Tag Archives: food

Merry had a little lamb curry

You are bound to bump into Indian food in UK, and a pretty good one as well. So with my adventurous hat on (replacing my normal tin foil cap when cooking), I went straight to a green lamb curry. Grin on my face, green novice indian hands on my side, green spices all over the place, here we go before mentioning the color of grass…

To make it bold, I’ve decided to make a full meal:

Base is lots of onions, garlic and ginger paste, which initially looks white as should be I guess. But warn them color blinds – things will change soon:
Onion Mix
Like when doing Onion Soup, they require a bit more time to color than normally the recipes state, before they are golden brown. Fitting to a green curry, my onions decided to take the right approach even before spices were added. Pretty remarkably, I’ve got myself this:
Green Onions
The bizarre color became reasonable once adding the spice mix. I actually used all the spics in the recipe as well as some additional ones (a bit of Turmeric, and some curry leaves). I also used sour cream instead of Yogurt, just because we had plenty of it after my parents visit ended, and they virtually stocked us with it.
As for the Naan bread, I did put it in the oven slightly more time than indicated, but this usually varies according to ones oven, and timing is very particular. I also mixed up some oil, garlic, coarse salt, and Oregano and rubbed it on one side.
The final curry was very pleasing for a first attempt, too mild for me (had to accommodate my partner total disrespect for real original Indian cookery) but still my local Indian restaurant is far better. More practice is called for, now with a much happier trigger on the chili.
Lamb Curry - Done
Bon apetite

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Beerman and Saint Petrus

I love beer. I always have. I am a beerman.

They say the taste of beer, is an acquired one. I guess there is something in it. Beer (especially lukewarm lagers), taste when you sip them inside  your body, roughly like it does on the other way around. But cold beer – now, for something completely different.

Living in UK, it is possibly mandatory to love beers. Well, if you do not love things you do almost every day – it may lead to terrible frustration. So better love it said Confucius ages ago (my take off).

They even got beer festivals here in UK: you buy an empty glass (sounds foolish – doesn’t it? wait and see) and then basically taste all the presenters new beers (and some old ones) until you are not thirsty (or more likely, collapse – I tried to stay relatively politically correct).

I had an enjoyable experience in USA as well – I remember a pub in Boston a friend took me to when he studied at MIT, when there were 270 (!!!) kinds of beer at that time, out of which 70 were from barrels. I was only a couple of weeks there and sworn I will taste all of them. I must admit I had failed, but will never tell you by what slim a margin… I believe today there are 350 kinds there, and they aim for 365, so you can drink a different kind every day of the year. From chocolate, to ginger, to berries, to all kind of lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, dark and brown stouts,  ales and real ales and the truly only real ales, from no alcholol to low, mild and extremely strong. Open your mind, and then your throat.

But strangely enough, the most memorable  beer experience I ever had was back in my home country. No huge beer tradition there, but my best memory so far. I was a teenager. I used to play Tennis with a friend I will call Petrus and our gang of geeks with no girlfriends and lots of energy on Friday nights. He had a private course at his amazing home (his house used to belong to one of Israel best Tennis players, Amos Mansdorf, who of course had to have a course ) – A full qualified doubles one. We played for hours, mostly in couples format which I adored (later pursuing playing Bridge for the national youth team for the same bonding experiences – and what do you know: even got married for probably the same reasons), usually with multiple small foolish bets.  Bets were everything those days. Amongst our group there were better athletes than me, also much better build people, but I did OK. You shan’t be worried.

This all leads to the best beer experience I have had, which is sifting a beer from a nearside course cabin, who had mainly a fridge full of beers. The main house (perhaps a hundred yards further) had beers as well, but it’s those nearby cabin fridge beers my memory delves on. So after a  few hours of play, an ice cold Goldstar beer or  some imported ones, I don’t recall properly, were our prize. There was nothing like it. Your body eagered every drop, in a passion I had only found later with the other gender. A truly remarkable taste. Acquired or not, I did not give a damn. I even became a barman for few month later on while doing my duties to the country, cherishing those exact moments, only to discover that barmen do not drink at work. Such a shame.

Since than I had drunk hundreds of different kinds, in plenty of countries, with many a friend. But nothing equals Saint Petrus’s beer after a series of Tennis matches. Win or lose – we all won every Friday.

