Never go on trips with anyone you don’t love….Ernest Hemingway "I am not a glutton -- I am an explorer of food." Erma Bombeck (1927-1996)

Monday, June 27, 2005

Vieux Nice

Cours Saleya

I have visited Nice in the past, not as a tourist but someone who was based in the area. But this time we went to met Amy and Michel a fellow blogger who is resides in Nice.

Nice is the capital of the Riviera, a pick pocket’s paradise, a traffic night mare and yet Nice managed to be delightful.

Columns of La Chappele de la Misericorde

We went for a walk at Vieux Nice- the old town with its narrow streets, best explored on foot. Look for Cathedrale de St Reparte at place Rossetti is a baroque cathedral right in the central square., check the small shops, tiny cafes. We headed for Cours Saleya, the site of the city’s main market. At Cours Saleya feast yourself to another baroque splendour of La Chappele de la Misericorde

We sat down for dinner and what would it be?

Moules marinieres ! I love mussels and nothing beats a good succulent orange mussels steamed open in a combination of white wine, shallots and parsley, sometimes enriched with crème or crème fraiche to become moules ala crème.

Opera House

After we walked around and I took this photo of the opera house and the Palais de Justice. But the best time to visit Vieux Nice is at day time during the market hours. From 6am to 1pm there are gorgeous displays of fruit, vegetable, cheeses, sausages, herbs, roses, bric a brac and second hand clothes.

It's really a wonderful experience just keep an eye of your wallet.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Last weekend my sister, Tara and her husband Nick, were busy fixing things around their garden They were fixing their shed and painting few bits and bobs when I asked to my brother in law, MERIENDA?
Merienda in Filipino means snack the closest equivalent of afternoon tea to the Brits. I know he loves pancakes!I even taught him how to do it. I have learned how to do pancakes when I was quite young, my mother used to put a stool where I would be able to reach the stove and told me the secret of a good pancake is the batter.

To be honest I do not measure when I cook only when I bake. I whisked the egg, add a bit of sugar, vanilla, flour then I add milk gently to be able to control the consistency of the batter.
We all have different ways of having our pancakes but I just make it plain so everyone can add whatever they wanted.

I settled for butter and the cranberry jam which I brought from Norway. A second portion with organic maple syrup and a drizzle of sugar.
My sister announced when it comes to pancakes she goes for savoury. Slices of good old cheedar was her choice. No photos, she said “let me enjoy this!”

pancake with vanilla ice cream and organic maple syrup

Nick settled for vanilla ice cream with maple syrup in which I have lost count how many portions he had. But he deserves it he did a lot of work outside.
My husband was in St Tropez, France that day .If he were with us he will most likely go for strawberry jam and butter or for blueberries pancake.

And what about you, how you like your pancake?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Caribbean Food - A Little History

The Arawak, Carib, and Taino Indians were the first inhabitants of the Caribbean islands. These first inhabitants occupied the present day islands of British Virgin Islands, Cuba, Dominica, Grenada, Haiti, Trinidad, and Jamaica. Their daily diet consisted of vegetables and fruits such as papaw, yams, guavas, and cassava. The Taino started the process of cooking meat and fish in large clay pots.

The Arawaks are the first people known to make a grate of thin green wood strips on which they slowly cooked meat, allowing it to be enhanced by the flavor of the wood. This grate was called a barbacoa, and the word we know today as barbeque is taken from this early Indian cooking method.

The Carib Indians added more spice to their food with hot pepper sauces, and also added lemon and lime juice to their meat and fish recipes. The Caribs are said to have made the first pepper pot stew. No recipes exist since every time the Indians made the dish, they would always add new ingredients. The Carib had a big impact on early Caribbean history, and the Caribbean sea was named after this tribe.

Then the Caribbean became a crossroads for the world . . .

Once the Europeans brought Africans slaves into the region, the slaves diet consisted mostly of food the slave owners did not want to eat. So the slaves had to be inventive, and they blended their traditional African foods with staples found on the islands. The Africans introduced okra, callaloo, fish cakes, saltfish, ackee, pudding and souse, mangos, and the list goes on.

