Monday, August 08, 2011

Is Greek cooking the new vegan?

I have three Greek cookbooks. Doesn't everyone? The most recent, by our very own George Calombaris was purchased after a sensational meal at Hellenic Republic.

What's struck me of late, is how much of Greek Cooking is vegan ~ yes, vegan. So many of the mezedes are vegetable, bean and grain based, and cheese is not automatically included to finish off a vegetable based dish.

If I were to say that the meal we were eating was vegan, my Significant Other woud probably run screaming from the room. But tell him it's Greek and he's up for it.

Try fava, a yellow split pea dip, often served with finely sliced onions and capers, although at Hellenic Republic they serve it with a light touch of truffle. My word it's delicious. And each of these books has a recipe for it. You may never go back to houmous again. Or the Aubergine and Walnut Salad from 'The Real Greek at Home'.

All three of these books are worth having on your shelves. You've got all bases covered ~ summer, winter, carnivore, vegetarian, and yes VEGAN.

Kali orexi!

Feast magazine: feast your eyes on this

While in the supermarket this afternoon, my eye was caught by this beautiful magazine cover. The turquoise and red said Vietnam, and there enjoying a bowl of noodles was Luke Nguyen. "I haven't seen this before" I said to self. The reason? This is the first issue, and after just a cursory flick on the way home in the car, I'm loving it. SBS appear to have put the entire first issue on the net for our previewing pleasure. You too can flick through it here. It seems to have its culinary feet planted firmly in multiculturalism and is covering different exotic territory to anything else out there. When was the last time you saw a recipe for roti chanai in a monthly food magazine? And with a subscription price of $49 for 12 issues, I think it's pretty good buying. I hope it stays around, and I'll be subscribing to assist in that. Must go, and give this mag the attention it deserves.

Au revoir city

Almost 12 months ago, we threw in the city for a coastal country town in NSW on the south coast. Sydney was getting too hard, and there were things we wanted to do which required space. So here we are. Which is why this blog has been neglected. I've now unpacked the 400 cookbooks, got them in some sort of order, and with the help of all those recipes are now at my disposal. The shelves are organised ~ by type of cooking, by country, and a separate book case for those with whom I'm on first name terms. Nigel, Bill, Jamie, Maggie, Yotam.
And its an abundant part of the world. Lots of citrus ~ possibly the best ruby grapefruit I've yet to encounter, and even banana trees in the back yard that had a wee hand of bananas. And given the price of bananas, they're very welcome.

So back to the citrus. 10 kilos of oranges, much ruby grapefruit and a whole lot of lemons came my way. After a scour of the 'preserving' section Sally Wise's A Year in a Bottle (which is NOT about drinking too much) won the day with the lemon cordial. A scan of the net gave me the right quantities for adapting it to Grapefruit cordial, and can I tell you it's going to be gorgeous with campari and/or vodka, and a slug of spritzy bubbly water. The summer drink de jour.

The preserving section revealed a larger collection than I'd originally thought. In addition to Sal there's Syd Pemberton's Jams & Preserves, a nice volume but with some clangers of typos in the quantities, Maureen Kirwan's Pot o' Jam, which has just fallen open on the Orange Coriander Marmalade page. That's me! Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, is perhaps better known for her coverage of Latin American cooking, but Clearly Delicious is a cracker for the novice. A Family Circle Jams, Pickles and Chutneys is great if you've got too many chokos, and doesn't one always have too many chokos. And finally a gorgeous little piece of ephemera that I picked up at a market ~ Spepelt's Wine Vinegar Recipes. Mainly purchased for the interesting creature on the cover, and it's very '50s colour palette, but one needs a Chicken a la Tartare receipe, n'est ce pas.

The results of the preserving madness coming soon.