Tag Archives: gastronomy

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

 

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

Chowder vs. Bisque – Demystified

Amazing lobster bisque
Amazing lobster bisque

Another week passed by so I’m here again to discuss something new with you All.

Chowder or Bisque – Bisque or Chowder? Are they the same? Similar? Or completely different?

To tell you the truth I was confused and lost in this subject, but I noticed I wasn’t the only one.

How can you tell the difference between a bisque and a chowder?

The origins of the word bisque in relation to soup are debated. Some food historians believe that the word refers to the fact that the soup is cooked twice” ,bis  cuites”, while others suspect that it is related to the Bay of Biscay. Cuisine from Biscay often includes spicy ingredients similar to those used in bisque, and another type of soup, called Biscay, involves the use of heavily spiced game birds in a recipe very similar to that used for bisque.

Creamy veggie bisque
Creamy veggie bisque

Traditional bisque begins with sauteeing seafood in a heavy pan. If crustaceans are being used, the shells are left on. Next, a broth is made in the pan by combining wine and soup stock with aromatic spices, and the seafood is simmered until it is cooked through. The entire mixture is pureed, including the shells of the crustaceans. After being pureed, cream is added and the soup is cooked and allowed to thicken even more before being served, usually sprinkled with parsley and freshly cracked pepper on top.

Traditional serving of Bisque
Traditional serving of Clam Chowder

Bisque is also a close relative of chowder, another creamy seafood soup.

Another possible (and maybe more probable) source could be the French dish called chaudrée (sometimes spelt chauderée) which is a sort of thick fish soup from the coastal regions of Charente-Maritime and Vendée.
The term comes from the French word “chaudiere” the pot in which the chowder was cooked.

The broad range of soups that use flour as a thickening agent are called chowders. To most Americans it means clam chowder, either New England with a cream base, or the tomato based Manhattan style. The main ingredient of a chowder can range widely, from corn to clams.

Chowder and stew have thick chunks of ingredients in the rich creamy base, while bisque has a uniform creamy texture. Bisque is served at fancy events because of the even texture, complex flavor, and beautiful color. Chowder is usually considered a dish of lower class, and therefore rarely appears at formal ,posh dinners.

Clam chowder and white wine
Clam chowder and white wine

The word “bisque” is also used to refer to any sort of creamy, pureed soup, and thus menus often feature tomato and squash bisques.

So just to summarize :
Bisque is a thick, creamy soup that traditionally is made from puréed shell fish.
Chowder is a  soup that uses flour as a thickening agent.

The picture is clear now on Chowder and Bisque, altough in gastronomy there are more types of soups and sauces like  consommé ,cream soups , gravy, stews and broth.

But let’s take it step by step…

I hope, I helped to understand the difference and the relations between our beloved soups.

Since tomorrow is Sunday, I’ll try one of them , I’m not saying I will cook one from scratch, I rather have one made by a professional chef at the nearby pub 🙂

Have a nice weekend everyone ’till next time!

Hanna