To anybody out there who might read this Food Diary I must take a break for awhile. Maybe some time the future will allow a return. Until then…
First Course: Australian herbs and spices Dutkah with small lengthy pieces of Turkish bread for dipping.
Second Course: Grilled Haloumi We take the Haloumi, spread it with olive oil then dust it with Smoked Paprika and fry it. Then it can be eaten as is or placed on Turkish bread.
Third Course: Diane grilled some rounds of eggplant and served them as is. Then she filled the centre of large mushrooms with the pesto that she had made several days ago and grilled them on the Weber.
Fourth Course: The chef made Mazatlan Meatballs from a recipe in Ainsley Harriot’s Outdoor Cooking book that called for lamb mince and a few pantry spices. As a side she served a true Greek salad of cucumber pieces, black olives, and tomato pieces.
As a beverage she served a couple of glasses of Tsanntali Retsina which is an excellent Retsina for beginners of drinking Resina. This wine is mild by the standard of other Retsinas. I believe the story goes that during the Greek war for independence against the Turks, the Greeks put pitch in the wine barrels to make it unappealing to the Turks but the taste caught on among the Greeks and continued after the war.
We started our dinner in the garden just as evening was coming on. Diane made us some of her new pesto toast and (I said it was special) a Cosmopolitan cocktail to get the evening going in the right direction.
We moved into the house as the evening chill approached. Once there we had Jeong Sook’s pumpkin bean and potato soup.
After this came an excellent course: fried Swiss Brown Mushrooms. It is an indulgence but well worth the money, at least by my standards.
Next was the Main Course which was sort of my made up recipe: a purchased boned and skinned chicken thigh smeared with butter on the inside, then wrapped with prosciutto and the remaining butter smeared over the prosciutto. After this the completed thighs were held together by the prosciutto and baked for about 25 minutes in a medium oven basting once or twice.
We rarely have dessert but tonight Diane had some Crepes frozen and she spread some raspberry preserves on each one and folded them into quarters and served them: delicious!
We had several glasses of Taylors’ Promised Land Merlot: perfection!
Yesterday an old friend, John Eaton with his wife who is from Korea, came by to show us how to make Korean Pancakes which Diane first tasted in Los Angeles several years ago. She liked them so much that I decided to ask Jeong Sook to show us how to make them and yesterday was the day of the lesson.
Not only did she bring her cooking knowledge and all the ingredients for the pancakes but she also brought over two Korean soups: a chicken soup and a potato and pumpkin soap which we will enjoy tonight because the chicken soap was eaten yesterday. Some of the pancake mix was leftover for us to enjoy with the soup; it is a complicated mixture composed of: sliced carrots, zucchini, a bit of chilli, onions, par-boiled potatoes. Plus all of these match-stick cut greens there was also a small bowl of seafood that was already cut into small pieces. To this mixture was added two slightly beaten eggs plus one cup of water and one cup of Korean pancake mix that contains the needed spices. The mixture is fried in hot olive oil a large spoon at a time then drained on paper towels.
Since we had the same items for lunch needless to say there was no need for other dishes at the meal. A glass of cold white from an unknown vintner was enough to satisfy our beverage needs.
Diane made us a wonderful Spanish meal last night; it ended with her leftover paella from the night before but she added some extra bits that made the meal complete.
We started with a plate of Grilled Eggplant with Tomato Coulis.
This was followed by Serano ham with Rock Mellon. In North America Rock Melons are called Cantaloupes. These that I bought at Gilberts are particularly sweet and delicious; we are still eating them.
The main course was the remainder of the wonderfully tasty paella that we enjoyed earlier in the week. Diane used slices of Spanish Chorizo which was particularly spicy, small pieces of chicken and onion gently sautéed.
As sides she prepared a small chick pea salad and a tomato and olive salad spiced with cumin.
Our beverage was a glass of Spanish Tempranillo by Marques de Tezona.
Diane seems to come up with these great dinners for no particular reason, just because she wants to do them herself and I am the recipient of these wonderful meals.
Last evening was a case in point: we began the meal with grilled eggplant with a tomato caulis (made by her.)
Next was a delicious main course of linguine with smoked salmon pieces (off-cuts from larger fillets.) Besides the salmon the sauce contained: tomato, lemon thyme in a light cream sauce.
All of this was followed by a superb light salad with our beverage of choice: a Grant Burge Pinot Gris.
As if this was not enough Diane made her own ice cream: Macadamia nuts and an Australian herb—Lemon Myrtle as flavourings.
It was truly a superb meal!
We took advantage of Shelley’s free meal that she made for us some time ago but all praise to the freezer in the fridge.
Her dish is best described as a garbanzo (chickpea) bean stew and, served with rice, it was delicious. The stew is delicious on its own but the rice just added bulk to the dish. It was so satisfying that we had no need of any other course so the stew was all that we had.
Our beverage was one leftover wine: Houghton’s Chardonnay Verdello and one new wine: an Italian white, Frascati (or the major white wine drank in Rome.)
We had a busy week so it was appropriate that we have a simple no-fuss dinner. Therefore Diane made an arrabiata sauce that can easily be frozen and kept for many weeks; she used one of these frozen sauces. It married with the penne pasta because it was liquid enough to penetrate into the hollows of the pasta.
Arrabiata sauce is composed of: heated olive oil, add onions and garlic, after three minutes add the chillies and tomato passata.
We skipped the salad because we finished off the potato salad from the day before as well as the green beans.
Last night was a difficult night for entries into the Food Blog because I was having a medicine rejection of some sort or at least that is my only excuse, probably it was simple fatigue. Anyway this is what we had and it was truly special and I tried to compliment the chef as best I could given my odd use of the English language that I have.
As I said Diane made a delicious Tapas meal for us. I think she thought that it would knock me out of the doldrums that I have been in these past weeks: TAPAS: irresistible snacks from Spain by Adrian Linssenn with Sara Cleary began the search. She also used a tremendously valuable cookbook: Mediterranean Cookery by Claudia Roden.
The Tapas meal she prepared for her and me: her own olives with migas (toasted pieces of bread.) Garlic prawns, Fremantle Sardines, Anchovy Potato salad, Hudias (green beans) with ham from Claudia Roden’s wonderful book. For dessert we had from the Croatian Cookbook by Dennis Valcich a recipe for very thin pancake that we would call a crepe filled with raspberry jam. The crepe was folded into six triangles but it was Diane’s culinary and magic that I failed to watch. Diane had made the crepe a few days ago and then popped a stck in the freezer so it was easy to make one for dessert.
A glass of Spanish White accompanied the meal.
Last night was simplicity in itself. Diane whipped up a perfect “Risotto con Piselli alla Veneziana (Risotto with peas Venetian style).
The dish is fairly simple: it requires two liters of stock either beef or chicen, one half of a butter packet (1 stick of butter), one small onion sliced, two slices of prosciutto diced, two cups of Italian rice, two cups of small peas, one cup of freshly ground parmesan. We first made it in ’04 but I am sure that we would have made it more recently. Diane says that she has made better risotto; it was too “glugy” and it may have been the rice she used. It sure tasted good to me, however!