Tag Archives: 1001 foods

Good Eatin’ – Green Peppercorns and a Meatloaf Attempt

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 747/751Food item: Green Peppercorns

So I’ve had this little tin of green peppercorns in my cupboard for a while now and have been waiting for a good recipe to use them in. I know that my husband probably would have been pulling for these to be use to make a peppercorn sauce for some steak… but I’m not the best at cooking steak. Instead I decided to use them in something that I am even worse at making: meatloaf.

The recipe I used for this was meant to bring forth a beautifully pink loaf of leberkase… and because I’ve never succeeded in making a non-crumbly meatloaf I didn’t bother using this recipe for my world cookery challenge. My instincts were, indeed, correct.

 

In the end, I think that the meat wasn’t ground fine enough and that the meatloaf wasn’t cool enough before entering the oven. So, instead, what I got was a really moist regular meatloaf. It was a bit of a win in a way as this is the best meatloaf I’ve ever made, just not what I was hoping from as leberkase.

The green peppercorns added a fruity and summery heat to this meatloaf, which wasn’t too overpowering although it did drown out some of the marjoram taste. I tried some of the peppercorns by themselves and I just felt the heat of it slamming against the back of my throat for a solid ten minutes.

At some point I will use the rest of these to make a steak sauce, after all I should be nice to my husband. But he can cook the steak itself. I don’t want to be blamed for ruining a good steak.

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Good Eatin’ – Provolone Valpadana

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 746/751Food item: Provolone Valpadana

I had already prepared to have to pay out of the nose for this cheese. For some stupid reason I didn’t buy some of this when I spotted it in La Boqueria in Barcelona. Since then, the only time I had seen this cheese was online for £155 for a 3kg block. Then fortune smiled on me. After my failed attempt to find Ardrahan cheese, I managed to find a place that offered this provolone cheese for about $4… so I bought two types of provolone Valpadana.

So, what are these two types? Well firstly there’s the dolce, which means sweet in Italian. A bit of a misnomer as there is nothing sweet about it, but it is a milder version that is softer and far more springy. It feels more like the type of cheese that you might use on a pizza or in a hot sandwich. Also, yes I know dolce also means ‘mild’ in Italian when used for cheese; I just enjoy words.

Then there is the piccante version, which means piquant or spicy. The texture, whilst still sligtly springy, lacks the rubberiness of the dolce version. In fact it has the start of a crumb, which moves it from being like mozzarella and into something more like Caerphilly. The taste is also quite different, with the extra maturing time and the introduced lactase givine it a lightly acidic taste (that’s also slightly oily). It would definitely still work as a melter cheese, but I think it would need to be with something strong like steak or smoked pork in order to truly shine.

Sometimes it’s good to wait with these food items as it gets you a better deal. Others… well I need to find a solution to the Ardrahan issue at some point. Maybe I’ll find a similar cheese from the same region and so a posthumous crossing off.

Good Eatin’ – Monkfish Liver on Crackers

So, a few days ago I made an enquiry into where to buy the final Irish cheese for the food list. I thought that since this cheese didn’t have far to go, it would be an easy one to cross off. Then I got this e-mail:

So… that means this list has become impossible to complete. I have asked the cheesemonger for their recommendation of a similar cheese so I can cross this food off in spirit. So, yea… I think I need to evaluate just how many of these are things I won’t be able to eat – whether it be down to ceased production, ceased growing or an embargo on harvesting.

Anyway, onto something a bit more positive.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 745/751Food item: Monkfish Liver

Oh, so what did you have as a late night snack whilst watching Review With Forrest McNeilI? Why, it was monkfish liver on Italian lingue crackers. Sounds a bit highfalutin, especially when I think how expensive monkfish steaks, but this tin was just over 3€ from the same website that I bought the figatellu from.

Honestly, there was a bit of trepidation as I opened this can. You’d think that after eating lamb’s brain and bull testicle I would have become a bit more cavalier about things. Then again, it isn’t every day you eat fish liver.

I’ve seen it written that monkfish liver is the foie gras of the sea… which isn’t the best thing to bring to mind as I didn’t think too much of foie gras. I guess that what struck me first about the monkfish liver was just how soft it was to slice, it was softer than butter.