With love to Petrus and the Gang.

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Goulash on Fire

I’ve always cooked since I was very small. My expertise has been soups and stews. I’ve developed soft spot for other dishes, but remained faithful to my origins.

One particular favorite soup & stew was Goulash soup. As a carnivore, meat in my plate is always in demand. And hot spicy food became a passion after abandoning my adolescence rebellion against the hot Yemenis’ Schug my father ate with everything (and still does) adequately getting reputation of Eastern/Arabic Jew with his dark skin (from years on the sea) and his passion for that red green boiling hot substance. Refusing to adhere, as was my trademark, I avoided hot food for long. But Goulash was a love affair. Some swear my arms got bigger from no less than 25 turns of that Pepper Mill knob on every Salad I eat. Well, swearing is not polite anyhow.

My probably first consistent acquaintance with this Soup, was following Maccabbi Tel-Aviv basketballs games in Yad Eliyahu, stopping at Mifgash-Ayalon after their victory (at that time, every Maccabbi Tel-Aviv European Cup or otherwise game in Yad Eliyahu was a victory), and taking meaty Goulash Soup before my main (you guessed right: grilled meat skewers as well).

Then I learned to make my own Goulash Soup, keeping honest to the traditional recipe, making sure the Paprika is not burnt, but still adding my own signature (lately in UK it has become Parsnip – god forbid), I was imprisoned in my own vanity – truly believing I have The Goulash within my palms and taste buds.

As I had an Hungarian Ex for while, and had some chances to taste the real thing, even with those almost magical-to-whisper Nokedli Hungarian Soup Noodles companions, with shapes as diverse as one liners aimed at Tourist Girls on Tel Aviv beach, so I had some confidence in my own creation, doing the sin of comparison. And sins are there to be avenged.

So I guess HR all mighty decided to pay back today, in Hungarian Budapest, on the Buda castle side to be accurate, in a seemingly unassuming way. Quite late after a Conference day, on a rainy day, I found myself strolling to a nearby-to-hotel little place, with those pleasant white table cloth, and severe looking middle aged well eating waiters. Can’t go wrong. I had the invisible Paul Auster with me, introduced to me by the above Ex long ago. Very fitting, as like Goulash, he keeps a mysterious taste, but with a good old comfortable exactly-the-same feel. And Goulash Soup it was. In Rome, be a Romanian as they say in Asfur.

Blimey. As a Britton-to-be I must admit this was a Proper Goulash. First it was served in a traditional metal cauldron called Bogracs, Harry Potter style. It had all the needed ingredients, but not more. A hearty, rustic dish. As should be. With those alien lookalike Nokedli friends. Served with fresh from the oven chunky pieces of white bread. When on a rainy cold evening, your forehead seems to get just a glimpse of tiny little sweat spots of hot pleasure you know you have Heaven on Earth.

God bless all mighty.

But the main amazement was a little side pot with a condensed Peppery / Paprika Goulash extract on the side. This is innovation at the highest scale. After years of trickery methods and trials and errors, between my beloved spouse and myself how to make food that will be spicy for me, but still blend for her, and failing to find resolution – I found god in this little place: I could just add as much of this extract, meld it to the soup (and after all it was of similar disposition so blended easly) without distorting the Soup, and be able to control the Spice I like in my Girls. Genious.

We have tried all sorts before. Big pan / small pan sauce, where the main dish is basked in the big pot, and at the end spices are added to a small portion in the little pan. Works OK, but demands good guessing of quantities each of us would actually want to have. Not as easy as one would reckon, when you have a Morag as your spouse. Marking with a line of garnish (e.g. some peppers, or otherwise) when we share an Oven dish, Pizza, Pie, or toasts – making sure the marks are not lost in translation, making me feel I’m eating foodless food, and making Morag natural eye color turn to sun-setting colors of red / orange and purple, if we make a mistake and eat the wrong portions.

For that reason, I’m out. Sorry Dragons, I meant I’ve finished my Soup to its atomic bits and bobs. And as my young Tom emits after getting her M’n’M sweet post a successful potty training:  Another one tomorrow.


I can only add the aftermath picture. Mainly because I was too starving to take a picture at the beginning, but also to avoid any drooling from you on the PC screens in front of you. Small consideration on my part.

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