Books, Bikes, and Food

Reviews, Recipes, Rides… and some other things, too.


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Recipe: Mushroom “Ceviche”

Sorry for the long silence (again). I have a good excuse, we holidayed (yay), and since we’ve come back it’s been way too hot to do much in the way of cooking and biking, or reading for that matter (I’m sure my brain has melted more than just a little bit). The mere idea of adding more heat to the environment by turning on my stove has been so offputting I haven’t done it in the past two weeks, except for making coffee in the mornings. Cold dishes have been the order of the day, like this one, and all kinds of salads.

And then, as is wont to happen when the heat turns up, came the desire for ceviche. But the life of a Central European is tough, what with the distance to the sea (especially if two of your favourite sports include kayaking and surfing). And the life of a Central European fish lover is even tougher. My and Mr BBF’s moaning about the lack of good, affordable fresh fish could fill volumes. So what’s the Central European ceviche fiend to do? This one looked for alternatives and found: mushroom ceviche.

Although my favourite variety by far is Peruvian ceviche, I have to say I’m not afraid to shamelessly steal from other countries’ cuisines too, so this is based on a Colombian recipe. Next time I’ll try the original recipe using artichokes and palm hearts (two further obsessions of mine). This time, I made do with what I had around, mushrooms and a red bell pepper. The result of the experiment was… well, not really cevichesque, but more than edible. Tangy and fresh, this is best if the mushrooms and onions have had a chance to interact with the lemon/lime juice for at least a few hours.

Ingredients (serves 2 for a starter, 3 as a light main)

  • 6-7 large brown champignons, peeled, stems trimmed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, halved and cut into very thin slices
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, deseeded and diced
  • handful cilantro, chopped
  • juice of 4 limes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt

To take away some of the its sting, soak the sliced red onion in hot water with a bit of salt for 5 minutes. Mix the lime and lemon juice with the vinegar in a large bowl. Drain the onions and add. Let them marinate for 30 minutes (meanwhile, prepare all your veggies). Add the vegetables and the chopped cilantro, mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least another 30 minutes (a few hours is best). Add salt to taste and serve. Enjoy!

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Back to Business and Meeting Antxon (the Idiazábal Project)

Today was my first day back at work after 10 glorious days of holidays. Let’s say, today was a tough day. But there were some highlights. What got me through and actually put me in a good mood was this:

… and this:

This morning it was (almost) sunny and finally warm enough to bike to work in a wool coat rather than a double-layered wind and water resistant jacket that would keep you just cozy on a polar expedition. Also, my Mother in law gave us tons of Spanish ham and a whole Idiazábal cheese to take home, which I named Antxon (it needed a Basque name). Since Mr Liburuak is not huge on cheese, Antxon is living with me now. Today, I took some of the ham and a hunk of Antxon into the office to spread the love among my colleagues.

I’d like to take a moment to talk about Idiazábal cheese. It’s quite something else: a cheese made from sheep’s milk in the Basque Country (widely conceived, i.e. including Navarre). The first time I was given a piece of Idiazábal, it was the very aged kind and eating it was basically like taking a shot of whiskey in cheese form. I kept it in the fridge wrapped in tinfoil and two plastic bags. You could only eat two bites at a time, yet it was delicious. Antxon is of the younger variety and much softer in taste. You can eat a lot more of it and it’s also softer in texture. But still delicious. If you ever get the chance to taste some Idiazábal, don’t miss it! You do need to like cheese though, otherwise I don’t think you’ll enjoy the experience.

I will be exploring with Antxon over the next weeks, so you will see more of him in different formats as we go along. I’m creating an “Idiazábal” page under the “Projects” tab where you will be able to find the outcome of my explorations.


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30daysbikingI’m late to the party here, because I only just found out this existed: the 30 Days of Biking campaign. Throughout April, the goal is to bike somewhere every day. Since I’m still on holiday and also have to go on a business trip later this month, mine will be more like 20 days of biking. But it sounds like fun anyway. You can follow the campaign on Twitter at @30daysofbiking, interact with them through the #30daysofbiking hashtag, and like them on Facebook.