sashimi - and an attempt at using proper punctuation

About a week or two ago, after university I had planned that I would go watch “Borat” the movie, or that longer broken English title. I had however finished early, about 5pm so I had about 4 hours to kill.

Having started a new system for training - mainly making sure I go for a 1 hour walk each day - I decided on proceeding to Paceville, where the cinema is, and walking around the coast there for half an hour, and then walk back, thus filling my 1 hour quota for the day.

This I did after contemplating on what to do in these 4 hours, for half an hour in my car. In that half an hour some prospective parkers stopped to ask me if I was leaving, and I signalled no. After that I booked tickets for the others at the cinema, set my Nokia countdown timer, which also serves as a mobile phone, for half an hour and proceeded, along the coast.

When I completed my hour I passed by this new-ish Sicilian pizzeria in Paceville and realised that hey, since I m not often in town I couldn’t give up the opportunity for their pizza and since I had walked for an hour I deserved some self-gratification. Their pizza deserves a blog post for its own, see “Sizzlers’ pizza or maybe Al Rifugio’s pizza but I m not too sure” (coming soon).

After that I proceded to my car parked neatly in its spot with another car behind it which I knew was parked infront of a garage or something. Around the car lurked a shadowy individual who I knew was hoping to park somewhere suitable. I sat down inside hoping to kill the remaining hour or so by reading a book, when suddenly the shadowy guy approached my window and asked me if I m leaving the spot. I turned around and I said “No, I m sittin…” and there I realised that I knew the person and that I hadn’t seen him in a while.

His name’s Andre he had taken the same scholarship I had taken for Japan (and this is where sashimi comes in), and had been there the year before I was. He told me about how he was looking for a parking spot before going to work and how he couldn’t drive around much since his car seemed to have overheated. Seeing how he was pressed for time I offered to drive off and find another spot elsewhere since I had time to kill anyway. He was pleased, so pleased he infact insisted that I go to the restaurant he worked in, the Zen Japanese restaurant at Portomaso, where he said he could give me some free sushi or soemthing. This seemed like an awkward situation and seeing how I had just devoured a pizza, I refused saying I had just eaten and that it would be a bit strange getting in there and stuff. He however, insisted on offering me some green tea at least so I complied, found a new parking spot and walked on down to the restaurant.

Basically the place, especially the sushi bar looked like I stepped back in one of the polished wood sushi bars, in one of the secluded urban areas of Hirakata-Shi, except this had a distinct air of posh.

I sat down. Andre introduced me briefly to the head waiter and brought me my promised cup of cha. The place is truly beautiful, and promises great on food, at least from what I saw on other people’s plates at the bar. The sushi looked exquisite. The place offers the whole getup with Japanese chefs preparing a variety of dishes in clear view by those at the bar, with more seating area at the back where a teppanyaki grill is set up with its own chef playing away with his knives, ingredients and occasional pyrotechnic stunts.

Before I left I asked my friend the waiter to get me a green tea ice cream as I had not tasted one in over 3 years now and couldn’t leave the place without it. To tell the truth I had tasted better but it was very ok, except that when you have not tasted something in a while and want to taste it again you expect it to be as good as the best specimen you have sampled. I better not bitch though as it was an adequate green tea ice cream; cold and matcha tasting. I left the place and went to see “Borat”.

And where’s the sashimi I hear you all say. Well this encounter decisively awakened my desire for raw fish. That is what sashimi is, raw fish. Back in Japan at first I didn’t like sushi and sashimi too much, especially since before I learned how to properly tell the Japanese waiters were to shove the wasabi in half fluent Japanese, I would occasionally get sushi or sashimi with the fucking coagulated demon snot inside. However when I learned that the weird repulsive taste in the sushi was coming from that most horrid of supposed edibles I ordered without, and consequently learned to love sushi, and particularly realised I preferred the raw-cutlets-of-varied-fish-on-a-plate they call sashimi, the most.

“Borat” was great, except for the part where after the intermission everybody was munching away at their newly bought cinema junk food and there on the screen we experienced one of the most nauseating yet ingenious scenes ever, a homo-erotic wrestle-fight between two males, a skinny one and a fat-ass hairy one. It was ironic how the cinema-hall was filled with fresh (usually beautiful) smell of hot nacho cheese sauce.

Next day I went to the newly opened Hugo’s franchise on campus and bought a take away Lm 3 sushi bento box. They were all good except the very last one I ate which stood next to a cone of that most horrid of green pulps and thus infused it with its hate and shit taste.

That day I went home and luckily my mother was going to cook her usual steamed salmon steaks, which I like but, couldn’t help resisting eating a fresh one. After making sure that it wasn’t defrosted and was rather fresh I washed one steak in clean water and ate the motherfucker raw as Mother Nature intended.


muscat pastizerria glen-special

i discovered this new recipe and i want to share it with my readers


go to muscat's pastizerria
buy two pizzas


go home put the two pizzas on top of each other
cheese side touching in the inside to form a nice muscat pastizerria pizza sandwich

smother butter on both pastry ends and toast grill
the best way is on of those close-grill-toast ovens
or alternatively you could fry in a grill pan or a regular pan
than flip over once one side is done to do the other

then enjoy

p.s. the cooking show is on hold at the moment
i m sorry i dont write a lot
but i m a bit busy


youtube cooking show

drey i think it was
joked about the idea of becoming the next Ms. Nancy Griglioso or Smash Tv's Sarah-mispelled

however i then gave it some thought
and i started to consider seriously a diy home made youtube cooking show

i fished out for ideas from friends
because if i actually get to do this it would need soemthing singular and half outragous to go with it and till now all i got is mikle's idea which is good but not too practical

this idea consisted of having a cute/pretty/hot girl (think big tits nice ass)
wearing a bunny costume (ears and tail and pink bikini suit) and by my side assisting me in the cooking
then when she would like make a mistake or something
i would slap her bum and she would cry out this naughty moan

as politically incorrect and as perverted as that is
i like it
and very much too
however i think its very unpractical and difficult to find such a couragous and physically fitting girl

so here is why i write this

if members from my small readership
have ideas of what could be done to mainly spice the idea up
please leave comments

consider that i am not very charismatic
that i stutter easily and that i am not a fast thinker so its difficult for me to be witty on the spot

for recipe ideas its not a problem but i d need something
to crank it up.


