FoodWrite Ltd https://foodwrite.co.uk Understanding the science of consumer goods Sun, 18 Nov 2018 11:48:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://i1.wp.com/foodwrite.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/cropped-Update1-3.jpg?fit=32%2C32&ssl=1 FoodWrite Ltd https://foodwrite.co.uk 32 32 26454689 The Thanksgiving Turkey https://foodwrite.co.uk/the-thanksgiving-turkey/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/the-thanksgiving-turkey/#respond Sun, 18 Nov 2018 11:38:56 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19623 Turkey has become the traditional fare of both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Whatever you do to a turkey there are some simple ideas which help [...]

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Turkey has become the traditional fare of both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Whatever you do to a turkey there are some simple ideas which help produce the best flavour. In many cases chefs now advocate doing very simple things to ensure the bird is safe to eat whilst still tasting delicious. Who needs Salmonella for a start ? This recipe comes from a friend of a restaurant owner in Gloucester who cooks for servicemen and women based at Fairford.

There are many side dishes to choose from but I think you cant beat Brussel sprouts which have been roasted with onion and garlic, some roasted carrots, potatoes (boiled and roasted, may some mash or puree too), some cranberry sauce although cherry and cranberry is great. I didn’t mention stuffing because this recipe has lemon and garlic only in the cavity. If you try something different, you can either leave it there to roast with the bird or take it out and replace with a stuffing when it comes to cooking time. Frankly, anything with chestnuts combined with apple and sage should really do the business. 

A Simply Roasted Turkey

Servings: 9 to 12 people depending on the size of their appetites

Time: usually 3.5 hours for the whole activity but it depends on what else is going on.

Ingredients:

  • The turkey (let’s say between 10 to 12 pounds) which is ideally reared in a responsible manner. Bronze feathered types are considered the best but there are others which taste equally good of course !
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme and/or rosemary
  • A few fresh sage leaves.
  • lemon, zested, quartered or halved depending on their size.
  • 12 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled. If I have it, some elephant garlic is ideal and replace two ordinary garlic cloves.
  • 1 glass of dry white wine
  • 6 onions, peeled and quartered
  • bay leaves
  • 1 bottle (hard) apple or pear cider (12 ounces). Pear cider is also perry and that is superb in a dish like this.
  • Coarse salt and black pepper (1 tablespoon)
  • Melted butter and olive oil as required.

Preparation:

  • Place the turkey on a good quality board reserved for meat. Remove the giblets such as the parson’s nose if it has them from the cavity and keep for the gravy or a meat sauce/stock.
  • Dry the turkey and its neck dry by patting it all over with a paper towel.
  • Rub the turkey all over with salt. It probably takes ½-1 teaspoon per pound of bird. Also rub in the black pepper and the lemon zest and make sure the neck area gets a good covering.
  • Please the whole bird in a sufficiently large food-grade plastic bag used for cooking. Place the herbs and the garlic cloves inside the cavity of the bird. The whole bird is sealed up and kept in a large fridge inside a second bag or on a baking sheet. Keep for a day and up to three days maximum. The bird is turned over every day. The idea is to get the flavours to permeate the flesh. We haven’t discussed brining as is done with some birds and for some this part of the preparation seems rather fussy but it is worth it in the end.
  • Take the turkey from the bag and dry the surface with paper towels.
  • Put the turkey back but uncovered on a baking sheet in the refrigerator and keep there for between 3 and 10 hours so that the skin dries and becomes crispy after the roasting.

Cooking:

  • The turkey is taken from the fridge and brought to room temperature (covered with aluminium foil) for 1 hour prior to roasting.
  • Bring the oven to temperature of 450 Fahrenheit.
  • Place the turkey in a large roasting dish or pan and ideally on a rack which sits in the pan. For some folks adding water is enough to get a steaming process going but for maximum flavour add the cider and wine to about ¼-inch depth.
  • Add the onion halves along with any other garlic and bay leaves into the tray. Place sufficient onion halves or quarters along with the lemons into the cavity which should also contain garlic. Add further bay leaves.
  • Brush the turkey skin with olive oil and melted butter (can be one or the other)
  • Place the turkey upside down on the roasting rack and place in the oven.
  • Cook for 30 to 35 minutes
  • Cover the whole bird with aluminium foil.
  • Take the temperature down to 350 Fahrenheit and keep roasting based on the time associated with the instructions that usually come with the bird. That is an important instruction to follow.
  • It will now take between 1.5 and 2 hours to cook the bird. Usually the bird is done when a food-grade instant reading thermometer is inserted into the thickest part of the thigh and gives a temperature of 165 Fahrenheit or above.
  • Once you are confident the temperature has been reached in that part of the bird, place on a cutting board and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

