LATVIA: AIR B’N’FEAST EP.1 – MASSIVE markets in Riga!

Alright so, we’re here in Latvia. It’s about
a week past summer solstice, the sun is shining its absolutely beautiful, not what you’d usually
expect of the place. But I’m expecting some excellent produce because right over this
little canal here, we’ve got one, two, three, four and then a little bit of outdoor market.
All of those, all of those are markets. Biggest in Europe apparently, right? Yeah. I’ve got
confirmation from my Latvian associate here, Inese. Little bit camera shy but that’s alright.
So, we’re going to pop over to the markets, gonna do a quick lap. See whats on offer and
then make some decisions. Not really sure what Latvian food is completely about but
I know that sour cream is involved, but I suspect that there is a lot more to it than
that. Okay so what is that? Lassa, lasha, So it’s
um, Salmon, salmon tummies? Oh really!? So what we just saw there were salmon tummies
right? (speaks latvian poorly) Also got an asian spice section and just fish, for miles
and miles and miles. Oh god!!! And the interesting thing about this place
is that unlike a lot of fish markets that really really smell, like very very fishy,
this has got an incredibly smokey sort of disposition to it. There’s a lot of smoking
going on here, and it just permeates through the air, smells absolutely delicious, my mouth
is watering like crazy! Hello! Viena karpa, ludzu?! Paldies. (speaks latvian poorly) My pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired. Paldies. (tries to ask for pork mince in latvian, almost
swears in Russian) Close enough. This is the dairy section, I think we’re in building number…
three! We’ve just passed through the meat and spice section, which was actually the
smallest part! The biggest so far has been the fish but I’m still waiting to see whats
on the outside. Look at all this cheese. It just goes on and on and on. Now we’re outside. And we’ve just stepped
it up a notch. Never seen so many cherries in my life. Cherries are not what I’m after
though, gotta be some other berries around here that I can use for something. Slowly
coming together. Paldies.
Paldies Paldies
Paldies I’ve been thinking. Thinking long and hard
and I’m going to go for a loaded Latvian toast, I’ve written this down. I’m going to go some
of the smoked fish, and i’m going to have some dill with that and some sour cream. Salt,
pepper and then the wildcard: Strawberries! That’s going to be slightly strange but should
be good, and then the locini, I’m not sure if I’ saying that right yet. With a bit of
Latvian bread right and then that’s just the entree. The main we’re going to go for a pate
infused pork meatball with locini, (spring onions) pork mince, pate, garlic, onion, salt,
pepper, I was thinking about some latvian preserves or some jam to go with it. I feel
like thats a Balticky thing to do. And then I’m gonna get those yellowly mushrooms and
make those into a sauce and that’s going to go around the outside. It better be a short walk home. This is getting
quite heavy. We’re off to the Lativan Ethnographic Open
Air Museum! So a few of these buildings have been relocated from all over Latvia to showcase
what traditional Latvian living is like. It’s quite interesting! We’ll have to see what
it looks like! That means bar. I’m guessing that one means
souvenir? Yep. Hell yeah! I can speak Latvian! So this looks like a barbecue room. Got the
‘meat” hanging up on the wall. Gotta say. The luxuries we have; I don’t know if I could
do this! Even though thats fake meat it looks bloody delicious. Even got the chimney through
the top there. God I don’t even know where to start. STOKE THE COALS! We’ve come a long way in a short space of
time. Now THAT is a SAUNA. DAMN. You hit each other with the birch trees?
Yes. Why?
Gives you health. Hmm! It’s weird, being here on the other side of
the world and feeling a certain sense of familiarity. I kind of assessed this place to be… and
Latvia in general, a place of Latvian ingenuity. And just in the same way that New Zealanders
say that we’ve got kiwi ingenuity, but we do ours with number 8 wire; these guys just
seem to do it with birch and reed, whatever they can get their hands on and its absolutely
fascinating to see, and it permeates through everything. Through buildings, to food, to
lifestyle. It’s just very pragmatic. GOOD. So this is the apartment. We’ve got exposed
brick, exposed beam, well-placed furniture, we’ve got beautiful lighting. It’s pretty
much a one-shot-wonder. And that, well that leads to the kitchen.
I’ll show you around. So this is our cook surface. We’ve got four
hobs in a slightly strange arrangement. We’ve got a nice powerful range. All the hobs…
seem… to work. But I’m not sure if we’ve got any of the ones that go with a runaway
heat, which I know is a thing with electric hobs. We’ve also got the chopping board there
and we’ve got another one over there with the big old fish on it. But beautifully, in
the cutlery drawer which is fairly well stocked, we’ve got this nice sharp knife. It’s good
enough for my purposes that’s for sure. So uh, looking forward to using that. And then
last thing we’ve got to check is to make sure we’ve got a good amount of pots and pans but
at a first glance I’d say… yeah we’re pretty sorted. So yeah, this is how, again, another
good example of an airbnb kitchen. So this is the spread of ingredients! We’ve
got this fish. That fish is a carp, I’ve never had carp before. So what I’m going to be doing
is shredding that up and I’m going to be mixing that through with some dill which is a Latvian
staple and that’s going to be mixed in with the sour cream here. Now the cool thing about the sour cream is
that they asked me: how fatty do I want it? I’ve never had that question before so I asked
naturally for the MOST fatty. With it, we’re going to have an accompaniment of a little
bit of parsley here, but it’s all going to go on this beautiful, beautiful bread. Plate
it up nicely and then that should be delicious. But the finishing touch is going to be these
strawberries. Now these strawberries are fascinating because they are exceptionally sweet. So that’s what’s happened with the strawberries.
