Shakespeare' Showcases 1100 Posters as Source of Inspiration

Hamlet for Halloween? 1100 posters as source of inspiration


New book, Presenting Shakespeare by Mirko Ilic and Steven Heller "collects 1,100 posters for Shakespeare’s plays, designed by an international roster of artists."

Presenting bard

It includes illustration above Hamlet poster from the Netherlands, 2012 from Shakespeare Theater Diever. ad: Jack Nieborg, d: Pamlien Schutter, p: Korn Tummerman excepted from the book.

Cubed Earwax or Salt Made of Tears of Envy courtesy of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, Halloween Bag of Tricks 2015

Cubed Earwax


or Salt Made of Tears of Envy


Both courtesy of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies (...'for the living, dead, and undead')

 Halloween Tricks 2015 from UK shores

(* Images from Hoxton Street Monster Supplies otherworldly website) 

Christmas Tease, Christmas Rice Pudding with Almonds from 'The Scandinavian Kitchen' Paperback Edition

Way before Black Friday, a Christmas tease, with this recipe from The Scandinavian Kitchen, Paperback Edition (Kyle Books, October 2015) by Camilla Plum.

The paperback edition adds 50 recipes to hardcover edition.

       Christmas rice pudding with almonds

For the creamed rice

1 vanilla bean

Scant 3⁄4 cup round pudding rice or risotto rice

Approx.4 cups milk (maybe 3⁄4–11⁄4 cups more, depending on the rice)

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

To finish

1⁄4 cup heavy cream

11⁄3 cups peeled Spanish almonds

1⁄4 cup sugar

3 Spanish almonds, finely ground

Sweet cherry sauce

(page 201)

Serves 8–10

Christmas Pudding

Rice pudding itself is eaten frequently during the winter as a main course, dusted with cinnamon and sugar and with a generous blob of butter melting in the middle. It’s solid winter fare, and filling, but not for very long—we usually have evening tea with some bread and cheese later on.

Eating rice at Christmas is a tradition from a time when everything imported, like rice and spices were luxuries. This almond rice pudding, (riz à l’amande) is relatively new, a bourgeois revival of the peasant hot oatmeal, and in the country it’s still usual to eat ordinary creamed rice for Christmas Eve dinner, either as an appetizer, as in former times, or as a dessert. It’s an ageold custom to make sure the resident Nisse is well fed during Christmas. Lots of people, including my family, put a bowl of hot rice pudding in the attic on Christmas Eve, just to make sure. 

Riz à l’amande is lovely, and very rich, and actually not the kind of dessert I would normally recommend you eat after a heavy Christmas dinner of goose, duck, or roast pork. Tradition must not be tampered with, though, so in my family we usually eat it for breakfast the next day, in order to be able to go through with the traditional dance around the Christmas tree.

We have a tradition, similar to that of hiding money or some other treat in the Christmas pudding, of including one whole almond in the dessert. This takes skill, as there is always someone most in need of winning the “almond gift,” and you have to make sure— very discreetly—that the right person gets it. The thing not to do is make a huge bowl of riz à l’amande and put the whole almond in at random. It always ends up in the last spoonful, even if this is not statistically possible, and everybody gets a stomach ache from eating too much. Instead, serve the pudding in individual glasses, in small portions. The gift can be anything, but often it is a homemade piglet,made from marzipan, with rosy painted ears and snout.

The classic accompaniment is hot cherry sauce, a glass of cherry brandy, or a fine tawny port.

When it comes to making creamed rice, it’s all about the right saucepan. It must be thick-bottomed, or the rice will definitely burn. Slash the vanilla bean lengthwise, then put all the rice ingredients in the pan. Bring to a boil, while stirring, and then turn down the heat to a minimum. From now on, do not stir unless absolutely necessary, as you want whole, chewy rice, covered in creamy milk, not rice sludge. Let it simmer until the rice is only just done, no longer. (You may need to add more milk, depending on the rice you use.) It will finish cooking during cooling.The cooking may take 45 minutes, maybe less. If the rice is taking up much-needed space on the stove, you can make an old-fashioned hay box instead. Fill a wooden box with hay—or crumpled newspapers and towels—and put the pan in after it has first come to the boil. Remember to cover the lid with lots of towels. Let the pan sit until the rice is succulent and swelled.This will make

