Bigos is best when it’s ten degrees below zero

first_imgBut it is at this time of year that the region’s cuisine comes into its own. When it’s ten degrees below zero and a wind is howling outside, a high-calorie, high-fat diet, washed down with lots of alcohol, suddenly seems attractive even to the most finicky outsider. The soups are the best. Czech bramboracka potato soup takes the edge off a chilly evening, as does Poland’s tangy zurek, made with fermented rye flour. Polish mushrooms go into soup (grzybowa) or can be eaten stewed in sour cream. The best kind of mushroom is Prawdziwek (literally – “the right one”).Main courses are harder. Balkan food is basically barbecue: meat either in chunks or minced, grilled more or less expertly, with chips and spicy sauce. It’s not bad, but it palls. Things are better when you head north. My favourite is Polish hunters’ stew, bigos, which is a succulent mixture of fresh and pickled cabbage with bacon, prunes and other bits, cooked for days at the back of the stove. Some golden-brown potato pancakes, nalesniki, with a dash of sour cream (or if you’re rich, caviar) provide a crispy counterpoint.Potatoes play an even bigger role in Lithuania’s national cuisine. The most distinctive dish is called zeppelins (Cepelinai in Lithuanian). These do resemble in shape those famous First World War airships, with glutinous potato dough instead of the frame, and a hefty dose of grease instead of the hydrogen. Eaten with sour cream and a few scraps of fried bacon, they go down as decisively as their namesakes went up. But you won’t be hungry again for hours.By contrast, Hungarian food is such a model of sophistication that it seems hardly fair to put it in the same category as the others. Try a goose liver starter, washed down by sour-cherry soup, and then apple-stuffed pheasant, followed by chestnut puree for pudding. Hungarian food is so good that you feel like eating it in the summer too. Over the past 20 years, I’ve eaten almost all the traditional meals on offer in the region, so I am now hunting novelty. My friend Wendell Stevenson, a writer and able cook who lived in Georgia a few years ago, caused outrage experimenting with classic Georgian recipes, making some deft changes: garlic here, rosemary there, easy on the pomegranates. Other foreigners, tiring of the repetitive local cuisine, were enthralled. But her Georgian friends were incensed: “cooking it your way is wrong” they would insist.I think the best food is in countries where local cuisine leaves a very light but distinct footprint: the ostrich is not native to Estonia – but from the way that locally reared birds appear in delicious, authentic-seeming dishes in the Pegasus restaurant in Tallinn, you’d never guess. A few months ago I had lung stew in Hungary (taste and texture rather like squid, but darker in colour, if you’re interested). Last month in Romania I had an interesting tripe soup: not hot and spicy like my beloved Polish flaki, but lukewarm, very chewy, and cooked in what seemed to be sour milk. Outsiders often think that Central Europe is a gastronomic wasteland, where dishes consist of grease, stodge and body parts not eaten elsewhere. So the wise visitor heads for international restaurants and enjoys tex-mex, sushi, or the ubiquitous Italian. I’ve some sympathy for this. If you’ve grown up with fresh, crunchy, vitamin-rich food, getting used to duck and dumplings can be a stretch. last_img read more

Petrobras ends Pudim well drilling

first_imgBrazil’s Petrobras has completed drilling extension well 3-BRSA-1253D-ESS / 3-ESS-219D (Petrobras nomenclature), informally known as Pudim, at a water depth of 1,886 meters, in the Espírito Santo Basin post-salt.According to Petrobras, the completion of this well, which had been announced on October 7, 2014, confirmed the presence of excellent quality oil through log data analysis, fluid samples and cable test conducted in reservoirs located at a depth of some 4,300 meters. Drilling ended at a depth of 4,670 meters.Then, a cased-hole drill-stem test was conducted at the 4,305 to 4,383 meter interval that confirmed the presence of light oil of approximately 35° API.The well is located in the Brigadeiro Discovery Evaluation Plan (PAD) area, 121 km from the city of Vitória, in Espírito Santo state.Petrobras is the operator (65%) of the consortium responsible for the exploration of the Brigadeiro Discovery Evaluation Plan (PAD), in partnership with PTTEP Brasil Investimentos em Exploração e Produção de Petróleo e Gás Ltda (20%) and Inpex Petróleo Santos Ltda (15%).[mappress mapid=”1015″]last_img read more


first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInLocal residents in the region who have been the victims of mail scams are going to receive their money back. The Trading Standards team at Dumfries and Galloway Council have been working in cooperation with the National Scams Team who have intercepted scam mail. The national team are continuously working to identify scams and intercept. They have contacted the local Trading Standards team following the first round of a new initiative where they have intercepted cheques and money that has been sent by people within Dumfries and Galloway. This partnership approach to scams allowed the cheques to be returned to their rightful owners and not end up in the scammers pockets.Dumfries and Galloway residents may unfortunately from time to time find themselves to be the victims of scams. These scammers are very professional and target unsuspecting consumers. In all incidences the scam will sound very convincing. Once the consumer has replied to the mailing and often sent money off to the scammer, the mailings become more personalised, using your first name to coax you into parting with more money.Following the first interception, Trading Standards have returned over 10 cheques to local residents who had responded to dishonest scammers. There are instances where more than one cheque has been sent to an individual – highlighting that people can repeatedly be the victim of a scam. The Trading Standards team will continually receive any cheques that are intercepted. They will pass any cheques or money back to the individuals who responded to the dishonest scammers.Sadly, a national initiative like this will not stop scammers from trying again. Dumfries and Galloway Council Trading Standards offer advice and tips on how to spot the carefully thought out schemes of these scammers to deter it from happening again. This positive action seems to be helping to give people the tools they need not to fall for tricks and scams.Cllr Colin Smyth chair of the environment, economy and infrastructure committee said, ‘Protecting the vulnerable is a priority of this council. The Council’s trading standards team have been working together with the National Scams Team allowing us to stop people in the region from losing their money. Nobody can afford to be scammed. As such, we will continue to support national initiatives like this. Our team are continually trying to identify ways to minimise opportunities for scammers and to raise awareness of potential scams.”Photos Attached- Scams 2- Trading Standards Manager Sandra Harkness and Trading Standards Officer Jonathon Weirs with Councillor Colin Smyth.last_img read more