Archives for the month of: January, 2015

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Jun.  The mysterious Kombucha relative that thrives, not on black tea and white sugar, but on green tea and raw honey. Mythically Tibetan, though not documented with any credibility– even if explications of the culturing bacteria are alluring and romantic.

I read this Nourished Kitchen how-to and felt full of curiousity and excitement.  But how was I, in mid-Wales, to acquire the culture? Seemed like an effort I wouldn’t make.

Meanwhile… I’ve been sorting through all the weird stuff clogging fridge and counter space.  And I finally got around to a months-old promise of posting out some cultures of Water Kefir, Kefir and Kombucha to some friends. Read the rest of this entry »

Oh my, just learned there’s an exhibition in London of the work of this painter, Renato Guttuso, through the 4th of April.  And who knew he illustrated Elizabeth David’s Italian Food?  This is a very fascinating look into the history and politics of that particular aesthetic matching.

In the comments 0f the original post, the brilliant Sicilian GodMother has really shared a lot of knowledge about the market painting, The Vucciria, more than I could have hoped for!  I quote her here:

“The original – which is absolutely huge – hangs in Palazzo Steri in Palermo now. A professor at Palermo University had it hidden away in his room for decades, imagine that!
The man in the yellow jumper is Renato Guttuso (the artist) himself, and the old woman in black is his wife: in the picture he showed her as much older than she really was. The three women in white, red and green dresses are all his mistress, shown from three different angles, and portrayed as much younger than she actually was. In reality she was the same age as his wife.
Guttuso lived most if his life in Rome and missed a lot of the foods you can only get in Sicily, so he had a phase of painting food along with women, his two great sensual pleasures.
This market was founded by the North African invaders of Sicily over 1,000 years ago and flourished like a chaotic souk for ten centuries. Sicilians say “it was a vucciria” the way we in English say “It was bedlam” or “It was a madhouse”.
Very recently the Vucciria has become lacklustre and quite empty, but there are other street markets in Palermo, as old as the Vucciria, which are still like this.”

Kitchen Counter Culture

A Painting, A Market, An Enticement

I’ve been a collage maker for most of my life,  have boxes and boxes of assorted materials, things I’ve collected, torn from magazines, etc. I have no idea where this is from, but I ripped it out long ago and kept it. And I love it.

I love the scene, the seafood, the eggs, the vegetables (are those cardoons in the front right?), the olives, the people, the bare light bulbs, and especially the loaded moment of the encounter that is just about to happen between the man in the yellow shirt and the woman with the bags and the nice bum.

In its day, I’d guess this would have been thought of as a market, not a farmers market or a specialist market or even, probably, an alternative to a supermarket.  It just WAS.   WHERE people bought their food.  Something to re-envision.

Wish I were there.

Where do…

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I find this film about Sea Kale and Turkish Rocket entrancing– simultaneously soothing yet stimulating to watch.  Found it on the great blog Paradise Lot.  Just noticed they have a book I’d very much like to read.

Paradise Lot

As the days become longer, and we enjoy the remaining days of the winter season, we have this important time to reflect on the past year, and what the warmer days of spring and summer hold. Winter is a wonderful time to contemplate our lives, and consider the… read full article

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Well, the photos were coming out pretty gruesome, even for someone like me with a penchant for revolting retro food photography.

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I realised part of the problem was that I was trying to present this Armenian Bean and Walnut Pate as something in the family of hummus (bean spreads), and the colour, maybe a bit like pet food, just couldn’t present well.  Even the jewels of pomegranate didn’t help– they rather annoyed me, though they were a gift from a friend and quite coincidentally on hand.

But the moment I decided to spread the spread on a crisp cracker, and put it on a plate, which then required a garnish– that was the moment those little cornichons in the back of the fridge came to mind.  These little pickles awakened an instant association with pates of liver and pork or chicken, much relished foods that are not so much on our meat-reduced menu these days. Read the rest of this entry »

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A happy childhood memory: dancing in our living room by the piano to tunes played by Paul Garabedian, dear friend of my parents during those years. He was an incredible improvisor (and silent film accompanist) who would tinkle out tunes that suggested “nations of the world”– Chinese and Japanese and Italian and Rockabilly, and I’d dance my little interpretative dances in a frenzy of 5 year old glee. These sessions went on for hours– or so I remember, or wish to believe.

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This is almost so obvious I’m not sure it’s worth a blog post; but it’s so good, it’s worth a blog post!  I’ve made this every day for several days, and we find ourselves snacking on it cold.  Eating (local, seasonal) greens plentifully can only be a good thing.

Purple Sprouting Broccoli. Roasted.

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