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The Ruins of St. Paul’s

The geographically-inclined among us can likely pinpoint Macau on a map (just off the south-eastern coast of the Chinese mainland), but most of us would be a trifle fuzzy on the particulars.  Nowadays, Macau is best known for its casino-punctuated skyline (their gambling industry rakes in a bigger annual haul that Las Vegas), cobbled streets, and unique cuisine.  It wasn’t so long ago, though, that Macau was a European colony.

The Grand Lisboa Casino

The Portuguese landed on the island in the 1500s and made it an official colony three-hundred years later.  In 1999, they returned the land to China, effectively snuffing out the dying embers of European colonialism in Asia.

Luckily, they didn’t snuff out the food. (more…)

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Matt and I may be back in China, but European food still haunts me…forgive me for a moment’s reverie this morning.

Last night, I was craving this delicious lemon sauce we had eaten in Italy, so I made pork scallopinni (that’s where you bash pork filets with a heavy water-glass to flatten them out–very tender!) with a lemon white wine sauce (I used this sauce recipe:  they say it’s for fish, but whatever, it’s good!), and we ate it with roasted zucchini and salad.  I also served sliced baguette with a plate of fabulous olive oil we picked up in Imola, Italy.  (Here’s a buying tip:  Matt and I were at a little restaurant, and we both thought their olive oil was super-delicious.  I asked the waiter if we could just buy a bottle off the kitchen.  He said sure, and he thought it was 12 euros, but after rifling through a pile of purchase receipts, he couldn’t find the record, so he gave it to us for 10–a wine-bottle sized jar!  And we might have paid less than restaurant volume-pricing for it!)

This morning, we still had half a baguette…and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it…smother it with butter and honey!  You see, Matt and I celebrated Christmas in a tiny town in the south of France, with good friends of mine (Marcella and Andy and Flavia, for those who know them).  The town sold all sorts of regional specialty foods, one of which was honey.  This is honey on crack, let me tell you.  It’s thick, and viscous, and delicious, and they specify the flowers the bees eat, because the honey flavors differ as a result.  We tasted lots of honey at a little miel shop, and Matt bought me a big jar of lavender honey as part of my Christmas present.  (Along with a lovely olive wood mortar and pestal, and handmade honey and lavender soaps!  Full marks, all around.  If you want to know his shopping secrets, you’ll have to ask him.  ;))

Here is the lavender honey, side-by-side with some normal grocery store honey.  See the difference in color and thickness? (Well…thickness is hard to see, but basically the French honey needs to be spooned out, it isn’t runny at room temperature.)

Thus, my European raptures continued this morning over a warmed baguette, spoonfuls of honey, and New Zealand butter…(and a mango banana smoothie; I had to give our local foods a shout-out somehow.)

Tonight, we’re celebrating New Year’s Eve with one of our new favorite couples–Alisha and Rob.  I think we’re going to order take-out Chinese barbecue, but I’ll probably sneak some Italian pecorino, salami, and chocolate into the mix somehow.  🙂

Happy New Year’s Eve everyone!!


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