Most present day Caribbean island locals eat a present diet that is reflective of the main ingredients of original early African dishes, and includes cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, plantains, bananas and corn meal.

African men were hunters in their homeland, and often away from home for long periods of time. They would cook spicy pork over hot coals, and this tradition was refined by the early slaves in Jamaica. The technique is known today as “jerk“ cooking , and the secret involves a slow meat cooking process. Jamaica is famous for jerk chicken and pork, and you’ll find jerk all over the island.

After slavery was abolished, the Europeans went to India and China for labor, and more cooking styles were introduced. Much of the Indian cooking culture remains alive and well in the Caribbean of today with the introduction of curried meats and curry powder. Indians call it kari podi, and we have come to know this pungent flavor as curry.

The Chinese introduced rice, which is always a staple in home cooked island meals. The Chinese also introduced mustard, and the early Portuguese sailors introduced the popular codfish.

Most visitors to the Caribbean have no idea that the fruit trees and fruits so familiar to the islands were introduced by the early Spanish explorers. The fruit trees and fruits brought from Spain include orange, lime, ginger, plantains, figs, date palms, sugar cane, grapes, tamarinds and coconuts.

Even the Polynesian islands play an important role in Caribbean cooking. Most of us remember the movie “Mutiny on the Bounty”, but do not know that particular ship carried breadfruit, which was loaded on board from the islands of Tahiti and Timor. In the movie the crew took over the ship, forced the captain into a small boat to fend on his own, and they threw the breadfruit, which they considered “strange fruit” overboard. Another ship was more successful in bringing breadfruit from Polynesia to Jamaica and the St Vincent and the Grenadines. Breadfruit is a staple diet in the current day Caribbean

America is responsible for introducing beans, corn, squash, potatoes, tomatoes, and chili pepper to the Caribbean. In fact these particular foods had never been seen in Asia, Europe or Africa, so America actually introduced these foods the rest of the world via the Caribbean.

So it's no wonder Caribbean cooking is so rich and creative with the flavors of Africa, India, and China, along with Spanish, Danish, Portuguese, French and British influences. Food served in the Caribbean islands have been influenced by the cultures of the world, but each island adds its own special flavor and cooking technique.

Linda Thompkins is a Caribbean travel consultant and owner of Travel 2 the Caribbean online agency. Linda and her husband reside in Indianapolis, Indiana and have traveled extensively throughout the Caribbean.

Travel 2 the Caribbean has been in business for seven years and offers secure online booking, and travel agent booking.

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Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Birthday Celebration

Finally I found time to re write the story of this birthday. I normally prepare the post on the words format then upload it on blogger. That night for some reasons I just did it straight on blogger and just I was editing it , voila I have pressed something, gone within a split of a second.

I am typing now while having my pan chocolat and tea here in Antibes. I am staying at a friends flat right in front of the sea. How much I wished I could just sit down at the veranda all day and watch the world go by. But, am here in South of France for work so that’s another story but I did manage to have the meals I have dreaming of for weeks and managed to find time to write.

Birthday cake, gin and tonic and sunflowers

Back to this birthday party, it was the first time after 7 years I actually had my birthday in Athens. For the past years its always been in South of France. But I never really party. This time perhaps was an exception, my friends in Athens have not seen me for a long time so a small gathering will be just perfect.

My husband said I do not have to do anything he will cook. Little did I know I would be dragged to the market as well and do the preparation let alone the scrubbing of the pots and pans.

But it didn’t really matter I love going to the market. I told him it has to be homey and nothing fancy, roasts will do, the rest we have to see what the farmers market got to offer.

