Although the gas man did not cometh on Tuesday as we expected (big shock) we do have a mostly-full tank that, assuming our cooking continues as it has been, will last for about 3 months. My hope is that in that time the gas man will come by our street and we will have extra tanks ready and full the next time we run out. Alternatively, I have been advised of a couple of places where we can bring our tank for a refill on Saturdays. We owe our landlord his tank back, so we may need to take a trip this weekend.
One thing I have been doing to keep myself occupied and learn some new skills is ... cooking. In addition to the thwarted biscotti attempt, I have made the usual cookies - choco chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter - and brownies, apple pie, ice cream, and the other night we made apple fritters. One thing we decided we'd do for each post is buy a good cookbook of local foods and learn to make some. So, I have made Maltese Lebanese kofta (Yavuz still makes better kofta than me, maybe it's the Turkish vs. Lebanese recipe), tomato soup, and tomato sauce. Carrot soup is on t he list for this week. As unbelievable as it will sound, given my rants about tomato sauce in Malta, with a few tweaks this tomato sauce is the best I have ever made. One of the tweaks of course is to omit all sugar called for in the recipe.
I stand behind the book we bought being the best one I could find - our criteria being that (1) the foods in the book be actual authentic Maltese cooking, as opposed to nouveau or gourmet variations; (2) the foods be mostly things we would actually eat - I vetoed one that was full of snails, squid and calf's livers; (3) the recipes be simple enough I'd actually be game enough to try to make the stuff; and (4) it be at least a little pretty - however, when I checked the book out before buying it I had not noticed how many recipes called for ham or bacon as a flavoring.
If anyone has a suggestion for non-pig items that would work, if not as well then mostly as well, I'd love to hear them. I have seen a couple of halal butchers so I figured maybe there is turkey bacon or some kind of seasoned beef or lamb sausage that would work, but I have not yet been past one at a time/situation that I could go in. This being a 98% Catholic country most butchers and grocery stores see no need for any kind of pig substitute that would deliver a similar-enough flavor.