Tales of Ajvar
|The best pepper paste ever?|
I love that my city embraces a myriad of cultures, enough to host cultural/regional specific festivals, home to many country specific clubs and associations and also many small import grocery stores specialising in the food of a variety of countries. Within but a few kilometers, there are Italian, British, Polish, Dutch/Indonesian, Thai and Croatian grocers/shops. It is quite impressive to be able to have crumpets and golden syrup for brekkie, an authentic mortadella sandwich and chinotto for lunch, an afternoon snack of kielbasa and dinner of Indonesian curry all in one day.
However, trying to keep with my fresh and local mantra, I have to admit to not frequenting these stores too often, either only to get something to enhance my garden goodies or try something new and different and usually recommended to me by a friend. It's the locavore's dilemna. But, today, I had to check this out. I work with a ex-pat Macedonian who is only too happy to share food stories and I am a more than willing ear.
He tells me tales of ajvar, his mum and grandmother and that it's alot different just to get it out of a jar without all the work, but what delicious work. This photo shows a part of the process. Can't you smell the peppers roasting now?
Mama's ajvar: A roasted red pepper spread that also contains eggplant (aubergine). It is available in mild, hot and green pepper varieties.
We've been enjoying its unctuous, concentrated pepper flavour on fresh and toasted bread as an appetiser. Divine!