Things to avoid – Chilion Jolokia

There are certain booms in the beginning part of a market when products or services have already entered users wallets, the market is in an ascending path, the number of users and buyers are growing – and somewhere around this point turn up providers who are creating products or producing services to with lower quality for the same amount of selling price.

A jar of Chilion Jolokia on a table
The cap of Chilion Jolokia

Now, this is what happened in the Hungarian chilli and chilli sauce primary producers market. I have been following this market since 2005 or so, buying products from lots of producers, visiting farmers’ markets and, chilli festivals – I even became a member of the jury of a chilli sauce contest. Continue reading

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Cobb Barbecue Cooking System – on the way home

So, I’m very excited because I have just ordered one of these beauties.

And this was one of my quickest decisions in my life about a cooking tool.

I happened to visit a Hungarian website, from where I almost bought a smoker which can be used for grilling and barbecuing too – but this time I found a new tool, the SAfire Cooker. That is a portable cooker for grilling and barbecuing meat and other stuff.

A little bit expensive, though, but I found one cheaper on eBay, but then I found another one, the Cobb Premier, and that seems a bit even better then the SAfire.

And as I had some money hidden on PayPal, I decided to buy that. It is said to be a very good cooker, very useful for beginners like me, so I thought that I would use it for practising. And now I’m sitting here excited and waiting 7-10 day to have the box delivered.

Journey to Belgium – 1st cheese

So, I spent a couple of days in Brussels, I had a workshop there – and obviously, I brought a couple of thing home. The package included waffles, chocolates, macarons, mustards, hams, and cheeses.

And the first cheese turns out to be French originally. Anyway, my wife wasn’t that happy as most of the cheeses are those smelly ones, so I am told to finish them off as soon as I can. And I’m on it, ’cause I have to admit, when I open the fridge, you can feel it, really, and you can feel that immediately in the other end of the flat, too.

But so it goes – I have to get used to seeing my two-year-old with nose plugged.

Rouy in the box
The first cheese from the trip

So, it is a smelly one, but I like them very much and this is nowhere near to the worst ones. Once I bought something I opened at my office in the kitchen – my colleagues spent the whole day with open windows on the whole corridor. And I mean it!

And anyway, one of my friends says that you don’t smell it when you eat it, so problem solved.

And if you taste it, you will love it. It is not the richest of flavors but still, gives you the idea of eating something proper. This not the best of the cheeses, not even the front row, but a decent one. Soft but can be sliced and cut with a sharp knife, and the slices are really nice on a good slice of bread.

As you can find on the internet it is made from the cow’s milk, and Rouy is the name of the family company that produces it. They originally lived in Dijon, France, but now I think they are acquired by a subsidiary of Lactalys Besnier.

Anyway, don’t be afraid to try, you won’t be disappointed though one can be sure to be able to find something better.

 

Rump steak in Emile Henry

So, you can always find some bargains in supermarkets – and that’s what happened to me last year on the last day of December. We went for a last shopping before everything is closed, and I realized that quite a lot of different steaks are very cheap.

There were Irish rump steaks and steaks from the States at something like the 20% of the original price. So I bought a lot. Really.

And then I figured that I make one of them in the oven in a glass baking dish, and that was perfect. In fact so perfect, that my wife, who doesn’t really enjoy eating steaks, wanted to have another one the day after.

We couldn’t really do that then, but a week later I thought that I took a step forward, and I used my ceramic dish, the Emile Henry one.

And that time I took some photos, too.

The first one had been a steak from the United States, the second one was an Irish rump steak, and, unfortunately, I couldn’t bring the best out of it. It wasn’t really bad, but it could have been better, really.

I left it in the oven for too long, that was the biggest mistake, so the meat wasn’t that tender, lost mostly the juices, the moist. You can see that on this picture, it is a bit dry.

Probably putting sliced tomato in the dish was not the best idea that time – it lost most of its water and damaged the onion bed under the steak so that wasn’t so tasty either. Anyway, as it was steak on a vegetable bed, I sliced a couple of onions, tomatoes to the bottom of the dish, added “ajo negro” (or black garlic), salt and pepper. And as usual, the steak was covered with that two things, too.

I expected something better, probably the meat was different, too, but still, I shouldn’t have left it in the oven for more than 20 or 30 minutes.

So, be careful with the timing!

My new help in the kitchen – food processor

Oh, yes, I became kind of obsessed with a tool a couple of weeks ago – a food processor. I had always wanted one of them and the time had come then. So, I started to work out which one I needed.

First I thought I was going to buy an Electrolux one, the price was something like €500, and it would have come with a slicer and a meat grinder, with 5-years extra warranty. So, first I figured that I could use this one, so I should buy one.

electrolux
The Electrolux Assistent

And here came my cautious self, the one that always think everything twice. Or five times. (Anyway, that inner me never turns up when the question is “should I drink that last shot? I’m always alone there, with that little glass of whatever…”) Continue reading

Warm chickpea salad with zucchini and eggplant

During my holiday at the parents, I managed to put on some weight, something like a plus 3-4 kilograms. I had fewer exercises, more food and more alcoholic drinks – mostly beer. So, now that I’m back to work, I need to change a couple of things to loose some of it. Not that easy, especially now, that the weather is rainy, so I still can’t run, and I kind of got used to eating a lot…

ingredients
Ingredients for the salad

Anyway, I eat less, I try to run my usual distances as often as I can (though it’s harder now, with the rainy weather). And I’m back to my normal diet with salads for lunch. So I took the “500 Salads” book from the shelf and checked for interesting recipes. And this was the second one I prepared, the first one wasn’t good enough (I fried the tomatoes and onions instead oven cook them because of the heat wave we experienced here in Hungary…).

first part of the salad
First portion in the pan

What you need:

  • a small or medium zucchini sliced or diced
  • a small or medium eggplant diced
  • 400 grams of chickpea (canned) washed
  • black olives (sliced or however you like them)
  • 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1-2 dl vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon caraway
  • Crushed pepper

salad-cp-eggp-zucc2

What you do:

Pour the olive oil into a pan and heat it and stir fry the zucchinis and the eggplants with the caraway. When they are brown a bit but still not too soft, add the vegetable stock, the chickpeas, the olives and the soy sauce, and cook together for four minutes.

Serve while warm. It’s surprisingly tasty!

And for me, this was the first time when I managed not to over fry the vegetables. Good job!

salad in bowl
Salad served

My new friend – Weber Rapidfire chimney starter

So, I’d already bought a chimney starter in an Auchan, but I’d left that at my mother-in-law’s, so I had to buy a new one. And this time I thought I would buy a good one instead of a no-name product. I had quite a lot of problems with lighting up briquettes and/or charcoal, but it seems like I finally found a tool to help this part of the game.

chimney and box
The Weber Rapidfire

So, if there’s something that lights the down part of the chimney up, this Weber thing is very good.

light under chimney
Starting the chimney with the provided starter

But before all that, let’s see my problems I’ve faced and face now with the whole fire process:

– How to have burning briquette or charcoal? (Well, this is kind of solved with this Weber chimney.)

– What to use? Briquettes of charcoal?

– What to use to light up the chimney?

So, this post is about the first question. Continue reading