xufi's hobz biz-zejt

that means bread with oil

and that will sound bad to any english speaking individual
however to anybody who is maltese speaking
"hobz biz-zejt" will bring forth beautiful images and sweet delightful tastes of this local food item

hobz biz-zejt
exists in many forms
here are a couple

if you are maltese you can easily mention dozens of good places to eat this
one of my very favorites is the ftira biz zejt from xufi in mosta

since i live in mosta
i ve been a regular to this place for a very long time
officially xufi is called "Olympic Bar"
however "ix-xufi", the family nick name serves as the bar's name much better throughout the town

the plastic sign saying "olympic bar" has some local mediterranean magic to it that make the writing "olympic bar" read as "shoofee" in this part of the island

i have a feeling that half of the old men sitting around this bar petty talking the rest of their lives away do not know that they are in the olympic bar

furthermore there is nothing olympic about it
except the maltese ftira biz-zejt which is of greco-roman divine proportions

the old men sitting there discuss diverse philosophical and socio-political subjects ranging from accusatory-partisan squabbles to arguments on football expertise, from smoking marijuana sometime back in the day to the gutsy feats of 'cicciolina' the pornstar

if you hear:
"ghamillu wiehed vojt"
this means that a patron at the bar has ordered a tea, with milk and no sugar

the customers vary from tourists to resident pensioners, to the frequent police officer and passing-through workers usually covered in fine white dust (from sand- papering walls not from accidents in cocaine transportation)

anyway the crowning star in this whole set up is the ftira biz-zejt which i always accompany with either an ice tea peach or a "te bil halib tal-bott u tnejn zokkor"

the range of ingredients to stuff in the crispy ftira are considerable and the result is always good unless you exaggerate with very different ingredients

in the mornings you will find a wider selection including meat or plain ommelettes, fried pork sausages, and bacon

the usual is tomato paste, vegetable oil or butter, tuna fish in oil, lettuce, tomato and onions, two types of cheeses, a few types of ham and salami, boiled egg, pickled boiled egg, pickled vegetables, peppered cheeselet, bigilla, and more

in comparison to other available fast foods
this traditional food item completed in seconds at your own choosing is a very healthy snack or meal, which is extremely tasty

foreigners might find some of the ingredients strong tasting
but if they do they shoulda stayed the fuck away from the mediterreanean

the maltese ftira is infact this
the mediterreanean in a sandwich


butter makes everything better

self explanatory really

"everything" is of course a term to be taken loosely

oh yeah...
except maybe your cholesterol levels which will actually worsen


pie ala bob

"there was this one time at..."
cafe jubillee in gzira
where i found myself eagerly awaiting their salmon and bacon toasted baguette
this baguette when it did come was awesome
and truly great
however today's post is neither about the awesome toasted salmon baguette and neither the gorgonzola, walnut, and pear salad which preceded it and which i truly sincerely despised
it is instead about the dessert to that meal
when the waiter chick came to take our dessert order
it was the non-smoking party from the group left inside
me and drey
duo-ingly together

she told us what they had
and from the extensive list
one entree stuck out in my head
this was the cinnamon flavoured ice cream
i think we asked the girl to give us some thinking time

and as she left
andrea decisevely claimed his choice
which was the warm apple pie
up till there my choice had been the cinnamon ice cream
but in one creative, and decisive-claim-usurping move i said with an air of knowing it better:
apple pie with cinnamon ice cream
i remember what happened next was a laugh that sounded like a satisfied child's laugh
that was started by drey and later joined in by me

up to this day i still havent tasted that combination since they didnt have the cinnamon flavoured ice cream
we took vannilla instead
an apt alternative

dozens of apple pies and ice-creams later
i recounted my discovery to my friend bob
while eating a deservedly worth-mentioning tagliatelle with artichoke sauce from cauchi's in mosta
great dish!
were was i
yes bob
over this delicious feast of pasta i told bob of our little sweet dessert invention
and he quickly bust my bubble by telling me that it already exists and is known as "pie ala mode"

there's a fringe philosophy theory forgot the name but it claims the existence of a phenomenon whereby a collective knowledge thing exists
this basically explains why people can correctly guess crossword puzzles a day after they're published
and why non migratory birds on two seperate islands somewhere learned how to poke holes in milk bottle tops at the same time
and why similarly some wild monkeys on some other two separare islands realised that fruit tastes better if washed in water

i think this is what basically happened through the collective consciousness thing i learned how to make my own pie ala mode
we have now dubbed it "pie ala bob"
which we think is much cooler

a good place for pie ala bob is a wooden kiosk thingie near fra ben in buggibba or qawra
it overlooks the bay and it has furniture built out of wooden logs
the perfect pie-ala-bob so far has been their apple pie
with one whisky and one creme caramel flavoured ice cream scoops
absolutely great

still want to try the jubilee cinnamon ice cream pie ala bob



my new car is a bit shitty
it drinks up fuel like i do with any potable beverages
maybe we have something in common

anyway i was invited by my dearest friend il-gabubu
the one of the sauce-quote
to go celebrate the end of his a-level exams

this is one reason why i love such friends
they make an occassion out of anything
as long as it is another excuse to stuff my self out
i m game

the place was a very poshy
chinese restaurant in corinthia in attard
being attard
i decided to walk it there
one for the so much needed exercise
and two because my car is a bitch

google earth s new higher resolution image of half of malta and all of comino but none of gozo
is great especially if like me you live in the high definition half
i have used this on this occasion to find the shortest route from my house to corinthia in attard
it is great because with a bird's eye view of everything
or rather a sattelite's view
you can discover roads and streets you have never walked
and would never walk

i ve used google earth twice in this way
making a rough copy of the road i have to take i left on a very nice journey which was to end in a great meal

rickshaw has everything a posh restaurant would want
jacket and tie doorman slash waiter
or more like a butler looking figure
a tall slim and hot looking waitress girl
one regular looking drinks girl
and an asian nationality waitress for that little bit of authenticity