Salads: Roasted tomato, steamed beetroots and scooping out the pulp from the roasted aubergines for the aubergine salad

He kicked the day by going to the farmers market early morning, when he came back he showed me his find, apricots, beans, beetroots, red huge red tomatoes and aubergines. He asked me how would I like the beans. A quick stir fry with some smoked we brought from Switzerland and garlic. We would steam the beets and drizzle with olive oil with thin slices of onions.
The courgettes grated served with vignaigrette. The tomato cut into halves, sprinkled with fresh herbs , olive oil and roasted.

courgette salad

As soon we discussed that we set off for the wet market. I suggested a simple roast pork and fish. We went straight to our butcher and got neck cut of the pork. He was nearly tempted to by some rabbit meat but I know our friends will all say yuck!

Beans cooked with smoked bacon we brought from Switzerland and garlic.

The inner sanctum of the wet market is Neptune‘s catch,every conceivable seafood was available. But it didn’t take us long to spot a good fresh one, 3 kilos of red bream (my mind sometimes get muddled with fish names) Its called denti in France.

Squids octopus were so tempting but we could not cook a lot, we only have few people coming and didn’t have much time either.

Back home we divided the work, I did the preparation of most vegetables. Beans cleaned, bacon sliced, and garlic squashed. Aubergines were placed in oven for roasting till they become soft. As soon they came out the soft pulp was scooped. Melitzano salata is very popular in Greece and while doing this my husband has mentioned to me how he has seen a Filipino cook frying the aubergine with eggs.

Red Sea Beam, scaling, finning, browning

Beetroots were placed on a steamer and the same the apricot halves were softened in the pan with butter for the clafoutis. My husband prepared the pork with cumin, salt and pepper ready for roasting. Fish which still have a hook on it was scaled. A friend of mine who knows I love liver gave me over 2 kilos of pork liver, a very fresh one indeed and we just stir fried it with a dash of soya and onions making sure its medium. I was a bit worried about this because Filipino do not eat a pinkish medium cooked liver, but somehow everyone love it. They kept saying how soft and delicate it was and asked instructions how our liver was cooked.

Clafoutis. Apricots fresh from the market, cooked gently with butter, turning apricots and a serving.

Once all dish were ready we cleaned the kitchen and set the table, took out all glasses made sure we have chilled drinks and went for a shower. Just about I changed the doorbell rang and our closed friends trickled in. We all managed to catch up with news and the last guest left at midnight and every food preparation was worth it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

"Tantalizing Titillating Tempting Tarts!"

This is our (I say our because it’s a team workbetween my husband and myself) first time to join the events of IS MY BLOG BURNING the event of IMBB is being hosted by Life in Flow.

At the site of IS MY BLOG BURNING this is what it says...

Sugar High Friday #9
From the host's blog - "And so, I embark on a quest to find fellow tart-lovers, to discover what strange manner of tart, tartlet, galette, or any other tart-formation that you all would care to create in this June's edition of Jennifer at Domestic Goddess's artery-clogging brain-singing SUGAR HIGH FRIDAY!

So, for this edition, the theme is "Tantalizing Titillating Tempting Tarts!" Please post your entries on Friday June 17th and email me (note obfuscation!). I shall attempt to post the roundup the very next day! And while I know and love the joys of savory tarts, this is a sugary event.
But feel free to prep your palate for a sweet tart with a savory one! I know I will. "

What tart should we do? Clafoutis, tart aux framboise... the weekly market has beautiful lemons and why not one of my favourite one... tart au citron.

When I was based in Monaco few years ago, after work, I normally go up to Beausoleil just above Monte Carlo and there I discovered a small patisserie that sells lemon tartlets. It was my afternoon treat to buy at least two pieces and sit down at the Casino gardens savouring these. I just love the citrussy flavour after having my first bite, I feel I was transported into somewhere here is its my husband's recipe I would love to share with you.

A wonderful intense lemony tart, with a wonderful citrusy aroma zestiness.

500 g short bread dough
4 lemons washed , zest and juice together
300 g sugar
9 eggs
300 ml double cream

1)On a lightly floured surface roll out the pastry, and line a buttered flan ring with the pastry.
2)Trim the pastry and refrigerate for about 30 min.
3)Remove from the fridge and line the interior of the pastry case with a circle of greaseproof paper, fill with dried beans and bake in a preheated oven at 170C for 15 minutes. Take out from the oven , remove the beans and brush the pastry case with a little egg wash
4)Put back into the oven and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep pastry shell at room temperature.

