The Trip to Spain. After jaunts through northern England and Italy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon embark on another deliciously deadpan culinary road trip.
This time around, the guys head to Spain to sample the best of the country’s gastronomic offerings in between rounds of their hilariously off-the-cuff banter. Over plates of pintxos and paella, the pair exchange barbs and their patented celebrity impressions, as well as more serious reflections on what it means to settle into middle age. As always, the locales are breathtaking, the cuisine to die for, and the humor delightfully devilish.
Tokyo, Japan – Sony Corporation established Sony AI as an internal organization in November 2019 and it became a new company in April 2020 with a global presence in Japan, the United States and Europe. Sony AI promotes fundamental research and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and aims to “create AI that unleashes human imagination and creativity.”
In addition to Sony’s existing business areas of “gaming” and “imaging & sensing,” Sony AI has set “gastronomy” as its flagship theme for new technical and business exploration. With the aim of enhancing the creativity and techniques of chefs around the world, the Gastronomy Flagship Project consists of the research and development of an AI application for new recipe creation, a robotics solution that can assist chefs in their cooking proess, and a community co-creation initiative that will serve as a foundation to these activities.
In addition to Game, Music and Pictures, Sony AI sees great opportunities in Gastronomy as one of the global creative entertainment domains connecting chefs, who are creators, with their audiences. To this end, Sony AI will pursue its own research and development efforts in partnerships with various collaborators.
AI-Powered Recipe Creation App
Recipe creation is a very challenging research area for AI, as there are infinite possiblities for combinations of ingredients, as well as constraints such as location, climate, season, and a person’s health and food preferences, that must be taken into account.
Sony AI will utilize a variety of data sources – including recipes and ingredient data, such as taste, aroma, flavor, molecular structure, nutrients, etc. – to develop a Recipe Creation App that will be powered by proprietary AI algorithms to assist the world’s top level chefs in their creative process of ingredient pairing, recipe design and menu creation.
Through this App, Sony AI aims not only to assist in making delicious food, but also to contribute to people’s health and the sustainability of the environment.
Chef Assisting Cooking Robot
Developing a robotics solution that works in harmony with chefs – to replicate and in some cases even exceed their skills and techniques with high precision and speed – is a great challenge in the realm of AI and Robotics. This is precisely the reason that Sony AI will pursue this grand challenge through the research and development of an advanced and precise Chef Assisting Cooking Robot that can be an ultimate assistant to world-class chefs.
Cooking is a highly complex process that includes such steps as the preparation of ingredients of different shapes and characteristics, the physical transformation of these ingredients using various tools, and the plating of these ingredients into a final dish. Through collaborations with world-class chefs, Sony AI aims to create a solution that can assist chefs through the entire cooking process, from preparation to plating, by training the robots with sensors and AI for skill acquisition.
In addition, remote operations of these robots, for example to serve the chef’s meals to people in remote locations, are also in scope of these research and development efforts.
Community Co-creation Initiative
The creation and execution of new recipes and menus is based on the knowledge, experience and creativity of chefs, and the enjoyment of such creations is built on the health of the gastronomy community, which has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. With the aim to contribute to the long-term sustainability of the community, Sony AI believes it is essential to build and strengthen its relationships with the chef community worldwide, and to work with universities, research institutes and companies that are at the forefront of research in these areas.
Today, Sony AI is pleased to announce the release of the “Chef Interview Series” on its company website as the first step in building such relationships with the culinary community. Sony AI interviewed a total of 18 chefs and food experts via online interviews to learn about their sources of inspiration, the creative process behind their menu creation, their use of technology, their thoughts on sustainability, and other trends that will be essential to the future of gastronomy.
Sony AI will continue to drive dialogue with creators and experts in a wide range of food-related fields, and leverage these learnings in the development of its AI application and robots. https://ai.sony/
Comment from Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony AI Inc.
“What has become apprarent with COVID-19 is the importance of sustainability and health, and the value of intangible cultural assets including gastronomy and the arts we wish to protect. Through the power of AI and robotics, we want to reaffirm the principle of our gastronomy flagship project, which is to enable creative gastronomy that is at the same time healthy and sustainable. In addition to supporting the creative community through its Games, Music and Pictures businesses, Sony Group has also invested in a range of projects including Synecoculture (a new form of agriculture enhancing biodiversity) and Open Energy Systems (a distributed renewable energy based micro-grid system) that contribute to the well-being of our planet. Together with creators in the gastronomy community, we wish to contribute to creative, healthy, and sustainable gastronomy.”
Comment from Michael Spranger, COO of Sony AI Inc.
“As Gastronomy is a completely new domain for Sony, our approach is to pursue our activities in partnership with creator chefs, food experts and researchers, as well as universities, research institutes and companies with cutting-edge capabilities. We look forward to working with a wide range of stakeholders in the spirit of open innovation, with the end goal of making real world impact.”
About Sony AI Inc.
Sony AI was established with the mission to unleash human imagination and creativity with AI. Sony AI combines world class fundamental research and development capabilities in AI and Robotics. By working with Sony’s unique technical assets, especially Imaging & Sensing Solutions, Robotics and its Entertainment offerings, such as Games, Music and Pictures, Sony AI will accelerate Sony’s business transformation and create new business opportunities. In addition, one of Sony AI’s long-term goals is to contribute to the resolution of shared global issues that extend beyond Sony’s business domains.
※ As an example, when a user selects chocolate and junmai sake, AI suggests ingredients that pairs well (in this case cauliflower, nori and sea urchin and others).
The Trip to Italy is a 2014 British comedy film written and directed by Michael Winterbottom. It is the sequel of Winterbottom’s TV series The Trip, and similarly stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalized versions of themselves.
Rob has been commissioned by a newspaper to go on a road trip through Italy from Piedmont to Capri, partly following in the footsteps of the great Romantic poets. Steve joins him, and as they journey through the beautiful Italian countryside, they talk about life, love and their careers.
The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on 20 January 2014.Following the premiere, a second TV series, also titled The Trip to Italy, was broadcast on BBC Two.
The Trip is a 2010 British television sitcom series and feature film starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon as fictionalised versions of themselves on a restaurant tour of northern England.
The series was edited into feature film format and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2010. The full series was first broadcast on BBC Two and BBC HD in the United Kingdom in November 2010. Both the TV series and film received very positive reviews.
Three further series followed. The Trip to Italy in 2014, The Trip to Spain in 2016 and the final series of the show, The Trip to Greece, in 2019. Like the first series, the second, third and fourth were all edited into feature films.
Sadie returns home for Christmas after her boyfriend cancels their Holiday plans, only to find out her parents have sold the family business. Begrudgingly Sadie agrees to teach the new owner everything she knows about chocolate, but what she didn’t expect was to fall in love with him.
“He shall cover thee with his spaghetti, and under his marinara shall thou trust: his truth shall be thy parmesan and meatballs.”
A documentary film about the world’s fastest growing religion: The Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster.
With millions of believers worldwide, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the world’s fastest growing religion. Followers of the faith, Pastafarians, have been preaching the message of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) since The Prophet Bobby Henderson’s Open Letter to the Kansas School Board went viral in 2005.
In response to the school board’s decision to teach evolution alongside creationism as equivalent scientific theories in science classes statewide, Mr. Henderson argued that it would then only be fair to teach other creation beliefs in science classes as well. Specifically, his belief: that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe a few thousand years ago.
Honey Macaroons are oven-baked biscuits soaked in syrup. The Greeks traditionally make them as a once-a-year special Christmas sweet. The beauty of Honey Macaroons is that every home-cook can make them. Most contemporary Honey Macaroon recipes involve vegetable oils and sugar. We chose to present an ultra-traditional Honey Macaroon recipe that is based on olive oil and honey. Enjoy!
Yields @35 pieces Cooking time: @25 minutes per baking tray You will need: one large mixing bowl, a few other mixing bowls, a sieve, a whisker, a grater, a strainer, a pot, a wooden spoon, parchment paper, one or two baking trays, one big platter and a blender.
For the Dough
@400 gr all purpose flour – sifted
200 ml olive oil
125 ml fresh orange juice – not strained
30 ml of cognac or simple brandy
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tsp baking powder
4 Tbsp fine semolina
1/2 Tsp cooking soda
1-2 pinches of salt
1/2 Tsp clove powder
1/2 Tsp cinnamon powder
Orange zest of 1 medium orange
For the Syrup
1 cup of honey
110 ml water
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 to 3 cloves
Orange peel of 1 orange (the same orange you used to make the fresh orange juice)
For the Garnish
1/4 cup ground walnuts
Zest of 1 small orange
1/4 Tsp cinnamon powder
Make the Dough
Wash your hands.
Sift the flour in a bowl.
Make the orange juice and pour it in a glass or bowl.
Add the cooking soda in the orange juice (it will fizz and bubble) and then add it in the olive oil and honey mix.
Mix the olive oil and the honey in a wide mixing bowl.
Add to the olive oil and honey mix the cognac or brandy, the salt, the baking powder, the orange juice, the orange zest and the spices.
Whisk the ingredients with a whisker so that they mix well.
When the mixture takes form, continue whisking and start adding sifted flour little by little, Tablespoon after Tablespoon.
When the mixture starts sticking to the whisker put it on the side and gently continue mixing by hand while you keep adding flour little by little.
The resultant dough should be wet, without clumps and not too sticky. The wetness of the dough also depends on the particular characteristics of your olive oil and honey; so, be a little careful as to how much flour you’re adding to the mix because you may not need to use it all.
Cover the dough with a clean cloth or towel and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
Make the Macaroons
Set parchment paper on your baking trays.
Take a handful of dough (@30g) and use your hands to mould it like in a rounded oval shape, about 5 cm (2 in) long. See picture.
Place the macaroons on the parchment paper, not too close together.
Lightly press the convex (external) side of a strainer (or the fine side of a grater) onto the top side of the cookies. (The imprinted pattern will help them better absorb the syrup, later.)
When you’re done, move the baking trays to a cooler side of your kitchen, away from the oven.
Turn on the oven to 180C/356F and let it heat.
Place the tray at the lower 1/3 of the oven. E.g. if your oven has 6 racks, place the tray on the 2nd rack from the bottom.
Bake for approximately 25 minutes.
DO NOT open the oven to check progress prior to smelling the aromas of the baking macaroons – otherwise they may fall flat and never rise.
After 25 minutes, check the bottom of the baking macaroons. If the bottom is darker then the top then the macaroons are ready. If not, leave them baking for another couple of minutes. (Do pay attention so that they are not burned.)
Continue with the rest of the trays, baking each tray separately.
Make the Honey Syrup As soon as the first tray is in the oven, start making the honey syrup.
Add all the syrup ingredients in a medium size pot and give them a stir.
Put the pot on the stove and turn on the fire to medium-low.
Bring the mix to a boil and let it simmer for 5 minutes while stirring gently with a wooden spoon.
Keep removing the foam regularly.
After 5 minutes, turn the fire down to the lowest setting and remove the cinnamon stick, the cloves and the orange peels.
When the macaroons are baked, remove the baking tray from the oven, and place it near the stove.
Use a pair of tongues to start immersing your oven-hot macaroons in the honey syrup in batches of 4.
Leave them soaking in the syrup for 20 seconds per side – a total of 40 seconds for both sides.
Remove them from the syrup with tongues or a slotted spoon and put them back on the baking tray face down. (The idea is that you don’t want the syrup to gravitate towards the bottom of the macaroon. You want the honey syrup gravitate evenly throughout the macaroon, from the bottom to the top.)
Keep the honey syrup warm and repeat the exercise for each baking tray.
When finished, pour the remainder syrup over the macaroons.
Garnish The macaroons are baked and soaked. Now it’s time for the garnish.
Put all the garnish ingredients in the blender and, well, blend them – but not to powder. See picture.
Turn the macaroons over.
Sprinkle the garnish on each macaroon.
Cover the trays with parchment paper or clean towels and leave them on the counter all night so that the macaroons absorb the syrup in room temperature.
By next day the macaroons should have absorbed all the syrup and should be ready for garnish.
Move the Honey Macaroons from the trays to a serving platter.
Cover the serving platter with parchment paper and keep it in room temperature.
Honey Macaroons can last for at least one week without refrigeration. If in doubt, you can always keep some in an airtight container in the fridge.
Notes on Honey Macaroons
If so inclined, feel free to scale the recipe up by double.
When making the honey syrup please remember that high fire makes honey toxic.Do maintain your fire to medium-low or low.
Don’t knead the dough. You’re not making bread and you’re definitely not making pizza, so, the point here is to gently massage the macaroon dough so that it keeps the olive oil in it. Kneading the dough will only drive the olive oil to the surface, the macaroons will thicken during baking and they won’t absorb the syrup as they should.
Do not preheat the oven while you’re making the dough. The extra heat may affect the dough’s consistency so it’s better that the kitchen’s ambient temperature is cooler than warmer.
Bake the macaroons tray by tray and syrup them in batches of 3 or 4 pieces. You need both components (macaroons and syrup) to be hot or at least very warm. There are many recipes maintaining that during syruping one of the two components (macaroons, syrup) should be cool and the other hot. Well, one can also do it this way too and check the difference.
If, by any chance, the macaroons dry out while in storage you can freshen them up with a bit of syrup: take a really small pot, add a couple of teaspoons of honey and a few drops of water, let the mix simmer for a few minutes in a very low fire and then pour the syrup on the macaroons. (You could also use honey straight out the jar, if you’re so inclined.)
The syrup doesn’t contain sugar so the macaroons will not crystallize as the days go by.
Honey has lower glycemic index than sugar and it’s full of other good stuff. For more information on the matter checkhere.
The Siberian Spiced Black Tea with Honey, Cinnanon and Cloves, or Siberian Sbiten, is a traditional Russian hot drink well suited to sooth one’s body and mind during the Russian (or Canadian, or any heavy) winter. The word Sbiten describes the Russian equivalent of mulled wine. There are many Sbiten variations; this is one of them.
Serves 4 Cooking time: approx. 40 min You will need: a pot and a strainer
2 Tsp black tea leaves
1 cup of water
4 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp whole cloves
Brew and strain the black tea.
Return the brew to the pot.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Boil for 5 minutes.
Turn off the fire and let it steep for 30 minutes.
The author of nine acclaimed cookbooks and a two-time James Beard Award winner, Diana Kennedy is called the “Julia Child of Mexico”, but the feisty cook prefers “The Mick Jagger of Mexican Cuisine”.
Winner of the 2019 SXSW Special Jury Award for ‘Excellence in Storytelling’, NOTHING FANCY provides an intimate look at ‘Mexicanophile’ and nonagenarian Diana Kennedy – a veritable gastronomical anthropologist who’s dedicated over six decades of her life to traversing Mexico collecting, preserving, and sharing a wealth of distinct regional dishes and preparatory traditions across nine acclaimed cookbooks.
DIANA KENNEDY: NOTHING FANCY features extensive interviews with Diana Kennedy and famed chefs José Andrés, Rick Bayless, Gabriela Camara and Alice Waters, Diana Kennedy provides an intimate look at the leading expert on Mexican cuisine.
Sweetgrass presents a riveting and poetic portrait of the American West just as one of its traditional ways of life dies out. Shot amidst the grandeur of Montana’s Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the film follows the last modern-day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into the breathtaking and often dangerous mountains for summer pasture. Magnificently photographed and unsparingly candid, Sweetgrass discovers a world of harsh beauty and arduous labour, where humans still work in rugged intimacy with nature.
By Isis Almeida, Baudelaire Mieu, and Leanne de Bassompierre November 30, 2020, 10:16 AM EST Updated on December 1, 2020, 4:17 PM EST
Ivory Coast and Ghana halted Hershey’s sustainability programs Nations accused Mars of changing purchases to avoid premium
Some in the world’s chocolate markets see a hefty premium charged by the largest cocoa producers as a blunt instrument wielded by the OPEC of confections — a tool of a faraway cartel that artificially inflates the price of a precious ingredient.
To the leaders of Ivory Coast and Ghana, where most of the world’s cocoa is actually produced, the argument is something else entirely: a lifeline for farmers and entire economies that would otherwise be held hostage to the vagaries of global commodities markets.
Now those competing viewpoints — globalization reduced to a chocolate bar — have collided in spectacular fashion, thrusting the normally secretive machinations of some of the world’s biggest chocolate companies, cocoa traders and processors into rare public view.
The governments of Ivory Coast and Ghana accused Hershey Co., maker of Kisses, Reese’s and other chocolate treats, of trying to skirt around the $400-a-ton premium they’ve slapped on cocoa, aimed at boosting incomes for hard-pressed cocoa farmers. They also said Mars Inc. changed its buying patterns to avoid paying the charge.
Hershey upended markets in November when it unexpectedly bought large amounts of cocoa through the futures market, squeezing the New York contract.
“Some chocolatiers and trade houses have adopted covert strategies to circumvent the farmer income improvement mechanism with the aim of collapsing it,” Yves Kone, managing director of Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao, and Joseph Boahen Aidoo, chief executive of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said in a Nov. 30 statement seen by Bloomberg, adding they will do “whatever is within our power to protect the over three million farmers from impoverishment.”
In retaliation, Ivory Coast and Ghana suspended all of the Pennsylvania-based company’s sustainability programs, a move that could hurt sales to ethically minded consumers.
“It is unfortunate that Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana have elected to distribute a misleading statement this morning and jeopardize such critical programs that directly benefit cocoa farmer,” Hershey said in a statement to Bloomberg Monday, adding that it was paying the premium, known as the Living Income Differential or LID, for cocoa purchases from the 2020-21 season. “We buy a substantial supply sourced from West Africa.”
Many cocoa growers in West Africa live below the poverty line, growing beans on only one or two hectares. Chocolate makers and cocoa processors agreed to pay the West African nations the LID and other charges on top of futures prices, but after the pandemic slashed demand, companies needed to cut costs to weather a second wave of lockdowns from Paris to Los Angeles.
Exchange deliveries avoid big West Africa premiums Since then, some exporters in Ivory Coast stopped buying cocoa, asking to pay a smaller quality premium known as the country differential, making it harder for the nation to sell about 250,000 tons of cocoa still left on the books. There has also been reluctance to pay the charge in Ghana.
“Ivory Coast and Ghana might be sending a stern warning to the trade, but they also need to be able to sell their cocoa of which they have plenty of,” said Judy Ganes, president of J. Ganes Consulting, who has followed markets for more than 30 years and previously worked for Merrill Lynch. “This is a stare down for sure with gloves off and will be interesting to see who blinks first.”
Hershey’s unexpected move to source cocoa through the exchange sent December contracts on ICE Futures U.S. to a record premium over March. The company highlighted at the time that it was buying cocoa with the LID, but that there were still beans in the market that were sold prior to the implementation of the premium. Hershey also said it needed cocoa from other origins to keep the consistency and taste its customers expect.
“The conspiracy and machinations by your company to evade the payment of the LID demonstrates your passive commitment to improve the incomes of three million West African cocoa farmers,” Kone and Aidoo said in a Nov. 30 letter to Hershey, adding that failure to comply with the orders would mean companies could lose their licenses to operate in the countries.
The regulators also took aim at Mars, saying the maker of Twix migrated the bulk of its cocoa butter purchases from its traditional processors, buying from Asian grinders JB Cocoa and Guan Chong Berhad instead just to avoid paying the premium. Mars said it “categorically disagrees” with the allegations and highlighted that it was the first major manufacturer to support the LID.
The accusations are a further hit to the reputations of chocolate makers…
The Donut King – a documentary telling the story of Ted Ngoy who immigrated from Cambodia, started a west coast empire of donut stores… and lost it all. This is a story of fate, love, survival, hard knocks, and redemption.
Directed by Alice Gu
by Nick Allen / RogerEbert.com
If you’ve ever enjoyed a donut that came from a pink box, you have Cambodian refugee Ted Ngoy to thank. The same goes for if you’ve been to California and tasted a donut from one of the many shops owned by many other Cambodian refugees like Ngoy, who have proven over time to be a top competitor with the likes of Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks.
The incredible story of Ngoy—with its hard-won ascendance and tragic collapse—is captured in “The Donut King,” a heartwarming albeit scattered documentary from director Alice Gu. With its balance of poppy visuals and detailed history, about both war-torn Cambodia and about the business of donuts, the documentary lovingly profiles Ngoy’s life, and the countless other donut shop entrepreneurs like him.
By the mid 1970s, Ngoy had arrived in California with his family, having escaped the violence in a war-torn Cambodia. By chance he learned of the irresistible smell and taste of a fresh donut, but by his incredible hard work he was soon able to learn the business and open up his own shop, one that appealed to a growing market. Within years, he had multiple shops and had achieved financial success, while constantly working alongside his family who shared his sense of sacrifice. Ngoy had some brilliant ideas that changed the donut industry (like using pink boxes instead of white ones, originally to save money), and within a few years, he became a millionaire.
A Year in Provence is a 1989 best-selling memoir by Peter Mayle about his first year in Provence, and the local events and customs.