the menu is an asian fusion or contains different elements from eastern countries but its mostly chinese as i gather

i remember that all the food looked excellent and nobody complained about anything
my only complaint is that the sparkling water was Lm2 per bottle and i shared 3 with my friend ian
which was quite expensive

i mean it wasn't even voss like

starter was an exquisite crunchy calamari dish
the calamari were fried in some form of crunchy but very good batter
i hated the lettuce they garnished thsi plate with
a big leaf of it just sucks
proper garnish please
but well the calamari were really somethign else so i have to give it to them

for the main dish
i think it was called
sugar, ginger, garlic spicy chicken
or something like that
i m not kidding though its true
and i made sure i ate evry last chunk although
it was divine
i m sure its very difficult to get the same effect at home on a first try
this is what i look for in restaurants
if i can cook it or better at home
then fuck you
unfortunately there are shitloads of restaurants that do this
but anyway this is neither here nor there

ohn yes then i also had consumed two plates of fluffy rice which were great
i missed properly steamed rice that truly fills you up
you need a good rice steamer for that
or some kick ass method to do it in a regular pot which i don't have
i look it up actually and share it with you when i find the time
problem with this was that i was filled up on rice but i finished all the chicken anyway
pity i had no space for desert then

ah yes and also in the beginning they served us a lot of prawn crakers with these delicious sauces
especially a black chutney based one
maybe with the black bean or something
not sure though
and the sweet and sour one which was very different
very very different than the usual red goo
that stock chinese restaurants provide
this was pink and milky
but clear

the problem with chinese food is that most restaurants serve the oiliest, greasiest graviest chunks of everything they can find

luckily this wasn't
everything was suberb

mihao to rickshaw


that weekend - first meal in maria and anton's new kitchen or that big badass cooking contraption

anyway the morning after the latino place
i woke up
researched a bit what i could do dessert-wise
i initially wanted to get something very special but i couldn't get this special thing since it was out of season
maybe i ll let you know what i have in mind if i ll do it after another bonnici meal if i manage to get that special dessert

anyway i knew i had plenty of alternatives so i knew i wanted to make something with the in-season loquats, (naspli):

some strawberry, and the always spot-hitting mangoes
also adding some kinder maxi garnish since i was eating a lot of these from the confectionery i worked in (continued below)

when i arrived there
we were served with tiny little home made buns
which were perfect with butter
bun after bun
i could have finished the whole basket had the first dish not come out

this was a truly beautiful invention
big nice home made tortelloni
stuffed with 4 types of mushrooms
and pistaccios
the sauce was a bacony white sauce thing
with asparagus
i can clearly remember that it tasted meatful
infact it was so great that i will try and capture its essence in a poem:

Ode to the Quadruple Fungi-ed Tortellone:

If the tortellino was fashioned after
venus' navel;
Then the you were probably fashioned
after a fat slag's belly button...

Wait, wait i didn't mean that!
I mean...
You are so sweet, yet so so so good and big and full
your meaty insides are like ...

i suck at poetry
lets get back to disjoined, unpunctuated prose

when i think of that tortellone
i feel my mind melt and slip down into my mouth
in one meaningful, meaty-mushroom-melee magic-masterpiece
the definite magnum opus of the night and of the weekend

things i heard being said about the tortellone:

"designer food istja!"
"baqa xi ohra jew?"
"miniex ha nibda niekol mhux ghax nirrispetakhom imma ghax jekk inlesti qabilkom u intom tkunu gahdkom ghaddejjin nibda niffuckja!"

main dish:
we had some argentinian beef fillet
which i chose to be cooked as rare
this had a liver sauce on top

what was great about this fillet that made it much better than the one of the night before was
that although that restaurant's fillet was good and included the char taste which maria's dish lacked
it included tissue damage in the fillet
this is because the chef beats the fillet with a kitchen hammer to soften its make-up
this technique is used to pass off meat that is not so prime as more tender
of course all it does is break cuts in the internal fibres of the fillet
it does help
but only to make it seem softer
a lot of texture is lost but of course the risk of
the meat being chewy is reduced
of course people do this because they can't get their hands on quality-cow like the argentinians do

its great that they shopped at arcadia
i want to give that supermarket a visit
one of these

things i heard being said about the fillet:

"f'ghoxx il-vegiterjins!"
"ma niflahx innizel bicca ohra imma haj jkolli"
"issa ikteb bloggata fuq din ta!"

and now for the desert:

hmm the fruity aspect of it was done with the initial intention of doing something healthier than usual
i totally fucked this idea up
infact i threw any healthful philosophy out the window

i made an ovaltine biscuit and crushed almonds crust for the base
then the main filling was a lemon and strawberry mousse

the strawberry was mashed and marbled in
this makes it delightful
the lemon makes it stiffer and easier to mold onto a base
i topped this with loquats, sliced strawberries, sliced mangoes and grated chocolate: that kinder finger chocolate know as maxi:

i also poured in a chocolate sauce made from 3 different chocolares and milk at the sides
hmm the result was great

things i heard before the dessert:

"u le x'frott haqqalla!"
"frott gibt jew!"
"bicca zghira ta!"

things i heard during the dessert:

"ha niehu bicca ohra ta, ahjar ghalih mario jekk raqad?'
"jekk dan kien esperiment kompli esperimenta!"
"qas jekk qtilt mitt tarbija biex ghamilt dan il kejk, kienet tkun giustifikata!"

