Closed Mussels

you have been throwing them away haven't you
cos they didn't open properly

i've long doubted this claim
of not eating closed mussels
from a plate of cooked ones
and i've long been eating closed mussels
from a plate of cooked ones
after forcing them open with a knife
and never died or had food poisoning
and they always tasted the same as the others

basically we've been wasting a lot of tasty harmless black mussels because...

you'll get to know when you read -={this}=-


Serial Killer: Eggs and Chips

salvatore mangion
a very ironic name
for someone who undid his safety through the unlikely act of eating

you know cos salvatore means savior
and mangion probably comes from the italian verb mangiare: to eat...

salvu killed someone called francis caruana and attempted to kill his own sister in a separate incident
for this he serves time in jail
then one day he's joking to some inmate about how back in the prison free days he cold bloodedly murdered this old woman by stabbing her no less than 37 times for the measly sum of Lm200 about 466 euro
which he then spends on a single night of binge drinking and for paying a taxi to get him home

somehow the police get wind of this and get the story out of him

of how in 1986 he stalked rosina zammit
the victim
gained her confidence and played butcher's pinata with her so he could go out clubbing to shitty eighties music in the evening

skip 24 years and rosina's memory is avenged
by the cunning use of a pack of cigarettes and a plate of eggs and chips

i read this story
as i m sure some of you may have on the times this tuesday

and i ve been thinking of eggs and chips all week
and i knew all week that come saturday morning i would cook anthony bourdain's recipe to the french fries he praises so much
that i did and i fried some eggs in butter for the serial killer effect

in short borudain's method involves cutting the potatoes thinly, putting them in ice cold water, blanching them then frying them on high heat in peanut oil

i didn't peel my potatoes
cos i like them that way
so that it helps my daily fibre intake

cos i like them that way

anyway here is the serial killer
eggs and chips
(and sausages, bread, salad and watermelon for dessert)


if i could have one superpower, it would be the ability to fix bad food

not true of course
because if i really had to choose
a superpower i would pick something more dangerous like rapid healing, super-strength or laser sight

or actually a good superpower would be to have all the extra calories i eat make people i dislike get fat
rather than myself

immortality would be sweet as well...

-departing from flights of fancy and returning to my computer desk to give you this story

The Glen Who Saved Easter Mint Sauce

I press a lot of buttons
and finger-tap away.
A story of Easter
of wonderment and play.

After partying slightly
Easter Sunday I wake.
Sober but lazy
Make! Make! Make!

if this is sounding like a dr seuss book
you haven't read
its because that was my intention
if not
(and this is where i shoot myself in the foot)
it is because i have poor creative writing skills
(and this is where i patronize you)
because you aren't well read in children books

i'm trying to make out a story out of nothing
nothing so great happened
but i did fix an otherwise spoilt mint sauce

and i like giving myself credit
even when i'm not so due

i m living in a house
away from my parents
with two housemates
the word "housemates" is an important delineation device
it attempts to mask the described constituents into gender-neutral subjects

although if i was living with two girls i would have probably made that quite clear from the start and avoided all the stealthy-wordy-sneakiness
so maybe i should stop treating you
my readers
so condescendingly

because you're ahead of me already

and so
here it is

quick question...

its an easter sunday morning
you live close to church
and you need to improvise malt vinegar for a mint sauce
what do you do?

the back-story to this
is that we went to a party where we didn't party much
but one of us
let's call him mark
(the name is fictitious because.......

that's what i wrote and then i closed the browser window
where all the wordy magic happens
and i forgot about this blog post
it was easter and months have passed now
it's almost summer
and today i'm here to put an end to my digression and forge ahead the beautiful story of the lamb mint sauce

where was i?!

..........his name is fictitious for reasons... i have now forgotten
two months have passed
i don't know what i was blabbing about then and i seem to have misplaced that train of thought

i hope you're ready for the end of the story because it will soon be upon you

i cooked lamb back ribs
in the oven from a recipe
from the larousse gastronomique

apparently this was a blatant lie
mark actually cooked the ribs not me

then mark amongst other things had to prepare a mint sauce from a recipe he found online
and it came very vinegary and bad tasting
this happened because he substituted regular white vinegar for malt vinegar and because he trusted a untrustworthy source on the internet

we where also very hungover from the shit we poured into ourselves the night before
mark went to back to bed

so there i was in my new house and kitchen on easter sunday with bad acidic mint sauce
and only an hour to fix it

i made myself some bovril
and undid most of the hangover with one fell swoop

(i m sure this last part is a complete fabrication, but it adds to the story

memory can be a very creative thing!!)

once my heavy-headedness subsided and my powers restored i reached into the far depths of the secret culinary-mischievousness lobe of my brain
and in the darkness of the darkest of the caverns of the psyche
i battled the Monster of Chef's Block!
a duel of epic proportions and it lasted a good four minutes
as i slayed the beast of creative-apathy...
as it lay dying in agony
it used up its last energies by pointing to the Inner Sanctum of Enlightened Taste
and there it was
clear before me...

the sauce was vinegary
that was bad

the sauce was minty
that was good

the original sauce recipe included malt vinegar

an added malty taste to the sauce would bring out its minty acidity and make a beautiful accompaniment to lamb
browned on the outside with gradient of inner pink core

where could i get malt on an easter sunday morning???