 

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Organogels – What Are They ? https://foodwrite.co.uk/organogels-what-are-they/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/organogels-what-are-they/#respond Thu, 15 Nov 2018 17:55:19 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19583 Organogels have suddenly become big news for a wide range of reasons. Its mainly because we have discovered a range of compounds with a variety [...]

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Organogels have suddenly become big news for a wide range of reasons. Its mainly because we have discovered a range of compounds with a variety of properties which are able to gel organic solvents but are present in the system in extremely low concentrations.

One way to think of an organogel is to adopt the simple working definition of a gel. It is a soft, solid or solid-like product that has both liquid and solid components. The solid part is the gelator and acts as a mesh or network of aggregates to immobilise the liquid component. The mesh acts by changing the surface tension of the liquid. The consequence is this solid network or mesh literally traps liquid in it so that it can no longer flows freely.

When the gel is a hydrogel then the liquid is water otherwise it is called an organogel if the liquid is an organic solvent. When we have a hydrogel, the gelating agent is a polymer. Gelators used to enmesh organic solvents are small molecules. Another terms used for the liquid phase is a sol which we will also use as a term in this article.

Not many organogels are being investigated but of those that have excited technologists, a few are suitable for drug delivery. Unfortunately, most of the existing organogels are made up of pharmaceutically unacceptable organic liquids and gelators. Many of these have yet to be tested in any system.

A number of excellent books now discuss organogels and their applications. Please read tomes by Guenet (2016).

The gelators used in organogels are:-

  • Non ionic surfactants such as sorbitan monostearate
  • n-alkanes like hexadecane and other larger chain organic liquids
  • Various steroids and derivatives
  • Macrocyclic gelators such as calixarenes
  • Anthranyl derivatives
  • Stearic acid
  • Waxes. 
  • Ceramides
  • Monoglycerides

Preparing An Organogel

  • The most common method of preparation is heat a mixture of the liquid component with the gelator. This forms a dispersion which is an organic solution.
  • The solution is allowed to cool. In the process of cooling, the solubility of the gelator in the liquid phase decreases. The gelator-solvent interactions start to reduce with the gelator molecules becoming insoluble and falling out of solution.
  • What is left is a mesh, an entanglement of various connected molecules and aggregates which all produce a three-dimension network. This immobilises the liquid phase.
  • These physical organogels are held together by noncovalent forces.
  • The gel is thermoreversible which means heat can undo this mesh and make it liquid again – that hints at some useful properties for all sorts or reasons.

Thermoreversible Gelling

When the gel is heated it melts returning us to a liquid or sol phase whilst the enmeshing gelator redissolves in the organic liquid. If you cool the hot sol (solution) again, the whole lot tends to return to a gelated state.

The temperature known as Tg is the gelation temperature and marks the point between the sol-to-gel or gel-to-sol transition. When a 10% w/w sorbitan monostearate is prepared the gelation temperature Tg occurs between 41 and 44 °C.

Analysis Of Organogels

Organogels are analysed and assessed using a variety of methods. These include the following:-

  • Viscosity and rheological properties
  • Gelation behaviour
  • The phase transition or gelation temperature
  • Water content
  • Percentage drug content
  • Stability over shelf-life
  • The structure of the organogel
  • Permeation behaviour especially with skin

What Is The Structure Of An Organogel ?

Take the example of an organogel where solutions of lecithin are added to an organic solvent such as iso-octane. The addition of trace amounts of a polar material or solvent like water, ethylene glycol, glycerol and formamide produces gelation.

