March 29, 2009

Exploring food

Thinking about posting some of my culinary (happy) experiments here.
Today I've mixed some recipes I've read on the internet, added a bit of personal twist and came up with pan-grilled (no place for an open fire unfortunatelly) salmon with cream&caper sauce, home made american potatoes and soya-sauce beans.

Went perfectly well with a 'Feteasca Alba' from Panciu. This is a typical romanian type of wine, with quite a nice 'grape flower aroma', to quote comrade, doctor, engineer, economist Pusca here.

If you're keen on more details, I'll add the recipe as well :p

March 20, 2009

Representing my corner of Europe

I was very nicely surprised when i heard that my county will represent Romania at the European Regions' festival called Taste Europe that was organized in Prague as part of a summit related to the Czech EU presidency.

They had a really nice stand at Mustek, decorated with traditional handcrafted quilts, wooden masks and icons. The hosts were also dressed in what i believe is the local traditional costume (each region has one specific costume). To my shame, I am not really a connaiseur of folklore dress etiquette so i couldn't really say if it was authentic or not but it sure looked very nice.

They were present there for only two days, leaving before the weekend so even if I'm not a hardcore folklore fan, as i said earlier, i still sacrificed my lunch break to attend a concert from 'Tara Vrancei', a local folklore group who put on a very nice live representation.

It was almost surreal to meet these people from my hometown's local administration and have a chat with them about how things are going back home, how some really good wines are totally unpromoted abroad but how at least they could bring some to give a taste to praguers.

They also had this delicious smoked cheese called cascaval(from italian caciocavallo) which is prepared by the villagers in the mountains and shaped in nice artistic wooden casts.

Vrancea is a very culturally rich area where people have kept old rituals and crafts but it's unfortunately very little known even to the locals (myself included) due to poor or nonexistent promovation. It's sad to see that even the historically flourishing vineyards are slowly degrading and badly managed. It's also a bit embarrassing for me that I've visited quite a few places in Europe but have seen little of my own small county. I'm planning to set out to the wild and remote Vrancea sometime in a future holiday.

But all in all, their presence in Prague was enchanting an very well set. Despite being a legendary set for a definitory and rather fatalist Romanian pastoral lyrism and also the epicenter of earthquakes in the country, Vrancea's people are joyous through their lively music, colourful costumes and probably, most important, the delicious wines.

You can find some more photos on my picasa album here.

March 11, 2009

About responsibility in a much more immediate way

It so happens nowadays that when people talk about responsibility it refers to more general concepts: finishing your studies, being good at your work, living healthy and so on.

The lack of responsibility however hits unexpectedly many times in the most brutal ways when people ignore its most basic purpose: to avoid any harm to others or yourself, not to behave recklessly.

That kind of life threatening behavior is far more common in our modern ultra developed world that should ironically make our life safer and easier. I bet people die in car accidents more than from some common diseases. It doesn't really stand out until it confronts someone you know or some friend of theirs.

I knew there are way too many reckless drivers in Romania and that it's turning into a big problem and I've recently learned about a friend's colleague who's been in an accident and has good chances of recovery in a clinic in Germany.

What's even more revolting is that her treatment wasn't paid for by the insurance since it could have been handled in Romania as well (but of course with much less efficiency because of the technological differences) so she must rely on your help to pay the expensive recovery treatment that would give her the best chances.

If you are able, please donate (paypal should be available soon, try to get in touch with the family/friends via the blog)