Tag Archives: 1001 foods

Good Eatin’ – Tupperwared Manx Kippers

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Isle of Mann Kipper

I never thought that it would be so hard to find verified Manx Kippers. I’ve seen many a kipper that is labelled as Manx-style or, simply, kippers. However, this is the first time that I’ve been to a fishmongers that specifically stated their point of origin.

So then came the question… how do I cook these. Well, according to Delia Smith there are two ways of cooking them: grilling or jugging. Since I didn’t want to completely fill the kitchen with the smell of smoked fish I opted for jugging. However, since I didn’t own a suitable ‘jug’ I used a small bit of Tupperware and kept it warm in a makeshift water bath.

It turns out that the main benefit of ‘jugging’ is that it helps to finish off the cooking process whilst also re-hydrating them. The other benefit is that really helps for bone removal. I’m not kidding when I say that the spine and most of the smaller fishbones came away from the flesh incredibly easily. That alone made these better than the Abrorath smokies.

Speaking of the smokies, because of them I honestly did not have a high expectation for these Manx kippers. However, these were far more subtly smoked than most of the other smoked fished I’ve done for the list. The flesh just melted in the mouth, and I am really glad that I followed the suggestion of having a little bit of butter on top so it could melt into the fish and compliment the natural oils.

Unlike the lamb kidneys, I can see myself having these kidneys again. Even if it’s for breakfast with some egg on top.

Progress: 684/751

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Good Eatin’ – Rocamadour

So a good friend came to visit over the weekend and, seeing how it’s the happiest place in London, I took him to visit Borough Market.

I don’t know how, in our 8 year friendship, we’ve never been to a food market together. Still we rectified this now and put together a deli lunch containing some of the former list items that I thought he might enjoy:

This lunch gave me a chance to actually go back and re-evaluate an item in particular:  Boulette D’Avesnes, the Devil’s Suppository itself. Once again we were given fair warning by the vendor and, once again, I completely discarded this.

Now I don’t know if I’m more used to strong flavours or if there can be such a wide variation in the production of this cheese, but it was nowhere near as strong as I remembered. The smell was still pungent, yet it was actually pleasant and spicy compared to the last one I tried. In terms of taste it was still had the creamy herbal heat with an aftertaste that stung, but it was more palatable this time.

I guess this goes to prove that just because you are eating the same type of cheese from the same manufacturer, the experience can still be quite different when sampled a few years apart.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Rocamadour

Within this lunch there was a new item to cross off: Rocamadour. At present it feels like this is the last item from the dairy section of the 1001 list that I will be able to get from Borough (although I am more than happy to be proven wrong).

At £1.50 a disc this was a steal compared to some of the other foods I’ve recently purchased. It also served as a reminder of why I enjoy a good bit of goat’s cheese, especially as (since I bought this in November) I was at the end of the production season, resulting in a stronger/more mature experience.

From the first bite Rocamadour is unmistakably goaty. I don’t know how to describe that other than by highlighting the grassiness and the extra lactic burn that you tend to get from goat’s cheese. Despite being on the mature side this cheese was still smooth and spreadable. I didn’t get any of the nuttiness that I was meant to get, then again that’s a taste I never seem to get unless it is extremely obvious; probably just my taste buds being a bit weird.

Progress: 683/751

Good Eatin’ – Kaffir Lime Leaves from Hello Fresh

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Kaffir Lime Leaf

Kaffir lime leaves are one of the few remaining ‘easy foods’ that I had left on the food list. Since I had only ever seen these as dried herbs I gave myself the challenge to only tick this off once I came across fresh leaves. Little did I know that I would come across these accidentally thanks to my mum’s Hello Fresh subscription.

I don’t know what I expected from the fresh leaves, but it wasn’t for them to feel so waxy. I guess that’s what tropical plants would have evolved their leaves to be like to help preserve water, just not what you would normally find in a culinary plant (at least not in the UK).

As with most entries from the book’s aromatic section, you don’t consume kaffir lime leaves as they are – you cook with them. That didn’t stop me from giving the fresh leaf a bit of a nibble though.

So how does a fresh kaffir lime leaf taste? Incredibly strong. It’s how I would imagine it would taste if you licked a citrus-scented bath bomb. It’s not completely unpleasant, but you wouldn’t want more than a small taste of this.

