Category Archives: Food Follies

Ready For Your (Belated) Women’s Day Special…? Chew On That, Bitches!

If you were lucky enough to be female AND in China on 08 March 2016, someone may have presented you with this to show you their appreciation:

International Women's Day China

Love those perky little mushrooms…

What’s this? I hear you ask.

It’s not chocolates.

It’s not flowers.

It’s not Gloria Steinem’s Empowering Fudge Brownie Cubes.

And – thank God! – it’s not a bag of salad either.

It’s dried BEEF STICKS. In a gift pack.

Premium jerky, if you will. Six of them, individually wrapped. Promoted as a “special treat for women” on yesterday’s joyous occasion that was International Women’s Day. The purveyor, Sentai Foods, with a reported slaughtering capacity of 30,000 cattle per annum, is evidently China’s most emancipated meat processor.

This is what is says on the packaging:

“You see, this is what REAL women like to get their teeth into. Shoo, shoooo all you little vegan princesses clutching your mewling bairns to your bony chests down The Sustainable Oat Flake Café while completing the multiple choice final exam for your MSc in AntiFrackingology on your iPhones. And, please, take your fairtrade banana bread and your rainbow frog coffee in unbleached sandpaper cups with you.”

(OK, I made that bit up, but as far as I understand, you cram a hell of a lot of info into just a few Chinese characters.)

Now, in case you want to get your teeth into some of those beefy Girl Chews, the product is available from a popular Chinese internet shopping site called JingDong (jd.com).

I must confess, after having facebook et al. vomit go-be-proud-you-were-born-with-a-gash-between-your-legs messages for 24-hours straight, finding this news item (on globalmeatnews.com, where else!?) totally made my day.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait for next Valentine’s day… ooooh, let it be hickory-smoked chicken feet on a battery-operated stick! The company might even go for a little rebranding… SentaiMental Foods, perhaps?

[Here is the link to the original article, in case anyone’s thinking I’m making this shit up…]

 

 

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Toledo Tapas Competition 2015 – Drool Alert…

Today is a sad day in Toledo. Today concludes the annual tapas competition, which had us devouring a wonderful array of delicacies conjured up by the town’s bars and restaurants. Here is a small testimony to our greediness devotion over the past three weeks:

Mini curry burgers. Can't go wrong with that...

Our first tapa consumed on 5 November, the day the contest kicked off: Mini curry burgers. Can’t go much wrong with these.

Smoked beef on toast, with sobrasada (a kind of smoked meat spread) and brie. Really strong flavours, but it worked surprisingly well.

Wafer-thin slices of smoked beef on toast, with sobrasada (a kind of smoked meat spread) and brie. A brave combo of some really strong flavours, but it worked surprisingly well.

Salmon with guacamole and lemon mousse. Looks great, but didn't work. The lemon flavour totally overpowered the whole thing.

Salmon with guacamole and lemon mousse. Looks tasty, but, sadly, it was a fail. The salmon was tender but insipid, and the lemon flavour totally overpowered the whole ensemble.

Tuna marinated in soy sauce with peach alioli. Totally delicious.

Tuna marinated in soy sauce with peach alioli. Totally delicious.

I cannot translate this one. Nor can I describe it. It contained the following: deer, shitake mushrooms, apricot, gnocchi, potato. And it tasted weird. But good-weird. Could have eaten it again. And again.

I cannot translate this one. Nor can I adequately describe it. It contained the following: venison, shitake mushrooms, apricot, gnocchi, potato, cream. And it tasted weird. But good-weird. Could have eaten it again. And again. Top marks for creativity and presentation.

Octopus and potato. Very Galician, and tasted just as expected. Perfectly acceptable, but nothing to write home about.

Octopus and potato “lasagne”. There was nothing lasagne about it, it was merely a fancy presentation of a Galician staple, pulpo gallego (which I love). Perfectly acceptable, but nothing to write home about.

A very traditional Manchego affair: Pork medallion with potato, onion and a dollop of creamy mushroom sauce. Totally delish.

