Easter For Me As A Child Equalled Chocolate Bunnies and Friture, In 2022 Mother Hen Runs The Roost

Easter for me as a child equalled chocolate bunnies and friture. In 2022 mother hen runs the roost, thanks to La Poule de Paques, courtesy of Parisian classic shop A La Mere De Famille Easter collection.

Poule de paques  mother hen

It's been all of 11 years since I shared a prehistoric Easter creation of theirs with Have a Jurassic Paques, Bite a Chocolate Dinosaur, Happy Easter! (April 24, 2011)


Takoyaki, An Osaka Street Food Staple, Fried Octopus Dumplings from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda

For a 3rd and last helping from Otsumami by Atsuko Ikeda (published by Ryland Peters & Small, 2022), here is Takoyaki, an Osaka street food staple.

TAKOYAKI, 

FRIED ROUND DUMPLINGS STUFFED WITH OCTOPUS

Along with okonomiyaki, takoyaki are probably one of the most famous Osakan street foods, but you can also find them everywhere across Japan. They are little round balls of batter, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and stuff ed with little nuggets of octopus. You’ll need to buy a special pan (widely available online) to make takoyaki, but they’re definitely worth it as they are such a perfect party food.

Takoyaki

Ingredients:

450 ml/scant 2 cups Dashi* of your choice

1 UK large/US extra-large egg

2 tsp light soy sauce

150 g/1 cup plus 2 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour, sifted

3½ tbsp vegetable oil, for frying

FILLING

200 g/7 oz. octopus tentacles

20 g/¾ oz. pickled ginger, finely chopped

2 spring onions/scallions, finely chopped

TO SERVE

120 g/4¼ oz. takoyaki sauce

60 g/2 oz. Japanese mayonnaise

10 g/⅓ oz. bonito flakes (katsuobushi)

2 tsp aonori seaweed flakes

iron takoyaki pan with 16 holes (each hole 4 cm/1½ inches wide)

MAKES 32

Directions:

Whisk the dashi, egg and light soy sauce together in a large jug/pitcher. Sprinkle over the flour in two additions and gently whisk into the dashi mixture until incorporated into a smooth batter. Do not overmix.

Before you start cooking, make a simple but useful tool: scrunch some good-quality, thick kitchen paper tightly into a ball. Place the ball in the middle of another sheet of kitchen paper then wrap it around and twist the loose ends together to make a lollipop/candy on a stick shape.

Heat the takoyaki pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, dip the paper ball of the lollipop into the vegetable oil, then use it to oil each hole. Dip the paper in the oil again, then use it to coat the flat surface of the pan. You’ll need to cover the whole surface of the pan in oil to avoid the batter sticking. There should be some oil pooling at the bottom of the holes. 

Pour a quarter of the batter into each hole in the pan. Put half of the octopus pieces in each hole, then scatter half the pickled ginger and spring onions/scallions over the entire pan. Finally, pour over another quarter of the batter so it spreads across the flat surface of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook without touching for 5 minutes.

Use bamboo skewers or chopsticks to push one side of the batter away from the rim of a hole. It will move easily if it’s set underneath, if not then wait a little longer before trying again. Once the bottom is crispy, use chopsticks to rotate the balls 90 degrees so that any uncooked batter is underneath. Stuff any of the surrounding dough on the flat part of the pan inside the balls as you turn them. When the bottom becomes crispy again (after a minute or so), repeat the 90-degree rotation and stuffing process three more times in the same direction. At this point, turn the takoyaki around every which way, until the surface is golden all over and they are perfectly round! Using bamboo skewers, remove the takoyaki from the pan to serving plates or bamboo boats. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining ingredients to make a second batch.

Drizzle over the takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise, then sprinkle with bonito flakes and aonori before serving.

Otsumami cover (1)

(* Excerpted from Otsumami: Japanese Small Bites & Appetizers: Over 70 Recipes to Enjoy with Drinks by Atsuko Ikeda, published by Ryland Peters & Small 2022 / Photography by Yuki Sugiura (c) Ryland Peters & Small 2022)


Tasting To Buying Armenia In Under 5 Minutes, Voskehat by Aran Wines, First Taste Ever Of Armenian Wine

Tasting to buying Armenia in under 5 Minutes, Aran Wines 'Voskehat' from Sarafian Vineyards.

Voskehat, which translates to golden berry, is a late ripening native white varietal. 

My express tasting found it to be rounded with some tart notes on the finish.

Armenian Wines 4-2

This, my first taste of Armenian wine ever, was pure serendipity.

The winery owners were present for an in-store tasting.

 


365 Days, 50 Easy Indian Curries, Under the Weather, Try Moong Dal from 50 Easy Indian Curries by Penny Chawla

365 Days and 50 Easy Indian Curries!

Under the weather, try Moong Dal, our first share from 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney.

Moong Dal

Serves 4–6

Moong dal is a staple in every Indian home, and will be made differently depending on which part of India you are in. If you’re feeling under the weather, you can't go wrong with a bowl of moong dal, as it’s easy to digest and very nutritious. According to traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine, it also balances the body’s elements.

Ingredients:

210 g (1 cup) moong dal (skinned split mung beans), well rinsed

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

sea salt

Steamed basmati rice or paratha

Moong Dal

Moong dal temper (Ingredients):

2 tablespoons ghee or peanut oil

1–2 dried red chillies

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

1⁄8 teaspoon asafoetida

1 Asian shallot, thinly sliced

1 sprig curry leaves, leaves stripped

Instructions:

Place the moong dal in a saucepan and add 800 ml (27 fl oz) of water. Bring to the boil over high heat and skim off the froth that rises to the surface. Stir in the turmeric, then reduce the heat to medium–low, cover, leaving the lid open a crack, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 35–40 minutes, until the moong dal is soft and broken down. Add a little more boiling water if the mixture starts to stick to the base of the pan or is becoming too thick. Add salt to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.

