Overstuffed

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Yes, this includes the last two or three weeks of holiday-based gastronomic indiscretion – but I’m really thinking about all the things we accumulate without really trying, and what happens when we actually start looking at them, one by one, with a critical eye.

The New Year, and moving house.  Time to face up to stuff.

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A Cheese Board with Pear & Chive Compote

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One of the most welcome parts of a European celebration meal, or even just Sunday lunch, is the cheese board: a selection of three or more fine artisan cheeses, perhaps with some biscuits, nuts, fresh fruit or fruit compotes as accompaniments.  In England, the cheese comes after the sweet dessert – a slice of Stilton and a glass of port after the pudding is as traditional as one can get — but in France, the cheese comes before the dessert.  Or the cheese can take the place of the sweet entirely.

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Tarragon Potica

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One evening several years ago, a Slovenian colleague and I were discussing our shared Central European heritage – I’m half Croatian, as well as Anglo-Celtic – and we turned our talk to food, specifically potica.  The Croatian potica I grew up eating and helping my aunts to make was the traditional walnut variety, filled with ground walnuts, golden raisins, and cinnamon.  The traditional Slovenian potica he grew up with, made by his grandmother and mother, was filled with pehtran.

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