not a surprise at all

NY Times article I just saw today (through Huffington Post) on the dramatic increase in food stamp use across the US.


Thanksgiving gorge

We ate way too much last night courtesy of Dr. Cairns and Ms. Patrick here in Oxford. They made an incredible, inspiring, and decadent feast. These lovely photos were taken by Mr. Hudson. They liked my pie. I think the best aspect of it was the maple syrup whipped cream served with it. Tonight I'll get my act together and post the recipe.


chocolate pecan pie

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Later tonight I'll post the recipe (a fusion of two excellent recipes) for my chocolate pecan pie.


However Tall the Mountain

Awista Ayub, author of the critically acclaimed book However Tall the Mountain, and a great friend from my college days at the University of Rochester, has been up to some incredible work in her native Afghanistan. For more please, read this article at the Rochester Review.


the best tsoureki ever?

I think we have a winner! My housemate Markos (technically he's former now, but everyone from the infamous Leopold/Catherine gang refuses to move on) brought me what I always ask for from Greece. Tsoureki (sweet bread). His mom always gets it from their local zaxaroplastio (pastry shop) in Nea Ioania (Mesologiou 24). It's called Τα Γιούλια (Ta Gioulia).

It's got texture, aroma, and it's always soft and never dry. Their contact information follows.

Τηλ: 210 2799766
Τηλ: 210 2798351

Also check this site out. Miltos catering. Hot desserts!




when you're writing a thesis, just make a slow roast

Aglaia Kremezi is an authority on Greek gastronomy and a lovely lady. I found this recipe of hers for leg of lamb stuffed with seasonal greens and feta cheese on Epicurious which I'm going to try out. I love her recipes!

In the meantime, I have a four-hour slow roast (160 C) right now in the oven (stuffed with garlic with a very simple marinade - some Dijon with oregano, Cornish sea salt, pepper and olive oil). I have included some parsnips, carrots, red onion, and leeks. Totally random, I know. This should be typically done on a Sunday. A Wednesday and I'm making a roast. But it's incredibly easy as I am writing up the thesis. And I found a very great price on this organic Welsh leg cut yesterday at Waitrose. Couldn't resist!

Back to work. Will let you know how it turned out.

Peace and love.


who's got a good chocolate muffin recipe?

Next few days planning on making this recipe courtesy of Ms. Nigella Lawson (but with the addition of Nutella inside).

Any thoughts on other recipes (or this one)?

250g (1 3/4 cups) plain flour (I used 1/2 plain flour, 1/2 wholemeal flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp cocoa powder
175g (1 3/4 cups) caster sugar
150g chocolate chips
250ml (1 cup) milk
90ml (over a 1/3 of a cup) vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 200˚C and line a muffin tray with paper cases.
Combine the plain flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, caster sugar and chocolate chips in a large bowl. Whisk the milk, vegetable oil, the egg and vanilla extract in another bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix till the mixture just turns runny. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases.
Bake for 20 minutes or a toothpick inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean.


best eggs ever

If you live in the Oxford area (or beyond), then I highly recommend you visit this incredible organic farm called FAI (formerly operated by Oxford University) in Wytham (just northwest of Oxford city centre). I organised a trip for the Oxford Gastronomy Society last Friday. We were given an amazing power point presentation on the concept and daily operations of the farm by Corri Waitt. Pictures to follow. We were taken by an open trailer to see their sheep, cattle, and pigs. At the end of the tour, we had the opportunity to purchase produce, and I ended up buying a dozen organic eggs, along with smoked bacon. The eggs especially are just like the eggs you get from my mother's village in Messinia. Unbelievable.

The farm is having an open day in December, Sunday the 13th from noon until 4pm.