When cooked, for this Hello Fresh box it was part of a chicken laksa kit, the lime leaves impart a warming citrus taste. It a lot like adding lemon pepper to a dish, only fresher and less hot.

I have to say that I am glad that I waited to try out the fresh version of the leaves. It made for a different, and slightly more special, way to cross off this item. More so than if I had just grabbed dried ones from Waitrose.

Progress: 682/751

Good Eatin’ – Muhammara at Halloween

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Muhammara

Here we are at the second of the three food items that my husband got me for my birthday. It isn’t as cool as the miracle berry, but there aren’t many things left on the food list that are.

As has become a miniature tradition, we watched one of the few remaining horror films from the 1001 movie list – this time A Nightmare on Elm Street – and with it we had the muhammara with some pitta bread, hummus and whatever Tesco recommended in terms of olives and meat.

Before the list I had never heard of muhammara and my husband had to resort to getting this off of Amazon. Having tasted this it feels a bit like the ajvar I got from Slovenia, the key difference that this was earthier and spicier. You can tell that this was made with roasted red peppers, cumin and chili pepper from the first flush of heat that you get. Underneath it, however, there is some nutiness, sweetness and a bit of sour. It’s not really something I could eat a lot of in one sitting, but it’s nice just the same.

Now, I know that this book lists this mainly as a dip or as something to have with fish, but I cannot help buy wonder what this would be like thinly spread on some flatbread and eaten as some sort of fake pizza. Like lahmacun, but with a different sauce.

Progress: 681/751

Good Eatin’ – Miracle Berry Tasting Session

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Miracle Berry

They say that food is the best way to a man’s heart, well happy birthday to me because my husband bought me one of the coolest. I’ve wanted to give miracle berries a go since I first saw them in an episode of United States of Tara some eight years.

The idea behind trying out these berries (which originally come from West Africa) is that they trick your taste-buds into perceiving sour flavours as sweet. So the best way to experience them is to amass a selection of sour food and drink and get ready for things to taste weird. The berry itself… tastes a bit sour, but there’s nothing special about that.

As you can see from the picture, I got a lot of different things based on the many recommendations that can be found online. Since there is too much here to go really in depth (also, the berry only lasted around 20 minutes, so there was a lot of trying different things before the berry wore off). But here’s a summary:

Guinness – Many people likened this to a chocolate milkshake, but I didn’t get anything like that. Instead it became creamier and less bitter.

Cream cheese – Sweeter and a bit like a cheesecake filling without the vanilla.

Lemon juice – Like a very sweet and concentrated lemonade. Delicious and it became the way I could work out if the berry was still working.

Grapefruit juice – One of the sweetest things I tried. Usually I can’t drink this because of how bitter it is, but with the berry it was great.

Distilled malt vinegar – This became just like a balsamic vinegar that you could drink.

Pineapple – You could still feel your mouth pucker because of the acidity, but instead it tasted like artificial pineapple flavour from sweets.

Hot sauce – The Tabasco ended up tasting like sweet chilli sauce. I couldn’t even feel the heat.

Sour candy – As expected, super super sweet.

Lemon – Like you had dipped the lemon in sugar, really delicious.

Lime – A disappointment, without the sourness a lot of the flavour was gone.

Fanta Orange – No change. Makes sense as it’s acidic, but it doesn’t taste sour.

English mustard – A lot of the heat was gone and this became like a mild sweet mustard.

Salt and vinegar crisps – Without the vinegar these became somewhat bland and mildly sweet… which isn’t what you want in a crisp.

Tomato ketchup – Heinz brand tomato ketchup ended up tasting like a really cheap generic brand.

Pickles – Very sweet and the pickle juice became a weirdly delicious beverage.

Progress: 680/751

Good Eatin’ – Devilled Lamb Kidneys

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Lamb Kidney

There really is no excuse for me to have not covered lamb kidneys yet. I’ve repeatedly seen them being sold at my local supermarket, but I never felt in the mood to properly prepare them for cooking purposes. I’ve happily taught children how to dissect them back when I was a science teacher, but the idea of cleaning them and removing the pelvis never appealed to me.

Until now! With it being a nearly a month since my last food item it really is time to step it up and get out of that comfort zone (or just start paying weird amounts of money for cheese).

