Athena Lamberis

Posts Tagged ‘street food’

The history of your Favorite Foods: Pizza, Ice cream . . .

In Stories, Travel on November 3, 2014 at 18:30
 So how do we track back in time to find the origins, the stories of how our favorite foods began?
  Who put fortunes in cookies and tomato sauce on spaghetti?
 Food pairings and cultural dishes have a long history.  From spice trades, to climate regions, culinary history continues to evolve.  Natural food traditions complement what was in season – what was in season also supports exactly what our immune system and our overall physical nutritional health.
 Steamed winter greens such as spinach drizzled with olive oil and a lot of lemon juice is a Greek food staple known as Horta.   If the greens were eaten with cheese or just salt, for example, you wouldn’t get the benefit of  absorbing the high levels of Calcium and Iron in the vegetable.  When lemon juice or other foods high in Vitamin C are added to the greens, this assists the body for absorption – plus spinach is delicious with lemon juice anyway! Win-win.
So that’s just the nutritional side . . . on the history side, this info-graphic produced by Cheapflights.ca tells it how it is.  Anthropology of Food . . . .  I love it!  Appetite for variety – I celebrate all things real food.  Enjoy!
the history behind your favourite foods 53cd2cdd68e9e w640 How and Where the Worlds Most Beloved Foods Started (INFOGRAPHIC)

Sushi photo (slider) via Shutterstock

How to Eat and Think about Bug Grub: A Taste of Entomophagy

In Friend's Kitchens, Recipe, Stories on June 25, 2014 at 16:08

Would you ever say, “I’m a Entomo-tarian and love crickets roasted and tossed in sea salt and cayenne pepper and covered in chocolate?”

How to eat crickets -recipe

Chocolate covered Crickets at Soma Confection Laboratories. Pic by Heather Thompson

Considering bugs as grub gives way for the future of Pestaurants, cricket flour protein bars and stinkbug snacks being served in city centres across the globe.

With two other curious minds, adventurous taste buds and a love for food (with wings), we nibbled on cricket parts and chocolate-covered nosh once living in the wild.  Conversations about insect anatomy, and the future of entomophagy, got me thinking on the topic of the fast frozen-once-hopping jimineys.

My love for “how to” and DIY in culinary arts has led me to simmering  Mopani worms and foraging fresh sea vegetables. It’s my quest for promoting variety in our appetites, being a MacGyver in the kitchen and working with what you have and what is presented to you.  But will the high in protein, beneficial fatty acids, essential vitamins and micronutrients in insects become primary ingredients in our morning porridge?  I can see a future in dipping celery sticks in smoked paprika chickpea grasshopper pâté .

When will people from different hemispheres be sharing bug-eating habits?  Will you eat insects from your garden instead of using insecticide?

 Insects as a food source has been practiced for many generations in various parts of the world, and people are beginning to see past the gross factor.

Environmentally, insects take up less space, reproduce at a faster rate and have a better feed-to-meat ratio when compared to cattle and other alternative meat sources such as ostrich, goat, and pork.  Insects for human consumption could help in solving a wide range of ecological, economic and health related issues and concerns in our world of food production and nutrition.

But will you add it to your grocery list?

Will you start farming organic crickets instead of building a chicken coop?

As we continue to urbanise but become more wise and sovereign in our food choices, this may be your answer.

And people keep asking me, “So what do crickets taste like?”

This batch was a crispy, smokey grass with a chilli-chocolate punch in your mouth.  But if you’re looking to build your muscles, beetles are your super power protein source.

Stay tuned for Entomo – recipes as we expand our culinary linguistics together:  A Chocolate Confectioner, Agroecologist and a Culinary Nomad.  If you are chomping at the bit:  Eat a Bug Cookbooks are already on the shelves at an Amazon near you.

entomophagy in chocolate and spices How to eat crickets in chocolate -#theculinarylinguist

Crickets collected by AgroEcologist/Entomophager: Zayaan Khan.

