List Item: Try half of the combined 1001 food books
Look at this! Thanks to some re-focussing and the addition of the new book things have really accelerated. 500 really was not long ago and now 600 has been met and passed.
To be honest, I was so close as I was writing this that I had my partner fish some of my ‘quick’ food items out of the cupboard so I could make it. Still, it all counts.
The sprint to 600 starts with a 35p stuffed vine leaf I bought on a trip to Borough Market. Another trip, a week after the one I just posted about. I thought it would be a lot less busy on a Friday, but nope it was pretty much the same.
The Dolma itself was gorgeous. I wish I had bought more than one to be honest. It was like rice, feta cheese and a mint pesto all mixed together and stuffed in a, fairy flavourless, vine leaf.
I used to avoid these if I ever saw them, never again.
This was an interesting find, but according to the guy I talked to at the market this is the real deal, or at least as close to it as possible. Because of things I had to buy it straight away because I know the season of availability is a little bit brief.
I went home and cooked it almost immediately. Chopped off the stem, snipped the tops of the leaves and then boiled it with a dash of lemon juice. 45 minutes later I proceeded to rip off the leaves, dip it in Hollandaise sauce and then rip off the tender bits with my teeth.
By the time I reached the central choke it became incredibly obvious that the artichoke, like the thistle, has the ability to flower.
Pretty isn’t it? Well, the taste matches. The meaty bits of the leaves were creamy with a slight metallic taste whilst the heart (which was reached after scooping away the hairy parts) was tender and the best part by miles.
The Culatello di Zibello is one of the more expensive things that I have eaten – and I got one hell of a deal. This, apparently exclusive, ham was being sold for £14 per 100 grams. I asked the guy at the stall and he said the minimum amount they sell of any ham is 50g. I was ready to pay that much, but instead I searched through their off cut basket and found 113g of it for £5.90. What a score! I even got respect from the Italian man at the counter -telling me I had made an excellent choice. Muahaha.
The ham was gorgeous, maybe not worth all the money, but it was still gorgeous. The taste was a bit like Parma ham. A brilliant balance of salty, sweet, spicy, meaty and savoury. The big selling point was just how tender it was. The marbling of the fat meant there was a real melt in your mouth quality to it. Unlike other hams of this ilk, however, it did not get chewy as you chewed on it. It just got more and more tender.
Then there is the Morbier cheese. A really mild and fairly springy cheese. A lot like BabyBel in texture. The interesting thing of note is the line of ash between the two layers in the cheese. You couldn’t taste the ash, but it does make for an interesting visual as you cut into it. As with more cheese the taste got a bit stronger as you got closer to the round, but it was still remarkably mild.
How much would you want one of these in a salad to pretty it up? Having tasted them I know I would really want to. The closest thing I can link the taste of these flowers to is rocket. There was an opening sweetness to these which gave away to pepper ones. Depending on the flower the ending pepper ones can be rather strong. I
Considering just how beautiful and delicate these are the flavour can really take you unawares. I think it would make for a good a condiment to an omelette and would be a nice play to offset the yellowy-whiteness of the egg.
The morel mushroom. Which is expensive to buy on its own, had already been sliced up and combined with chicken liver to make this divine terrine. To be honest the only time you could even tell that a mushroom was involved in the making too this terrine was when you reached a chunk of the morel.
To be honest, there was not a huge taste I could discern to this mushroom. It has a meaty texture, like most mushrooms, but the flavour itself was delicate. I can imagine it to be something easily overpowered by other flavours. What it did have, however was a persistent mushrooms aftertaste. A bit unusual there.
Wow, I have eaten a lot of pretty vegetables in this post. To be honest, I can not quite believe that these colours exist in nature for such a salad leaf. Now, I know there are plenty of ways to cook it, but I prefer to try a lot of these things raw if I have the opportunity,
The leaves themselves tasted a lot like spinach, but just a bit more bitter. The stems, were more like a bitter beetroot. Earthy, but still rather bitter. In small doses and when paired with tomatoes I know I would like this in a salad. On it’s own? Not so much.
Something a bit different here. One of the more standard curries out there. So standard that I know the local Wetherspoons has had their own version. I have had a lot of different versions of this . Mainly because, as a child, I was yet to train my spice tolerance up. There are a number of consistencies though which I always enjoyed – creaminess, nuttiness and sweetness.
So here we are. Broad beans as number 600. In a snack pack no less. The way that they are presented here they remind me a lot of edamame. I always imagined something a bit more earthy and less moreish. Might actually pick these up for a afternoon work snack at some point.
And then there is pork scratchings. The quintessential pub snack. Honestly… they can keep them. I like pork cracking when it is served with gravy, but these were just greasy. Very greasy. It made sure that I was very much aware that what I was eating was fat. Just fat. I could not, in good conscience eat more than one. That and they just didn’t taste too nice.