Lemons at the farmers market, ready for grating, blind baking, lemon rinds, mixing the eggs, the lemon mixture, filling up the tart, baked lemon tart.

1)Break eggs into a bowl add the sugar and mix lightly with a whisk.
2)Add the lemon mix and stir till well blended.
3)Pour in the cream whisk lightly stir till well blended.
4)Pour into pastry case and place in the preheated oven.
5)Reduce the heat to 150C and bake for about 50 minutes.
6)Remove from the oven and cool slightly before gently removing the flan ring .
7)Cool completely before adding garniture.


Brush sides with a natural glaze and coat with roasted chopped nuts
Decorate fresh strawberries
Brush with strawberry glaze.
Garnish with fresh mint

Recipe for pastry

250 g best all-purpose flour
100 g confectioners sugar
100g butter, soften
1 egg plus water to make 60ml liquid


1)Sift the flour onto a large parchement paper and make a well.
2)Break the egg into a bowl and measure water as necessary.
3)Quickly mix the soften butter and sugar together until a thick cream is obtained, but into the flour well with the egg water mixture.
4)Work the flour in quickly.
5)As soon the pastry no longer sticks to the paper ,pull it together into a ball.
6)Rest the pastry in a cool place , about a hour, covered well to avoid crust formation.
This allows the pastry to relax making it easier to roll out.
7)Roll out small quantities and line individual and greased pastry tart pan.
8)Allow pastry to rest before baking at 180 C for 15 minutes.
The shell can be baked blind.


Saturday, June 11, 2005

Orange Glow Chiffon Cake

I had a postal notice last Thursday to claim a package. I was not sure where it was from but I somehow had this idea its probably the TUBE PAN for angel cake from my friend Stephanie. She is my half English and Greek friend way back during the senior years at school and now lives at Milwaukee, USA. On Wednesday night we chatted and she said I should get my pan next week. It came few days earlier than expected , a perfect birthday present.

After all the months of waiting when I first saw the orange chiffon cake recipe at Baby Rambutans

I finally baked the cake with the help of M. Stel's recipe is from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum and she used Grand Marnier.

The only difference of ours is we used Cointreau and we did not have cream of tartar. But the egg whites formed lovely peaks. As soon the egg whites were all beaten the egg white mixture was immediately folded into the flour egg batter.
With M's advice the egg white was divided into half and was carefully cut into the mixture and fold over while working as little as possible.
This prevents the mixture from getting elastic.
Then continued with the other half folding as gently as possible so as not to break down the egg whites.

As soon it came out from the oven I turned it over a wire rack and went out for a walk so I wont be tempted to slice it before it cooled down completely.

Going thru Stel's notes, sifting the flour, grated orange zest,whipping the egg whites, transferring the mixture to tube pan, ready for baking, whisk, turning cake upside down and unmoulding the chiffon.

And here some information about Chiffon cake which I found from

The Chiffon Cake is a cross between a butter and a sponge cake. Similar to a butter cake in that it contains baking powder and does have fat, albeit it is in liquid form
The chiffon is similar to a sponge cake in texture and that the eggs are separated. The whites are stiffly beaten and then folded into the batter which contributes to the cake's leavening. The batter is baked in an ungreased tube pan which allows the batter to cling to the sides of the pan as it rises. The tube in the center of the pan enables the hot air to circulate so the heat can reach the center of the cake. Once baked the cake is inverted until cool to keep the cake from shrinking and losing its volume.

Glowing cake indeed!!

Thank you Stel and Stephanie at least I will never forget the year I turned 36 years old I baked my first chiffon cake.

Recommended reading:
FRENCH PROFESSIONAL PASTRY SERIES (Doughs, Batter and Meringue) by Roland Bilheaux and Allain Escoffier.