A very traditional Manchego affair: Pork medallion with potato, crispy leek and a drizzle of creamy mushroom sauce. Simple, hearty and satisfying. A winner.

Taken on our walk between bars: The sun catching the Christmas lights, with Toledo cathedral in the background.

I managed to take this yesterday while swaying from one bar to the next: The sun catching the newly suspended Christmas lights, with Toledo cathedral in the background.

You know me - it had to end like this! Oh my, that red berry cake was to die for...

How predictable am I… it HAD TO end like this, didn’t it?! Oh my, that red berry cake was to die for. First visit to a new cafe, but definitely not the last 😉

So, although TapaMania may be over for this year, there’s one thought that consoles me greatly: Toledo was recently voted Spain’s Capital of Gastronomy 2016 – I just can’t wait for the New Year!!!

Nothing Separates A German From Their Sausage

Vegetarians of the world please avert your eyes. What follows is pure carnage. Of the most delicious kind. Let’s do the food porn first, and leave the educational bit (I am using that term very loosely) till later, shall we?

Currywurst is a legendary German invention... this one was devoured on a hike through Munich by the river Isar

Currywurst is a legendary German invention… these two were devoured my mum and moi on last week’s hike.

My brother and my mum beneath a sign in Munich advertising the most famous of Bavarian sausages: The Münchner Weißwurst.

My brother and my mum beneath a sign in Munich advertising probably the most famous of Bavarian sausages: The Münchner Weißwurst.

What is a Weißwurst, I hear you ask…

It's this! Actually, I don't really like them...

Here’s a pile of them. The while ones, obviously. Actually, I must confess that don’t really like them all that much… SACRILEGE!

And of course, you can get them canned

And of course, like any kitchen cupboard staple, you can get them canned. For emergencies.

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A small selection of a local supermarket’s sausage offering

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Those bits in there are finely sliced tongue, in case you're wondering

The chunky bits are finely sliced pieces of tongue, in case you’re wondering…

A seven-pound pack - now that would make for a nice afternoon snack

The seven-pound pack makes for a tasty afternoon snack

Now imagine this potential nightmare scenario: You’re at home, it’s late, you desperately fancy a meaty midnight morsel BUT YOU’VE RUN OUT OF SAUSAGE! If you happen to be living in a semi-rural area like my folks, 24-hour supermarkets or convenience stores are far and few between. What is a desperate sausage-dependent German to do?!?

Well, there is hope: My tiny little village of 700 inhabitants, which only has one restaurant and no shops at all, sports one of these:

YES! There is a God!

YES! There is a God!

The day is saved!!!

Just look at that shapely line-up…the day/night is saved!!!

By now, you’ll have gotten the point. Germans have a very special relationship with their sausages. Not only are burly bangers ubiquitous in local fast food outlets, butcher’s shops, supermarkets and vending machines, but they have also wormed their way into the common vernacular in the form of countless expressions. Here is a selection:

Picture the scene: There’s a terminal struggle going on. Everything’s at stake. It’s a matter of life and death. This is when, for a German, “es geht um die Wurst” (it’s about the sausage). And that tells you all you need to know about how we feel when it comes to our precious meat products.

I’m quite partial to the (British) phrase “I don’t give a rat’s arse!”. The German equivalent is “das ist mir Wurst!” (It’s sausage to me!). This appears to contradict the aforementioned “es geht um die Wurst”, but it’s really just proof that the sausage is all things to all people. (To all German people, at least.)

Some sad individuals love nothing more than to be offended by anything and everything. These bothersome thin-skinned types are liable to earn themselves the title of “beleidigte Leberwurst” (insulted/offended liver sausage). And while they stomp off in one of their huffs, they might well call the hapless culprit who (probably inadvertently) caused their latest grievance a “Hanswurst” (a buffoon).

When Germans get philosophical about the finiteness of things, they like to point out that “alles hat ein Ende, nur die Wurst hat zwei” (Everything has an end, only the sausage has two).