The question arose about the best way to prepare kidneys. Or it should have, but I went for the first method that came to mind: devilled kidneys. So here we go with a recipe from The Hairy Bikers.

I did not enjoy cutting the pelvis out of these little lamb kidneys. Thankfully they were pre-skinned, but that pelvis is tough to remove. I probably should have proper kitchen scissors instead of using the scissors that I use to help cut wrapping paper. But I don’t tell people these things when I give them Christmas presents.

The smell of the kidneys cooking in the tomato-mustard sauce reminded me a lot of when my mum would make lamb liver and bacon. Lo and behold, lamb kidneys taste a lot like lamb’s liver. It’s just that the kidney’s don’t have that issue of getting tough when overcooking them, they just go through a weird phase of toughness as they cook before getting softer again. No idea why that is… but it’s a strange kidney fact.

If you haven’t tried lamb’s liver or kidneys before, I would say that the taste is rich, meaty and (for the lack of a better word) mature. I can really see why sauces containing mustard or Worcestershire sauce would be needed to cut through some of the taste of the kidneys.

As with all things offal, the taste of kidneys is not for everyone. Even with the sauce, which was great, I felt that the kidneys were a bit too rich for me to eat more than one. I didn’t mind the taste too much, but it was hard to finish the first one without feeling like I had eaten too much already. Maybe lamb kidneys are a bit too… strong/mature for my tastes, but there for go.

Would I have this again? If it was professionally prepared and there was nothing better on the menu, sure. Else, I may not have lamb kidneys again.

Progress: 679/751

Good Eatin’ – Banana Blossom Salad from Pho

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Banana Flower

I have known about the banana blossom salad at Pho for well over a year, but have been put off it because of an allergic reaction I once suffered after eating one of their soups. It’s 18 months later and I’m feeling bold, brave and the need to get another food item in since this list is starting to slow down.

From the picture you would be forgiven to wondering where the banana flowers are. Honestly, I wasn’t convinced of this until I read a recipe for beef and banana blossom salad on the train home. Essentially, the shredded vegetable whose texture felt like a mix between cabbage and water chestnut was the banana flower. It’s just, for whatever reason, I expected to be eating the anthers rather than the petals.

In terms of taste, the shredded banana flower (petals?) tasted like crisp, slightly nutty cabbage. I guess that I was expecting more of a fruity taste from the flower of the banana plant? I can see how this would make for a good base for salads and would like to try my hand at making something from them. I’d just need to find somewhere that sells them instead of relying on a restaurant to do it for me.

Progress: 678/751

Good Eatin’ – Surstromming

Whenever I go on holiday I am on the lookout for food items for my list. Surstromming is the only example of something that I specifically did not get because of both my inability to bring it home and the inability of eating it in Sweden (after all, who brings a tin opener on holiday).

I would have brought a tin back with me, but apparently British Airways have a policy of not allowing this particular tin of fish on their flights. I’m guessing that the possibility of the change in pressure releasing the smell from the can is too much for them? In any case, I bought my tin from the good people at ScandiKitchen who, when I collected the tin, wished me the best of luck when trying it. I’m beginning to lose count of how often I’ve been questioned over my food choices in the pursuit of finishing this list….

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You DieFood item: Surstromming

So there it is. We had a scented candle at the ready and a large bowl to prevent any of the liquid from seeping into our table. If you watch any of the videos online of people trying surstromming it’s usually full of gagging and people throwing up because of the acrid smell and taste.

Now… I might be weird, but the smell wasn’t too bad for me. I mean it was a bit like what I would imagine spicy tuna-flavoured cat food would smell like. It wasn’t the awful smell I was expecting, just a bit weird. So now all we had to do was taste the thing.

I didn’t want to just eat the fish by itself, so I got myself some Danish ryebread to have it on. I’m glad of this because surstromming is beyond my moral understanding of saltiness. It was also had a sweet fish taste with a bitter afterthought. The only thing that stopped me from eating the whole thing, however, was that this still had all the bones in. I know some people are able to eat fish like this, bones and all, but I really hate the mouthfeel.