How do crickets taste like in chocolate -#theculinarylinguist

Pop, Crunch and Chocolate with a side of Coco-nutty bar chocolate bar.

CONNECT BACK TO NATURE: Urban Food Foraging

In Friend's Kitchens, Stories, Travel on March 17, 2014 at 14:44

The culinary-linguist-athena lamberis-baby chesnut tree-urban food forage The culinary-linguist-athena lamberis-yellow plums-urban food forageThe more time we spend using whole food ingredients, the more curious we become of their source and qualities.  We may begin to ask questions such as –

“How do eggplants grow?”

“Can I eat the green tops of carrots?”

“What can grape leaves be used for?”

“Are those mulberries?”

Our curiosity for nature and an urge to explore these questions is a path towards connecting us back into nature.  One of the most natural ways to do this is through food. Now, we don’t all have to rush to live on a rural farm with a small permaculture food garden and chickens running around.  There are many ways to understand and connect back to nature from right where we live.

According to Carolyn Steele, our cities have been shaped through food.  So the way I see it, we can continue to shape our cities in a positive eco-friendly design by the way we choose to eat.  One simple way to connect to your natural urban surroundings is to explore the opportunity to urban food forage.  Urban food foraging is an act by simply exploring the natural surroundings in your neighbourhood i.e. parks, sidewalks, tree-lined street, and learning to observing and identify the plants and trees that grow in order to harvest them responsibly (i.e. leave some for your neighbours).  This is a step in becoming a local food gatherer-forager.

Ishay Govender-Ypma from Food and the Fabulous asked me to give some tips for foraging wild foods in our urban environment for the lifestyle and travel in-flight magazine Juice

This is what I had to say:

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1.  Go on an ‘urban safari’ in your neighborhood. Research the leaves, fruit and herbs you pick at home before you eat anything.

2. Accompany an experienced friend or guide.

3. Think of urban landscapes as a living and growing food farm.  As your confidence grows, you’ll become in tune with the cycles and seasons.

4. Visit local nurseries to familiarise yourself with the plants, in order to aid identification.

5. Borrow or buy a glossary of herbs or indigenous plants.

6. Educated yourself by attending talks and workshops.

7. Contact your municipality to plant common food trees in local parks such as fig, pomegranate, waterberry, and wild olive.

8. Start with easily identifiable herbs like rosemary and lavender. Use them in salves and strain in hot water.

9.  Avoid high traffic areas that are often sprayed with chemicals

10. Always wash plants/fruits before you prepare them.

Read the full article, Local Hunter-Gatherers,  and learn about the chef Shaun Schoeman of Solms-Delta, Mushroom cultivator Gary Goldman, and Cape Town foragers, Charles Standing and Loubie Rusch.

Do you have any more tips to add from your wild food foraging adventures?  Please share!

The Culinary Linguist-urban-food-pomegrantes-cape town

AthenaLamberis-wildplums

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for a local urban food – hunter – gatherer challenge! culinary-linguist-connect-back to nature through food

Real Food Foraging in our Urban edible landscapes.

In Events, Stories, Travel on May 23, 2013 at 16:08

The Culinary Linguist |  Urban ForagingReal food foraging is taking Freetarian tactics to a whole other edible landscape.  It’s not about rummaging through the grocery store’s dump site or scrapping bubblegum off the concrete.  Real food foraging is a learned art: It bridges culinary knowledge, environmental awareness and plant/fungus identification to your own edible advantage.  Growing up with a Greek mom means you are always fed, and digest a lot of culinary knowledge.  One of the innovative skills I learned from her was how to identify food on every corner.  Besides knowing where to eat the best gyros pita, I learned at a young age to identify and protect our urban edible landscapes. The Culinary Linguist |  Urban Foraging

From sidewalk cracks to grassy patches, my Mom taught me that pulling weeds out of the ground could lead to a tasty Vitamin K and A rich dish of boiled lemony greens.  She loved that fact that we never had to buy dandelion greens from Dominick’s-we had them in our city’s backyard.   We lived close to Evanston’s train tracks and Chicago’s Canal.  When developers wanted to build condos there, we got involved and protested.  I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but saving the small forests meant saving the trees I loved to pick mulberries from and preserving a forest floor playground of my youth.