Peter Mayle and his wife move to Provence, and are soon met with unexpectedly fierce weather, underground truffle dealers and unruly workers, who work around their normalement schedule. Meals in Provençal restaurants and work on the Mayles’ house, garden and vineyard are features of the book, whose chapters follow the months of the year.
It was adapted into a television series starring John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan. Reviewers praised the book’s honest style, wit and its refreshing humour.
Review – The Guardian (2010)
A Year in Provence, 20 years on
When Peter Mayle moved to rural France, he intended to write a novel – not a bestselling memoir.
Its only mention on publication in 1989 was a brief aside in Campaign. And that was more a nod to Peter Mayle’s former career as creative director of advertising agency BBDO. The trade magazine even managed to get the basics wrong, calling his new book a novel. Even a year later, when A Year in Provence was published in paperback, the Times was the only newspaper that bothered to grace it with a review. A shortish one at that.
As far as the books pages were concerned, travel writing was the high-brow preserve of Bruce Chatwin, Freya Stark, Wilfred Thesiger and Prince Charles’s favourite guru, Laurens van der Post. All else was froth, and Mayle the frothiest of the lot – an adman who’d made a few bucks with the mildly racy Wicked Willie cartoon books and upped sticks for France.
To them, A Year in Provence was just aspirational lifestyle pulp for the middle-classes dreaming of a second home – the undemanding story of a fiftysomething couple and their two dogs moving to the South of France and their mildly amusing run-ins with lazy builders, a clarinet-playing plumber, tax-dodging lawyers, outlaw truffle hunters and the Mistral as they do up a derelict farmhouse.
The reading public saw it rather differently. After a slowish start, A Year in Provence has gone on to sell more than 1m copies in the UK and 6m around the world in the last 20 years, making it one of the most successful travel books of all time and inspiring thousands of Brits to leave Blighty in search of a warmer, gentler life.
Unintentionally, Mayle had created a new travel genre and spawned a generation of imitators, a couple of whom – Chris Stewart and Frances Mayes – sold almost as well. And still they keep on coming; only this year Selina Scott wrote a memoir of her life in Mallorca and John Humphrys hijacked his son’s housebuilding project in Greece.
If Mayle had had his way, the description of A Year in Provence as fiction would have been spot on. “When we first moved to France [in 1987] I had the intention of writing a novel and had shared this great ambition with my agent, Abner Stein,” says Mayle. “But there was a problem: I found myself completely distracted – much more taken up with the curiosities of life in Provence than with getting down to work on the novel. The daily dose of education I was receiving at the hands of the plumber, the farmer next door, the mushroom hunter and the lady with the frustrated donkey was infinitely more fascinating than anything I could invent.
“And so time went by – three months, six months – without a word being committed to paper. Eventually I sent Abner a long letter, largely inspired by guilt, trying to explain why I hadn’t even started the novel, listing some of the distractions. To my enormous surprise and relief, he wrote back saying that if I could do another 250 pages like the letter, he might be able to find a publisher.”
Stein struck the deal in the old-school publishing way: over a long, alcoholic lunch with Christopher Sinclair-Stevenson, the then managing director of Hamish Hamilton, who offered an advance of £5,000. The regrets kicked in almost immediately. On his way back to the office….
Returning home from work, Rinko is shocked to find her flat is totally empty. Gone are her TV set, fridge, and above all, her boyfriend. She has no choice but to go back to her native village and her mother, on which she turned her back 10 years ago. There she decides to open a very special restaurant.
Ito Agawa’s foodie fable centres on Rinko, a chef who returns to her city apartment one evening only to discover that her boyfriend has taken off with her life savings and – what is worse – her Le Creuset casserole set.
Distraught, she returns home to her mother’s village in the countryside, and sets up an organic restaurant catering to the locals. Her delicious cooking gains a reputation for healing powers, and fosters love and friendship in the community.
Agawa’s descriptions of Rinko’s recipes can be mouth-watering, particularly if you’re a fan of Japanese food (“sangetan soup with whole chicken brewed in shochu”; “sautéed radish with shiitake mushrooms”). But the story itself will probably be a little too saccharine for most tastes.
Growing The Big One is about a small town’s annual pumpkin growing contest which brings big changes for big city radio host Emma Silver (Shannon Doherty), who decides to pay off her late grandfather’s debts by winning this year’s $50,000 grand prize. In the process she strikes sparks with a handsome neighbor (Kavan Smith) who could teach her a lot about farming — and love!
Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Growing_the_Big_One
Hae-jin, a chef who suddenly broke up through Kakao, left for Skopelos, Greece, the same island he promised to come with for the summer vacation. Hae-jin opened a Korean restaurant called Farewell Restaurant. For couples’ last farewell before their breakups, they play music and comfort them. And then one day, Eleni, a Greek girl came… and he falls in love again.
A fresh romantic musical set against the backdrop of the Greek island of Skopelos!
Sometimes, particularly when looking at the weekend newspapers, it can seem that our obsession with food and health has reached a pitch of pure hysteria. “Eat!” screams one headline. “Diet!” shouts another. Cut out carbohydrates, suggests one report. Carbs are good for you, says a different one. Lower your fat intake. No, fat’s healthy, sugar’s the problem. Coffee raises the risk of heart disease. But it lowers the risk of diabetes. And so on, until you just want to ditch the papers and watch TheGreat British Bake Off or MasterChef.
Food, how to cook it, what it does to you and what growing or rearing it does to the planet are issues that crowd the media. And yet, as the clamour grows, clarity recedes. An estimated 820 million people went hungry last year, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. A third of all people were vitamin-deficient. Two billion were classified as overweight and 600 million as obese. It’s also estimated that 1bn tonnes of food are wasted every year – a third of the total produced. A plethora of academic reports concerning food consumption and production have been published in recent years. The latest and arguably the most far-reaching is Food in the Anthropocene: the Eat-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems, which was conducted over three years by 37 senior scientists from around the world and published earlier this year.
To combat the world’s growing demand for food – there will be 10 billion people to feed by 2050 – we need to cut meat almost entirely out of our diet, say the authors of the report. The argument they put forward is that eating more plant-based foods will lower the incidences of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, enable more environmentally helpful use of land and reduce carbon emissions.
The report provides a “planetary health diet” based on eating vegetables, grains, pulses and nuts, which limits red meat to one serving a week and other animal protein to greatly reduced amounts, as little as an ounce a day of fish or chicken. This, say the authors, is what we should all be eating if we’re concerned about our health and that of the planet.
The response has been mixed. In mainstream food science, the reaction has been overwhelmingly supportive, with leading figures noting the report’s findings are in broad agreement with nearly all previous large-scale studies. There has also been enthusiastic reception from interest groups such as, for example, the Soil Association. However, there have been critics, who have used traditional and social media to air a variety of grievances. Their first target was the Norwegian couple Petter and Gunhild Stordalen whose foundation is one of the partners in Eat, the nonprofit organisation dedicated to food-system reform, which collaborated with the Lancet to produce the report. The Daily Mail was one of the newspapers that focused on the couple’s globetrotting lifestyle, while the influential campaigning food writer Joanna Blythman described the report as “a top-down attempt by a small, unrepresentative dogmatic global elite to mould public agriculture policy”.
In fact, the report was wholly financed by the Wellcome Trust, which is also a participant in Eat, which supplied staff, but they were paid for by Wellcome Trust….
How does this one little town in one of the smallest (US) states just happen to have three of the greatest pizza places in the world…all within a few blocks of each other? PIZZA, A LOVE STORY will explain it all.
You’ll learn about the history, the families, the love, and craft that goes into each and every pie. And you’ll discover a whole new appreciation for pizza as true culinary art.
This feature-length documentary has been in the works for ten years, and we are finally close to completing this labor of love. And by “we,” I mean three of the most passionate pizza lovers on the planet: director Gorman Bechard, musician/producer Dean Falcone, and New Haven historian/operator of Taste of New Haven Colin Caplan. We love pizza with all of our heart and soul. We truly do.
Introduced by award-winning Singaporean filmmaker Eric Khoo (“Ramen Teh”, “12 Storeys”), Food Lore, an eight-episode series from HBO Asia, explores human emotions with narratives inspired by Asian cuisines.
Shot from the perspective of eight different storytellers, each episode of Food Lore takes an alternative approach to showcasing the tales and taste of Asia through drama, satire, and comedy.
Colcannon is one of the staple comfort food recipes of Ireland. Its name comes from the Gaelic “calceannann,” which means “white-headed cabbage.” As you may have already guessed, Colcannon is made of cabbage and potatoes. Colcannon can be as easy or complicated as you want it to be; some recipes use kale or leaks instead of cabbage, others add toppings of fried bacon, corned beef, glazed honey ham, etc. The Colcannon recipe we chose is simple and uncomplicated, focusing on the core idea of the recipe. (That doesn’t mean it’s not delicious!) Enjoy!
Serves: 4-6 Cooking time: You will need: a pot, a saucepan, a colander and a fork
7 to 8 large potatoes. That should be shy of 2kg or approx. 4 lbs. (Avoid “waxy” potatoes – those won’t do.),
1 head of green cabbage, or kale,
1 cup of milk or cream,
120g (4oz) butter – rationed into 3 parts,
Salt and pepper,
Fresh Parsley or chives.
Optional: 4-5 green onions, chopped.
Wash and peel the potatoes.
Wash the cabbage well.
Put the potatoes in a pot and add cold water and salt.
Place the pot on the stove, turn the fire on high and bring the potatoes to a boil. Then lower the fire a little and allow them to boil until they become tender. (Test them with a fork.)
While the potatoes are cooking, start the kettle to make hot water.
Then, remove the core from the cabbage.
Slice the cabbage leaves thinly.
Put the cabbage into a large saucepan and cover with boiling water from the kettle.
Turn the fire on to medium or thereabouts and keep the cabbage at a slow rolling boil until it turns to a darker green colour. It should take about 3 to 5 minutes. You want the cabbage to be slightly under-cooked and definitely NOT overcooked.
When ready, take saucepan off the fire and put it aside.
Drain the cabbage well in a colander and squeeze it to get the last of the moisture out. Then, return it to the saucepan.
Add 1/3 of your butter, cover the saucepan and leave it on the side somewhere warm (you want the butter to melt into the cabbage).
When the potatoes are ready, drain the water and put them back in the saucepan. Set the fire to low, uncovered, so that excess moisture can evaporate. When the potatoes are perfectly dry add the milk, your other 1/3 of butter and the green onions, if you use any.
Allow the butter to melt and the saucepan to steam; you want the contents of the saucepan to be warm, not boiled.
Take a fork and mash the potatoes thoroughly into the warm butter and milk. (It is really bad idea to use a mixer or a potato ricer – the potatoes will become glutinous and lose all texture.)
Mix the cabbage through the potatoes.
Make a dimple or well in the middle of the mixture and put your last 1/3 of butter there to melt.
Before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste, and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives.
You can add many kinds of toppings in that well or dimple in the middle of the Colcannon. Some prefer crisped bacon, others prefer corned beef, some like to add cheese in the mixture. Etc.
Some Colcannon recipes call for frying cabbage together with onions instead of par-boiling it before you mix it with the mashed potatoes.
Other Colcannon recipes substitute cabbage with leaks or kale.
Kelly Reichardt once again trains her perceptive and patient eye on the Pacific Northwest, this time evoking an authentically hardscrabble early nineteenth century way of life. A taciturn loner and skilled cook (John Magaro) has traveled west and joined a group of fur trappers in Oregon Territory, though he only finds true connection with a Chinese immigrant (Orion Lee) also seeking his fortune; soon the two collaborate on a successful business, although its longevity is reliant upon the clandestine participation of a nearby wealthy landowner’s prized milking cow. From this simple premise Reichardt constructs an interrogation of foundational Americana that recalls her earlier triumph Old Joy in its sensitive depiction of male friendship, yet is driven by a mounting suspense all its own. Reichardt again shows her distinct talent for depicting the peculiar rhythms of daily living and ability to capture the immense, unsettling quietude of rural America.
DIRECTED BY Kelly Reichardt WRITTEN BY Kelly Reichardt and Jon Raymond STARRING John Magaro, Orion Lee, Toby Jones, and Ewen Bremner
Official website: https://a24films.com/films/first-cow
Simple to make and delicious to eat, Fried Bananas, or Pisang Goreng make a popular snack or desert in South East Asia, particularly in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Enjoy!
Serves: 4 Cooking time: @35 min You will need: a bowl and a frying pan.
2 ripe bananas. (Ripe bananas are sweeter.)
100 g rice flour
2 Tbsp wheat flour
2 Tbsp custard powder
1/3 Tsp salt
1/3 Tsp baking powder
15 g soft butter
1/2 cup water
Wash your hands.
Take a bowl, add the dry ingredients and mix them well.
With your hands, mix your 15 grams of soft butter into the dry ingredients.
Add water slowly, little by little while stirring, so that the mixture turns to batter.
Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes, or so.
Peel the bananas and cut them in half. Put them aside.
Take the a frying pan, add some oil, put it on the stove and turn the fire on to medium-high. Wait a little until the oil heats up.
Dip the banana pieces into the batter and lay gently into the frying oil.
Leave enough room in the pan so that you can easily move and turn the bananas.
Fry the bananas until golden brown.
Your fried bananas should be crispy or crunch on the outside and soft inside.
Regarding cooking oils: many people cook with vegetable oils but, unfortunately, those are not the best oils one can use. Prior to modern-day vegetable oils Asian cuisines used to use cold pressed, unrefined sesame oil, peanut oil, rapeseed oil, mustard seed oil and/or various kinds of animal fats. Fore this recipe, you may want to experiment with soybean oil, sesame oil or rapeseed oil. Each one of them has its own characteristics and offers a different flavour.
Eating has become a confusing experience. Should we follow a keto diet? Is sugar the next tobacco? Does fermented cabbage juice cure disease? Are lectins toxic? Is drinking poppy seed tea risky? What’s with probiotics? Can packaging contaminate food? Should our nuts be activated? What is cockroach milk?
We all have questions, and Dr. Joe Schwarcz has the answers, some of which will astonish you. Guaranteed to satisfy your hunger for palatable and relevant scientific information, Dr. Joe separates fact from fiction in this collection of new and updated articles about what to eat, what not to eat, and how to recognize the scientific basis of food chemistry.
About Dr. Joe Schwarcz
Dr. Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society” which has the mission of separating sense from nonsense. He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of food to the connection between the body and the mind. Recently the Office has focused on trying to unravel the mysteries of COVID-19.
Sitopia is the sequel to Hungry City. It explores the idea, first developed in Hungry City, that food shapes our lives, and asks what we can do with this knowledge in order to lead better ones. In essence, it is a practical, food-based philosophy.
Food is the most powerful medium available to us for thinking in a connected way about the numerous dilemmas we face today. For countless millennia, food has shaped our bodies, lives, societies and world. Its effects are so widespread and profound that most of us can’t even see them; yet it is as familiar to us as our own face. Food is the great connector – the staff of life and its readiest metaphor. It is this capacity to span worlds and ideas that gives food its unparalleled power. Food, you might say, is the most powerful tool for transforming our lives and world that we never knew we had.
While Hungry City explored how the journey of food through the city has shaped civilisations over time, Sitopia starts with a plate of food and travels out to the universe. Its structure thus consists of a series of overlapping scales, in which food is always central. Food animates our bodies, homes and societies, city and country, nature and time – seven scales that form the chapters in the book. This idea came from a drawing I did in 2011, in order to understand food’s place in our world. The drawing showed me how food’s effects at various scales interact in myriad interconnected ways. From the cultural norms into which we are born spring personal tastes and preferences that affect our individual health and pleasure, but also the vibrancy of local economies, global geopolitics and ecology. This interconnectivity made the book tricky to write, since every chapter overlapped with every other. As I wrote, however, a hidden structure began to reveal itself: as well as radiating out from food like ripples from a pond, the chapters, I realised, were mirrors of one another, so that Chapter 1 (Food) was mirrored by Chapter 7 (Time), in the sense that the former dealt primarily with life, while the latter was concerned with mortality. Similarly, Chapter 2 (Body) explores how out of synch with our world we have become, while Chapter 6 (Nature) offers a solution: to re-engage with the natural world. Chapter 3 (Home) examines our relative lack of a sense of belonging, while Chapter 5 (City and Country) shows how by rethinking the ways we inhabit land, we can regain our sense of home. It is not insignificant that this mirroring effect should have revolved around the central Chapter 4 (Society), which I came to realise was indeed pivotal, since the manner in which we share is key to all the rest.
We are out of step with our planet, so how should we live? Cheap food is an oxymoron and anarchism’s time may have come, argues this wide-ranging, stimulating book
“Civilisation is in crisis,” warned the EAT-Lancet international commission of food scientists last year. “We can no longer feed our population a healthy diet while balancing planetary resources. For the first time in 200,000 years of human history, we are severely out of synchronisation with the planet and nature.” We face climate crisis, ecological destruction, record obesity rates and rising hunger: food is threatening our future.
Carolyn Steel recognises these challenges, but she also sees food as “by far the most powerful medium available to us for thinking and acting together to change the world for the better”. By reconfiguring our relationship with food, she argues, we can find new and better ways of living that will arrest the damage we are doing to ourselves and the Earth.
Our world, Steel writes, is a “Sitopia”, a “food place” – from the Greek words sitos and topos – where everything from our environment to our societies to our bodies has been affected by our relationship with food, which “preceded us, anticipates us, sustains us”. It shapes our lives, but since its influence is so pervasive, we often fail to notice it. Thinking about its realities can also make us uncomfortable. We don’t want to know about the vast cruelty of industrialised meat and dairy production, the exploitation of migrant labourers, the deforestation and drought that are eating into the landscape of the global south, or how our addiction to processed foods is making us fat and ill.
The toxic core of our current conundrum is the lack of value we place on food. “Cheap food is an oxymoron,” Steel argues – low supermarket prices hide the costs of pollution, ecological destruction, poverty and obesity. She calls for a revelation of the true cost of food that will make industrial agriculture unaffordable and invigorate ecologically produced organic food, creating a “virtuous cycle” in which “the market would favour foods that nurtured nature, animals and people”.
When people finish their day and hurry home, his day starts. His diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it “Midnight Diner”. Pork, Miso soup combo, Beer, Sake and Shochu is all that he has on his menu. Nevertheless, he makes whatever his customers request – as long as he has the ingredients for it: that is his policy. Does he even have customers? More than you would expect.
Based on a 2009 TV Series of the same name (which in turn is based on a 2006 Japanese manga comic book of the same title – Shinya Shokudo by Yaro Abe) the Midnight Diner is about a cook who runs a small eatery at the backstreets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Square, open only from Midnight to 7 am. The cook is known only as “Master” and his specialty is that he will cook whatever a customer wants, for as long as he has the ingredients.
In Midnight Diner 2, a literary editor is mourning the death of one of her writers, a soba noodle restaurant owner wonders why her son won’t take over her business and an elderly woman is tricked by scammers into paying them millions of yen for her son.
Starring Kaoru Kobayashi as Master Directed by Joji Matsuoka.
It is said that adulterating olive oil makes more money than cocaine with none of the risks. 1Extra Virginity : The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil We do need to know a few practical things as to how to assess olive oil when we find ourselves staring at all those bottles and brands neatly arranged on supermarket shelves. Here are a few practical tips to help you choose decent olive oil – wherever it comes from.
The olive oil bottle
Make: many brands pack olive oil in plastic bottles made of PVC. Well, there’s a problem here: olive oil is somewhat corrosive, so, the bottle’s PVC does seep into the oil – particularly so when those plastic PVC olive oil bottles have been stored in warehouses for months. The bottle of choice is made of glass.
Colour: olive oil is destroyed by light (be it sunlight or artificial; sunlight is the worst). The colour of the olive oil bottle should be either dark green or dark brown.
Practical olive oil quality tests
Testing for serious olive oil adulteration: put the olive oil bottle in the refrigerator and wait for an hour or so. If the oil becomes murky and cloudy, it’s good. If it doesn’t, then the olive oil contains other things in it.
Testing for quality: pour some extra virgin olive oil in a bowl and squeeze the juice of half a lemon in it. Beat the mixture with a fork until it becomes cloudy and inseparable. Leave it on the side and forget about it.
Much later check to see if the olive-oil-and-lemon mixture has separated into two distinctive layers. If it hasn’t, you’re good to go. If it has, then the oil is either adulterated or of inferior, definitely-not-extra-virgin quality. If it hasn’t, you’re good to go.
Store in a dark place which is neither too cold nor too hot. Excessive air in the bottle (say, a bottle that is 2/3rds empty) kept for months in a pantry may have gone rancid. If you’re not using olive oil often then do smell and taste before you use it.
If you’re buying olive oil in tin-cans, then do transfer that oil to glass bottles. Tin cans do suffer from corrosion too, and it’s never a good idea to leave them half-empty for a long time.
My name is Chris and I live in Toronto, Canada. Among other things I am running this food blog.
