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  1. Gemüserolle auf vegetarische Art – Vegetarian-style mixed vegetable roll.

    December 17, 2012 by ThePieMan

    In recent times I’ve had pretty good success with my “Piebase” [a shortcrust style pastry typically used in Australian-style handheld savoury pies) so much so that making it is no longer a chore – I enjoy the process and the results. Now, I’m experimenting with grinding my own flour. This means my piebase is morphing into a wholemeal pastry, but at present I’m still wrestling with grit that is noticeable to the tooth. If I can get this sorted, I’ll be very happy.

    Meanwhile, I was thinking about my pietops and sausage roll pastry – a puff or rough puf pastry. Now, it was mentioned to me, by a great bvaker in Tasmania, that I could take ordinary piebase and use it as the détrompé for making rough puff pastry, but like usual I forgot that little detail in the mass of many things happening at the time.

    However, today I was researching vegetarian dishes, in particular Indian and Turkish as some of the vegetarians in my German language class are vegetarian, Indian or Turkish. I came across a great website that had a listing for Puff Borek, a Turkish style vegetarian sausage roll, so to speak and reading through the recipe details reminded me of what I’d been earlier told, so… having some leftover piebase in the fridge, I pilled it out and followed the details for Puff Borek Pastry. Two turns later, some chilling and filling with an ad hoc vegetarian filling, and here’s how the pastry looked, out of the oven.

    The layered structure is clearly visible. Looking good so far, but what about the crispness, lightness, flakiness? Cutting it open and I couldn’t be more happy.

    Basically, what I did was pass the piebase through my dough sheeter until it was about 1 mm thick. I then took melted margarine and laid down a coating on a section of pastry, folded the pastry over itself and repeated the process. This produced three layers of dough with two layers of fat in between. I then butter half od the top of the dough and folded it over itself again. The edges were sealed and the pastry wrapped and placed into the fridge. Turn One Complete (6 layers of dough, 5 of fat). I repeated this process a second time (36 layers … ) and after chilling, rolled the pastry out to 3mm thick, filled it and then baked low in the oven at 250C for 25min.

    “Very Happy” with the results. Not hard to do, takes a bit of time, but in the intervals I was able to make the filling, drink tea and do other things. No Problem. This is very easy pastry making at its best. Love it!


  2. On Traditional Australian Pie Base

    October 1, 2012 by Villa Tempest

    We all know that a great pie, first and foremost must taste good. The filling should be tasty, tender, moist, not too runny and not too thick but,

    …it ain’t a pie if the pie crust just ain’t right!

    I know this. You know this. We all know this, so why is it so hard for so many businesses to get their pie crust or pie base right? (AND, why has it been so damn difficult for me to find out about it and get it right?)

    Baking is a skill, a skill that scares a lot of cooks because it’s so damn unforgiving of  the, ‘a pinch of this, a dash of that‘  approach to replicating recipes. It requires, rigour, discipline and an even tempered approach on a day to day basis. If you’re the Chef With Flair then you’re probably also, the Frustrated Baker.

    Now to add to this, there are so many references to pie and crust on the net, God love the Americans, their indelible stamp has been tramped all over the place making it hard to find any REAL information of value on this topic – pie is made with sweet shortcrust, or its a pizza, and savory pie is a pot pie which has a puff pastry top only… This is truly war of culture, through domination of the available global information on every topic.

    Be that as it may, it is finally clear to me that of the little information that is around, this is one area that bakers, commercial bakers that is, are happy to let it slide, i.e. if you haven’t done the apprenticeship, than you just dont know and if you have, well its basic knowledge that everybody, who ought to know, knows, right?

    So, here’s a basic run down of Pie Crusts, and a lead into that mysterious iconic pastry known as ‘Pie Base.’

    Pie crust is a pastry made basically with flour, fat and liquid. The difference in various types of piecrust pastry depends on the nature of the flour, the nature of the liquids, the nature of the fat, the ratios in which they are combined, AND the way in which they are combined. In Puff Pastry, the fat and flour is folded and layered, a bit like Damascus Steel, and bound with a scant bit of liquid so that when it is baked, if puffs up into a light flaky, crisp crust. In Shortcrust Pastry, the fat and flour is crumbled together like sand or gravel before being bound together with the liquids, creating a denser, textured pastry. The smaller the grains of fat and flour, the ‘shorter‘ the pastry.

    Pie Base is a short pastry. It is unlike hot water pastry and it is not like the typical shortcrust pastry known to loving grandmas the world over, either. It is made by what is referred to as the ‘Creaming Method‘ – a method that has been documented, and known to bakers, since at least the turn of the 19th Century - (p336). This method is an alternative method for making pastry, particularly in hot, arid climates.