The Culinary Linguist | Save Forests and Urban Forage Save Forests

Living in Cape Town, South Africa reveals a whole new world to me.  In terms of real food urban foraging, it’s bountiful.  We went to Green Renaissance’s curated talk about foraging in our City.  The four speakers shared their local knowledge of each edible landscape they frolick in: Ocean, Urban, Wild, Garden, and Forest.

I’ve posted some tasty recipes in the past about Wild and Real Food Foraging with Mulberries, Grape Vine leaves, Num Nums (Natal Plum), Mushrooms, Mopane Worms, Pomegranates, Prickly Pear and Wild Olive leaves but after the talk on Thursday, I got re-inspired to explore the coastlines and forests of Cape Town’s wild and fertile city setting. The Culinary Linguist |  Urban Foraging

Making Kos‘ Loubie Rusch shared her in-depth botanical knowledge including her tasty jams, jelly and cordial made from indigenious and wild foods around the city.  We came home with Fennel and Wildeals as a generous gift from Bridget Kitley’s Herb Nursery to add to our growing herbal medicine cabinent: the garden.  I nibbled on some sea lettuce from Julian Mori’s portable seawater aquarium and after the talk, we fried porcini and boletus in butter as a tasty snack from Gary Goldman’s mushroom escapades under the pines and poplar of Cape Town’s forests.  Green Renaissance made 30 second inserts of nettle, chestnut and waterblommetjie harvests and recipes along with tips and ideas of how to forage them ourselves, along with a dried porcini gift bag for our attendance.  I was a happy forager foraging the forage talk!

The Culinary Linguist | Figs and Urban Forage The next day, I walked our dog, Lorenzo, through DeWaal park and saw the Waterberry tree was bursting with ripe fruit.  Instead of them staining the concrete in their own natural graffiti style, I will be picking them next time for some Waterberry cordial on these balmy autumn afternoons.

So far, I am happy with Vredhoek/Gardens foraging landscape:

pomegranates, avocados, lemons, guavas, figs can be found just a short walking distance from our house.

Our own garden provides comfrey which can be used for EVERYTHING!  Chris makes tea, and a great salve. Let the learning continue HERE 

 

Green Renaissance-Be Inspired to Forage in your City

Photo Essay: A Food Tour of Detroit’s Eastern Market

In Events, Travel on April 17, 2013 at 10:57

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Detroit Eastern Market
2934 Russell St., Detroit, Mich. 48207; 313-833-9300 detroiteasternmarket.com

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Detroit Eastern Market
2934 Russell St., Detroit, Mich. 48207; 313-833-9300
http://www.detroiteasternmarket.com

The Perfect Beach Snack: Nutella Loukoumades (Donuts) in Parga, Greece

In Stories, Travel on August 22, 2011 at 09:04

Nutella Doughnuts Loukoumades in Greece on The Culinary Linguist Blog

 You can’t get more indulgent than pouring Nutella over fried dough.  Well I wouldn’t mind adding fresh strawberries or crushed almonds into the mix.  Regardless, everyone around the world loves fried dough.  North Americans call it doughnuts, South Africans call it vetkoek, Greeks call it loukoumades.  But not everyone pours Nutella over it.  My friend Georgia took me to Parga, a small coastal town in Northwestern Greece.  We spiraled down the mountain to the beach and swam into the chilling fresh sea. After the dip we shared some beers on the deck of her favorite bar that overlooked Parga’s harbour. She decided before we hit the road we should get Nutella loukoumades for the ride home to Ioannina.  “Yes!” I exclaimed.  We giggled as the storekeeper drizzled the chocolate over the bitesize doughnuts. We skipped through the narrow streets with our road trip snack in hand.  The elderly lady with the fruit stand told us her grapes were just as sweet but we shyly replied that we spent our last euro pennies on our Nutella treat.  Who would have thought that hot oil, dough and chocolate could make grown-up girls skip and squeal. It’s official, I’ll never say no to Nutella or to Nutella with loukoumades.  Maybe next time I’ll throw some grapes in the mix.

