duck, chestnuts, and Bordeaux wine

Wishing you all an incredibly merry Christmas and a happy 2012. My confit de canard recipe coming up this week. Import from France, coupled with a fine Bordeaux wine, and for dessert, diples straight from Athens. Chestnuts straight from my farmer's market in front of my place in Maroussi. Also more photos to come from my weekend trip back to Athens where I had an apéritif for friends and a big fat Greek family dinner.

Health and peace and joy to you and your loved ones.


fonduing my way around Switzerland

Bonjour mes amis. Back in the land of blogging. Have been working very hard, and have had some exciting travels on the weekends. Pics to come from the 10,000 weddings I attended this summer.

Here's a picture from a Swiss cheese fondue from last night. Good friends and good wine (Geneva Chasselas to be exact). Nothing better. This little place is located in Geneva's Junction. Typically, the fondue comes in a specialized pot. This one comes in a big bread bowl.



I'd like to post food pictures from the greatest place on earth (soon).
More to come.


and yes, Lyon was....

legendary. Nothing like good wine, good food, and good friends in a Lyonnais bouchon.

i'm lame

So between organizing an international AIDS conference, and going to weddings, I have been lame in giving you all updates. 'The Cooking Odyssey' back in the US is being happily received by television audiences, the family is doing well, and to show you how busy I am, I haven't experimented with any recipes in over a month (perhaps two).

I did eat extremely well in Paris however two weekends ago when I went for a friend's wedding. Also, I'm convinced the epicentre of the universe is Le Marais (after my village).

Please do follow our work at the 6th IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention (IAS 2011) - which begins in Rome, Italy this Sunday. Lot's of exciting work being presented on ARV-based interventions (i.e. PrEP), elimination of mother-to-child-transmission, and of course - HIV cure research.


Off to Lyon this evening. At last.

I have been talking about this since I was born. I'm off to the food capital of France tonight for the experience of a lifetime. Driving there with my mate Simon-Pier and staying at a friend's place. We will hit up a bouchon bistro in the old town I reckon. Bon weekend, mes amis. And tomorrow evening, dinner with the family across the pond.


when one doesn't like lamb

the answer is goat. Had such an amazing time in mum's village for Easter. My uncle George roasted a full-size lamb on Easter Sunday. Thia Litsa cooked everything else (including a fab walnut cake). Quality time with cousins. Back in Geneva now. Here's a pic from the outcome of uncle George's efforts. Christos Anesti, and happy May day!


home sweet home

Just arrived in Athens for Easter. About to head to my mother's village outside of Kalamata for the classic roasting of lamb with my uncles, aunties, and cousins. I can't wait (abstained from meat and dairy products for 40 days, I'm going a bit nuts). Just elated to be back home. Despite people's massive troubles to simply get by given the economic climate, there's is something special about Easter in Greece after all, which provides much needed inspiration.

I'm off to the village. To roast. And take pictures (I will post). There's nothing like it in the world.
Happy Easter. And I saw a great quote in LIFO magazine by Nikos Dimou this morning which captures the Easter holiday in Greece.

‎"Με Κρίση ή χωρίς - χαρείτε την Άνοιξη και την Ανάσταση. Δεν κρατάει πολύ, είναι όπως ο έρωτας. Αλλά, όπως ο έρωτας, μεθάει και λυτρώνει." Καλό Πάσχα παιδάκια.


it's official

pilgrimage to Lyon. This Sunday.

"The Cooking Odyssey" on Create TV

And I have to say, I'm very excited 'The Cooking Odyssey' is going to be on Create TV, starting later this month. Awesome.

talk + food

Tomorrow I'm giving a talk at work, and I will be preparing a Greek lunch feast (mezes) for my colleagues. The menu is as follows:

1) melitzanosalata
2) patzarosalata with walnuts
3) spanakoprasopita
4) tzatziki with grilled pita
5) dolmades
6) dako me paksimadia
7) slices of feta drizzled with Kalamata olive oil and oregano from Evia
8) figs with manouri cheese

I'm too lazy to make keftedakia.


mushroom risotto for the roommates

I just picked up ingredients this morning so I can make a simple yet nostimotato mushroom risotto. Since I'm abstaining from dairy and meat courtesy of Greek Lent, no parmigiana or mascarpone in my portion. I got these lovely organic champignons bruns (sadly not local, they hail from Allemagne). I used to speak Greenglish. Now there's a bit of French interspersed in there. Apologies.

Καλό ταξιδι, Ελισάβετ....

A legend left us today. Artist and AIDS activist.


An underestimated lentivirus model: what can HIV-2 research contribute to the development of an effective HIV-1 vaccine?

Hodges-Mameletzis I, De Bree G, Rowland-Jones SL.

