Category Archives: homemade

Summer Sweets! – Ice cream , sorbet and sherbet

Ice cream time!
Ice cream time!

Greetings to you All!

I’m back with more , this time sooner than expected …:)

As I’m currently based in London , talking or even thinking about summer is a delicate issue. Last week I realized we are already in July.  I didn’t really felt the summer so far but let’s keep the hope 🙂

Last week I wrote about Pavlova , this week I try to sort out the difference between Ice cream, sorbet and sherbet.

These “chilling” little sweeties are all on the market, but when you look at the packaging and try to decide what to have or take home it can be a bit overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, each of them are delicious but if you are on a diet or allergic to dairy and want to avoid animal fat , worth the time to investigate.

In all shapes and sizes
In all shapes and sizes

The difference between sorbet and sherbet is that sherbets contain milk or another fat making it similar to ice cream. Generally thought of as being fruit based, sorbets can be made with any ingredient. For instance, I have had wonderful chocolate sorbet as well as one made with champagne.

Sorbets are technically ices and are also referred to as granitas or ices (as in Italian ice). These were probably the first iced dessert, having been invented by the Asians and then introduced to the Middle East and Italy. Because of the icy nature of the recipe sorbets are generally more grainy in texture, where sherbets are creamy because of the added fat.

Happy hormones!
Happy hormones!

The smoothness of a sorbet is also dependent on the secondary ingredients because of how they can change the structure of the frozen recipe. More or less sugar or alcohol or even the amount of water will make a big difference in the texture of the recipe.

Commercial sorbets have about 100 calories in a half cup. Most of the calories comes from the sugar. Light ice creams are similar but are made with milk and will generally contain some fat in addition to the sugar. Choosing one of these as an occasional treat is a good part of a healthy diet.

Beige delights
Beige delights

Light ice creams are made in a number of ways. Until recently this was what we called “ice milk” when I was growing up and simply made with milk instead of cream (often with the addition of gelatin).
There are some processes now where the milk is super whipped and forms smaller fat globules that more closely resemble that in ice cream. There are also low sugar and sugar free versions marketed today.

Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. In some cases, artificial flavourings and colourings are used in addition to, or instead of, the natural ingredients. The mixture of chosen ingredients is stirred slowly while cooling, in order to incorporate air and to prevent large ice crystals from forming. The result is a smoothly textured semi-solid foam that is malleable and can be scooped.

Gelatoo , Gelatooo!
Gelatoo , Gelatooo!

You can say that ice cream is a type of gelato, but there still is a difference. More sugar in gelato, more butterfat (the percentage of fat in the milk/cream) in ice cream.

To summarize :
The main difference is in the ingredients used.

Ice cream is made with milk, cream, sugar, and eggs.

Sherbet is made with fruit juice/puree, sugar, water, and dairy (usually milk).

Sorbet is made with fruit juice/puree, sugar, and water (no dairy).

So chic... :)
So chic… 🙂

Well, there is more to these desserts, but I think I covered the basics , so now you can go and go wild in the closest Gelato bar or supermarket , whichever is closest 🙂

Keep up the good vibe my Dear Readers!

’till next time! 🙂

Hanna

xxx

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Perky Pavlova

Hi to you All!

Summer Pavlova
Summer Pavlova

My life had kept away from my blogger commitment once again. When I started writing , I thought it’s going to be easy to find the time every week to share new ideas, information and stories with you my Dear Readers and Followers.

Life has its ways to surprise me unfortunately not in the best possible scenarios ,but changing a job and trying to relocate your entire being …. never been easy , so keep fingers crossed that everything works out soon.

This time , I’m strolling down memory lane and taking a dessert from Australia.

688d1cc172357e5b3de687e990bd31bfI spent almost 9 years in Sydney and got introduced to Pavlova very early on.
This is a sweet dish  but the history of it is quite interesting and a bit of a mystery.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Anna Pavlova. It has  a crisp crust and soft, light inside.

The dessert is believed to have been created in honour of the dancer either during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. The nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but formal research indicates New Zealand as the source.

72d3b27047cd61b09d30911e770d084eThe dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and with its simple recipe, is frequently served during celebratory and holiday meals. It is a dessert most identified with the summer time, but is eaten all year round in many Australian and New Zealand homes.