The liver itself was rich and unbelievably mild. It had a mildly briny taste and aroma which came alive when it was topped with a pinch of salt on top and when served on a lightly salted cracker. Since the hub didn’t like it too much, I had to to eat the whole thing myself. To be honest, a whole tin made me feel a little bit sick. I guess it was just a bit too rich for me to eat in large amounts.

Good Eatin’ – Shanxi Aged Vinegar and Gyoza

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 744/751Food item: Shanxi Extra Aged Vinegar

I have had this bottle of vinegar in my cupboards for months. Like a lot of my more recent food items, I had to buy this online as I feel a bit self-conscious when buying things like this in a speciality store where I need to check bottles against Chinese characters on my phone. Also, in this way, I don’t come home with products that turn out to be incorrect… which happened to me twice when trying to get this vinegar.

Since I figured this type of vinegar would work really well as a dipping sauce, I made sure that we got some gyoza during a recent takeout order. I didn’t realise, however, just how strong this vinegar was and how a little of it really does go a long way. Good thing I’m fairly conservative when dipping my dumplings.

The first thing that hits you as you open the bottle is smokiness. I guess that’s part of the result of the ageing process coming through, but it always throws me for a loop when something like vinegar has a smokey aroma. Underneath it, the taste has a sour and dark sweetness – like if you made vinegar using molasses or jaggery. I guess it’s like a really potent balsamic but with very little of the acidity. Not sure where I am going to use this other than as a dipping vinegar but whatever I end up doing with it, this will be used sparingly.

World Cooking – Seychelles

List Item: Cook something from every countryCountry: Seychelles
Progress: 10/193

I previously wrote about how I was going to try and tackle one of the geographically larger countries in Africa… and here we are with another one of the smaller island nations. This ended up being a bit of a last minute pick whilst I was going some online grocery shopping. In no way do I mean to sell Seychelles short because I managed to find two rather delicious sounding recipes without much hassle.

Much like the Maldives, Seychelles really is a cuisine where they take what they’ve got and add in a bunch of the colonial and trade influences that have extended their reach over the years. This means a lot of seafood, tropical fruit, coconuts and rice. This is also a country that eats fruit bats and shark… but try getting either of those in London. Actually don’t, I’m not sure if I’m quite ready to eat a cute little fruit bat.

Main: Seychellois Creole Prawn Curry 

I didn’t quite bank on making another curry so soon, but so many recipes that I found was one sort of curry or another. So in the interest of making something that was another fish curry… I went for this prawn curry recipe. I know the picture isn’t great, but I was hungry and it’s amazing how quickly a curry can go cold if you’re fiddling with your iPhone for ages to get the lighting right.

Since the mas riha curry for the Maldives is so recent it is difficult to not compare the two. Both are coconut based curries using sea food as a key protein and some similar spices, but the similarities really end there. These curries are surprisingly different, with this Seychellois curry being naturally warming and not too complex with the number of spices playing on your tongue.

Whilst I liked the Maldivian curry, I would probably choose this Seychellois curry over it. The spice level is about where I prefer it to be and I liked the inclusion of chopped up aubergine. I think this is something I could easily substitute in chicken or lamb for the prawns, which would make this cheaper and an easier recipe to include in the weeknight rotation.

Dessert: La Daube Banane

To be honest, it was finding this recipe that made me choose the Seychelles as the next country. I mean, the idea of something banana related in a thick sauce made of coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla… well somethings are just too hard to resist. Especially when, since this recipe called for raw sugar, I could cross off something from the 1001 list:

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 743/751Food item: Rapadura

To be honest, I have been itching to find a good use for this (which feels like a slightly toned down version of jaggery) and sprinkling a few teaspoons of this over the cut plantains felt like the right time to use it.

Like with my entry for São Tomé, I found the recipe for this dessert on a tourist website for a chain of waterfront hotels in the Seychelles. Am I going to stay at one of these resorts? Probably not, it’s not something I think I’d be able to afford – but at least I know they have decent food there.

The best thing about this recipe is the sauce – after 40 minutes of simmering it essentially tasted like evaporated milk flavoured with mulling spice (which makes this a nice idea for a Christmas dessert with a tropical lilt). Plantains aren’t typically as sweet or as mushy as bananas which works well enough for this recipe, but I think that I’d like to try making this with other fruit before I settle.

Oh yes, this is definitely a repeat-worthy recipe. I mean not only does it have a delicious sauce, but it also great with a fruit sorbet (which I tried on my second bowl) and very easy to make. I think the people of the Seychelles got it right here.

