Friday, May 28, 2010

Food Stories

Lately I have been really busy. And finally, last Saturday I found the time to go swimming, as if I would have know what was expecting me. Looking at the next pictures, and reading the blog, you probably have the same impression as I have: my "life and luxury" tend to shrink down to one of mankind's most amazing occupation: gastronomy.

After approximately eight or so years I met on Friday a friend from Hamburg, who used to be the former neighbour of my current landlady. We decided to try Corean food for the first time. One little problem: I can't tolerate spicy food well, due to some biological reactions of my body to it. So what to do? I had been waiting for this moment for a few months. My fascination for Corean culture has grown lately a lot and I was so convinced that I would like the food, so much so that I was ready to support the consequences. I picked two dishes (my curiosity was bigger than my stomach - the restaurant owner, who was also the cook, was surprised!) which were supposed to be prepared in a mild was hot-hot-hot, but still ok enough to tell the other flavours apart.

I don't remember the name of the first dish, unfortunatrly, but there were rice noodles and beef (prepared in a special yummy way), vegetables, all in a sauce which contained a lot of garlic and was also spicy. They also served rice with it.

The second dish, which I found more interesting, and closer to "very traditional Corean cuisine" was a so-called Bibim bap or Bibimbab (or other variations of the name). The restaurant owner, who was a really nice person, explained me that it means: mixing everything together. Indeed, I received a huge bowl in which I had approximately 8 vegetables, rice, a fried egg, sliced beef (very spicy) and kimchi, another very traditional and probably the most well-known Corean food. It was something like pickled cabbage, extremly spicy, but I absolutely adored it! So I had that bowl, and next to it there were two, smaller bowls. One with a red sauce, and the other one with a vegetable soup. I had to mix the sauce with all the content of the big bowl, and then eat the soup simoultaneously with the mixture. The soup was to make the food "less dry", as compared to the first dish which I had ordered, it had no sauce inside. So I tasted the red paste-like sauce: it was a flavour of flowers, then it went into fruity-ness, and then it just burned, all of a sudden, your mouth. I was not able to mix it in the Bibim bap. Nor was I able to eat the soup with it. It tasted very "fishy". It was a watery, clear liquid with few fine sliced vegetables in it, but once you tasted it, you had the impression of swallowing first sea water, and then a fish. It was worth a try, but it really didn't satisfy my taste buds. Nevertheless, the rest in the big bowl was amazing. Most of all I loved the kimchi.

As, unlike my habit, I was too amazed by the food when it arrived, I forgot to take pictures, so I'm using one I found on the internet, just as descriptive purpose:

Pentecost followed on Sunday and Monday, and my landlady and I were invited to lunch, at around 15.00 (normal for a Sunday lunch, haha). What we didn't know was that it would be enough also for dinner! The invitation was mainly for eating lamb, but what we found there when we arrived, was a gastronomic delight in a four-courses-menu, for which we needed two hours to eat (with no breaks between the courses).

First on the list was a light salad with fried mushrooms (came on top after I had already taken these pictures) and a great sauce of at least 10 ingredients, for which I still have to get the recipe soon. Very soon!

As it is asparagus season, this so wonderful ingredient could not be absent from the menu. Here it was served on spaghettis, with pepper and parmesan on top. Mmmmm!!!

Finally, a big pot was open and the lamb cooked in vegetables amazed us with the luring scent. We were all really full by the time the lamb arrived, but it was so good, that we all ate an entire portion of it.

Finally the last course was extremly refreshing: vanilla ice cream with strawberries on a rhubarb sauce.

I have to tell you, it was a lunch I will not forget so soon.

Arrived home and played a bit with my looks, while preparing for other gastronomic encounter on Tuesday. This was when Jella and I decided to go out in Hamburg, in the "Schanze" neighbourhood. The initial plan was for sushi, so we went to a Japanese restaurant. Since I hadn't had a warm meal that day, I decided to get as hors d'oeuvre a chicken-teriyaki in a Japanese sauce which was sweet-ish, and I got two teriyaki sticks on vegetable and with rice served. Actually, this could have been enough for the evening. But the sushi had already been ordered.
Following the picture of my teriyaki is a chicken-? (forgot the name, but it was delicious) in a peanut-sauce - one word: amazing!

After the starter, I received my six makis and four nigiris (4 makis were left which I took home in a doggy-bag), all fresh and nice.

With filled stomachs and happy faces we walked once again in the neighbourhood and sat down in a pub (?) for a drink and a conversation. When I got back home I was smiling, feeling that I had just had one of the best times lately on that evening.
And today? It's back to swimming, to get fit for who knows what new gastronomic delights will come my way.

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