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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Five Things to Eat Before You Die (Pre-Europe trip!)

OK so Mellie tagged me for this fantastic topic that Traveler's Lunchbox started. Can I cheat and call this my five things pre-2006 trip to Europe? I may discover more things as I'm visiting new places! :-)

So right *now*:

1. Peking duck from Quanjude, Beijing, China
The best duck I'd had until going to Quanjude in Beijing was from Flower Drum (before it changed hands and still had the Restaurant of the Year tag) so this *real* Peking duck must have been something special. Oh yes, it was!

So moist, so unexpectedly not fatty (a friend who went on exchange said the locals like their duck really fatty!) and the pancake just right - texture wise and not dry!

2. Fresh bread,
pâté and good cheese
Like this!
I try to be healthy and not eat white bread but give me a crusty baguette or roll with a soft, fluffy centre. Yum! Add creamy pâté and cheese, I can polish off the lot!

3. Balti from Birmingham, England
When I was in Birmingham about 7 or 8 years ago I had some magnificent balti. The meal was delicious, I was in the company of old and new friends... the meal was so good that we pretended not to see the rat that ran along the skirting boards at the end of the meal. An authentic touch!

4. Fresh sashimi and sushi in a Tokyo sushi bar
I had some Japanese colleagues take us to a sushi bar in Tokyo - after being utterly surprised that Australia has lots of Japanese restaurants and we really did want to eat raw food! It was amazing, the chef had fresh, long bellies of fish that he'd slice from as we decided what we wanted. There were things you wouldn't expect, just had to hold your nose and swallow if you found something you didn't like but it's the experience you go for!

5. Family meals
My grandfather was a chef and loves to cook for the family. He is slowing down and moving with less ease but put him in the kitchen and every sense comes alive. It's as if he's programmed to chop and season, boil and fry. He loves to gather the family around and spend the whole afternoon preparing a meal with the grandchildren's favourites. I love his salads at a barbecue, every bowl comes with a vegetable decoration because he can't help himself!

I'm lucky that my Mum gave me a love of cooking. My chef grandfather is actually my Dad's Dad so maybe I was lucky and got a double hit of "food appreciation" genes. Similar to grandpa, Mum will put in a ton of effort to make friends and family feel welcome and well fed. She doesn't measure, she just knows and it always comes out right.
These meals made with love, you can't beat them!


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