A writer and editor, passionate about good food! I have three websites:
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  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Last bite on earth: Yellowtail Sashimi with Jalapeno from Nobu

Expats: What foods do you miss from back home?

@Les - The British Twining's English Breakfast tea is stronger and has a much nicer flavor than the American one.

I think my Indian grocery store sells the Indian Tetley Tea. I haven't seen the British Blend Tetley in supermarkets in San Francisco. I will keep an eye out for them. They're worth a try, IF I can find them. Having said that, my mom bought 2 huge packs of 160 Tetley teabags and 2 packs of Twining's English Breakfast from Blighty on her last visit in October. I have just opened the second one, so I am well stocked for at least another few months.

@librarybaker - we do get English chocolates in San Francisco, but the prices ($1.75+), make me think twice. I also find the freshness a bit hit and miss. Probably just as well . . . I have gained so much weight since moving to the US!

Expats: What foods do you miss from back home?

@Maria and arm - I don't know what a Butterscotch Krimpet is, but it sounds delicious! Maria - do you take icing in your hand luggage?
@Teachertalk - Like you, I love hearing about what is missed and what is brought back. I don't every buy ready prepared soups in the US, they are all too sweet. I do when I am in the UK, though!
@erinlovestoeat - I know what you mean about those Ranch Style Beans. I never ate Mr Kipling cakes in the UK, but I buy them here and savor each one. Somehow they give me a taste of home. Very odd!

Expats: What foods do you miss from back home?

I found Tetley Tea in an Indian grocery store here, but it cost $9 for a box of 80 tea bags. It's cheaper to get my mom in England to buy it and post it to me. The best American tea I have tasted, and the one I buy when my stock runs out is Newman's Own Organic Royal Tea. It's really good!

Expats: What foods do you miss from back home?

hmw0029 - your question is different. I am looking for storecupboard ingredients and things that people take back with them. Your question seems to yield more nostalgic answers about things people miss. My idea is to discover new ingredients and snacks that people really like/find useful that I can perhaps get my hands on.

Sirloin Steak - cooking tips needed!

@square_pie - the meat was a really lovely piece of organic, grass-fed sirloin - nicely marbled. A lot of the advice was to use a lot of high heat. We decided to use an electric indoor grill for the cooking. We know it reaches fairly high temps. I mentioned what I did with it in an earlier comment. In case you missed it - I had the steak last night. I rubbed some salt, pepper, Herbes de Province, oregano, garlic and olive oil on it as a marinade a few hours before cooking. My husband cooked it on the grill. We slightly overdid them - wanted them to be medium rare and the were more medium. But we let them rest, covered in foil (as per sourdough's suggestion) for 10 minutes and they were perfect . . . not tough and wonderfully flavorful! Thanks for all the tips. Will try a different method next time.

Our Favorite British and Irish Crisps, Candies, and Other Snacks

It's a bit of a strange mix of odds and ends in your list, but all the same it made me feel nostalgic. As a Brit expat, the candy bars and snacks I miss most, and stock up on regularly at my local British food shop in SF (which is called "You Say Tomato") are (BTW, if you're American, read 'biscuits' as 'cookies'):
- McVities Chocolate Digestives (the Cadbury ones are not as good)
- Tunnocks Teacakes - biscuits with marshmallow fluff topping dipped in chocolate
- Tunnocks Caramel - yummy caramel and wafer biscuits covered in milk chocolate
- Skips - prawn cocktail flavor potato snacks that sizzle on your tongue. I grew up eating these!
- Mr Kipling Apple Pies
- Mr Kipling Almond Slices
- British Kit Kats - SO much better than the American version. I actually can't eat the American versions - they are too sweet and not chocolaty enough. I like British Twix and British Rolos as well (I can't eat the American versions)
- Maltesers (as mentioned above)
- Flake, and even better, Praline Flake
- Mint Club biscuits - a biscuit sandwich with mint filling covered in milk chocolate (I prefer these to Penguins)
- Mint Aeros

I think I overshot my 10. I also buy Marmite - a yeast extract spread that you either love or hate. I LOVE it, having grown up eating it! From your list, I also like Hula Hoops and Worcester Sauce Flavored Walkers Crisps . . . I miss using the word, "crisps" . . .

Sirloin Steak - cooking tips needed!

I had the steak last night. I rubbed some salt, pepper, Herbes de Province, oregano, garlic and olive oil on it as a marinade a few hours before cooking. Cooked it on the grill (husband said that it would be hotter than the stovetop or oven). We slightly overdid them - wanted them to be medium rare and the were rare. But we let them rest for 10 minutes and they were perfect . . . not tough at all! Thanks for all the tips. Will try a different method next time.

Paris Birthday Food

Ditto MizAnthropy with regard to Ladureé for their Macarons and Macaron desserts. You can also have a rather nice, light lunch there.