In my ancestral Greek Mediterranean home we always cooked and ate the produce of that land in the ways of that land. In North America my very mention of “olive oil” or “Greek food” or “Italian food” triggers in others a Pavlov’s Dog response on the health benefits and wonders of “The Mediterranean Diet” – as if people in Florence, Algiers, Ljubljana, Cairo, Marseilles, Tel Aviv, Athens or Izmir are somehow… indistinguishable in how they cook, what they eat and how they eat it.
Curious as to the origins of this confusion and misinformation I came to realize that the “Mediterranean Diet” is a media-driven idea that started becoming a household concept in the early nineties, when “in 1993 the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a guide to help familiarize people with the most common foods of the region” . (Read on.)
The gist of their story translates to “if you follow the ‘Diet’ practised in ‘The Mediterranean’ you may achieve ‘heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease.’”1US News – What is the Mediterranean Diet?
There are major problems with the “Mediterranean Diet” story.
The first problem has to do with the blatant injustice the “Mediterranean Diet” story inflicts on the diverse, disparate and delicious cuisines of the +400 million people living around the Mediterranean Sea. The term “Mediterranean Diet” suggests that all the countries and regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea cook and eat in the same way – hence the name. As we shall see the culinary reality of the Mediterranean countries and regions is outright inapplicable to the notion of an implied “Mediterranean Diet”.
The second problem has to do with the real fact that no-one is able to offer a clear, unambiguous definition of the much promoted “Mediterranean Diet”. They call it a “diet” but, in reality, they present “dietary patterns”, “eating patterns” or “eating plans” that are supposedly shared by “the Mediterranean”. As we shall see, these terms, often used loosely in everyday speech, are not interchangeable: a “diet” is not the same as an “eating pattern” when medical/health claims are involved.
The third problem has to do with the credibility of the science supporting the medical/health claims this “eating-pattern-called-diet” of “the Mediterranean” is all about. As we shall see, the statistical correlation of dietary patterns is at best inadequate as a method to supply the necessary link between dietary cause and medical effect that the “Mediterranean Diet” story purports to provide.
In this post/article I am jotting down certain thoughts as to why, in my mind, the much promoted “Mediterranean Diet” story is pure diet-fiction. As I was researching the subject I came to realize that yes, there is truth in some of this; but that truth is not “Mediterranean” at all.
What’s in a name?
The “Mediterranean Diet” story suggests that all cultures bordering the Mediterranean Sea constitute a homogeneous region that grows the same produce and cooks and eats food in the same, indistinguishable way. Otherwise… why call it “Mediterranean”?
In actuality the Mediterranean Sea is the geographic nexus of 3 Continents, 24 countries, 12 languages, 4 religions and +400 million people. We will probably be surprised to know that the majority of the population of the Mediterranean is Muslim.
In terms of food and cooking the countries and cultures bordering the Mediterranean could not be more disparate. For example, Crete (Greece, Europe) is about 300 km or 186 miles away from Libya (Africa) on a straight line. This is the same amount of distance separating New York from Boston and less than the distance between Toronto and Ottawa. Regardless of the geographical proximity, the Libyans abhor pork; but the Cretans adore it in every shape and form.
The same level of disparity characterizes the food and cooking of Florence and Algiers, Izmir and Tel-Aviv and Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Cairo – among others. To better illustrate the point let’s compare a popular Slovenian dish (Bograč) to a popular Egyptian dish (Koshari)
You will probably agree with me that, metaphorically speaking, these two represent the two sides of the Moon. That is no surprise when one takes into account the lands, or terroirs, these two recipes come from.
Yes, Slovenia and Egypt are both on the Mediterranean Sea.
So, what do you think? Does it look like the respective diets of where these two dishes come from, namely Egypt and Slovenia, can “differ slightly” as Harvard says they do? (Read on.)
The list of the cultural and dietary differences comprising the Mediterranean basin is long. Some of the most significant include the following:
The minority of the Mediterranean peoples (Christians) eat pork and drink alcohol.
The majority of the Mediterranean peoples (Muslims) abhor pork and alcohol.
The Jewish people of the Mediterranean do not eat pork, do not mix meat and dairy, do not eat seafood but do drink alcohol.
The Muslims of the Mediterranean do not eat pork, eat seafood and they mix meat and dairy.
The Christians of the Mediterranean eat pork and seafood, drink alcohol and also mix meat with dairy.
The Muslims of the Mediterranean follow the Ramadan (a 30-day period of consuming neither food nor drink from sunrise to sunset).
The Christian Catholics fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstain from meat on all Fridays during their 40-day Lent and all Fridays through the year are fish-only but there are no dietary restrictions on meat-based sauces and gravies or animal fat.
The Greek Orthodox Christians fast at regular intervals from 95 to +120 days per year. During the fasts and Lents they abstain from any and all animal products, including eggs and fish, but not seafood. For the rest of the year they drink alcohol in moderation and eat red meat, white meat and fish roughly once a week or 72 times per year (total including all three categories).
Religious dietary differences may not present themselves as significant to the modern reader. However, they were very significant at the time of initial research, namely in the 1950s and 1960s because people back then did observe dietary stipulations imposed by religion.
So far, we established differences among the culinary cultures of the Mediterranean. Are there any similarities that can actually justify the suggestion of a “Mediterranean Diet”?
Um… actually, no.
When it comes to food,
“The Mediterranean countries have one thing in common: they border the Mediterranean Sea. Apart from that, they vary in religion, culture, ethnicity, economy, political status, and food supply. Consequently, the diet varies from place to place and country to country. It has been difficult to find a common denominator for all the countries, but several of them seem to have in common the use of locally produced foodstuffs, like vegetables and olive oil.”2Kiple, K. E., & Ornelas, K. C. (Eds.). (2000) The history and culture of food and drink in Europe Cambridge World History of Food (Vol. 1, pp. 1193–1203). Cambridge, UK Cambridge University Press
It seems that the much-promoted idea of the “Mediterranean Diet” has very little to do with the Mediterranean itself.
Well, in fact, it is not even a diet.
What is “The Mediterranean Diet”?
I ran a web search on “Mediterranean Diet, definition”. Alas. Instead of a definition, all I ended up with is the consistent lack of definition. Here are some of the results. Emphasis is mine.
There’s no one book or website to follow if you want to learn about the Mediterranean diet, and there’s no one way to structure a meal plan around it. …/… The Mediterranean diet also includes alcohol in moderation—traditionally, wine with meals —and encourages sitting down to meals as a family or a group, rather than rushing through them on-the-go.
…/… While there is no single definition of the Mediterranean diet, …/… Other important elements of the Mediterranean diet are sharing meals with family and friends, enjoying a glass of red wine and being physically active.
The Mediterranean diet as a nutritional recommendation is different from the cultural practices that UNESCOlisted in 2010 under the heading “Mediterranean diet” on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity: “a set of skills, knowledge, rituals, symbols and traditions concerning crops, harvesting, fishing, animal husbandry, conservation, processing, cooking, and particularly the sharing and consumption of food”, not as a particular set of foods. Its sponsors include Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Greece, Cyprus, and Croatia.
The Mediterranean Diet may offer a host of health benefits, including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease. There isn’t “a” Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles.
There’s no one “Mediterranean” diet. At least 16 countries border the Mediterranean Sea. Diets vary between these countries and also between regions within a country. Many differences in culture, ethnic background, religion, economy and agricultural production result in different diets. But the common Mediterranean dietary pattern has these characteristics:
high consumption of fruits, vegetables, bread and other cereals, potatoes, beans,nuts and seeds
olive oil is an important monounsaturated fat source
dairy products, fish and poultry are consumed in low to moderate amounts, andlittle red meat is eaten
The traditional diets of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea differ slightly so there are different versions of the Mediterranean diet. However, in 1993 the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a guide to help familiarize people with the most common foods of the region.
More of an eating pattern than a strictly regimented diet plan, the pyramid emphasized certain foods based on the dietary traditions of Crete, Greece, and southern Italy during the mid-20th century. [1,2] At that time, these countries displayed low rates of chronic disease and higher than average adult life expectancy despite having limited access to healthcare. It was believed that the diet—mainly fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, ﬁsh, olive oil, small amounts of dairy, and red wine—contributed to their health benefits. The pyramid also highlighted daily exercise and the beneficial social aspects of eating meals together.
There are additional points that make this eating plan [Mediterranean Diet] unique:
An emphasis on healthy fats. Olive oil is recommended as the primary added fat, replacing other oils and fats (butter, margarine). Other foods naturally containing healthful fats are highlighted, such as avocados, nuts, and oily fish like salmon and sardines; among these, walnuts and fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Choosing fish as the preferred animal protein at least twice weekly and other animal proteins of poultry, eggs, and dairy (cheese or yogurt) in smaller portions either daily or a few times a week. Red meat is limited to a few times per month.
Stressing daily physical activity through enjoyable activities.
Confusion reigns supreme
Do I really need a PhD to figure out that confusion reigns supreme, here?
From the 24 countries around the Mediterranean Sea only 6 endorse the idea of a “Mediterranean Diet”. The 7th country endorsing it, namely Portugal, does not even border the Mediterranean. It is situated entirely on the Atlantic Ocean.
If we are to include Portugal in the Mediterranean what prevents us from including Austria in the list? After all, Austria’s border is only 90 km or 56 miles away from the Mediterranean coast. Portugal’s border is more than 200 km or 124 miles away from the Med.
The majority of the sources consider the (24) Mediterranean countries as having “common (dietary) principles”.
Well… as we already saw, they don’t. The only things they share is vegetables and olive oil – much in the same sense that East Asia shares vegetables and soy sauce. Is this enough to support the idea of “common dietary principles” in the Mediterranean? (Nope.)
UNESCO again (by way of Wikipedia) considers “The Mediterranean Diet” to be a set of skills, knowledge, etc. instead of a particular set of foods.
This definition of the “Mediterranean Diet” does not even involve… food!
Harvard, (yes, Harvard) recommends… avocados and salmon as ingredients of the “Mediterranean Diet eating plan”.
Well, avocados and salmon are neither indigenous to the Mediterranean, nor are they – or have ever been – a food staple of the Mediterranean.
The same Harvard suggests that the “Mediterranean Diet” has “different versions” because the countries bordering the Mediterranean “differ slightly”.
We did compare a popular Slovenian dish to a popular Egyptian dish. We also saw pictures of the lands they respectively come from. Do they “differ slightly”? A common mortal like myself would not dare suggest that the dietary differences between Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Cairo (Egypt), or between pork-adoring Barcelona and pork-abhorring Algiers, or between meat-and-dairy loving Izmir and meat-and-dairy detesting Tel-Aviv is… “slight”. But Harvard can.
Further on to Harvard’s description of “the Mediterranean Diet” we read that it is “More of an eating pattern than a strictly regimented diet plan”.
If it’s an eating pattern why do they call it a diet? If it’s a diet, why do they call it an eating pattern? As we shall see these terms are not interchangeable when medical/health claims are involved.
And, here’s the best part: all but one (UNESCO) of the aforementioned sources accept moderate amounts of alcohol, mostly red wine, as an integral part of the “Mediterranean Diet”.
Well, more than half (that is: +200 million) of the Mediterranean population is Muslim: alcohol is Haram (forbidden) to them by religion – particularly so in the cultural context of the 1950’s – 1960’s when initial research took place. So, what are they talking about?
All in all, no one here is in position to offer a single, unambiguous definition of the alleged diet of the Mediterranean.
At the same time, almost all of them are quite busy describing the magnificent health benefits of the “pattern” or “principles” of a diet that has no single, unambiguous and clear definition.
So, why and how on earth did the “Mediterranean Diet” fiction become a household concept?
As the story goes…
After World War II the Greek government was concerned about the living conditions of the population and saw the need to improve these conditions. They invited the Rockefeller Foundation to carry out a major epidemiological survey on the island of Crete to find out how best to raise the standard of living for the population. The epidemiologist Allbaugh (1953) carried out an investigation into the life of the population in Crete. Included in this study was a survey of the dietary characteristics of the members of one out of every 150 households on the island.
The survey of the dietary characteristics showed that the population had a mainly vegetarian diet, with a lot of cereals, vegetables, fruits, and nuts and only small amounts of milk, meat, and fish. Olive oil and bread were part of every meal, and wine was consumed in moderate amounts. Wild herbs were also gathered and used.
Although Allbaugh and the Rockefeller Foundation were the first to record the diet in Crete, Keys was the person who first showed an interest in the diets in southern Italy and Crete and possible health effects. He noticed the very low rates of heart disease in the regions, and together with colleagues, he started a series of investigations in seven countries into diet and other factors that could cause coronary disease.3From Greece To Norway With Useful Knowledge.
From then on…
The concept of a Mediterranean diet was developed to reflect “food patterns typical of Crete, much of the rest of Greece, and Italy in the early 1960s”. Although it was first publicized in 1975 by the American biologist Ancel Keys and chemist Margaret Keys the Mediterranean diet failed to gain widespread recognition until the 1990s. Objective data showing that Mediterranean diet is healthful originated from results of epidemiological studies in Naples and Madrid, confirmed later by the Seven Countries Study, first published in 1970, and a book-length report in 1980.4Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mediterranean_diet#cite_note-1
…/… in 1993 the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization introduced the Mediterranean Diet Pyramid as a guide to help familiarize people with the most common foods of the region. 5The Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health.
Leland G. Allbaugh researched the diet of the Cretan Greeks between 1949 and 1951, and published a study called “Crete: A Case Study of an Underdeveloped Area” in 1953. He found that although the diet of the Cretan Greeks of that time was scarce, their health was excellent.
Inspired by Allbaugh’s study, Ancel Keys et al. embarked on their famous (or infamous) “Seven Countries Study”. Although said study did include… Japan, it was accepted as the scientific base for the medical/ health attributes of the “Mediterranean Diet” idea.
Many years after that, in 1993, the Harvard School of Public Health, Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust, and the European Office of the World Health Organization published their “Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid” – thus cementing and promoting the idea of a “Diet” of the “Mediterranean”. The media – and others – took it from there.
As we can clearly see, the entire “Mediterranean Diet” discourse sprang from Allbaugh’s research in Crete, Greece c.1950.
What did Allbaugh find in Crete, Greece, between 1949 and 1951?
Allbaugh, Crete and the missing attribute
Leland G. Allbaugh was an epidemiologist and an Assistant Director in the Social Sciences department of the Rockefeller Foundation. Shortly after WWII the Rockefeller Foundation accepted the Greek Government’s invitation to conduct an epidemiological survey on the island of Crete citing, among other things, that:
“Crete has been almost untouched by the industrial revolution or by the technological changes in agriculture which have accompanied the development of modern science. Its population, for the most part, is descended from families that have inhabited the land for generations, and the manner of living has not essentially changed for centuries. Over 80 per cent of the people live in rural areas, giving their major effort to the raising of food.” 6Rockefeller Foundation, Annual Report, 1949, p.41.
Starting in 1949, Allbaugh’s team researched the diet and way of life of the Cretans for two years. Much to their astonishment, they found the opposite of the famine and malnutrition they assumed to expect.
In Crete, expecting to find widespread malnutrition, Allbaugh’s researchers instead discovered the local diet to be “surprisingly good” and noted that the Cretans had an exceedingly low rate of chronic Western diseases. They suffered about a third as many heart disease-related deaths as Americans at the time and had barely any incidence of cancer. No matter how underdeveloped Crete might have been in terms of roads, plumbing and other typical markers of “progress,” it seemed they were far ahead of the U.S. when it came to eating well. 7Eating Well
Unfortunately, the one thing Allbaugh did not mention in his study was that the diet of the Cretan Greeks c.1950 was dictated by the strictly regimented Greek Orthodox dietary code.
In reverse, given that the place was Crete, Greece and the time period was 1949-1951, Allbaugh could not have researched or studied something other than the daily life application of the Greek Orthodox dietary code – practised by the overwhelming majority of the Cretan Greeks in their daily lives back then.
The Greek Orthodox dietary code calls for Lents and fasting at regular intervals for a total number of days ranging from 95 to +120 days per year. The major Lents and fasts of the Greek Orthodox are spread out in three main periods: 40 days before Christmas, 40 to 48 days before Easter and 15 days before August 15. The strongly devout also follow other minor fasts and Lents among these three periods, increasing the total number of Lent and fast days to approx. 200 days per year.
During their Lents and fasts the Greek Orthodox abstain from any and all animal products, including eggs and fish – with the exception of seafood.
During the regular, non-Lent, periods the Greek Orthodox go vegetarian for 4 days per week and drink alcohol only in moderation. They eat red meat, white meat and fish roughly once a week per category. The result is something like 24 fish dishes, 24 white meat dishes and 24 red meat dishes… per year.
This was the diet (as opposed to “eating pattern”) whose results Allbaugh’s study observed as beneficial to the health of the Cretan Greeks c.1950.
I suggest that the results of Allbaugh’s research c.1950 were subsequently generalized by others, namely Ancel Keys et al., to apply to other countries or regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea.
Ancel Keys et al. reached scientific fame (or infamy) with their Seven Countries Study. Here’s a section from the abstract:
“Ancel Keys and his Italian colleague Flaminio Fidanza and their SCS colleagues were central to the modern recognition, definition, and promotion of the eating pattern they found in Italy and Greece in the 1950s and ’60s, now popularly called “The Mediterranean Diet.” They showed together with their colleagues that dietary patterns in the Mediterranean and in Japan in the 1960s were associated with low rates of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality.”
The number of Mediterranean countries Keys et al. included in the Study was only three: Greece, Italy and two regions (now countries) of former Yugoslavia: Croatia and Serbia. It is worth mentioning that Serbia is landlocked – it does not extend to the Mediterranean Sea. 9Serbia is Greek Orthodox but during the time of the Seven Countries Study Serbia was a part of Communist Yugoslavia. Communist rule actively discouraged and suppressed expression of religion in Serbia during that time. But let us choose to forego this “detail” and carry on.
The medical/health nature of the claims attributed to the Seven Countries Study’s “Mediterranean” eating/dietary patterns and/or principles (e.g. reduced heart disease and all-cause mortality etc.) suggest a proven and unambiguous link between dietary cause and medical effect. As many have since pointed out, this may not have been the case.
Effectively, Ancel Keys et al. linked the medical/health attributes of the religious dietary code of the Greek Orthodox Cretan Greeks to “eating patterns” or “dietary patterns” found elsewhere in the Mediterranean by way of… correlating mortality statistics and F.A.O. balance sheets. 10The Truth About Ancel Keys: We’ve Got It All Wrong
Can statistical correlation link dietary cause to medical effect?
Um… no, it can’t.
Statistical correlation is unable to prove causation.
For example, if “the consumption of ice cream and the number of murders in New York are positively correlated (i.e. both rising) then as the amount of ice cream sold per person increases, the number of murders increases”. The statement is statistically correct. But can you seriously suggest that the number of murders in New York increases because people in New York began eating more ice cream?11How Statistical Correlation and Causation Are Different
In plain language, Ancel Keys et al. statistically correlated apples to bananas suggesting that “eating patterns” found elsewhere in “the Mediterranean” (bananas) can be linked to the good health stemming from the religious dietary code of the Cretan Greeks c.1950 (apples).
Their method and results left a lot to be desired. E.g. among other regions they also included Greece’s Crete and Corfu in the Seven Countries Study.
…/… However, the diets of these two islands, Crete and Corfu differed from each other rather markedly with an appreciably higher fat content in Crete. Moreover, the available evidence on the Greek diet in the 1960s is limited to only two specific and possibly atypical and unrepresentative island sites, so it would be unwise to extrapolate the diets of either of these islands to the main-land as only 5 and 1% of the Greek population lives in Crete and Corfu.12The high-fat Greek diet: a recipe for all? European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2002)
If this is how two regions of the same country compare, what would an all-out comparison of the multitude of countries, regions, cultures and religions bordering the entire Mediterranean Sea be like, I wonder?
Anyhow, the scientific community of the time had few good things to say about the conclusions of the Seven Countries Study. But, at any rate, Ancel and Margaret Keys captured North American imagination by publishing two diet books revolving around their study – Eat Well and Stay Well in 1959 and How to eat well and stay well. The Mediterranean way in 1975. Their books became best-sellers and the rest is history.
But why and how did Keys brand his science in a manner that implies a single “diet” that is purporting to be characteristic of “the Mediterranean”?
I cannot be certain as to why. But there can be an explanation as to how. Let us now examine the wonders of reverse causality.
Reverse Causality and the Mediterranean diet – fiction
… identifying reverse causality is sometimes a matter of “common sense.” For example, a study might find that brown spots on the skin and sunbathing are linked. While it is plausible that sunbathing can cause brown skin spots, it’s highly unlikely that the brown spots cause sunbathing.
This gives us a handle to better understand how Allbaugh’s Cretan Greek brown skin spots came to cause… Mediterranean sunbathing. To better illustrate the point let’s employ a few direct yet equally absurd analogies.