When lecithin dissolves in a nonpolar media on its own, it self-assembles into spherical reverse micelles. When small critical amounts of a polar solvent is added, the reverse micelles grow and a further transformation occurs where tubular and cylindrical micellar aggregates form. This is known as the sphere to cylinder transformation.

Types of Organogels

There are two basic types of organogel based on the type of the gelator:

  • LMW gelator (low molecular weight)
  • Polymeric gelators

The LMW gelator based organogels are generally held together by physical forces and form into two types:- a solid-fibre matrix or a fluid-fibre matrix.

The ones based on polymeric gelators can involve two types of intermolecular interaction which are either chemical or physical types. The chemical types rely on a cross-linked matrix whilst the physical type is based on an entangled chain matrix.

The Sorbitan Monostearate Organogel

The Microemulsion-based gel

Lecithin Organogel

Eudragit Organogels

In-situ Formation Of An Organogel Based on L-Alanine Derivatives

Organogels based on L-alanine derivatives are prepared from N-lauroyl-L-alanine methyl ester (LAM). These form gels for use in pharmaceuticals. The solvents are soybean oil and medium-chain triglycerides.

This gel exists at room temperature but when ethanol is added to a gelator-solvent solution it prevents gelation. Addition of ethanol disrupts the formation of hydrogen bonds which is needed for self-assembly into aggregates between these gelator molecules.  

The Pluronic Lecithin Organogel (PLO)

The PLO is a soy lecithin-based organogel consisting of isopropyl palmitate or isopropyl myristate, water and Pluronic F127 (also known as Poloxamer 407). It can also contain sorbic acid which is a well established food preservative and sits in both phases. It has a yellow colour, is odourless and and forms an opaque gel. It is readily absorbed into the skin.

Using Organogels In Food Applications

The replacement of trans fats in foods is a major food research topic at this moment because many food product developers would like to remove them all together and reduce our saturated fat intake. The idea now is to structure liquid oil to replace trans fats without raising the saturated fat content in foods (Co & Marangoni, 2012). Whilst organogels have great potential in this regard, replacing a hard fat with a liquid oil produces major alterations to food texture and quality. The use of novel gelators has to some extent helped improve if not impart some solid-liquid functionality to these liquid oils.

The food based gelators include phytosterols and 12-hydroxystearic acid. These thermodynamically self-assemble into crystalline fibers to trap oil. We can also call upon additives such as  waxes, ceramides, monoacylglycerides, and other surfactants. One prime example is the formation of a polymer gel using ethyl cellulose to entrap triacylglyceride (TAG) oils. Some other alternatives include the formation of protein‐stabilized cellular solids with oil trapped within the cells.

A research team at the USDA in Peoria, Illinois USA has created a margarine free from trans-fats (Hwang et al., 2012). In this study, plant waxes such as sunflower wax and rice bran wax have the best gelation ability and can form an organogel using amounts as low as 0.3 to 0.5 %w/w. A soybean oil based organogel formed with 1-6 %w/w sunflower wax showed a similar or greater firmness than one with 18-30% partially hydrogenated soybean oil.

References

Co, E.D., & Marangoni, A.G. (2012) Organogels: an alternative edible oil‐structuring methodJ. Am. Oil Chem. Soc. 89 pp. 74980https://doi.org/10.1007/s11746-012-2049-3

Guenet, J.-M. (2016) Organogels: Thermodynamics, Structure, Solvent Role, and Properties. Springer Briefs in Materials ISBN 978-3-319-33178-2.

Hwang, H.-S., Kim, S., Singh, M., Winkler-Moser, J.K., Liu, S.X., (2012) Trans Fat-Free Margarine from Organogel Formed by a Plant Wax. 289-03 Abstract 2012 IFT Annual Meeting, June 25 – 28, Las Vegas NV. USA.

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How To Make A Pesto https://foodwrite.co.uk/how-to-make-a-pesto/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/how-to-make-a-pesto/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 17:28:22 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19527 Pesto is one of the many delights of Italian cooking and also a way to remind you of summer. It is the fact that the [...]

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Pesto is one of the many delights of Italian cooking and also a way to remind you of summer. It is the fact that the Italians have  this fantastic herb sauce which is combined with pine nuts. It makes for a stunning, slightly spicy, aromatic flavour which is based solely around basil and relies on olive oil to bring out the intensity of this flavour rarely seen elsewhere.