a better rice pudding, and is also effective with dried beans and peas and meat that otherwise would use a lot of power. If you are familiar with risotto, you can choose to make the rice pudding risotto-style. Use the same ingredients as above, but use risotto rice. Heat the milk in a separate pan, and patiently stir it into the rice a ladleful at a time, adding more as soon as it is absorbed by the rice. Whichever method you use, cool the creamed rice immediately: even if it’s warm, it must go directly in the refrigerator, unless of course you intend to eat it as is.And a warning: the creamed rice must be absolutely cold before you add the cream, or you will end up with a disgusting bowl of inedible, smelly, cheesy rice.

Whip the cream, but only until soft. Chop the Spanish almonds, remembering to reserve one whole almond; and be sure to leave a few deceptively large pieces among the others. Fold half of the cream, all the sugar, and both the chopped and ground almonds into the rice. Mix well, ensuring there are no lumps. Fold in the rest of the cream, then cover the entire bowl with plastic wrap—nothing absorbs refrigerator odors like this pudding. Put the rice in the refrigerator immediately.

Serve in individual glass dishes, in one of which you have concealed the whole almond, so that you can present that dish to the appropriate diner. Hand the cherry sauce round separately.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from The Scandinavian Kitchen, Paperback Edition -Kyle Books, October 2015- by Camilla Plum- Photography by Anne-Li Engstrom)

Dedicated to Shokumin, 'Rice Noodle Fish' by Matt Goulding takes us on Road Trip through Japan's Food Culture

Dedicated to Shokumin, Rice Noodle Fish ( Harper Wave-Anthony Bourdain Book, October 2015) by Matt Goulding of Roads and Kingdoms takes us on a road trip through Japan's food culture.

Matt thanks 'Shokumin' (craftsmen)  of Japan 'for showing the true meaning of devotion' to one's trade.

Among 'greatest food journeys', Matt Goulding suggests 'Yatai in Fukuoka' (photo below) at Number 6, describing Fukuoka as 'last bastion of Japan's yatai culture-a robust world of street food stalls that recalls a day when much of Japan's best food came from wooden stands'.


Rice Noodle Fish is divided in 7 chapters:

  • Know before you go
  • Operation Izakaya
  • The Art of Gift Giving
  • The Ramen Matrix
  • The Eight Wonders of Japanese Convenience Store 
  • Amazing Shit in the Middle of Nowhe
  • and last, One Night with the Geisha

Actually book concludes with 'The Beauty of Bento' in 5 examples from 'Uni, Ikura, Tamago' at Hakodate Station with 'best eggs of Hokkaido combined in one beautiful bowl' to 'Anago Meshi' from Miyajima Station ...Same family has been making this eel dish since 1901.


Many will take 3 steps back at the view 'soft, shiny, with a fermented tang' natto (page 182), think 'Meatballs' (the movie).

For  those hitching to visit Japan after reading 'Rice Noodle Fish', a 'Gaijin' glossary will help them get their feet wet. It starts with 'Oishi' (delicious) to 'Goshiso Sama Deshita' (it was quite a feast).

Kitchen gear geeks will rejoice in few pages on 'Knife makers of Sakai' and 'Santoku' knofe breakdown.


Bon voyage!

Trekking around Japan with food on the mind for this Tokyo Thursdays # 306 (appearing on a Saturday)

(* Images reproduced with permission from 'Rice Noodle Fish' by Matt Gouldding-Published by Harper Wave-Antony Bourdain Book, October 2015)


Food History Festival, Free, Part of Smithsonian Food History Weekend, October 24, Washington DC

Food History Festival,  Free, October 24, from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM.


Among Food and Cooking Innovation, my picks are Curing Innovations with Red Apron Butchery's Nathan Anda (from 2:00 PM to 2:30 PM) and Innovating Oaxacan Cooking with Neftali Duran (from 4:15 PM to 4:45 PM).

Book signings are part of the mix, including Warren Brown author of Pie Love whose delightful and airy Mango Meringue Pie recipe i shared 2 years ago.

More inventive types will like the Spark' Lab sessions.

Check Full Program here...

Event is part of Smithsonian Food History Weekend (October 22-24, 2015)