Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

Tök paprikás

Posted by Andy Hockley on 7 July, 2008

Yesterday I invented a new dish, which, I believe, will quickly become accepted as a new standard in Hungarian cuisine. Actually, I cannot imagine that nobody has previously hit upon this dish, so I probably was not actually the first discoverer of this, but like Columbus, I am laying claim to it anyway. (Googling “tök paprikás” brings out two links, so there is the suggestion that I am not exactly the first, but close enough – in 2008, two links is practically as obscure as to be on the dark side of Titan)

Anyway, paprikás, for anyone who doesn’t know, is the true national dish of Hungarians. Goulash is all very well and that, but people don’t eat it that often. Chicken paprikas (Csirke paprikás) is guaranteed to be on any menu anywhere in the Hungarian speaking world (possibly with the exception of vegetarian restaurants, though even they probably serve it as it may be an act of treason not to). Chicken is the most popular version, though there are others, including mushroom paprikas which is pretty damn finom (delicious).

Well, yesterday while in a friend’s garden I hit upon the superb idea of tök paprikás. First though I will have to explain what tök is. A tök is kind of a courgette, but not really. It’s a much lighter green colour, and it has a thicker skin. Even in the US, a country which seems to have thousands of different varieties of squash, I never saw the tök. Though it does resemble the summer squash quite a lot, except that it’s pale green and not yellow. It’s pretty good as long as you don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s just a light green courgette. It has a firmness and density that allows for some different options. It doesn’t go quite as well in a ratatouille as a courgette for example, but for tök paprikás it can’t be beat.

Anyway, I was complimenting our hosts on their tök crop, and they said, yes, but they’re only small at the moment. I argued that they weren’t small at all, but actually perfectly sized. Picking them late when they’re massive, runs into the same problem that you get with courgettes – thick inedible skin, massive seeds that you have to scoop out, tasteless flesh. To prove that I was correct, and they utterly wrong, I offered to cook one. And thus was born tök paprikás.

Without further ado then, to the recipe for this great invention that will be sweeping the world within a few short millenia:

Finely chop an onion and slowly cook it in oil until transparent (is the verb I need here “sweat”?). Add to this some paprika (piros paprika as it is known here – the red powder made from dried and ground red peppers). Fry for another minute and then throw in your quartered and sliced tök (at this point my hosts were stunned when I didn’t peel the tök, but that’s people for you. Weird), some fresh dill and some salt. Put a lid on it for a while and let it cook (the tök exudes its own liquid so you don’t need to add any). Stir occasionally. After about 10-15 minutes it should be done, at which point, you throw in some flour, and then some milk, stir until it has a thickish sauce. Bring it back to the boil for a minute, and Robi’s your uncle. Tök paprikás. It goes well with mashed potato.

(This recipe works for any other paprikas you want to make, just substitute your ingredient of choice for the tök. I’m now trying to work out what other things would work. Aubergine wouldn’t, I reckon, but kohlrabi might. As might leeks. I’ll let you know.)

It may have helped that all the ingredients were so fresh (tök, onion and dill were all especially picked just for this dish and cooked within 10 minutes of their harvest). I also fried up the tök plant flowers for fun, and they actually turned out to be delicious too (though if not peeling tök was weird, eating flowers was positively certifiable).

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The Great Romanian Restaurant Scandal

Posted by Andy Hockley on 7 March, 2008

I was going to write something about some US food critic called Anthony Bourdain and how he’s managed to upset Romania with his less than positive review of the country. But fortunately Dumneazu has done the job for me admirably. If you’ve time on your hands you can also plough through the 1350 comments (and counting) on Bourdain’s blog. From what I can gather the main problem here is that he (or his producer) chose to hire some Russian bloke who knew nothing at all about Romania as his guide (presumably on some “Let’s pretend this is all still the Warsaw Pact” concept), a fault they exacerbated by proceeding to do the whole Dracula tour thing. I think if they had managed to cram Nadia Comaneci into the thing they could have really made the cliche complete.

Mind you, the service in restaurants here is, for the most part, appalling. And Romanian food is not exactly exciting. I think if you use the word “spice” here, people think you mean salt. This is not to say that Romanian food is bad, just homely and not the kind of taste sensation that is going to take the world by storm a la Thai, for example.