Pesto is a fine sauce for pasta – lets face it that was probably its original pairing but it is also used to flavour sandwiches, meats (especially grilled ones). We add it as a garnish to soup, to risotto, to all sorts of vegetables. The pesto is also a versatile beast. Instead of basil, I replace it with rocket especially the wild rocket, wild garlic leaves, chives, very finely chopped up radicchio and so on. The wild garlic leaves actually grow in the garden as a weed but I’ve never got rid of them because of the knowledge of what they can become.

The classic and traditional pesto is this one: 

It takes about 15 minutes to make and for 150g,

Ingredients:

  • 60g fresh basil leaves although I still use the finely chopped stems if needs be.
  • 20g pine nuts
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 35g freshly grated Parmesan
  • 45ml olive oil, plus extra if needed
  • Salt

Preparation:

  1. Pound the garlic cloves and pine nuts in a pestle and mortar. Use some of the salt to form a base for grinding against. Try to get a mash going. If you don’t have a P & M, use a blender as that works just as well but make you have olive oil in the first instance so that it goes through the blender or the mill.
  2. Add the olive oil and keep mixing.
  3. Add the basil leaves and just keep on pounding away.
  4. Add the Parmesan – you’ve guessed it – keep pounding away.
  5. Pour the mixture in a lidded jar and keep in the fridge. Taste it just to see where you are with its flavour.

If you replace the pine nuts with the same amount of walnuts, you are making a walnut pesto which is equally yum ! 
If you want to know more about some of these ingredients, see our items on growing garlic and  growing basil

 
 

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Pork Chops And What You Can Do With Them https://foodwrite.co.uk/pork-chops-au-poivre/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/pork-chops-au-poivre/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:58:41 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19522 Fortunately chops are still relatively cheap to buy and most of the recipes using them only take a half-hour at most. All these recipes are [...]

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Fortunately chops are still relatively cheap to buy and most of the recipes using them only take a half-hour at most. All these recipes are for 4 people but adjust the amounts to suit the numbers. I can only manage one pork chop myself.

The basic ingredient is of course the pork chop:-

 4 * 1/2-inch-thick rib pork chops with the bone preferably left in although I’ve seen them without. I leave the fat on just for extra flavour but don’t be concerned if this has been removed as it just becomes a pork steak.  If you are cooking in a sauce as with the recipe for a leek and mushroom sauce you may have a slightly soft fat layer. I think this can be removed under the circumstances otherwise make sure this is well fried.

Pork Chops Au Poivre

Pork chops are turned into something a bit special when they become crusted with a salt and peppercorn dressing. They are extremely delicious when pan fried in a skillet or pan. The brandy or sherry infused cream just adds to the richness. Best served with roast potatoes or a mash of potato and some green vegetables like broccoli or thin beans. I think runner beans are great here too.

For 4 people. Preparation takes about 20 minutes although expect 25 in honesty.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil for frying. (Can use cooking spray to reduce oil content if needs be).
  • 1/4 cup medium-dry (amontillado) or cream Sherry or a slightly smaller amount of cognac which is traditional.
  • (optional) 1 medium shallot – finely minced or sliced
  • 1/3 cup double cream (heavy cream) or sour cream which can be reduced fat if you want to save the waistline
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. Crush the peppercorns by gently pounding once or twice in a mortar. Add a ¼ tsp of salt to this mix.
  2. Pat chops dry with a paper towel and sprinkle both sides evenly with the peppercorn mix.  Rub and press to get the mix to stick to the sides of the chops.  
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wide 12-inch heavy frying pan or skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
  4. Cook just 2 chops per session, turning over once, until browned and hopefully glistening, and just cooked through. This takes 4 to 6 minutes total.
  5. Transfer to a plate and wipe the pan down.
  6. Cook remaining 2 chops in remaining tablespoon of oil in the same manner, transferring to plate.
  7. Leave the pan with the fat residue in it for the sauce.
  8. Reduce the heat for the sauce. Add the shallot and start gently frying with some stirring for a minute until it is looking translucent. For some the shallot is not always needed but it does add flavour like onion gravy
  9. Add the booze (sherry, brandy etc.) and gently boil to let it reduce by half. Scrape any brown bits away but with the shallot. It takes about 3 minutes for a good reduction.
  10. Remove the pan or skillet off the heat. Add the cream and if there are any meat sauces left, just stir those in too. It might need a boil if the sauce is too thin because it will thicken with the heat. Add a small pinch of salt if needed.
  11. Serve with the pork chops.

