Abner, Nicholas, Blanka, Alex, Jeremy, Johanna, and Jodie: please upgrade your accounts so you can still post on this blog. Oh, and let me know if you need a Gmail account invitation.
And, Megan, you seem to be making all these fancy dinners. Why not show them off?
Is everyone down for this? I know some of you have already switched your accounts, but I want to make sure that a majority of y'all won't be adversely affected by the switch.
What does the switch mean? For those with old blogger accounts, it'll mean you can't post to the blog until you upgrade your account. For those who have upgraded, nothing should be different.
Let me know.
This is what you missed, Farzina.
Let's see, I started by marinating some chicken in cinnamon and ginger. I then moved to the veggies:
I fried those up with some ginger. Next, I cooked up some turmeric-flavoured rice. Then I fried up the chicken. After layering the three parts, I topped with some Kareesh (white cheese) and called it a meal.
And yet, Cairo seems to lack this phenomenon—that little section of town famous for produce and strange herbal medicines. There are a few Chinese restaurants here and there, but they tended to be a bit more expensive than the average. Despite the foreseen lightening of my pocketbook, I had to know what Chinese food tasted like in Egypt.
On my walk to work, I always pass by this sign that says “Kowloon Korean & Chinese Food.” The restaurant happens to be part of the Cleopatra Hotel just off of Tahrir Square. Culinary monotony is a big problem here in Egypt, so there exists a desire to spend a bit more for flavours that might just arouse your palette. I’d say Korean and Chinese fit that criteria pretty well, so I gathered up a bunch of different nationalities and headed there for an East Asian feast.
Upon entrance into the dining area, it was apparent that the patronage was from, where else, East Asia. Perfect. That means that the food must be good…or that this is the only choice in town, but still better than the Egyptian alternative. I could smell the Korean kimchi, and my mouth watered at the sight of some of the served food.
The menu was expansive, covering a wide variety of meat, seafood, soup, noodle, and vegetable dishes. After some pre-order bickering, we decided on Beef BBQ, Stir-fried beef with green chili, deep-fried chicken in sweet and sour sauce, and Ma-Po’s Fried Bean Curd. Some spring rolls, jasmine tea, and soup were also ordered, with kimchi provided as a complimentary appetizer.
Overall, I’d say the food was pretty good, and I’ll definitely go back once I try out the other Chinese restaurants in town.. The only oddity was that the “vegetarian” Ma-Po’s Bean Curd came with chunks of beef in it.
Fondue is one of those things I get maybe once every 15 years, so I have to take advantage when the time comes around.
Johanna's mom had some extra fondue cheese (only in Germany) in the fridge, so we decided to prepare a fondue. For dipping, we had garlic bread, rye bread, french bread, chapati, paneer, aloo ghobi, raw ground pork, broccoli, cauliflower, and other meats. The cheese was a bit strong for my tastes, but I found the best combination was bread, smothered with raw ground pork, and topped with the melted cheese.
Nigella takes a line from Woody Allen: "Don't knock masturbation, it's sex with someone I love." Besides being indulgent, cooking for oneself usually produces more delicious results. Inhibitions are lower (especially when I'm enjoying multiple glasses of a fine wine while preparing), time constraints are non-existant, and there's less stress about serving bad food. It's about "... enjoying life on purpose, rather than by default."
I cooked up some stuffed chicken breasts with mushrooms, onions, celery, bread crumbs, and rosemary. Of course, there was butter involved. It turned out pretty good, but I had to leave it warm in the oven because I got paged to deal with something just as it was finishing up and it got a bit dried out. Phooey. The best part by far was the chocolate pudding. It was really easy too. The chocolate pudding goes on the guest list.
Now I just need to find more foodies in Seattle to cook and eat with. Shall I post a signup sheet?
Which of the items on the plate does not belong?
Potato Salad definitely does. The sausage looks correct. But the green thing, aka salmon, was a surprise to me. The last thing I expected to see in the depths of the Thuringen forest was a fish that is to Canada what Bratwurst is to Germany. Perhaps future Christmas Eve dinners in Canada should feature the German sausage talked about so much in my last few posts. Problem is, where am I going to get good ones without having to import?
In the background, you see a bottle of Krombacher Pils. Not a bad brew, and definitely good with potato salad.
Speaking of that, it was the best potato salad I'd ever had...and I hate potato salad. This version was so simple, I balked when told what was in it. Too bad I don't remember how to make it...maybe it was the beer? Regardless, I polished off three or four portions.