The Lake Ontario Diet
You research the diet of the Torontonians and you somehow find that it results in less heart disease compared to “eating patterns” found elsewhere around Lake Ontario. Alright. Would you name the diet of the Torontonians “The Lake Ontario Diet”? (Nope.)
The Great Lakes Diet
Had Detroit, Michigan followed a diet somehow leading to less heart disease compared to “eating patterns” found elsewhere around the Great Lakes… would you name the diet of Detroit “The Great Lakes Diet”? (Nope.)
The East China Sea Diet
The Seven Countries Study also associates the diet of Japan to low rates of coronary heart disease and all-cause mortality.
China, Korea and Japan share the East China Sea. In fact they share soy sauce and vegetables much in the same way that Greece, Italy and Egypt share vegetables and olive oil.
Would you name the diet of Japan “The East China Sea Diet”?
If the suggestion of an East China Sea Diet is unacceptable, how is the suggestion of a Mediterranean (Sea) Diet reasonable?
Why not, then, also equate “Astronomy” with “Astrology”? After all, they both have the word “Astro” in common.
The bottom line here is that, in light of the information above, plain common sense is able to dismiss the idea of a “diet” of the “Mediterranean” as the obvious, perhaps preposterous, by-product of reverse causality.
Nevertheless, Harvard, the Oldways Preservation and Exchange Trust and the European Office of the W.H.O. were indeed able to propose and promote such reverse a causality with their “Mediterranean Diet Pyramid”, summa cum laude.
Wondrous, isn’t it?
The Mediterranean diet – fiction : concluding remarks
Have you ever walked away from a medical doctor’s office holding in your hand a piece of paper listing “patterns of medication”? If you have, chances are that your region’s medical board would like to know about it. But you haven’t. You walk away with a prescription, dictating how much of what you should be taking when and for how long to achieve a certain health goal.
It is the same with diets. You consult a dietitian because there’s a medical/health goal you want or need to achieve. You don’t walk away from her/his office waving “eating patterns”. You go away with clear instructions as to how much of what to eat when and for how long. In my mind that’s what the word diet means (or ought to mean) when medical/health claims are involved.
As such, plain common sense is telling me that if I am hoping to imbibe “weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, diabetes prevention and control, etc.” chances are that following “no one way of structuring a meal” around “eating patterns” portrayed to represent a “diet” that is supposedly shared by a so disparate and heterogeneous a region as “the Mediterranean”… will not get me very far.
On the other hand, following a regimented diet may give me a better chance of staying healthy through cooking and eating, as shown by the Cretan Greeks’ centuries-old Orthodox diet, all the way up to the 1950’s.
As this point I feel totally comfortable to freely and summarily dismiss the “Mediterranean Diet” idea as pure diet-fiction. It ran its course. It is now time to move on; embrace applied, shared human wisdom and eat happily ever after.
Based on a 2009 TV Series of the same title (which in turn is based on a 2006 Japanese manga comic book of the same title – Shinya Shokudo by Yaro Abe) the Midnight Diner is about a cook who runs a small eatery at the backstreets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Square, open only from Midnight to 7 am.
The cook is known only as “Master” and his specialty is that he will cook whatever a customer wants, for as long as he has the ingredients.
The story of this film revolves around an abandoned obituary urn which the Master discovers in the diner. Follow the stories of his regulars tangled around this urn.
Starring Kaoru Kobayashi as Master Directed by Joji Matsuoka.
A more complex yet similar dish to Mujadara (rice and lentils), Koshari is considered to be Egypt’s national dish: a delicious comfort-food meal that is sometimes made from left overs: if you happen to already have a bit of chickpeas, a bit of lentils and a bit of rice left over in the fridge all you have to do is make the sauces, crisp or caramelize some onions and boil some pasta. The secret ingredient here is the vinegar: it breaks down the carbohydrates Koshari is all about. (See Notes, below.)
Serves: 8 people Cooking time: 60-70 minutes You will need: 3 saucepans, 1 frying pan, 3 pots, 3 mixing bowls, 1 serving platter and 4 sauce bowls for serving. If you have just a few pots and pans then wash them as you go. Soaking: If you’re not using canned chickpeas then soak your chickpeas overnight. Next day drain, rinse and cook them before you start cooking the Koshari.
For the crispy onion garnish
2 onions cut into thin rings,
½ cup olive oil,
For the tomato sauce
1 onion grated or diced,
4 cloves of garlic, crushed,
1 Tsp ground coriander,
1 Tsp chili flakes,
3 cups tomato puree (a.k.a. tomato coulis or passata). Tinned is OK.
1 Tbsp olive oil,
3 Tbsp vinegar (preferably apple cider).
For the cumin sauce
2 Tsp crushed garlic,
2 Tbsp ground cumin,
4 Tbsp olive oil,
6 Tbsp water,
6 Tbsp vinegar (preferably apple cider),
For the Koshari
1 cup brown lentils well-rinsed and drained,
1+ ½ cup of canned chickpeas (15 oz or 425 g) or ½ cup of dried chickpeas you cooked the day before.
1 cup white rice previously soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, then drained,
2 cups pasta, preferably ditali, tubetti, or elbow. If you don’t have this kind of pasta in the pantry then just crack into small pieces whatever normal thickness pasta you happen to have and use that instead,
½ Tsp salt,
½ Tsp pepper,
½ Tsp ground coriander,
Water – some of it hot.
If you’re not using canned chickpeas then you need to soak your chickpeas in cold water overnight.
Wash the rice [link] and put it in a bowl to soak for 15 minutes.
Wash the lentils and put them aside.
While the rice is soaking…
In a saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil.
Add the grated onion, cook over medium-high heat until the onion becomes a little golden and translucent (not brown).
Add the garlic, coriander and chili flakes and saute briefly.
Add the tomatoes and salt.
Bring to a boil and cook at medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
Add the vinegar, lower the heat and simmer for another 3-4 minutes or so.
Turn off the fire, cover and keep the sauce warm until you’re ready to serve.
While the tomato sauce is cooking…
In a saucepan, saute the garlic and cumin until they are fragrant. It will take about 30 seconds.
Add the vinegar, water, and salt.
Cover and set aside.
Put the lentils in a pot, add 3 cups of cold water turn the fire on and bring to boil.
Reduce the fire and cook over low heat for about 15 minutes or until the lentils are slightly tender. You don’t want them fully cooked. You want them half-cooked.
Drain and season with salt.
Drain the rice that has soaked for 15 minutes.
Take a mixing bowl and mix the half-cooked lentils and the rice.
Season with salt and pepper and add the coriander. Mix well.
Time for a heavy pot if you have one: put it on the stove, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and turn the fire on to medium-high heat.
Add the rice and lentil mixture and saute for about 3 minutes, gently stirring constantly.
Add about 3 cups of hot water to cover the ingredients.
Bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, until the rice and lentils absorb the liquid and are cooked through. During the process you can add more hot water if necessary. Important tip: do not stir.
Turn off the fire and half-cover with a lid.
Macaroni / Pasta
While the rice and lentils cook, prepare the macaroni according to the directions on the package. Basically: bring the water to a boil, add salt, and cook them to al dente.
Rinse and drain the chickpeas.
Put them in a pan under very low fire to warm up. They should not be hot.
Crispy onion garnish
Pat dry your rings of raw onions with a paper towel.
In a large pan or skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Saute the onions, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until they caramelize. You wan them crisp. You don’t want them burnt.
Set them aside.
First layer: rice and lentils: use a fork to fluff the mixture in the pot. Arrange it as your first layer in your serving dish.
Next layer: chickpeas.
Next layer: macaroni / pasta.
Next layer: drizzle half of the tomato sauce.
Next layer: drizzle half the cumin sauce.
Next layer: half the crispy onions.
Put the remaining sauces and onions in separate bowls and serve on the side.
Notes on Koshari
When you first cook Koshari it might seem like a big deal. This is why Koshari is often made with left over lentils, rice and chickpeas, namely: small amounts from other meals that you might otherwise throw away. (Why throw food away?) So, if you really enjoyed this recipe then each time you cook lentils, rice and chickpeas you can make a little extra so that you can put together a Koshari a few days later.
Can also wrap it up in a falafel pita bread if you’d like to make a sandwich out of it.
Regarding the chickpeas: you can soak them in cold water overnight and cook them the next day; or use canned chickpeas – the choice is yours.
The copious amount of vinegar used in Koshari not only gives it the tangy, sharp flavour people love. It also helps break down the carbohydrates Koshari is all about. Also, the amount of iron the cumin sauce contains is impressive. Read more here. (Scroll down to the post’s Notes.)
Important tip: the recipe uses many pots and pans. If you have just two or three, just wash them as you go. (Less work to do at the end, n’est-ce pas?)
Bograč is a one-pot stew recipe, somewhat evocative of the Hungarian Goulash. (The Slovenian region were the recipe comes from used to be part of Hungary up to 1919.) Calling for three kinds of meat, namely venison or boar, beef and pork, Bograč is so popular that it is often referred to as one of the national dishes of Slovenia.
Serves: 6 to 8 Cooking time: 2 to 4 hours You will need: one big enough pot or dutch oven
1 Tbsp of lard or butter,
500 g (1 Lb) venison or boar, thick cut, sliced in half,
500 g (1 Lb) beef (shank),
500 g (1 Lb) pork (chuck), thick cut, sliced in half,
1 + ½ kg (3 Lbs) onions, diced,
1 kg (2 Lbs) potatoes, cut in half or in quarters (see Notes),
1 red pepper, diced,
at least 1 cup of wine (red, white or both),
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and crushed,
2-3 bay leaves,
2 Tsp of paprika,
2 tomatoes, diced,
10 -15 peppercorns,
1 pinch of ground pepper,
1 Tsp of marjoram,
1 chopped green chili pepper (without the seeds),
Take a big enough pot or dutch oven and put it on the stove.
Put the lard or butter in, and turn on the fire to medium high.
Wait for the butter or lard to melt and thrown the onions in.
Saute the onions until they are translucent.
Add your diced red pepper and crushed garlic and cook until the pepper softens.
Now, add the meat in the following order. As you do this, if needed, add a little hot water to keep things from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Venison or boar goes in first. Brown it for 15 minutes.
Then 15 minutes later in comes the beef.
Then, 30 minutes later, after the beef, add the pork.
Add your herbs, spices and the diced tomatoes.
Add enough hot water to barely cover the ingredients, cover the pot and simmer in low fire for 1 + ½ hours, until the meat is almost done. Don’t add too much hot water; it’s better to add hot water as you go or it might turn to soup (and you don’t want that).
Add salt and simmer for a little longer, say 10 to 15 minutes.
Then add the potatoes and more hot water if needed to keep the ingredients covered.
When the potatoes are done (sliding down your testing fork) add the wine.
Simmer for another 10 minutes and you’re done.
Notes on Bograč
The wine gives Bograč its distinctive flavour, so, bear that in mind when you choose your cooking wine. Red wine works better; white wine will do.
Die hard Bograč fans simmer for four hours in very low fire instead of two hours in low fire. If that’s the case, then there’s a problem with the potatoes: letting them simmer for too long will turn them to mush. So, cut the potatoes in half instead of quarters and follow the recipe as is. Or, add the potatoes in the last 20 to 30 minutes. If they are new or small potatoes you can put them in whole, without cutting them.
If you’re going for the four-hour simmer, you may want to cut down on hot water so that Bograč is cooked in its own juices. So, instead of adding hot water as it cooks, add more wine.
To help the meat remain tender while cooking add your salt towards the end of the process and not at the beginning.
The meat will shrink while cooking so it’s better for the raw portion to be thick. You can always cut it smaller when serving.
Like all other stews Bograč will taste better the next, or even the third day after cooking.
In Germany Pickled Turnips are called Sauerruben, in Slovenia they are called Kisla Repa, in Russia they are called Marinovannaya Repa, in other countries or regions they go by different names. It is a popular side dish or recipe ingredient in many countries and regions where the winter cold can be really felt. It can also be a refreshing side dish when served chilled in the heat of the summer.
Fermentation time: 5 to 7 days You will need: a mixing bowl and clean jars with lids.
1 Kg (2 Lbs) turnips, ends trimmed, peeled and shredded.
1 Tbsp and 1 Tsp of salt.
The rough proportion is 2 Tbsp of pickling salt for every 1+1/2 Kg (3 Lbs) of vegetables.
Optional: whatever spice you may feel like using.
For the brine : 2 Tbsp of salt per 1 litre of water.
Trim the ends of your turnips, peel them and slice them lengthwise, to a quarter of the vegetable’s thickness. The idea is that you cut your turnips as thin as French fries but half the length of French fries.
Put the turnips in a mixing bowl and add salt together the spice(s) you may want to add.
Scoop the turnips from the bowl and pack them relatively tight (but not too tight) in your jars. The idea is that you want the brine to reach everywhere in the jar. Make sure you leave enough room between the top layer of your turnips and the lid, ideally about 4 cm or 1.5 in.
Wait a little. You will see juices coming out of the turnips.
Add the brine and gently press the vegetables a little more down the jar. The idea is that you want the vegetables submerged in the brine.
Add more brine, almost to the brim of the jar.
Close the jar with the lid, but not tightly: fermentation creates gases and you need them to escape.
Store the jars in a dark place with temperature ranging between 21C to 24C (70F-80F) and wait for about 5 days. Lower storage temperatures will delay the fermentation process. E.g. storing at 16C (60F) will add 2 more days to the fermentation process. You can ferment your turnips even longer if you wish – there is no harm there.
During the fermentation process you will notice tiny bubbles on the top of the liquid. This is normal. When the bubbling stops, the fermentation process is over.
After the fermentation process is over you can tighten the lids and store them in your fridge. You can keep your fully fermented Pickled Turnips in the refrigerator for several months. (See Notes below.)
Notes on Pickled Turnips
You can also add other vegetables in the mix, such as carrots.
The water you will use for the brine should be de-chlorinated. You can do this by filling a pot of water and leaving it without a lid on the counter or stove for 24 hours; or you can boil the water and then let it completely cool off to room temperature; or you can use water from the tap filtered by any active charcoal filter you may be using.
The quality of salt is important. Do use sea salt, Kosher salt or pickling salt.
Use firm and fresh turnips of any variety – rutabaga included.
Caution: if your pickled turnips become soft, slimy, or develop a disagreeable smell then do discard them.
Cumin, known in India as Jeera, is a common spice in the cuisines of Middle East, India, Mexico and elsewhere. This is an easy, generic cumin sauce that can be used with rice or meat or whatever needs spicing towards a certain direction.
Cooking time: less than 5 minutes You will need: a saucepan
2 Tsp crushed garlic
2 Tbsp ground cumin
4 Tbsp olive oil
6 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp vinegar- be it apple cider vinegar or wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Turn the fire on to medium heat and put the saucepan on the fire.
Add your garlic and cumin and sauté until they are fragrant. That should take about 30 seconds or so.
Add the vinegar, water and salt to taste. (Less salt is more preferable than more salt.)
Stir the mixture in medium to low fire for a 2-3 minutes.
Notes on Cumin Sauce
The health benefits of Cumin are well known in old cultures. E.g. cumin is a very popular spice or cooking ingredient in India – sometimes offered raw at the end of a meal to help with digestion. India’s traditional healing system, Ayurveda, has a lot of good things to say about Cumin. So does modern medicine: who would have thought that one (1) teaspoon of Cumin contains 1.4 mg or approx. 17% of the recommended daily dose of Iron?
Regarding the health benefits of vinegar, please click here.
Diabetes killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2001 alone. The disease also takes a toll on the people who live with it. In general, controlling diabetes requires massive lifestyle changes and/or expensive medications. Carol Johnston says there may be a cheaper, easier way to get the same results; in fact, you probably have the help in your kitchen cabinet.
Making headlines and climbing Top 10 lists is not always a sign of success. Consider diabetes, which has swept the nation like wildfire. Diabetes is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
Diabetes killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2001 alone. The disease also takes a toll on the people who live with it. Diabetes-related nerve damage accounts for more than half of all non-traumatic amputations in this country. Diabetes is also the leading cause of new cases of blindness and the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease.
In general, controlling diabetes requires massive lifestyle changes and/or expensive medications. Carol Johnston says there may be a cheaper, easier way to get the same results—in fact, you probably have the help in your kitchen cabinet.
Johnston is a professor of nutrition at Arizona State University’s East campus. When she started developing menus to help prevent and control diabetes, she began with a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The diet worked amazingly well, but it involved major changes from the way people usually eat. Johnston feared they would give up and start downing Twinkies in no time. She wondered if there was an alternative.
Johnston struck gold while reading through some older studies on diabetes. Actually, she struck vinegar. “While writing my literature review I saw an article about vinegar. I was making all these massive changes. I found that maybe you can just add vinegar to your diet,” she says.
Five studies conducted in the 1980s suggested that vinegar could improve insulin sensitivity and thus help control diabetes. For some reason, the mass media and the public never caught on.
“It’s odd that no one ever pursued that,” Johnston says. She decided to take the opportunity herself.
In the ASU scientist’s study, participants drank one of two solutions before eating a high-carb meal of a bagel and orange juice. Some subjects drank a vinegar solution (vinegar, water and saccharine). Others were given a placebo drink (water and saccharine).
Read the rest of this fascinating article at the source.
Sometimes people stay away from lamb and goat because they find them “smelly” or of too strong a flavour. Can’t blame them, really. Ideally the animal’s blood should be allowed to completely drain off before cutting or packaging it but in very many instances lamb and/or goat meat, fresh or frozen, is packaged or sold while still containing blood in it. This is one of the main reasons for strong smell or flavour.
Here’s an easy trick to moderate, or at times: eliminate, the strong smell of lamb or goat meat before cooking.
Take a big enough pot and fill it with cold water.
Put the meat in the cold water and wait for at least 30 minutes, so that blood seeps out.
When ready, drain the the water from the pot and gently squeeze the meat to get rid of water that has seeped into the meat’s fibre.
Then, place it on a rack and let it dry for a while, while you’re chopping up and preparing the rest of the ingredients of the dish you’re about to make.
In some Middle Eastern countries the custom is to add salt in the cold water, to purge impurities off the meat faster. Depending on the amount of salt used and the kind of meat you’re using this practice may dry the meat beyond your initial intention. E.g. it might be OK for a stew, but it may not be OK for a roast.
Advice: If you really need to add salt in the cold water then add very little. Try the technique a few times and decide for yourself the amount of salt that’s best for what you’re cooking.
Mindfulness has gone mainstream, with celebrity endorsement from Oprah Winfrey and Goldie Hawn. Meditation coaches, monks and neuroscientists went to Davos to impart the finer points to CEOs attending the World Economic Forum. The founders of the mindfulness movement have grown evangelical. Prophesying that its hybrid of science and meditative discipline “has the potential to ignite a universal or global renaissance”, the inventor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Jon Kabat-Zinn, has bigger ambitions than conquering stress. Mindfulness, he proclaims, “may actually be the only promise the species and the planet have for making it through the next couple of hundred years”.
So, what exactly is this magic panacea? In 2014, Time magazine put a youthful blonde woman on its cover, blissing out above the words: “The Mindful Revolution.” The accompanying feature described a signature scene from the standardised course teaching MBSR: eating a raisin very slowly. “The ability to focus for a few minutes on a single raisin isn’t silly if the skills it requires are the keys to surviving and succeeding in the 21st century,” the author explained.
But anything that offers success in our unjust society without trying to change it is not revolutionary – it just helps people cope. In fact, it could also be making things worse. Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live. And yet mindfulness zealots believe that paying closer attention to the present moment without passing judgment has the revolutionary power to transform the whole world. It’s magical thinking on steroids.
There are certainly worthy dimensions to mindfulness practice. Tuning out mental rumination does help reduce stress, as well as chronic anxiety and many other maladies. Becoming more aware of automatic reactions can make people calmer and potentially 1/10kinder. Most of the promoters of mindfulness are nice, and having personally met many of them, including the leaders of the movement, I have no doubt that their hearts are in the right place. But that isn’t the issue here. The problem is the product they’re selling, and how it’s been packaged. Mindfulness is nothing more than basic concentration training. Although derived from Buddhism, it’s been stripped of the teachings on ethics that accompanied it, as well as the liberating aim of dissolving attachment to a false sense of self while enacting compassion for all other beings.
What remains is a tool of self-discipline, disguised as self-help. Instead of setting practitioners free, it helps them adjust to the very conditions that caused their problems. A truly revolutionary movement would seek to overturn this dysfunctional system, but mindfulness only serves to reinforce its destructive logic. The neoliberal order has imposed itself by stealth in the past few decades, widening inequality in pursuit of corporate wealth. People are expected to adapt to what this model demands of them. Stress has been pathologised and privatised, and the burden of managing it outsourced to individuals. Hence the pedlars of mindfulness step in to save the day.
But none of this means that mindfulness ought to be banned, or that anyone who finds it useful is deluded. Reducing suffering is a noble aim and it should be encouraged. But to do this effectively, teachers of mindfulness need to acknowledge that personal stress also has societal causes. By failing to address collective suffering, and systemic change that might remove it, they rob mindfulness of its real revolutionary potential, reducing it to something banal that keeps people focused on themselves….