its a pity that we were so intoxicated with the meals and with expectance of the next dish that i forgot to take pictures of the dishes
although a picture of the dessert exists somewhere on martin's mobile
however kari sent me this image of mario
of what happened to him just after the fillet
this is what happens when you indulge on rich food at the late hours of the night!:

if one is what one eats
then i guess we all were a little bit slumpy like the tortellone,
tender-headed like the fillet,
and on the brink of falling apart like the dessert hardly held together with gelatine

that weekend - latino themed restaurant a side-street down from the parliament

i ve not written in a while

i ve been stressed (just not too relaxed as i usually am)
with the theatre finals and all
but now i got myself on track in a certain sense
so i decided i should write ome entries
unfortunately i have some entries that i not only promised
but i cannot not write about

so this about that weekend
i think it was about 3 weekends ago
not sure though
but something like that

it first started with a meal at crianza
twas a friday
thing is i dont think it was called crianza
i think it was called something else
its like a latino themed place
in valletta a side street down from the parliament
of course you can comment and correct what the name was

its a pity i dont have the exact name because this was a great culinary start for that marvellous culinary weekend

a maltese saying that i really hate is:
"...qas biss naf x'kilt il bierah!"
this means: "... i don't even know what i ate yesterday!"
and it is used to qualify the shitty memory of the speaker on something totally unrelated

if you can't remember what you ate yesterday its because you don't appreciate food and thus deserve to die

harsh insensitive meanderings aside
i remember well what i ate that friday at that latino themed restaurant
i ordered a Voss sparkling bottle
this was since they didnt stock perrier
but the waiter/boss showed me this really slick bottle that looks like a clear transparent lava lamp slash designer perfume bottle

i was served the second one from the left
tallest one
this is a norwegian water that some two young guys from norway decided to ship in fancy bottles to america and make shitloads of money from
i don't say this to demean it cos its a fucking great sparkling water
i thought that perrier was the best thing i d ever get
[elan just sucks]
but this was fucking ace
it should be served at room temperature
ice is strongly advised against as the guy suggested
i asked for ice anyway but then asked to throw it away aswell
the ice totally fucked it up
since it immediately changed the taste of the amazing voss water with the inferior and slightly salty ice cube
hmm maybe if you could freeze voss ice cubes then use those
that should be nice
i know i m dedicating too much for a fizzy water
but this was truly something else
it manages to stay light and sparkling and refreshing yet lukewarm
i don't know how to explain this further
i mean i know it is just water
but this is norwegian man
like you know all the way from norway

no but seriously this was good
i guess you ll have to fish out 2 lira to get one and try it to see what i mean
totally worth it
another cool thing is
that when you screw open the top the bottle fizzes up, the air bubbles floating up to the surface in synch and acts like some living-room water ornament in your very hands

for the starter i took a mussel in white wine special
and this was magic
at first i expected those mussels
to be the shitty ones some restaurants usually serve from the freezer
prepacked half broken black crustaceans
these were bigger and tasted superb
i had quite a lot as well
next was a char grilled fillet with no sauce
full marks aswell

that very night i was informed that the next day i had to make desert for a meal at the bonnici's
they hold specially prepared meals for a group of their food lovin friends
well its mainly maria
the one of the probably best of the year figolla
(from a previous blog)
she is the gastrnomic mind behind these meals
(continued in next blog)


Steamed Swordfish with pink sauce

fish can be amazing sometimes
this infact was
the swordfish steaks where a bit tough infact and next time i would alter some of the process

i first proceeded to thaw them slightly because i was in a hurry and they where frozen stuck
then i put them on a grill and covered to steam in mid air over a pot
after they a little
i put some local home made olive oil
the type you would buy from a farmer (the taste is strong and also a bit weird and the consistenct is thick and juicy)
i brought this to heat and added a small knob of butter and let it sizzle
to this i added the fish steaks
and let them fry for a few seconds
just so that the oil mixture seals them slightly
this was done merely for flavor since steamed fish
can be a little bland

after doing this on both sides i put the fish back in the makeshift steamer
and covered
in the frying pan i added 3 chopped cloves of garlic
and one sliced onion
i let this fry
stirring constantly
not letting it turn brown or anything
then i added a diced tomato
medium sized

after this sauce base is cooked
i added 2 tablespoons of home made white wine
cooking with such ingredients is always a bit risky as the flavor is never reliable
so tasting such ingredients to test their potency is paramount

this semi-stew kept simmering aside

i got 4 benna-water-floating-mozzarella-balls
you know the type
and skewered two each on a kebab stick
i dipped these in fine ground pepper
put these aside

i "dyed" thin slices of gammon in dark soya sauce
the skewered peppered mozzaralla balls are put on the slice of gammon
and put these in an open convection grill
i also added the fish at this point (but i would skip this next time)

the simmering sauce i kept on adding a tablespoon of white wine here and there for about 3 times
and 1/4 of a cup of lemon juice
and towards the end i put two heaped tablespoons of white sauce
this is how it becomes pink

i decorated the plate with the prepared food added some lemon garnish
and sea salt
and it was amazing
especially the sauce

excuse me for not supplying a picture i will try to next time


films that are food related - second reel

eat, drink, man, woman

this is another kicker
the film itself is great but greater are the recipes and methods shown
the sequences were food is shown in preparation are the best parts
otherwise the film is family drama at its best
implying ang lee at his best

i have some aversions towards this genre
but ice storm
i liked better
as a film
and so did i like pushing hands better than this
ang lee's first film
dealing with internal martial arts
this is also in the family drama genre

on the dvd extras ang lee said that whilst growing up he
would watch soap operas
and chinese kung fu films
this of course explains a lot about his film portfolio

the story is about an old chinese chef who has lost the sense of taste
he has also lost some other important things in life due to certain circumstances
the film shows us this and the finding of those important things

the chef's brother also a chef
advises him that he uses his intellect too much when it comes to the preparation of his food
and by this his taste (experiential) has diminshed
he infact has relied always upon his brother for the preparation of food since the main character has lost his sense of taste (physiological)

this is scary actually
i didnt know one could lose the sense of taste
not to worry if that ever happens its a long way off

skip to the end
its a very sweet film
stay tuned for the next one in this series probably being Tampopo
the Japanese film about noodles


muscat's pastizzeria

anyone who remembers his junior college days
or like me my higher secondary days mostly spent at white arrow
or else people walking down from the hospital having visited some sick relative
or else returning home after a wasted morning and early afternoon
waiting in the outpatients ward at st' luke's
must have at some point taken their taste
at muscat's pastizzeria's
glorious pizza

having to catch the bus home from university
i usually walk down to msida to catch it from there
the walk is downhill
plus the buses pass even more frequently
but more importantly
a corner away from the msida marina old people's home
whose steps serve as seats for people waiting on the bus stop