Interestingly, though, there is a bit of a feud in the family as to who makes the best potato salad. I didn't get a chance to try the other one, but I vowed not to pass judgement on either to avoid getting into a wee bit of hot water.
I decided to try an …interesting marinade with my chicken this evening. Having a spare orange lying around with some chilli sauce I decided to slice up the orange and mix in a bit of orange juice with the chilli sauce.
It didn’t work out too bad actually, but quite a strange thing happened while I was cooking it… I covered the chicken in the orange slices when I put it in the oven, and after the usual cooking time, the meat was still basically raw… It was only after removing the orange slices that it cooked…
Anyways, it didn’t turn out too bad, the sweet and spicy mix worked quite well, and the marinade kept the meat nice and moist…
Now that's a solid looking turkey. We pretty much devoured it on Christmas Day for lunch, along with a variety of other stuff.
And would you believe that this turkey was microwaved and baked? Johanna's family had a oven/microwave, so to cook the turkey faster Johanna's mom just microwaved it for most of the time and then set it on bake so that it could remain heated. That means I've had a deep-fried turkey, conventional oven turkey, and a microwaved turkey. One cooked in coals is next up, I think.
Yet another surprise (well, it shouldn't have come as a surprise, though) was that the turkey was stuffed with the ground pork I had been eating earlier that morning. This meant almost double the meat.
The rest of the meal included Thuringen potato dumplings, cooked red cabbage, a bok choy/mandarin orange salad, and gravy. There was probably a beer in there somewhere, as well.
I'm not sure what else I can say about bratwursts. They are the quintessential German food and are most definitely better in Germany. Shown above is the product from Thuringen...the home of the bratwurst.
The first time I bit into one, I burnt my tongue. It was a pleasant pain, though, because the meat was just so good. And then what seemed to be an air raid siren went off. It was loud and freaked the hell out of me. I thought maybe the Soviets were coming to bomb or something. Turns out that it's actually a fire alarm and they sound it once a week.
Two different schnitzels. The first one freshly pounded, the second one probably taken out of a frozen package. The first one, 10 Euros, the second one, three. Either way, you're eating some fine schnitzel.
Blanka already described Viennese Schnitzel, so I won't go into many details. I also described the first picture in the previous post, so...
All you need to do is feast your eyes upon the beauty.
Dining in room that is nearly 500 years is what I call dining in style. The Gasthaus is just that, and has seen the likes of Richard Wagner study within its walls. It's pure history and the interior just makes you want to drink beer.
We chose the place because it was the only thing open on New Years Day. Mental note: don't try to do anything on that day because you'll find all the shops closed. From the outside it appears to be like any building in Leipzig, that is to say old and beautiful. The menu was posted on the wall next to the door, so we took a peak. Seemed reasonably priced, and it was open "until whenever people stopped coming in and ordering food." My other reason for going there was that I wanted a nice plate of schnitzel, the pork variety, before returning to Egypt.
So in we went. On the wall outside the 2nd set of doors was a timeline listing all the significant events that had gone on inside the building. Some other famous people had studied there, so that made the prospect of eating there even more tantalizing.
Now, this room wasn't going to win any interior decoration awards, but that was indeed a good thing. The walls were a simple white and had some latin writting along the top...great of authenticity. In short, it was the simplicity, combined with the high ceilings, that made this place so inviting. And you could just imagine the scholarly legends sitting in the corner dictating some great theory to their noble assistants.
For food, I went with a local soup, with a long German name that I can't remember (Johanna?), the schnitzel, and German white beer. There was also rumoured to be horse on the menu, but this was never verified. What I appreciated most about the menu was that there was always local specialties to choose from.
The soup was great. It consisted of black lentils and broth, and came with a slice of pumpernickel. I wolfed it down and got ready for my schnitzel. Not that I was dissappointed with what arrived, but it lacked a sauce to bring the potatoes, cauliflower, and meat to life. Regardless, the schnitzel was definitely tenderized in-house, and not taken out of a package. But, still, it was not as thick as I remember it being 11 years ago in a Dusseldorf pub.
All in all, I'd recommend this place, if just for the ambience. And I think I came out feeling a little bit smarter.
Nikolaikirchhof 2, 04109 Leipzig
(It's right across the street from this giant cathedral)
Offering the very best range of the freshest local ingredients, their award winning* chefs look forward to creating a hearty lunch for you and your friends.
On a date? The Goodliffe Café has the perfect open yet intimate atmosphere in which to get acquainted.
With friends or family? The Goodliffe Café offers a delicious range of fresh home cooked food to catch up over.