    In essence this method has part of the flour and all of the fat creamed together first with the water until ‘clear‘ and then the final pastry dough is adjusted with the remaining flour, usually by the experienced touch of a skilled Baker. Understand this well, instead of the flour and fat ratios being fixed and the water ratio being variable, here the fat and water ratios are fixed and the flour ratio is varied until the desired result is achieved.

    Now, what does ‘clear’ mean? That is hard to explain in words and is something better shown. To get a close idea about this I recommend you look up a few Youtube Videos on a French technique for kneading wet doughs, currently known as the so called “Bertinet Method.’

    Here is a method I gave to a friend of mine in New South Wales, after being having my eye opened and being properly educated by a couple of great bakers on the Apple Isle.

     

    Do give it a try and see how this works for you. For me, this marks the end of a long, long search for the Secret to Traditional Australian (Commercial) Pie Base, and the begining of a, hopefully, even longer time of playing with the technique.

     


  3. Free Cook Booklet

    September 27, 2012 by ThePieMan

    Hi folks, just a quick update.

    What do you do when you’re not doing anything?

    Write a cookbook!

    I’ve been chasing the holy grail of Hunan Cuisine for some time now, and I think I’ve finally got it after a 12 year odyssey.

    Chángshā Kǒuwèixiā (长沙口味虾) is a spicy, fiery street food dish of, cooked on the spot, freshwater crayfish which is fantastic with beer on a sultry summer evening spent with friends.

    The booklet is freely available for download, no questions asked, not signups, not trackbacks, etc. Feel free to grab yourself a copy, try it out and let me know, over on our Facebook Page, what you think.

    regards,

    Tsc Tempest

    Download Free Ebook Now – (hosted by tsctempest.com – they handle all our photography)


  4. Rice Cooker Kidney Bean & Lamb Stew

    June 1, 2012 by Villa Tempest

    Was in the kitchen today, looking at the fridge and the dramatically reduced kitchen cookware at my disposal. I had this lamb that needed to be cooked, or I’d risk loosing it. So, I thought, “stew!” But I only had one, large pot,an elecric table top bbq griddle plate and a rice cooker. “Sweet!” Use the rice cooker as a stew pot, perfect. The recipe is basically a knock it together idea using what was on the shelf, but it turned out super.

    This recipe uses a simple rice cooker as the main cooking pot.

    Ingredients

    4 lamb chops on the bone

    1 tin red kidney beans

    ½ red onion

    ½ leak

    6 dry shitake mushrooms

    2 large cloves garlic

    1 tsp Desert Flakes

    1 tsp Savory (or Rosemary)

    ½ tsp crushed black pepper

    1 tsp fish sauce

    1 tsp soy sauce

    1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

    2-3 cups hot water

    1 cup dry wine

     

    Method

    1. Wash the lamb chops and pat dry with paper towel
    2. Brown the chops well on both sides. You are not cooking them here, just aiming for a good crust
    3. Slice the red onion and fry

    4. Shred leak, and garlic and place into the rice cooker pan

    5. Rehydrate the shitake mushrooms in one cup of hot water, remove from the water, add the water to the rice cooker pan, shred the mushrooms and also add to the pan


    6. Open the tin of kidney beans and add the entire contents to the rice cooker pan
    7. Add the wine, seasoning and sauces to the rice cooker pan and mix everything well


    8. Place two chops into the rice cooker pan cover with some fried onions and then the next two chops and the rest of the onions, top up with hot water to cover the chops

     

    9. Place the pan into the rice cooker and switch the cooker onto “High”


    10. Bring the cooker to a boil and…

     

    …switch the cooker to “Warm” then, every 15 to 20 minutes switch the cooker back to “High” and bring to the boil again, switch back to “Warm” and repeat until the meat is done; OR after bringing to the boil, switch the cooker to “Warm” and leave unopened for 1 hour, open check adjust, bring back to boil then set to “Warm” for 30 min to 1 hour or until hunger takes over

    11. When the meat is starting to fall from the bone, remove the chops and rest them for 5 min. De-bone meat and coarsely dice then add back to the pot until ready to serve. Serve with warm crusty bread, or rice, or mashed potatoes and a malty beer

     

    …and there you have my take on a Rice Cooker Kidney Bean and Lamb Stew.

     

    Enjoy!

     

    Addendum:

    The wife said this was the best stew she’d ever eaten. It certainly was tasty.


  5. Following Instructions

    May 23, 2012 by Villa Tempest

    The other day I had a rather unremarkable start, to an otherwise challenging day.

    No mater what I did, I just couldn’t seem to get anything right.

    Perhaps you can see where I made my mistake…

    The Instructions said,

    …in a large pan, reduce one bottle of white wine, with a few coarsely chopped mushrooms, half an onion, two garlic cloves, and a sprig of fresh basil…

    Which I did.

    I put all the ingredients in a large pan,

    ….. switched on the heat;

    ………. the fresh ingredients burned, and

    …………… the bottle exploded!