you find muscat's
with one of the best fast food pizza recipes on the island
their pizza must be a singularity

the crust is on the sweet and bready side
the sauce they use is a simple tomato base one
but with very distinguishable tomato parts
and i think that their cheese is a white melted mozzarella
it sometimes also feels like there is a hint of cheddar but i can never tell

from the countless times i ve tasted this pastry food
i think i can safely say that their secret lies
in the oven they use
theirs is a bread baker's oven
it might be a wood burning one
but it is definetely the heat emanating from the brick and the steel dishes that have for maybe the past 20 years or something been in constant use

the pizza is slightly different
every time you go
since it depends at which stage of the pizza cycle you have purchased it
if it is just after its birth out of the iron vault oven
then the pizza will be quite hot and fragile aswell
infact care has to be taken
when this is the case
as since the pastry is still fresh and hot
the paper bag will not allow enough insulation for you to hold it firm till the pizza is a bit cooler for you to eat
if you hold it from the top part of the paper bag sleeve
the pizza will take the shape of a valley and the cheese will many times drip down into the middle of the pizza
or if you re further careless
it will drop back to the bottom of the paper bag

the other stage is the just right stage
this is when the pizza has been taken out and left
under the heat lamp for sometime and thus has continued to cook to the just right level
of course always in my opinion

the other stage is when you arrive at a less busy time of the day and get a pizza which has been lying under the heat lamp for about 40 mins
this results in a bit of a drier pizza with a crisper cheese

the stages other than the just right ones
are not bad at all mind you
and infact they compliment to the eating experience as everytime it is a good muscat's pizza
but with a different stage in the cycle

their ovens cook at extreme heat
probably you can fit a big fridge and freezer into that oven
and once i went just as they ran out off pizzas and it took the baker about 5 miutes to put them in and take them out ready for sale

there are three people i always see there
a middle aged bald headed guy with a moustache
that almost always asks me if i want anything else apart from the pizza
this is probably so that he would not have to deal with undecided customers who send him back for something else
he also occasionally asks you if you want a drink
but it is quite rare

then there is another guy
not completely bald but is borrowing
as we say
hair by letting his side hair grow longer so that he can comb it on to the bald part
this guy always wears these enormous blackish sunglasses
probably bought in 1978
and are lately getting to be less eccentric since
massive shades
that make his look like spectacles
are in fashion
back, but with a vengeance

these two are shortish square shaped and stockish
and always work as caterer-sellers and cashiers
then there is a thinner slightly taller guy
with more hair than the other two that kneads and bakes the pastries
he s usually in mid discussion with one of the two baldy guys
on something or another whilst he kneads away

films that are food related - first reel

como agua para chocolate

this mexican
alfonso arau film
based upon a novel by his wife
laura esquivel
is one of the best south american films i ve seen
moreover its also one of the best films i ve seen that have food as their main theme
of course there aren't a lot of these films around

the movie depicts how rural family life in mexico
was lived
in the early 20th century

it is a semi fantastical story
in the tropicalist style of writing
many extraordinary things happen when the characters
deal with the situations they face in everyday life
these extraordinary things defy logic and reality and enter the realms of
magic, allegory, surrealism and horror

add that to a story where a beautiful woman uses
her special abilities in cooking to gain her right for forbidden love
and you ve got one of the most sensual mexican tales ever

the novel apparently was split into 12 chapters each centered around a month in tita's
the hot mexican girl's
this does not result in a single continous year but in
excerpts from a lifespan
every chapter is started off with a recipe
probably containing in season ingredients with the month in question

the film takes on this structure in a sense and
includes multiple scenes where food is being prepared with the mexican traditional methods

a quail is cooked in rose petal sauce
from roses that the disallowed lover gives to tita
her bitch mother commands her to throw them away
however the whispering ghost of a mother-figure housemaid
who was also into indigenous religion lore
obi wan kenobily suggests to tita to use the petals for a sauce for the quails instead of trashing them out
this makes all the family who dine on this dish to experience intense psychosomatic sexually related feelings
another recipe that was similarly interesting
was for when a wedding meal was being prepared
it included the cleverest of scenes where a dozen of women crushed walnuts
grilled green bell peppers
and split pomnegranetes to make a beautiful plate of grilled green pepper dipped in walnut sauce with pomegranate garnish

i want to have a go at making my own versions of these beauties
a central lesson moral or suggestion on the outlook on food
from the film
was that the secret of tita's cooking resided
in that she prepared all her meals with love

this often overlooked sentimentalism
has more to it than
mere mumbo jumbo

of course fresh ingredients and appropriate combinations are important factors
for obtaining the desired results in meals
however comparing the meals i cook half arsedly and those i cook with genuine interest
i find a lot of truth in this
then again there exists some corporate products that are very good
but then of course who is to say that corporate entities are not capable of love

yours semtinentalisingly


red bull - draft

the improtance of red bull to contemporary society will be one of historical significance
i dont know its like a gut feeling
the design of this product is very very stylish
i couldn't find a picture of the glass bottle design
we get in malta
i will post one as soon as i do
i think it is the nicest of red bull presentations
drinking red bull out of a a glass bottle
is a treat i do not often allow myself

it is not a modestly priced beverage
and it is not intended for frequent consumption
i would think

should be used especially as a functional item
this magical little bottle
can supply you with an immediately perceiveable energy store

sometimes i am very health conscious
and infact i drink coffee and tea occasionally
i love teas
coffee is not a dislike
but it is more of a little love hate relationship
my tastebuds do not deny the nice taste that the coffee gives
the problem is that it is psychologically directly linked to the stomach rumbling and gas forming that happens direct afterwards
if it was for the farts alone
it would be very acceptable
it causes me some pain in the abdomen area
so for this reason i avoid coffee

monday night i was offered coffee at a friend's house
(thanks stan)
another sideeffect of the coffe relationship i have is that
my immunity to the caffeine is very low
so if i drink any caffeneited drinks after 9ish
i will not manage to sleep during the night