The Furthest End Awaits, set at the edge of the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan, with its beautiful scenic views, revolves around two women from different backgrounds who develop a friendship, and how they begin to influence and change each other’s lives.
Misaki is a coffee expert roaster who returns to the hometown of her father, after he is reported to be dead. There she opens a coffee shop on the isolated beach. A relationship with her neighbour Eriko and her children evolves.
Note: To us, The Furthest End Awaits is one of the sweetest, most humane films we watched in quite some time.
Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive War is a Swedish kids’ movie partly shot in Crete, Greece. There are no English language subtitles in the trailer, but, well, you don’t need them really. 🙂
Tsatsiki longs for the summer holidays when he will be going to Greece to live with his father Yanis. When Tsatsiki arrives at the village, however, it is not really as he remembered it. Guest houses and taverns are deserted, there is a crisis in Greece and in his beloved village. When Dad tells the bad news that he may have to sell both the hotel and the olive grove, Tsatsiki gets upset. But Tsatsiki’s mother has taught him to never give up, he realizes that it is up to him to save the hotel, otherwise his beloved place in Greece will be lost. Along with the wild adventurer Alva, a fearless twelve-year-old girl full of laughter and explorer joy, they embark on a rescue mission that turns Tsatsiki’s summer vacation into a journey full of adventure, friendship and love.
Tsatsiki, Dad and the Olive Wars is the third film of a trilogy based on Tsatsiki’s adventures between Sweden and Greece.
Note: Tzatziki or Tsatsiki (depending on where you come from) is the name of the well known Greek garlic-yogourt dip. It is rather uncommon to encounter a child named after a yogourt dip recipe, but, well, it’s the film business, isn’t it? 🙂
The Olive Tree (El olivo) is a 2016 Spanish drama film directed by Icíar Bollaín. It was also chosen as one of three films that could be chosen as the Spanish submission for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 89th Academy Awards.
Alma is a 20-year-old girl and adores her grandfather, a man who has not spoken for years. When the elderly man also refuses to eat, the girl decides to recover the millenary tree that the family sold against his will. In order to succeed, she needs to count on her uncle, a victim of the crisis, her friend Rafa, and her whole town to help her. The problem is to find out where in Europe the olive tree is.
A Japanese TV series that ran for five (5) solid seasons since 2009, Midnight Diner Tokyo Stories is based on a 2006 Japanese manga comic book of the same title – Shinya Shokudo by Yaro Abe.
When people finish their day and hurry home, his day starts. His diner is open from midnight to seven in the morning. They call it “Midnight Diner”. Pork, Miso soup combo, Beer, Sake and Shochu is all that he has on his menu. Nevertheless, he makes whatever his customers request – as long as he has the ingredients for it: that is his policy. Does he even have customers? More than you would expect.
The Midnight Diner : Tokyo Stories is about a cook who runs a small eatery at the backstreets of Tokyo’s Shinjuku Square, open only from Midnight to 7 am. The cook is known only as Master and his specialty is that he will cook whatever a customer wants, for as long as he has the ingredients.
The series is an anthology of human relationship stories and resolutions are often facilitated by the Master of the Midnight Diner.
Starring Kaoru Kobayashi as Master Directed by Joji Matsuoka.
Following the success of the series, the Midnight Diner was also turned to two feature films named after Midnight Diner (2014) and Midnight Diner 2 (2016).
An uplifting, feel-good romantic comedy from Zimbabwe, Cook Off is a film about falling in love, with food.
Starring Tendie Chitima, Tendai ‘TEHN’ Nguni, Eugene Zimbudzi and Jesesi Mungoshi. Written and directed by Tomas Lutuli Brickhill and produced by Joe Njagu, Cook Off has screened at nearly 20 festivals worldwide and won Best Film and Best Actress at the 2019 NAMAs and ZIFF 2018.
H2O : The Molecule That Made Us is a 3-hour PBS series, airing in three one hour episodes. The film dramatically reveals how water underpins every aspect of our existence. In the emptiness of outer space, Earth is alive because of water. Humanity’s relationship with this simple molecule is everything and has been both positive and negative.
Explore our interdependent relationship with water and the cosmos.
In a restaurant run by two Italian immigrants, the tables sit empty despite the extraordinary talents of Primo the chef (Tony Shalhoub, “Monk”) and the ambitious efforts of his brother Secondo (Stanley Tucci, The Devil Wears Prada). A celebrity night at their restaurant promises not only to turn their business around but to change their lives.
It’s a five-course gourmet experience filled with rich, delicious characters including the marriage-minded girlfriend (Oscar® nominee Minnie Driver), the seductive mistress (Isabella Rossellini) and the successful rival (Oscar® nominee Ian Holm). From the first bite to the last, this critically-acclaimed movie dishes up an irresistible evening of scrumptious entertainment.
Self-made businessman Harry Papadopoulos has got it all; a mansion house; awards and a super rich lifestyle. However, on the eve of a property deal of a lifetime, a financial crisis hits and the banks call in their huge loans. Harry and his family lose everything in an instant. Everything, except the dormant and forgotten Three Brothers Fish & Chip Shop half owned by Harry’s larger than life brother Spiros who’s been estranged from the family for years.
With no alternative, Harry and his family, plant enthusiast James; fashion victim Katie; nerdy Theo and their loyal nanny Mrs. Parrington, are forced to pack their bags, leave their millionaire lifestyle and join ‘Uncle Spiros’ to live above the neglected Three Brothers chippie. Together they set about bringing the chip shop back to life under the suspicious gaze of the their old rival, Hassan, from the neighbouring Turkish kebab shop whose son has his own eyes on Katie.
Each family member must come to terms with their new life in their own way and make the most of their reduced circumstances. Harry struggles with the banks to regain his lost business empire, but as the chip shop comes to life and old memories are stirred Harry and his family gradually discover that only when you lose everything are you free to discover it all.
Official website: https://www.papadopoulosandsons.com/
Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry | Official Trailer
Known for his wit, humour, and profound insight, Billy Collins is one of the best-selling and most beloved contemporary poets in the United States. He regularly sells out poetry readings, frequently charms listeners on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, and his work has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and periodicals around the world.
Mystery abounds when it is discovered that, one by one, the greatest Chefs in Europe are being killed. The intriguing part of the murders is that each chef is killed in the same manner that their own special dish is prepared in. Food critics and the (many) self-proclaimed greatest Chefs in Europe demand the mystery be solved.
Based on the novel “Someone Is Killing The Great Chefs of Europe” by Nan and Ivan Lyons.
TODAY’S SPECIAL is a heartwarming comedy with a culinary flavor, inspired by Aasif Mandvi’s Obie Award winning play “Sakina’s Restaurant.” In this super-feel-good foodie comedy, young Manhattan chef Samir rediscovers his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.
Samir (Aasif Mandvi) is a sous chef who dreams of becoming the head chef at an upscale Manhattan restaurant. When he is passed over for a promotion he impulsively quits and lets his co-worker Carrie (Jess Weixler) know that he intends to go to Paris and apprentice under a master French chef. Dreams must be put aside though after his father Hakim (Harish Patel) has a heart attack and Samir is forced to take over Tandoori Palace, the nearly bankrupt family restaurant in Jackson Heights.
Samir’s relationship with his parents and his heritage is immediately put to the test. He has been estranged from his father since the death of his older brother, and his mother Farrida, (played by legendary cookbook writer and actor, Madhur Jaffrey), is consumed with finding a wife for her remaining son. While Samir is being forced to forsake his dreams, he is desperately trying to master Indian cooking to salvage the family business.
Luckily, he crosses paths with Akbar, a taxi driver, passionate chef, and worldly raconteur (Naseeruddin Shah). Akbar inspires Samir and teaches him to trust his senses more than recipes; to stop measuring his life, and to start truly living it. With Akbar’s guidance, Samir has a chance to rediscover his heritage and his passion for life through the enchanting art of cooking Indian food.
The Moli-sani study, which aims to learn about environmental and genetic factors underlying cardiovascular disease, cancer and degenerative pathologies, is said to be the first to explore the properties of this spice in relation to the risk of death in a European and Mediterranean population.
The research examined 22,811 citizens of the Molise region in Italy, studying their health status for an average period of eight years, and compared it with their eating habits. The researchers observed that, in people regularly consuming chili pepper (four times a week or more), the risk of dying of a heart attack was cut down by 40 percent….
Is water a commercial good like Coca-Cola, or a human right like air?
Featuring best-selling author, activist and public figure Maude Barlow and her crusade to have water declared a human right, protected from privatization, WATER ON THE TABLE explores Canada’s relationship to its freshwater, arguably its most precious natural resource.
The film shadows Barlow over the course of a year as she leads an unrelenting schedule as the U.N. Senior Advisor on Water to Father Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations.
Written, Directed and Produced by Liz Marshall Co-Produced by Susan McGrath Edited by Jeremy Munce Cinematography by Steve Cosens Additional Cinematography by Liz Marshall, John Price Music Score by Jennifer Moore & Mark Shannon Supervising Sound Editor Garrett Kerr Supervising Re-Recording Mixer Daniel Pellerin Location Sound Recordist Jason Milligan
Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, and Olivia Wilde star as unlikely rivals who will do whatever it takes to beat the competition in this quirky and outrageous comedy about love, sex, winning, and most of all, butter.
In Iowa, laid-back Bob has won the state fair’s butter-carving contest 15 years running; his tightly-wound and hard-charging wife Laura sees Bob becoming governor, so when the contest organizers ask him to step aside so others can win, she’s incensed, and when Bob won’t protest, she decides to enter herself.
In the county contest, she’s up against African-American foster child Destiny and Brooke, a prostitute Bob hasn’t paid. When things don’t go Laura’s way, she enlists the help of old boyfriend Boyd. Also involved as things heat up at the state fair are Laura’s stepdaughter and Destiny’s foster parents. are in the mix as things heat up at the state fair.
A diet high in sweet foods and sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with increased breast density, according to a new study funded in part by the Canadian Cancer Society. Increased breast density is a well-established risk factor for breast cancer. Some studies have shown that women with dense breast tissue in 75% or more of their breasts have a 4 to 6 times greater risk of breast cancer than women with little or no dense breast tissue.
The study, which involved 776 premenopausal and 779 postmenopausal women, found that postmenopausal women with a high intake of sweet foods and premenopausal women with a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages had higher breast density. The findings mark the first time a specific association has been studied between diets high in sweet foods and drinks, breast density and menopausal status.
“We know that the worldwide consumption of sugar has increased and the findings of this study show what effect that type of diet has on breast density, one of the strongest indicators for breast cancer risk,” says study lead author Dr Caroline Diorio, professor in the department of social and preventive medicine at Université Laval. “As this is an understudied area, we need more research to further understand the health implications of a diet high in sugar.”
In this study, breast density was measured through mammography screening. Women from both groups answered a questionnaire about the frequency of their consumption of sweet foods, such as chocolates, doughnuts, pies and pastries; sugar-sweetened beverages, such as carbonated drinks with sugar and sweetened fruit juice; and spoonfuls of sugar added to food or drinks.
The results of the questionnaire found an association between the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and breast density in premenopausal women. The same association with breast density was noted for sweet foods consumed by postmenopausal women. Women who had more than 3 servings of sugar-sweetened beverages in a week had a 3% difference in breast density compared to those who did not have this type of beverage, which could be considered a significant difference. The researchers suggest that this association may be greater in populations that consume more sugar.
High fashion, romance and love… revolving around a plate of omelette. (That’s right. 🙂 )
Set in the glamour of 1950’s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock.
Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.
Spatial ecologist Marius Gilbert reviews Big Farms Make Big Flu for Lancet Infectious Diseases:
“The popular narrative of deadly viruses emerging from wild animal reservoirs clearly appeals to humankind’s deeply rooted fascination with wildlife and its dangers. But isn’t such a focus on the zoonotic origin of emerging infectious diseases distracting attention from the more important social, economic, and cultural forces operating at diﬀerent spatial and temporal scales and contributing to the chain of causality leading to epidemics?
“In his book, Big farms make big ﬂu: dispatches on inﬂuenza, agribusiness, and the nature of science, evolutionary ecologist Rob Wallace calls on virology, phylogeography, political ecology, mathematical modelling, and economics to tackle those questions by taking us on a rich and fascinating journey through the multiple layers of causality in the emergence of disease. In parallel to multiple dispatches on inﬂuenza and other emerging infectious diseases, Wallace addresses a number of biocultural issues linked to the globalisation of food and ﬁbre markets…
“What makes Wallace’s book a must-read for those concerned with emerging infectious diseases, and many other issues emerging from modern food systems, is the breadth of interrelated themes and the richness and thought-provoking nature of the assemblage. Readers will put down this book thinking of emerging infectious diseases in a diﬀerent light; cognisant of their multiple and intertwined root causes in the context of our rapidly changing agro-ecological environment.”
Rokjesdag is a Dutch term, meaning “skirt day”. It is the first sunny day of the year, when women altogether start wearing (short) skirts. “A great and beautiful day” according to Martin Bril, a Dutch writer and columnist who made the word “rokjesdag” a household word in the Netherlands.
In Skirt Day (Rokjesdag) the film, Spring is in the air and the film’s characters are attending a cooking course for singles. You can (sort of) imagine the rest. 🙂
Director: Johan Nijenhuis Writer: Eveline Hagenbeek Stars: Lisa Zweerman, Barbara Sloesen, Loek Peters
Note: the film trailer and title song below are in Dutch language; but I don’t think anyone would have trouble breaking a laugh with what’s going on. 🙂
I watched the “Fat Fiction” documentary with great interest. In the end, I was far from disappointed for having done so: informative, well researched, well informed and at times dissonant in connection to what many of us believe to be “normal” when it comes to breakfast, lunch or dinner.
In the way I understand it, the gist of Fat Fiction comes down to “if you think that there’s health and well-being in a ‘food pyramid’ diet based principally on carbohydrates and low-fat foods…. think again, because here’s ample evidence for the opposite”.
Many eye-opening books and critiques have been written regarding the political and economical agenda behind the “food-pyramid” guidelines. Denise Minger’s “Death by Food Pyramid” is one of them. Marion Nestle’s “Food Politics”is another. The reading list is long but you can find a few suggestions here.
All in all, investigative journalists and thinkers do present ample evidence of what a low-fat and high-carbohydrate (metabolizing into sugar) diet can do: obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure etc. Reacting to this picture, Fat Fiction suggests real life examples as to how – in the documentary’s opinion – a diet based on fat and animal protein (the Ketogenic or “Keto” diet) can reverse the effects and illness caused by a low-fat, high-carb diet.
I will not argue in favour or against the documentary’s claims because my subject here is neither the food pyramid, nor the vilification or commendation of dietary fat.
My subject here is Fat Fiction’s sense of “moderation”, or rather: the lack of it.
Throughout Fat Fiction I couldn’t help but witness a metaphoric pendulum swinging from one extreme (American food-pyramid diet, low fat) to the other extreme (Ketogenic diet, full fat).
The argument, my argument, is that neither of the two (food pyramid, Keto) takes into account the middle dietary ground many people in the World, and North America, live by.
Ask any Italian about pasta. He or she will not reject pasta as a food choice but he or she will indeed reject eating pasta… in excess.
Our bodies need fat and there’s no other way of looking at it. (Personally I never subscribed to the “low-fat” message; the few times I tried “low-fat” foods left me always hungry and always eating – much to the delight of the processed food industry, no doubt.) However, dietary fat, particularly animal fat, can and will become questionable when consumed… in excess.
Eating meat is no different; most ancient cultures include a little meat in their diets. E.g. red meat is often present in East Asian plates of food; but just one American or Canadian restaurant-size beef portion is probably enough to feed an Asian family of four.
We now know that excessive consumption of meat brings on gout and other unpleasant diseases, not to mention the depletion of resources excessive production of meat is all about: each kg or 2 lbs of beef brought to the market takes 15,416 litres of water to produce – not to mention that the three largest North American meat producers (Cargill, Tyson and JBS) emitted in 2016 more green-house gases than… France. (The Guardian even suggests that if all Americans exchanged beef for beans, their country would be close to meeting the greenhouse gas goals agreed by Barack Obama.)
Other cultures incorporate complex Lent and fasting rules in their understanding of how to go about life. E.g. the Greek Orthodox (religious) dietary code prescribes going vegan in regular intervals spread among +14 weeks out of 52 weeks of any given year. For the remaining 38 weeks of the year, consumption of red meat is restricted to once a week, or 38 times a year – and the same goes for white meat and fish. This means that the people following the Greek Orthodox lent/fast rules do make a point in purging and regenerating “intestinal flora” and alternating animal-based and plant-based proteins in regular intervals, year-in and year-out. When did all this start? We don’t really know but we can safely assume “centuries” before the ideas of “intestinal flora” or “protein” were even conceived.
If we think about it, it all starts and ends at your, my, our plate; and ends in how much of what to put in it, when, how often and for how long. Our answers to these questions dictate the amount of resources required to produce food and also our quality of life by eating it.
So, on one hand, my choice as to what to put in my plate is totally connected to natural resources. E.g. the amount of water required to produce one pound (1/2 Kg) of beef is 7,708 litres of water; that of a pound of lentils is 2,816 litres of water, a pound of tofu (talking about protein) costs 1,208 litres of water or 1/7th of the water-cost of a pound of beef; that of potatoes comes down to a mere 136 litres of water per pound of produce and eggplants cost 172 litres of water per pound of produce. (When was the last time you cooked an eggplant stew, by the way? Here’s a recipe; and here’s another. Searching for “eggplant” in this blog will give you more. 🙂
On the other hand, there’s the size of my stomach and the welfare of my body. How much can I eat, really? Well, a lot, apparently. That’s the kind of thing that “investors”, “markets” and certain ad-based media thrive on.
Sometimes I dare amuse myself with the thought that if it was left entirely to “the market” they would probably very much like to force-feed us with copyrighted edibles (that is: GMO foods) on a 24/7 basis because the ever expanding size of our stomachs fosters “economic growth” and the kind of spreadsheet “investors” really like to talk about when they are very busy not eating the kind of food they are selling.
Jokes aside, though, I wonder:
Can I really afford the luxury of shunning good, decent, proven foods? Does choosing meat and rejecting pasta, or choosing lentils and rejecting cheese sound reasonable?
After all, sheep, goats and cows do exist, and for as long as they exist they produce milk on a daily basis and that milk is turned into butter, cheese, yogourt and other dairy products people have been eating for millennia – alongside with lentils, potatoes and other humble crops demanding less environmental cost to grow. So, honestly, I can’t in good conscience imbibe the luxury of rejecting one kind of food and favour another by committing myself to oh-so-popular or modern dietary extremities.
I am for ever grateful for the (real, un-copyrighted) food that lands on my table and I dare not reject some of it because it is – at times – “popular” to do so.
After all, dietary fat was popular until it wasn’t. Dietary low-fat is popular until it won’t be. Eggs were unpopular for decades now – until they weren’t. (Is there an end to this nonsense, by the way?)
Summing it up, I see a lot of human, social and eco-nomic benefit and sense in the ways certain old cultures went about food and well being. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, all in moderation and nothing in excess – there’s some traditional wisdom here that we, the modern, ought to humbly re-explore, I think.
Wasabi is a 2001 French action-comedy film directed by Gérard Krawczyk and written and produced by Luc Besson. The film stars Jean Reno, Michel Muller and Ryōko Hirosue. In France, it was released as “Wasabi, la petite moutarde qui monte au nez” (“Wasabi, the little mustard that gets right up your nose”).
The film gets its title from a scene where the protagonist, Hubert Fiorentini (Jean Reno), eats a whole serving of wasabi at a Japanese restaurant without flinching.
When martial arts meet culinary arts… nothing gets more hilarious! KUNG FU CHEFS revolves around one master chef training an up-and-coming chef for the championship title. However, this contest isn’t only about food.
Starring world renowned Kung Fu master, Sammo Hung, actress Cherrie Ying (LETHAL ANGELS), Lam Tze-chung (KUNG FU HUSTLE), and pop idol Vanness Wu (DRAGON SQUAD).
The nutritional losses did not begin 50 or 100 years ago, Jo Robinson has learned, but thousands of years earlier when we first abandoned our native diet of wild plants and game and began to domesticate animals and grow food in the first primitive gardens. Unwittingly, the choices we made about how to feed our livestock and what to plant in our gardens reduced the amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants in the human diet, which compromised our ability to fight disease and enjoy optimum health.
Jo Robinson is a bestselling, investigative journalist who has spent the past 15 years scouring research journals for information on how we can restore vital nutrients to our fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products.
Robinson is a nationally recognized expert in how to recapture those lost nutrients. Her insights into the benefits of raising animals on pasture have been featured in scores of magazines, newspapers, and radio shows, including Sunset Magazine, The New York Times, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, NPR’s All Things Considered, and Mother Earth News.