Parga Beach on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Greece

Greek Glory: The Kebab Pita at Thanasis

In Uncategorized on August 16, 2011 at 12:54

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I had a layover in Athens back in 2008. The first stop I made when I got out the airport was at Thanasi’s Greek kefta kebab pita joint.  I sat in the middle of Monastiraki square and savoured each bite.  The pita kebab filled my tastebuds with the celebrated spices that have influenced Greek cuisine for centuries. Thank goodness for the spice trades of India and Persia for the saffron and paprika. Thansis’ pita kebab consists of a fresh grilled pita with spiced ground lamb molded and grilled on a steel stick over hot coals. The tzatziki, yoghurt, onion, cucumber, dill sauce, calms the pungent flavours of the kebab and softens the chew of the fire grilled pastry pita. All the delicious flavours fit in the palm of your hand. The pita kebab is a whole moment of all major food groups wrapped tightly in wax paper.  It has the vegetable crunch from the onion and cucumber, fruit of the tomato, diary cream of the yoghurt, and finally the spiced meat kebab grilled on the open fire for the juiciest flavour in the Attica province.  I’ve yet to get the secret spices he puts into the kebab, hmmmm.

Now, fast forward to 2011 in Athens, Greece and I am busy buying shoes with my sister, Koko in Plaka instead of getting the secret ingredients.  The rest of the family sat down to Thansis’ glorious menu of authentic Greek cafe food.  When we did arrive to Thanasi’s with our new Athenian sandals, everyone was pleasantly satisfied and I ended up eating the lasting flavour bites from their plates. The whole place was bustling and I got inspired to do a ‘mini’ photo shoot of “Behind the Grill: at Thanasis”

The owner, Thanasi, was quietly sitting in the back of the restaurant, and smiling for the camera.  The food photographed simple and beautiful but what’s best was what came from the 4 metre grill and the men and women behind the scenes.  I didn’t ask how many kebabs they serve a day, but no doubt they are serving hundreds of amazing Athenian food memories for tourists and locals. Thanasi has been doing the right thing for the past 50 years, supporting a hardworking team that serves a quality product all grilled and rolled up into proud Grecian flavour.

Spinach and Agushi: Ghanaian Flavour at the Portobello Market

In Events, Travel on August 10, 2011 at 13:36

Spinach & Agushi at the Portobello Market on The Culinary Linguist Blog #London

As I’m writing this my mouth is watering again.

We went to London to celebrate my Pop’s “Bones” 70th birthday year.  We travelled 9623 km from Cape Town and hopped around the 940 metres of Portobello Market in London.  There were hundreds of stalls to choose from for our varied market food palettes.  I came across the funky chalk-printed sign Spinach and Agushi, The Ghanaian Food Co. I was intrigued by the aroma and liked their Earth-friendly packaging.

 My whole family got order envy when the friendly market vendor from Congo dished me up a super-size portion after I rapped my two words of Lingala to him. I even got extra fresh salad garnish on top.

Exclamations of tastiness poured from my mouth after the first spoonful combo of seasoned rice and spinach& agushi stew reached my tastebuds.  I was a happy chowing tourist. It was most flavour-packed food at the market hands down and made me smile to know I was celebrating the diverse culture and food from the very continent I had just travelled from.

