Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't bother looking in Spar

I have been trying some new recipes lately because my repertoire has become a bit passé.

Cate reads the newspapers on her iPad and there are always new and exciting recipes in The Times and the Sydney Morning Herald. She emails these to me saying ‘I would like this please’.  I have also been browsing through my recipe books for inspiration.

One of the difficulties being in Vienna is that some of the ingredients used in the recipes do not seem to exist here  – or – if they do – are certainly not available at my local Spar or local markets.

I am – for example – looking at a Bill Granger’s  recipe for ‘Baked orecchiette with sausage and cavolo nero’.

Now I do actually know what orecchiette is because I tried a new recipe with this last week. Mind you – I could not find it anywhere so made do with something that looked much the same.

But cavolo nero? Turns out it is a type of black cabbage – but doesn’t look like a cabbage – and is a member of the kale family.

Well I can’t even get spinach at my local Spar so there is no point in looking there.

I may have to ask Merisi – she knows where to buy everything one needs in Vienna. And if all else fails I will try broccoli which I think will work with the recipe – which I must say looks good – as many of Bill's recipes do.

Anyway – I find it best if I try something completely new when Cate is away – to avoid disappointment. Otherwise she is likely to say something like ‘this is interesting’ as she pushes the food around her plate.

Her all time low score was when she pronounced something as ‘hideous’ and I could only agree. Not one of my best efforts – too much adlibbing.

She is going to the USA next week so I shall try a couple of completely new things.

Last week was so glorious in Vienna I went to Stadtpark nearly every day to take photos. That is why you are getting another one today.


  1. I have been doing some Oriental soups lately and eXploring Vietnamese cuisine at their restaurants.

  2. What can I say? Move to greener Spars?

    You are fun: Italian regional meals via Australian recipes with ingredients that are so exotic, you'd have to live in Vienna to be able to procure them all within walking distance. Oopsie, what did I just say???

    Seriously, would it be too much to expect that an Australian celebrity chef would explain to his Australian disciples that the cavolo a cavolo nero is? Food snobism, Mr. Granger?

    Anyhow, having some sort of Italian roots, I know what orecchiette are (I have even seen not so young anymore signoras sitting in the shadow of their Trulli houses in Alberobello and forming tiny balls of semolina dura pasta into little ears, with their thumbs). And living near a "little Spar that can", I know they carry orecchiette straight from Italy (Spar is an Austrian, family-owned grocery chain, that also has grocery stores in bella Italia, called Despar down south). As to cavolo nero, you can probably find it within walking distance of your apartment, either at Naschmarkt, the new Merkur Deluxe at Hoher Markt or Billa Corso at Neuer Markt.

    Bon appetit,

  3. I think that cavolo nero is vastly over-rated. Kale is what we used to grown in England for our milking cows! So far as I'm concerned, that is its best use!

  4. esb: We don't have any really good Vietnamese restaurants in Vienna - but there are lots in Sydney.

    Merisi: I am lucky to find potatoes at my Spar - let alone cavolo nero.

    Annie: I know where I can find kale.

  5. Fine blog, I'm reading it every week. You need
    freshly made pasta? There's Pasta..e Basta,
    Werdertorg.10, U4 Schottenring. Maybe they won't
    have orechiette every day, but I'm quite sure you
    won't leave the shop empty-handed.