Later edit: OK, I’ve now watched the whole show (on YouTube) , and really can’t see the problem. I mean the Dracula stuff is really unnecessary (and someone really should have told him that Dracula was, in fact, a fictional character), and why they chose a Russian guide is a bit baffling, but he doesn’t slag off Romania, and obviously actually enjoys his trip to Maramures. Not sure why so many people are up in arms about it. Just because this Zamir took him to two awful “theme” restaurants? He does point out that one of them is full of tourists from Nevada. I find Bourdain’s personality a bit grating, but I can’t understand why people are so bothered by the programme.

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Seven Hills

Posted by Andy Hockley on 12 September, 2007

(Apparently this blog has been locked by “spam prevention robots”. I always thought there was a niche in the kids TV market for an avenging army of Transformers type vigilantes going round trashing supermarkets who dared to sell processed meat in cans. No idea when this post will get published in the meantime)

I have more of my holiday experience to post on, but am just back from a short work trip to Iasi in the east of Romania, and needed to let any readers out there know that I have discovered a truly excellent Romanian beer. This is not to say that some of the better Romanian beers (Ciuc, Ursus, Silva dark, etc) are bad, but they’re not excellent exactly. They’re just reasonably good quality fizzy lagers, not much to write home about. But in Iasi I was introduced to a stunningly good beer. It’s called Sapte Coline (7 hills). It’s unfiltered and unpasteurised and really it compares well to some of the good Belgian beers. It also comes in extremely cool bottles. Here’s their website.

There is, of course, a catch. 7 Coline is only available in certain restaurants and pubs (no shops) and only in Iasi (at least this is what my Iasish hosts told me). I hereby start a campaign for wider distribution of what is by far and away Romania’s best beer. I hope you join me, and if not, that you make the trip to Iasi to sample this amazing find.

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Gastronomic globalisation

Posted by Andy Hockley on 26 July, 2007

It has been three years since I moved to Romania, and in that short time much has changed here. I’d like to let you know that it was my arrival that caused the upheavals, but I suspect that things were just motoring along anyway and the fact that I showed up made bog-all difference.

Among the changes is the availability of certain food items. Now a mere three years ago, there were very few “fancy” goods on sale. You could easily get your locally grown vegetables in season, your various forms of salami, your polenta, and your coca cola. But there were a number of items that were less easy to find, or, to be completely honest, impossible outside maybe of a few specialist delicatessens in Bucharest (By the way, as a complete aside, is the plural of delicatessen delicatessens? It looks wrong.)

But slowly things started to show up. I first noticed this in the vinegar aisle, where the usual clear “white” vinegar ruled supreme, but gradually inroads were made by first apple/cider vinegar, then red wine vinegar, and now even balsamic. You still can’t get malt vinegar for your chips, but then outside of the UK I’ve rarely seen that (you can get it in the US, where it is marketed as a “gourmet” product, because it’s exotic and foreign).

Other things that have become available:

  • Broccoli – I know to the outsider that will sound odd – after all broccoli is practically ubiquitous, no? Not here. It only existed in ice bound packets, untouched for decades down the bottom of freezers in the frozen section of some supermarkets. Now you can buy it fresh in the market. Occasionally.
  • Capers – not fresh, obv., but in jars
  • Foreign wines – you have to go to fancy places like Carrefour or Spar to get them but they exist. (Note: Hungarian wines were available previously, but people here would consider them only loosely foreign)
  • Herbs. Fresh ones. Well, you could always get dill and parsley, and mint grows by the roadside, but things like basil and coriander were merely a kind of late night had-too-much-wine fantasy. Not anymore. You have to drive all the way to the Spar in Udvarhely to get them, but get them you can.
  • Exotic crisps – with enticing names like “Hot Salsa” (about as hot as a November day in Csikszereda), and “Sour Cream and Onion”.
  • Courgettes. You could always get these kind of faux-courgettes, which were light green (as opposed to the more traditional dark), but now at the market you can buy real ones. Sadly the growing community have not quite sussed the vegetable properly yet, and tend to overgrow it and let it become too marrow-esque. By only buying the very small ones, I’m hoping to send a message. (Though that message is probably read as “Here comes that stupid English bloke again, he’ll buy all these underdeveloped marrows”)
  • Soy sauce – Not sure who uses it and for what, since it doesn’t seem to be a key ingredient in anything that anyone eats, but it has appeared on the shelves.
  • Chick peas – Again not in any great abundance, but in more specialist shops you can find them. I remember when I arrived I asked about them but nobody was really sure what I was on about. This was even after I had taught myself the Hungarian word (csicseriborsó). Now I can even say the word, show people the peas themselves and they still have no idea what they are. You can also buy humous in certain places, on a lucky day.
  • Fresh fish – the szekely tend to look upon fresh fish and other seafood as being the work of satan. Not so much trout which is fairly common, but anything else really, and until recently I knew of nowhere in town where you could buy fresh fish. Bizarre, huh? I suppose being so far from the sea, it’s not terribly surprising, but in these days of foods having their very own carbon footprints, you’d think people would slowly get used to the idea. I even saw fresh octopus in the Spar in Udvarhely. I bet no-one bought it.