The Australian website “Australian Flavour” gives the earlier date of 1926 for its creation, suggesting that Home Cookery for New Zealand, by Australian writer Emily Futter, contained a recipe for “Meringue with Fruit Filling”. This recipe was similar to today’s version of the dessert. It has been claimed that Bert Sachse created the dish at the Esplanade Hotel in Perth, Australia in 1935.

Easy Peach Melba Pavlova from Whipperberry recipe at TidyMom.netIn defense of his claim as inventor of the dish, a relative of Sachse’s wrote to Leach suggesting that Sachse may have accidentally dated the recipe incorrectly. Leach replied they would not find evidence for that “because it’s just not showing up in the cookbooks until really the 1940s in Australia.” (However, a 1937 issue of the Australian Women’s Weekly contains a “pavlova sweet cake” recipe.) A 1935 advertisement for a chromium ring used to prevent the dessert collapsing indicates that the term “pavlova cake” had some currency in Auckland at that time.Of such arguments, Matthew Evans, a restaurant critic for The Sydney Morning Herald, said that it was unlikely that a definitive answer about the pavlova’s origins would ever be found. “People have been doing meringue with cream for a long time, I don’t think Australia or New Zealand were the first to think of doing that.”

4f544685eb769fb1869472470da4cf8cThe first known recorded recipe named “pavlova” was published in the fifth Australian edition of Davis Dainty Dishes in 1926. However this “pavlova” recipe was not meringue based, but was instead a multi-coloured gelatine dish.

Pavlova is made by beating egg whites (and sometimes salt) to a very stiff consistency before folding in caster sugar, white vinegar, cornflour, and sometimes vanilla essence, and slow-baking the mixture, similarly to meringue.

Pavlova vs. Meringue

b814cace33b4997b358da2d95bcde31dThe major difference between the pavlova and a large meringue is the addition of cornflour, which results in the pavlova having a crisp and crunchy outer shell, and a soft, moist marshmallow-like centre, unlike meringue which is usually solid throughout. The consistency also makes the pavlova significantly more fragile than meringue. Because the Pavlova is notorious for deflating if exposed to cold air, when cooking is complete it is left in the oven to fully cool down before the oven door is opened.

4cb5ecd371424f799272f2ef8b0c0661Pavlova is traditionally decorated with a topping of whipped cream and fresh soft fruit such as kiwifruit, passion-fruit, and strawberries. Factory-made pavlovas can be purchased at supermarkets and decorated as desired. A commercial product is available that includes pre-mixed ingredients for baking the meringue shell, requiring only the addition of water and sugar.

Leftover decorated pavlova can be refrigerated overnight, but the dessert will absorb moisture and lose its crispness. Undecorated pavlova can be left overnight in the oven, or for several days in an airtight container, to be decorated when ready.

Here , I share a link to an Australian website , where you can find different types of Pavlova recipes .
You cannot go wrong with Pavlova 🙂

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/7271/classic+pavlova?ref=collections,pavlova-recipes

 

Charming Chia (seeds)

 

Chia Seed Pudding , with pomegranate and pistachios...Perfect!
Chia Seed Pudding , with pomegranate and kiwi…Perfect!

As you all know it by now, I’m not a huge fan of veggies. I know , they are important to have my health in order, so that’s why I always try to find new ways to add some fiber and nutrition to my diet, but in the way it won’t taste or feels like I’m eating grass or something too green! 🙂

In my previous post , I wrote about kale and its wonderful properties. Now I’ve found Chia Seeds.

Slowly, but summer is here , so we an experiment with salads, puddings and smoothies . The great thing is that we can ALL , add Chia Seeds to ALL of the above  mentioned. YAY!

Raw Black Chia
Raw Black Chia

Ohh, little wonders! It is the perfect way of eating healthy , but still enjoying it.

Nowadays, chia is becoming better known as a great source of healthy omega-3 fats and fiber, and it’s an easy food to add to your diet.

Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that’s native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history suggests it was a very important food crop for the Aztecs. It’s remained in regular use in its native countries, but was largely unknown in North America until researcher Wayne Coates began studying chia as an alternative crop for farmers in northern Argentina about 29 years ago.

