Mother’s Day Reunion Lunch

Κυριακή, 10 Μαΐου, 2009

My mother today has celebrated her day with her brother who lives in Chicago. This reunion in Athens, called for a lunch that would have variety and taste. Here is the menu I created for the day:

  • Fish Soup
  • Fried Skate with Garlic Sauce
  • Baked Shrimp Dish
  • Seasonal Fruits

I served the Asyrtiko made by Sigalas which in my view is a superb white wine to go with seafood, while the fruits were accompanied by Limoncello.

For the fish soup I used the head of a common dentex (synagrida in Greek) and vegetables.

 

The head of the fish

The head of the fish

I boil the vegetables first in a big pot, and take them out to rest after 40 minutes, while the fish is cooking. 

 

The vegetables

The vegetables

I use carots, onions, celery, tomatoes, and potatoes, and season with coarse sea salt and black pepper.

 

The meat of the head

The meat of the head

After the meat is cooked, I separate it from the rest of the head structure, which I serve separately. The fantastic chunks of meat I put in the serving container. In the meantime, I had put all the vegetables in the blender, and after that I added the stock. The result was more tha satisfying.

 

Fish Soup Served

Fish Soup Served

 I continue with the next dish, fried skate with garlic sauce. I find skate one of the best fishes, as it is light and tasty. I particularly like the texture of the flesh and the soft bones. Please note the size of the fish. In the Aegean Sea, they are small, unlike the huge skates I have seen and tasted in England!

 

Fresh skates

Fresh skates

I just cut them with scisors, coat with flour and fry in olive oil. I serve with a garlic sauce that has a touch of mustard, lemon, olive oil and coarse sea salt. 

 

Fried Skate

Fried Skate

On to the next dish, that is fresh shrimp baked in a mix of mashed potatoes, mustard, eggs, a bit of truffle oil, and cumin.  shrimp_ready-to-bake

I bake for 40 minutes in 200 degress Centigrade, and the result is more than satisfying!

 

Baked shrimp

Baked shrimp

All in all, a very satisfying lunch, a celebration of Mother’s Day, and a great way to say welcome to uncle George!

This dish is the first I prepared with home cured bacon. It is therefore appropriate to focus first on the bacon and then on the artichokes.

I have been growing desperate with the poor quality of bacon I buy at the stores. Watery, tasteless, a complete waste! I therefore decided to prepare my own. I followed the recipe in the fantastic book «Charcuterie», by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. 

Here goes (roughly) my interpretation.

Αυτο ειναι το πρωτο πιατο που παρασκευασα με το σπιτικο μπεικον που ετοιμασα προσφατα. 

Μετα απο συσσωρευση αγανακτησης για το μπεικον που αγοραζω στα μαγαζια, αποφασισα να φτιαξω το δικο μου, εστω και αν δεν ειναι καπνιστο, και ακολουθησα τη συνταγη στο βιβλιο «Charcuterie», των Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. 

Τα βηματα ειναι τα ακολουθα. 

1. Get a top quality cut from your butcher. In my case, Stathis (my butcher) gave me three cuts. Make sure the skin is on the cut. I paced them in a large container in a vertical position.

The three belly cuts

The three belly cuts

2.Prepare the brine, with coarse sea salt, crushed black pepper corns, bay leaves, a bit of garlic, and a pinch of brown sugar. Cover the meat with the brine, and let it rest for a few hours.

 

The cuts in the brine

The cuts in the brine

After it has rsted, place the meat (each piece separately in plastic containers, skin side up, cover with brine and place in the refrigerator. Leave it there for a week.

3. Remove the meat from the containers and wash in cold water. Place the meat in the oven skin side down, on a net, so that liquids can drip freely and let it «warm up» for a period of 2 hoursmaximum in a temperature of 90 degrees. If the cut is thin, reduce the time to 1 1/2 hours. Caution: do not exceed this temperature! 