So that’s the first ten countries ticked off, but I will definitely not be calling it quits when I have heavy hitters like Japan, France and Italy to look forward to. Speaking of Italy… next week I will be Italy adjacent as I return to European cuisine in the form of the Sammarinese food. What will this micronation have to offer? Well let’s see, shall we.

Good Eatin’ – Rydze Mushrooms from Kraków Airport

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 742/751Food item: Saffron Milk Cap

Talk about a last minute purchase. If our plane home from Kraków hadn’t been delayed then I would have likely not had the time or the agency to find a jar of these mushrooms within one of the Polish food shops at the airport. I guess it also helps that I’ve scoured the 1001 foods book for years now, and I recognised the mushrooms on the label despite all the text being in Polish.

I know that, like with most mushrooms, these saffron milk caps are probably best enjoyed fresh and fried in butter or in some sort of cream sauce. Still, beggars can’t be choosers and the book does mention how these mushrooms can be enjoyed when pickled. Also I have been wanting to cook the schnitzel in my freezer for an awfully long time – so this felt like the perfect opportunity.

One thing that you don’t see with the pickled mushrooms is how the fresh mushrooms seem to exude a red coloured milk (ergo the name). Also, the colour of the pickled mushrooms are somewhat muted. However, these were still delicious and had a texture not unlike oyster mushrooms. Some of the flavour will have been down to the sweet vinegar it was pickled in but, in all honesty, these are the first pickled mushrooms that I’ve really enjoyed eating – and that’s down to their flat caps.

With these crossed off, I am now left with two mushrooms on the list: oronge mushrooms (also known as Caesar’s mushrooms) and iwatake (which has many other names). I’m not sure where to find either of these at the moment – so please leave a comment if you have any leads.

The Great EU Quest: Poland – Auschwitz-Birkenau

There are cities around the world that bear scars of their troubled past. I’m thinking along the lines of Hiroshima’s Peace Park, The 9/11 Memorial in New York City and the former site of the Berlin Wall. For Kraków, and the surrounding area of Southern Poland, there is no scar deeper or more visible than the death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. No one goes here as part of a holiday to find enjoyment, but to learn and pay tribute to what happened to over 1.1 million people some 70-odd years ago.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 78/100Sight: Auschwitz-Birkenau
Location: Oświęcim, Poland
Position: #104

The trip out from Kraków doesn’t take too long, especially if you book a tour that picks you up from your hotel. The advantage: you don’t have to think about getting there and back as everything is sorted for you; the disadvantage: the driver put on a short documentary about the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau which meant half of the journey there was spent watching footage of the camp – including what looked like the autopsies of a newborn baby and a young child. I get why the ride there might be spent learning some history of the camp, but that was a lot to see at 8:30 in the morning.

It’s hard to talk about visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau as so much of it is about the feelings. By now we all know what happened from TV, books, films and school – but it’s a profoundly odd place to visit, especially on a beautiful sunny day in May. For a lot of the tour the closest analog I can find from my own experience is when I went to Herculaneum as a student. In what is now actually quite lovely surroundings, something devastating and unthinkable happened. It’s trite to say this, but it really does feel haunted.

This is all surface stuff when walking around Auschwitz’s immaculate brick barracks. Once you go inside and see the conditions of the cells, the piles of belongings that were recovered (including a whole room of shaven hair… which I cannot find an adequate word to describe) and, eventually, the gas chambers – everything suddenly becomes incredibly real.

Honestly, I didn’t feel right with the idea of taking pictures inside the buildings – especially the gas chambers/furnaces and rooms containing the possessions. I know that lots of people around me were snapping away, but in certain places The feeling of it being disrespectful outweighed my own morbid curiosity.

So that was Auschwitz. Birkenau, due to it being mostly destroyed, feels incredibly different. I have seen those famous train tracks in so many films (like Shoah and Schindler’s List) and even listened to a classical album about makes reference to the train journeys (Different Trains), which makes it incredibly weird to see in real life. It’s a similar sort of haunting feeling that I got from the Peace Pagoda in Hiroshima.

The big thing for me at Birkenau, rather than the remains of the demolished gas chambers and the memorial, was all the chimneys. A massive field containing a sparse forest of brick chimneys that are the remaining parts of the wooden barracks that were burnt down in the vain attempt to conceal the war crimes that were occurring.