What if everything we’ve been told about saturated fat is fiction? And what if the “Low-Fat, heart-healthy” diet is one of the worst health recommendations in history?
FAT FICTION (formerly known as BIG FAT LIE) is a film that questions decades of diet advice insisting that saturated fats are bad for us. Along the way, we’ll reveal the lies we’ve been told about fats, learn what fats are good, what fats are bad, and what we can do to reclaim our health.
Narrated by Dr. Mark Hyman Directed by Jennifer Isenhart
When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world.
Fantastic Fungi, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.
Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions the fungi kingdom offers us in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.
After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News (2020) examines “fake news,” its victims, its perpetrators, and its consequences. It investigates the ongoing threat caused by the phenomenon of “fake news” in the U.S., focusing on the real-life consequences that disinformation, conspiracy theories and false news stories have on the average citizen, both in an election cycle and for years to come.
Directed by Andrew Rossi (“Page One: Inside the New York Times,” HBO’s “Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven”) and executive produced by CNN’s Brian Stelter.
Official website: https://www.hbo.com/documentaries/after-truth-disinformation-and-the-cost-of-fake-news
Internal documents describe how to profit from farmer losses and desire to oppose some independent testing
Excerpt from:The Guardian Written by Carey Gillam Last modified on Mon 30 Mar 2020 19.00 BST
The US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show.
Risks were downplayed even while they planned how to profit off farmers who would buy Monsanto’s new seeds just to avoid damage, according to documents unearthed during a recent successful $265m lawsuit brought against both firms by a Missouri farmer.
The documents, some of which date back more than a decade, also reveal how Monsanto opposed some third-party product testing in order to curtail the generation of data that might have worried regulators.
And in some of the internal BASF emails, employees appear to joke about sharing “voodoo science” and hoping to stay “out of jail”.
The new crop system developed by Monsanto and BASF was designed to address the fact that millions of acres of US farmland have become overrun with weeds resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based weedkillers, best known as Roundup. The collaboration between the two companies was built around a different herbicide called dicamba.
Importantly, under the system designed by Monsanto and BASF, only farmers buying Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant cotton and soybean seeds would be protected from dicamba drift damage. Other cotton and soybean farmers and farmers growing everything from wheat to watermelons would be at risk from the drifting dicamba…
Eggplant Parmigiana or Parmigiana Di Melanzane is a traditional 3-ingredient recipe from Sicily, Italy. Contrary to what we would all think, “Parmigiana” does not mean “with Parmesan cheese”. Parmigiana comes from the Sicilian word parmiciana which means “latticed”, describing the way the eggplant slices are arranged in the baking pan or casserole prior to baking. Enjoy!
Serves: 4 Cooking time: approx. 60 min You need: a bowl, a tray, a skillet, a frying pan and an oven-proof casserole or pan
4 medium eggplants (aubergines),
2 cans of tomatoes,
2, or more, garlic cloves,
250g to 300g (0.5 to 0.8 Lbs) of grated Pecorino cheese,
1 onion – preferably red,
1 cup of of basil leaves,
A bit of olive oil,
A bit of flour.
First, make the tomato sauce
Peel and cut the onion in half.
Peel the garlic cloves and smash them flat with the broad side of a knife.
Take a skillet or broad fraying pan, add a bit of olive oil and then add the tomatoes.
Add the onion and the garlic cloves.
Add the basil leaves.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon and turn the fire on to high.
Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately lower the fire to medium.
Allow the sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes.
While the tomato sauce is simmering… prepare the eggplants
Add some flour in a bowl.
Wash the eggplants, dry them with a towel, chop off the narrow ends and then cut them into slices of approx. 1 cm ( 1/2 inch) thick.
Add a bit of olive oil in the frying pan and turn the fire on to medium-high.
Pass the eggplant slices lightly through the flour. Shake off any excess flour and fry them in the pan in batches, like 4 or 5 slices at one go, until they are tender. (Remember, they are going to be baked into the oven a little later, so, don’t overcook them.)
Remove the eggplants from the frying pan with a slotted spoon and put them on a tray. Then pat them dry with a kitchen paper.
Sprinkle a bit of salt over each fried eggplant batch as you go.
Combine and bake
By now, the tomato sauce must be ready.
Turn on the oven to 200C or 392F and let it preheat.
Take your oven proof casserole or baking pan and spread some of the tomato sauce on the bottom. This is your first layer.
On top of the tomato sauce layer arrange a layer of eggplant slices in a lattice pattern. (“Parmigiana”, remember? :))
Sprinkle some of your grated Pecorino cheese on top of the eggplant layer and repeat the exercise until you have used up all the ingredients.
Be careful so that the top layer is made of tomato sauce and grated Pecorino cheese.
Bake in the oven for approx. 30 minutes and then under the grill for another 5 minutes (to make the top crispier).
Notes on Eggplant Parmigiana
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Most North American gas stoves come with a grill under the oven compartment. If your stove is different you may want to place the casserole or pan in the upper half of your oven, which is generally hotter than the bottom half.
This recipe can be as simple or complicated as one may wish to make it. E.g. there are Eggplant Parmigiana recipes out there calling for a combination of cheeses, even for… mozzarella. Try the (this) simple version first, see how it goes and then feel free to experiment next time.
Pecorino cheese is made of sheep-milk, which is a lot more digestible than cheese made from cow’s milk. Pecorino is also a bit rough and tangy, combining very well with the slightly bitter taste of the eggplant and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. If you have to use a different kind of cheese then try to select one that tastes closer to Pecorino than away from it.
The award-winning film Modified follows a personal and poignant mother-daughter investigative journey into the world of genetically modified foods (GMOs). Filmed over 10 years and anchored in the filmmaker’s relationship to her mother (a gardener and food activist who battled cancer during the film’s production), the film asks why GMOs are not labelled on foods in the United States and Canada, despite being labelled in 64 countries around the world.
Filmmaker Aube Giroux says, “While making Modified, I tried to access basic information from Health Canada about how GMOs are regulated in Canada but I came across many barriers, including the fact that Health Canada does not track which GMOs are being grown in Canada and in which food products they are being sold. Health Canada also refused to be interviewed and answer questions in my documentary, which speaks volumes about the lack of transparency within our food system. I was grateful to be able to access the information I was looking for from CBAN. As a filmmaker and researcher, I found CBAN to be an invaluable source of meticulously researched data about GMOs in Canada. We are lucky to have an organization such as CBAN, which makes available the information that our government should be providing, but isn’t.”
An official selection at 70 international film festivals. Recipient of 15 awards including the 2019 James Beard Award for Best Documentary. For more information, visit us at modifiedthefilm.com
When we think of “Ireland” and “food” we often think of “potatoes” (and beer; and cheese and pubs :). Well, this is a nice, easy, tasty and hearty Irish recipe using potatoes and leeks as a base and a whole host of other goodies to give it taste and texture. Enjoy!
Serves: 8-10 Cooking time: approx. 30min You need: a pot
4 Tsp olive oil.
4 celery stalks, chopped.
4 cloves of garlic, minced.
8 cups vegetable stock or warm water.
3 cups of light cream.
4 Tsp dill, chopped.
4 Tsp parsley, chopped.
4 Tsp tarragon, chopped.
1 Tsp dried thyme.
4 cups leeks, chopped. That generally translates to 3-4 leeks.
2 small onions, chopped.
8 medium potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped.
2 Tsp salt.
1 Tsp pepper.
Wash your vegetables well – particularly the leeks.
Take a pot, put it on the stove and add the olive oil.
Turn on the fire to medium heat.
Add the leeks, celery, onion and garlic and saute until they soften up.
Add the vegetable stock or water, thyme, potatoes, salt and pepper.
Wait until it begins to boil and then lower the fire.
Keep simmering until the potatoes are soft and tender.
Time for the cream and the herbs: stir them all in and keep stirring from time to time.
Let it simmer for a few minutes.
Turn off the fire.
Take the pot off the stove and set aside for 10 minutes or so to cool off a bit, allowing the juices to combine.
Notes on the Irish Potato and Leek Soup
Serve with warm bread.
Feel free to scale the recipe down – can’t harm it.
If your ingredient ratios turn out to be a little less of one and a bit more of the other – don’t worry. You can’t go wrong. 🙂
MORE THAN HONEY is the provocative yet touching tale of what may happen to mankind if bees keep dying. It is a 2M Euro budget documentary directed by Oscar nominated director Markus Imhoof and by the creators of “LET´S MAKE MONEY”& “WE FEED THE WORLD”.
Albert Einstein once said: “If bees ever die out, mankind will have only four years left to live”. In the past years, billions of honeybees simply vanished for reasons still obscure. If the bees keep dying, it will have drastic effects for humans as well: more than one third of our food production depends on pollination by honeybees. Seeking answers, the film embarks on a world journey to discover bees and men.
Over the past 15 years, numerous colonies of bees have been decimated throughout the world, but the causes of this disaster remain unknown. Depending on the world region, 50% to 90% of all local bees have disappeared, and this epidemic is still spreading from beehive to beehive – all over the planet. Everywhere, the same scenario is repeated: billions of bees leave their hives, never to return. No bodies are found in the immediate surroundings, and no visible predators can be located.
In the US, the latest estimates suggest that a total of 1.5 million (out of 2.4 million total beehives) have disappeared across 27 states. In Germany, according to the national beekeepers association, one fourth of all colonies have been destroyed, with losses reaching up to 80% on some farms. The same phenomenon has been observed in Switzerland, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Austria, Poland and England, where this syndrome has been nicknamed “the Mary Celeste Phenomenon”, after a ship whose crew vanished in 1872.
THE IRISH PUB is a celebration of the greatest institution in Irish society, the pub or more specifically the traditional Irish publicans who run them. The characters in this exceptionally endearing film all run and own pubs that have been in their families for generations and it is through their warmth, wit and wisdom that we gain an insight into the heart and soul of THE IRISH PUB.
Ilona and Erzsébet are sisters living in the small Hungarian town of Tura. They make “big strudels on small tables” in much the same way their beloved mother did when they were children during the communist era. What starts as an ode to a disappearing way of life quickly becomes a beautifully harmonic anthem to sisterhood, freedom, mothers and, of course, strudel.
Winner of the Devour Golden Tine Award for Best Short Documentary. Official Selection at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Sydney Film Festival and more.
Produced and Directed by Peter Hegedus and Jaina Kalifa Camera: Peter Hegedus and Jaina Kalifa Editor: Jaina Kalifa Audio Post Production: Rafe Sholer
Galbi-tang is a hearty yet fragrant and often delicate clear beef short rib soup, traditionally offered at Korean wedding receptions. It is now one of Korea’s staple recipes and a regular entry in every Korean restaurant’s menu that’s worth its salt. (Pun intended. :)) Galbi-tang is not difficult to make; but, as all good soups and stews, it just takes some patience – that’s all. Time to cook, eh?
Serves 4 to 6 Cooking time: approx. 150 min (2.5 hrs) You will need: a pot
1.5 Kg (3 Lbs) beef short ribs, roughly 6 cm or 1.5 inch thick.
3/4 Kg (1.5 Lbs) Korean radish, moo or daikon.
1 large garlic bulb.
1 medium sized yellow onion.
1 piece of ginger, at the size of a thumb.
3 to 6 green onions, plus more green onions for garnishing.
15 cups cold water
140 g (5 oz) Dangmyeon (Korean glass noodles).
1/2 Tsp soy sauce.
1/2 Tsp fish sauce.
1/2 to 1 Tbsp sea salt.
Extra salt and pepper for serving.
Take a large pot, fill it up with cold water, put it on the stove, turn the fire on high and bring it to a boil.
While you wait for the water to boil, wash the vegetables.
Peel the Korean radish and cut off the edges.
Cut the garlic bulb in half.
Cut the edges of the onion, without removing the skin.
Slice the ginger in rounds.
Chop the green onions in halves.
When the water starts boiling, add the short ribs in the pot and blanch them for about 10 minutes.
Then, empty the pot in a colander, rinse the meat under cold water and put it aside.
Wash the pot.
Arrange the blanched meat and the vegetables in the pot and add 15 (fifteen) cups of cold water.
Turn the fire on high and bring it to boil with the lid off.
Skim the scum and fat as required.
When the froth is clear of scum and fat, reduce the fire to medium, put the lid on and simmer for 2 hours.
While the meat and vegetables are simmering it’s time to soak the Korean glass noodles: take a bowl, add warm (not hot) water and let the noodles soak while pot meat and vegetable pot is simmering.
Two hours later: turn the fire off and remove all vegetables with a slotted spoon or sieve.
Discard all vegetables except for the radish (you’re going to use that, later).
Make sure the bottom of the pot is clean.
Season the stew to taste with the prescribed condiments: soy sauce, fish sauce and sea salt.
The soup is ready.
Combining / Serving
Slice the cooked radish into bite-size pieces.
Chop 1 to 2 green onions for garnish.
If the Galbi-tang soup has cooled off by the time you serve, bring it back to boil.
Arrange the glass noodles in each serving bowl and add the sliced radish.
Pour your boiling hot ribs and soup into the serving bowl, so that the glass noodles are cooked through.
Garnish each bowl with green onion and black pepper.
Warm rice is classic side dish to Galbi-tang. In general, accompanying the main course with a plethora of other nibblers (in this case: kimchi, sour plums, bean sprouts, etc., is often the norm.
It is popular in Asia to soak meat in cold water for 2 to 3 hours prior to cooking. They do that in order to remove any remaining blood, and this makes a clearer soup. If you decide to do that then do replace the soaking water every hour or so.
An easy, uncomplicated and hearty recipe this Korean Potato Soup. One would think that it is ideal for lunch or dinner but in Korea they also serve it as breakfast. The recipe calls for broth or stock, so, depending on the stock you’re going to use the dish can be equally be vegetarian, vegan, lenten or none of the above. Enjoy!
Serves: 4-6 Cooking time: approx. 20 min. You will need: a skillet.
2 large potatoes.
2 medium carrots.
3 cups of chicken, beef or vegetable broth.
1/2 cup of fresh mushrooms, quartered.
1 fresh (green) onion, chopped.
Salt and pepper.
Peel carrots and potatoes and cut them in bite-size pieces.
Put them in a large skillet and add the broth.
Put the skillet on the stove, turn the fire on to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil.
Cook, uncovered, for about about 6 to 8 minutes.
Turn the fire down to low, cover the skillet and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes – until the vegetables are very tender.
Add the mushrooms.
Add the green onion.
Pepper to taste, stir well and cook for another couple of minutes.
Generally, this dish is to be served hot. Bu the only judge here is you. 🙂
To make your own broth or stock click on the links below.
Yes, Pasta with Butter and Cream – a.k.a. Pasta all’ Alfredo – has very little to do with the all-millennial “tuna salad” lunch or dinner; yet, good food is good food and there’s no two ways about that. 🙂 This is an easy and fast pasta recipe to make – and you don’t need to eat a lot of it to feel satisfied. Enjoy!
Serves: 4-6 Cooking time: approx. 20 min. You will need: a pot and a skillet.
500 g (1 Lb) pasta of our choice – Fettuccine, Linguine, Spaghetti, Gnocchi or any type of pasta you like.
1/4 cup of butter.
1 cup whipping cream.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese + additional cheese for serving.
Salt and pepper.
For the pasta
Take a pot, fill it up with water up to two thirds, and add salt.
Put the pot on the stove and turn the fire on to high heat, bringing the water to a boil.
Add the pasta to the pot and cook, uncovered, according to instructions.
Drain the pasta.
For the Alfredo sauce
Take a skillet, add the butter, put it on the stove and turn on the fire to medium heat.
Melt the butter.
When the butter foams, add the cream.
Simmer the mixture for about 2 minutes or until it starts to thicken.
Season with salt and white pepper.
Empty the pasta in the skillet with the butter and cream over medium fire.
Add your 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.
Toss the pasta and sauce in the skillet until the sauce coats the pasta. It should take about 20 to 30 seconds.
Serve immediately, while it’s hot.
Sprinkle each serving plate with additional Parmesan cheese, to taste.
If cow milk and dairy does not – in general – agree with you then do try sheep and goat dairy – they are much easier to digest and they also come with certain added bonuses. A few references:
What happens if you get infected with the coronavirus? Who’s most at risk? How can you protect yourself? Public health expert David Heymann, who led the global response to the SARS outbreak in 2003, shares the latest findings about COVID-19 and what the future may hold.
This talk was presented at an official TED conference.
There is a near-consensus among health authorities that whole, unrefined foods represent a fundamental truth in support of individual health and well-being. The whole foods movement is a common sense approach that is quietly extending through all economies and social classes to overcome the madness resulting from highly processed, refined, genetically modified, and synthetic (non-) foods that have turned modern societies into centers of degenerative disease. At the end of the day, wholesome foods are destined to be a biologic remedy that, in concert with organic farming and plant medicine, has the capacity to heal the Earth and her peoples.
The quality whole foods approach works at the foundations of healing, that is, it acts as a foundation for all healing systems. Newer developments in science are beginning to value foundational medicine as well; these approaches are sometimes referred to as systems biology, integrative medicine, and functional medicine. From the perspective of the Healing-with-Whole-Foods paradigm, it is not just food alone, but also other priorities that nurture us deeply and eternally. Awareness practices primarily represent this function. Meditation, prayer and other ways of quieting and focusing the mind and fortifying the spirit are in fact a priority in healing, providing clear guidance regarding which food and other lifestyle choices are most effective.
The Connection is a film about how frontier research is proving that there is a direct connection between your mind and your health.
The film features scientists, researchers, writers and doctors, as well as remarkable true stories of people adding mind body medicine to their healing toolkit to recover from severe back pain, heart disease, infertility, cancer and multiple sclerosis. While the science is complex, the solutions for people suffering with illness are astonishingly simple. The film shows that we can counter the harmful affects of stress with an equally powerful relaxation response triggered through specific techniques such as meditation.
It shows that emotions can impact the course of an illness for better or for worse and could even be the difference between life and death. The film explains the mechanisms behind belief, which scientists now know contributes 30 to 50 percent of the effect of any known biological cure and explores how scientists at the cutting edge are now learning that the mind can even influence the expression of genes and the rate at which we age.
Dietary expert Dr Michael Mosley has promised that “things are going to get scary” during ITV’s latest programme, The Junk Food Experiment.
In this 90-minute programme, six famous faces (singer Peter Andre, The Chase mastermind and barrister Shaun Wallace, politician Nadine Dorries, actress Hayley Tamaddon, Olympian Tessa Sanderson and TV personality Hugo Taylor ) have agreed to put their bodies on the line and become guinea pigs in an extreme scientific experiment to find out what our junk food lifestyle is actually doing to us.
A classic, traditional Spring dish from Crete, Greece that’s simple to make and easier to savour. The season for artichokes is between March and June. For the rest of the year you could use canned or frozen artichokes – but do avoid marinated artichokes – they are a totally different deal and will not go well with what we’re making here. Time now to start cooking, eh?
Serves: 4-6 Cooking time +60 min. You will need: a bowl and a skillet or pot.
1 kg (2 Lbs) baby goat or lamb, chopped into portions. As it is often the case with stews, a shoulder cut is better than others.
1 Kg (2 Lbs) artichokes.
1/2 bunch dill, diced.
1/2 cup (or glass) olive oil.
3 fresh onions.
1 medium sized dry onion.
Juice of 1 lemon.
1/2 cup + 1/3 cup of hot water. See notes.
Salt and pepper.
For the Egg and Lemon Sauce
Juice of 2 lemons.
1/2 Tbsp flour.
Take a medium bowl and fill it up with water.
Squeeze a lemon in the bowl and dilute the flour in it.
Peel the artichokes one by one and discard the stems. (Peeling and cleaning artichokes may sound intimidating at first but it’s not that bad. Scroll down to watch the video.)
Cut the artichokes into halves and put them in the bowl.
Dice the dry onion.
Chop the fresh onions into pieces of 1 cm or 1/2 inch.
Dice the dill.
Wash the meat in cold, running water.
Pour the olive oil in a skillet or broad pot.
Put the skillet or pot on the stove and turn the fire on to medium-high.
Add the diced dry onion into the skillet or pot and sautee until it’s translucent.
Add the meat and give it a couple of stirs until it changes colour.
Add pepper to taste.
Add the diced fresh onions.
Add the 1/2 cup of hot water.
Lower the fire to medium / medium low (depending on your stove) and let the meat simmer, covered, for about 30-40 minutes. The point here is to retain the steam in the skillet/pot while the meat is cooking gently.
30 to 40 minutes later, test the meat with a fork. If it falls off the fork then it’s ready for the next stage. If not, add a little hot water as needed and keep simmering until ready.
Add 1/3 cup of hot water.
Add the artichokes into the mix.
Add salt to taste.
Wait for 2-3 minutes and add the dill.
Let the mix simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the artichokes are cooked. (You don’t want the artichokes “crunchy”. You want them “cooked”.)
At this stage you pour into the mixture the egg and lemon sauce.
Shake well so that the egg and lemon sauce spreads evenly in the skillet or pot.