this happened to me on monday night so tuesday i had to go to university and help out in editing a video
while i was dozing off and fighting to stay up
the red bull really helped in this respect

easter: figolla aftermath

i initially wanted
to make a rather detailed study on the tradition of figolla making
sampling a good number
reading about it
ask experts
compare recipies etc

the figolla seems to be quite a maltese thing
i m know almonds are used in many countries in sweets
but one must admit that the figolla is maybe one of those maltese things
that we are proud to own

of course the beauty of it probably is that there is a similar recipe in spain
that they call "fihollo"
and that thats where our ancestors stole it from

dont bother to look it up
i made it up as far as i can tell
easter eggs, chocolate bunnies, and colombe are good
but the figolla is the mother of all easter sweets

this sweet
has of course its definite ties with the christian liturgy
and custom
and if i had to put and measure everything in perspective
then the best figolla i must have ever tasted
was the one i took that year i decided
to fast during lent

after 40 days without any sweets or sugary things
the easter morning is set alight with the magic of the first figolla

this year i did not fast
i started a blog on pursuits in gastronomy and
my hedonistic approach to nutrition
nonetheless i still awaited the figolla tradition with my open arms and jaws

i did not make a detailed study
but instead i decided to discuss the top 3 figollas i have tasted this year
these are not from the in-family recipies
i still love the recipe passed on to my mother and her sisters
from my grandma
but i must say
there are other recipes which are far more noteworthy

it is strange how everyone uses the same basic method and ingredients
to make a figolla
and still each figolla-maker produces unique figollas
by characteristics of taste, build, texture, and decoration

figollas seem to be made by women mostly
i dunno why but these top 3 ones i m talking about are from women not men

they are put in order of chronology
but also they might be in order of ascending greatness
but this i cannot tell so clearly

drey's sister's figolla(from their nanna's recipe):
the regular figolla you taste usually has the layer of intrita
(marzipanish paste made from almonds)
sandwiched between the distinct pastry
this figolla managed to keep no distinct separation between the layers
this makes it a more enjoyable delight as the teeth and the gums
are not hit with crunchy-unwanted debris
as usually happens especially with these mass produced figollas from the local confectioneries
some of the really bad ones make me think of shrapnel hitting the roof of my mouth

drastic you may think
but figollas are already not the healthiest food choice
so if i choose to indulge in a piece
that piece should be worth the trouble
this figolla had a chocolate top layer decorated with some coloured specks
its one layeredness and the good proportioning of the ingredients
made it a simple yet just-right delight

kari's mother figolla:

this included less of the one layered effect
but here the distinctness of the layers was enjoyable since
the pastry was interesting on its own merits
it seems that this was made with the use of orange rind and juice
dont ask me where and how but
it was definetely an elevating feature
along with the appropriate amount of icing
thin enough not to fall off
and to complement the taste
the small pieces of almond nut in the paste
made the texture very interesting
infact i think this figolla out of the 3
had the most varied combination of complementing textures
and of course the original orangey taste

anton's maria's figolla:

this is my most recent experience
and what i liked is that although it is close to beating the other two
it had no top layer of icing or chocolate
the homogenous texture dotted by the inner nut pieces like the one of kari's mom
gave it a good one layered effect thing going on
but the texture here was more cake-like
and crumbly
it made me thing of bread
i loved how this figolla looked like butter-fried toast
and while eating it i had felt it was fulfilling similarly to bread
my fingers got very sticky after eating this one
i think some type of sugary or buttery coating was given
or maybe it was in the pastry's preparation


Salading Saladong - second leaf

i left the last installment
on prohibitory and guide-line notes

this time i would like to review, praise and bash some restaurants properly

firstly i will start with 8th ball snooker hall
in qawra near the bus terminus amidst the souvenir shops
this place i bash entirely

however walking away from the shop around that same block's corner
is one of the nicest and full-catering vegetable shops ive seen
its a green grocer with a business mind
i forgot the name here aswell
but you can find many exotic vegetables and fruits
some of which
sometimes neither the well established supermarkets care to stock
they have a refrigerated prepack-salad section
containing ready to eat lunches, salads, fruit salads, yogurths and also some authentic looking sushi o-bento boxes

anyway back to the snooker hall
when me and drey went there
(yes we eat together a lot)
((but no, gay we are not))
the 14 soemthing waiter boy greeted us with a "x ingibilkom?"
this sounded stupid
to cut a long story short because this place does not deserve so much of my energy just bucketfuls of my bile

the salad i was served was a mess
it was the meal that inspired me to write the first leaf
the lettuce was shred
the sliced onions and tomatoes were neat
and i was given vinegar, oil and mayonnaise

the only good thing was the smoked salmon
those thin slices type
but only because it came out of the freezer and left to thaw
could have been miles better if they prepared it in the mildest of ways
but no
these assholes are allowed to give food to people commercially
and they can't do anything right in a fucking salad

this cost me an expensive
involuntarily payment of Lm2. 50

i left a 5cents tip
which had to signify as insulting

no tip
just shows you're an asshole who is also a cheapskate
5cents is like spitting in the waiter's and the chef's face
and telling them "you deserve this coin as a fucking symbol of your craftmanship's worth!"

we re moving this way to the better salads section
and to the pleasant part of the food-related-emotions-cortex in my brain

burger king have a good grilled chicken salad
this salad was very indulging
for a corporate greens in a box
costing a bit of a lot
what excelled in it was the chicken
which was char grilled the rest was at least satisfactory

hmm another place i ate at
is andrew's bar in psaila street b'kara
these people own a food shop that caters for workers and postcard townsfolk
the place is always full
at noon on weekdays
the food at this place is truly excellent
no slop, no mess, and no expectedness
infact the food is
i must say
the best of its kind
considering the place it is served in
a simple traditional bar and restaurant

the routine is neat aswell
you queue
order up
find a seat
and wait
the waiters are also very nice people
sometimes they tend to be drunk already at the wee hours of the afternoon
however they have always been as orderly
as the queen of england would be
if she was a man and dressed in monti-clothes
and worked in birkirkara

