27 May 2008

Say cheese, read something else :)

To my mind (and taste too, for that matter), to be able to enjoy food also means to have food you absolutely love and...errr...love NOT. Through learning this I'm learning much about myself, I think.

Lately I learnt that:

1. I'm a girl who generally loves her cheese(es)! Only thinking of this I'm gleaming and feeling content!

2. I'm a girl who does not like certain sorts of cheese I thought I (would) love. With pure, sincere, ever-lasting love. But, alas, no. *sigh* It somehow even feels as if you fall out of love after the engagement. Sad, isn't it?

Oh My Dear Readers, don't arrive to any conclusions too soon. Please. Let me first tell you that I tried. I tried hard.

Pecorino Romano. I first saw 'him' (for more emphasis, I'll call it 'him' if you don't mind) a few years back in Holland. 'He' spent a few days in my kitchen. But nevertheless, I did not fall for 'him', although I sensed I would. Honestly.

Last weekend we met again. On weeks of Italy in Gum*, Moscow. So, I brought Pecorino Romano home. Put a thin sliver of the cheese between two pieces of rye country bread, which I also brushed with olive oil from one side, spread with ginger-apricot sauce and layered with ruccola salad leaves, and set the assembly onto the heavy skillet to cook for a few moments until the bread is golden-brown and the cheese is melted. In overall, the sandwich turned out to be fantastic. But I still did not like this cheese. Again. Oh. Something about it simply does not match my taste, although I'm partial to strong, pungent, flavor-forward, smelly sorts of cheese. Anyway, I want to believe I will get over it with time. (Don't I sound as though I'm in denial, by chance?). As they say, there is time to love and time to turn away.

But then again, I gingerly felt for something else (see below)

*****Ginger-Apricot Sauce/Spread*****
(yes, again the sauce. And sorry guys, no photo this time. *wink, wink, wink* Some things are simply not photogenic, no matter how delishious they taste.)

A handful of dried apricots (sour-sweet variety)

A 5-cm knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped

1 Tsp tabasco sauce

3 Tsp tamarind water - to make which, you should solve 1 Tsp tamarind paste in 100ml hot water (the original recipe, however, suggests you use 3 Tsp soy sauce, which, to my taste, would forward salty tones to the front in the sauce, and I think I wouldn't really appreciate it. So I swapped the latter for the tamarind that blended in the mixture mildly and kept the tastes in balance)

2 Tsp olive oil

1. Soak dried apricots in hot water for 10 mins.
2. Meanwhile, chop ginger finely.
3. After soaking, rinse the apricots. In a blender, process the apricots and ginger until the consistency of a puree.
4. Add the remainder of the ingredients and pulse until thouroughly mixed.

The combination of flavours gives me a distinct warming sensation. A spicy, slightly fiery tickling taste of fresh ginger mixed with dried apricots and tamarind - which add up their fruity tones to the composition - distinguishes or even extracts natural taste and texture of poultry or, say, lean meat; it might as well push forward salty cheese taste (while we are at it).

*Situated right at the Red Square, GUM is a shopping mall (grocery store inclusive) n.1 in Moscow. Feel like splurging? Come here!


Cookiemouse said...

Pecorino romana is one of my favourite cheeses. Once again thanks for the great pictures of Moscow.

Astra Libris said...

It's ok, we cannot love all our cheeses equally... :-) I'm sure your other cheese loves are glad that you didn't fall all the way for romano! :-) Your sauce, on the other hand, deserves total devotion! It sounds positively scrumptious!

Ginger M said...

I have the same thing with feta. I'd only eaten mild-tasting imitation feta (salad cheese) when I bought myself a jar of authentic Greek feta in brine a few years back and was appalled with how strong the it tasted. I tried again with another brand but alas, our love too, was not meant to be...