Egg and lemon sauce
Crack the eggs in a small bowl.
Add the juice of your 2 lemons and beat the mixture well.
While you beat the eggs, little by little keep adding a little juice from the skillet or pot until the bowl is almost full with liquid.
Shaken, not stirred – as good old James Bond might have insisted:after you add the artichokes into the skillet or pot do avoid stirring with a ladle or spoon or you run into the risk of having the artichokes disintegrated. Shaking the skillet or pot will work just fine.
Keep adding hot water to the skillet/pot little by little as needed, if needed. The idea is that the mixture should not be cooking in sizzling olive oil – there should always be some hot water in that mix.
Goat meat, although very lean, is a bit tougher than lamb. If you’re cooking goat then add more hot water into the skillet/pot and simmer longer than you would have with lamb.
Add salt only towards the end, before you mix in the artichokes, otherwise the meat will dry out while cooking and will not be as soft.
Wash the meat thoroughly, until there’s no blood in it. A few words about how to prepare lamb or goat for cooking, here.
Health benefits of artichokes
A few words about the health benefits of artichokes (such as potential anticancer effects, improved heart health, regulated blood pressure etc) you will find here and here .
“A Touch of Spice” is a story about a young Greek boy (Fanis) growing up in Istanbul, whose grandfather, a culinary philosopher and mentor,teaches him that both food and life require a little salt to give them flavor; they both require a touch of spice. Fanis grows up to become an excellent cook and uses his cooking skills to spice up the lives of those around him. 35 years later he leaves Athens and travels back to his birthplace of Istanbul to reunite with his grandfather and his first love; he travels back only to realize that he forgot to put a little bit of spice in his own life.
The present first translation into English of the ancient cookery book dating back to Imperial Roman times known as the Apicius book is herewith presented to antiquarians, friends of the Antique as well as to gastronomers, friends of good cheer.
Three of the most ancient manuscript books that exist today bearing the name of Apicius date back to the eighth and ninth century. Ever since the invention of printing Apicius has been edited chiefly in the Latin language. Details of the manuscript books and printed editions will be found under the heading of Apiciana on the following pages.
The present version has been based chiefly upon three principal Latin editions, that of Albanus Torinus, 1541, who had for his authority a codex he found on the island of Megalona, on the editions of Martinus Lister, 1705-9, who based his work upon that of Humelbergius, 1542, and the Giarratano-Vollmer edition, 1922.
We have also scrutinized various other editions forming part of our collection of Apiciana, and as shown by our “family tree of Apicius” have drawn either directly or indirectly upon every known source for our information.
The reasons and raison d’être for this undertaking become sufficiently clear through Dr. Starr’s introduction and through the following critical review.
It has been often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach; so here is hoping that we may find a better way of knowing old Rome and antique private life through the study of this cookery book—Europe’s oldest and Rome’s only one in existence today.
JOSEPH DOMMERS VEHLING Chicago, in the Spring of 1926.
Project Gutenberg is a library of over 60,000 free eBooks. Choose among free epub and Kindle eBooks, download them or read them online. You will find the world’s great literature here, with focus on older works for which U.S. copyright has expired. Thousands of volunteers digitized and diligently proofread the eBooks, for enjoyment and education.
When I moved to Ubud almost 20 years ago, I contacted the editor of the Bali Advertiser with the suggestion that I write a column. I didn’t know anyone here and it seemed like a good way to meet interesting people. Perhaps I’d been sitting up late with Jenny and a bottle of single malt, a combination that has hatched many bright ideas over three decades.
The editor agreed.
I had no idea what I was getting into. I’d been a writer for many years and I knew a deadline from a dartboard, but these deadlines were remorseless. Every second Wednesday I had to pony up with 1,000 words that were interesting, relevant and true whether I felt like it or not. Sometimes I did not feel like it. Very often I sat down under the ticking clock with no idea at all what I was going to write about.
And so began a journey and a journal. I became a window to Bali and my life here for myself and readers. It wasn’t supposed to be like this; Greenspeak was meant to be a column on the environment. But those endless deadlines soon pushed me out of that box, and I began to expand my mandate to include my immediate, personal environment – my garden, my dogs, my staff, my pond, my street. I found myself holding the space for many small encounters and experiences and distilling them into 1,000 words of prose every second Wednesday. My editor Chris, bless him, gave me a very long rope. The only time he censored anything I’ve written was to remove an impassioned and possibly actionable paragraph about a manufacturer of baby formula.
The column led me outside to meet people who are creating positive change on this island – farmers, priests, social activists, Βalians, weavers, environmentalists, scholars. It led me into my garden to observe the plants and creatures there. The column was an excuse for me to contact all kinds of fascinating folk and ask them impertinent questions. It led me inside myself, to examine how I was so touched by Bali’s profound and quirky magic.
And I’ve learned so much… about rice cultivation, poverty, natural textile dyes, sexually transmitted diseases, reptiles, black magic, orphanages, bamboo construction, herbal remedies, natural ventilation, dengue fever, spices, scorpions, so much more.
The more I learned the more curious I became. With a notebook under my arm and a pen behind my ear I visited subaks, rural health clinics, water projects, farms, schools, composting toilets, temples and birthing clinics. I learned how knives and kites are made, how witches are placated and the correct way to hold a python (don’t).
The trouble with writing for a paper is that people tend to believe what they read and be influenced by it. So I had to train myself to be a witness, not a judge. Even if a situation had me raging, I had to present it from a place of calm balance because you would read it. I had to walk the talk, because of you. You kept me honest. You stretched me in all directions.
People my age who settle in this part of Bali often come from an academic or business life. They’ve taken a great leap of faith, leaving a world of reliable medical care, live theatre and good wine to live in a rice field. It’s remarkable what happens to them, over time. The right side of the brain wakes up and starts to dance in Ubud, this little town that is such a crucible of creativity. Tax lawyers and computer wizards take up painting, educators start designing hats. In Singapore I used to write corporate brochures and advertising copy. Now my keyboard clicked to tales of spirits from the undercliff and dragons in the bath.
I’m always pleased and humbled when people tell me they enjoy the column. That never gets old. It’s an odd feeling, actually, to write a story and send it out to the world for strangers to read. Sometimes those strangers wrote to me, and some of them became friends. A couple of times an enraged reader fired off a rant – my writing was too positive, too happy. Was I blind? Didn’t I see the piles of garbage and the mangy dogs and the corruption? Well yes, I do. But long ago I learned that people are just about as happy as they decide to be, and I’ve decided to be happy.
Over a decade ago people started saying, “You should make a book of these stories.” I thought it over and took the concept to a Bali-based publisher who told me, “No one would be interested in a book like that.” So I took a deep breath and published it myself. Bali Daze (originally Dragons in the Bath) has now sold over 5,000 copies in hard copy and online. I think this indicates that people are indeed interested in the small stories of everyday life in Bali, cross cultural engagement and reptiles in the bathroom.
But Bali has changed a great deal in the past few years. Outside my gate the town has become noisy and busy, and it’s quite a scene out there these days. Inside my gate Wayan Manis, my housekeeper all this time, remains a precious constant. Many dogs – Karma, Kipper, Kalypso, Casey, Chloe, Daisy, Hamish, Tika, Tilly and Bruno – have shared my home and garden. My life is small, now. I am content. I find I have less to say, so it seems like a good time to stop saying it.
So thank you, Bali Advertiser,
for the discipline of two articles a month (later one) for so many
years, giving me a platform for my occasional rants and material for
two collections of stories. There’s no feeling quite like seeing
someone smiling while reading a book I’ve written.
Thank you, Chris and Ratih, for your patience and understanding over cliff-hanger deadlines.
And thank you, dear readers, for all your feedback and support, for stopping me in the street to mention a recent article, for your emails and visits over the years. I’ll miss you, but I won’t miss those deadlines.
Bless you all. Over and out.
Bali Daze on Goodreads: here. Bali Daze on Amazon.com: here.
Brasserie Romantiek is a Dutch comedy telling the stories of the forty-something restaurant owner Pascaline and her Valentine Day’s patrons. Pascaline’s lover of twenty years ago appears out of the blue to ask her to leave with him to Buenos Aires. Thirty-something, bored housewife Rose informs her husband that she has a lover. Almost fifty Mia intends to commit suicide when she is courted by waiter Lesley while inconspicuous civil servant Walter is wrecked by insecurity when seated in front of the woman of his dreams.
P.S. We could not find a trailer with English subtitles but one may not need “language” to understand what’s going on, here. 🙂
Directed by Joël Vanhoebrouck Available by Netflix
Emma left Russia to live with her husband in Italy. Now a member of a powerful industrial family, she is the respected mother of three, but feels unfulfilled. One day, Antonio, a talented chef and her son’s friend, makes her senses kindle.
A Greek lenten classic – guaranteed to keep your body going whatever you have to do. Octopus with Pasta in the Pot is going to take some time to cook – approx. 2 hours – but its level of difficulty is minimal: sautee, simmer, stir, do something else while the food is cooking, pay some attention during the final stage. (That difficult. 🙂 ) Enjoy!
Serves: 4 -6 Cooking time: approx. 120 min You will need: a pot
0.75 – 1 kg (approx. 1.5 to 2lbs) octopus
500g (approx. 1 Lb) pasta, preferably Ditalli, Tubetti or whatever macaroni-like short and hollow pasta you can find.
500g (1 Lb) diced tomatoes. Fresh or canned from a brand you trust.
1 cup (glass) of olive oil.
1/2 cup of white wine or a 1/4 cup vinegar. (Do prefer grape vinegar if that’s an option.)
2-3 diced onions.
3-4 diced garlic cloves.
4 cups of hot water.
Salt & pepper.
Wash the octopus and cut it in small pieces.
Dice the onions, the garlic and the tomatoes.
Pour the olive oil in a pot, place the pot on the stove and turn on the fire to mid-high.
Wait for a few minutes until the oil is hot and then add the onions.
Sautee the onions until translucent and add the garlic.
Give it a stir or two and add the octopus.
Sautee the mixture for about 5 minutes.
Lower the fire to medium-low.
Add the wine or vinegar.
Give it a stir, wait for a beat or two, then add the diced tomatoes and 1 glass of hot water.
Add pepper to taste.
Cover the pot.
Let it simmer for about 90 minutes or until the octopus is tender. Give it a stir from time to time just to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
Ninety minutes later: add 3 glasses of hot water.
Add salt to taste.
Add the pasta – Ditalli, Tubetti or similar – to the pot.
Raise the fire to mid-high.
It will take 15-20 min before the pasta is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. So, at this stage stir very often because the pasta can and will stick to the bottom of the pot as it absorbs the liquid.
Turn off the fire, let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes and you’re ready to serve.
Notes on Pasta with Octopus in the Pot
If you see that the liquid is absorbed but the pasta is not yet cooked, add 1/2 glass of hot water or so and keep stirring. It will get there.
It tastes really good the next day (or the day after…. :))
If your palate is used to spices, you can freely add chili flakes, cayen pepper, Gochugaru (Korean spice) etc. It will definitely not harm the recipe.
If you’re going for spice, do prefer to add the spice while the octopus is simmering: you need the spice to infuse the liquid and the spicy liquid to infuse the pasta.
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Goat meat is very lean and also sinewy (because it’s very lean). The purpose of marinading it for 12hrs in acid (i.e.brandy, lemon and orange juice) is to break down the fiber before you put it in the oven.
Preparing deep frozen goat meat (if that’s the case) has a few tricks. Click here for more.
You could potentially substitute brandy wine with red vinegar. If that’s the case then all you need is not more than a 1/4 of glass (cup) vinegar. If that’s your choice then bear in mind that vinegar is corrosive; it will stain the metal and it will leach the plastic. Do prefer a glass or pyrex bowl instead.
Regarding the appropriate kind of pasta for this recipe: the Greeks use a kind of pasta called CHYLOPITTES. It usually comes in square form and it contains eggs and milk. The closest Italian equivalent is QUADRATTI or QUADRETTINI and they contain neither eggs, nor milk. You could also use Orzo – there’s no hard rule.
A simple, hearty, traditional (insanely) delicious recipe from Crete, Greece requiring no particular preparation and… very little cooking skills. Of course you can tweak the recipe with more/other spices, but if you’re cooking this recipe for the first time try to keep it simple.
Serves 6 – 8 Cooking time: 120 min
1 to 1 + 1/2 Kg (2 – 3 Lbs) of lamb. The cut should be a leg with bone.
1 pack of pasta. You can use fettuccine, orzo, maccheroni, caciarecce or any kind of pasta you have in the pantry.
4 fresh tomatoes.
4 – 5 onions.
3 to 4 cloves of garlic.
2 glasses (cups) of hot water.
Oregano, salt & pepper to taste
Start the oven at 200C / 390F. While the oven is heating up:
Wash the meat.
Wash the tomatoes.
Clean the garlic cloves. Do NOT dice.
Cut the onions lengthwise, into ribbons. Do NOT dice.
With a knife, make some incisions to the meat near the bone.
Insert the garlic cloves in the slots.
In a little bowl mix salt, pepper and oregano – to your taste. (You don’t need a lot of salt, because lamb is salty by nature.)
Sprinkle the mix all around the meat.
Take a pan. Then:
Put the meat in the middle
Arrange the onions around it.
Add the pasta on top of the onion.
Put the tomatoes in, two on one side of the meat, and two on the other side. (If the pan is round, arrange the tomatoes like a cross.)
Pour two cups of hot water in the pan.
Put the pan in the oven.
Wait for about 90 to 120 minutes – depending on the amount of meat you used: the more the meat, the more the cooking time.
The food is ready when the meat is cooked and the water has evaporated leaving only “juice” behind.
Notes on Lamb with Pasta in the Oven
On the cooking method The way this recipe works has to do with “balance”: you need enough water to cook the meat and the pasta in the same time.
Now, if – for a number of reasons – the water:
is evaporating too fast, then you can add some hot water in the pan.
is not evaporating fast enough, then you can increase the cooking temperature.
Spices You can try coriander, cardamom, or even chili flakes – and combinations thereof.
A Tip regarding how to treat deep frozen meat: here
The Adas Polo is another Persian classic recipe that seldom needs further introduction. The ingredients are available all year long. There are many, many variations of this recipe; some recipes, like this one, are meatless, some use lamb, others use beef, some employ a different mix of spices – the variations are… endless.
Serves 4 – 6 Cooking time: 35 min You need: a skillet, a colander, a rice-cooker and a pot Notes: It requires soaking for 2 hrs prior to cooking
1 + 1⁄2 cups lentils, soaked
2 cups basmati rice
2 cups water
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 Tsp salt
1/4 Tsp pepper
1/8 Tsp nutmeg
1/8 Tsp cumin
1/2Tsp saffron, dissolved in 2 Tbsp of water – use a pestle and mortar to crush the saffron before you dissolve it in the water.
3/4 cup raisins
3/4cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup butter, melted. If available do prefer Ghee.
In Iran, this is an essential dish for the New Year’s feast. For the rest of us it’s a fantastic, fresh, and nutritious recipe. It has various preparation stages but don’t let that intimidate you from enjoying a truthfully fragrant dish. Enjoy!
Serves: 6 Cooking time: approx. 15 min You need: mixing bowls, a skillet, an oven sheet pan and parchment paper
4 Tbsp olive oil
2 medium, yellow onions, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
1⁄3 cup (50 g) dried barberries, soaked in cold water for 15 minutes, rinsed, and drained
1 Tsp grape molasses* or sugar
2 Tbsp water
1 Tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp advieh (Persian spice mix. See Notes.)
1+1/2 Tsp sea salt
1 Tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 Tsp turmeric
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
1/2 cup (40 g) finely chopped Romaine lettuce
1/2 cup (50 g) finely chopped spring onions (white and green parts)
1 cup (85 g) finely chopped fresh parsley
1 cup (85 g) finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup (85 g) finely chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup (60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp rice flour
Optional: 1 Tbsp dried fenugreek
4 Tbsp olive oil, for cooking the kuku
Caramelize the onions
Heat the oil in a wide skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions for 15 to 25 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Remove the onions and allow to cool.
Make the garnish
In the same skillet, place the oil, barberries, grape molasses, and the water, and stir-fry for 4 minutes over medium heat (taking care as barberries burn easily).
Transfer the barberries to a small bowl and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F.
Line a quarter-sized (9+1/2 x 13 in or 24 x 33 cm) rimmed sheet pan with parchment paper.
Make the batter
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl.
Add the baking powder, advieh, salt, pepper, and turmeric.
Beat lightly with a fork.
Add the garlic, lettuce, herbs, walnuts, flour, and caramelized onions, and fold in gently using a spatula. Do not over-mix.
Cook the Kuku
Brush the lined sheet pan with 4 Tbsp oil.
Pour in the batter, and gently shake the pan to even out the batter.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Garnish with the caramelized barberries.
Cut the kuku into pieces in any way you like. (Squares works best.)
Notes on Fresh Herb Kuku – Persian Rice Recipe
You can substitute barberries with cranberries.
Advieh is a Persian spice mix. You can buy it ready-made from a specialty store or make your own. Here’s how.
Serve hot, or at room temperature, with lavash bread and Yogurt and Persian Shallot Dip (mast-o musir, page 49). Nush-e joon!
Künefe or Kanafeh is the Middle Eastern version of Cheesecake. Unlike the Western iterations of the concept Künefe does not contain cream as a cooking ingredient. There are many ways to make Künefe. Some call for a frying pan or skillet; others use the oven; most of them use sugar; others use honey; some suggest to serve Künefe with Kaymak (buffalo milk cream); others don’t care about cream – and so on, and so forth. Our Turkish Cheesecake recipe is made in the oven and uses honey syrup instead of sugar syrup.
Serves: 6 Cooking time: approx. 30 min You need: a small oven pan, a large bowl, a small saucepan and a small pot.
For the Pastry
250g (9 oz) kadayif or kataifi (angel hair) pastry.
250g (9 oz) fresh mozzarella* cheese, shredded to pieces. See Notes.
125g (4+1/2 oz) clarified butter, melted and cooled until lukewarm.
For the Syrup
Scant 3/4 cup honey.
1/2 cup minus 2.5 Tbsp of lukewarm water.
1/2 Tsp baking soda.
1 Tbsp lemon juice.
3-5 drops of rose water (optional).
1/8 Tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
A handful of ground green pistachios, about 1/4 cup (or less, or more – it’s up to you).
First, Make the Syrup
Put the honey and the lukewarm water in a small saucepan.
Stir until honey has dissolved.
Turn on the fire to low-medium heat.
Place the saucepan over the fire.
Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring it.
Add the baking soda; wait for a few beats and then add the lemon juice; wait for another few beats and add the rose water and/or nutmeg if you’re using them.
Continue to simmer and stir in low-medium fire for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Set it aside to cool off.
Then, Make the Künefe Cheesecake
Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven.
Turn on the oven (to preheat) at 190C/374F.
Take a medium oven pan and butter its bottom. Don’t overdo it. Put it aside.
Take a large bowl.
Untangle the kadayif (angel hair) pastry.
Take a pair of scissors and cut the kadayif (angel hair) pastry into short, 1 to 2 cm or 1/2 to 3/4 inch, lengths into the bowl.
Mix the lukewarm melted butter into the shredded kadayif pastry. Work the butter through the pastry evenly.
Separate the now shredded and buttered kadayif pastry into two equal portions.
Spread the first portion of the kadayif pastry over the bottom of your buttered oven pan.
Cover the pastry with the the cheese.
On top of the cheese layer spread the second half of the kadayif pastry.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for approx. 30 minutes or more, or less, depending on your oven.
You need the kadayif pastry to turn adequately golden or golden-brown so, do check progress, without leaving the oven door open for long: you don’t want to lose much heat.
Turn off the oven.
Take the golden or golden-brown pan of Künefe out of the oven and onto the stove.
Pour the room-temperature honey syrup over the Künefe. Pour it evenly.
Cut the Künefe into wedges or squares.
Sprinkle the ground green pistachios on top of the Künefe.
Serve hot. (Not piping hot… just hot.)
Notes on Turkish Cheesecake – Künefe
Kadayif pastry is also known as Angel Hair pastry or Kataifi pastry. You can find it in Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern grocery shops.
Regarding the type of cheese… hmm. In Turkey they use Kashar (the Greeks call it Kaseri). Alternatives to Kashar or Kaseri: the Bulgarian Kashkaval, Italian Mozzarella (although it’s a bit bland), Mascarpone or even Pecorino Romano. The latter is saltier, so, go for it only you’re into more “salt & sweet” flavours than the rest of us.
For the differences between Honey and Sugar, click here.
Busiate or Busiati is a spiral shaped pasta. Check the reference here. If you can’t find Busiate then you can either make them yourself (yes, it is possible, check the Notes below) or use whatever type of long and twisty pasta you can find.
Serves: 6-8 Cooking time: approx. 15 min You need: a food processor, a mixing bowl and a pot.
