comfort television

I'm sick. My stomach hurts. Really hurts. But at least I have UKTV Food channel and watching some really great cooking shows. My favorite dish was grilled salmon on a bed of grated fennel salad with creme freche (along with toasted pine nuts, lemon zest, and sun-blushed tomatoes) and accompanied with a zucchini fritti). It was amazing! Just amazing. I'm on a mission to make this for my mates. First, I have to get better though.


before you die, make sure you eat pizza at Pepe's

All Yale students are intimately familiar with the taste battle of Pepe's vs. Sally's pizza in the city of New Haven.  My favorite was actually neither.  Bar's pizza was just amazing (to be honest, all three are quite stunning).  I was spoiled in New Haven as far as pizza is concerned.  This remains the source of my bitterness from living in Oxford and not having access to great pizza.  But apparently, Bar's kitchen was run by a cousin or relative of Sally and Pepe.  I'm probably wrong, since I don't have any fact to back that statement up.  

Yahoo's travel section just had an interesting article on the ten places in America where one should eat before dying.  Well, Pepe's is on the list.  

By the way, a huge thank you to everyone for the apple recipes.  Already tried two and will write more on that later.  Thank you again.


apple dessert recipe anyone?

I have on my hands about 30 Bramley seeding apples (largely used as for cooking here in England). So, anyone up for pointing me towards some very good dessert recipes? I'm keen on an amazing apple pie, or apple crisp! Look forward to hear from everyone....Olympics are over, so I have to get back into sharing some of my latest recipes with everyone.

If you click on the link above, you will be directed by the British version of Martha Stewart - Delia Smith. She has some recipes using berries and apples. By the way, all I did yesterday on bank holiday was to watch the UK version of the Food Channel. Rick Stein is a god. He travelled to Australia and had a segment where he grilled fresh squid seasoned with paprika, then toasted rice and crushed it in a mortar, and added it both to a bed of lettuce, mint, and coriander as part of a glorious salad. The dressing included diced red chillies, lemongrass, and fish sauce.


the French love McDonald's?

Oh yes they do. Breaking news folks . I had no idea, but apparently McDonald's sales in France are significantly higher than those in the UK. This is all according to a great article published today in my beloved Times.

For more on this dirty French secret, click here.


verbal diarrhea?

I apologize for using such a word on a food blog of all places. However, yesterday morning, I had the privilege of talking to Phil Angell and Ali Booker on Oxfordshire's new radio station Jack FM, as I was subbing in for Susan from OGS. We discussed Greek food, and lightly touched upon childhood obesity. I was a novice at radio, and hopefully I didn't spew nonsense. The presenters were lovely folks, and I really enjoyed talking to them.

On my way back to city centre, I stopped by college and one of the porter's at St. Peter's said 'I just heard you on radio this morning, you have a very nice radio voice in fact'. I was thinking to myself 'are you sure you were listening to Jack FM?'


olympic dim sum

In honour of the ongoing festival otherwise known as the Olympic Games, I wanted to share with you my recent (and utmost positive) experience at one of London's best Chinese restaurants.  Ping Pong has nine restaurants across greater London, and I have been a few times to the one near Embankment Station (South Bank).  It's easily accessible, and despite being set a bit away from the Thames, the ambiance and the design of the interior provides a modern Asian and comfortable environment.  And then there's the food of course.

My college friend Flavia treated me this time.  How fitting, it was the evening of the Opening Ceremony in Beijing.  Ping Pong is praised for its dim sum, which is what the Chinese specifically refer to a range of light dishes often served in a small steamer basket or small plate.  Typically served alongside Chinese tea, dim sum is often available from morning until noon.  At Ping Pong, you can have any time your heart desires (hence why it's a popular destination for many Londoners).

We ended up feasting on the following:

steamed scallop and shitake (superb!)
steamed  charsui bun (delicious)
traditional sticky rice (cooked very  nicely)
fried crispy Thai chicken spring rolls (fantastic!)
seaweed, rice, & duck wrap (a signature dish)
variety of steamed vegetables

I was about to finish off with a dessert, but I just couldn't manage.  Comfortably full.  If I were to, my choice would have been a sweet potato with coconut (the chef's special) where crispy fried sweet potato in strips of light pastry, topped off with grated coconut and served with coconut ice cream and honey.

I accompanied my food with one of their special flowering teas - the flowering red amaranth, which is a hand-tied green tea wrapped around a 'spectacular red amaranth flower' according to the menu.  It sure was spectacular, and tasted lovely.

Now doesn't that sound like a delicious excursion or what?  Thank you Flavia.


the busy Greek

I have been slow to post an extensive array of new recipes, including stuffed tomatoes and peppers, and xilopites with sausage and Parmesan in a beautiful garlic and tomato sauce.

Between lab and planning our house move, I have been very bad in posting these recipes. There's also something called the Olympics which opened up at at 8:08pm on 8/8/2008. I am in heaven (and sleeping very little trying to watch live archery Beijing time).


why Olympic athletes are high maintenance

This is a bit silly. Check an article out by the NY Times on how for the first time in the history of mainland China strawberries from abroad (California, USA) will be imported since they have been requested by my American cousins in the Beijing Olympic Village.

Next thing you know the French delegation is requesting foie gras.


wine with the ladies (and a Swiss)

What a lovely evening I had (and I needed it after a stressful, miserable day during which I got into a fight earlier in the afternoon with some random lady on the bus who butted into my conservation). My friend from my undergrad days in Rochester, Flavia, arrived in Oxford for a few days, and after a baked cod dish with potato puree for dinner (recipe to come), we headed off to Northern Oxford for some fine wine at the Summertown Wine Cafe. I have heard great reviews on this place (for months now), and I couldn't pass up a chance to go. It was really the brainchild of the illustrious Susan Jane, along with Maria and Evie. The layout of the cafe was really interesting, with an outdoor area in the back, along with a gazebo of sorts that had the comfort of a family living room. I enjoyed a glass of Gottleman 'Munsterer Pittersberg' Riesling 2007 .

Loved it, loved it, loved it!


images of Greek produce

my uncle's grapes on his estate

the healthiest staple in the Greek diet - the olive

fresh cherries - sweetness like you can't imagine

Greek pumpkins (my little niece and her cousin)

On my most recent trip to the Motherland, I was reminded at what I love so much about Greece - its colours.  Fruits at the market or grapes on a wine, everything seems to have such colourful character under the Greek sun. 


dolmades disaster

The picture of this sad child captures how I felt on Saturday night.

Instead of using my mother's recipe on dolmades, I decided to experiment with the grape leaves I brought from Greece.  Grave sadness, however.  It didn't work out.  

You live and learn.


amazing lamb

This was shocking. I had a great main course in college last night during formal hall. Actually, to be honest, the new chef at my college, St. Peter's (Collen) is very, very good, and he's making a genuine and big effort to change things for the better.

Really enjoyed it. I'm going to miss my American summer school students. They were a wonderful bunch. Back to life, back to reality. Kalo mina (Happy Month), as we say in Greek .