Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and share some of my recent loves:

Chocolate: Jean-Charles Rochoux, hands down... especially the fresh fruit bars available only on Saturdays and also, he's a lovely, friendly man

Wine: Still partial to the Chinon we bought from Monsieur Sourdais, particularly Les Cornuelles 2003 from the year of the 'canicule' (heat wave).

Bread: Pain au Levain from Au 140

Cheese: Please don't make me choose............

Meat: Filet de Sanglier, available at the Christmas fair at La Défense and at Place Saint Suplice. Delicious, more-ish, perfect texture wild boar.... soo good.... and so unfair of the stall seller not to give me a contact where I can get more. All I know is that they are at the Christmas fair, at the Salon de Agriculture and at the Bastille market for 1 month during May. GO GET IT NOW!!! So delicious.............

Restaurant: Still Biche au Bois

Best skincare discovery: Patyka Huile Absolue

Book I most enjoyed reading: Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid - Bill Bryson

Book which haunted me the most: We Need to Talk about Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Site which makes me almost wet myself laughing: Elf Yourself - you have got to try this!

Sorry this isn't a comprehensive list. I'll have to try harder.... yep, there's a New Year's resolution right there!

I do wish you all the very best Holiday Season with much overindulgence, laughter and of course, food.

Happy Christmas.

Friday, December 21, 2007

F-odd: Haribo Zanzigliss

In the interests of fairness, seeing as I had written about the popular Bassett's Licorice Allsorts, I felt compelled to pick up the French offering, Haribo Zanzigliss.

First off. What the hell is Zanzigliss??? I wiki-ed it, I googled it, I can only conclude that its a stupid name.

Secondly. Why is there a English Queen's Guard on the front with these crazy licorice pieces trying to make him laugh. So the packaging begins by making fun of the English and tourists. Alright, I have no problem with that. And there's also a little icon with a weight with its arms (weights have arms? This one does!) on its hips, looking very proud that it weighs 300g.

Now we get to the inside. From the outset we can see it's a much, much heavier licorice to whateverthehellitis ratio, unlike the Allsorts, which were dominated by colored coconut *shudder*.

On closer inspection, we find an assortment of licorice wheels, licorice twigs, fondant-type flavored filled licorice as well as the sandwich of licorice. However, I also found these:

I know what you're thinking. WHAT THE *(insert epitaph of preference)* are THOSE???

Come on. Couldn't you guess?? A pointy hat, slanty eyes and a frowny moustache. It's a Chinese of course! Wow, Haribo has gone international! Wonderful!! I bet all Asians, myself included, feel wonderful at being part of a truly international bag of Zanzigliss.

But wait.......... there's more!

Hang on...... what's this?

Curly haired, big nosed thick lipped figurehead.... are there any stereotypes we haven't covered?

I'm not even going to go there.

Also, don't let us forget the mock Lucky Luke type character, which I believe, represents the West.

I don't know what the Haribo people were smoking when designing these type of things but I can't wait to find out what other crazy things they have going on in their fun packs. I've never picked up much beyond the Goldbears and cola bottles which I enjoy.

Can I just ask, who IS is the target market for these things? White supremacists?

Oh! I almost forgot to say how they taste... too distracted by the weirdness. The fondant is pretty gritty and awful but the licorice itself is fine I guess.
Oh and in case you want to know where to buy these, I picked them up at Toys R Us, you know, the place where you buy toys of learning and fun for kids.

Those crazy Europeans!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

All Sorts of Coconut

As I shamefully admitted previously, I have succumbed to the lure of licorice. And although my former boss stopped short of pointing and saying "Ha Ha!" like Nelson from the Simpsons, I did figuratively get deservedly mocked in an email.

So, what do the famous Bassetts Allsorts taste like?

Well, in one word, coconut.

Nope, I have no idea why either.

Apparently, the story was that Allsorts came about when a salesman clumsily spilled his tray of samples and so all the flavors got mixed in a somewhat serendipitous accident. Formal story can be found here.

Now yes, although I am a beginner to licorice, I may not understand some of the subtleties.

Number 1 - Why SALTY licorice? No idea.

