Not very glamorous I know but it seems to be my nature to be able to "ferret" things/solutions out! I don't know if you know her, but Nadiya Hussain won the Great British Bake-Off (in 2015 I think). Now I don't watch it because it doesn't interest me but I really like Nadiya. She's a Bangladeshi/Brit who seems very down to earth and I really like her style. Well the other day I was watching her cookery programme and she made prawn biryana - which looked wonderful
. She happened to mention an Indian/Bangladeshi 5-spice mix that "is to die for" and guess who managed to find it out in the boonies in little old Geneva! The ferret here! Now if you live in the UK that's probably no big deal but despite being an international city I feel that Geneva is only relatively recently moving into the modern world as far as foreign ingredients are concerned. When I first came here in 1980 the only ingredients in the shops seemed to be those required to make fondue! Well I might be exaggerating slightly but not an awful lot. It has taken years to be able to get my hands on basic British stuff like tea-bags (I know, the horrors!) but they finally seem to be getting there. Truth be told, you can now get almost anything if you know where to look because, as I say, it is such an international community. When I first started looking for this spice mix everyone wanted to sell me Chinese 5-spice powder but that isn't it. However, thanks to the magic of the internet I found a little Bangladeshi supermarket and was able to navigate my way round Geneva's public transport system just like a big girl and get there and back in 30 minutes with my precious Bangladeshi
spice mix. I ended up making her recipe this weekend and while the flavouring was lovely I don't think I did it any favours by using the frozen prawns in my freezer - better to get the real mccoy next time I think, but I have eaten it every day this week (I made waaaay
too much as you can see). Still, on the strength of that and Monday night's programme I have ordered her latest cook book - Nadiya's Family Favourites! We'll see how that pans out but it does look delicious!
The other Sunday I fancied a trip out to a local market about 30 minutes from me. I go to a very small local market on Saturdays but this one is quite a bit bigger. However, when I got there someone had "stolen it" - gone! Just like that! So I stopped and asked a man carrying his market goodies and he directed me to another location as the original location is being improved/black-topped with more parking spaces. Phew - I really like this market and love just wandering around even if I don't buy anything. Interestingly, when I stopped at the fish stall, right next to it were a few tables and bar stools where people were trying seasonal mussels but - this being France - they also had various wines for sale by the glass to try with the mussels! I didn't try any as I was driving but I must admit I do like their style!
Actually yesterday I was able to pick some of my own home-grown tomatoes and I must say you can't beat the home-grown stuff. Add that to feta cheese, cucumbers and olives and you have lunch made in heaven!
And of course the Tour de France is ongoing at the moment. We have had two Sunday's where our village road has been blocked off for bike races recently. This wasn't for the Tour de France but for a complementary race that they always have around the same time. However, on Tuesday the "real" Tour de France was in our area so once again our road was blocked off, but since I was in work I didn't mind so much. They always go over the Alpes de l'Huez and Grand Bornand before coming down to our local town, so I watched a little just to see if I could pick out various places. Far be it from me to stand out in the blazing heat though to watch that stuff - just not my cup of tea (even though I can now get the tea-bags)!
|Coming down towards home from Grand Bornand|
I think I have mentioned before that every week when I shop I pick up a few items for the local food bank, and when I have a crate full I take it down on the Tuesday night when they open. I have been quite remiss in taking my stuff down there lately so determined I was going to do it last night. When I got there one of the ladies insisted on introducing me to the Chairman of the local Red Cross group that runs this particular food bank and she was telling him how our little charity book store had also made a financial donation. Honestly it was no big deal but it really brought home to me just how grateful they are - particularly the closer they get to October/November when their supplies start to run out. As I was about to leave she stopped me and asked me about our little book shop at work, and then proceeded to drag out a huge bag of books in English to donate. She said she had been given them by an acquaintance who reads in English and boy did I drool!!! Whoever this acquaintance is has wonderful
taste in books - I saw Aldus Huxley, among others - and a book that I shall probably buy myself by John O'Farrell, who I find hilariously funny! So I got to leave the food bank with more than I arrived with. My ferret nose working again I suppose!