...then the stroke of humble genius

i left the house and headed to the village square
on the way there
a well built middle aged man in full period roman centurion garb approached me
that would be a mindfuck anywhere else but malta during holy week
there and then this indicated that the easter sunday procession was over
and that lunchtime was soon upon us
i hurried to the labour party band club bar
and bought myself 8 packets of...


hehe yeah that's how!

and then i went back home
chucked the maltesers in the freezer
then i drained the vinegar from the sauce and cooked it in a little water
took out the maltesers
cracked the frozen milk chocolate shells and kept the malty balls inside
these i crushed
and added to the sauce
till they melted....

the rest is history



i took a break from living my after office-life in the vivid and oh-so-wonderful world of call of duty 4
and together with some friends i attended a seminar on bread and pizza dough making

organised at palazzo santa rosa
by claude camilleri
the one of margo's
showcasing the exploits of his new pizzaiolo giovanni

didnt actually learn to make the dough nor the pizza hands on
but probably that was a good thing seeing as it was a friday evening

we did get to experience even better things probably

a lot of passionate talking about bread and pizza

and a lot of tasting

overall the outing as an experience in itself
was even more so vivid than call of duty 4

we got to taste everything
from their house-made doughs to their house-smoked pork

cooked pizzas
and also
this buffalo mozzarella acquired from some obscure village in italy
giovanni's lifetime experience has brought him to boldly claim that there is no better mozzarella than this one
wait for it...

"...in the whole world!"

this was one of the few times i heard this cliché phrase uttered so genuinely

i forgot what the name of the village or the mozzarella brand was

so far as i could tell it was the best mozzarella i ever tasted


when we got there they immediately started talking about bread

they skipped the how-to's and the step-by-stepping

instead they made us taste everything
even the raw pastry

some from the audience including myself at different points tried to venture a question as to the flour to the water ratios...

all we got were cryptic:

"it depends on the weather...
...the humidity...
...the water..."

luckily the world we live in has a google backbone
and since i really wanted to make and bake my own sourdough bread...
i m now using these guidelines

they seem pretty easy to follow
and i hope that one day i will get to the level where i can gauge what ratios to use by acquiring a tiny bit of the experiential knack that giovanni seems to have

margo's pizza!
better than before
that's for sure

the other times i went
there was no qualm as to the truthfulness of the ingredients
and it definitely was a superb pizza
however those two times the base wasn't consistent

the first time it was fluffy and light
second time it was crunchier and fuller

this time the base was a wholesome crunchy piece of cereal perfection

both the wholemeal base (a new addition) and the mostly white-flour base allowed for the toppings to shine even more than the other two times

maybe it is the lack of yeast in the whole process
maybe its the loving care that giovanni gives to the doughs and to the actual pizza making

claude said that some italians told him that the best pizza in italy was to be found in malta at his margo's

i m not going to dispute or agree with anything
all i know is that claude's vision of bringing out the best out of the pizza
is surely happening down there in mistra bay

in addition to the office, the pool, and sniping terrorists
i am now also adding sourdough making to my eventful life
using the guidelines from that link and the inspiration from giovanni and claude

i sure like the idea of having a 'pet' in the fridge that i have to feed every know and again

of course enzymes are not as cuddly or friendly as dogs...
but i'll see where this goes

i m going to be expermenting with sourdough wholemeal bread making

claude and giovanni want to push the wholemeal stuff more
as they believe that this is the only way to get back to tradition and to healthier bread eating
and they have eliminated yeast completely from the process

i hate sounding like a marketeering fuckhead
but if you go to margo's you can now order wholemeal pizzas
which are not simply there for those healthy and conscious diners
going through some carb-concious fad
but is part of an improved artisan menu
and is closest to how people ate pizzas and breads before hitler failed miserably at conquering the world

sourdough yeast-free making and baking is a lengthier process
than the usual bread making with white flours and packaged yeast

it takes days to get good dough
and apparently although we know the maltese loaf as sourdough
it appears that along the way
the tradition of culturing a starter has been dropped in favor of using yeast as a separate ingredient

at the seminar they gave us 20 day old bread to taste
and although hard as rock
the original tastes where still present
it would be perfect for making bread puddings, maltese arioli, or pappa sauce

i used to think that the fact that bread stales and rots after a few days was a good thing
(as opposed to factory produced sliced bread that sometimes lasts weeks)
was completely wrong
the added yeast makes bread keep on fermenting at a faster rate
spoiling it within hours or days

off to teach my new pet some tricks

the end


Lindt Sprungli - Excellence 99%

i tried this 99% pure chocolate
from lindt

the short story is that i now think that any other dark chocolate with less percentage is exclusively for pussies

long story is that an earthquake of pleasure erupted in my mouth unleashing a dark magma of joyful bitterness that took over and fucked my taste-buds senseless

at least that was the first time i tasted it

now i eat it because not to eat doesn't feel right

me and lindt's 99% excellence
had love at first melt

chances are you won't like it

i ve evangalised around a bit
about it
some have liked it and most have not

it might be an acquired taste for some
for me it was a case of seeing the light and becoming an instant believer

lindt suggest that you don't eat it alone
that it should be an accompaniment to other tastes

i accompany it with more of itself to be honest

cos my taste buds are hardy that way

i also don't mind eating spoonfuls of marmite/vegemite and can eat the most horrible of foods
but then i can't stand wasabi and i can't inhale tobacco smoke for a long time
(despite my efforts to kick start the vice at the tender age of ten)
i'm also not a big fan of red hot chili peppers
(the capsicum, i quite like some of the band's stuff)

taste-buds can be a bitch of a thing

comment when or if you've tried it