Nuffield Department of Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 9DS, UK.
The development of an HIV-1 vaccine that would be effective against all existing subtypes and circulating recombinant forms remains one of the great scientific and public health challenges of our generation. One of the major barriers to HIV-1 vaccine development is a lack of understanding of the correlates of protective immunity against the virus. In this context, research has focused on the rare phenomenon of spontaneous control of HIV-1 infection, in groups referred to as 'long-term nonprogressors' and 'elite controllers', together with models of nonprogressive sooty mangabey simian immunodeficiency (SIV) infection in African nonhuman primate hosts such as sooty mangabeys and African green monkeys, in which the majority of animals tolerate high levels of viral replication without development of immunodeficiency or disease. Much less attention has been given to humans infected with the nonpandemic strain HIV-2, derived from the SIV in West Africa, most of whom behave as long-term nonprogressors or viral controllers, while a minority develop disease clinically indistinguishable from AIDS caused by HIV-1. This apparent dichotomous outcome is, based on the evidence accumulated to date, more clearly related to the host immune response than the good clinical outcome of HIV-1 controllers. We propose that complementing research into HIV-1 controllers and nonpathogenic SIV models with the prioritization of HIV-2 research could enhance the HIV-1 vaccine research effort. The absence of disease progression or detectable plasma viral replication in the presence of an effective immune response in most patients living with HIV-2 represents an opportunity to unravel the virus' evolutionary adaptation in human hosts and to establish the correlates of such a protective response.

Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2011 Feb;9(2):195-206.


fresh chocolate truffles

On route to Boston from Geneva for the big HIV meeting (CROI) - I stopped in Zurich. And there, I picked up some fresh chocolate truffles at Zurich International Airport (they literally had made them that day and have to be consumed within 4 days).

Insanely delicious.


massacre in Distomo, Greece - case revisited

Greek civilians look on as the Germany army makes its way to Thessaloniki in April 1941. Photograph: Getty

Interesting article in today's Guardian on the WWII massacre by Nazis in the village of Distomo. The international legal context of the current Greek government's efforts to support the case for compensation is expressed in a great piece drafted by my friend - Antonios Tzanakopoulos, who's a lecturer in Public International Law at the U. of Glasgow in Scotland. Please take the time to read both on this Sunday. Bon journée.


$50, I just spent on Swiss cheeses today

Tomme de Bruson Croûte Fleur. Le Gruyère AOC. Toudeille Midi-Pyrénées. Raclette Valdor. Tomme à la farce truffée. I am a very happy man.


au revoir Mubarak

I love this quote I saw saw by the New Yorker's David Remnick.

To watch Hosni Mubarak today in his late-night speech in Cairo, as he used every means of rhetorical deflection to delay his inevitable end, was to watch a man so deluded, so deaf to the demands of history, that he was incapable of hearing an entire people screaming in his ear. And it is almost always that way: the dictator, coddled in his isolation, surrounded by satraps and servants, immersed in his own sense of essential-ness, is the last to know.


lovely Geneva

Oh how much I love this city. And my new job. I am making an effort to speak French (very experimental, but I think those that are Francophones appreciate the effort).

Food is insanely expensive. NYC is cheap compared to Geneva. That said, I think there are ways of finding reasonably priced food products, particularly in ethnic shops (huge fan). As in Les Pâquis (my favourite section of town). Today I went for my first walk around the lake (stunning vistas, freakin' gorgeous day) - and at some point, I stumbled upon a little Portuguese shop where else but in Pâquis. I discovered this olive oil that my friend Fernandes from Oxford used in her kitchen. I, naturally, argued in favour of the superiority of olive oil from my mother's village outside of Kalamata. I got all nostalgic about my Oxford days and ridiculously wonderful friends (whom I miss dearly) when I saw the label.

On a final note, I discovered a lovely cafe in Pâquis - Café Art’s. It had vibe, good food, GREAT cappuccino, and funky folks. I think that will be my hangout. It's open late. Like everything back in Athens.

Bon weekend.


Une nouvelle vie

The Greek has landed in Geneva. And I already made a friend on the train. I thoroughly enjoyed my last koulouri Thessalonikis from my bakery back home this morning. Marietta, Lydia, and Stelina saw me off. My last night in Athens was spent in the midst of family lunch in Varkiza, a visit to play with my niece and nephew, a birthday party, and ending up at a jazz cafe where my housemate Markos was playing with his band. I will miss the Motherland. Lot's of love from Switzerland.


oh figs

For all you fans of cooking shows back in America, please tune into your local PBS station and watch the long anticipated series 'The Cooking Odyssey', which I am hosting. One of my all time favourite recipes has been posted on the show's website. It's cheese pie made with a mixture of lovely cheeses and dried figs. Fresh figs, in season, are best (if you can get them locally produced). Aglaia Kremezi once told me, and quite accurately, that 'figs don't travel'.

Here's a link to the recipe - and please log onto the show's website. http://bit.ly/gkxlGK


go to bed

Profoundly jet-lagged from the trip to the USA. the fact I don't have internet back in Greece or a working elevator in Neratziotisa when you have 3 bags to lug - not cool. Exciting times back in the States. The Cooking Odyssey has premiered in NYC and LA, and is being rolled out across other stations of PBS throughout the country. Tres exciting, indeed.

Got some hiking done back in the States, worked, got stuck in Boston because of a blizzard (but Cambridge is one of the loveliest cities in America I think), and managed to get my batches of American peanut butter (since AB Vasilopoulos needs to drop their prices on Skippy before I ever consider buying a jar).

I cannot sleep. First full day in Athens. Off to Geneva in two weeks. More tomorrow folks. Over and out. Good night.


Chefs Ferran Adriá, Juan Mari Arzak and José Andrés on 'the future of food'

Chefs Ferran Adriá, Juan Mari Arzak and José Andrés on 'the future of food'

I love Ferran Adriá! Check this article on the future of food. My favourite quote of his, and he's spot-on is "When I hear we do strange things, I don't get it. For me, it's more strange to have a ham and cheese sandwich with Coke."