 

Ready to "warm up"

Ready to "warm up"

4. Remove from the oven, let it cool for 30 minutes and remove the skin. 

 

Ready to remove the skin

Ready to remove the skin

5. After you remove the skin, let it rest for 1 hour and then cut and use, or refrigerate. 

 

Ready to use

Ready to use

6. Take the cleaned artichokes and wrap a slice of bacon around them. Place in a baking dish with potatos and a sliced carot, season with pepper, but not salt. The bacon will take care of the salt. I remind you that the artichokes after cleaning need to stay in a bath of water and plenty of lemon in order to maintain its white colour! This lemon essence of the artichike will give plenty of flavour to the dish!

 

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

7. Bake for one hour, in 180 degrees Centigrade.

 

Ready to eat

Ready to eat

8. Serve and enjoy.

Paula Rego – Painter

Τετάρτη, 6 Μαΐου, 2009

This is a short introduction to the work of Paula Rego, my most favourite female contemporary painter. She was born in Portugal, but has lived in England for many years now. The last exhibition of hers I saw was in Madrid, in January 2008. 

The Dance

The Dance - Tate Gallery, London UK

The painting I absolutely love and adore is «The Dance», which has a mystifying influence on me. Its blue colours in all possible tones, the coexistence of generations, the translucent moonlight, transfer the viewer to a magical plateau where he/she can contemplate the beauty and futility of life as a stream within the gigantic and all encompassing stream of Nature.

The Maids

The Maids - Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

The «Maids» is another atmospheric painting, full of ambivalence. The servants become masters, they dominate and control the masters. the soft pastel colours become colours with teeth, like the intruding animal’s, and remind the viewer that this is a suffocating and disturbing interior.

The Family

The Family - Saatchi Gallery, London, UK

The Family is almost frightening, in spite of the sun coming through the window. The wife and the elder daughter almost abuse the male figure of the father while in the act of dressing him. He seems to be impotent and almost unable to survive the process. The younger daughter observes from a distance, making an unknown wish.

 

Broken Promises

Broken Promises - Marlborough Fine Arts

This is a painting of disillusion, defragmentation, despair, and empty hollow faces. Her style in this painting  is reminiscent to me of Max Beckmann’s without this being in any way a negative feature of her art.  Life has not turned up to be what it was promised to be and the figures in their solemn postures contemplate the inevitability of the End, while they let whatever is happening aroung them just pass them by.

Τα λογια περιττευουν οταν οι θνητοι ανεβαινουν στον Ολυμπο! Και εστω για λιγο καθιστανται ημιθεοι!

Ο αρχιτεκτονας της Νικης

Ο αρχιτεκτονας της Νικης

Ο μεγαλος ηγετης και αρχιτεκτονας της Νικης ειναι ο Ζελικο.

Ημιθεοι

Ημιθεοι

Και ολα τα παιδια που μας εφεραν αυτη τη Νικη!

Ελλας, Ευρωπη, Παναθηναικος!

υγ. Συγχαρητηρια και στην ομαδα του δαφνοστεφους νεου, που επαιξε καλα την Παρασκευη, αλλα λυγισε μπροστα στο παθος και την ικανοτητα της Παναθας! 

υγ2. Το παρον αποτελει κραυγη χαρας, και εκφραση ελπιδας να σπασει και η κακοδαιμονια που ταλανιζει το ποδοσφαιρικο μας τμημα.

Σημερα θελω να μοιραστω μαζι σας μερικες εικονες απο τις αγορες και το γρηγορο φαγητο της Κωνσταντινουπολης.

Today I want to share with you some images from Istanbul’s markets and street food stalls.

Golden Horn - looking south

Golden Horn - looking south

Η Κωνσταντινουπολη σημερα φιλοξενει 15 εκατομμυρια ανθρωπους.

Istanbul is today a gigantic metropolis, sheltering more than 15 millions.

Bakery in Beyoglu

Bakery in Beyoglu

Το ψωμι ειναι πεντανοστιμο και αφθονει.

Bread (ekmek) is delicious and abundant.