...That’s enough of that. And I’ve no idea if they have won any awards…
I’ve been here twice now, and it is a pretty cool place to go – the food is really nice, and you get plenty, the waitresses are hot, and it is quite unlike any other café in Loughborough.
The first time I went I had a brie, parma ham and pesto sandwich served in huge rustic bread with chunky chips and a rocket salad, while my friend D had the homemade carrot soup. Both were awesome. There was even the entertainment of one of the waitresses tripping up and nearly drenching another customer in orange juice.
And yesterday I went with my parents, and I chose the oyster mushroom risotto in a creamy white wine sauce, while my parents both had the pork and rosemary meatballs in a tomato sauce with spaghetti.
Both times I have been I ended up completely stuffed, and would recommend everybody go visit. And if you aren’t hungry, they also do some fancy champagne cocktails and it’s a nice place to go and have a coffee.
Now this is something I had forgotten about since going to India, and only reminded about when I saw some fingers in the Christmas biscuit selection my parents brought me today. As far as I know, this treat is mostly unheard of, so i'm taking it upon myself to spread the technique as much as I can...
If you only follow seven simple steps you will be in heaven and completely addicted.
- Purchase some generic chocolate finger biscuits. They must be good quality though, with a solid covering of chocolate.
- Bite the bare minimum off one end of the finger.
- Bite the bare minimum off the other end of the finger.
- Using the abbreviated finger as a straw, suck your cup of tea up through the finger.
Hint: You may have to suck quite hard. If it's easy to suck, there is probably a hole in the chocolate.
- Once you can feel the tea coming through the top of the finger into your mouth, stop sucking.
- Quickly turn the finger around and eat.
There are two key points at this stage:
One – you must move quickly so that the finger doesn’t soak up too much of the tea.
Two – you must eat the end that was dipped in the tea first. If you aren’t going to do it right, you may as well not bother at all.
- Relax with the tasty moist biscuit and slowly, barely melting chocolate.
I think you’ll agree, once you try this, there’s no going back.
And for the serious addict, why not try the white chocolate, crunchy (a sweeter taste and more free flowing), and caramel varieties (only for those who have become seriously addicted to the regular fingers – it is the next hit up.)
Among my group of friends, it is seriously frowned upon to take a date to a “chain restaurant”. Well, should you find yourself dating one of my friends, please, avoid this faux pas and make a reservation at the Tandoori Hut in Kensington.
Located on 10th Street, the Tandoori Hut seats approximately 40. An intimate and warm space, the Tandoori Hut moved down the street from its previous location in 2004. The new location is decorated with Indian art, tapestries, and warm colours. Our party of three was fortunate enough to be seated at a large table by the window, an area slightly more private than the rest of the restaurant. One caveat: if dining on an unseasonally cool day, try to avoid the window seats near the door. The small waiting area resulted in the door occasionally being propped open.
Initially, our party was essentially ignored. After being seated and given menus, it was at least 20 minutes before a drink order was taken. Two servers were spotted, and it must be noted that our server was working her first shift at the restaurant. Despite her newness, she was comfortable with the menu and her surroundings, and was quite knowledgeable of the food and drinks offered. Previous visits to the Tandoori Hut resulted in the same type of service, so be prepared to wait.
We started our evening with drinks; Kingfisher, an imported Indian beer, was much appreciated after a long work week, but was, in my opinion, no different from a light domestic beer. The mango daquiri, enjoyed by one of my partners in crime, was generously sized and very sweet. A variety of wines, beers and other beverages are available.
While we waited for our server, our party noticed the noise level of the restaurant. The other parties seemed to be enjoying the relaxed atmosphere, with background music playing. The small space resulted in quite a loud room, however, it was easy to hear the people at your table, and difficult to eavesdrop on the next. The Tandoori Hut on a Friday night appears to be a popular place to take a date, as it is perfect for intimate conversations- you may need to lean in close to hear every word.
We opted to skip an appetizer and head straight to the main course. Butter Chicken (12.95) is a Tandoori Hut specialty, and one of my favourite dishes. The Lamb Korma (12.95) and Dessi Chicken (14.95) were ordered, as was the Coconut Rice (3.95), the Plain Nan (2.00) and the Tandoori Hut Special Nan (3.95). The menu was easy to navigate, written in English with descriptions of each item. A variety of items are available, including vegetarian options, seafood, and meat dishes. Despite a lengthy wait for our drinks and for someone to come take our order, our food arrived quickly. The tea-light warming dish placed on the table kept the food warm, but not piping hot.
