Author: thefoodinterpreter

A book about thai food

‘Thai food’ by David Thompson, a difficult read. See the reviews in amazon to understand the challenges imposed by this opus. Most recipes  are difficult to follow outside Thailand because it’s impossible to source the ingredients – but the ones that are doable speak for the refinement of thai cuisine. You can try this salad – provided you marinated and dried your shrimps some days in advance. The first recipe starts page 191. What precedes the ‘shrimp paste relish’ is history and food fundamentals that put thai cuisine in the middle of the historic and social web. Read about the extravaganzas of the cuisines of the palaces’ : unorthodox interpretations of western cuisine, perfumes designed for cooking, combinations of seemingly heterogeneous ingredients – refined, enhanced and balanced to a ‘posed conclusion’. There is an abyss between the thai kitchen described here and to whatever passes as thai in the west. Thompson also runs a restaurant in Bangkok (Nahm), “vaut le voyage” to Thailand given you have booked your table- but he is no snob either. In the Thailand edition of Lonelyplanet he contributed a guided …

Pumpkin soup with orange juice

This velvety pumpkin soup is a perfect entree or meal especially in the winter months. Warm, comforting and creamy, it’s little secret is the curry powder which makes the difference. Pumpkin soup with orange juice (adapted from a recipe of Aglaia Kremezi published in the ‘epsilon gourmet’ magazine some years ago). 5 Tbsp butter 2 cups onions, chopped 1 tsp curry powder 1,5 kg pumpkin, peeled, deseeded, grated 3 cups chicken stock zest of one orange 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice salt and pepper 1 cup whipping cream 1/2 cup yoghurt Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the onions stirring often until soft, for about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and stir vigorously 2-3 times. Add the grated pumpkin and cook stirring for 5 more minutes. Stir in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Add the zest and the orange juice and let simmer for another 10 minutes. Puree and season with salt and pepper to …

A lunch to remember

This Sunday’s lunch was a commemoration of my aunt. We prepared  pumpkin soup,a Sunday roast, salad -that we forgot to bring to the table-and my parents-in-law brought a galaktoboureko. We drank greek wines – always an argument with the aunt who would insist that we have to support the local winemakers. We used her cutlery and her old tablecloth with the small hole that makes it even more intimate and a family matter. My aunt would throw a number of dinner parties each year, including the Christmas lunch. As she grew older and sicker, this was the last to hand-over to us. She cooked from memory – so we try to re-generate her recipes by trial-and-error. This includes the Christmas -turkey stuffing and the bitter orange marmalade, all part of my childhood memories. A note regarding the bitter orange marmalade: in my mother’s family bitterness in food was regarded intrinsic for family togetherness and a sign of seriousness – we still have the tendency to look down on people how do not enjoy chicory or have their …

Eating hummus in Amman

I think one of the best places to eat in the Middle East is Amman. The standards of the clientele are high, judging by the waistlines of the above-forties and taking into account the low-fat ingredients of the food – marrow excluded. The place to visit is Hashem downtown, for hummus and falafel. It’s as basic as it gets. A short walk away you can get your kunafa from Habibah. You can end here your tour of the citadel where you can admire the Roman, Byzantine, and Umayyad remains of one of the oldest continuously inhabited places on earth, and see locals playing the bagpipe too. Jordan is close to the Holy Lands. Christian Jordanians claim that Jesus was baptised on the ‘east side of river Jordan- if you look at the topology this is the sensible think to assume’. Food and food markets are not sterilised. Somehow the relation to food materials has escaped the tension of post-industrialised societies where you can feel a distance, either because food is glorified, industrialised or the agent of compulsive behaviour. Sharing …