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Mishmash "untidy or confused mixture of different things" Macmillan Dictionary

"a random bunch of odds and ends"


Yes mishmash is an actual dish. From Bulgaria. It's a breakfast dish of scrambled eggs and things. Such a basic thing, like frittata I suppose. Indeed I'm guessing that almost every cuisine has a similar dish. Eggs after all are one of life's basic foods, palatable and acceptable to almost all. As the writer of the blog 196 Flavors says:

"It appears that different people at different locations and at different times have found that pouring beaten eggs in a hot pan, and sometimes adding other ingredients, was a great way to eat."

So what makes a Bulgarian mix distinctive?

Well the first thing that Wikipedia notes is that "There is no one recipe for making mish-mash". Well of course not. That said, the general opinion seems to be that it consists of: eggs, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley, and sirene (Bulgarian feta). Which is very similar to any Mediterranean country I think - not that Bulgaria is Mediterranean. You've probably made something similar at some time in your life, but I bet you didn't know you were making миш маш!

Korean pears

On a visit to Doncaster Shopping Town recently I spotted these Korean pears. They were very large and individually wrapped - and expensive - $7.99 a kilo, but then tomatoes were then around $10.00 a kilo, so perhaps not. I don't think you will find them in your local Coles, Woolworths or Aldi though - unless, maybe, you live in a very Asian neighbourhood. Anyway I was intrigued enough to take a photo and slot it away in my mind to look up. So I did and this is what I found.

It has other names - Nashi apple, apple pear, Asian pear, Japanese pear, Chinese pear, sand pear, and bapple. It is described as: "hard, crisp, sweet, slightly tart at the core and very juicy." (The Spruce Eats) Unlike the varieties of pear that we know and love, Korean pears do not continue to ripen after being picked, and they are not often cooked. You eat them raw. The Lingua Asia website lists 7 ways it is used including Bulgogi marinade, Glabijjim marinade, in Kimchi and Bask which is a steamed pear with honey. They also included this wonderfully weird - they say creepy - propaganda video from the Korean pear growers. It's short - well basically it's an ad - and fun - watch it.

Sfineġ tal-Inċova

This came from the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival newsletter with a recipe and promotion for a new book called Malta by Simon Badja. The picture here, however is from a website called Apron and whisk which I have featured because it is rather more informative on the background.

Basically it's a yeasty batter with an anchovy inside deep-fried as a fritter and traditionally eaten during Lent - specifically Good Friday, about which the author says:

"If I had to give you a list of all the traditional Maltese food, a good part of it would be made of food that is enjoyed during Lent. I know, it is a bit contradictory. During lent you are supposed to restrict and limit certain foods, however, it seems that in the past Maltese liked to still have options and be able to enjoy plenty of foods. This resulted in several dishes which are traditionally specifically eaten during this time of year"

She also says that it is similar to sfinci from Sicily although there they are eaten on Christmas Eve - a polar opposite in terms of festivals. I confess, much as I love anchovies, that I don't really see the attraction of these. A bit stodgy? But like Bulgaria we don't know much about the food of Malta do we? And such an intriguing name. The language of Malta is a bit of a mishmash I learnt from my foreign language cataloguing days. A bit of Turkish, a bit of Italian, a bit of Arabic, and probably other things as well. It looks to be a beautiful place to visit too.

A za'atar variation

I mentioned za'atar just yesterday when I was writing about Ottolenghi's pea dip, and included a basic recipe. Well here is a 'waste not want not' version - a Za'atar style spice mix from chefs Daniel Watkins and Andrew Clarke from a London restaurant called Acme Fire Cult, which was featured in Tom Hunt's Waste Not column in The Guardian. So I'm featuring it here because of its use of wilting herbs and herb stalks in its making and also the addition of cumin and coriander. So a bit different to the standard za'atar. I might try it next time I need to make some, even though it's ever so slightly more complicated.

Whilst we are still on spices and little-known cuisines here is a spice mix that many say will be the next big thing. The link is to Ottolenghi's recipe - well he would be into it wouldn't he? However, there are many recipes on the net. The ingredients shown here seem to be fundamentally present in all of them however.

It's from the Yemen where it is used in soup and Yemeni coffee. But Yemeni Jews have taken it to Israel where it is now very popular. Maybe that's how Ottolenghi knows about it. The link at the head of this article, leads to one of his recipes that use it - Hawaij root vegetable stew with whipped fenugreek - one of his more esoteric recipes I have to say, and not one I'm going to try anytime soon.

The name apparently just means mixture.

I'm featuring it because my country lunch hostess had some - I think she had made it - and wanted to give me a sniff because she thought it was great - and indeed it did smell wonderful. She said it was her new most favourite thing. So maybe I'll have a go.

I came across this Guardian article by Niki Signet, 'author of the much-loved Flavour Thesaurus' in which she gives a guide to how you can use miso, as well as links to some recipes such as this Dark chocolate and miso caramel tart by Ravneet Gill.

I have to say that I'm a beginner with miso. I finally bought some from one of the local supermarkets, but so far have only used it a couple of times in specific recipes. I cannot now remember which. I think I did a whole post on miso at some time, but I'm not sure. Anyway if you are a beginner too, this might be the place to start, because it seems to me that it's one of those ingredients that you really need to come to grips with if you are an interested cook.

Ottolenghi recipe of the week

I feel mildly ashamed of featuring yet another recipe from Ottolenghi. One I haven't yet tried either, but will - maybe it will be my Friday quiche this week. For some reason I seem to have created a tradition of quiche for dinner on Friday nights with a nice glass of white wine.

One of my favourites is smoked trout and beetroot, which I have mentioned before. One I thought I had discovered for myself and was therefore inordinately pleased with, only to discover, of course, that no it wasn't new or original and also that it was infinitely variable. Like just about every kind of food - even a boiled egg.

Anyway the above is Ottolenghi's Smoked trout quiche with basil pesto and dukkah. It was featured in a piece on picnic food for which he gives this advice:

"if your quiche is travelling, give it an extra 10 minutes in the oven, because a soft set won’t end well."

It won't be for a picnic here though. I mean look at the weather. No it will be consumed in our warm dining/kitchen area with that glass of wine and a green salad.

The recipe includes recipes for the pesto and the dukkah, and the filling is made in a somewhat different way to the way I do it. Very doable though and worth a try. It will be interesting to see if you can mix Middle-Eastern and Italian flavours with a French quiche.

Stale crackers

I don't use crackers very much, but every now and then I open a packet because I am serving cheese but they don't all get used and gradually they become stale. So I am passing on this quick idea from Alex Elliott-Howery of Cornersmith fame:

"Lie them on a baking tray, brush with a little melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, dried herbs, salt and pepper. Bake for 10 minutes or until crisp – your crackers will have a new lease on life."

The picture is from elsewhere but I think similar. Besides the basic idea of reviving them in the oven with stuff on top is just a hint. You could add whatever you want. I think you would need the butter - or oil - though.

And of course you can do other things with them - crush and use like breadcrumbs, either alone or mixed with other stuff; crush and use for cheesecake, etc. bases; make refrigerator cakes ... Just don't throw them out.

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