And finally, I have my big
meeting this afternoon. We have two big meetings a year for which we produce four extremely large reports. I have other meetings, of course, but these are the big ones. We just found out we will have TV cameras both inside and outside the meeting room so I guess I'd better not fall asleep for this one (they do drone on sometimes)! But talking of falling asleep, when I got on the bus at the terminus this morning there was a young man fast asleep at the back. When I got off the bus at the opposing terminus 45 minutes later he was still snoring away. Apparently, according to the bus driver, these young men go on the razzle in the evenings and sleep it off the next day by going round and round on the local buses until they wake up! My boss was saying just this morning how tired he is - he has young children who don't seem to sleep well and also final responsibility for this afternoon's meeting, so I told him if he wanted to get on the number 25 bus afterwards and get some sleep, I would wake him up when I got off at the border! Sounds like a deal to me! Well that and the bottle of wine he has got in the fridge for after our baptism of fire! I'll drink to that!
Well done you on finding the 5 spice mix. The markets look lovely, I wish we had more fresh fruit and vegetables on ours, rather than the poundshop Chinese tat that most try to sell.ReplyDelete
Oh we get the tat also but there are always markets to be found round here of course. Now if I lived in Italy ...... their markets are to die for!Delete
I'm glad the person who stole the market returned it to a nearby location. I love the idea of a market with wine stalls-ingenuous!ReplyDelete
Yeah, you turn your back and someone nicks your market. What is the world coming too! I'm pretty sure you'll find some wonderful markets in Paris and Brussels too and also wine stalls - it's part of the way of life over here. I could never understand not being able to buy booze in many US supermarkets (or at least not on a Sunday). It really is part of the way of life (as you will discover shortly - can't wait to hear all about your trip). Hope the "croissant" fund is growing nicely!Delete
They sell wine (not for onsite consumption except for a sample) at our farmers market - they recently changed the laws so the local wineries could sell their wares at a tiny bit lower prices than the liquor stores that way. Very civilized :) That market looks lovely!ReplyDelete
It's a strange fact of life that over here you can buy booze in supermarkets - no problem at all - but no medications! And in the US (at least - that's where I lived, not Canada) you can easily buy medication but not so much booze. In the UK of course you can get both in supermarkets. I guess the booze to have fun and the aspirin for afterwards. Shows where the priorities lie right!Delete
I'd like to come back as a cat. They nap a lot :)ReplyDelete
I never thought of that - very smart. But I'm just working on the laws of probabilities - you know, my ferret-like nature!Delete
This was a fun post to read. I I think the biggest asset to finding different things is the willingness to leave the comfort zones we have.ReplyDelete
I love ferreting ( is that a word or did I just invent it?) odd things. Birmingham is not a big city and is about as far from international as one can get, but I find small out of the way shops that specialize in international foods all the time. There is a gigantic (by speciality store standards) Asian market here that I stop by occasionally. A couple of friends asked me why I go there since most of the items are in Mandarin. I keep telling them there is always someone in the store to translate for me, and if I ask the right shopper they will tell me exactly how to use it. Now begins my hunt for Bangladeshi spice mix. I do know of a couple of Indian grocers who might have it. I watched her season of the GBBO and loved her style.
When I initially see comments on my blog I don't see who wrote them, so when I saw that "Birmingham is not a big city" I wondered who this crazy woman was. I'm from Birmingham (UK) and it is a really big city and you would have no problem finding Bangladeshi spices there. I also frequently go to Asian stores here and most of the stuff is much cheaper than the same stuff bought in supermarkets. In fact tonight I stopped in at an Iraqi store and he was telling me "if I don't have it I can find it for you". I guess he's a ferret too (or just a good businessman). That spice mix is called Panch Phoron, by the way. Good luck, it's lovely.Delete