Sunday, February 25, 2007

Foodie yum yum

MMMMMMmmmmmm the fish n chips yesterday in Richmond was poifect!


This morning I have been watching New York City (Les Halles) chef Anthony Bourdain. He is right out of a page from the beatnik biker 1960s. Tall, tanned, lanky, weathered, curly grey hair, an earring, black leather jacket, and he smokes.

He's on this gastronomic world tour. This weekend I saw him in St Petersburg, Russia, eating smoked dried fish, coulibiac, caviar, lots of vodka with radishes, washed down with cucumber juice...

Then Oaxaca, MEXICO. I wanted to EAT ALL THE FOOD (except for the toasted crickets, ant eggs and fried worms). All sorts of mole' sauces, fresh pico de gallo, chorizo, soups, ices, enchiladas...OK, all these things in this list don't look outsdanding, but with Mexican food, it's the preparation and the resulting flavour explosion that matters. When I tell you what they put in the mole sauce: charred avocado leaf, roasted chipotle peppers, chocolate, salt, other spices...cooked up with turkey or see these things being prepared in the outdoor kitchens, everything with fresh hot tortillas...I just can't convey it here.

Last weekend I saw him in Thailand and Vietnam. I've already raved about the Hairy Bikers cooking in SE Asia, so I won't repeat myself here. Yes, of course, they all ran into unwelcome surprises, such as the Bikers eating dog when they thought it was duck, and Bourdain feeling a bit off after eating the busiest birds' nest soup you ever saw (not as basic as the Chinese one)

And right now he is in a red 1968 Mustang convertible, leather jacket, sunshades, cigarette - saying that is the car he wants to die in, let it be his funeral pyre...


Speaking of food, I have a few recipes that it would be fun to share with you. First up, if I can find the crinkled piece of paper I wrote it on, I will give you a Butter Tart recipe from Canada.

BUTTER TARTS - very addictive.

For 12 Tarts:

1/2 cup seedless raisins
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup golden corn syrup (or in UK, golden syrup)
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 450 degrees F (~ 230 degrees C). Pour boiling water on raisins to cover completely. Let stand about 5 minutes. Drain but do not dry. Mix raisins (still warm) with butter, sugar, salt and syrup. Stir to dissolve sugar and melt butter. Add slightly beaten egg and vanilla. Fill tarts. (Add a pecan on top of each tart?)

Bake in very hot oven for 15-20 minutes - filling should still be bubbling, but lightly browned on top. Don't overbake or filling will be too thick.

Remove tarts from oven. Loosen edges of pastry with the point of a knife. Let tarts remain in pans for about 10 minutes to give them a chance to set, then remove them from pans to cool completely on cake rack.

(Olivia adds: Enjoy eating them, then put them away so you don't eat them all in one go! Seriously, my aunt baked them for my cousin's baby shower, and I just kept coming back for "another one...and another one....oh, and one more....ok, this is the last one...")



guyana-gyal said...

Blogging is going to make me fat, I'm convinced. All this delicious food.

It's been a long time I haven't had smoked dried fish, at least, the kind my mother does, covered with banana leaves. I think it's my fault why she stopped, the smoke makes me choke. Asthma. Darn.

I'll pass up the crickets though...I wonder what they taste like. And here I was, thinking that folks eating piranha was strange!

Selba said...

Yummy tarts!!!

Must try it but too lazy to bake, hehehe...

beenzzz said...

Butter tarts look delicious. When I was younger, I didn't like dried fruit in pastries, but as I got a little older, I developed at love for it. Very yummy looking!

amillionpieces said...

Good fish and chips - MMmmhmmmmm.


Smiffy's of Aviemore - I miss you so.

MattJ said...

That food sounds awesome!

As or the tarts..... I have been told I am pretty good cook, if slightly over-zealous with chilli peppers on occasion. I can cook things and like to do it, put it that way. I'm no genius, I think i can just make things that don't taste utterly repulsive.

However, I simply don't have the discipline for desserts! You can't just keep adding bits until it tastes right lke with regular food. My inability to tinker makes me averse to making desserts. Tell you what, you supply the dessert and i will do the starter and main ok? :p

AmitL said...

Whew.....what a pic..of the yummy tarts...and,poor ole me on a diet...arghhh.:)As for the comment on Mexican food,from what I've heard(Not tasted), it's spicier than even most Indian that true?

MattJ said...

Funny you mention mexican, I made a Chili Con carne last night. I believe it can best be described as 'Aggressive'.

before You Drink
Before you Spice

The Moody Minstrel said...

That sounds like an interesting cooking show you've been watching...definitely one with personality! Mmmm...Mexican food.

Those tarts sound wicked! I might have to try making them for the wife this White Day. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

ML said...

I'm not a fan of dried fruits, but the picture of the butter tarts look very yummy!

Olivia said...

GG - At least on the Net you can fill your eyes and not your belly :P

They said the crickets taste a bit nutty, and they had been sprinkled with salt and lime....
I couldn't handle the legs, personally.
AND YET shrimps are insects too, just in the sea...and we love those...


Selba - Me too :)
But if you just try it once, on a bored weekend, you may just want to do it again!


Beenzzz - I used to pick all my raisins out and give them to my dad coz he loves them. He'd ask, "Aren't you going to give me your dead flies?"
Now I just don't mind - some cakes can still do without them, but these tarts are so yummy with them.


Pete - yes, you have to have a good dish of the stuff every few weeks.


Matt - yes, you haven't blogged about food much. You grumble about politics nowadays!

You know, I've never been much of a hand at the desserts, but this sounds so easy.

If I were in Texas, I'd be sending you Five Alarm Chili-making kits.


Amit - what I said to GG. Food on the internet fills your eyes only!

When it comes to spiciness, I think Mexican food is on a level with Indian. Though Mexico is home to the hottest chili on earth, I don't know who eats it.


Minstrel - hehe, I wasn't even paying him much attention last week, and now I nearly can't wait to see the next episode.

Oh, I do so hope you make them for your wife on White Day! You might be the only one in Japan!


ML - like your sister? :)
As I said to her, I used to hate them, but these are integral to the entire recipe.

amillionpieces said...

Can't get an excellent dish of it here! Nearest good fish and chip purveyor I know is Durham. The local can make it ok, but it's not brilliant, it doesn't leave you wanting more like Smiffys, my beloved Smiffys. (or the wee Italian one in Grantown - Yum!)