Saturday, 6 June 2015

Food


Someone mentioned Florence today, and I started to dream of a little holiday again. Although - if I had my time over again - I threaten to name any girl-child of mine, 'Fanny', I think I would actually be tempted to call her Florence.

If you go to Firenze, visit the little lunchtime restaurant that a friend of mine told me about, called 'La Casalinga', tucked down a back street on the other side of the river, very close to the bridge you need to cross to get there - assuming you start off in the wrong place. It is packed full of locals, run by a few elderly woman, has disposable table-cloths and offers a choice of one meal per lunchtime - every one being delicious and cheap. If I ran a restaurant, I would only have one dish on the menu every night - take it or leave it. It is a refreshing change to not have to choose these days.

The best fish I have ever eaten was in a tiny restaurant hidden in the thick walls of the old market of Istanbul. It was a block of cod, simply baked in butter and wrapped in a paper parcel before being put in the oven. It took us three days to find that restaurant.

The second-best fish I have ever eaten was deep-fried squid on a beachside restaurant in Southern Crete. We would watch the fishermen beat the whole squid against a rock in the early morning - as if they were washing their smalls - then eat it the same night. No need for a kiwi-juice marinade to soften these ones.

The third best was a massive, wild salmon, caught in Scotland the day before and also baked in butter.

A Thai restaurant here used to keep live crabs in a tank downstairs, and when you ordered one as a starter, the took it out, killed it, then did something Thai to it with chillies and ginger before dishing it up. Very good.

I like fish, but only if someone else cooks it.

The reason I am food-fixated in this post is because I am hungry. Most mornings when I don't have to get up early (which is most mornings) I wrench myself out of bed by imagining a breakfast made with whatever I know to be in stock.

This morning, I lay there, dreaming of thick, white toast with butter and Marmite, and that was the catalyst for putting my feet on the ground.

Sadly, I had a lot of dreams last night, and one of them was of buying a large, white, fluffy loaf. We had no bread of any sort other than that which would scratch your throat if toasted, and I have a sore throat today. My actual breakfast is going to be Strepsils.

In looking for the above image of La Casalinga, I find that it has qute a large presence on the interweb these days. Apparently, it was the inspiration for Hannibal Lecter. No wonder I am hungry.

12 comments:

  1. I LOVE Florence and those little, out of the way restaurants are always the best.
    Fish is our favourite and we eat it a lot at home …. how come you don't cook it Tom ? XXXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's too difficult to cook for me. 10 seconds either way and it is ruined. I hate boney fish as well. texture is everything.

      Delete
  2. She is on the wagon and missing your blog presence. I wonder who that could be.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't enjoy continuously being poked with a stick until I react.

      Delete
  3. That's the trouble with tiny hidden restaurants hidden in foreign places and run by elderly women - they get 'discovered' and become common knowledge and lose their charm. Agree about fish only being enjoyable when someone else has cooked it - a memorable dish of arctic char eaten years ago in Banff in Canada still makes my mouth water at the thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It also helps to be close to the sea.

      Delete
  4. Once on my favourite wee island of Formentera, I berated a tiny open-air beach-side restaurant owner for always frying his squid in batter. I ordered some for that night simply BBQ'd; he did what I asked, and it's still No 1 on my list to this day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He probably pissed in it. That would soften it up nicely.

      Delete
  5. Fried chicken, chicken fried steak and can you believe, chicken fried chicken which is different from fried chicken. That is all the restaurants around here serve, oh, and BBQ. As a landlubber in the center of America, fried catfish is all the fish you can find around here. If I go to the city, I can get fish from the four corners of the world, but then, I'd have to fix it and it wouldn't be that good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Someone gave me a can of 'mudfish' from a Chinese supermarket a few years ago. I opened it up and it looked - and tasted - like fish cooked in its own mud. I could not complain.

      Delete
  6. I have never been to Florence and now you have me yearning to go and eat at that restaurant. I have to say I love eating fish and fried sardines always remind me of the smell of Greece.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not the smell of Greeks then? You need a holiday romance.

      Delete