Turns out to be delicious, and prompted us for a bit of carpentry work, expanding the shelving in the larder (aka the dressing room, aka the box room).
This week, I’ve been mostly eating squid which, I think, are really cuttlefish, also known as Calamari in Italy or, as it happens in our case, Kalamari in Croatia. We didn’t really plan to eat Kalamari every day, and some of our holiday party ate other fish or even meat dishes at times. However, all in all, I think the party ate Kalamari for supper in at least 75% of all cases.
First, it’s tradition in the family, and something that restores childhood memories.
Second, fresh grilled cuttlefish, served with plenty of garlic and a little parsley, is irresistibly delicious.
Third, when you think a change would be appropriate and one shouldn’t eat grilled Kalamari again, there’s always the fried variety (Kalamari fritti).
And finally, after having eaten fried kalamari on one day, there’s always the grilled variety for the following day…
- Octopus dinner on a Friday night (thelittledumpling.com)
- Japanese Recipe: Deep-fried Squid (cuttlefish), Rings and Tentacles (shizuokagourmet.com)
Thai-style fish cakes, juicy and hot, as a lunch quickie, made from left-over fish from the previous day.
A variety of curries, dosa and kufi ice cream at the London Mela 2014. Super-delicious.
Tomato Chutney Tart on puff pastry. Inspired by John Torode’s Tomato Tart, but made as a lunch-time quickie in an even quicker – an slightly simplified – version.
Fresh sourdough bread with a slow-baked, thyme-infused juicy piece of ham.
Genuine white asparagus with pancakes,
Boeuf Bourgignon with steamed potatoes.
A good old steak with salad, rouille, and buttered baby potatos,
Paella (with lovely fresh mussels), and Pudim Flan.
Pan-fried pork chops with sautéed potatoes, pillars of leak in a creamy sauce, followed by a pear Tarte Tatin,
and a large portion of German potato salad with pan-fried breaded filet of coley and fresh cucumber salad.
Lazy Chicken with too much lemon juice, sage-infused fettuccine and home-grown courgettes,
Spaghetti Pesto with garden salad,
A roast chicken soup with poached egg and warm sourdough bread (picture),
And a meal for friends, starting with fresh Laugenbretzeln for a welcome, a feta mousse with garden salad for a starter, a pan-fried fillet of Sea Bass with crispy skin on top of a fresh artichoke and croutons stir-fry, served with a roasted fennel puree and rouille for a main course, and mini nectarine cheesecakes for pudding.
- Herby Roast Chicken with Pan Fried Veg… (kjbrad57.com)
- Bangin’ Roasted Chicken Salad (vandryeyev.wordpress.com)
- Fried Haddock w/ Fresh Green Beans, Creole Roasted Chicken Rice, and…. (beatcancer2010.wordpress.com)
A light summer pizza with plenty of fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs and mozzarella.
Pasta with fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and home-made Sicilian sausage.
German pasta salad and pan-fried breaded pork chops, with home-made Laugenbretzeln. We also enjoyed a delicious watermelon sorbet.
Grilled feta cheese with sourdough bread.
A slice of leg of lamb, infused with thyme oil and griddled, served with fresh garden herb salad, minted fresh peas and straight-from-the-oven olive and rosemary sourdough bread.
Fresh white sourdough bread with two spicy feta cheese spreads, a portion of Liptauer, and a large plate of sliced tomatoes.
Steak Tartare with freshly made potato crisps and Greek Salad. Friday celebrations ended with a Pudim Flan, as it should be.
Spaghetti Catalan (fresh garlic, chorizo, tomatoes and leaks in a creamy white wine sauce).
Seared Fillet of Sea Bream and seared scallops, served with a stir-fry from fresh artichokes, garden herb salad and fresh baguette.
It’s true. We are delighted to finally having cracked it, and so is the local mini-community of German expats. The key is quite simply to use the correct lye, not an improvised substitute. It takes proper Bretzellauge (caustic soda) in a solution of 35..40g sodium hydroxide on one litre of water. Everything else is easy-peasy, really:
20g fresh yeast
400g white wheat flour
1 tablespoon of soft butter
225ml water (or replace half the water with milk)
Knead. Knead thoroughly for gluten-rich hearty results, knead quickly for the brioche-like more fluffy variety (the one using milk and water). Form pretzels or rolls right away, then let sit and rise for 10 minutes.
Then on with the goggles and protective gloves, and dip the dough pieces into the lye, simply in and straight out again. Place on a tray and let rise for another 30min, sprinkle with course salt, make small nice cuts and bake at 200C for 20min.
Meanwhile, use a funnel to return the lye to a glass bottle, as you can use it over and over again.
(The picture shows the very first attempt, so please ignore the not so perfect pretzel shape. I’m learning. I’m also still working on the support, baking parchment is less than ideal given that the dough pieces are wet, soaking through the paper.)
Following a short but busy trip back to Neustadt, it feels as if we have eaten mostly Pfälzer Küche, and way too much of it. Upon reflection, I think both is true, so here’s the breakdown, in chronologic order:
A delicious Pfälzer Platte, featuring Bratwurst, Leberknödel, Saumagen, Sauerkraut and bread (prepared by a friend).
