Wednesday, October 29, 2008

let them eat....Rovellones

So. Ha ha. I'm back at the villa cooking for the staff again.

Because of this new breakfast cereal, Credit Crunch, that everyone is talking about, there are cut backs up there. Quite what they are is difficult to say. Where last year there was only one, there are now 2 laundry women to take care of the 14 unused rooms and all the laundry that they dont generate. There is an extra gardener (You there! Basil! Double handful. Now!) which is nice. There seem to be another couple of dogs and I am fairly sure there are 3 cars I dont remember from last year.

There are less people to cook for cos a few people are away. The Belgians have gone. (I heard that they were there most of the summer though because not 3 days after they had finished and returned to where they had come from, there was an electrical storm, the house was struck and the lightening totalled EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF EQUIPMENT they had installed. EVERY SINGLE PIECE. Three months it took them to install in the first place. All the MASSIVE plasma screens, all the small plasma screens, ALL the speaker systems in ALL the rooms (not just bedrooms but bathrooms, sauna, turkish bath, gym etc etc), all the remote consoles for running all this stuff. ALL OF IT. FUCKED. God I'd love to have seen the bill they presented to the insurers. Come to that, I'd quite like to have seen the insurers receive that bill, poor little darlings.)

But anyway, they're hungry again and it falls to me, Mutfak, to attempt to appease their insatiable hunger for LUNCH. Damn, those chicas can put it away.

It has been really crappy weather so I thought roast chicken would cheer them. (I got into a fight again with my butcher about the appallingly low quality of the chickens available on the island. This is a ongoing battle but now is not the moment to tediousarize you with it except to say that I will win it eventually). Roast chicken and potatoes cos I know they would like it and rovellones for me cos....well, because. And there's an end on't.

Rovellones are a mushroom. Milk cap to be precise. Lactarius deterrimus to be show offy. I have only come across them in Spain. (Which isn't saying much. I am in no way as well travelled gastronomically as I would like to be). They are beautiful fungi bleeding orange when you slice them. They range from the size of a minidisc to the size of a compact disc. They appear at the end of the summer after the early September rains but since there weren't any neither this nor last year they are scarce but none the less delicious for their scarcity. I cooked them with butter, wild young garlic, fino, and chicken stock and them was awful good. Too good for the chicken but what can you do? Recipix to follow.

PD. The below recipix for Pomegranate Molasses is completely wrong. It is however completely right for Pomegranate Jam. Correct Pomegranate Molasses Recipix to follow when I track down some more SOUR pomegranates. Tit.

PD2 re: the pomegranates below again - if you use an orange squeezer with a rotating head you get the nasty bitter taste. If you use one of those one with the arm that you pull down (like the ones you get on the cooler espresso machines) then you wont get the nastiness but will get the juice.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

pomegranate molasses

Pomegranate molasses came into public consciousness (my consciousness, therefore the public's) about 10 years ago. The first I heard of it was in Moro's first cookbook. Since then the public (me) have been hearing of little else, even the twin towers and the credit crunch being secondary in my (the public's) pysche. Pomegranate molasses this and pomegranate molasses that. Every time you open a cook book you have to reach for the pomegranate molasses. In spite of all this and its obvious importance I have yet to even try it. I dont even know what it looks like, though I have a fair idea.

Anyway, it is pomegranate season in Ibiza and as with many of the fruits here it is all the fruit's structure can do to stop the juice literally gushing out. The benefits of pomegranate juice are being extolled a lot these days. But how to juice it? Ha ha!!! You treat it exactly the same as an orange and cut it in half and squeeze. Simple as that. No irritating procedures. Only thing is is it tastes like crap leaving a horrible, bitter, dry aftertaste in your mouth due to the dry membrane within the fruit that separates the different compartments. The reaction you get in your mouth is not unlike that which you get from biting on banana skin. (An interesting and possibly useful aside given your diet or sexual persuasion - apparently banana skin is good for piles. I leave it to you how you wish to apply it). So anyway I have no idea how to get the juice out.

To continue, all the recipes I could find for PGMs (that's short for pomegrohshutup) listed pomegranate juice as the main ingredient. Given the difficulty in extracting the juice as laid out in the paragraph above I can only assume it comes from a carton. So what's the point? Why not just buy it from a shop? I have the good fortune of living in Ibiza where the fruit trees groan. For me it is easy go out and commune with nature, particularly the sheep. Recently I communed and returned with a pile of that most bizarre fruit the pomegranate. I ate a good deal which I enjoyed enormously. The pips are small and can be eaten which is a breakthrough because until recently I was put off them due to the size and hardness of those pips. I guess by the time they reach the shores of your Sceptered Isle they have come a long way and are a sight older than when picked.

Well anyway, I decided to make pomegranate molasses and above is the recipix. When I do something with it I'll blog it up all over the internet. Until then just know it tastes remarkably like pomegranate jam.