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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 🙂
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.
I 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.
The 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.
In 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.”
The 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
The 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.
Pavlova 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 🙂
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 Laudrée 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.
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-
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 Ladurée 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 Ladurée chain of pastry shops has been known for its macarons for about 150 years. In France, McDonald’s sells macarons in theirMcCafés (sometimes using advertising that likens the shape of a macaron to that of a hamburger).McCafé macarons are produced by Château Blanc, which, like Ladurée, is a subsidiary of Groupe Holder, though they do not use the same macaron recipe.
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 Hermé, 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!
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
100g / 1 cup icing sugar / ground almonds
2 medium, free-range egg whites
Small pinch salt
55g / ¼ cup caster / fine sugar
For the filling:
150g / 1 ½ cups unsalted butter, softened
75 g / 2/3 cup icing / powder sugar
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.
Filling variations :
For pink macarons: raspberry, strawberry are good matches, or for contrast add a little vanilla flavouring to the buttercream.
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.
Purple, blueberry flavour is perfect.
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! 🙂
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?).
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.
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 perfect recipe :
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon squid ink
1 teaspoon olive oil (optional)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 🙂
Well, I suppose it’s time for me to grab my laptop and share with all of you what I’ve been working on and thinking about in the last few days…
This week has been ruff , both at work and at home as well.
Long hours at work…then you go home to an empty flat , you have little else to do than, to take your keyboard some food and browse on Pinterest…
I don’t really understand why , but whenever I feel low or exhausted , Pinterest is the place I can find some shelter… I feel home there , it’s a home away from home, where everybody understands you and gives you some hope ,when everything seems to be lost…
In my previous post I wrote about Kale and it’s wonderful properties, now I wan’t to spread the joy of making pies…
Yes, you heard me PIES!
I know that nowadays baking cupcakes is more fashionable , but there is something about a pie, makes the whole house filled with love, all you need is a family to eat the magnificent creation…if you have it written the in the right way, ehh…which for a long time I didn’t.
I am hunting down a proper homemade pie-crust recipe for over a year now , but with no luck until now…
The problem was always the crust…Crumbs, pieces , cracks, dry edges… So I decided my pies are in a desperate need of a MAKEOVER!
Works on Women , will work on my Pie-crust as well!- I thought.
My looong search for the perfect homemade crust recipe ……(drumrolll)….been discovered !
Not long ago about 2 weeks , I stumbled across a picture of a very fine looking Peanut Butter Cookie, on Pinterest…I clicked on the image, when I saw that it could take me to the original website it has been pinned from… Baking a Moment is the site’s name, it is written by a lady named Allie.
Next day I tried the recipe and it worked! Miracle on every level…inside and out success. I was so happy, that I instantly baked 2 additional pies, so my friends had something to work on over the weekend!
Now after I wrote all about it, let us see how this great recipe works in practice.
Simply Perfect Homemade Pie Crust
Yield: enough for (1) double crust or (2) single crust pies
How to Make the Most Perfect Homemade Pie Crust from Scratch. Tender, Flaky Layers and a Rich and Buttery Flavor. No Partially Hydrogenated Oils or Artificial Ingredients. A Step-by-Step Tutorial with Pictures.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold
approx. 1/3 cup ice water
Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
Add the olive oil, and stir until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Cut the butter into thin slices and toss in the flour mixture to coat.
Dribble ice water in, a tablespoon at a time, mixing just until the mixture can hold it’s shape.
Gather the dough into a ball, and divide into two disks. Wrap the disks tightly, and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll the dough out to ¼” thickness, and fold into thirds. Fold into thirds again and refrigerate for another hour, or freeze for later use.
If frozen, thaw the dough in the refrigerator overnight. Unwrap the dough and roll to about two inches larger than the diameter of the pie plate.
Slip the dough into the ungreased pie plate, and prick with a fork. Refrigerate while preparing the filling.
Fill the pie shell with desired filling, and refrigerate for at least one hour before baking.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, place the cold pie in the oven, and decrease the temperature to 350 degrees F.
Baking time will vary according to pie filling. Crust should be a deep golden color, and flaky.