Benefits
Benefits

Coates started his work on chia in 1991, and since then has become an advocate of the tiny seed’s health benefits. The human trials are limited —as is often the case with food research— but the anecdotal evidence of chia’s positive health effects include boosting energy, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and lowering cholesterol.

 

Coconut-Chia Pudding
Coconut-Chia Pudding

The little seed — which comes in either white or a dark brown and black colour — also has a huge nutritional profile. It contains calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and is a great source of healthy omega-3 fats. As an added benefit, chia seeds can be eaten whole or milled, while flax seeds have to be ground before consumption in order to access their health benefits for example.
When you’re buying chia, both the white and black seeds are good choices, but Coates warns to make sure you’re getting a good quality product by avoiding either red seeds (immature chia seeds), or black seeds that are smaller than regular chia seeds (weed seeds). Coates sells the seeds himself, but they are available from many different health food stores and supermarkets.

So once you’ve got your seeds, how to you add them to your diet? “The easiest way is to add it to everything and anything,” Coates says.

The seeds are tasteless so they won’t affect the flavor profile of your food, which makes them easy to integrate into your meals. They can be sprinkled whole on top of salads or toast or added milled to smoothies, and even add them to ice cream.

Very good reasons to add Chia Seeds to your diet ASAP:
What is Chia?
What is Chia?

Antioxidants

Chia seeds are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals, aging and cancer. The high antioxidant profile also helps them have a long shelf life. They last almost two years without refrigeration.

Minerals

Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 18 percent of the DRI for calcium, 35 percent for phosphorus, 24 percent for magnesium and about 50 percent for manganese. These nutrients help you prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy weight, and are important for energy metabolism and a part of DNA synthesis.

Satiety

Satiety is the feeling of being full and satisfied, which helps lower food cravings between meals. The combination of protein, fiber and the gelling action of chia seeds when mixed with liquids all contribute to their satiating effects.

Gluten-Free

Chia seeds contain no gluten or grains. Therefore, all of the nutritional benefits of chia seeds can be obtained on a gluten-free diet.

Amazingly filling!
Amazingly filling!

Egg Replacer

The outer layer of chia seeds swells when mixed with liquids to form a gel. This can used in place of eggs to lower cholesterol and increase the nutrient content of foods and baked goods. To make the egg replacement, mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes.

Can Be Digested Whole

Unlike flax-seed, which are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and minerals, chia seeds do not need to be ground in order to obtain their nutrient or egg- replacement benefits.

Dyslipidemia

A study published in the “British Journal of Nutrition” showed that chia seeds as a dietary fat source can lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels while increasing HDL or “good” cholesterol. The study also found that when substituting chia seeds for other fat sources, such as corn oil, the ALA was able to prevent high triglyceride levels and reduce central obesity.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Chia seeds can play an important role in regulating insulin levels. They can reduce insulin resistance and decrease abnormally high levels of insulin in the blood.

 

Easy and “Must-Try” recipes with Chia Seeds:

31 easy and delicious recipes:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelysanders/healthy-and-delicious-chia-seed-recipes

Kid-friendly ways to add more fibers to our little-one’s diet:

http://wellnessmama.com/4981/10-uses-for-chia-seeds/

And one more website for luck :

http://noshon.it/blog/2013/08/10-must-make-recipes-using-chia-seeds/

Blueberry and Chia Combo
Blueberry and Chia Combo

There you have it! If you are still in the group of “non-believers” , try to add it to a smoothie at first… you won’t regret it for sure!

If anyone finds new recipes and more info, please let me know!

Please try my Charming new friend Chia! 🙂

Till next time everyone! 🙂

Hanna

 

 

Magnificent Macaron – “Gluten-free and delicious since the 700’s”

Pink Peace....
Pink Peace….

Well after a looong break I’m here again with some interesting facts  now on everybody’s favorite, fancy and fashionable friend – Macaron

I have to tell you the truth , my opinion of homemade Macarons are quite low.  – Swing and a miss if you ask me… They look sad, bit shabby , crooked and just a general mess… I know what I’m talking about I had my own experiences with it and some of “Gastro-guru” friends of mine were experimenting  as well.

Results  ,leave Macarons to the experts , pastry chefs !

