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Friday, 21 April 2017

Stuff Greeks Eat

Taramas


This is a lump of salted fish roe, Greek caviar.   These are the tiny fish eggs, from grey mullet, that are the base of taramasalata, mainly eaten during Lent.  The best taramas is a dark pink bordering on beige. The cheaper it is the brighter the pink, due to artificial food colouring.

Fish eggs are a terrific source of Omega-3 and when mixed with virgin olive oil it becomes a super food.  My father-in-law made taramasalata with the roe, lots of olive oil and lemon juice, all pounded in a pestle and mortar.  Strong flavours, very salty and acidic. We now use a blender and add lots of soaked bread or boiled potato as well as some onion.  The resulting puree is agreeably smooth and mildly fishy. 



Moray Eel

This fish in Greek is called a 'smyrna'.  I'm pretty sure in english it is a moray eel.  It certainly is a fish to keep clear of and not one that many people like to eat.   It has a long eel-like body and a mouth full of very sharp teeth.

Often other fishermen will give one to K because they cannot sell them.  We chop them into slices and fry them till the skin is very crisp.  They are a great tasting fish but have a sort of jelly-like substance next to the bone which some find a little unpleasant.




Chook's Feet

Yuk.  Searching in the freezer today for some cuttlefish I came across something wrapped in supermarket paper.  I opened it up of course to see what it was.  I shudder even now.  Look what I found.  Two chicken feet.  They are absolutely disgusting, yellow and scaly and with what looks like long fingernails.  They were speedily rewrapped and returned to the back of the freezer.

I may take a photo when K eventually gets round to cooking these but it will be a very fast photo and a swift retreat!

My father-in-law used to enjoy eating chicken heads and feet, at the dinner table.  Not an experience I want to recall.


A sink hole, the Grand Canyon, the black hole of Calcutta.

I baked a cake yesterday, a lemon cake, a cake I've made a dozen times with great success.  In the middle of the baking our neighbour popped in to say 'hi, what's going on?" We had the Albanian cleaning the garden.  I should have spat three times. I should have crossed myself, turned around  and shaken the evil eye out of my clothes.  I should have at least crossed the cake when I put it in to cook.

The cake sank.  As I took it out of the oven it gave up the ghost and collapsed in the middle.  It was perfectly cooked.  The cake was one of the most delicious I've ever made.  It didn't really matter that it sank.  But that's the 'evil eye'.  Believe it or beware!!







17 comments:

  1. The cake brings back memories of my mother in states of panic at such a happening. We eat fish roe when it is in season from the herring. Yum yum. Love it. Never had chickens feet.

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    1. I have had cakes that weren't cooked properly in the middle collapse but never like this. I should have filled the hole up with caramel sauce or whipped cream!
      I'm surprised about the fish roe though I shouldn't be from some of your earlier comments. When the fish are full of eggs they love them here. I hand over the row to my husband. Nothing wrong with it but I know he appreciates it more than me.

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    2. I was at my brother's house recently and my sister-in-law was preparing separate teas for them both - on enquiring why she said "oh he's having his roe" and pulled a face. Same happens here, P won't eat it either.

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  2. Oh ye gods stomach churning, remember a little cafe behind the fish market in Poros. Had no idea what was in the trays, ordered stew type thing, sat down, ate a bit then reolised was fish ye stew, all the old men in the cafe looked at me I smiled n ate more without crunching washed down with water. On a par with living with a French family at 13 and given a plate of black snails in garlic, lots of water then vomited in a big plant pot!. Still feel guilty about that!.

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    1. That back alley taverna was great. Always full of old men and a jug of wine! About ten (or was it twenty) years ago the owner died and his family kept it up for a while. Then it went from one person to another and never did really well. Very sad. It has closed down now. We used to take all our visitors there for a real greek experience.

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  3. Oh no! Yup that evil eye will get you every time.
    My mother in law will come over and admire a plant and every time it drops dead the next day!
    Chickens feet. I'm with you yuk. Love taramasalata. I spread it thickly on bread and enjoy!
    I've never had the eel. Can't eat anything that looks like a snake ewwwww
    Smoke the house out with incense and bake another cake xxx

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    1. Weird how some people just seem to emit some sort of negative aura. Fani, our neighbour is always so friendly.

      I prefer bought taramasalata - milder taste, but the family prefer my homemade. I miss it in mid summer when you only find it at real tourist tavernas.

      Yeh, K thinks we should have a priest come up and bless the house because we've had a few 'accidents' lately. A bit of sage smudging would be more my solution!!

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  4. I thought the roe was a piece of cake at first glance! I think I would've rewrapped the chicken feet pretty speedily too, lemon cake sounds good though xx

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    1. Chicken feet and heads are more than I can take!!! Even thinking about them makes me shudder!!!

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  5. I'm afraid I just wouldn't be able to get past the mental image of many of those things to be able to taste them and see if I like them. As one who has kept a backyard flock of chickens, I have seen the ugliest, scaliest, nasty chicken feet. Why oh why would someone wish to eat them???? (although yours do look like young feet) However, I would definitely try some of your lemon cake! -Jenn

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  6. I do buy Tarama occasionally (that's what they call it here). There are two types, one is bright pink, the other almost beige. I buy the beige one which is delicious and twice the price of the pink.

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    1. We have exactly the same tarama here. You find the bright pink in tavernas. We always get the beige.

      I prefer the supermarket taramasalata because it is milder. Family prefers stronger flavours.

      I'm surprised you get the same thing in france.

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  7. You made me chuckle with the evil eye. I thought the fish roe was cake also. I am afraid I could not eat that, nor could I stomach the chicken feet. The cake, although sunken, looks delicious! xo

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    1. The evil eye is weird. Things like that happen (many times) and you have to admit that it is more than a coincidence.

      The fish roe is very salty and has a strong fishy flavour. It has to be mixed with potato or bread usually to tone it down. Not my favourite really either though in mid summer when it is hard to find I do crave a little.

      The lemon cake was an early version of a drizzle cake, before drizzling came into fashion. Every other time but this it has turned out really well. As for chicken feet, KEEP them OUT of my sight!!!

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  8. You lured me in with what I thought was cake - and then it got worse. Lemon cake made up for it all though.

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    1. Not 'nice stuff' lol, except the lemon cake.

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