Like I said before, it’s difficult to put into words just how this visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau made me feel. It was only a few hours after leaving that I made the contesting that this was where Anne Frank died, which means I have now seen her home, read her diary and seen the place she was killed. That human connection there is probably what ended up affecting me the most.

On the way back I slept on the minibus. After that morning it was probably my brain feeling the need to refresh itself so I could compartmentalise a bit and enjoy the afternoon.

For the afternoon we took the opportunity to visit St Mary’s Basilica in Rynek Główny. After all, I’ve already spent part of an evening watching the swallows hunting for insects in the dusk, so I might as well see the inside.

Well, the inside is beyond beautiful – especially the main alter piece by Viet Stoss. The level of detail in the wood carvings depicting the many sufferings of Mary (especially the work put into them beards) are beyond a lot of what I’ve seen before. Considering this is the minor church of Kraków compared to Wawel Cathedral, it surprises me how St Mary’s is the more impressively decorated. Some of the portraiture feel like something I have seen in Orthodox churches, but maybe that’s more the Baroque style coming through.

Sadly the tower was closed when we went, so we exited and headed to the Cloth Hall to do some souvenir shopping. Honestly there is so much that I wanted to buy, but regrettably we only brought hand luggage – meaning that I’ve had to stick to a few items that are not breakable (which ruled out a lot of Christmas decorations and ceramics). Still, I found a bunch of nice things before I we headed back to the hotel to have a bit of a chill before dinner.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 741/751Food item: Roe Deer

When I want to try roe deer in the UK, it’s likely that I, going to pay £75 for the meal, in Kraków my share of the meal came to about £20. Just stunning. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like 70 zloty is too much for a main meal… which shows just how much I have started to adapt to the pricing.

The roe deer medallions themselves were seasoned with herbs and a generous amount of pepper. The accompanying sauce was flavoured with sour cherry and the meat was accompanied by whole sour cherry and there are a generous number of wild mushrooms. All flavours worked in perfect harmony in this zloty dish. The meat itself was tender with a slight gaminess to it, which puts it on par with hare. The way it was cooked makes me want to refer to this delight as a ‘wild steak’.

For dessert we all had the apple pancakes where the star of the show was the vanilla-caramel sauce. It’s one of the few times where I’ve had someone turn to me and ask what I was having. So yes, a good time was had by all at Miód Malina.

Tomorrow we will be off to the salt mines at Wieliczka for what is our final full day. After the last few days in the heat, I am looking forward to some time in a cold cave.

The Great EU Quest: Poland – The Many Faces of Kraków

It’s one of those travelling truths that whenever you want to properly get to know a city, you need to find and experience a number of its different personalities. This is even more important when you are in a city that is at least 500 years old. I think that, with today’s packed itinerary, I have gotten to know a few of the many sides of Kraków.

After a small breakfast at the hotel, composed of a bunch of things we found in the local Carrefour Express, we made a beeline straight for the second of the four Lonely Planet sites that I plan to see whilst in Kraków.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 77/100Sight: Wawel Castle
Location: Kraków, Poland
Position: #487

It’s located at the southern tip of the old town and is at the top of Wawel Hill, overlooking the city and the river. The whole complex is huge and also contains Wawel Cathedral (more on that later).

Now if there is one piece of advice that I want to pass on, because no one told me, it’s this: do not buy your tickets from the ticket office on the slope – instead head inside and buy it at the ticket office near the tower. Why? More open windows, it’s inside away from the blazing sunshine and the visitors come in ones and twos rather than large groups buying conflicting tickets. We wasted nearly an hour because we did not know this, so you are welcome.

I can see how people can spend pretty much an entire day here. There are plenty of things to see, do and eat – all at the typically inexpensive Kraków prices (I mean 3zl for a scoop of ice cream in a castle café is loving the Kraków dream). Since we had no desire to be led around by the nose, we went for most of the things that did not require a guided tour (except the Oriental art exhibition, because timing and money).

For good views of the surrounding city, you’ll want to pay a visit to the Sandomierska Tower (and for 4zl it’s a bargain) – but that’s hardly one of the big ticket items here. For that you’ll want to head to the State Rooms, houses a large number of tapestries, paintings and come of the most interesting ceiling work that I have seen in a European stately home. It’s a real shame that, throughout the castle complex, they are militantly anti-camera – otherwise I’d have posted a picture of one the weirdest ceilings I ever saw (imagine a bunch of heads peering down at you and you’ll get an idea).