Pork Chops With Leeks And Mushrooms

Serve with beans, mash or boiled potatoes. Seems to serve as excellent comfort food.

Ingredients:

  • About 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion or a couple of shallots which are finely sliced
  • 1 medium sized leek – sliced
  • 160g chestnut mushrooms although white are also good, make sure these are sliced too.
  • 1 glass of white wine
  • 150ml of heavy cream (double cream) or for the healthier, some crème fraiche
  • 1 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chopped tarragon – as much as can be stripped off a stem which is usually a handful. I find I cannot grow enough to satisfy my craven pork chop needs.

Preparation:

  1. Heat the about 1 tablespoon of oil in a 12-inch skillet or pan and brown the pork chops on both sides. Remove from the pan and keep for later. It takes about 6 minutes max. on both sides.
  2. Add the sliced onion to the juices  and fat in the pan. Fry these for a few minutes on a medium heat until they look golden and almost melted. Add the sliced mushrooms and leek.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes. If you have a lidded pan, just cover it other wise I use a wok lid which never seems to fit exactly (never mind). Check both mushrooms, leek and onion are browning but not charring.
  4. Add the white wine and turn the heat up.
  5. Simmer until the sauce thickens. Takes about 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Add the cream, tarragon, mustard, salt and pepper.
  7. Keep simmering and then put the pork chops back in the pan. If you have enough sauce, just let them bathe in it.
  8. Place the lid back on and keep cooking for between 6 and 10 minutes. Check the chops are cooked through. 
  9. Season to taste.

 

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The Strawberry Bavarois https://foodwrite.co.uk/the-strawberry-bavarois/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/the-strawberry-bavarois/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 11:25:41 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19520 The Bavarois is a dessert built around cream and usually fruit and uses gelatin to produce a firm shape. A famous example uses raspberries but [...]

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The Bavarois is a dessert built around cream and usually fruit and uses gelatin to produce a firm shape. A famous example uses raspberries but strawberries are equally good. The basic recipe which comes from an original of the Boston Cooking Book is this one but has been adapted for strawberries. Remember to much gelatin produces a rubbery texture in the mousse.

To make between 4 and 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 500ml fresh cream which can be whipped
  • 120g sugar;
  • 300g strawberries which is roughly 1 punnet (ideally fresh but frozen can be used). Remove the stalks (dehullling).
  • 1/2 lemon;
  • 6 gelatin sheets (10g).

Preparation:

  1. Soak the gelatine leaves in a cold water for between 5 and 10 minutes
  2. Warm the cream with the sugar in a saucepan over a gentle heat, but do not boil.
  3. Squeeze the gelatine leaves very gently to remove excess water and then add to the cream.
  4. When the gelatine leaves have melted into the cream, just remove from the heat.
  5. Using a food processor or blender, blitz the strawberries to a smooth puree.
  6. Add this strawberry puree to the warm cream and mix well using a whisk.
  7. Cool in a refrigerator until the mixture begins thickening.
  8. The mixture should cool and started thickening. Further cream can be added to make it even richer. These can be poured into glass bowls which are then cooled further until they set in the fridge.
  9. Garnish with strawberries and some mint leaves.

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Bakewell Tart https://foodwrite.co.uk/bakewell-tart/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/bakewell-tart/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 15:40:37 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19509 The classic Bakewell tart is actually pudding which probably comes from this Derbyshire town in the UK but no-one really knows this. There is evidence [...]

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The classic Bakewell tart is actually pudding which probably comes from this Derbyshire town in the UK but no-one really knows this. There is evidence these were being produced for some time in the 1800s if not before. It is usually served with English custard although cream is pretty good – knock yourself frankly with it.