For the Pesto
2 cups (glasses) cherry tomatoes
3/4 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves – packed
1/2 cup (50 g, or 1.7 oz) finely grated Parmesan cheese, plus a little more for serving
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp capers, drained
2 Tbsp golden raisins
1/4 Tsp chile flakes
3 anchovies, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 peperoncino, seeded, stemmed and coarsely chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Make the Pesto
Put the tomatoes in a food processor and process until finely chopped.
Pour into a sieve to drain the excess juices.
Return the tomatoes to the processor and add the almonds, basil, Parmesan, oil, capers, raisins, chile flakes, anchovies, garlic, and peperoncini,
Process until finely ground.
Season with salt and pepper.
Put it in the fridge until you need it. (Don’t put it in the fridge if you’re going to use it 10 min later.)
Make the Pasta
Put it in a large pot, and boil it to al-dente (according to instructions)
Drain the cooking water but keep 1/4 cup.
Transfer the pasta to a large bowl along with the pesto.
Toss them to combine.
Add a couple of Tbsp of cooking water, if needed, to even out the pesto sauce.
Transfer to a large serving platter, or plates, and serve with more Parmesan.
Notes on Busiate Pasta with Sicilian Pesto
Try to buy real Parmesan, and grate it at home. It does make a difference.
In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they’re 10 years old. In this honest, raw talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt uses her personal story to frame an important lesson about how our brains manage our bodies, as she explores the science behind why dieting not only doesn’t work, but is likely to do more harm than good. She suggests ideas for how to live a less diet-obsessed life, intuitively.
Slow Cooking Supreme, this one. Goat Cooked in Water and Olive Oil takes very little time to prepare and a long time to make but the result… is mouthwatering. We picked this recipe when, at some point in life, we were roaming the mountains of Crete/Greece. A shepherd offered us this dish as lunch. Forgetting it proved impossible.
Serves 6 – 8 Cooking time: 3 – 4 hrs You will need: a stock pot
1 to 2 kg (2 – 4 Lbs) of goat meat. Do prefer a leg and do ask the clerk to cut it up in cubes or chunks of at least 7 cm x 7 cm (@3 Inch x 3 inch).
hot water (see below)
2-4 cups of very good quality olive oil (see below)
3-4 pinches of good quality oregano
salt & pepper
Salt the meat (don’t overdo it).
Put the meat in a tall and narrow stock pot.
Add enough water to cover the meat and then add the same amount of water you just used, on top of it.
Bring it to a boil, then lower the fire to medium-high.
After a few minutes, you will see a layer of foam forming on top of the water. Skim that off, and keep skimming until there’s little foam left. This part of the operation should be over within @ 10 to 20 minutes.
Lower the fire to medium low.
Add some salt – again: don’t overdo it: one or two pinches are enough.
Add 3-4 pinches of dry oregano.
Add the olive oil. The olive oil will sit on top of the water (olive oil and water don’t mix) and it’s thickness (on top of the water) should roughly be 2.5cm / 1 inch. The amount of olive oil you’ll need depends on the kind of pot you’re using: if it’s tall and narrow, then 2 – 3 cups should be enough. If the pot has a broad rim… you’ll need more olive oil. (Which is a waste, really).
Let it cook for as long as it takes for the water to evaporate. For 2 kg / 4 lbs you’re looking at @4 hours of simmering.
The food is ready when the meat is tender and… cooked.
Notes on Goat Cooked in Water and Olive Oil
Water to Olive Oil Ratio. Depending on the water-to-olive oil ratios you used it can be that the food is ready when the water has evaporated completely and only oil is left in the pot; OR when there’s still broth under the oil. Going one way or the other is a matter of preference: some people like their gravy oily and thick, others prefer it to be lighter and watery. It’s a matter of preference, really.
Do NOT cover the pot. You already have a “lid” on, and that “lid” is the layer of olive oil sitting on top of the water: it lets the hot air bubbles out and, under it, the meat is boiling and roasting in the same time. (Strange but…true.)
Oil of Oregano will not do it for you. It has to be very good quality, dry oregano.
Goat meat is “sinewy” by nature. (It is also very lean.) It HAS to be cooked in low fire, for hours – and there’s no shortcut to this.
Spices. This recipe doesn’t call for any other spices, really. But you can certainly try combinations of coriander, cardamom or whatever else suits your palate.
Sides. Boiled and broiledpotatoes, or rice would do nicely. Should you need to balance the olive oil’s sweetness you could also steam or boil some greens like Swiss Chard or Kale or Spinach or something bitter like that.
Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce is dairy-less, meatless, satisfying and comforting one-pot recipe from India. Enjoy!
Yields approx. 9 cups or 2 Liters Cooking time: approx. 60 min You need: a heavy bottomed stock pot with a lid, a food blender/processor, a bowl, a strainer and a frying pan Notes: requires soaking overnight
3 cups (glasses, about 500g or about 1 Lb) dried black-eyed peas, picked over, washed, soaked overnight, and drained.
1 Tsp turmeric powder
8 cups (glasses, about 2 Liters) boiling water, divided
1 dried tamarind pulp cube, about 5 cm / 2 inch
1 large tomato, peeled and diced
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
1 piece of ginger about 3 cm or 1 Inch, peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 to 3 fresh Thai or cayenne chillies, stems removed and finely sliced
1 Tbsp dark brown sugar
2 Tsp ground coriander
1 to 2 Tsp red chilli powder or cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 cup (glass) of regular or light coconut milk
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
In the beginning
Take a heavy bottomed stock pot.
Add to it the lobhia, the turmeric and 7 cups (approx. 1.7 Liters) of water.
Turn the fire on to medium high and bring to a boil. It may take some time.
After coming to a boil, reduce the fire to medium low.
Partially cover the pot with the lid and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until the lobhia is soft.
Turn off the fire, cover the pot and set it aside to cool off. Do NOT drain the water.
While the stock pot is cooking…
Soak the tamarind pulp in the remaining 1 cup / 240 mL of water (preferably warm) for 10 to 20 or even 30 minutes – depending on the quality of the pulp and the temperature of the water.
Then, with your clean and washed hands, break down the pulp and squeeze the liquid out. The point here is to turn water into tamarind juice.
Strain the juice with a fine strainer.
Discard the pulp, seeds, and fiber.
With a blender or a food processor combine the tamarind juice with the tomato and blend to a watery paste. Set aside.
Take a frying pan, add the coconut oil.
Turn the fire on to medium high.
Wait a for a few beats and then add the onion.
Cook it for 6 to 7 minutes, until brown. Caramelized is OK, too.
Add the ginger and the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Slowly and tenderly add to the pan the tamarind/tomato paste, the fresh chillies and the brown sugar.
Stir the mixture well and cook for another 4 minutes.
Turn off the fire and transfer the mixture to the stock pot containing the lobhia.
Back to the stock pot
Turn the fire on to medium–high and add the coriander, the red chilli powder, and salt.
Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and cook for 1 minute, until warmed through.
Turn off the fire.
Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl.
Garnish with the cilantro and it’s done.
Serve with brown or white Basmati rice or Naan bread. See notes.
Notes on Indian Black Eyed Peas in Tamarind and Coconut Curry Sauce
The Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin is similar to an Arabic dish called Kebsah but with a lot of twists. This recipe tastes better the next day, so, feel free to cook it in advance, store it and serve in the following day or two with a different side dish. Enjoy!
Serves: 4 Cooking time: 40 to 60 min You need: a pot, a bowl and a container
1 whole chicken, about 2.5 Kg or 4.5 Lb, cut into 10 pieces with the skin on
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1+1⁄2 cups diced yellow onion
1⁄2 cup peeled and shredded carrot
2+3⁄4 Tsp sea salt
1⁄4 Tsp coarsely ground black pepper
3⁄4 Tsp ground allspice
1⁄2 Tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tsp ground cumin
1 Tsp ground cardamom
1/8 Tsp ground cloves
1/16 Tsp ground nutmeg
5 cups (glasses, about 1 Liter) boiling water
1/3 cup (glass) tomato paste
3⁄4 cup peeled and diced tomato
Rinse the chicken
Take a pot, put the chicken in, and add 6 cups of cold water and the vinegar to refresh the flavour of the chicken.
Drain the water, transfer the chicken to a bowl and set it aside.
Add olive oil in the pot.
Turn the fire on to medium high.
Add the onions, carrots, salt, and spices, and sauté for 2 minutes or so.
Add the pieces of chicken, and cook until the meat turns white – you don’t want to see pink colour in the meat.
Add the 5 cups of boiling water, the tomato paste and the tomatoes.
Stir well to dissolve the tomato paste in the water.
Increase the fire to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, uncovered.
Reduce the fire to medium and simmer with the lid on, stirring occasionally, for about 25 minutes.
Turn off the fire.
Transfer the pieces of chicken to a flat tray and set aside to cool, uncovered for about 15 minutes.
DO NOT discard the broth.
After 15 minutes remove and discard the skin of the chicken. You may want to discard some chicken bones too – that’s your choice. Just don’t discard the centre bone from the thighs or drumsticks.
Put the pieces of chicken in a container just large enough to hold them and cover with some of the reserved broth.
If you don’t serve it right away keep in the fridge for the following day. It does taste better-next-day, this one.
It can be served at room temperature (if you live in the Middle East) or warm or hotter – depending on your taste.
Pita Crisps with Sumak is a good one. For the recipe click here.
Rice with Raisins and Almonds is another good one. Click here.
Notes on the Lebanese Chicken with Cardamom and Cumin
Keep the broth for something else. E.g. you could make some really good rice with it. 🙂
It does take a few extra things to do other than simply boiling rice, but, well, the result is… impressive. Rice with Raisins and Almonds can be had as a main dish, or as a side dish – your choice. Enjoy!
Serves: 2 as a main dish and 4 as a side dish Cooking time: 20 to 30 min You need: a pot, a baking sheet, a platter
1 Tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (glass) rice
2+1⁄2 cups of hot chicken broth
1⁄2 cup (glass) toasted slivered almonds
1⁄2 cup (glass) toasted golden raisins
2 Tbsp melted butter
For the rice
Put the olive oil in a medium pot.
Turn the fire on to medium, put the pot on it and preheat the olive oil.
Add the rice and stir so that olive oil coats the grains.
Add 2+1⁄2 cups hot chicken broth.
Increase the fire to high and bring to a boil.
Then reduce the fire to low and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until the broth has been absorbed by the rice.
Turn of the fire, remove from pot and and set it aside, covered, to cool off – about 20 minutes.
Before serving, fluff the rice: separate the grains with the tines of a fork.
For the almonds and the raisins
While the rice is cooking, turn on the oven to 180C/350F to preheat it.
Take a baking sheet pan and spread an aluminum foil on it.
Spread the almonds and raisins, arranging so that they keep separate.
Put the baking sheet pan in the oven, preferably in the centre, and toast for 5 to 7 minutes, shaking occasionally. You want the almonds to turn golden and the raisins to be puffy.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven, empty the contents to a bowl and drizzle in the melted butter, mixing well. See notes.
Set it aside to cool off.
Take a platter, empty the rice on it and garnish the top with the almond and raisin mix.
Regarding raisins and almonds: between step #4 and step #5 instead of using a mixing bowl you can drizzle and mix the butter directly on the raisins and almonds on the baking sheet.
You may want to transfer the buttered raisins and almonds to a dish lined with a paper towel to absorb some of the excess butter – it’s up to you.
Cuisine: Turkish Region: Near East, Middle East, North Africa.
Baklava is Turkish Cuisine’s most emblematic and widely known dessert. Other nations in the area make it too, with certain twists. E.g. the Greeks prefer less spice in their Baklava, the Lebanese tend to want their Baklava drier (with less syrup) and cut in mouthfuls, etc.
Traditionally, classic Baklava consists of a layer of walnuts sandwiched between two batches of filo pastry sheets, generously drenched in syrup. As you can freely imagine there are many variations to the concept: some prefer to make baklava with forty (40) layers of less-than-paper-thin filo sheets (yes, it’s possible, even handmade); others use a lesser number of thicker yufka filo sheets; some make it with a hazel-nut filling; others use no nuts at all, opting for fillings made of orange pulp or dates. In this (most traditional) Baklava recipe we use pistachio nuts, walnuts and honey syrup instead of sugar syrup.
Makes: 60 mouthful size pieces Cooking time: approx. 35 min You need: a large oven pan, a large bowl, a saucepan and a small pot.
For the Baklava
500g (1 Lb 2 oz) yufka pastry sheets or filo pastry sheets
250g (9 oz) butter, melted
250g (9 oz) unsalted pistachio nut kernels or walnuts, crushed or ground
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
For the Syrup
1+ 1/4 cups honeyr
1+1/4 cups (minus 5 Tbsp) of lukewarm water.
1 Tsp baking soda.
1 Tbsp lemon juice.
3-5 drops of rose water or orange blossom water (optional).
A handful of ground green pistachios, about 1/4 cup (or less, or more – it’s up to you).
First, Make the Syrup
Put the honey and the lukewarm water in a saucepan.
Stir until honey has dissolved.
Turn on the fire to low-medium heat.
Place the saucepan over the fire.
Let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes or so, stirring it.
Add the baking soda; wait for a few beats and then add the lemon juice; wait for another few beats and add the rose water or orange blossom water – if you’re using them.
Continue to simmer and stir in low-medium fire for another 3 to 5 minutes.
Turn off the fire.
Set it aside to cool off.
Then, Make the Baklava
Place the oven rack either below the middle of the oven or at the middle. (Lower in the oven makes the Baklava base crispier.)
Turn on the oven (to preheat) at 190C/374F.
Take a large bowl.
Mix the nuts with the cinnamon in the bowl. Put it aside.
Take a large baking pan (large enough to take the filo sheet in) and butter its bottom. You don’t need to overdo it, but you don’t have to be stingy about it either.
Divide the filo sheets into two equal stacks.
With a brush, butter the top side of a filo sheet.
Set the filo sheet on the pan. DO NOT press it down.
Butter the top side of another filo sheet and set it on top of the previous one.
Repeat the exercise until you finish the first stack.
Then, layer the nuts, evenly.
After that, butter another filo sheet and set it on top of the nuts.
Repeat the exercise until there’s no filo sheet left.
Take a sharp knife and half-cut the Baklava into squares. (Half-cut means cutting the Baklava deep enough, but not all the way to the bottom.) Ideally you want your Baklava squares to be about 3×5 cm or 1+1/4 x 2 inches.
Put the pan in the oven and let it bake for approx. 30 min or until golden to golden-brown.
Turn off the oven.
Take the golden or golden-brown pan of Baklava out of the oven and put it onto the stove.
Pour the room temperature honey syrup over the Baklava. Pour it evenly.
With a sharp knife, finish cutting the Baklava into squares.
Sprinkle the ground green pistachios on top of the Baklava.
Serve hot (not piping hot… just hot) or at room temperature.
Notes on Classic Turkish Baklava Recipe
Be careful with the walnuts; they main contain shards of walnut shells so… do pay attention and pick them carefully.
You could add some nutmeg in the “nuts and cinnamon” mix, if you wish. If you do, don’t overdo it: you want nutmeg to complement and enhance cinnamon, not take over.
If your filo sheets are bigger than your pan, no worries; use a sharp knife to cut off the edges before you set the next filo sheet in.
If your local store doesn’t carry filo or yufka pastry you can find it in Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern grocery shops and bakeries.
Cooking time is approximate. There are many types of ovens out there – some work with gas, some are electric, some are convection ovens, etc. Check the Baklava after 25 minutes and decide if it needs more baking.
If you have to open the oven door, just remember to do so very quickly because losing a lot of heat stops the baking process – and you don’t want this.
For the differences between Honey and Sugar, click here.
This is honey-to-sugar conversion table that might come in handy when making desserts. Curiously enough although honey is sweeter than sugar it also has lower glycemic index than sugar; not to mention that honey contains other nice things in it, whereas sugar is… sugar. Check the Notes at the end of this post. Here we go.
1/4 Cup Sugar -> 3 Tbsp Honey
1/3 Cup Sugar -> 4 Tbsp Honey
1/2 Cup Sugar -> 1/3 Cup Honey
2/3 Cup Sugar -> 1/2 Cup Honey + 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tsp
3/4 Cup Sugar -> 2/3 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tbsp
1 Cup Sugar -> 3/4 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2.5 Tbsp
2 Cups Sugar -> 1 +1/4 Cup of Honey + 1 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 5 Tbsp
Grams / Ounces
050g (1.76 oz) Sugar -> 3 Tbsp Honey
067g (2.36 oz) Sugar -> 4 Tbsp Honey
100g (3.5 oz) Sugar -> 67 grams or 1/3 Cup Honey
133g (4.7 oz) Sugar -> 1/2 Cup Honey + 1/4 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tsp
150g (5.3 oz) Sugar -> 2/3 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2 Tbsp
200g (7 oz) Sugar -> 3/4 Cup Honey + 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 2.5 Tbsp
400g (14.1 oz) Sugar -> 1 +1/4 Cup of Honey + 1 Tsp Baking Soda + Reduce other liquids x 5 Tbsp
Notes on How To Convert Sugar to Honey
Honey is denser than sugar, so, it can easily lump and make your baking dense, too. This is why you use Baking Soda.
Honey is 20% water. So, to offset this, you need to reduce the other liquids you’re using. This is why we mention these reductions here.
Honey has a higher sugar content than sugar (yup!), so, it cooks faster and burns easier than sugar. To offset that you need to lower the oven temperature by 25C / 77F.
When making honey-syrup DO NOT boil the mixture in high fire. Rather simmer the mixture in low to medium fire.
A friend asked for this (all time oven classic) Greek recipe for a lamb roast in the oven, so, without further ado… voila! (And a heartfelt thanks! to Libby who passed on the recipe. 🙂 Enjoy!
Serves: 6 to 8 Cooking time: +75 min You need: an oven pan
1 leg of lamb, approx. 1 + 1/2 to 2 Kg (about 3 to 4 Lbs),
approx. 2.5 to 3 Kg (about 5 to 6 Lbs) of potatoes,
1/2 cup (glass) of extra virgin olive oil + a little more oil to coat the meat ( See Instructions),
1 + 1/4 cups (glasses) of hot water,
1 + 1/2 Tbsp yellow mustard,
3/4 cup (glass) hot water (for the yellow mustard),
2-3 pinches of dry oregano,
4 cloves of garlic, lightly smashed but not cut,
Juice of 2 lemons ,
Salt and pepper to taste.
Turn on the oven to 200C (392F) and let it preheat while you prepare.
Wash the oven pan you’re going to use.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into wedges. (See Notes).
Squeeze the lemons, keep the juice and discard the pulp.
Wash the meat in cold water and pat-dry it with a paper towel.
Put the meat on the cutting board.
Use a sharp knife to make 4 incisions all around the meat, close to the bone.
Insert the garlic cloves into the incisions.
Smear the bottom of the pan with a little bit of olive oil – not more than 2 Tbsp.
Put the meat in the centre of the pan.
Rub some olive oil in your hands, and coat the meat with the oil on all sides. (Do not overdo it. You need the meat glistening, but not drenched in oil.)
Time for the seasoning: sprinkle the dry oregano on the meat and then salt and pepper it to taste.
Add the potatoes in the pan and arrange them around the meat.
Empty your 1/2 cup (glass) of extra virgin olive oil into the pan (but not on the meat).
Empty your 1 + 1/4 cup (glass) of hot water into the pan.
Pour the lemon juice on the meat and the potatoes alike.
Fill 3/4 of a glass with hot water, dilute the yellow mustard in it and then empty it on the potatoes, only.
Put the pan in the oven, on the lowest rack.
The food will be ready when the water has evaporated and there’s only olive oil gravy left in the pan.
Salad and Dessert
You might want to consider a green and light salad with this recipe, like spinach, fresh/green onion, arugula, dill, parsley, etc. A bit of oil and vinegar as dressing should be enough.
This dish is rich and hearty, so, when it comes to dessert, the suggestion is to go simple. E.g. a bit of Tahini Halva with Lemon Juice and Cinnamon will not only cleanse your palate but may also help with digestion.
Notes on Lamb Roast with Potatoes, Lemon Juice and Oregano in the Oven
Check progress from time to time. Sometimes the meat cooks faster than the potatoes so, turn the meat over to cook on the other side too, if that’s what’s needed.
The suggested cooking time is indicative and it largely depends on your oven: some ovens use convection, some not; some ovens retain the heat differently than other; etc..
It generally takes around 60 min of cooking/roasting time per 1 Kg (2 Lbs) of meat, so, for 2 Kgs (4 Lbs) of meat you’re generally going to need approx. 120 min.
Therefore, you might want to adjust the size of your potato wedges to the amount of meat you’re cooking: if you have 2Kgs (4 Lbs) of meat then you might want your potato wedges to be bigger than smaller, so that the potatoes don’t cook earlier than the meat and vice-versa. If you see that the meat is cooking faster than the potatoes you can always cover the meat with an aluminum sheet, or remove from the pan it when you think it’s done.
You can scale the recipe down at will – it will still be delicious. 🙂