Sunday, 20 May 2007

Morbier Cheese and Summerset Brie


I don't eat much of cheese, but I do like good quality cheese. In England cheese culture is not as interesting as in France or Italy, and in normal supermarket shelves it is difficult to get hold of good quality cheese.

So, sometimes we go to House of Fraser's cheese counter and buy a bit expensive cheese. As said, as I don't eat much cheese, we can afford a couple of quid more.


I usually go for British cheese, but for this time my husband wanted to try French one. So I chose this less expensive one called Morbier. It was the first time we tried this cheese. It is nice but a bit bitter to me, but he liked it. It is half hard, creamy cheese, with a bit of bitterness.

Summerset Brie

I liked more was this Summerset Brie cheese. It was on half-price offer, 99p for 100g. I don't like so much Brie, but this one was really really yummie. So soft and creamy. Probably I don't like just cheap Bries.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Harborne Farmers Market

Here, there are food markets called farmers' markets. It is ad hoc market stalls open only once or twice a month. Stalls are installed by small producers or marchants who have close contact to local producers.

Also in Birmingham there are several farmers' markets, and one in Harborne and another in Bearwood are close to where I live.

Last weekend we went to Harborne farmers' market.

I bought Woodhouse Farm's cholizo sausages and hand-made butter. Both very nice. I buy these sausages every time, because, quite different from British sausages, they don't contain bread crumbs and meat bits are rather large as Meditteranean sausages. The butter costed £1.60 for 250g. Lurpak butter costs £1 for 250g, so it is not too expensive. I

My husband, instad, got bored and bought for himself a sausage burger.

I tasted one bite, but sorry, British sausage is not for me.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Iranian biscuits

Close to the University of Birmingham where I work there is a small Middle-Eastern grocery. I go there from time to time, as I like Middle Eastern food and they have also some Greek stuff.

Among the sweets section I found this box.

It is unusually in a sense that it was not glossy factory package; it is kind of a box that you get from pastry shop. I don’t read Arabic, but it is probably Iranian, as the shop is Iranian. (If someone know the language, please let me know what is written). A box costs 1.89 pounds and contains quite a lot.

This is what I found inside.

They are so beautiful! Egg-yolky yellow pastry decorated with white coconuts and green pistachio; just a kind of colour combination appeal to my appetite.

This is a single piece. The thin and crispy pastry is rolled with confectionary sugar.

Now, taste. The predominant flavour is that of egg. It is quite sweet, but not so sticky sweet as many of the Middle Eastern sweets. I felt also some spice, probably ginger powder. They go really well with coffee and tea.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

BBQ 1 (Lobster)

Last weekend. BBQ at a friend's house.

Plan was to bbq something we always have wanted, but never tried.

One of these was lobsters.


Costs 7 quid one. These were already steamed and red, but the original colour was almost black.

his is bbq in operation. As they were already steamed, we just reheated with bbqer (they call it barby), and it added a nice smorky flavour.

Each of us got half a lobster, and this was my share. It tasted great as I expected, but what was unexpectedly good was the brown meat (greenish brown paste like substance inside the "head"). It was sweet and flavoursome.

I would be very happy to try that again.

... to be continue

Wednesday, 9 May 2007


Birmingham has a large fresh-food market at the centre of the town. During weekdays I cannot go there as it is open only during the normal office-hour. Saturday is my day of investigate it.

The market closes at 4 to 5 o’clock depending on individual stalls, so if you go there after 3, you have better chance of getting bargain.

One Saturday afternoon, when I was walking around the market without having in mind what exactly to buy, I was stopped by a fishmonger offering a plate of fish for 5 quid.

I saw four colourful fish of various size, that I have never cooked or eaten. Asked the fishman what were they, and I was told they were “goatfish”. I was not sure how to cook, but the attraction of unknown was too powerful.


Back at home, I started to do some research about goatfish and discovered they have white meat with delicate taste, as they were in a same family as red mullets. They are often eaten in curry or deep fried. By the way, I learned also that they are called goatfish because they have a goat-beard like thing under their chin.

I decided to go for deep-frying, but I also tried bake in oven; this is oven cooked version. It was actually quite nice, but as the meat itself does not have strong flavour, deep-frying has the effect of concentrating enhancing it.

It was an interesting experiment.

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Birmingham Baking Tin

I love cooking and also cooking ware.

The other day, I found this baking tin on discounted price (13 down to 8 pounds). Still It was more expensive than more ordinary ones, but I could not resist. It was supposed to be rasagna bakingware.

I saw once this "Mermaid" tin publicised on Delia Smith website and have been very curious as she recommended ceramic bakeware over metal ones in her best and long seller (I read that one in 5 British households posesses a copy) Delia's Complete Cookery Course as metal bakeware eventuary get deformed.

Another reason that attracted me was that it was made in Birmingham.

I thought this would be a good souvenir of this period of my life in Birmingham.


So far I cooked oven roast potatos, galaktoboureko (Greek semolina custard pie in photo), and oven baked pasta, and it worked well. It has non-stick effect (anodised alminium), and is easy to clean. One shortcoming is that its lack of wider rim makes it difficult to handle and to hold.

I don't know if the price justified, but I am quite happy to possess this Birmingham product.

Iranian bread

Iranian flat bread

I live in a mult-ethinic area of Birmingham, UK, and one of the advantages of this is that I can find foodstaff of many ethnic groups.

One of my recent favorites is this iranian bread. There is a small Iranian baker with a single small oven (looks like tandoori) that sells only this bread called "naan" and "chapatti" I am pretty sure they have Iranian names for these, but they these names are on the menu, probably because they are familiar to all the ethnic groups and to the English as well.

I have never tried chapatti, but this naan bread is really good. It is thiner than Indian naan and thus righter. You never get tied of eating just this bread without anything.

4 of these cost only a pound: it is actually cheaper than buying naan from supermarket.

Bless our Iranian baker!

Friday, 4 May 2007


When we visited Walsall last Saturday, we happend to see the market.

Walsall Market


From the market we bought a kilo of Asparagus. Yes ONE KILO only for 1.79 pound.


I love asparagus, but as they are quite expensive, I usually don't have pleasure to eat them to my heart content.

As you see, the asparagi were quite different in size, and it was the reason they were so cheap. I was afraid they were old or hard, but they were nothing of these: fresh, juicy and soft.

I steamed the asparagus and ate with boiled egg. They were just splendid.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Carrot Cake at Walsall

We went to Walsall, nearby town of Birmingham, this Saturday. After a big Hot pork sandwitch we went for a coffee.

We went into an old style arcade called Victora.

We bought a coffee, a tea and a carrot cake.

The cake, erved with whipped cream without sugar, was wonderfully sweet and spicy. Lovely small carrot was made from amond paste and tasted nice too.

All of them costed less than 5 pounds; not bad at all.