To make the moong dal temper, heat the ghee or oil in a heavy-based frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the chilli, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Shake the pan for about 30 seconds and as soon as the chillies start to darken add the shallot and curry leaves. Cook, stirring, for 2–3 minutes, until the shallot starts to brown.

Give the dal a stir and thin with a little boiling water if necessary. Pour into a serving dish, top with the temper and stir until just combined.

Serve with steamed basmati rice or paratha.

(* Reproduced with permission from 50 Easy Indian Curries (Smith Street Books, March 22) by Penny Chawla, the self styled 'curry queen' of Sydney. Photo copyright: Emily Weaving)


Our Venture 'Mediterranean Work and Play' is in the news via Skift 'Future of Work Briefing'

Our venture Mediterranean Work & Play is in the news via 'Future of Work Briefing'.

We shared with Matthew Parsons of Skift some 'preventive medicine' for burnout that 'Mediterranean Work & Play' offers with stays in Occitanie, France, from Toulouse to Perpignan...

Read more in Travel Outfits Offer Solutions to Companies for Pandemic Worker Burnout (Skift, January 14, 2022)

Skift future of work

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Walk Into the Storm and Stroll Around Hokkaido in Ink with Illustrator and Digital Artist Mateusz Urbanowicz

Walk into the storm andstroll around Hakkaido with illustrator and digital artist Mateusz Urbanowicz, Polish born, based in Tokyo.

I picked Into the Storm for 2 reasons. First here in New Jersey as I write this thunderstorms are on the way, second it in a way illustrates our walk into (and hopefully through) the Covid storm.

Into the Storm Stand Alone Works Mateusz Urbanowicz

The stroll around Hokkaido, spoke to me through its ink illustrations. The small Hokkaido in Ink book contains 30 something ink illustrations, each with side notes. Book is available for purchase both in print and digital editions.

Hokkaido in ink Mateusz Urbanowicz

Let me give credit to Scott Pack for putting Mateusz Urbanowicz.

Watercolor and Ink for Tokyo Thursdays #320


Summer up North, Smoked Mackerel Rillettes With Rye Crisps Recipe from ScandiKitchen Midsommar by Bronte Aurell

Summer lunch up North (meaning Scandinavia) has seafood rillettes on the menu.

Like this Smoked Mackerel Rillettes With Rye Crisps recipe from ScandiKitchen: Midsommar: Simply Delicious Food for Summer Days (Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 2021) by Brontë Aurell, co-owner of ScandiKitchen in West London.

Smoked Mackerel Rillettes With Rye Crisps

This is a super-easy way to prepare an appetizer or light lunch. Rillettes are a coarse, potted meat similar to pâté that are stirred together and spread on toast. They’re usually made with fatty pork (or duck) leftovers, but I love making rillettes with fish. This recipe works well with both smoked mackerel and smoked salmon.

Smoked Mackerel Rillettes from ScandiKitchen Midsommar

Ingredients:

8–12 thin slices of rye bread or store-bought rye crisps (available in supermarkets) 

200 ml/3⁄4 cup crème fraîche

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons chopped chives

squeeze of fresh lime juice

1⁄2 teaspoon horseradish sauce

300 g/10 1⁄2 oz. smoked mackerel

freshly ground black pepper (hold the salt until you taste it, some mackerel is very salty)

TO SERVE

1⁄4 small fennel bulb

1⁄2 apple

freshly squeezed lemon juice

fresh pea shoots

4 individual serving glasses

Serves 4 as a generous appetizer or light lunch

Directions:

If using rye bread, preheat the oven to 140°C (275°F) Gas 1. Slice the rye bread very thinly and place on a baking tray. If the bread is too thick it will be hard to eat as crispy bread, so do make sure it is thinly sliced. Bake in the preheated oven for about 10–20 minutes (depending on your bread) until completely dry. You can make it several days ahead and store in an airtight container.

Mix the crème fraîche with the mustard, chives, lime juice and horseradish (if using). Remove the skin from the mackerel and add the fish to the crème fraîche mixture. Stir just until mixed – I like my rillettes with a few chunky bits, but some people prefer it smoother. If you like yours smoother, simply mix a while longer. Check for seasoning and add black pepper to taste. Spoon the mixture into the serving glasses. Chill until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, slice the fennel and apple very thinly, ideally using a mandoline. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to stop the apple going brown and mix well. Serve the apple and fennel salad with pea shoots, the glasses of mackerel and the rye toast on the side. You may need extra toast as the mackerel makes a generous portion.

( Reproduced with permission from ScandiKitchen: Midsommar: Simply Delicious Food for Summer Days By Brontë AurellRyland Peters & Small, 2021 / photography by Peter Cassidy © Ryland Peters & Small, 2018, 2021)

P.S: Please note that the recipes in ScandiKitchen: Midsommar are the same as in ScandiKitchen Summer, which was published in 2018.


Summer Vacation Flight on Your Mind, Book Directly Through Airline Not Portal In Case of Hiccups

Summer vacation flight is on your mind?

My suggestion, book directly through the airline in case of hiccups.

I had booked a round  trip flight for me and my son in November 2019 (EWR to Rome via Copenhagen) for Spring Break 2020.

Copenhagen guide 2011-12

Covid came and of course what would have been a wonderful getaway did not happen.

Flight was on Scandinavian Airlines but it was booked via Expedia.

It took me almost a year of efforts to get reimbursed.

Airlines beat Portals for Concierge Mondays #15

(* Photo of Copenhagen Guide I kept from wonderful stay late August 2011)