Nature's Herbal Fragrances in Your Kitchen

Isn’t it a pleasure to gather fresh herbs for your soup, omelette, salads, and roasts?
Last weekend visit to the garden centre was such a delight that I could have brought all the herbs available. But we got the ones we mostly use, cilantro, oregano, mint and rosemary. I have forgotten the parsley though.

Herbs are the soul of good cooking and by imaginative use of their natural flavouring agents a simple fish or chicken will enliven by using these herbs.


Cilantro is for Mexican and Caribbean dishes, raw fish and fish.
Rosemary- It is indeed a versatile aromatic herb which I love on my roasts especially lamb. I think in most Mediterranean. In Italy the fishmongers always give you a sprig of rosemary when you buy fish.

Mint well the Cuban drink mojito uses a lot of mint. Mint can be use for sauces, lamb and fruit salad

Oregano is so common on Greek dishes. What is Greek food without this herb? Oros in Greek is mountain, this herb grows on high altitude on Mediterranean, mine might as well thrive on the 1st floor veranda. Oregano is spicy and pungent, great for sauces, pasta and grilled meat.


Since I don’t have a garden my herbs are potted that turn the dull terrace something to appreciate and admire. I found some old pots that made a perfect little herb garden. Once I will get more plants, I am planning to put them on a wooden wine crates, which I found at the antique store not far from our flat.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


Trotters are cooked by lengthy poaching, they can be coated with breadcrumbs and grilled or served with a piquant sauce. The gelatine that they contain makes them useful for enriching stews and jellied stock.

Photos taken: Athens Central Market, Trotters at 0.73 euro a kilo

Friday, June 03, 2005

Summer Fruits

Just came back from my walkabouts here in Athens and went to check the farmer's market on the other side of my area. After my shock with the food prices in Oslo and the availability of fresh products in that beautiful city, I am just so happy to be here in Athens again.

My fjord escapades will soon be the mean time am going to enjoy all these fruits blessed by the Gods and the Goddesses!

Rodakina - Peaches 2euro a kilo

Berikoka- Apricots 2 euro a kilo

Kerasia - Cherries from Mt Olympus area, blessed by the Gods and Goddesses

Honey Dew Melons 1.10 a kilo


Avga ya mora! Eggs for children, in Greece that's the sign you see, eggs for children. Ask the vendor why is that. They will say there is no chemicals on them, but why just for babies?

There maybe nothing special with omelette (AHM -let) but it becomes one when you start adding whatever you could make it special. I had some ORGANIC FREE RANGE EGGS and some leftover sausages. I added spring onions to the eggs, before I could finish whipping, my husband said “think there are some mushrooms”. Just before I could serve , another one said “can we have feta on it?”
Perfect for a lazy Sunday morning!

My omelette for that day, left over sausage, mushrooms and crumbled feta.

And what else made it special? Organic Free Range Eggs
Organic eggs are expensive when compared to eggs farmed intensively, but the difference is in taste. The hens' cereal diet, which is available for them to peck at constantly, is free from GM ingredients and artificial yolk colourants.
Their yolk is paler than intensively produced eggs, but a variety of shades occur because they supplement their diet with whatever grows on organic pastures. The more variety of herbs and grasses, the better the flavour as well.

Organic chicken basking under the sun where they enjoy a happy outdoor life, thus producing tasty eggs.


When I think of happy chickens I shudder to the thought of my childhood holidays in the southern part of Cebu. I remember my uncles’ cousin having the factory style battery chicken. They were all enclosed and hardly had any space to flap their wings. I remember too well those yellow bulbs to keep the chicken going on production and the bags of feeds given to them. How marvelled then the sizes of the eggs and how fast they could lay eggs. Now I know better.

Organic chicken spends their time outdoors and when the sun sets, move into a special built chicken houses, that is airy, clean and light. The chickens are kept in smaller groups compared to the ones raised intensively . These houses too are moved every now and then so these chickens can graze at different areas. It is a comfort to know that the chicken who laid the eggs, have a decent and a happy life!

Chicken house in organic farming, that size has only less than 30 chicken in it, but its only used at night time to protect them from foxes. They spend the whole day outside eating worm, herbs and grasses.