A friend of mine is going through a phase of liking gin and tonics - the more exotic, the better. He is enthused by G & Ts served with cucumber, strawberry, and whatever else the creative barperson can think of. But the definitive additive is juniper berries. He'd discovered this before Christmas and (as a dude who knows his way around food shops and markets), I promised to get him some. Well, it wasn't unlike the experience of trying to buy a goose - blank looks, shrugged shoulders, etc. We discovered that the bars that had the berries had been given them by their gin suppliers. So I asked my son to get some in London and smuggle them through Customs. He drew a blank too.
And so the matter was quietly laid to rest, until yesterday. I'd delivered the final batch of pies to The Lock Inn for their Burn's Night Pie Night (a stonking success, by the way), and had a couple of hours to kill before the event started. I got myself a haircut, and then wandered up and down Calle Fuencarral in Malasaña, possibly by most favourite street in Madrid. And I happened upon a newly-opened shop called Tiger. I think this is a Scandiwegian chain, but I've never come across it before. I was enchanted. They have lots of really stupid little stuff, but it's all quite well designed and very cheap (a combination of two of my favourite things). They have toys, gifts, cosmetics and bathroom stuff, toys for geeks, general household stuff and KITCHEN STUFF! I got myself a stupid little battery-operated 'milk foamer' which I think will be good for beating eggs and milk for my pie glaze, and then I saw the rack of herbs and spices. And would you believe it, bags of juniper berries. Only €2!
So my mate finally got his Christmas present.
Maize in Australia in 1846.
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