     

    Terror in the Kitchen!

     

    I still don’t know quite what went wrong…

     

     


  6. New Digs

    January 28, 2012 by Villa Tempest

    It is sad to say that Villa Tempest will be relocating from Vietnam, but our time in Hanoi, is coming to a close.

    If you’re interested in taking up and developing the Villa Tempest Pie Concept in Hanoi, please feel free to contact us for some mutually beneficial offline discussions.

    We are happy to note though, that we have finally found a suitable new location in Poppenbüttle, Hamburg, Germany and that we are making the final arrangements neccessary to purchase the house.

    For your forward planning, last orders will be fulfilled by the end of February. If you’ve been a past customer, we thank for your patronage, and wish you well.

    Best Wishes one and all from Villa Tempest.


  7. A Simple System of Pie Identification

    October 31, 2011 by Villa Tempest

    Here at Villa Tempest, we have explored various methods of identifying what pies are what once they’ve been baked. this is what we’ve settled on.

    To help keep track of our different types of pies, we use a simple, vent hole identification system:

    A slit for beef…

    An oval hole for Chicken…

    Fork holes for Vegetarian…

    Of course, while putting up pics of our tasty treats, here’s our ever popular,

    made with our traditional, Australian-style, homemade savoury sausage filling.

    If you’d like to place an order, feel free to contact us via email.


  8. What’s News: Dough Sheeter, Pastry Roller

    October 17, 2011 by Villa Tempest

    One: Recently, after a long term of searching, designing, and being told, “No! Can’t be done in Hanoi” we finally took ownership of a manual dough sheeter (Máy cán bột). Having first sighted such an item in the kitchen of Cafe CCCP, we managed to track down and eventually find not only a supplier who knew what we wanted, but was also willing to have it made within a week. No Problem! And they delivered. Here’s what it looks like:

    This device was sourced from Nguyen Khuyen Str., and is hand cranked. The roller gap is adjusted by two screws mounted forward of the rollers. Underneath the rollers are two spring loaded pans that are there to stop the pastry rolling around the rollers, but the current mounting system also tends to catch stick pastry from time to time. The stainless steel catch pan was installed by my favorite sheet metal worker in Hang Thiec Str. With this now in the bakery, We plan to use it for making puff pastry and for finishing pastry shells to the correct, set thickness.

    …And that’s the latest news from Villa Tempest.


  9. Phong Nha Pies

    October 15, 2011 by Villa Tempest

    Recently we paid a visit to Phong Nha Farmstay near Dong Hoi, to carry out a bit of in-house instruction in the finer art of pie making and I’m looking forward to the welcome news of tasty pies being available in central Vietnam to hungry trekkers, spelunkers and trail blazers.

    As a consequence of this, we divested ourselves of a few pie tins, and only later found out that our Hanoi supplier was no longer bringing them in. Turns out it was just a delayed shipping issue and the tins have since become available again. However we’ve moved over to a small collection of self-cutting pie tins that The Pieman had brought back from Australia, last year. This has resulted in a slight change in shape and appearance of our pies.

    See for yourself:

    Lots of pies baking in the oven, in our self-cutting pie tins.

    …And that’s the latest news from Villa Tempest.


  10. What’s Your Idea of a Chinese Banquet

    September 25, 2011 by Villa Tempest

    Recently, we’ve been reviewing our time in China and some of the many, many dishes we enjoyed. By doing this we’ve managed to nail down a set of dishes we believe encompasses our experiences and would make the Number One’s list.

    This of course begs the question, what dishes would make it onto your, all time favourites, Chinese Banquet Menu?

    This is our choice of an all time favourite Chinese Banquet

    Starter

    Kouweisha, 口味虾 & Liang Bang Huanggua, 凉拌黄瓜 or Chuan La Huanggua, 麻辣黄瓜

    Changsha-style Spicy Freshwater Crayfish, and

    Cucumber Salad or Spicy Sichuan Cucumber

    Main

    1. Ma Po Dou Fu, 麻婆豆腐

    Mapo Tofu

    2. Muer Chao Jidan, 木耳炒鸡蛋

    Stir fried Woodear Fungus and Egg

    3. La Baicai

    Spicy Cabbage

    4. Qing Cong Rong Xilanhua, 青葱西兰花

    Shallots,青葱 (instead of garlic, 蒜茸) sauteed with Broccoli

    5. Qing Jiao Niurou Si, 青椒牛肉丝

    Stir Fried Beef and Green Pepper

    6. Qing Zheng Gui Yu, 清蒸桂鱼

    Steamed Mandarin Fish

    Soup

    Xi hong shi Ji dan Tang, 西红柿鸡蛋汤

    Tomato and Egg Soup

    Palate Cleanser

    Hami Gua, 哈密瓜 or Seasonal Fruits

    …And that’s the latest news from Villa Tempest.