i had eaten here before
their sumptuous menu
is well varied
and every meal i had the priviledge of experiencing
was immensely life altering
ok thats an exaggeration
but really
truly good food
again i tell you
no slop
no mess
no expectedness
and indulging as fuck

ok that does it some justice

now the salad here had the typical Andrews Bar signature
the triple B
it was big, beautiful and bloody good
all their plates come in this standard make
the salad apart from the ignorable and completely acceptable shredd lettuce and coleslaw
included green and red peppers, cucumbers, the usual tomatoes and a very presentable array of miscelleanous vegetables in a single mound of garden pleasure
the specificity of that salad was the ham
which was regular ham
what we all recognise as perzut
and that's the only thing i would have changed
i would have put proper slices of gammon or back bacon instead
but hey i m definetely not complaining for Lm 1. 60

lastly i must really suggest, adivse and exhalt
the restaurant off the university campus
behind the meet and eat place i mentioned before
they pose as a high brow eating place
and in a sense they are and they well deserve to
i haven't eaten a lot here
but i ve eaten their Ceaser's Salad a number of times
and it contains the best amalgamation of lettuce, croutons and chives
in a big beautiful virgin-white plate

personally these people have single plate-dly convinced me to
eat more salads as a part of my regular diet

i have not formed this into a proper habit
but it is only because every experimental hit i take
unless i m cooking
it does not come close to matilda's Ceaser's Salad
this dish is almost an entirely different ball game

but of course it isn't
its still uncooked plant-life on stoneware
but mark my words
when i say that salads cannot be reduced to this definition alone

yours herbivorously

tex mex - ribs

for my easter lunch
my number one dining compadre
andrea took me to tex mex
near preluna towers in sliema
we got there by 11 30
and the place was empty
however it was to be fully booked at oneish
they still let us eat since we were there before the rush

after offering us their varied fish specimens
and offering us some special of the easter sunday 3 course meal
we informed the slightly blunt but not unfriendly manager acting as waiter who spoke as if he owns the place
(so he probably does)
that we already know what we came for
and that was ribs
we ordered the double rack entree
which had the "(if you can handle it)" remark next to it on the menu
thats the cooler version of his name
did handle it
but me
with all my eating bravados history and pomp
left a meatful couple of ribs on the plate

the ribs we ordered (refer to picture(when i post it))
were one cooked in tex mex house recipe bbq sauce and another cooked in cajun spice
all i can say here is that the presentation was very good
especially since having a recognizable part of a bovine carcass on a plate
is a very difficult presentation to fuck up

the meat was tender
while eating it i kept on thinking of how much that ruthless farmer must have kicked that cow in the ribs or something
kidding kidding
those are some residue vegan thoughts running around in my head
(ah yes veganism, one day i ll post about that)

after the meal we walked to spinola bay for ice cream at that ice cream shop
forgot the name
they have very good pistacco ice cream
and the strawberry tasted excellent aswell

amongst the many things
that i learnt today
what i must say about this
is that although meat is as good as it is
point blank, no debate
pigging out on it
must be bad since i didnt get hungry till up to 10:30 at night today
which is a bad sign
its back to half cooked greens and more fluids and juices tomorrow

of course it never hurts to remind yourself
here and there
that you are at the very top of the foodchain
and devour and lick clean the organ-casing of a cow

yours omnivourously


Trattoria Fiorino D' Oro

if you re ever in the kennedy grove area
driving from st pauls bay to the st julians area
via the coast road
take a right into salina and take
the hill
known as the t'alla u ommu
to naxxar
it is now that you have to look out for an immediate open space
with a restaurant by the left and a space where about 6 cars can be parked
on the right
park there
and head into that restaurant on the other side

i wouldn't want to make this sound too praisy
but the host there is of the friendliest and most welcoming kind
the food is of the divinest type
and the atmosphere homlier than home

the prices are of course as wholesome as their food
however if i had to pay double what they ask for
for what they serve
i would
no regrets
and leave a good tip

my first meal there was the tagliatelle con tartufo nero
which was superb and made me love these people immediately
if you have never tried this
well you should of course
and i suggest no other place

a friend of mine known as il gabubu
who apparently cooks pasta all the time
once told me very wise words i think
he said
when you can eat a pasta's sauce on its own by the spoonful
then its definetely good sauce

i know this will sound sick and blown out of proportion and well maybe it is a little bit
but for the fiorino d'oro's
sugo col' tartufo nero the amount would be a pintful
then i might start to feel a bit *word-much-milder-than-"sick"*

then i ve taken the speck and parma ham sauce
with tagliatelle
exquisite here again

a stuffed calamari dish
twas good but i ll try something else on their fish menu next time cos it was the only low point for me
low is also an inappropriate word here

and a dish which was otherworldly
ravioli all quattro formaggi
the sauce has the four cheeses
not the filling
this was whoa

tasted off friends' plates:

ravioli with sage and butter sauce
this is fighting it out with that four cheese delight

tagliatelle col nero di sepia
yes yes yes the pattern you think you are noticing
is indeed forming here
twas outright and plain good

some char grilled meat steaks
the taste of well turned out camping trips
in the comfort of a chair
a table and appropriate light

tiramisu, apple pie, and tangerine pie
all these where the perfect accompaniments for those meals

last thing to say
in this blog-post lacking any hint of negativity
all the food mentioned is home made
including the pasta and the sauces of course
(ask for the in-season recipes [not included on the official menu])
even the deserts are homemade except for the icecream

the limoncello is also done in house
but i m not a great fan of this it seems
maybe its an acquired taste
who knows

the chef and owner is italian
not that it would mean anything to me usually
but well in this case it definitely does

they also bring out fresh fish on a big dish for you so you can tell them which one you want cooked
you can even not choose anything as i had done
and the lady didnt seem in the least bit bugged
i don't know i had to include this bit about the fish somewhere
didnt know where to put it
maybe when i mentioned the calamari thing would have been good
but ah anyway

looking forward to go again and try the sugo col' cingiale with some pasta
and maybe i ll choose one of those inviting fishes
or a proper plate of char grilled mammal flesh
who knows

off to sleep

Salading Saladong - first leaf

i have started a new diet
i start a new one every month or so
at times i have to revisit old ones
some times i make up new ones
but more importantly i lose little weight

that said, the problem is not the diets themselves
but the lack of persistance from my part

anywhat my new diet consists of having first a breakfast (non specific)
and then having the other two meals consist of anything i want as long as it is supplied with a raw vegetable salad
this diet idea i got from a jason vale and from reading his book
great guy
with great tips

this means that when i m eating out i now tend to order salads as meals or with meals proper

many restaurants think that when a fucker orders a salad he means shredded lettuce and green olives
which clearly is the worst way of preparing a plate of the finest food nature has provided

hopefully by reading this you will know what to look for in a good salad, what to avoid and how to prepare some fine-dine and proper dish of green for you to eat