This trip around the State Rooms really made me wish I knew more about Polish history before coming to Kraków (aside from the story of St Hedwig and her many water glasses). At least today I’ve managed to pick up a few stories about King Stephen Bathory and some of the other monarchs that came before him.

After the State Room was a visit to the ‘Lost Wawel’ exhibition that contains archeological remnants from excavations. This is fine enough, but the real point of interest is near the end where you descend down a ramp and see parts of the first church built on Wawel Hill, which dates to around 1000 AD. Utterly astonishing and so well preserved considering how much restoration work is having to be done on other areas of the castle.

Before leaving the hill, you have to pay a visit to Wawel Cathedral. The ticket includes a trip around the cathedral itself, a bell tower (where you get to see the heaviest bell in Poland) and the royal tombs (which lacked the grandeur of Vienna’s Habsburg coffins, but were still good to see). The interior of the cathedral itself is a real mix of different styles with a large number of chapels to different saints – the largest being to St Hedwig herself. Again, wish I could have taken pictures.

We left the castle via the Dragon’s Den, which is a small limestone cave that is the best way to exit. It’s one of the most famous caves in Poland because it is attached to the myth of the Wawel dragon… which explains all the dragon paraphernalia in the Kraków souvenir shops.

It was already getting to the mid-to-late afternoon so it was time to march on to Kazimierz (aka the Jewish Quarter) and pick up some lunch along the way. We ended up in a pub-restaurant en route and, between us, had a pile of three types of pierogi (meat, cabbage and Russian) and a plate of bread, lard and pickles. Honestly I am falling more and more in love with the food in this city/country plus any restaurant that allows three guys to order a carafe each filled with different fruit juices (mine was blackcurrant) is alright by me. Also, these pierogi and that lard was delicious. Hopefully I can find more of this before I leave for London.

We roamed the Jewish Quarter for a bit before reaching the Galicia Jewish Museum. It’s not that big, but it houses some really interesting photographic exhibition is about Jewish life in the Galicia region (which included Kraków) pre and post Holocaust. The photographs and the initial exhibition about the importance of blood in Jewish lore really helped open my eyes and my heart in preparation for tomorrow’s devastating visit to Auschwitz. I’d really recommend the Galicia Jewish Museum if you need a bit more context of you need a bit of a history lesson about how Jews were seen in Europe before the Holocaust happened.

From here the idea was to pay a visit to the Oskar Schindler factory, but they had sold out of tickets by the time we got there – so we stared at the outside before slowly making our way back to the Old Town. After all, I booked us tickets to a concert.

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
Progress:
 36/501Title: Ballades
Composer: Frédéric Chopin
Nationality: Polish
Year:
1835-1841

Despite having nothing to do with the city of Kraków, there is an hour long Chopin concert every day at 7pm for the low price of 60zl (which comes with a free glass of sparkling wine). It starts with a short talk about the life of Chopin before moving into an hour long recital of a number of Chopin pieces – including some mazurkas, a nocturne, a waltz (which was mesmerising) and enough of his ballades for me to consider is crossed off.

Aside from loud Italians in front of us, the experience of seeing a piano virtuoso playing these pieces live completely beats listening to them via headphones. It’s utterly breathtaking to see someone with so much talent and has worked so hard to learn this skill. He was also easy on the eyes, which helped to make the waltz he played just that extra bit dreamy.

After this was dinner at a steakhouse across the road called Ed Red. It’s one of the higher rated restaurants in Kraków and sometimes you just want to have steak. It also helps that it had two food items on the menu.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 739/751Food item: Bull’s Testicle

I’m really getting through the offal at the moment aren’t I. Since I didn’t want two starters to myself, I managed to convince my husband to order the plate of assorted veal offal whilst I order the ‘mountain oyster’ for myself.

Just to start off, this ‘oyster’ was served with a smoked white chocolate sauce – which may be one of the more unusual and delicious sauces that I have ever had. It really went well with the ‘oyster’ which was surprisingly delicious. I has expected something more chewy and gelatinous, when it was actually very delicate and tender with a vaguely beefy taste. It’s a bit like if leberkase contained puréed steak alongside the pork. At least that’s what I think. It’s weird to say this, but I would happily have bull testicle again in the future.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 740/751Food item: Veal Sweetbread

On my husbands plate was veal sweetbreads (which is thymus gland or pancreas), brain, tongue, cheek and liver. First and foremost, the veal brain was so much nicer than the lamb brain that we had because it had been seasoned really well. But that’s by the by – the best veal offal on the plate was the sweetbread. It was like eating a very subtly flavoured white sausage that took on the flavour of the mustard underneath it. It’s one of those pieces of offal that I have been very curious to try it with different sauces.

