The spice contest

A really quick & dirty post today to fulfill my bet with Katha (whose blog esskultur you should be reading if you speak German).

It all started on twitter – after winning an impromptu “competition” about the number of dried pasta shapes we have in the kitchen (27), I felt too secure and accepted Katha’s dare about the number of spices we each have. What was I thinking? Why didn’t anyone stop me? She is the daughter of a spice dealer!

My number is: 148! Not bad, but short of her winning 167! (Rules were: any single or mixed spices, herbs, etc, but no pastes, no oils)

Short breakup of my spices: 13 different red paprikas/chilies (1 up from the last time I counted), 12 peppers, 12 salts. Things that I assume are rare in other kitchens (maybe even Katha’s?): mentuccia (a Roman mint type), mirto leaves (of the myrte tree from Sardinia), salade du pêcheur (a mix of sea algae from Japan), roses, zahter (like the famous za’atar but not the same) from Turkey, sahlep (salep, not the ready-mix to make the drink that is full of chemicals but the real thing, the milled flour of the root) and damla sakizi (gum mastic). The fresh and good mint and sumak she misses, I have in abundance (the Turkey connection!).

So I bow my head in shame – I have lost! Katha, I’ll be bringing you a good wine to October meeting. And I see the time has finally come to organize my spices in these nice tins that I have ordered!

How many spices do you have?

Menu For Hope 6 – Donate and Win (a wine tasting for 8!)

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Update: Bidding just became easier! This nifty little form will help you choose your items and transfer it directly to the donation site – remember my code is EU23.

Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign hosted by Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world.  For the past three years, Menu for Hope raised nearly a quarter of million dollars in support of the good work of the UN World Food Programme, helping to feed hungry people worldwide. We, food bloggers from all over the world, join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related bid items for the Menu for Hope raffle. Anyone – and that means you too – can buy raffle tickets to bid on these items. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on an item of your choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim.

Once again we’ve chosen to work with the UN World Food Programme. This year, we are supporting a new initiative at the WFP called Purchase for Progress (P4P). P4P enables smallholder and low-income farmers to supply food to WFP’s global operation.  We food bloggers understand the importance of buying locally and supporting our local farms, P4P helps do the same for farmers in low income countries around the world.  More on the campaign, the donation system and the programme we are supporting can be found here.

This year, I am again offering a bid-item:

hande_sommeliere

(EU23) My Italians wine tasting in Rome for 8! A great opportunity for wine lovers – beginner or expert – to get an overview of Italian wines, learning about and tasting 7 of them. Let yourself be guided by sommelière Hande (me!) through this fun and informative 2-hour tasting that gets rave reviews! Offer is valid for up to 8 persons, so gather your family, friends or colleagues and hop on a plane to Rome!

Small print: Tasting to be taken within 2010 and date to be arranged with vinoroma. No guarantee on exclusive, private date – there may be others taking part in the tasting, especially if your party is less than 8. Winner may not “sell” remaining places if his party is less than 8. Shipping N/A. Worth of bid item is (up to) €400 / $600 (for a group of 8), non-redeemable.

There are many food and wine related items out there that you can bid for. Over at David’s blog you can see the other bid items offered in Europe and at Alder’s vinography you can see other wine related items. For the master list of all bid items you can win with a donation of only $10, have a look at Chez Pim. And if you want to win the wine tasting in Rome, don’t forget to state EU23!

To Donate and Enter the Menu for Hope Raffle

Here’s what you need to do:

1. Choose a bid item or bid items of your choice from our Menu for Hope main bid item list over at Pim’s.

2. Go to the donation site at Firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Please specify which bid item (EU23 for the wine tasting in Rome) you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per bid item if bidding for more than 1, and please use the bid item code.

Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a bid item of your choice. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02, so write: 2xEU01, 3xEU02.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Menu For Hope 5 – Donate and Win

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Update: The deadline has been extended to 31st December – You can still donate and win! Unbelievable that we already have the 5th year of Menu for Hope, the annual fund raising campaign hosted by Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Each December, food bloggers from all over the world join the campaign by offering a delectable array of food-related prizes for the Menu for Hope raffle. Last year we raised almost $100K! Anyone – and that means you too – can buy raffle tickets to bid on these prizes. For every $10 donated, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the two-week campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and the results announced on Chez Pim. Click here to read more about the UN World Food Programme (school lunches in Lesotho) we are donating to and how donations are handled.

This year, I am again offering a prize:

hande_sommeliere

(EU18) My Italians wine tasting in Rome – A great opportunity for 2 wine lovers – beginner or expert – to get an overview of Italian wines, learning about and tasting 7 of them. Let yourself be guided by sommelière Hande (me!) through this fun and informative 2-hour tasting that gets rave reviews! Tasting date (within the year 2009) has to be arranged directly with vinoroma. [Shipping: N/A] [Worth €100 / $140]

There are many food and wine related gifts out there that you can bid for. At Ms. Adventures in Italy you can see the other prizes offered in Europe and at vinography you can see other wine related prizes. For the master list of all prizes you can win with a donation of only $10, have a look at Chez Pim. And if you want to win the wine tasting, don’t forget to state EU18!

How to donate & bid:

1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim.

2. Go to the donation site at firstgiving and make a donation.

3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you’d like in the “Personal Message” section of the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize and please use the prize code!

For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU18 (my prize!) and 3 tickets for UW05. Please then write “2xEU18, 3xUW05″

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we can contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone!


The Omnivore’s Hundred – Surely a 91/100 makes me an omnivore?

In Laos

In Laos

See if you are an omnivore. The rules:

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at Very Good Taste (the initiator) linking to your results.

91/100 – My Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (only alligator)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (not a whole one, though!)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava (and I mean the real thing, at the source)
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (had clam chowder, but not in a sourdough bowl)
33. Salted lassi (and ayran, too)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float (yuck!)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar (I drink cognac, but the cigar, never!)
37. Clotted cream tea (by mistake!)
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (I had the opportunity in Kambodia and chickened out. Am not completely dissing, though)
43. Phaal (In Germany, though. Not sure if that comes near the original)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (in the right place, anytime!)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (hey, I was a teen, too!)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (Nockerberg, yey!)
59. Poutine (only thing on the list that I didn’t know existed)
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (what, never been a kid?)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (unless I am really starving)
76. Baijiu (never again!)
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (never again!)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I would add some more items: Pajata, sheep’s testicles, snake blood, eggplant jam, octopus…..

I acknowledge that my time in the US and Asia have helped me a lot to score high on this list.

The picture was taken 2,5 years ago in Vientiane, Laos. Excuse the quality, but be aware that I could have posted way yuckier pictures!

What is your Omnivore score?

Great Chefs and Their Quirks: Vissani

Gianfranco Vissani and Aldo Sohm

This is, according to some, the best and most important Italian Chef, Gianfranco Vissani, currently 2 Michelin stars (he is being helped into his chair by the soon-to-be best sommelier in the world, Aldo Sohm from Le Bernardin in New York). See his scarlet shoes, the matching belt and the red thingies (what are those?) on his jeans hems? The guy has an attitude!

Seen on May 24th in Rome, during the “World Best Sommelier” Competition, about which you can read a very interesting post at the vinoroma blog.

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