Results tagged “Gourmet” from ol'-eth-ros :: blog

With the seasons turning very rapidly we sit here at the cusp of the equinox.

Today the thermometer registered that it was still above 10 degrees but it felt a hell of a lot colder, wind chill factor and all.

The past few weeks, perhaps in subconscious reaction to the coming cold months Astrid has been cooking soups, all have been good and I am glad to see her confidence flower in our own kitchen after she barely tried to cook in the previous rental place, mostly cause of her dislike of gas cooktops.

The soup courtesy of Astrid that I have most enjoyed is that slightly daggy yet great 80s classic French onion soup complete with good bread and melted cheese.

Come this weekend, I find myself with way too much time on my hands due to Astrid juggling a working weekend with a fair social schedule.

Last night I went solo to the opening night of Stardust, one of the rare examples where good fantasy gets properly translated to the screen..

Today I caught up with a gadget loving friend who has imported and hack an iPhone to work here, doubt we will see the real thing for a long time, we are an insignificant market who is already supersaturated by Nokia and Sony Ericsson.

Tonight, noticing the cold was biting more strongly - I kick-started the fire and proceeded to turn the mass of root vegetables I picked up at the town market today into my own trademark soup.

I like to make a rich and flavoursome soup with a base of pale aromatic vegetables kind of melding mirepoix and soffritto which usually features whichever I can obtain of the following: parsnip, fennel, onion, leek, swede, potato, celeriac. The vegetables must be sweated in a little oil or butter for quite a while, it is the key to bringing out all the flavour in the raw ingredients.

I perfected a rich and flavoursome version of this dish back in Oz, with a strong focus on celeriac, fennel and potato sweated generously then simmered in a pressure cooker till very soft then puréed. This was mixed with some fresh herbs, lemon juice and some white miso dissolved through before serving, producing a lovely creamy yet vegan vegetable soup that was bursting with flavour.

Not having access to good quality Fennel in Norway very often I have adapted this again using more of the root vegetable family to great success. This version had carrot, celeriac, potato, swede, parsnip, onion and chickpeas in it. Due to the addition of pulses I didn't bother to purée it. With a dash of white miso it was great and hearty.

With the weather has also come a shift musically, with Agalloch - Ashes Against the Grain featuring in the high rotation playlist for the first time in quite a while.

Dave writes about apples - in particular the pink lady, which is not a bad apple at all. He also talks about the Jazz variety which I found in the local upmarket supermarket a while back. I found them nice, but not so much to rave about. It could have been the growing climate - France, or just the supermarket imposed flavour destruction via cold storage and shipping , I bought them because I miss the quality Braeburns from back home.

It made me realise that Apple season is just around the corner over here - and it might be a good idea to prioritise that decent oven before it arrives. I wrote about baking with of one of the true classic apples last autumn - the Danish Gravenstien.

After a particularly frustrating week. I've been really chilling out today.

Eaten great food - sugar sweet ripe white nectarines & figs, the type you rarely find in cities where they don't take the time to let them ripen naturally.

Homegrown Black Russian tomatoes, on thick slabs of medium rye sourdough

Finally my first ever pot of Silver Needle (Yin Zhen) white tea. Which - mainly due to it's cost - I took the time to brew properly.

What an amazing tea, like white peony (Pai Mu Tan) which I have drunk on many occasions, silver needle has a delicate taste but it's so much sweeter. Pai mu tan, has been described as having a taste reminiscent of white chocolate. Silver Needle on the other hand has strong honey/nectar notes.

Like many high grades of tea, the leaves are carefully hand rolled. However for Silver Needle, a bundle of leaves are tied together and then additional leaves are wrapped around until a ball the size of a quails egg is produced. This is quite unlike the oolong Frozen Peak (Tung Ting) I purchased a while back where each individual leaf was rolled into a tight ball.

Watching this tea brew was exquisite, as the near boiling water soaked into the outer parts of the ball, the first layer of leaves unfurled but did not detach from the main mass. These outer leaves move around like an anemone as they soak up more water, giving the whole scene an animated life like feel.