Greens

Greens in Beyoglu

Οι πρασινες σαλατες και τα μυρωδικα ολοφρεσκα και λαχταριστα.

The greens are so fresh I could hardly resist eating them on the spot!

Dried peppers, eggplants and chillis

Dried peppers, eggplants and chillis

Η μεγαλη ανακαλυψη της ξηρανσης των τροφιμων, εφαρμοσμενη στις πιπεριες, τις μελιτζανες και τις καυτερες πιπεριτσες.

Dried vegetables like peppers and eggplants are very popular.

Spices in the Agyptian Bazar

Spices in the Spice Bazar

Ενας ολοκληρος ωκεανος απο μυρωδικα στην αγορα!

And of course the spices in the Spice Bazar!

Pastirma - Air dried beef

Pastirma - Air dried beef

Ο υπερτατος μεζες, ο καταπληκτικος παστουρμας, το προσιουτο της Ανατολης!

The absolute delicacy, the prosciuto of the East, pastirma!

Cheeses

Cheeses

Τουλουμοτυρι και γραβιερα!

The white goat’s cheese is soft and juicy and very tasty!

Pickles in Beyoglu

Pickles in Beyoglu

Ολων των ειδων τα λαχανικα τουρσι, μαζι με ελιες.

Pickled vegetables and olives.

Fishmongers in Beyoglu

Fishmongers in Beyoglu

Το καλκανι κορυφαιο στην πυραμιδα των θαλασσινων και των ψαριων! Ακολουθει το λαυρακι.

The fish is also abundant, and the local delicacy is «Turbot» (Kalkan). Sea bass (levrek) is also very popular.

Fish shop in Beyoglu

Fish shop in Beyoglu

Ωρα για μεζεδακια αρνισια.

After the fish, time for lamb delicacies!

Lamb delicacies

Lamb delicacies

Μονον οι γενναιοι να ελθουν! ΚΑρδιες, μυαλα, και γλυκαδια. Δυστυχως δεν βρηκα αμελετητα.

Here we have food for the brave! Hearts, brains and sweetbreads! Could not find any testicles though!

Flat bread woman

Flat bread woman

Αυτη η γυναικα ειναι στην βιτρινα ενος ταχυφαγειου, και ζυμωνει για να ψησει τις πιτουλες που σερβιρουν για ψωμι.

This woman is on the display window of a fast food shop (!!!) and is preparing the dough for the flat bread they bake on the spot!

Doner Kebab

Doner Kebab

Και το περιφημο ντονερ σε δυο εκδοσεις, με αρνι και με κοτοπουλο.

The famous doner kebab in two types, lamb and chicken.

Fast food display

Fast food display

Αν θελετε κατι παραπανω απο το κεμπαμπ, κοπιαστε παραδιπλα!

In addition to doner kebab, you can also taste something like this in the fast food shops!

Sweets, dry fruits and nuts

Sweets, dry fruits and nuts

Ο παραδεισος των ξερων φρουτων, και των ξηρων καρπων, μαζι με τα γλυκα σουτζουκια.

If you like dry fruits and nuts, this is a paradise for you! In addition, notice the long cylinders hanging, they are sweet sudjuk, which tastes like turkish delight.

Sweet woman

Sweet woman

Αν πεινατε ακομη, το καροτσακι θα σας βολεψει.

And if all of the above is not enough for you, you can still grab something from the cart!

Sweets on wheels

Sweets on wheels

Και λιγο μπακλαβας, σαμαλη και λουκουμακια συμπληρωνουν το κολατσο!

And continue with the display below!

More sweets

More sweets

Για να μην παραμελησουμε και τα σεξουαλικα, ας παμε εκει που ο Σουλτανος προμηθευοταν τα διεγερτικα του.

Sex life cannot be left on the side. After all this food, there is urgent need for refurbishment.

If the Sultan was using it, it is good for me too!

If the Sultan was using it, it is good for me too!

Επιστροφη με το τραμ της Περα.

Time to go home, riding the tram!

Tram bus in Beyoglu

Tram bus in Beyoglu

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