Number 2 - Why COCONUT licorice? No idea

Licorice in and of itself tasted quite benign with the coconut being the dominant flavor. In fact I strongly disliked the coconut and much preferred the little aniseed flavored gum drops covered in non pareils as well as the little licorice bits and of course, the adorable little Bertie, whom I ate before I could take a picture. Unfortunately these pieces were very few in my bag, which was instead taken over by the play-doh looking colored coconut.

Quite honestly, I thought they looked like fake candy used for decorations. Which, in my opinion, was probably all they were good for.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hairy crabs

Today's lesson is not about some kind of STD, thank you very much! We're a food blog so obviously we're going to talk about the hairy crabs you can eat..... um, hang on a minute ... I meant the shellfish once again.

So anyhow, back to the eating.

While I was back in Hong Kong (yes, I'm now back in the city of light), I was lucky to be there during the delicious hairy crab season. A delicacy enjoyed by my whole family... although I'm not sure my brother is so dexterous with the extraction of crab meat from its hairy claws. But yes, it is much loved by many and thanks to my Aunt and the absolutely charming Cha Xiu Bao, I got to eat them with much enjoyment.

I only had a total of 5 crabs during my 6 week holiday back in my homeland but they were memorable... not least because my Mom exclaimed her enthusiasm loudly in the middle of a popular spa that she "loved the males due to the sticky white stuff!". I shushed her immediately and lead her immediately to a quiet corner, admonishing her to refer to the CRAB please least they think her a woman of the street.

Anyhow, back to the crab. I was lucky enough to have all males, which made for lots of yumminess. You can tell the male in the picture I have on the left, which has a pointy middle bit. A female will have a rounded bit.

First though, we received them as per above, all splayed out and ugly, then we had to dissect it. Everyone has a different way of doing so. My aunt likes to rip off all the legs first and put that to one side, then rip off the shell and attack the insides.

Personally, I prefer to peel out the middle bit and ripped that off, then turned it over to rip off its shell then rip off the two, hairy claws. Then we have to remove it's 'heart' (not sure if its really its heart but it is inedible), its gills and all the tiny inedible parts.

Just look at that ooey gooey stuff and all that roe! Doesn't it make you want to attack it?

What I do after this is take a tiny spoon and eat everything from the top, then pour a tiny bit of the dark vinegar in its shell to dip the crab flesh in later.

Then, being careful to not let any roe spill, I crack it in half, eat all the roe then slowly start eating everything else. Very delicious and fun to eat (in my mind at least). I always wish I could eat more to my heart's content but given its high price as well as its high cholesterol content, it might be best to limit myself.

I'm very slow and messy at eating hairy crabs so it takes me approximately an hour to eat one. And apparently I really, REALLY shouldn't be allowed to eat this in public. The mess, the sucking and and the concentration makes me the worst dining partner ever. All I can say is thank you Cha Xiu Bao and others for still actually speaking to me. I hope that I'm not struck off the invitee list next time!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Saga au Allsorts

I read this and am still crying over it. Too funny

Of course I just *had* to go out and get my own bag of Cadbury Bassett Allsorts... you know, for research purposes!

Review to come...

*By the way, yes, I'm horrified that I've suddenly discovered a taste for licorice after much mocking of my former boss for bringing in salty licorice after his holidays...

Menu for Hope

Chez Pim is once again hosting Menu for Hope, a fundraising event in support of the UN World Food Programme. Gifts and prizes are offered by bloggers around the world to be bid on and won by donors. A much much better explanation is available here.

Its a great cause and it is so heartwarming to see the generosity of all the bloggers around the world. There are some great prizes *cough*Susan...elbulli*cough* by some wonderful bloggers, including of course, Umami!

Last year I was lucky enough to win a lovely set of books by Chubby Hubby and I fully intend on bidding again this year!

So, in between shopping for those elusive perfect Christmas presents, do some good, spoil yourself a little and get bidding!

Oh, and good luck!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

F-odd: Huh?

I was at the market the other day when I came across these:

I thought they were pickling cukes,

or baby courgettes...

I finally asked the stall owner.

They turned out to be stoneless, baby cocktail avocados.

Who knew?

They were slightly sweeter yet more bitter than normal avocados. Meant to be peeled and sliced into coins to sprinkle over salads.
I love finding foods I've never seen before! One of the many joys of having time on your hands to explore.