You MUST go to Angelinas for hot chocolate on Rivoli after browsing the Tuillerie Gardens, or perhaps after a visit to the Louvre.

Also, if you are a chocolate fan go to Pierre Hermé - his chocolate creations are the best in the world. He also does rather good Macarons too!

My favorite special occasion Parisian restaurant is Lapérouse ( Beautiful ambiance (if you like, you can get a private room) - it was opened in1766, and has a lot of history. I loved the food and the service and have been there twice.

Have fun!

Sirloin Steak - cooking tips needed!

Techgirl - I had a friend at university who lived on a farm. All their cows had names like, Cottage Pie and Beef Wellington and she said they were delicious!

Cast iron - I only have a cast iron dutch oven. CJ - any tips on the best way to broil?
Cristal - Do you favor broiling as well?
Also, do I put a rub/marinade/anything on the steak before cooking it?

Sirloin Steak - cooking tips needed!

Thanks for the tips! OK, I got it . . .thermometer . . . sear on stove top at v.high heat and then into oven and rest under foil before serving. I will try this out with my steak tomorrow and will let you know how it goes. Do I marinade, do I put any herbs and spices on the steak before cooking it?

10 Spices That Should Be in Your Pantry Right Now

@kakugori - Salmon crusted with whole cumin sounds divine. Could you send me/post the recipe! I love cumin!

10 Spices That Should Be in Your Pantry Right Now

Whoops, I meant to add:
Karen - I just looked up 'epazote' - sounds really interesting. How do you use it?

10 Spices That Should Be in Your Pantry Right Now

So sorry for mixing herbs and spices. Herbs and Spices are all mixed up in my cupboard and I tend to lunp them together! Look forward to the post on herbs!

So many useful tips and reminders of spices I haven't used for a while!

Ground Spices - convenient, but much shorter shelf lives. I never buy cumin or coriander ready-ground, as they have already lost half of their aromatic flavor.

Also, in terms of spice mixes such as garam masala, they are so much better if you make them yourself to your taste. I've yet to find a ready garam masala as perfectly balanced as the one my mum/mom makes.


10 Spices That Should Be in Your Pantry Right Now

Would you classify sesame seeds as spices? I wouldn't. I do love them though! My favorite spice mix right now is Herbes de Province. I think it contains, savory, fennel, basil, and thyme and sometimes lavender. It is fantastic on meat and poultry and on roasted vegetables.

My list of 10 would be:
- Herbes de Province (see above)
- Cumin (I buy it whole to use in tempers for Indian cooking, but I also roast and grind it, so sprnkle flavor on almost anything!
- Black mustard seeds (a mainstay of my Indian cooker)
- Rosemary
- Oregano
- Thyme
- Trader Joes 21 Seasoning Salute - love, love, LOVE this mixture. They'd better not discontinue it!
- Italian Flat-leaf parsley
- Turmeric
- Saffron

Oh, but I also like black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom . . . 10 is not enough!

iPhone Apps

I LOVE Bittman. Will definitely check out his app!
Some cool foodie app guides published in the past few months by Sutro Media include:
iSpice - a great reference tool when shopping for herbs and spices -
Asian Ingredients 101 - a guide to shopping for Asian Ingredients - I love it!
Hurry with the Curry - my app guide to Indian restaurant dining - to help you understand what you find on Indian restaurant menus. Any feedback would be most welcome!

Expats: What foods do you miss from back home?

I've been reading the thread about British and Irish snack foods and it got me thinking about the food products that I, as an expat, miss and stock up on. I was also curious about what other expats miss from their home countries.

What store-cupboard foods do you find yourself stocking up on when you go home? What do you ask visitors to bring you from 'home'? What foods are you prepared to buy at inflated prices in your country of residence.

This is my list (I am a Brit living in the US):
- Tetley Tea - regular and decaf
- Twinings English Breakfast Tea (the American one tastes different)
- Marmite
- Herbes de Province (from France)
- Marigold Organic Vegetable Bouillon Powder
- Vegetable OXO cubes
- Malden salt
- Tunnocks Teacakes
- One or more of the following: Penguins, Mint Clubs
- Tunnocks Caramels
- Ribena - blackcurrant drink (I buy this in expat shops in the US)
- British Kit Kat
- Prawn Cocktail crisps and Skips
- Worcester Sauce crisps
- Mint Aero
- Fry's Peppermint Cream
- Hoola Hoops
- Hot Cross Buns (in season)
- Christmas Cake (in season)
- Mr Kipling Apple Pies and other cakes
- Bisto vegetable gravy granules
- Schwartz spice mixes that are not available in the US

Sirloin Steak - cooking tips needed!

I love steak, but have never mastered the art of cooking it on an electric stove. I have tried different cuts and different ways of cooking, from flash-frying to marinading and braising and even tried cooking it on our indoor grill/panini press, and somehow the meat always ends up tough. I have a lovely piece of Sirloin that I really want to cook properly. Does anyone have any tips?

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