Thanks to my near religious watching of Iron Chef I was able to gender the fish we ended up eating. The roe from the female fish was nice enough, but the milt from the male fish was especially gorgeous. I later tried this with a bit of tzatziki and it was a true marriage made in weird fusion-cuisine heaven.

If I could get filleted surstromming then I would happily eat this again (which I think makes me weird) with some plain yogurt and some dark bread. Maybe I should just move to Sweden.

Progress: 677/751

Good Eatin’ – Turmeric Waffles and Pink Peppercorns

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

Food items: Turmeric Root and Pink Peppercorns

I have been a bit lazy with my food list items as of late. Both of these have been laying in my spice cupboard for a few months and I just haven’t been bothered to find recipes (you know how it gets if you’re in a bit of a funk). Still, it’s amazing what some time off work can do for your goals.

This morning I resolved that today was the day that I would cross both of these off within one meal. There just had to be a way to find something for both the turmeric root and the pink peppercorns. After all, the earthiness of the turmeric and the berry-like pepperiness of the pink peppercorns should go well together, right?

Well, I couldn’t find one thing with both ingredients – so I just went for two simple recipes to have as part of one meal: steak and waffles. I mean, if chicken and waffles can work then why not this combination?

Long story short, they worked. This is the first time I’ve used my new waffle iron and I am very happy with the results, although it would have been better to have doubled the amount of turmeric to get that proper earthy taste. At least I now have a good base recipe waffles, so thank you Stay At Home Mum for that nugget of information.

The pink peppercorns were the real revelation of this meal. I’ve previously only had them as part of some white chocolate bark. I know some people like pepper and chocolate, but I’m not convinced. However, with meat I can agree that they are brilliant.

Despite their name, pink peppercorns aren’t related to other peppercorns. They have a similar look and a slight overlap in flavour profile, but that’s it. The overall flavour is sweeter and more resinous than regular pepper. Also, it has little to no heat so  – if you dump loads into a recipe like I did – your tongue won’t be on fire.

I would really recommend this recipe for pink peppercorn steak over at Recipe Geek. The sauce really tasted like something I would order in a restaurant, which is the ultimate praise for a recipe you randomly find on the internet. Probably because it contained wine and cream, but hey delicious is delicious.

Progress: 676/751

The Great EU Quest: Sweden – Exploring Stockholm

List Item: Visit all EU countriesProgress: 18/28

Välkommen till Sverige!

Country: Sweden
Year first visited: 2017

After my first full day in Stockholm I am just so full of excitement at what I am going to be seeing on my remaining time here. Looking back at my other travel posts, it feels like I fall for cities pretty easily. But hey, rather this than spend money to be disappointed.

So yes, this is the first full day in Stockholm. We only made it to the hotel at about 11pm local time because our easyJet flight was delayed by about an hour. The only thing worth reporting is that the announcement on the shuttle train between Arlanda Airport and Stockholm Central was done by Björn from ABBA. Ain’t that just the coolest!

Having arrived so late the previous day we both basically slept through our alarm and ended up waking around an hour later than we hoped. That made it a bit of a rush job getting ready in the morning as there was a 10am walking tour I wanted to do.

Here’s the thing. If you told me a few years ago that I would be doing walking tours around a city I was visiting… I’d probably think future me was a bit sad. Sod it though, I’m in a new place and I want to learn as much about it as I can. Did I overdo it today by doing two of these walking tours in one day? Obviously, but my head is full of new useless trivia and my feet are glowing – so that’s a day well spent.

Anyway, we started the day doing a 2 hour free walking tour of the city north of the old town with Free Tours Stockholm. It really is one thing to be walking around the city and another to know some of the stories that go along with it.

For example, we walked past the gym where Swedish Crown Princess Victoria met her commoner husband. We also walked past the former bank building (pictured) whose bungled robbing led to the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. What can I say, those two hours went by in a flash.

At the end of the tour we were deposited on the border of Gamla Stan (the old town) in time for the changing of the guard. We didn’t stick around for this as we’ve seen it happen once before in Copenhagen and I couldn’t image this one being all that different. Instead we made our way straight to Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral).

There’s been a church on this spot for ~700 years and it has been growing ever since. In the current incarnation the exposed brickwork of the vaults and columns make for a beautifully patterned interior. Unlike the rather sparse cathedral in Helsinki, there were some really notable pieces of ornamentation to see here.

