Category Archives: food

where walnuts come from…

Ever wondered where walnuts come from? Harvesting them every morning as they dropped was one of my morning tasks on a recent visit to Galicia…

 

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The tree, planted around 20 years ago never produced any nuts until this year when a combination of a hotter and dryer than usual summer and the mysteries of nature meant that it finally fruited…

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The nuts develop inside these tough green skins which finally split when ripe and…

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the nuts finally tumble to the ground.

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The nuts are not ready to eat yet, they are bitter and feel heavy. They need to dry out somewhere warm for a few weeks till they feel lighter. I think they look like alien babies when they first fall, the fibre from the casing like matted hair…

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Some of the fruits of my labour…

 

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nadars coffee and general stores…

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Now that Vijayawada is to become state capital, many changes are afoot as fancy brand stores and enormous malls spring up everywhere almost over night, but Besant Rd thankfully remains unchanged, it’s where normal folks go to buy just about anything and is absolutely the best place in Vijayawada to go shopping or just have a wander about.

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…Nadars Coffee and General Stores, or Spice World as i like to call it, is by far my favourite spice shop on Besant road.

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Its old school, nothing fancy and you can buy a bag of spices for around 13 or 14 pence. My favourites are the different chilli mixes, especially chilli with coconut that you can sprinkle over your rice or breakfast idli.

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They also roast and grind their own coffee beans. In India smell is really one of the senses that is really at the forefront of everyday living…sometimes very good and sometimes very, very bad, but here inside Nadar’s, the mix of smells is intoxicating.

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pay at the till, while ancestors look on…

other foody posts on this blog:

upgrades like buses and a lot of food fabada con almejas/beans and clams preserving wild garlic tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

upgrades like buses and a lot of food…

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Hmmm…seems like upgrades are a bit like buses, you wait your whole life for one to come and then a whole bunch appear, one after the other! So BA London to Hyderabad am upgraded to Business Class…!!!!  This really is very good news. No sleeping on the flight though as i don’t like to miss out on the experience…there is food to be eaten and drink to be drunk!…

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However, am on my way to my usual stint at the Andrha Pradesh orphanage, so too much free booze seems unseemly but the odd Kir Royale is most welcome (especially as i won’t be drinking for the next few months).  Movie is Man Up btw.

Then the food starts to arrive…

P1090349chicken and duck terrine with kumquat compote

P1090351lamb with caraway and onion braised rice, stuffed baby pepper and stroganoff sauce

P1090354light and dark chocolate cheesecake with raspberry compote

P1090358Movie is Love and Mercy (loved it)

Think am supposed to sleep now.

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After a brief respite it’s time for more food, to the point where am feeling a bit queasy…but i keep saying yes to whatever comes along. Greedy. Lighting very low now hence all the grainy photos…

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Breakfast is served an hour or so before landing, about 4.00am Indian time but it’s around 10.30pm my time and i think this is my 5th meal of the day…like i said. Greedy.

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Landed…phew…with a few hours stopover in Hyderabad and then a short flight with Air India to Vijayawada…and another small snack…

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other foody posts on this blog:

fabada con almejas/beans and clams preserving wild garlic tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

fabada con almejas/beans and clams…

We need to talk about food so it’s time for another recipe from my mum…for those who don’t know she was a professional chef for 50 plus years, now in retirement she still lives to cook and i for one am not complaining! Here is how she makes Fabada con Almejas or Beans with Clams, it’s rich deep and unctuous in flavour and always has to be eaten with really good crusty bread.

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Into a large pot put:

1 large onion cut in half, 1 large leek cut into 2 or 3 big chunks, 2 big carrots cut into 2 or 3 chunks each, 3 large peeled but whole cloves of garlic, a good glug of virgin olive oil, some salt and pepper and 750g (or thereabout) of dried white beans (soaked overnight) *

Add plain cold water, enough to just cover the contents in the pan, add some saffron and put to boil,  (adjust seasoning to taste) and cook until the beans are almost tender**. When the big chunks of vegetables and garlic are soft, fish them out and liquidise them in a blender with a little of the bean liquid and/or cooked clams liquor (see below). Put the thick veg puree back in the pan with the beans to thicken the sauce. Meanwhile fry some sliced garlic in a frying pan with lots of olive oil, when the garlic begins to be golden, take off the heat and allow to cool a little, add a teaspoon of Spanish sweet paprika, stir it in and deposit the oily mixture into the pan with the beans. Add a little chilli at this point (flakes or powder).

While the beans are cooking:

In another pan pour in a little cold water and add some salt, a bay leaf and washed clams (anything from a half kilo to a kilo) NO wine necessary. Put on the hob and bring to the boil, cook till the shells are open and remove from the heat. Drain and reserve the (sieved) liquor from the clams. Add the clams to the cooked bean stew and add as much of the clam liquor as you need to loosen up the sauce. Cook altogether for a couple of minutes to amalgamate nicely and make sure the beans are fully cooked. Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley. Sounds a bit more fiddly than it is and it’s really REALLY work the bother (and it’s not that much bother!)

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*about those beans…well it’s easy if you are in Spain, you just use Asturian fabas/beans i think you can find them in the UK  if you look hard! Don’t use Judion beans, ‘cos the skins can be a bit tough. Basically you need a big fat white dried bean that has been soaked overnight… but don’t use butter beans…they are not robust enough and they will beak up in the cooking process. The quest is yours!

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** how long to cook the beans? in the photos above mum used her own beans fresh from the garden so it took less than half an hour till they were tender, but if you are using pre soaked dried beans it can be anything from 45 mins to over an hour, you just have to keep checking them.

other foody posts on this blog:

preserving wild garlic tortilla de maiz y chicharrones fabada asturiana lemons mrs beeton and colombia merluza-a-la-cazuela lebre con castañas callos a la gallega ossobuco vs xerrete in praise of colombian food restaurant still lives few flowered recipes first forage of the season nose to tail and farajullas flloeira cocido gallego albariño wine genius chorizos returning to the matanza chocolate con churros pani puri sunday cicchetti tea-break baracca empanada revelations in a milanese restaurant further adventures in foraging cooking the haul foraging2 foraging nose to tail (s)light relief pulpo a la gallega the matanza morcilla and dying arts jamòn serrano

dosa takeaway…

If you are still bemoaning the fact that fish and chips no longer come wrapped in newspaper, come to India…

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Now i know this does not look too pretty but trust me, its utterly delicious and the best takeaway breakfast…

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It consists of the classic south Indian dosa pancake (made from a slightly sour batter) with a little chopped raw onion in the middle.  Also in the middle you will find a little plastic parcel with some fiery hot chilli sauce and some groundnut (peanut to us) chutney which is also good and spicy.

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It’s all wrapped up to take away first in a banana leaf and then in newspaper wrapped up with a little thread to hold it together and all for the princely sum of 20 rupees…like i said, it aint pretty but it’s HEAVEN!!!

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Another version…

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…again i know it looks a little prison foodish but really, its delicious; dosa with coconut chutney and dal from Vijayawada bus station…i thoroughly recommend…