It usually takes 25 to 30 minutes to make with a 30 minute baking time. It should easily serve 6 people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of raspberry jam although strawberry jam works equally well. 
  • 150g (5 1/2oz) golden caster sugar
  • 150g (5 1/2 oz) butter, softened
  • 150g (51/2 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 150g (5 1/2 oz) ground almonds
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • (optional) 150g (5 1/2 oz) raspberries
  • 50g (1.oz) flaked almonds. It is optional but does make for a classic decoration.
  • Some icing sugar purely for dusting

If you haven’t time then make 120g of shortcrust pastry for a lined tart as this works extremely well too.

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 or 190°C/Gas Mark 5
  2. Line a 22-24cm (8½-9½in) cake tin with baking parchment or grease a fluted tart tin with some butter. It depends if you want to make a cake or a tart. I always use a tin one with a loose base.
  3. Using a food processor or an electric whisk, thoroughly mix  the sugar, flour, butter, ground almonds, eggs and vanilla extract. The alternative is to just beat the sugar and butter until white and creamy. Beat the egg into the mixture as slowly as possible. 
  4. If you make a version with a pastry base then line the tin with the smoothcrust pastry. Trim the edges and place some jam in the base as a smooth layer
  5. Place half of the mix into the lined cake tin and smooth down with a knife.
  6. Dot the jam, ½ tsp at a time, all over and scatter with the raspberries if that is required ( I sometimes add pitted cherries just to be really difficult and be Mr Kipling)).
  7. Add the remainder of the cake mix over the fruit to cover. Spread it about but it doesn’t need to be perfect as the mixture just settles in. 
  8. Scatter the flaked almonds over and bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature. The tart version will probably take a shorter time but I think 40 minutes tops should be enough.

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Spaghetti alla carbonara https://foodwrite.co.uk/spaghetti-alla-carbonara/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/spaghetti-alla-carbonara/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 11:40:00 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19507 Spaghetti carbonara  is best prepared by cooking the pasta al dente. It is one of the classic pizzeria dishes but probably owes as much of [...]

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Spaghetti carbonara  is best prepared by cooking the pasta al dente. It is one of the classic pizzeria dishes but probably owes as much of its origins to Italian cooking based in new York as it does to the Italian mainland. It probably originated in the Lazio region of Italy which makes it almost Roman but not quite.  The lardons provide the flavor.

Here are the steps and directions to prepare this iconic dish easily.

The dish takes about 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes of cooking.

Ingredients:

  • Spaghetti 400 g (about 75g per person generally)
  • Bacon, pork cheeks or lardons 200 g
  • 4 egg yolks
  • Olive Oil as needed
  • Salt and Pepper as needed
  • Pecorino 50 g (You can use Parmesan of course but pecorino is a better cheese in many people’s eyes for such a dish).

Preparation: For 4 people.

  1. Cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling water and with a little salt. The spaghetti must really be al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the bacon or lardons into cubes (according to tradition pork cheeks were always the meat of choice), letting it fry in a pan until the fat melts with a little olive oil.
  3. With the bacon or cheeks gently frying, add a little water and cook over a moderate heat for about 10 minutes.
  4. Beat the four egg yolks in a bowl, as if to make a typical omelette, add the pecorino cheese and a pinch of black pepper.
  5. Pour the drained pasta into a large bowl and add the bacon or bacon prepared with the hot oil.
  6. Mix the ingredients gently and add the eggs prepared with the cheese, mixing them until they are firm and serve within the hot pasta.
  7. Try to avoid scrambling the egg. The residual heat in the spaghetti is meant to heat but not scramble the eggs. For some, there is a food safety issue in relying on residual heat to kill off potential Salmonella but it is feasible to cook this sauce if the eggs are fresh and responsibly sourced.

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Preparing A Chicken Stock https://foodwrite.co.uk/preparing-a-chicken-stock/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/preparing-a-chicken-stock/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 10:33:11 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19500 A simple chicken stock is ideal for risottos, consommés, soups and any other type of recipe that demands a full flavoured and tasty base. I’ve [...]