1. do not serve humans what is intended for goats

this means that if it looks like grass on a plate it will most probably taste like grass off a plate
dont shred or cut your lettuce and raw cabbage instead use a far more charming technique
and tear the leaves
with your fingers that is
i cant stand cut-lettuce any more
there s something very wrong about it
it looks like someone dumped the contents of a lawnmower bag on your china
it hangs about everywhere
and falls off forks
even if you re skilled
the texture is also lost as it becomes a defined preset shape for a food
which is already in its nature not the vegetable equivalent of a crisp flamed marshmallow
and of course visually it is the aesthetical equivalent of an mdina-in-the-sunset landscape
seen it before and afraid you will have to keep seeing it again and claiming the been-there-done-that routine

i cannot stress this enough
never ever shred lettuce
unless you re aiming for desacration proper

2. do not slice tomatoes and onions and expect to accomplish anything in life

one thing i hate in these tourist-catering
eateries i dare not call restaurants
that they think that having the power to
to trap bread between a griller
and making a toastie is enough to make them legit to serve food to people
these cheesecake-microwaving farts with their family businesses
keep on giving me sides with sliced onion and tomato
neatly put on top of each other
(please understand that the term "neatly" is here loaded with the connotations of hate, anger and frustration)

3. mayonnaise, cooking oil and vinegar are cheap short cuts for a dressing and a slice of lemon is only just a sufficient garnish

i know that you re probably thinking that mayonnaise is good and whatever
but keep your mayo for your chips
and when it comes to salads it is best to use it as an element in a mixture with other ingredients and thus then having a dressing rather than a paste or a blob

those are some plain pointers and definite donts when it comes to serving salads to people or to yourself
stay tuned for more

gastronomically yours



Quirky but fucking amazing!

some three years ago in the summer

a special ingredient fusion came into being in my life

it was a hot summer day and me and my friends were about to head home from the beach
the beach we like to call Golden Baaa
other people call it Golden Bay
(we think the latter one is too gay)
((the rhyme is not intended hey!))

my maruti jeep was packed with people
of course it fits about 4
my friend Kat had bought one of those soft ice-cream-vendor ice-creams
vanilla flavour
from the tanti kiosk near the parking lot

i think i had bought a can of Pringles
hot and Spicy
or i bummed a stack full off someone

at some point in eating the pringles

i had the brilliant, and otherworldy idea to ask my friend if i could dip my chip in her ice cream
what i did next was not ask her if i could

but i took action

after my awes and cries of orgasmic proportions

the rest of the jeep had their try at this experiment

my rational understanding and analysis of this goes as follows:
he hot and spicy pringle
being also salty
meets in your mouth in conflict with the sweet and cold ice cream
making the opposing qualities blend nicely on your toungue
and all this convergence of taste makes your taste-buds orgasm in the most holistic of fashions

also the crunchy make-up of the chip harmonises with the soft, wet cream
making this fusion of corporate products an immense joy

next the people in that jeep bought more vanilla ice cream and more hot and spicy pringles(the ones in the black cans)

soon enough it was reported by people present on the site that female virgin angels dressed in white see-through dresses were seen soaring and singing heavenly choral odes around the jeep as the birth of this new recipe took place


= heaven!

intro to the bistro

this is my new blog
it will be about food
"Zaqqu Mimlijja" in my language
means "stomach-full" with the gender indicative of male
as opposed to "zaqqha mimlijja" which would be indicative of a female

in other words the title of this blog indicates that i am male

it also indicates that i am stomach-full

however psychologically i have trained myself over the years to believe that i am not stomach-full which results in keeping me in a healthy, eye-pleasing, round figure

thus what i would like to do with this blog is write about one of my most-favorite pastimes, that of food

my topics will vary from

to puke-my-heart-out-disgusting
restaurant reviews, when i get to go to them
dieting, and my exploits(read blunders) in the field
writing out recipies for my readers to try at home
and other food related business

i m sorry i write in this annoying manner
however you will get used to reading through this slick type of punctuation
and also i m sorry for those of you who think i should write in maltese but i succumb to too many spelling mistakes to attempt that

furthermore i would not like to pose as a gourmet
moustache twirling
lip smacking
wine connoisseur fat fuck

i am fat
however i believe that food is such an integral part of daily life that bla bla

ok scratch that
i m writing about food because i find that analysis, discussion and extrapolation of human experience into written or spoken language is a great experience within itself

i also feel that people should talk and write more about food
since this will heighten their eating experiences

my restaurant reviews will not always include established restaurants
but also small eateries
infact today i intend to start with something small
i dedicate this first blog entry to...

Meet 'n' Eat
Custard Pie

this is a small sweet pastry that the proprietors of this nice cafeteria just outside university
keep half hidden in the pastry section's top left corner near their other passable chocolate croissants

this item is of course in full display
but by half hidden i mean that these people should advertise this little gem of a hot desert much better
they should patent it or something
wrap it in small plastic bags and market it to the rest of the island

the pastry reminds you of a sweet version of a good sunday morning pastizz
and the custard melting out of the small crust envelope gives the inside of your mouth the direct gastronomic demonstration of "simple yet indulgent"

if you happen to pass by
go in and ask them for it
when they ask you whether you want it warmed up, reply in the positive

if you are hungrier than that accompany this desert with one of their toasted sandwiched buns,

so far my favorite is the chicken and mushroom entry

gastronomically yours