As a main we all had some excellent Polish sirloin steak with a a number of different side dishes in the middle. For the price of the whole dinner (£24 each) we had some really good food and tried some really interesting things. If I am ever in Warsaw, I might have to hit up the other Ed Red location.

So tomorrow is going to be a trip to Auschwitz. It’s a long return journey and it’s looking to be a harrowing day. Will podcasts for the bus journey and a good meal take the sting out of it? Who knows, I guess I’ll just find out tomorrow.

Good Eatin’ – Nettle and Nyon Olive Pizza

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 738/751Food item: Nyon Olives and Nettles

At some point I need to learn how to go forth and forage, but until then I’ll rely on people selling me bags of foraegable goods – like these nettle tips. Of course I bought a bag of these without a moment’s thought of what I was going to make, all I knew is that I had to secure these now in case I didn’t see them again… which is a silly thought as stinging nettles are available in abundance.

The archetypal thing to do with nettles is to make soup but, since I only picked up one 70g bag, this wasn’t a viable option. Same goes for recipes that I saw for nettle pesto and fritters. So it fell to a bit of improvisation to create something to showcase these nettle leaves (based on a number of different recipes from around the web).

I figured that since spinach is supposed to taste like spinach, I should adapt a recipe I use for Fiorentina pizza (minus the egg because I didn’t have any). Also, by doing this sort of pizza, this allowed me to use the jar of Nyons olives that I’ve had in the cupboard since I got my French food delivery.

Since I had a lot of nettle leaves I decided that I would not only have whole nettle leaves on this pizza, which had the opportunity to become crispy in the oven, but also saute some leaves in garlic to add an extra punch of flavour to the pizza. Like the book said, nettles taste similar to spinach as well as a hint of broccoli – whilst having an interesting, almost fuzzy, mouthfeel. They worked so well on pizza that, once nettles are back in season again, I may be making some nettle pizza again soon.

Then there’s the Nyon olives – the final olives from the 1001 food list. Being black olives, they were more on the bitter side, but they also had a real fruitiness to them. When I think of the other black olives on this list (Kalamata olives) these are sweeter and not as bitter, but I do miss the meatiness that can be found in both Kalamata and Bella Di Cerignola olives. However, this all means that Nyons olives are the perfect choice to put on a pizza.

Good Eatin’ – Black Perigord Truffle

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 736/751Food item: Black Perigord Truffle

Thinking back on it, I should have waited on this and eaten this as number 750. I mean, there are a number of these really pricey things that I need to eat for this and, at £25 for a small jar, this Perigord Truffle pate is in a league of its own.

Since this was labelled as a ‘pate’ I figured that the best thing to do would be to spread this on some bread and enjoy what black truffle has to offer. The thing is… this wasn’t ‘pate’ as you’d know it – it turned out to be finely diced Perigord truffle in water. So whilst this still had the unique aromatics of being a ‘truffle’, it felt comparatively weak for how much I paid for it.

Understandably I felt deflated…

…then it suddenly dawned on me – who in their right mind eats raw black truffles. Whenever I see them fish out the black truffles on Iron Chef it’s always cooked or shaved on top of hot food. So, I used the rest of my jar on this recipe for pasta with black truffles. Sure, I didn’t have truffle to shave, but I had more than enough to make the sauce.

Compared to eating this raw, the truffles really came alive when cooked. I mean, the moment I mixed the minced truffle into the hot olive oil, well, the kitchen just filled with the smell of garlic and truffle.

Whilst I was able to appreciate more of the nuances in the incredible range of aromatics when cooked… this isn’t necessarily something I would spend megabucks on. This is a real pity for my wallet as the other truffle on this (the white Alba truffle) is more expensive. So it might be a good while until I try that one.

Since I am still writing more than 6 months ahead I am going to be posting every day this December (and beyond… at least until I can get rid of some of this posting lag) which will culminate in my yearly countdown for best album of the year. Hope you enjoy the content!