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A simple chicken stock is ideal for risottos, consommés, soups and any other type of recipe that demands a full flavoured and tasty base. I’ve used this recipe for a variety of soup bases. If I have to I will even prepare the stock as I’m making another dish that demands it. A soup containing chicken pieces is ideal if the ingredient is to hand.

Ingredients:

  • 1kg chicken carcasses, wings, roasted pieces, skin even
  • 1 carrot, cut into slices and chunks
  • 1 onion or a couple of shallots, skin can be left on, cut into quarters
  • 1 leek, cut and sliced into pieces
  • 1 stick of celery, cut into chunks
  • 1 garlic clove, bashed or sliced
  • A bouquet garni of 2 or 3 parsley stalks, 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme and 1 or 2 bay leaves, tied with string
  • 5 peppercorns
  • (optional) 1 clove

Preparation: About 5 minutes to start preparing and three hours for a full simmer

  1. Place all the ingredients into a large lidded saucepan. I prefer a heavy bottom one such as those by Le Creuset but I do also use large stock pots for this type of purpose.
  2. Add a pinch of salt then cover with 2 litres of water.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, skimming when needed. Check that the stock does not boil over or run dry.
  4. Pass through a fine sieve or a muslin-covered bowl. It doesn’t need to be as clear as a consommé. It very often develops a head of fat which should be skimmed off and discarded especially if it is cooled in the fridge.

Will keep in the fridge for a week and for three months in the freezer. I store in covered Kilner jars if kept in a fridge.

Check out the article on preparing a fish stock as the processes involved are very similar. 

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Preparing A Consomme https://foodwrite.co.uk/preparing-a-consomme/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/preparing-a-consomme/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 09:37:18 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19498 Consommé is what chefs describe as a thin clear soup. It is to all intents and purposes a strong flavoured stock which has been cleared. [...]

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Consommé is what chefs describe as a thin clear soup. It is to all intents and purposes a strong flavoured stock which has been cleared. In most cases, such a soup will use any pieces of meat including chicken, turkey, duck, pheasant and beef. Vegetarian versions can also be produced which can be based on roasted tomato and onion. The soup is a real party piece but also ideal as a late night supper. It certainly is comforting and relies heavily on being a full flavoured dish.

The defining aspect of this stock is that a clearing agent is used. Egg white is added as the clarifying agent as is the albumin protein. It binds particles to it.

Cream is never added but a variety of vegetables are often added as a garnish and these often define the type of consommé. It’s quite common to see specific titles given to a julienne of vegetables More sophisticated versions have sherry and brandy added to them.

The consommé is one of the stock in trade arts for the chef and perhaps one of those defining moments in a chef’s career when the first one is made. You often hear of how unprofessional a chef especially on television competitions if the stock is not as clear as a bell.

The consommé probably began in the Middle Ages but there are instances of it being produced even further back in time. There is some evidence the Romans understood the use of egg white as a clarifying agent and may well have produced similar soups.

Make more than you need and freeze as it is quite labour intensive at times.

Here we have a recipe for a classic chicken consommé. I would suggest having some vegetable as part of the stock base as you are seeking as a much flavour as possible.

Serving size: 6 cups worth

Ingredients:

  • Chicken pieces such as breast and leg meat. These are chopped up. Ideally mince any chicken flesh to maximise flavour. Blitz in a food processor with the shallot or onion if this is possible.
  • Chicken stock which is prepared independently.
  • (Optional) A small carrot – chopped finely
  • (Optional) A small piece of celery -chopped finely
  • (Optional) A roughly chopped shallot or onion
  • Egg whites – about six should do it to help clear the particulates out of the stock. Whisk them before hand so they just begin to start foaming.
  • Salt – a pinch should do it if needed after tasting the initial broth.
  • (Optional) A slug of cream sherry or brandy (please don’t overdo it !).