But since everyone is still hooked on them , I had the urge to find out more about these cute little things. We all heard about LaudrĂ©e and other famous houses making Magnificent , Colourful and Delicious  Macarons , but does anyone know where are they from or how are they made into perfection…

The Macaron cookie was born in Italy, introduced by the chef of Catherine de Medicis in 1533 at the time of her marriage to the Duc d’Orleans who became king of France in 1547 as Henry II. The name is derived from the Italian word macarone, maccarone or maccherone, the Italian meringue.

Rainbow
Rainbow

The macaroon is often mistaken as the macaron; many have adopted the French spelling of macaron to distinguish the two items in the English language. However, this has caused confusion over the correct spelling. Some recipes exclude the use of macaroon to refer to this French confection while others think that they are synonymous.In a Slate article on the topic, Stanford Professor of Food Cultures, Dan Jurafsky, indicates that ‘macaron’ (also, “macaron parisien”, or “le macaron Gerbet”) is the correct spelling for the confection.

Although the macaron is predominantly a French confection, there has been much debate about its origins. Larousse Gastronomique cites the macaron as being created in 791 in a convent near Cormery. Some have traced its French debut back to the arrival of Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian pastry chefs whom she brought with her in 1533 upon marrying Henry II of France.In 1792, macarons began to gain fame when two Carmelite nuns, seeking asylum in Nancy during the French Revolution, baked and sold the macaron cookies in order to pay for their housing. These nuns became known as the “Macaron Sisters”. In these early stages, the macaron was served were served without special flavors or fillings.

It was not until the 1830s that macarons began to be served two-by-

In all colors...
In all colors…

two with the addition of jams, liqueurs, and spices. The macaron as it is known today, composed of two almond meringue discs filled with a layer of buttercream, jam, or ganache filling, was originally called the “Gerbet” or the “Paris macaron.” Pierre Desfontaines of the French pâtisserie LadurĂ©e has sometimes been credited with its creation in the early part of the 20th century, but another baker, Claude Gerbet, also claims to have invented it.

Since then, French Macaron cookies have been nationally acclaimed in France and remain the best-selling cookie in pastry retail stores.

In Paris, the LadurĂ©e chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years. In France, McDonald’s sells macarons in theirMcCafĂ©s (sometimes using advertising that likens the shape of a macaron to that of a hamburger).McCafĂ© macarons are produced by Château Blanc, which, like LadurĂ©e, is a subsidiary of Groupe Holder, though they do not use the same macaron recipe.

Rustic ...
Rustic …

Outside of Europe, the French-style macaron can be found in Canada and the United States.

In Australia, Adriano Zumbo along with the TV series MasterChef have seen the macaron become a popular sweet treat, and it is now sold by McDonald’s in its McCafe outlets.

On an global level, March 20 marks “Macaron Day”. Created in 2005 in Paris by la Maison Pierre HermĂ©, it is a tradition that spread across the world. On this day, participating bakeries and macaron shops around the world offer customers one free sample macaron. A percentage of all additional macaron sales is donated to a local charity.

And in addition the Macaron’s recipe! 

Afternoon tea...
Afternoon tea…

To create even-sized macarons, it is best to either create a template on greaseproof paper or buy a specially designed silicon macaron mat. My favourite mat comes from Lakeland in the UK.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 16 minutes

Total Time: 26 minutes

Yield: Approx 10 – 15

Ingredents:

  • 100g / 1 cup icing sugar / ground almonds
  • 2 medium, free-range egg whites
  • Small pinch salt
  • 55g / ÂĽ cup caster / fine sugar
  • For the filling:
  • 150g / 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 75 g / 2/3 cup icing / powder sugar

 

  • Preparation :
This is the basic recipe for macarons. You can make coloured macarons by (sparingly) using a food colouring paste rather than liquid food colouring. The colour should be added to the egg whites before whisking. However, If you would like chocolate macarons –  Chocolate Macaron RecipeMacarons need a steady, lowish temperature to cook properly, too high and they easily burn, too low and they don’t cook through. These temperatures are a guideline, adjust to suit your oven.Preheat the oven to 140°C/300 °F/Gas for fan oven, 160 °C/ 325°F/gas 3 regular oven