Things that haven’t yet become available

  • Dijon mustard. Well, I think you can get it in Carrefour, but beyond that you have to be content with that much less flavourful vividly coloured Romanian Mici mustard
  • Tortilla chips. You can actually get ones that are cheese-flavoured, but as “all cheese is sajt” as I like to say, oh-so-wittily, and as tortilla chips should be unflavoured anyway, this is of no value. Before the arrival of fresh coriander this lack was of no great consequence, since without salsa, who needs tortilla chips? But now I am able to make my own fresh and delicious salsa (particularly given the abundance of utterly fantastic locally grown tomatoes), the lack has grown into a desperate need. So desperate in fact that I considered making my own tortillas, just so that I could let them go stale and then fry them up. But then I found a recipe for making tortillas that said I needed something called “masa harina”, and added that you couldn’t really buy it in the shops, but if you lived near a tortillera (tortilla factory) they would sell you some. At which point I threw the book across the room screaming “If I lived near a tortillera I wouldn’t be making tortillas, MORONS!”, quite freaking out my family.
  • Chutney – no surprise really as Indian food is hardly taking the country by storm, but occasionally I dream of a day when I can pop down the shop and buy a jar of mango chutney or lime pickle to go with my curry. I did actually bring some back from England once but in a moment of cross-cultural comedy my mother-in-law threw it away thinking it was jam that had gone bad.

I can’t think of a nice pithy but conclusive way to close this post. So this will have to do.

Posted in food, romania | 5 Comments »

The world’s most refreshing drink

Posted by Andy Hockley on 11 July, 2007

I have recently been introduced to the most delicious and refreshing beverage known to humanity. All you need for this drink are two basic ingredients – málna szörp and ice cold (fizzy) mineral water. Now obviously while most of the people reading this can easily access the second of those ingredients, you may be less familiar with the first. Indeed you may actually need to make the málna szörp before you can go ahead and then use it in the drink. Oh, and by the way, in case I haven’t flogged this horse far enough, the European centre of fizzy mineral water is Harghita County, Romania, and it is utterly great – I can either go and buy it by the case load for ridiculously small amounts of money (something like 0.8 RON/litre ≈ 15p/€0.25/$o.30), or I can just go and fill up a bottle for free in any spring in the vicinity (and every village has at least one spring. 25% of all Europe’s mineral water springs are in Harghita County. Yes, 25% of all of Europe.) Not everyone is fortunate enough to live in this fizzy-watered paradise though, so you can just go and buy a bottle of whatever takes your fancy in the mineral water front. One day you’ll all be drinking Borsec and Perla Harghitei, but while Romanian remains 50 years behind the rest of Europe, our water-exporting infrastructure is not ready to handle the huge demand that will one day see Harghita County world-renowned for its borviz.

So, what is málna szörp, you may be asking. Málna is the Hungarian word for raspberry, and szörp sounds like it should mean syrup. It probably doesn’t as that would be far too easy, but it’ll do (I’ve seen it translated as “cordial”). Since I’ve never seen málna szörp on sale anywhere, not even here, you’ll have to make your own. This however is very easy:

Take your raspberries. I don’t know from where you “source” your raspberries (to use the modern management vernacular), or how much they cost, but you can use any quantity (I’d recommend a kilo or more). We got a bucket full off one of the gypsy women down the market which turned out to be 3.5kgs (that’s quite a lot of raspberries). Put your raspberries into a big pot (or two big pots if you’ve got too many to go in one). Mash them. Use a cup or something to squash them as much as you are able. When you’ve mashed them to a pulp, pour in a litre of water for every kilo of raspberries (this doesn’t have to be mineral water, regular tap water will do). Leave them overnight.

