Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Steckerlfisch: Bavarian charcoal grilled fish

The tangy flavour of barbecued food must remind our subconscious of the primeval past of the humanity, perhaps, that's why we all find charcoal-grilled food so irresistible.

Steckerlfisch is a Bavarian national dish on par with more famous pork knuckles and white sausages. Fish does not come cheaply in land-locked Bavaria, but an expertly grilled, smoky mackerel is totally worth your 12 Euros. It goes without saying that it is best washed down with superb Bavarian beer.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Kufteh: spicy Iranian meatballs recipe (کوفته )

oftas are a common dish throughout the Middle East and South Asia. The Arabic word for this dish is kafta' but I prefer to use the Persian kufteh (کوفته ), because I buy spices for mine in an Iranian shop. It is their flavour that makes all the difference in this balls of mince, rice and onions.

The recipe is simple, although, like in many Iranian dishes, time-consuming. To mae it worth my while, I cook a huge Creuset pot at a time and freeze leftovers to have for lunch when I start missing the taste.
  1. Cook three cups of rice in two cups of water. The proportions may vary depending on the type of rice you use and also on the humidity/altitude of your place of domicile. The rule of thumb is that rice needs to come out on the dry side, so use about 2/3 of the amount of water that you would normally use.
  2. While the rice is cooling down, peel and finely chop 6 large onions.
  3. Mix 500 g (just over a pound) Tartare beef mince with the onions and rice. Add 2 beaten eggs, salt and spices. The choice of spices is really up to you: zaatar goes very well with this recipe

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Gol gavzaban: borage flowers tea (گل گاوزبان)

Now this is a nicely odd tea: gentle blue and tasting like cucumbers. Gol gavzaban or borage is mostly used as a savoury herb in the South of France. Iranians, an ancient and sophisticated nation that they are, pick just the flowers and make tea out of them. They claim it has health benefits but I think they drink mostly because it is so bizarre and when you have a few millennia of tea-drinking behind you, you need something like this to get past your excitement threshold and get the kick.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Soju (Korean Kitchen) in Soho, London (소주)

I love Korean cuisine, it is clean-cut and refreshing, just like the minimalistic wood-and-steel interiors of Korean restaurants around the world. Soju, in Great Windmill Street, is a savoury jewel in a not-such-savoury lane in Soho.

Strangely enough, the sign that you see when walking down the street says "Korean Kitchen", perhaps for the benefits of those who might take it for yet another Chinese grease joint that are so abundant in the vicinity.


Pro's: A wide range of Korean favourites. Quality ingredients. Friendly, efficient service.
Con's: Not really cheap.
In a nutshell: Great place for quality Korean fare.

Soju (Korean Kitchen)
32 Great Windmill Street
London, W1D 7LR
020 7434 3262

Monday, October 5, 2009

Gewurztraminer: the peach nectar of Alsace

h Alsace, the land of blue-eyed blondes and bacon-and-crème-fraîche pizza, the flammeküche, thy biggest glory are your wines!

Right across the border, in Germany, the same grape varieties yield saccharine-sweet wines, yet in Alsace they Gallic touch works miracles and here you get veritable perfumes - full of berry and fruit flavours yet dry and light. After my all-time favourite Alsatian Riesling, Gewürztraminer takes the second spot. The nectary water made from liquidized peaches, gently sweet and full-bodied, it can be sipped in its own right, no accompanying food needed.

Important: Alsatian wines only taste right when drunk from Alsatian wine glasses with a long green stem and a wide clear bowl.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kusinang Munti: Filipino restaurant @ Tooting, London

erhaps, after all all-you-can-eat buffets are not the best way to reconcile oneself with the cuisine one is not partial to. I love South-East Asia, the treasure box of diverse cultures and exotic flavours. Apart from it being the focus of my academic studies, it is the proverbial box of chocolates when it comes to cuisines. Singaporean laksa, Thai green curry, Lao tambakhung, Vietnamese, Malay, Indonesian gado-gado - if I could make a precious necklace out of food, they all would be there. Except I never could seem to find a suitable gem coming from the Philippines archipelago.

However, I am always to persuasion. For that I don't mind travelling because London's few Filipino eateries, Kusinang Munti is located in Tooting Bec.