Spinach & Agushi at the Portobello Market on The Culinary Linguist Blog #London

No joke, this dish makes me want to go to Ghana to sample more of the spicy flavourful cuisine.  I’m putting it on my list of things to do. 🙂 I snagged a brochure of their booming London catering biznass, Jollof Pot. They deliver and cater events, serving up amazing dishes like gari foto-grated cassava flavoured in a spicy tomato sauce with roasted pepper and red onions, chilli prawns with crispy sweet potato chips and tilapia and coco yam cakes.

I’ll have to tell you, this stall of Ghanaian seasoned rice and stew put the popular Spanish paella stand to shame. It’s true. I did sample the flashy pan-cooked stuff and it had nothing on Spinach & Agushi . . . I wish I would have gone back or hope to someday eat at the Jollof Pot’s restaurant.  In other words, when Pops says “We’re going to have fish and chips for dinner in London.” I’ll say, “Meet me at the Jollof Pot for chilli prawns and sweet potato chips!”

The Jollof Pot has a online shop: You can order this food hamper or Ghanaian spice kits. 

Celebrating Vetkoek, Beats and Madiba at the the Ubuntu Festival in Cape Town

In Events on July 18, 2011 at 13:53

Ubuntu Festival-Madiba's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownTata Mandela celebrates his 93rd birthday today.  His life and dedication to the public’s well being has been a symbol for us to trust that we have the capacity to make changes in our life that leads to freedom and positive transformation.  Giving life to metaphors.  On Sunday, July 17th, the city of Cape Town hosted the Ubuntu Festival.  Activities were bustling on St. George’s Mall & Church St and on the ground level of the Mandela Rhodes Place.

Ubuntu Festival-Mandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown

Ubuntu Festival-Mandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownUbuntu Festival-Madiba's birthday-vetkoek on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownA festival that bridges the city’s diverse spirit had independent locally produced food and farm stalls and young local DJ’s and muso’s that delivered positively hip bass-bumping beats from the Red Bull converted land cruiser turned DJ booth. I especially enjoyed GoldTooth’s vocals that dripped like honey off the amp.

Ubuntu Festival-Mandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownMandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownUbuntu Charity Cook Off Mandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown

Inside the Mandela Rhodes Place, festival attendants could give 67 minutes of their time (The number of years Mandela dedicated to public service) to wash, peel, and chop vegetables for soup that was being made for the city’s shelters.  The Charity Cook and Chop had tables of donated vegetables from Shoprite surrounded by tables of chopping boards, knives and peelers that were populated by shifts of about 50 people at a time.  Everyone was in a meditative state, getting into the rhythm of chopping onions, or peeling carrots.  Some people confessed it was a therapeutic activity to prepare the food together, peel, cut and chop and watch the crates fill with all the chopped vegetables.

Ubuntu Charity Cook Off Mandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownUbuntu Charity Cook Off Mandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownUbuntu Charity Cook Off Mandela's birthday on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownCraig Anderson, the Chief Chef at Mandela Rhodes Place led the kitchen logistics of transforming the ingredients into soup. A call for volunteers to stir and cook was announced over the upbeat radio pop songs that were provided by 94.5 Kfm when the Chef needed to quickly prepare the dinner shift for the restaurant upstairs. “Just take a look around you!” exclaimed Craig Anderson, “It’s great! All this soup will be picked up by Red Cross at 5pm to be delivered to the city’s shelters”  So much love was being put into this communal cooking event and it wasn’t the first or last time the Charity Cook was going to happen.Vegetables on Cutting board on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown

Earth Fair Market on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown

Outside along Church St and St. George’s Mall, the Earth Fair Food Market curated the stalls that served traditional Umngqusho and Vetkoek, free-range biltong, farm-cured olives and preserves, Chinese spring rolls, a variety of fragrant curries, chilli bites, freshly juiced apples and beetroot, savory pies, and sublime local wine and beers at The Laughing Crocodile Bar.