A somewhat questionable meal at Noel’s Restaurant. I had a watery and unremarkable salad with one scallop and a seared fillet of Red Mullet for starters (both scallop and fish were lovely), followed by a not-so-juicy veal saddle steak with girolle mushrooms, accompanied by a dried-out artichoke ravioli. Not bad, but a bit of a shame considering the amount of work which went into this; a classic case of high ambitions not accomplished. The pudding was delicious though: a sorbet of Mirabelle, served in Riesling Sekt. Ah, I wish I could source Mirabelle here in London!
More straight-forward fare on the following day: Pfälzer Spiessbraten with various side salads, and way too much cake.
Finally, at the Trifelsblickhütte, a Handkäs’. Ah, the simple yet smelly things, how delightful.
(The picture shows some of my own ravioli in the making.)
A freshly made and piping-hot Focaccia. Salt-and-pepper squid with a seared scallop and Sauce Vierge, one of my favourites. Fillet of Roe deer, pommes dauphinoise, green beans and Sauce Béarnaise. American-style mini strawberry cheesecakes.
Crispy chicken thighs, pan-grilled in thyme, served with a German potato salad and a Thyme-infused mayonnaise.
A light omelette, filled with green asparagus, topped with smoked salmon, and accompanied by freshly made crispy crisps.
Braised Venison shanks in natural gravy, served with egg Fettuccine.
Well, OK. we’ve eaten worse.
- Smoked salmon and spinach quiche (nami-nami.blogspot.com)
- Rare steak tataki (independent.co.uk)
- Significant number of children believe cheese comes from plants, reveals new survey (independent.co.uk)
- Crispy mackerel and pennywort salad (independent.co.uk)
Roasted monkfish tails, wrapped in Parma ham and lemon thyme, served with new Charlotte potatoes and lime-and-thyme mayonnaise and salad. A good old flan.
Grilled small peppers, stuffed with a spicy feta cheese spread. Salt and Pepper Squid with Sauce Sirene and a poached egg. Roasted Monkfish tails, wrapped in Parma ham and lemon thyme (the second half of the previous day’s monk fish), seared Sea Bream fillets and spicy fresh water prawns, served with Rouille, roasted fennel puree, stir-fried fresh artichokes and piping hot Focaccia. All brought to a conclusion with nectarine mini-cheesecakes.
Open Spanakopita with edible flowers. Seared filet of venison, served with freshly made potato chips, young courgettes and courgette flowers, and Sauce Béarnaise. A deconstructed, inverted and re-constructed Black Forest Gateaux (a dark chocolate fondant on a disk of boozy cherries and a splash of whipped cream).
Griddled chicken thighs, German potato salad, and (leftover) Sauce Béarnaise.
Let me present some of the highlights of the meals enjoyed on Rarotonga:
Ika Mata, a salad from raw fish (wahoo), dressed with coconut, lime and chillies (shown on the left). A delicious but delicate balance of sweetness from the coconut, sharpness from the lime and heat from the chillies.
Yellowfin tuna (‘Ahi’ tuna), sashimi-style (raw, with a splash of soy sauce and wasabi), seared on the outside but raw on the inside, using the BBQ or a buttered pan, and enjoyed with lime mayonnaise, salad and bread, or enjoyed in several variations of sandwiches at Captain Moko’s Fishing Charters. If you like to eat your fish on terra firma, there is no way you could ever have Yellowfin Tuna any fresher, any more delicious, any where.
Mahi-mahi, as part of sandwiches at Captain Moko’s Fishing Charters. Sadly, we were unable to buy unprepared Mahi-mahi to try our luck cooking it ourselves. Maybe we should have gone out in a boat and caught our own, but the sea outside the reef was, hmmm, lively… Next time.
The most note-worthy non-fish meal was a bargain purchase at the supermarket: a deep-frozen pack labelled “Goat Carcass, $12.95.” It held what the label said: one nice slice of leg, a generous loin chop, and various less identifiable bits (including, I think, a piece of neck and one piece of belly), some with severe frostbite. We seared the nicer parts (leg steak, loin chop) on the BBQ and enjoyed them with salad and bread – very nice.
The other goat pieces went into a simple stew, enjoyed by Bailey, the elderly and very grateful dog at our residence, and the raw cut-offs were enjoyed by the cat. Oh, and left-over bread went to the free-roaming chickens, and all remaining food scraps was collected for the pigs.
Let it not be said that we only looked after ourselves!
- Wild Mahi Mahi Portions (gourmetsecretsblog.wordpress.com)
- We are giving the fish a chance to relax (vcsustainableseafood.wordpress.com)
- Chefs’ pet hates: From stale garlic to rude service and customer ailments, top cooks let off steam (independent.co.uk)
- The future home: self-sufficient in meat, fish, vegetables and fruit (independent.co.uk)
- North Sea cod stocks ‘are recovering’ (bbc.co.uk)