Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Grubbying up the crisp first page

Welcome to a brand new blogger's brand new blog.

So, what to do with this spanking new cooking notebook? The possibilities are endless, but perhaps I'll start grubbying up the pages with a small self-introduction so we can get to know each other a bit.

My name is Saffron and I am a greedy eater and hoarder of cookbooks. There, it' s said (g). My twin passions are world music and world food. Preferably authentic and preferably together.

In an ideal world I could just swan about the world going wherever the tastebuds took me, but reality, with its job and family obligations, alas makes this impossible. So I cook it up in the kitchen instead with the help of earlier culinary voyagers like Diana Henry, Claudia Roden, Najmieh Batmanglij and, for busy weeknight dinners, Nigel Slater and Leanne Ely (North American cooking is, after all, exotic to me).

A big part of the fun is tracking down exotic ingredients (for Japan) like orange flower water, dried limes, pomegranate molasses and dried mango powder. Amazingly, these can all be had quite easily in speciality shops not far from home. The Japanese are no slouches in the kitchen, and "ethnic" food has been in vogue for years. Things have changed immensely since I was an exchange student here in the late 1980s!

Anyway, to get to the actual food, here's what I'll be cooking for Christmas this year. It is a blend of childhood and later traditions, and recipes from the Guradian's Food Monthly http://observer.guardian.co.uk/foodmonthly/ . I am featuring pomegrate this time in honour of my guests this year G and M, an Iranian-Japanese couple.

Christmas pies and pomegranate cocktails
Nigel's wild rice, pomegranate and proscuito salad
Roast turkey with nut & herb and orange & cranberry stuffing
Nigella's sprouts, chestnuts and pancetta
Nigel's potatoes, mushrooms and garlic
Christmas pudding and evaporated milk

So you see, I am already organized this year. The only thing we have to worry about is whether I will be able to get the pomegranates in the regular veggie shop or whether I'll have to fork out for "gourmet" ones at a posh one.

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