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Category Archives: airplaine food

Pass me the Vegemite, please

Beach relax

Hello and welcome back to reality. I mean, Germany. After a week in Australia, where Jonas and I again nailed over a dozen interviews, I’m back here, getting used to our new place, which is not hard to do at all. 🙂

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We were in Melburne. Oh, no, it’s spelled Melbourne! But pronounced “Melburne,” and Jonas never let me forget it. There, the coffee and food culture is beyond compare. The city was spectacular and we had time to explore during the weekend in between work days. They take their coffee very very seriously there. On every corner you find a coffee shop filled with patrons. Each place offering more or less the same assortment. But apparently they are all unique as people will swear by the coffee place they visit every day, the barista who works there, probably the cows that create the milk that they use in their “flat whites.” I tried a flat white. Bah. Just a Latte. Obviously I’m completely ignorant.

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But I must say, they are beautiful – these coffees shops every where. And they serve up some gorgeous coffee as well.

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I can’t say that we ever had an AMAZING meal. We were pretty busy seeing the sights and pretty tired in the beginning, getting over our jetlag.

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Which was maybe a touch easier for me, as the company was willing to fly me business class while my poor intern colleague had to sit in economy. Just down there – breakfast before landing in Abu Dhabi, the 1/3 of the way there mark.

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Etihad does a fairly good job of spoiling biz class passengers. The hard part is trying to decide between trying out a bunch of things or just sleeping. On the way there I was curious and probably ate more than I should have. On the way back, I simply slept most of the way.

The city was beautiful. A combination feeling of California, Singapore and Munich somehow. The hustle-bustle of a city plus the strong influence of Asia (Singapore), with the beauty of the coast nearby (California), but still a laid-back feeling (Munich).

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We rented the city bikes to get around, which was easy and convenient.

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And saved a little of our per diem money simply by eating breakfast in our room/s. So we could spend it on sight seeing.

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Yeah, and I learned to actually like vegemite. Words I thought would never come from my mouth. But indeed, spread very thinly under a few slices of avocado and a boiled egg…wow.

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Back home now, I’m learning to use all my new kitchen appliances. The stove is awesome. And even with little energy now that I am jet lagged again, it’s easy to saute some quail breasts, slice them thinly on toast, and put the rest in the fridge or freezer for another day/meal.

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I love the Togarashi spice blend I bought in California a few weeks back. Spicy citrus and seaweed flavors plus a touch of salt. Saute after sprinkling on both sides, done.

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Tonight will be the first test of the steam oven.

And now, time to run.

 

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2016 in airplaine food, Asian, Travel

 

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Mexi-xmas

IMG_6960Mexican Christmas? Well, not really. But I was put in charge of dinner on Monday night, the 23rd, and really really wanted to try out pozole. The taqueria I really like here in Munich keeps serving it, but somehow I keep missing it whenever I am there to grab lunch. They are either out of it already or haven’t made it on that day. And apparently, pozole is quite a traditional dish to serve on Christmas in Mexico. So the pozole was at least appropriately timed if not culturally fitting.

Pozole is made with meat (generally pork, although I used chicken) and a special form of corn – in english, called “hominy.”  According to wikipedia: “To make hominy, field corn (maize) grain is dried, then treated by soaking and cooking the mature (hard) grain in a dilute solution of slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) or wood ash, a process termed nixtamalization.” It helps soften the corn, more or less removing the outer layer of the kernel. You can buy it either canned (forget this in Germany, or at least in Munich), or dried – so it needs to be reconstituted with water over night and then cooked for a very very very long time.

soaking the corn

soaking the corn

There is a fairly wide variety of recipes out there for pozole. Some people make it green and sour – with tomatillos and green chilis and such. Others go for a red version – rich with red chilies. I ended up with my own version. I used this recipe as a guide, but went off-road fairly quickly. 😉

First step is to make chicken soup – which I did with dark meat only. Rather than using flat Italian parsley in the soup I put in cilantro/coriander to imbue a Mexican flavor from the get-go.

Make chicken soup

Make chicken soup

The recipe called for a variety of chilis, but I had no chance of getting them all here. I’d bought some canned poblanos from a local mexican grocery, which was at least a good start. Although what I wasn’t able to do was char the skin of the peppers and roast them. So…compromises compromises…

Canned poblanos

Canned poblanos

To make the pozole itself, I blended a mixture of chilis, garlic, onions to form a sort of paste/base flavor. This gets gently sauteed in oil for a few minutes, and then I added tomato puree and the chopped up poblanos.

Getting the pozole started

Getting the pozole started

After a few stirs, the corn went in next.

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And finally the chicken stock.

Simmer for about an hour, letting the flavors meld and the corn soften further. Then add in the chicken (which you have removed from the bones) and let the whole stew cook for a bit longer.

Meanwhile you can chop up all the toppings for pozole – not a few. Cabbage is traditional, as is chopped up and fried tortillas, lime, cilantro, onions, creme fraiche (well, it should have been a Mexican version, but close enough).

Toppings for pozole

Toppings for pozole

I baked some tortillas to make them into “tostadas” as well – a nice crispy alternative to bread or rice. Topped with black beans, some salsa and guacomole and a sprinkle of cheese, they rounded out the meal.

Tostadas with toppings

Tostadas with toppings

Not the flavors of Germany, but a nice spicy zing the day before the more traditional German Christmas fare.

Definitely a recipe to make again (and if you want a more exact recipe, just message me, I’ll try to come up with the amounts I used for everything) – but next time the corn needs to be cooked even longer. Now off to the taqueria again today. Maybe they’ll have pozole for me to try and compare mine with.

 

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The Report: “Special Meal” on Lufthansa

Vegetarian (Indian) Special Meal

Vegetarian (Indian) Special Meal

Ok, I admit, it doesn’t look all that appetizing. But if you think about what you normally get on an airplane – some soggy peas and carrots plotzing under a cardboard-dry grey piece of chicken with an unidentifiable lump of something (mashed potatoes?) next to it…you have to be fair with your comparison. Because after eating this vague mix of mashed up looking stuff (with some rice in the middle), I have to say that for all future cross-atlantic trips, I will never be eating the terrible Spaghetti Bolognese or Chicken Teriyaki again.

This here is the “Vegetarian (Indian) Meal” that I special ordered about 26 hours before I got on the flight home. And it was pretty good. Fairly standard stuff for Indian food – a Paneer Masala, some dal and some rice. A little bit of yogurt. A strange “salad” of chana (chickpeas) that was the only sort of odd dish because Indians would never eat chickpeas that way – with no spices, just plain. At least I don’t think they would. And contrary to predictions (take note, Dirk), there *was* a dessert – the orange stuff in the corner there was a reasonably tasty carrot halwa.

There seemed to be quite a few people ordering special meals on the flight – I was mostly surrounded by Italians, although I don’t know why, and some of them had ordered meals as well, although I didn’t get a good look at them. Two orthodox Jewish men sat one row ahead of me and they received a very carefully packaged Kosher meal. I tried craning my neck to see what they had in there (order kosher next time?), but no luck. Amusing was the fact that the meals seemed to come packaged with prayers or readings. I saw one of the men pull out the slip of paper from his tray and read it after the meal.

One other amusement on the flight. About half-way through I turned to see a DOG on the plane in the row a little further down. A little guy, he was sitting at that point between his owners on the seat – quite a surprise because I always thought they had to stay in their little cage under the seat for the whole flight. Later, when I snapped this shot, he was on the floor. He was quiet as a mouse, though. It was only chance that I even noticed him there.

Pooch in the plane

Pooch in the plane

 

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