  • Sieve the icing sugar, followed by the ground almonds, into a large mixing bowl and carefully mix together.
  • In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites and salt until they form soft peaks. Add the caster / fine sugar, a little at a time and continue to whisk until the whites are very thick and glossy (ideally, you should be able to hold the bowl upside down without the whites falling out – go on, I dare you !) Gently stir in the icing sugar and almond mix. The mixture will lose some air and become quite loose, don’t worry, this is the way it should be.
  • Using a piping bag with a 1cm / 1/3″ nozzle, fill with the macaron mixture. Place the silicon mat (see note in the introduction) or paper template onto a baking sheet. Pipe small blobs onto the sheet remembering that less is more at this stage because the mixture will settle and form into the allotted spaces.
  • Gently tap the baking sheet a few times on the work surface to help the macaron mixture to settle and to break any air bubbles, then leave to dry for 20 minutes – the surface of the macaron will become smooth and shiny
  • Bake the macarons in the preheated for 7 – 8 minutes minutes, open the door to release any steam, close the oven door and cook for a further 7 – 8 minutes. The macarons are cooked when they feel firm and are slightly risen.
  • Slide the mat or greaseproof paper onto a wire cooling rack and leave to cool completely Do not be tempted to remove the macarons from the mat until they are cold or you will break them.
  • Make the Filling
  • Beat the softened butter until it is fluffy, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. At this point you can beat in any flavourings you may choose. See examples below.
  • Place approx 1/2 a tsp of the filling to the flat side of one macaroon and sandwich together with another then twist ever so slightly to create a bond. Continue with the remaining macaroons.
  • The macarons can be eaten immediately but will benefit from being refrigerated for 24 hours (that’s if you can resist them for that long) as this will make them even more chewy and tasty.

Perfect for an Afternoon Tea , or perfect for your festive cooking.

Seasons
Seasons

Filling variations :

  1. For pink macarons: raspberry, strawberry are good matches, or for contrast add a little vanilla flavouring to the buttercream.
  2. Green macarons work very well with a pistachio flavoured cream, use either food flavouring or finely ground, pistachio nuts. Alternatively, add a little coconut flavouring, fresh lime zest and a tiny squeeze of the juice for a zingy filling.
  3. Purple, blueberry flavour is perfect.
  4. Cream coloured, use vanilla extract for an extra creamy flavour.
  • Yellow, lemon works really well.

I think we can all agree they are hard to make , but since nothing is impossible, have a go , you might surprise everyone! 🙂

Till next time Everyone! 🙂

Hanna

Financier aka. Friand

Fancy-shmancy
Fancy-shmancy

Hi there!

Well, I’m here again… sorry for the delay , I’ve been experiencing troubles with my connections, but all is sorted and ready.

Last week during my “coffee and magazine time”, I came across an interesting article about a nice little cake called Financier.

The article contained a recipe and it was quite easy , so I prepared it , just to try how it will taste and go with fresh fruit and all sorts of things I eat on a regular basis.

Everything was fine, cake butter done , baking time finished … and out of the oven came a familiar fragrance…

That was the moment when I realized , I was baking friands….

With fresh fruit
With fresh fruit

During my life I’ve lived in many places, but my second home is always be Australia. There I encountered many culinary experiences , many different tastes and methods, but after all these years I just found out that Financier and Friand are the same.

A financier is a small French cake, often mistaken for a pastry. The financier is light and moist, similar to sponge cake, and usually contains almond flour, crushed or ground almonds, or almond flavoring. The distinctive feature of the recipe is beurre noisette (brown butter). Other ingredients include egg whites, flour, and powdered sugar. Financiers are baked in shaped molds, usually small rectangular loaves similar in size to petits fours  , often topped with fruit jam or dark chocolate squares. .

The name financier is said to derive from the traditional rectangular

Easy , yet amazing!
Easy , yet amazing!

mold, which resembles a bar of gold. Another theory says that the cake became popular in the financial district of Paris surrounding the Paris stock exchange.

The French word friand, which means dainty or a gourmet who delights in delicate tastes, refers as well to minced meat and herbs in puff pastry, a food item unrelated to the baked items called friand or financier.

Friand is very popular across Australia and New-Zealand.

I hope you found my words interesting.

Now , I’ll write down the recipe so you can all try it at home!

