You are hereIntrepid Gourmet
During the winter, Bratislava (population 450,000) has to be Europe’s quietest capitol city and its historic centre on the eastern side of Danube and sheltered under Bratislavsky hrad castle, its most romantic. Unfortunately the cuisine, with its Austrian and Hungarian influence and a predominance of dumplings with the majority of dishes I found repetitive and boring.
There really isn't anything quite like a light and fluffy, deeply dark and flavoursome chocolate mousse. I've used so many different recipes in the past but just stumbled upon this one recenty and loved it. It's easy and quick to make and looks delightful with it's sprinkling of grated chocolate on top. Give it a try and I guarantee you'll make it again, and again.
* 100g Chocolate
* 4 egg yolks
* 50g caster sugar
* 6 egg whites
Prep time: 15 mins, plus chilling overnight
Cook time: 5 mins
Among the diverse collection of gastro books I have collected over the years, my favourite is ‘Bouquet de France’: an epicurean tour of the French provinces by Samuel Chamberlin,(1895-1975) an American writer, artist and Francophile. I find his book fascinating not only for the abundance of fine restaurants he visited and the succulent recipes he recorded – but that it was published in 1952, just seven years after the end of the Second World War. What a difference to the gastronomic scene in the UK at that time, where most of the ingredients in Chamberlin’s recipes were either still unavailable or rationed,
“No more Nouvelle Cuisine! Bring on the wild boar, chestnuts in red wine, and the Poacher’s Pot.” This was the recommendation a good friend of mine recently made when asked what type of recipes he would like to see in the Optimist’s Gourmet section. Being somewhat of a trencherman myself, I am inclined to agree with him. But we must be flexible and to appeal to the tastes of all our diverse Gourmet followers and accept that one man’s meat is another man’s poison.
I grew up on Stilton, Lancashire, Cheshire and Cheddar cheeses. European cheeses were just coming onto the market but my mother was not prepared to allow any of that ‘foreign muck’ to grace our table. It was not until I was living in Italy; in the sixties that I learned to appreciate enjoy that foreign muck.
Did you know that Henry V111, Shakespeare and Elizabeth 1 did not eat vegetables? For a period in my life; three years to be precise , I also went without them. The three famous notables had no choice – there were none. But I lost my appetite for vegetables when I was condemned to peeling potatoes, skinning onions and slicing carrots for 500 ravenous soldiers, twice a day for seven days; equipped with only a rusty potato peeler or, if I lost the fight, to a faster miscreant than myself - a blunt knife.
Over the years I have developed a taste for spicy food and Thai food has become a favourite. I don't like fussy recipes, but I like my food to taste as if I've spent a lot of time preparing it - which is why I like this little recipe so much. Most asian shops stock all the ingredients you need, but do try and get fresh Monkfish - it tastes simply devine.
2 tbsp sunflower oil
2-3 tbsp green curry paste
400ml tin coconut milk
300 ml water
1 tbsp Fish Sauce
The Cornish Pasty – apart from being a must on any pub menu – can be nifty and hunger satisfying snack to offer around at your next party. Serve with glasses brimming with cold, refreshing, dry cider (I recommend Bulmers) and you’ll have the guests demanding a re-play.
Around this time of the year; with all the seasonal 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.
I love fish in all its prepared versions but I must confess that angling has never been listed as one of my hobbies. In my life I have been fishing twice. The first time was in Yorkshire, a couple of miles out at seea, off the rocky grandeur of Filey Brigg. We were fishing for mackerel and were pulling them in as fast as we could bait the lines.