Results tagged “fruit”

The World's Best

denmark
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This recipe comes from Mia Kristensen of CPH Good Food in Copenhagen, who I collaborate with to run New Nordic cuisine classes in London.  This recipe featured in our Summer 2012 class.

Don't be put off by all the steps in the recipe.  You basically need to separate half a dozen eggs and use the yolks to make a simple sponge and the whites to make a simple meringue.  The rest is basically fresh fruit and cream!  In any case, it's well worth the effort. 

smworldsbest0001.jpg

To the land where things ferment

senegal
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We rolled over the Diama dam and got all of about three feet into Senegal before having to make our first payment: the bridge toll.  Although to give him credit, we did get a proper ticket and receipt - unlike the next person in line, the frontier policeman, who simply refused to stamp our passports until we gave him 10 euro each.  Receipt?  Of course not - everyone just pays up.  Here, I'll show you: look at my big drawer full of cash.

Smdindefeloboys0001.JPGBut as it turned out, he was the only person we came across in Senegal who wanted to do things that way.  Contrary to popular traveller misconception, every other traffic policeman, customs official and gendarme was friendly and correct (if sometimes a little busy on their mobile phone to do much more than wave our paperwork in the air for a bit).  And as in Morocco and Mauritania, pretty much everyone else we met was chatty and helpful too.

Smplastickettle0001.JPGOther things really did seem to change, though, as soon as we'd crossed the Senegal river.  The landscape was much greener, lusher; there were trees everywhere; and there were monkeys running across the road.  The kettles were made of stripy plastic now.  Smwomencarrying0001.jpgThe people were all properly black and looked seriously West African - women in incredibly bright patterned fabrics carrying everything on their heads, boys in football kit practising madly for their lucrative futures in the Premiership.  And the food was definitely different.  Here, it was all about the fruit juices.  The savoury condiments, the grains, the baguettes and the viennoiserie.  And above all, the joys of fermentation ...

To Romania in a spoon

greece, romania, turkey
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Smspoonberries0001.jpgWhile staying in the Carpathians with our friends Anca and Eduard, we had a lot of conversations about jam.  I don't possibly have space here to tell you about everything we learnt (although I'm sure Anna will try soon) - but here's two things.  First, Romanians have a lot of words for jam.  Second, two of them, dulceață and șerbet, are things we don't really have in the UK, involving interesting ingredients like green walnut and aubergine, and mysterious old social rituals involving teaspoons and glasses of water.

It's often tempting to try to make what you see fit with what you already know.  So, given what we already knew about Ottoman influence on Eastern European cuisine, we quickly jumped to the conclusion that this must be a Turkish phenomenon - șerbet is a Turkish word, after all.  And when we reached Turkey, we did indeed find delicious walnut and aubergine jams.

But something didn't quite fit.  Why use a Latin word - dulceață - for something Turkish?  And although we saw plenty of şerbet in Turkey, we never got offered it in spoons or water.  Well, now that we've arrived in Greece, we've realised it's much more complicated than we thought ...

Ten Turkish tastes

turkey
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Copy (1) of Smzelispazaraubergines0001.JPGIt's ridiculous to try to sum up Turkish cuisine in 10 flavours.  Turkish cuisine is hugely rich and infinitely varied, not least because a) Turkey's absolutely enormous - have you looked at a map recently? - comprising three different coastlines, high snowy mountains, very hot, dry plains and lush wooded hillsides, among other things, and b) its cooking has been influenced over the centuries by Mongolian, Chinese, Persian and Greek cultures and then, through the enormous Ottoman empire and its trade routes, many more, including Moroccan and French.

But I'll give it a go...

Getting fruity

turkey
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Smcandiedfig0001.JPGA good Turkish meal ends with fresh fruit, often artfully presented in slices and wedges on the plate.  You might get kiwis, strawberries, oranges, apples or any number of stone fruit when in season.  But apart from this occasional appearance, fresh fruit is surprisingly hard to find.  I could suppose that this is due to the long history and widespread custom of preserving fruit so it can be enjoyed all year, a taste for which the sweet-toothed Turks maintain to this day in cities and villages alike.
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