You are hereIntrepid Gourmet
The late sixtiesand I was living in Germany. It was in the ancient Roman city of Trier - Treves if you’re French - that I had based myself. Apart from the many Deutsche Gastätte there were only two other restaurants in the town; one Chinese and one Balkan. However and luckily for me, there was a large French garrison stationed there and they had a large and imposing building in the town centre for their officer’s mess. I was an honorary member of the mess
Turn on any TV channel these days and I guarantee you will see one or another of your favourite TV chefs in ego-action, preaching, teaching, advising and now and again even cheating. You will see and hear about their one to five star establishments, which part of the ocean or river their fish was netted, how their beef was fed and delicately massaged and from which corner of their herb gardens the broad leaf parsley came from.
Around this time of the year; with invitations to attend or meals for your own guests to be prepared, you may find yourself in a dilemma for something different to serve them. Usually I know what I am going to eat over the next two - sometimes three - consecutive days.
Until quite recently the very mention of English food was enough to deter even the keenest of overseas Anglophiles from nearing our shores. Their decision to avoid our green and pleasant land was probably justified; more so as we Brits were also fed up with the bland overpriced, post war rubbish we were being served in the name of English cuisine. It is only now, after all these years that England is beginning to recover from its once deplorable culinary reputation.
My experience of Portuguese food is from restaurants and Tapas bars. I am ashamed to say that I’ve never been to Portugal, although I’ve promised myself I’ll get there soon. From what I’ve read and been told, soup is the first course of any Portuguese meal and their signature soup is the Minho, which is prepared with spiced sausage, potatoes and cabbage.
I’ve got a thing for bok choy at the moment. Apart from it being less expensive than mangold, which I find it similar to, it is more versatile.Bok choy, or brassica chinensis to use its scientific name, is classified as a cabbage. Nonetheless, bok choy bears little resemblance to the round European cabbages found in western supermarkets, or to the Napa Cabbage for that matter.
I love Spain and I love the Spanish people but I have to say, and my Spanish friends will probably kill me for saying it - I am not over keen on their cuisine. The regions of Spain contrast strikingly and in nothing more than their wines and regional cooking.
American friends of mine had a shrimp farm on the coast of Ecuador and I never missed a chance, when in the area, to visit him. His house, built to modern American standards, with all mod-cons, including whirl pool, deep sunken bath tubs and a broad wooden balcony, was ideally situated on top of a headland, overlooking the Pacific ocean.
The wetter, the better. At least that is what the folk who grub around in the woods for mushrooms would like the spring weather to be. Personally I have always been too nervous to attempt eat a self picked mushroom. Shame to say but I only eat them if I buy them from my favourite veggie shop or served in a reputable restaurant.
I am sure some of you readers have memories of eating in France before the plague of MacDonalds, Burger King, Kentucky-Fried Chicken and other fast food outlets changed their way of life. One of the most pleasant and romantic dinners I had was in the old Brasserie at the Gare du Nord, Paris’s busiest railway station.