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 goat...to 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...")