 

[For those interested in German food-related expressions, you will enjoy this post: How To Be A Hater With German Food Phrases]

 

 

Tapas On A Winning Streak!

All good things must come to an end, as did Toledo’s annual tapas competition, which drew to a close last Sunday. For the entire month of November, local bars and restaurants had been showcasing a new breed of extravagant tapas, specially created for this year’s contest. (Yes, there were voting slips, prize draws and stuff!)

I have no idea how many different creations I tried throughout my innumerable outings,  as there were A LOT of participants this year. Anyway, here are some of the highlights:

Botero

Pork balls. Very satisfying 🙂

Alfonso VI

Sliver of fried pork with sauteed vegetables on bread, topped with raisin sauce. Looked better than it tasted, was our combined verdict.

Gulas

Puff pastry filled with seafood. The white stringy things, in case you’re wondering, are baby eels (gulas). These are very popular on tapas, and can take a bit of getting used to.

Lamb burger

One of my absolute faves: lamb topped with caramelised onion and manchego cheese, served  on a curry bun

Pulpo

Octopus with cauliflower mousse and coffee vinaigrette. This place has a knack for the outlandish, and it usually works, but this time, it didn’t. It really didn’t. Pretty to look at, though.

Cheese tapa

Now, what could go wrong with a tapa entirely consisting of cheese? I tell you what: Absolutely nothing. Gimme more!

Foie gras oreo

Foie gras “Oreos” filled with manchego mousse

Foie gras truffle

More foie, this time in the shape of a truffle. You were meant to mix it with the bread crumbs. Interesting concept, but it was a bit like eating lard mixed with sand.

Beef stew

A dollop of beef stew on sliced potato. Simple and delicious.

Rabbit

Rabbit, fancily “rolled up” and drizzled with chestnut compote. Divine! This may have been my overall favourite.

Tapas2

I’m the only one with her eyes trained on the food rather than on the camera… typical!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Free Beer!

Well, not quite… but it got your attention, didn’t it? 😉

Toledo has a brewery that makes Domus, aka “La Cerveza De Toledo”, whose proud history goes all the way back to … erm… 2007. (Sorry, this is my Bavarian heritage scoffing here…). BUT, I have to admit, the stuff ain’t half bad.

On Friday, Carmen alerted me to the fact that they were running a two-week promotion: two bottles of the brew and one ‘special’ tapa, featuring Domus as an ingredient, for a fiver, with 27 local restaurants/bars participating.

So, today we went off to investigate.

Mussels

These mussels in creamy sauce were divine…

chicken wings

Chicken wings with caramelised onions. Lovely 🙂

We scoffed more than just those, but the pics didn’t turn out so well. One of us – either my camera or I – was struggling to focus…

We may have to do this again next week.

London Cakes and Brekkies

I’ve had complaints. Several, in fact. About the dearth of food pictures from my very recent London trip. I want to assure you all that I did, in fact, eat. Morning, noon and night. And in between. Everything in sight. Especially Asian food (which is hard to come by in Toledo) and, of course, CAKES.

I wasn’t as conscientious as usual about taking food photos, but I did come away with some. Here’s a selection:

An adventurous Chelsea bun, with blueberries and pistachio topping, devoured in a new cafe in East Finchley. My friend had a delicious chocolate almond cake.

An adventurous Chelsea bun, with blueberries inside and pistachios on top, devoured in a new (to me) cafe in East Finchley. My friend had a delicious chocolate almond cake.

Brazilian Cake

At a Brazilian café in Cleveland Street. And yes, the board with the cake AND the chocolate truffle was mine 🙂

Belsize Park Cafe

A café in Belsize Park.

Highgate bakery

A bakery in Highgate

Doughnuts

I just had to home in on those jam doughnuts on the bottom right… and they were every bit as delicious as they look.

Let’s finish off with some breakfasts for those of you who prefer savoury fare. After all, this is what the UK is famous for 🙂

Eggs Benedict

Eggs Benedict

Muswell Hill

Giraffe

Drooling…?