Endless possibilities
Endless possibilities

Financier recipe:

Makes 30

50g butter plus extra for greasing

50g plain flour plus extra for dusting

140g ground almonds

160g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

6 egg whites, at room temperature

50g blueberries, washed and dried

Butter 30 x 6cm (21/2 in) financier tins, dust lightly with flour and chill in the fridge until needed.

Gently heat the butter in a small pan over a medium heat until it turns a dark golden brown, then immediately remove from the heat.

Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl then stir in the egg whites.

Gradually stir in the hot butter until you have a smooth batter. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).

Spoon the batter into the chilled tins until they are three quarters full, then pop a few blueberries into each one. Bake for 10–12 minutes until firm and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and dust with icing sugar to serve.

In every season...
In every season…

Good luck! 🙂

Till next time!

Hanna

Mochi Mochi!

Traditional Mochi
Traditional Mochi

Another week passed by, and I found something interesting to share with you All.

I was strolling up-down on the High Street not far from my place and I thought I’ll try something different and eat Japanese for a change.

I had my favorite Takoyaki and some Katsu Curry…but while I was choosing and having a look around I found Mochi…

This wasn’t my first encounter with it but I completely forgot about it. It was like seeing an old friend…

Let me tell you all about Mochi!

Mochi  is Japanese rice cake  , made of a short-grain japonica glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape. In Japan it is traditionally made in a ceremony called mochitsuki.

Hmm...
Hmm…

Mochi is a multicomponent food consisting of polysaccharides, lipids, protein and water. Mochi has a heterogeneous structure of amylopectin gel, starch grains and air bubbles.This rice is characterized by its lack of amylose in starch and is derived from short or medium japonica rices. The protein concentration of the rice is a bit higher than normal short-grain rice and the two also differ in amylose content. In mochi rice, the amylose content is negligible which results in the soft gel consistency of mochi.

Okay… enough of the science , let’s continue with how Mochi is actually made:

Cuties
Cuties

Traditionally, mochi was made from whole rice, in a labor-intensive process.

The traditional mochi-pounding ceremony in Japan is Mochitsuki:

  1. Polished glutinous rice is soaked overnight and cooked.
  2. The cooked rice is pounded with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (called usu).Two people will alternate the work, one pounding and the other turning and wetting the mochi. They must keep a steady rhythm or they may accidentally injure one another with the heavy kine.
  3. The sticky mass is then formed into various shapes.
Ichigo daifuku - with a whole strawberry inside
Ichigo daifuku – with a whole strawberry inside

Mochi can also be prepared from a flour of sweet rice (mochiko). The flour is mixed with water to a sticky opaque white mass that is cooked on the stove-top or in the microwave until it becomes elastic and slightly transparent.

Many types of traditional wagashi and mochigashi (Japanese traditional sweets) are made with mochi. For example, daifuku is a soft round mochi stuffed with sweet filling, such as sweetened red bean paste (an) or white bean paste (shiro an). Ichigo daifuku is a version containing a whole strawberry inside.

Kusa mochi
Kusa mochi

Kusa mochi is a green variety of mochi flavored with yomogi (mugwort). When daifuku is made with kusa mochi, it is called yomogi daifuku.

Mochi not only used for cakes , it can be also made into an ice cream and soup as well.

I hope you enjoyed your meeting with my old friend Mochi.

I promise we will meet more often! 🙂

Till next time everyone!

Hanna

The Black Beauty – Squid Ink Pasta

Black on Black
Black on Black

Last week I discussed the difference between Chowder and Bisque… Now , it’s time to talk Pasta! But not just any kind of ordinary pasta … This week the spotlight is on Squid Ink Pasta…

Only a few days ago , I when I was out having dinner with my friends , I had my first encounter with this cool looking black pasta. I was a bit apprehensive at first ,but now I’m 100% sold on it.

I ordered Spaghetti neri all’aragosta , which is black ink pasta , diced whole lobster, bisque ,garlic , fresh tomatoes and chilli.

It was a great surprise…

That amazingly weird looking black pasta is made from eggs, flour, a little salt and ink from squid bottoms. You’ve probably seen squid ink pasta on menus at your favorite italian restaurants, or sold in gourmet food stores. You may have even seen it in a cookbook or a cooking blog, but you will never have seen it prepared on the Today Show (hmmm, why is that?).

