Posted by: seasin | August 4, 2009

Things I love to eat or cook with

Introducing the first ten of what will, for sure, end up being a very very long list indeed-I’m crazy about food, don’t you know? Oh, and there’s no particular order here. I love them equally.

1. Fennel. No, don’t rub your eyes, where most girls on this planet would have placed chocolate, at number one of my favorite things to eat or cook with, I placed fennel. First, because, as I wrote above, the list has no method about it. Second, because I clearly love fennel much much more than chocolate. It has a fabulous taste and an amazing consistency. It tastes as if it’s supposed to be part of a fancy summer cocktail, it’s easy on the eyes, crisp white and sweet green and pretty with all those feathery little leaves on top, and it’s crunchy and holds its shape and texture well almost no matter how you abuse it. I use it raw, very finely sliced in salads, as a side dish for most meats and even fish, and as a wonderful addition to stir-fries, pasta sauces, soups and mostly everything. I have a recipe for a sweet fennel tart that I’ll try the first time the circumstances will call for a pudding.  One little known fact about fennel is that it is closely related to the number two on my list…

2. Coriander. Now, this is a relatively new-found love for me, but boy am I hooked 🙂 almost anything I make or taste that has coriander added to it, is straight up my alley. It’s also the object of one of my biggest fails, because it’s hard to find in Sofia in its fresh form, so I decided to grow it on my windowsill. Needless to say, DOOM. The thyme I planted one year ago is turning into a proper bush, my basil production from two measly pots could easily supply two small Italian restaurants, but the coriander just dwindles and dies. And it makes me feel unaccomplished and pathetic and pretty darn useless, but I still love the bloody thing. It’s just playing hard to get, I know it. I’m going to make the thing grow at one point, even if it takes me the next 50 years or so.

3. Herbs and spices. Obviously I couldn’t eat and cook without them. My favorite herbs are, besides the coriander above, rosemary, thyme, lemon thyme, basil, and tarragon. The spices are a whole different world-but I love vanilla, cinamon, nutmeg, cardamom, plain pepper, be it red, white, black or green, coriander seeds, turmeric, star anise, lime leaves (although I’m wondering if these shouldn’t be counted as herbs? Whatever 🙂 ) paprika, Szechuan pepper, cumin, cloves and oh almost everything I can buy in a spice shop 🙂

4. Ginger. You thought I forgot it in the previous entry, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t, but I love it so much I think it deserves a place of its own, just like coriander. I love it fresh, I love it dried and turned into fragrant powder. My favorite thing to do with it, currently, is a lemonade. I’ll post the recipe over this week-end, when I’ll make my next batch and I can take a pic.

5. Halloumi cheese. It is, of course, the antithesis of everything I love in a cheese, because it’s not soft, it’s not stinky, it’s quite bland and it’s not really improving with time 🙂 But I’m full of paradoxes and I love this cheese because it’s wonderful when cooked. It caramelises on the outside, and stays in one wonderful piece instead of melting in a gooey mess, and when you bite into it you get a taste of charred salty caramel, and soft almost melted delicately tasting cheese. I would eat this at every meal except DB promised to throw me out if he spots yet another slice on his dinner. Sigh. The things we do for love.

6. Scallops. Can’t cook much with them since they’re not really available in Sofia, but they are, undoubtedly, amongst my favorite things to eat. For me, they are the epitomy of what the sea offers for people’s culinary delight. I like them cooked, and I like them raw. What more can I say, they’re perfection.

7. Curry. Obviously. It has my favorite spices and herbs in it, and this style of cooking makes even uninteresting things like chicken taste good. And it does wonders for vegetarian dishes. I. Am. A. Curry. Addict. So much so that DB had to limit my intake to about once a month. I was literally getting high on curry. And I think he was having nightmares of his graceful girlfriend, who I’m sure he only picked for her slender looks, bloating up on him overnight to Gargantuan proportions. And then horribly exploding into a curry-ish goo. I’m not joking, my friends-the first time I had curry in England, last year in May, I’ve aspirated the bloody thing off my plate. Me, the Queen of Portion Control (I never finish my plate if it is more than a recommended portion, no matter how badly I offend the host-or the chef), the Princess of Eating Slow and the Empress of Fussy Eaters, I devoured that dish of curry in 3 minutes flat. Then I hinted of having a go at his portion. Which I didn’t get, bloody stingy Geordie that he is. I suspect they’re more related to the Scots up there than they are willing to admit! Anyway, about cooking curries-I’m sure I’d be brilliant (if I could stop myself before eating the whole darn vegetable paste before it makes it into the pot) but I’m not allowed to make it. You see, when I took over (boy can I be bossy when I really want to!) DB’s kitchen, he had to put his foot down on a few issues, just out of principle, you know. One of them was the barbie-it’s a man’s job to sit around hot coals looking important while carelessly flicking a pair of overgrown eyebrow pluckers. No problems with that, mate! (he’s bloody great at it, too!). The second foot fell on curry. He’s the curry maker Extraordinaire at the Casa of the Transilvanian&Geordie. Transilvanians not allowed to mess with the cooking of Curry. Only to eat it. Even finer by me-except now I have to bribe him with sexual favours every time I want a curry. Oh, the things a girl wouldn’t do for love! Of curry, that is ;).

8. Fruit. Fruit is beautiful, sensual, tasty and good for you. I love eating, and cooking with it. I love all berries (even if strawberries make me look like some new sort of plague just showed up in town), I’m crazy about mango, passion fruit, pineapple, persimon, lychees, pomegranates; I have a less passionate, but more steady, love affair with pears, plums, apricots, peaches and melons of all sorts-cantaloupes and watermelons. And that’s one reason why I’m glad I live in Bulgaria-when in season, local fruits are a exuberant celebration of life and all things good. I had some melon today for lunch-I can still taste it now.

9. Garlic. See, proof I’m not related to Dracula :). I don’t think I can imagine cooking (and generally food) without garlic. And that’s all I can say about it. My favorite use of garlic- roasted, in a mixed potatoes-carrots-sweet potatoes mash. With a bit of fresh thyme thrown in for good measure. Heaven on a plate.

10. Hot peppers. Big, small, green, red, fresh, dry, I love them all. I use them in salads, main courses, and deserts. One of the very few chocolates that I would eat is high cocoa percentage (over 70) with chilli peppers.

More to come, I’m sure, but in the meantime, what are your favorite 10 things to eat or cook with?



  1. Mmmm 🙂 We have a lot of the same favorites. I’m obsessed with coriander, garlic, ginger, curry, and fruit. Good list! I’m working on the peppers…I have a less-than-strong tolerance for hot ‘n spicy. You should have put lime in the same part as coriander because the two together are simply to die for!

    • 🙂 well, this is only a preliminary list. I actually am going to talk about lemons, limes and other citrus fruit when I’ll post my (soon to be not secret) lemonade recipe. Frankly, I didn’t put limes in because I was hesitating whether to give them their own space, or include them in fruits. I guess now I’ll have to put them on the list separately 🙂

  2. And Miss Ra, loved your blog, keep up the good work, girl! (feel the same on marriage and religion, but don’t tell anyone!). If you’ll allow it, it’s getting a link on mine 🙂

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