икра. Recently, the lady who looks after us had to return to Russia to attend a family bereavement. Just before Christmas when she returned, we exchanged gifts in fine Luz tradition. We received a jar of икра with the explanation that this is tasty on toast.
As you can see from the following photo, everything on the jar is in Russian. This is how one tells in Portugal how the product has been brought into the country. If it goes through official import channels, it always has a sticker attached that explains, in Portuguese, what the ingredients are, how to cook it and a breakdown of the contents as fat, sugar and salt etc. There was no such sticker on our икра, confirming that this has been flown in from Russia in personal luggage.
By pure coincidence, when I was rooting around in our pantry today, I chanced upon a jar of Jamie Oliver’s chilli and garlic pesto. This would have done very nicely in a pasta, but the sauce was 10 months out of date. The pesto jar is also without a Portuguese label, so we reckon it came out with some furniture from England some years ago.
I’m off now for some икра on toast. The recipe seems to have started off in the 1970s or 1980s as a simple dish of toast (now poshly called blinis), butter, and a little икра. It has evolved since then to include lemon juice, hard-boiled egg, chopped chives and everything anyone could throw in at it.
Then I’m off to view Agatha Christie’s “The Witness For The Prosecution”. If I am hungry after my икра on toast, I may well risk Jamie Oliver’s out-of-date chilli and garlic pesto, on the basis it is vegetarian and unlikely to do me harm.
To round off this tale, what is икра? It is caviar. I have never tried this before so I am boldly going where I have never gone before. Should I wake up dead in the morning, it was probably the caviar or the out-of-date pasta sauce.
I have to go. My caviar is calling me. From Russia With Love.