Firstly there’s the alter which is a vision in ebony and silver. It’s very striking and unlike anything I’ve seen before in a church. The colours did make me think of the grim reaper, but I’m not sure that was intentional. You also have some extravagant royal pews and an insanely old statue made of elk antlers and oak which depicted the slaying of the dragon by St George.

List item: Visit 100 of the Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist
Progress: 72/100Sight: Gamla Stan
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Position: #99

Much like with Tallinn, the Old Town of Stockholm is the big thing to see. The whole thing is on an island and it doesn’t take that long to navigate across. There’s a lot of little alleys and offshoots, which means multiple routes are necessary to appreciate it.

Before we explored, however, there was a desperate need for lunch since we skipped breakfast. Things being what they are with exchange rates (thanks again Brexit), Stockholm is a fairly expensive city. However, if you’re like me and are coming into this being used to prices in London… it isn’t too much of a shock. Also, it’s worth finding ways to make things cheaper. For example, look for lunch deals – some places offer substantially cheaper lunch options.

We found such a restaurant in Gamla Stan. Don’t get me wrong it still felt expensive, but everything is relative. Between us, my husband and I shared some Swedish meatballs and some elk meatloaf in a chanterelle sauce. I am happy that these were suitably Swedish food choices.

So we spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Gamla Stan. With the brightly coloured houses and the sheer sense of history, I can really see how this is the most popular part of Stockholm for tourists. I plan on returning here on later days for some souvenir shopping and maybe breakfast on our final day.

We mooched a bit at the waterfront watching German cruise passengers being ferried onto dry land and made friends with some oddly cute seagulls before looping back to start the next walking tour at 4.

Now, was it a bit weird to have the same tour guide for both tours? Yes. Didn’t it matter? No, because he’s really good at what he does and was fairly easy on the eyes. Two more hours of history and stories passed by in a flash. I still vividly remember how an event in Stockholm led to the coining of the term ‘bloodbath’ and how some of the Americans in the group were getting a bit rankled every time our guide talked about the benefits of living in Sweden (e.g. paternity leave, free university fees, universal healthcare etc).

After this tour broke we walked across to the Southern island to checkout a larger supermarket and to get some good views of the Old Town from a higher vantage point. I don’t know if I am high enough to do the city true justice, but I think it’s a nice enough picture.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Food items: Limpa Bread and Kavring
Progress: 674/751

Coming to Sweden, there were three food items I wanted to look out for. Having read stories about the third I will not be trying surstromming here in Sweden. Instead, I will try this when I get home and can get some proper ventilation going. There would be a fourth if you count moose cheese… but I doubt I have enough in my bank account for some of that.

We did, however, find the other two items. Both of them are types of rye bread that can be found in Sweden. These formed our dinner tonight and breakfast for the next day. Trying to be Swedish we also bought some salami, cream cheesed infused with chanterelle mushrooms and a tub of shrimp salad with surimi and dill.

Starting off with the limpa bread. The name itself conjures up something a bit pappy to the point where I was expecting something akin to the Jamaican hardough. Instead think rye bread, then think malt loaf. Combine these flavours, give it a lighter texture and you have limpa.

It’s a rye bread with the hint of molasses and orange zest. It feels like it’s on the verge of being cakey, but the crumb texture isn’t right for that. We found this went really well with some chanterelle cream cheese. The woodiness of the mushroom really complimenting the bitterness of the zest and molasses.

The other bread from the list is called kavring. The initial whiff as you open the bag and the reassuring heft as you hold it definitely points to this as a rye bread. Darker than the limpa, but lighter and less dense than a lot of rye breads you can get. It’s like they remembered to add yeast to give it a bit of a rise.

Both of these are breads that I would happily buy if they were available in the UK. The fact that these both look near mass produced makes me weep when I think that, back at home, there’s no real equivalent widely available.

We finished off the evening with a cinnamon bun, because they are everywhere in Stockholm and they were on offer. Who can say no to a pastry swirl that moist with cinnamon sugar. I like these better than their American counterpart because they aren’t drowning in icing.

So yes, that’s he first day. Tomorrow will be my ticking off the other Lonely Planet site here in Stockholm: the Vasa Museum. Should be a special day.