Preparation:

  1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the chicken pieces and any vegetable pieces.
  2. Stir and mix thoroughly.
  3. Add 2 cups of stock and stir to combine. Add the remaining 6 cups stock. (If preparing a richer version, add a small amount of sherry or brandy but not enough to overpower the soup).
  4. Add the egg whites.
  5. Place on a medium-high heat to begin the cooking process.
  6. Keep stirring frequently to avoid the mixture sticking to the pan. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and a solid mass or ‘raft’ has formed on top. Foam and bubbling will begin around the edges of the pan. Do not stir when the liquid has begun boiling as this will break the power of the egg whites for want of a better word.
  7. It is possible to make a hole at the edge of the raft so you can see whether all the egg white has risen to the surface. You might have to gently stir the bottom of the pan to loosen any of the mass that is caught but don’t be fussy about this.
  8. Reduce to a simmer and keep this going for 45 to 50 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. It would be worth tasting to check the quality of the flavour. Add salt if needed although the stock should contain some salt.
  10. Try to keep the raft as stable as possible – do not break up as a cloudy stock could be produced.
  11. Pour the clear liquid through the same gap created before through a sieve which is lined with a damp cheesecloth or piece of food-grade muslin, or even one with a paper filter. I’ve seen coffee filters used for this purpose as they quite robust. Do not press down on the solids as you only want clear liquid. Allow it to drip through. If any particles remain in broth, strain again in the same way.
  12. The consommé may be chilled until any remaining fat solidifies on the surface. Remove this fat, and discard. The consommé will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 3 days and frozen for up to 3 months.

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Burrida https://foodwrite.co.uk/burrida/ https://foodwrite.co.uk/burrida/#respond Sun, 11 Nov 2018 17:44:33 +0000 https://foodwrite.co.uk/?p=19494 A burrida is a speciality fish dish from the Italian island of Sardinia (Sardegna) although it is also a signature dish of Liguria in Northern [...]

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A burrida is a speciality fish dish from the Italian island of Sardinia (Sardegna) although it is also a signature dish of Liguria in Northern Italy. It is really fish pices served in a sweet and sour tomato sauce.  It is prepared by first cooking the slices of fish in water and vinegar and then completing the cooking in a sauce with oil, garlic, breadcrumbs, pine nuts and walnuts. It’s  a cold dish or rather one served at ambient temperature and is ideal for those blistering summer days in Italy -especially where sardinia where it can reach 40 Centigrade without any trouble. This recipe is adapted from one which I was given at the Is Benas Country Lodge in Sardinia in 2017.

Serves 4. 

Ingredients: 

  • Skate, ray fish, gattucci (spotted dogfish) or palombi (small) 1.2 kg
  • Garlic cloves 2
  • Pine nuts 50 g
  • Walnuts 50 g
  • Breadcrumbs (white bread is probably ideal although a more authentic dish uses a rustic, slightly whole meal bread) 50 g
  • Lemon 1
  • Parsley 1 clump
  • Salt as needed
  • Pepper as required
  • Vinegar 1 tablespoon 
  • Extra-virgin olive oil 7 tablespoons

Preparation (usually 40 minutes)

  1.  Clean the fish, removing any entrails, head, fins and skin. 
  2. Wash the fish thoroughly and cut the flesh into slices. Place in a pot filled with slightly salted cold water with one or two teaspoons of vinegar and a clump of parsley tied like a bundle. 
  3. Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the fish slices and pieces for 10 minutes: drain them and most importantly keep the cooking broth as a stock. The parsley is removed. Keep the stock and fish pieces warm.
  4.  Sauté the peeled garlic in a low and wide pan with 7 tablespoons of oil. Remove these as soon as they start to brown.
  5.  Add the breadcrumbs, pine nuts and kernels of chopped walnuts, a tablespoon of vinegar, salt and pepper, stirring to mix the flavors.
  6.  After a couple of minutes, add the slices of fish so that they pick up the flavours of the frying broth. About 2 or 3 minutes per side should do it, turning them at the right time. 
  7. Pour a couple of ladles of preserved fish stock into the mixture.
  8. Let the soup resume boiling, then lower the heat and let it cook for 5-6 minutes.
  9.  Remove the pan from the heat, let it cool briefly. Drain the slices with pine nuts and kernels and serve them on a large plate garnished with lemon slices and parsley strands.

 Tips

An alternative method to make any buridda involves pouring the hot sauce of walnuts, pine nuts and vinegar, extended with the boiling broth, over the drained fish and placed in a large tureen. Cover then stand for a couple of hours, before serving at room temperature.

 

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