Arriving in small metal dishes, the Butter Chicken, Lamb Korma and Dessi Chicken initially appeared to be small portions, and our group was sure that we had not ordered enough food. We soon found that though we ran a little low on Nan, we could not finish all that we had ordered. The Coconut rice was a fragrant and generous mound, sweet and delicately spiced with cardamom and saffron. The Nan arrived hot, chewy and soft. The Tandoori Hut Special Nan is a must-try, topped with raisins, nuts, and sesame seeds.
The Butter Chicken was fantastic- subtle layers of flavour and spice, but not overwhelmingly hot. The chicken was tender, moist and not over cooked, and the slivered almonds sprinkled on top added just a little texture variety and crunch. The rich creamy red sauce was excellent, and every last drop was sopped up with Nan. However, I would recommend ordering plain rice with this dish, as the Coconut Rice was too sweet when paired with the Butter Chicken.
The Lamb Korma was indeed the highlight of this meal. The yellow curry sauce prepared with almonds, and cashews, and spiced with cardamom and saffron was the perfect sauce for the tender lamb. Not tough or dry, the Lamb melted in my mouth, the meaty flavour more intense than beef. The yellow sauce was delicious and spicy, with a warmth that mellowed instead of scorched. The Coconut Rice played well with the Lamb Korma, the sweetness of the rice bringing out the nutty flavour and cooling the heat of the sauce.
The Dessi Chicken, however, was a disappointment. The most expensive meat dish offered at the Tandoori Hut, the chicken simmered in a creamy tomato sauce with brandy and mangoes was bland. The mango, definitely canned, was mushy and tasted artificial. The dish lacked the subtle flavours and heat of the other two, and was simply sweet. I tasted a hint of cinnamon, but could not find the brandy flavour anywhere. Pass this dish by when visiting the Tandoori Hut.
The Tandoori Hut doesn’t over-play the exotic in their décor, and is accessible to both the professional crowd and the family. A great place for a special dinner with friends, the Tandoori Hut is also perfect for a casual dinner any night of the week. Reservations are recommended, take out available.
Provide a review of your favourite restaurant, or a restaurant you've been to recently. I'd like to get an extremely random and geographically scattered list of restaurants in the countries we're in. Try to provide as much information as you can on the restaurant's location.
And if you're too busy, read this.
Thanks and Happy New Year.
Okay, so they're not flying. Whatever. But can you identify them? I'd love to learn the names in English for these Indian vegetables, if such names actually exist. I found them while wandering through the local wholesale outdoor market where the vegetable-wallahs and fruit-wallahs come to fill their carts.
Something that surprised me about German eating habits was that dinners were usually cold, while lunches were usually hot. So, when Johanna told me that her mother would have dinner ready for us when we arrived, I foolishly expected something hot. Instead, I sat down and proceeded to watch cheese, meat, fish, and tomatoes be brought out with slices of 3 different type of rye bread.
"I know that it's midnight, Johanna, but why are we having lunch?"
"Oh, Germans eat cold dinners."
"Hmm...sounds good to me. Is that raw ground meat I see?"
"Ya. The animal was slaughtered this morning."
"Wait, you guys eat raw ground meat?"
"Well, I don't. But my Dad loves it. Go ahead, try it."
"Don't mind if I do. Wow, it's good. Seasoned with salt and pepper and really good with cheese. But I'm still eating raw ground meat...which I was always told was the fastest way to E. Coli."
"When in Germany...."
What you see in front of you is a typical German dinner. From left to right, you have chicken sausage (light pink colour), garlic sausage (dark red), raw ground pork, 3 different types of cheese, herring in tomato garlic sauce, herb cheese spread, butter, prosciutto, mustard, herring in tomato sauce, and tomatoes. Note the giant beer glass at my spot.
I have spent the past 13 days furiously stuffing my face with the best that Germany has to offer. What luck, then, that I ended up in Thuringen: the home of the bratwurst. But I did more than eat the exquisite stuffed pig intestines. Rye bread, schnitzel, potato dumplings, rostbratl, raw ground pork, cheese, ham...I consumed it all. In large quantities.
At no point during my trip was I hungry for more than 25 minutes. Sometimes I was sat down at the table with a cake spread that rivalled the Cheesecake Cafe. During the 3 days of Christmas (24th, 25th, 26th), we ate 4 meals a day with snacks in between. Hmm...that's breakfast, brunch, lunch, lupper, supper, sinner, and dinner? Beautiful.
And there I was taking pictures of it all. Over the next 16 days (with breaks for weekends), I will be posting 16 entries of the splendour that is German cuisine.
Oh, and did I mention there was beer?