I put them in the oven for about 3-4 hours at about 100 degrees celsius and turned those
suckers into raisins. So um, yeah strawberry raisins. I’ve never had them before but they’re
sweet, they’re a little bit chewy, and I think they’re going to add a nice little… quite
subtle now that they’re so far reduced, hit. Alright so the proof is in the eating. So
we’ve got the toast, which has got a nicely garlicky hit to it. We’ve got the fish which
has been smoked with garlic, so garlic bases are covered. Mixed it in with that beautifully
fatty sour cream. Got some chopped up dill, salt, parsley… Really really simple. I think
just looking at it, maybe some lemon juice may have worked but… we’ll give it a go
in it’s current form, and we’ll see how it goes. No lemon needed! Holy moly. That fish! That
fish is delightfully smokey and that smoke has worked its way into every single part
of this dish. And then you got things just… decorating it almost, you’ve got the dill,
which is a bit different here. It’s got that aniseedy flavour but it’s not so strong. It’d
almost makes dill that I’m used to seem a bit soapy, I’m not sure! But we’ve got the sweetness coming through,
from the strawberry, just like, another little accent around the smoke, and you’ve got the
fattiness that just sort of smooths and blends everything together, another sort of version
of that flavour shading. Yeah! That’s delicious. So, I’m surprised, I’m actually surprised.
Alright, time to get onto the main. Now onto the meatballs which with these two
ingredients, we’ve got the pate, we’ve got the pork mince. They’re going to go together
in with a little bit of onion, and some dill, as you’d expect. Now thats all going to go
into the one meatball, right, but then on the plate we’re going to have more sour cream,
and then this stuff… (mispronounces Latvian jam, still can’t pronounce
it) I can’t say that. look at it! There’s accents
up the wazoo! I’ve got no Idea what that is in terms of a berry, but I did try the juice
yesterday, and it was SOUR. Goddamn it was sour, so I haven’t even opened this yet. It
could be very sweet or it could be incredibly tart. What I’m hoping for is a slight balance
between the two. I think that’ll go really well with the meatball though. On the plate we’re also going to saute some
mushrooms, a staple of the Latvian diet so it’s going to be fascinating. Also got some
Latvian-grown tomatoes, which may or may not make the plate, depending on how I feel it
looks. But ah, big things are happening in this kitchen. Alright lets crack on. So those are my meatballs! I’ve got them from
small to large, coz I’m not sure what kind of shrinkage I’m going to get with the pate
in there. I know pate has got a lot of fat in it and that might be likely to ooze out.
But I’ve got the oven on at around about 190-200 degrees Celsius. I’m hoping to get that nice
and caramelized, really quickly on the outside, seal in all those juices. Then, all going
to plan, they should cook slowly, through into the middle. So I’ll reduce the temperature
after the first fifteen minutes I think, and then cook it for another fifteen to twenty
minutes. Hopefully we don’t lose too much juice in the process. Alright so we’re going to pull the meatballs
out of the oven now. Think I’ve got a few thoughts already just peeking through the
door at them. As you can see, looking at it, the big ones, seem to have collapsed under
their own weight a bit. But the smaller ones have held together so I think this chappie
here, the happy middleman, is the one that’s going to get eaten first. He’s held his shape
but he’s the bigger of the bigger two, I reckon he’s spot on. Alrighty these look like kotletes!
What are kotletes? Kotletes are Latvian Meatballs.
oh!! Alright have a go. So is it Latvian food? It is to be fair, it’s pretty similar, like,
Mum makes these! Really?
Mmmmhmm! Alright so that’s my sample bite. I’m going
to eat that one bite and it should reveal everything about the dish that I’ve been saying,
lets go for gold. Okay the order of flavours is: meat, then
the pate, that comes through, and then the dill, and then you get a hit of that sweetness
from the ah…. whatever that jam is. It’s a lot sweeter than the juice that I tried,
so that comes through really really nicely, then we swing back into those dill flavours,
and then finally settle on this pate and fat flavour, just cruising out. That’s the more technical version of what
Inese said but, KOTLETES!
KOTLETES! But its ah yeah, it’s delicious! AND, I’ve
got three more so, hell yes! Alright now I’ve got to get the kitchen clean,
we’re going to go pick up a car, and drive across country.

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