The next day, rig up some kind of elaborate draining system. If you don’t have that many raspberries, this will probably be a sieve which drains into another pot. If you have more than your sieve can hold, then you’ll need a kind of muslin lined colander. In the pot into which the liquid is to drain put 1 kilo of sugar for every kilo of raspberries (I know that sounds a lot, but trust me on this.) Then go ahead and leave the raspberry mush/water mixture to drain onto the sugar, ideally overnight again, but a few hours ought to just about be enough if you’re pushed for kitchen space.

Et voila. The next day you have large quantities of delicious sweet málna szörp sitting waiting to be bottled. So, you wash out a few bottles, fill them with the málna szörp and bob’s your uncle. 3.5 kgs of raspberries produced 6 litres of szörp. And 6 litres of málna szörp goes a long way – to make the drink that will quench your thirst and set your taste buds atingle, you need to put about a centimetre in the bottom of a glass and top up with your ice cold* mineral water.

(*I should perhaps add here that my insistence on ice cold mineral water is a bit controversial. While you or I might think for a refreshing summer drink, ice cold is best, here any kind of food or drink served at a temperature outside of an approximately 20 degree wide lukewarm band is regarded as a bit suspect. People happily drink coffee that has gone cold, don’t really like their soup to be too hot, and eschew very cold drinks. It’s all very odd. I am regarded as a bit freaky in my insistence on drinking my hot drinks hot, my cold drinks cold and having my cooked food served hot. )

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Nipples

Posted by Andy Hockley on 15 June, 2007

Sadly this year the strawberry season came and went before we even realised it had ever got going. One day they had just arrived and were selling for a pricy 8 Lei/kilo, a few days later they had dropped to the standard 3 L/kg for in-season strawberries, and then seemingly a day later they had gone back up to 7 or 8 again. Looking back, I can see that two years ago, we still hadn’t made our strawberry jam by this time, so I’m not mistaken, the season was not only extremely early, but over unexpectedly fast. Something to do with the mild winter and the hot spring we’ve had. Anyway, no jam for us this year.

The tomatoes are in though and are bloody gorgeous. I have no idea what the variety of tomato is called that we mostly get here, but they look like tomatoes with nipples. (I tried a google image search of “tomatoes with nipples” to see if I could show you what I mean, but for some reason just ended up with lots of pictures of nipples and very few tomatoes. That’s the Internet for you.) They are incredibly tasty, juicy, delicious and all in all quite possibly the best tomatoes in the world (the tomatoes, I mean, not the pictures of nipples. I’m saying nothing about them) . I would gladly eat a kilo a day. Ok, maybe not that many, but I am getting down them. (Is there any danger of overdosing on tomatoes, by the way? I know they’re somehow related to deadly nightshade or something, so perhaps there is some kind of threshold which you can pass and end up killing yourself with them. If I disappear from the blog suddenly, that might be why)

On Wednesday I made gazpacho, and even though I say so myself, it was delicious. The very first time I had gazpacho many years ago, I thought the whole idea of cold soup was ridiculous verging on the inedible. At some stage in the past though I revised this view considerably and now view gazpacho as one of the finest inventions that man has ever come up with. Here, just for Marshall is the recipe I used:

Stick the following in a blender:
¾ kg tomatoes (preferably be-nippled ones, but if they are not available, any ones that weren’t bought from a supermarket will probably do)
1 large cucumber (or 3 -4 small ones if those are the type you get round your way)
1 green pepper
1 small onion
2 cloves of garlic
75 ml olive oil
75 mil wine vinegar
juice of one lemon

Put lid on, blend until liquid. (You can also keep aside one tomato a bit of cucumber and a bit of pepper and chop them up small by hand and then mix them in after to give the resultant soup a bit of bite). Chill for two hours – and while you’re doing that, put the gazpacho in the fridge. (Oh ho ho. I should be on telly, I really should). That’s it basically. Simple as anything. You can add a little salt and pepper if you think it needs it, but it might not so taste it first.

I know, I know, it looks like I’ve just described a recipe for salad in a blender, but that’s basically what it is. And it is 100% delicious. Trust me. I’m off now for a tomato based lunch.

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Fillet of Crap

Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 January, 2007

I recently discovered this video, which purports to show “A World Without Romania”

I learned one or two interesting things from it – like about Nicolae Paulescu, who invented insulin, and learned what it was that Henri Coanda (who up till that point had been nothing but the name of an airport*) was famous for.

