List Item: Try 500 of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Oh Christmas. The time that comes once a year, and then read about a few months later. Context: it is almost midnight on Boxing Day 2014, I have an awful cold that makes me sound like I have a high-pitched Southern drawn and I am writing this on ‘Solstice’: the new laptop I got for Christmas.
So great has this obsession with food been (as well as this Christmas which is the best I have had in YEARS) that I actually got some food presents which will be eaten and written about at a later time. As for now, these are the 1001 foods that we had from December 24th-25th.
Food item: Dried Shrimp
Earlier this day we went to see Paddington in the cinema as part of our traditional Christmas Eve cinema trip (so much better than I had expected and now I wish I had a bear as a pet). After this we paid a visit to Lido for some dim sum where I was able to finally cross off dried shrimp… which I should have done months ago but I did not realize at the time that it was a list food. Not much to say on this apart from the burst of flavour you get when you bite down on it, as well as how it flavours the surrounding dish with some umami flavour.
Food items: Sugarcane, Pickled Silverskin Onions, Cornichons, Clove, Allspice, Pasteis de Nata
Christmas Eve would not be Christmas Eve without the obligatory buffet tea before opening our Christmas Eve presents, one of the many positives of having German heritage. This tea proved to be a big boost in the food numbers so I’ll try and tackle them logically:
Sugarcane: We got some prawn lollipops from Marks & Spencer with sugarcane forming the stick, I insisted that we got these as part of the 4 for 3 offer. The cane itself is really fibrous and I wish I had known that you weren’t exactly meant to chew and swallow this. Biting down to extract the sugary syrup inside was pleasant, trying to consume it fully was less so.
Pickled Silverskin Onions: The idea of chowing down on an onion is not something I considered when starting this list. I tried two of these, one on its own and the other was on a cocktail stick with some cheddar. To me it tasted sweet, like a caramelised balsamic onion. Nice, but there is no way I could have a lot of them.
Cornichons: Not sure what I can say for these except these are pretty much small gherkins… maybe a bit sweeter, but that’s all really.
Clove & Allspice: Two spices I am sure have been tasted in the last few months but I know safely that they have been done so. Cloves were stuck into an orange as part of the wine mulling (which I had a little bit of… and regreted it… alcohol blech) and the allspice was to be found in some of the mince pies. Hurrah!
Pasteis de Nata: Portuguese egg-custard tartlets, you beauty. I only wish we had more of you and that you were at least the size of the palm of my hand. Absolutely ruddy gorgeous in their bitesized glory.
Food items: Goose Fat and Tiroler Speck
Ah goose fat, pretty much the secret to great roast potatoes. I have to say that my mum’s goose fat roast potatoes are the best ones I have ever had, made all the more special as we only have them once or twice a year. I am not sure about the flavour the goose fat really adds apart from the fact that it makes them extra crispy and delicious on the whole.
Then there is the Tiroler speck. Originally, I was going to write this with the rest of last week’s food post as I was given a free sample, but we liked it so much that we bought some. On it’s own the speck is lightly chewy with a dark flavour (from the juniper berries) that is not as salty as other hams. It’s a ham to be enjoyed in small amounts, unlike Black Forest ham which should be inhaled.
Food items: Brussel Sprouts and Chestnuts
Like most people, I have had bad sprout experiences when they have been so bitter you just want to spit them out. Apparently this is a genetic thing, whereby 70% of the population are overly sensitive to certain chemicals in certain cruciferous vegetables. In fact, getting me to eat a sprout has become one of those annual Christmas Day things and I do it about half the time.
This year, however, the stars seems t have aligned since… I liked them. There was little bitterness in them, in fact they were slightly sweet and worked well with the chestnuts that we cooked them with. Next year we shall see if this was a one off or whether they are a taste now acquired.