Gastronomy above and beyond
Gastronomy above and beyond

Like me, you have never probably thought  about squid ink and making squid ink-infused fresh pasta.

 “Is this gonna stain my hands?” “What about my kitchen countertops?” and, “What does it taste like?” Well, fear not  my lovely pasta enthusiasts. The top  most important concerns an tips of squid ink pasta are revealed here …

Squid ink can be purchased at a cool supermarkets, specialty food stores or decent fish mongers. If you still can’t locate it, you should find it online somewhere. It is usually around 4-5 pounds for a small container of squid ink that was imported from Italy. Italian squid ink, much like their pasta , is far better.

Squid are not the only sea creatures to emit black ink as a defense mechanism. Cuttlefish also produce black ink which is harvested for food coloring and flavoring. Be mindful of this when asking your fishmonger for black ink. They are hyper-sensitive about it and you can easily end up thrown out from their shop…

The ink actually won’t stain your hands…permanently. I mean, it will dirty your hands, and it will make you look like a coal miner, but it will wash off with soap and water. I’m pretty sure it will. Ditto for staining your counter-tops, work spaces or pasta rolling equipment.

Delightful dinner
Delightful dinner

Squid ink pasta has a distinctive iodine, briny flavor that pairs well with seafood, ideally squid. This is probably the most surprising aspect of squid ink pasta. I thought it was merely a coloring agent, but it has its own unique flavor profile. It’s worth the effort if you love seafood .

Squid ink pasta will take the same time to cook as regular fresh pasta. About 3-6 minutes.
Squid ink pasta is arguably the coolest looking pasta to make, serve, eat, take photos of, discuss . Make sure you tell people about it at any available opportunity. It makes for scintillating conversation and ego boosting.
Squid ink can be used in other regional specialties such as risotto or paella.

The "How to" on squid ink pasta
The “How to” on squid ink pasta

The perfect recipe :

2 cups flour

  • 3 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon squid ink
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
  1. Mound the flour on a clean work surface. Hollow out the center using your fingers making a well in the middle of the flour with steep sides.
  2. Break the eggs into a bowl and add the salt, squid ink and olive oil.  Beat it well and add it to the well, gently mixing together with a fork. Gradually start incorporating the flour by pulling in the flour from the sides of the well. As you incorporate more of the flour, the dough will start to take shape.
  3. Discard the fork and using your hands, continue working the dough until it comes together. If the dough is too dry, add a little water; if too wet or sticky, add a little more flour.
  4. Begin kneading the dough and keep kneading until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t skimp on the kneading time. It will pay-off in the end.

    Different sides of Black
    Different sides of Black
  5.  Set the dough aside, cover it with plastic, and let it rest for 20 minutes in the fridge. You can store the dough in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, but allow it to return to room temperature before rolling it out.
  6. Divide the pasta dough into 4 even sections. Keep each section covered with plastic wrap or a clean towel while you work with each one. Flour the dough, the pasta roller (or your rolling pin), your hands, and the work surface.
  7. If using a pasta machine: Flatten one of the of the dough pieces between your hands or with a floured rolling pin until it forms a thick oval disk. Dust the disk, the roller, and your hands with additional flour. Flour a baking sheet to hold the rolled out finished pasta.
  8. With the roller on the widest setting, pass the pasta through the machine a few times until it is smooth. Fold the dough over into thirds, and continue to pass through a few more times until the pasta is smooth again. Begin adjusting the pasta machine settings to become thinner, passing the dough through a few times at each setting.

    Endless possibilites
    Endless possibilites
  9. If rolling the pasta by hand: Flatten a dough piece into a thick oval disk with your hands. Flour a baking sheet for the rolled out finished pasta. Place the oval dough disk on a floured work surface, and sprinkle with additional flour. Begin rolling out the dough with a floured rolling pin working from the center of the dough outwards, constantly moving the dough and lifting it to make sure it’s not sticking.
Amazing when paired with seafood or veggies
Amazing when paired with seafood or veggies

Well,  that’s all there is on Squid Ink Pasta . I hope some of you will try and make the pasta at home or at least try it at the restaurant when you next see it on the menu.

Till next time everyone! 🙂

Hanna