However, I started to disbelieve what I had been told by the video when it reached the bit which mentions that Romania has created the “most mouthwatering dishes in the world”. Now, I have no wish to offend anyone, but come on. Coming from a nation which has a global reputation for producing some of the world’s worst food, I am not about to start comparing Romanian cuisine to English here, but really without trying I could think of at least 50 countries which have better food than Romania. And that’s before starting to subdivide countries like India and China into different regional cuisines. Of the three commonly-quoted traditional “national” Romanian dishes, two of them (sarmale and ciorba de burta) are almost certainly Turkish anyway, and the third (mamaliga) gets translated as “corn mush” on menus. This is not, of course, to say that Romanian food is bad, but it’s not up there among the world’s great cuisines. How many Romanian restaurants are there in a place like London, for example?

It’s a shame, because until that point, I had been enjoying the video, although the fact that they had chosen someone to narrate it who couldn’t pronounce Romanian words to save his life was a bit of a let-down. I think the pronunciation of “multumesc” (sic) is the lowest point. The Romanian pre-cursor to baseball, therefore, following on from the ludicrous food statement, was significantly less interesting than it would otherwise have been. Of course when it gets to the end you realise it’s an ad for Ursus beer, which also lowers the tone somewhat, and possibly explains the bland “trailer for a poor quality Hollywood action movie” aesthetic (Ursus being a beer brewed by that bastion of blandicity, Miller).

Anyway, watch it (it’s about 5 minutes long) if you have the time.

[*Spotters badge for anyone who can spot the pop culture reference here without resorting to google]

Posted in food, romania | 15 Comments »

Fillet of Crap

Posted by Andy Hockley on 29 January, 2007

I recently discovered this video, which purports to show “A World Without Romania”

I learned one or two interesting things from it – like about Nicolae Paulescu, who invented insulin, and learned what it was that Henri Coanda (who up till that point had been nothing but the name of an airport*) was famous for.

However, I started to disbelieve what I had been told by the video when it reached the bit which mentions that Romania has created the “most mouthwatering dishes in the world”. Now, I have no wish to offend anyone, but come on. Coming from a nation which has a global reputation for producing some of the world’s worst food, I am not about to start comparing Romanian cuisine to English here, but really without trying I could think of at least 50 countries which have better food than Romania. And that’s before starting to subdivide countries like India and China into different regional cuisines. Of the three commonly-quoted traditional “national” Romanian dishes, two of them (sarmale and ciorba de burta) are almost certainly Turkish anyway, and the third (mamaliga) gets translated as “corn mush” on menus. This is not, of course, to say that Romanian food is bad, but it’s not up there among the world’s great cuisines. How many Romanian restaurants are there in a place like London, for example?

It’s a shame, because until that point, I had been enjoying the video, although the fact that they had chosen someone to narrate it who couldn’t pronounce Romanian words to save his life was a bit of a let-down. I think the pronunciation of “multumesc” (sic) is the lowest point. The Romanian pre-cursor to baseball, therefore, following on from the ludicrous food statement, was significantly less interesting than it would otherwise have been. Of course when it gets to the end you realise it’s an ad for Ursus beer, which also lowers the tone somewhat, and possibly explains the bland “trailer for a poor quality Hollywood action movie” aesthetic (Ursus being a beer brewed by that bastion of blandicity, Miller).

Anyway, watch it (it’s about 5 minutes long) if you have the time.

[*Spotters badge for anyone who can spot the pop culture reference here without resorting to google]

Posted in food, romania | 15 Comments »

Not near, but Spar

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 January, 2007

When I was a lad (some years ago) the most common shop in England was “Spar”, which apparently was some kind of franchise operation by which corner shops could sign up to be a spar and benefit from their distribution networks and so on. It was basically a byword for the cheap corner shop, and in fact their slogan was the obviously memorable “So near, so Spar”. You weren’t using the shop because it had a great selection or because it was cheap, you were very definitely using the shop because it was local and convenient. But times changed and Spars started disappearing from Britain’s high streets, to be replaced by VG and Londis, and god knows what else. I have no idea if there are still any last remaining Spars in the UK, but I haven’t seen them for ages.

I knew the shop still existed though, since I’d seen them elsewhere in Europe. But never have I seen a Spar like the ones that are now opening in Romania – large edge-of-town supermarkets with parking and allsorts. Yesterday we went to the one that’s just opened in Udvarhely and I found myself wandering the wide, pushchair-friendly aisles with barely disguised glee.

Fresh herbs!

Basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, and most incredibly, coriander (cilantro for US/Spanish readers). Sadly the coriander was past its best (giving the lie to the “Mindig Friss” slogan that is plastered everywhere), but it was there. that’s the point.

Wild rice

I mean we’ve only just sighted brown and basmati rice in Romania, and here we are with wild rice already

Sea food

Most people round here when you suggest that things like prawns or calamari are worth eating look at you as if you’re completely unfit to have taste buds. But here there were not only those two things, but mussels and even octopus too.

Rice wine vinegar

I can’t really think of a use for rice wine vinegar except for making sushi and since there were none of those sheets of seaweed you use for wrapping, the special rice that you use, or even more crucially wasabi, it’s not that useful yet. But one day. Oh yes, one day

Australian wine

I’m not likely to buy any, delicious though much Aussie wine is, because it costs much more than Romanian wine – and Romanian wine is also excellent, but again, it’s nice to see it

and finally…

Fresh rucola

…or arugula, or rocket, or what have you. Rocket is one of those words which I learned in English after I’d learned it in other languages first. Mostly, I suspect because we didn’t have rocket in England when I was growing up, and had to make do with lettuce or lettuce. And I can’t really bring myself to use the word rocket now that I have learned it because it sounds so bloody stupid. But anyway to find some of that stuff, for sale, fresh, and in Romania made my day.

But why has Udvarhely got this retail heaven while we in Csikszereda have been lumped with bloody Penny Market? The kind of place that gives cheap and nasty a bad name. It’s a disgrace, that’s what it is. But think of me this evening, while I’m eating freshly made pesto, with a side of arugula salad, and a fine bottle of Romanian red, and weep.

Posted in food | 5 Comments »

Not near, but Spar

Posted by Andy Hockley on 21 January, 2007

When I was a lad (some years ago) the most common shop in England was “Spar”, which apparently was some kind of franchise operation by which corner shops could sign up to be a spar and benefit from their distribution networks and so on. It was basically a byword for the cheap corner shop, and in fact their slogan was the obviously memorable “So near, so Spar”. You weren’t using the shop because it had a great selection or because it was cheap, you were very definitely using the shop because it was local and convenient. But times changed and Spars started disappearing from Britain’s high streets, to be replaced by VG and Londis, and god knows what else. I have no idea if there are still any last remaining Spars in the UK, but I haven’t seen them for ages.

I knew the shop still existed though, since I’d seen them elsewhere in Europe. But never have I seen a Spar like the ones that are now opening in Romania – large edge-of-town supermarkets with parking and allsorts. Yesterday we went to the one that’s just opened in Udvarhely and I found myself wandering the wide, pushchair-friendly aisles with barely disguised glee.

Fresh herbs!

Basil, rosemary, sage, oregano, and most incredibly, coriander (cilantro for US/Spanish readers). Sadly the coriander was past its best (giving the lie to the “Mindig Friss” slogan that is plastered everywhere), but it was there. that’s the point.

Wild rice

I mean we’ve only just sighted brown and basmati rice in Romania, and here we are with wild rice already

Sea food

Most people round here when you suggest that things like prawns or calamari are worth eating look at you as if you’re completely unfit to have taste buds. But here there were not only those two things, but mussels and even octopus too.

Rice wine vinegar

I can’t really think of a use for rice wine vinegar except for making sushi and since there were none of those sheets of seaweed you use for wrapping, the special rice that you use, or even more crucially wasabi, it’s not that useful yet. But one day. Oh yes, one day

Australian wine

I’m not likely to buy any, delicious though much Aussie wine is, because it costs much more than Romanian wine – and Romanian wine is also excellent, but again, it’s nice to see it

and finally…

Fresh rucola

…or arugula, or rocket, or what have you. Rocket is one of those words which I learned in English after I’d learned it in other languages first. Mostly, I suspect because we didn’t have rocket in England when I was growing up, and had to make do with lettuce or lettuce. And I can’t really bring myself to use the word rocket now that I have learned it because it sounds so bloody stupid. But anyway to find some of that stuff, for sale, fresh, and in Romania made my day.

But why has Udvarhely got this retail heaven while we in Csikszereda have been lumped with bloody Penny Market? The kind of place that gives cheap and nasty a bad name. It’s a disgrace, that’s what it is. But think of me this evening, while I’m eating freshly made pesto, with a side of arugula salad, and a fine bottle of Romanian red, and weep.

Posted in food | 5 Comments »