Olive Products in South Africa on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownBeef Biltong in South Africa on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown Fresh Produce in South Africa on The Culinary Linguist Blog #CapetownFresh Juice in South Africa on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown

Fat cake in South Africa on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown

Vetkoek a.k.a Fat Cake, Fried Dough, Donut of delicious Msanzi variety

The Ubuntu Festival celebrated the beautiful struggle of freedom, bringing dancing vibrations and nutritious food together in our public city centre to commemorate communities celebrating together in a democratic South Africa. With the spirit of Ubuntu in all of us-Happy Birthday Madiba!

Mandela in South Africa on The Culinary Linguist Blog #Capetown

Diego’s Fish Festival Birthday in De Waterkant

In Events, Friend's Kitchens, Recipe on April 3, 2011 at 22:23

When you meet Kimon and Diego, you’ll understand that when they throw a birthday party it becomes a street feast festival of seafood, love, family and friends.   On Sunday afternoon, there were four generations of family and friends, sharing steamed paprika-cream mussels out of the pot and apricot-butter fish fresh off the BBQ under the shady hibiscus trees in De Waterkant, Cape Town.

Finger food: dunk your bread in the pot and top it off with a marinated mussel

When I entered the kitchen, there were six friends already preparing an element to the feast; boiling the potatoes, chopping the parsley, crushing garlic, etc.

Preparing the Octopus potato salad

Diego was in the kitchen with a cold Corona in one hand, and a kilo of fresh octopus in the other.  He confirmed that, “Everything made in this kitchen is made with love,” he exclaimed, enjoying the bustle of his kitchen and wearing his pinstripe apron with a hand-sewn felt caricature of Kimon and Diego’s dog, Ferdinando.

Linguine con le vongole

The food that was brought, shared and prepared for Diego’s fish festival birthday party was a testament to how handmade food caters love to everyone’s digestive system.

We celebrated that Sunday with Kimon as our menu MC, hosting popping flavours, beautiful friends in a breathtaking city for what I hope becomes an annual feeshy street birthday festival of shared handmade feasts and love.

Kimon's kitchen graffiti

Crispy flaky philo quejo cups, wish I had more than just one!

The traveling mussel pot of white wine and creme deliciousness. Avô picking his share of the mussels

MC Kimon and Catch of the Day: Diego

Yes thats a gem squash serving as a bowl for mussel stew

a spicy tomato mussel pot

 

raw salsa appetiser on rye crackers

Recipe for Raw Salsa on Crackers:

2 fresh tomatoes

1 onion

1 small bunch of scallions

1 can of corn

3 TB olive oil

1 carrot

sprinkle of salt, pepper, cumin and parsley

Grate tomatoes and onion into a fresh pulp.  Chop scallions and add to the tomato and onion mixture.  Stir in one washed can of corn and chopped scallions.  Add oil, salt, pepper, parsley and cumin to taste.  Spread out rye crackers on a platter and dish one spoonful of the salsa on the crackers.  Grate thin strips of carrot and sprinkle as garnish over the salsa.  Serve immediately to hungry guests.

Salsa feasting

Recipe for Diego’s Octopus Potato Salad:

1 kilo octopus

1 large bunch of fresh parsley

8 potatoes

4 finely chopped cloves of garlic

Clean and pound the octopus to make the meat tender.  Boil water and dunk the octopus in the water at 2-3 second intervals 5 times.  Once octopus is cooked enough to not break the muscles down in your jaw, cut the tentacles and body into bite-sizes pieces.  Put them in a large bowl with  the garlic and salt/pepper  and olive oil to taste.  Cut the potatoes into bite-size chunks and boil until soft. Drain the potatoes and add them to the octopus. Stir and mix in the fresh parsley, adding more oil and salt to taste.  Serve with freshly ground pepper or a drizzle of red wine vinegar.

 

Octopus salad

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