I spent the first 18 years of my existence by the ocean, the Indian Ocean to be precise. They were the happiest times of my life, and I don’t mean only in terms of food & drink.
Hospitality is a massive part of every Mombasite’s culture. We love hosting guests, sharing our food and drink, and enjoying the simple social pleasures that emanate from gatherings. I suppose this is the main reason why I became a hotelier, it’s not only a profession, it’s part of my psyche, my personality, my culture, my life.
Loup de Mer à la Chermoula ~ Greek Lavraki.
I could talk about my upbringing for ages but let me get back to the point of this post; the Ocean. I am a BIG LOVER of salt water fish, fresh of course. Grilled, sautéed, stir-fried, poached, ceviche or sashimi, I love it all. I recall with fondness the fantastic sea bream fish and chips my mother used to prepare for us on Fridays, with home made tartar sauce of course! Many a time we would be blessed with the heavenly kingfish masala she used to conjure up, served with hot chapatis and kachumbari salad.
Now let me tell you why I am one of the stupidest people on this planet; I moved to a landlocked country! There is absolutely no ocean anywhere near Switzerland. The only fish I can get is either overrated muddy Swiss lake fish or frozen sea fish. I’m sure we would all love to wake up at 3am and head to our local fish market to get our fresh daily catch, unfortunately that’s not an option for me so I have to settle for frozen fish. Let me get one thing straight, while frozen is nowhere as good as it’s fresh counterpart, when well prepared it is the only other decent option. I grill some fantastic Tsipoura and make some delicious fish masala from frozen sea fish. And yes my fish masala is better than Rick Stein’s fish curry. I do love him though, he is my favourite celebrity chef.
In the first photo I have European Seabass prepared 2 ways: Moroccan with Chermoula and Greek with lemon, olive oil and wild oregano. They both tasted fantastic and I can tell you that my guests thought they were dining at a taverna by the Mediterranean basking in the sunshine enjoying wonderful hospitality and fine food. And let me remind you, they were in my garden on the outskirts of Zürich without a sea in sight.
Oven broiled Tsipoura
My favourite way to feast on Tsipoura is the Greek way; simply grilled and seasoned with lemon, olive oil, salt and wild oregano. And yes it has to be wild oregano. The delicate sweet flesh of the flaky fish accentuated by the zesty lemon, peppery olive oil and sublime wild oregano. It’s almost lunchtime here and writing this has got me HUNGRY! Regrettably the weather sucks so I will not be grilling, I am stuck in Switzerland and there is no chance of flying to a Greek Island :'(.
Here’s hoping that I get to move back to the ocean some day soon. It’s my dream to set up my own beach bar & grill serving chilled beers, cool cocktails and mesmerizing international snacks, or as we call them ‘bitings’. The only thing standing in my way is investment but I am working on it. Nothing will stop me from achieving my goal.