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  1. Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur, a diy recipe

    June 27, 2016 by Villa Tempest

    What motivates you? For me, it trying to track down or develop a recipe for some obscure, shrouded in mister and time, recipe for some such thing. Today, I present for your consideration my efforts to explore the Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur.

    History

    Developed in 1955 by Mampe for Lufthansa, apparently they developed three bottled products, Party, Bitter, and Dry Martini. They were pre-bottled to make it easier to mix in the galley of the Plane. It would appear that “Bitter” is what is known today as the “Classic” mix.

    Lufthansa Cocktail Likör

    The cocktail, apparently fell out of favour in the mid 80’s but was revived for its 50th Aniversary in 2005 by Berentzen amid a marketing hype of nostalgia. The Berentzen remake contained apparently 12 premium ingredients (Marketers! shades of kfc’s secret original recipe, don’t you think?) and came in at 30% alcohol.

    Lufthansa Cocktail Likör

    In 2015, ten years later, Small Big Brands gave the drink another makeover, bringing it down to around 15.5% along with adding 6 other mixes to the lineup. It is safe to say that this current incarnation of the Lufthansa Cocktail is a vastly different drink.

    Lufthansa Cocktail Likör

    Status Quo

    According to Lufthansa Magazine, to make a Lufthansa Cocktail you need to mix the liqueur in a 1:1 ratio split. That is, one part liqueur to one part mixer. This mixer can be orange juice & lemon juice, soda water, sekt, or champagne. We also know that the original cocktail liqueur was described as an orange-apricot liqueur. The cocktail that the guest got to drink would vary in alcohol content between 15-21% if we go by Berentzen’s ABV. The Lufthansa Cocktail Recipe typically calls for a 40ml measure of Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur. Why? Because that is the size of the little single serve bottles of spirits on the plane.

    www.lhm-lounge.de_beitrag_3562545

     

    Looking at what Mampe was familiar with, we could hazard a guess that it was some portion of Mampe’s Halb und Halb, plus a small addition of Mampe’s Bittere Tropfen, and then some additions to balance out the sweetness, bitterness, and alcohol content of the final product. Either way, the serving suggestion was on the bottle.

    Lufthansa Cocktail Likör

    With no listing of the ingredients in Berentzen’s mix we we have no direct link between the current and the past, other than both were 30% abv. But! Take heart, there is enough to put together an educated guess, and combine the ides of the past with the reality of the present.

    Perameters

    750ml Production Volume

    30% abv

    Orange, Apricot, Sweet & Bitter notes

    The current Lufthansa Cocktail Classic offering lists: Rose Vermouth, Bitter Aperitif, Raspberry Eau de vie, and Elderflower, and is described as fruity, fresh, balanced between sweet and dry.

    Rosé Vermouth is typically around 17.5% abv (current recipe doing the viral rounds); Bitter Aperitif is around 39% abv (note: older cocktail recipes often refer to using Orange Bitters) – this fits our preferred profile; Raspberry Eau de vie is a liqueur of around 45% abv, and Elderflower is typically used as a syrup, i.e. 0 abv.

    In my personal opinion, the balance of this above, strongly shifted towards sweet and fruity, away from orange and apricots and more towards berry fruits. The strongest alcohols here are the bitters and raspberry Eau de vie, which become the dominant portions in this mix. The syrup and the vermouth are both diluents, yet, while the vermouth may perhaps have a strong impact on the flavour profile, we really don’t know in which direction this Rosé Vermouth is profiled.

    However, this gives us a starting point for pulling together some target products to mix together.

    The List currently stands at (German Products, chosen for no particular reason other than this was originally a German concoction – Disclaimer: I make no claim to any endorsement here, implied or otherwise. I have no connection with any of these products, companies or parent companies.):

    Belsazar Rosé Wermut; The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters; Prinz Himbeergeist; and Monin Holunderblütensirup.

    Let’s add one more product which I will use in our subsequent recipe, Prinz Marillen-Schnapps (clear Apricot Brandy). We’re adding this because orange and apricot are the principle flavours of the original recipe.

    The Recipe

    The following recipe is my best guess at a Recipe for Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur (Lufthansa Cocktail Likör) it is not the original recipe, nor is it the recipe for any of the subsequent incarnations, but it is informed by what’s been written on the subject and some educated mixology guesswork. So, enjoy, if you will the only recipe on the web for this bottled cocktail mix.

    Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur Recipe (Lufthansa Cocktail Likör Rezept) 30% abv.

    250ml Belsazar Rosé Wermut – Rosé Vermouth

    370 ml Prinz Marillen-Schnapps – Apricot Schnapps/Brandy

    75 ml  Prinz Himbeergeist – Framboise/Raspberry Eau de vie

    20 ml The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters – Orange Bitters

    55 ml Monin Holunderblütensirup – Elderflower Syrup

    Combine all the ingredients, mix well and bottle. Makes 1 x 750ml batch. Serving Suggestion: To 2 full measures of Liqueur add an equal portion of well chilled Sekt or Champagne. Serve in a tumbler over ice, or in a saucer rimmed with a lemon segment and dipped in sugar. Garnish with a slice of lemon, or a cherry.

     

    Addendum.

    It should be said that “Lufthansa Cocktail” is a proprietary name, and the “real” recipe is secret. That being said, anyone who has drunk this cocktail in the last 10 years or so has not drunk the original but one of the authorized variants. Anyone who remembers the original has a dimming memory of something experienced more than 30 years ago.

    I have never drunk this cocktail mix, and like many today, have an interest in it only to satisfy the wishes of someone in our parentage who is  reminiscing over this once luxury indulgence. So, keep this in mind. What you are making here is a best guess attempt at something that few remember, and if someone close to you claims to, then they are laying claim to a fond memory and your role here is to elicit and stimulate that memory. I hope, this recipe does help you do that.

    Cheers.


  2. The Fascinating History of Waldorf Salad

    June 8, 2016 by Villa Tempest

    Waldorf Salad is an old salad, a fascinating salad, a salad common to my childhood, but why did I wake up yesterday and need to make it, to revisit it and the taste of Waldorf Salad as remembered from my childhood?

    No-one would have guessed that by the end of the day, I would have immersed myself in the fascinating history of perhaps the most famous celery and apple salad in the western world?

    When the Waldorf Hotel in New York opened in 1893, the Swiss-born maître d’hôtel, “Oscar Tschirky” created a simple apple and celery salad for the gala opening, later publishing the recipe in 1896, in his encyclopaedic tome, “The Cookbook, by Oscar of the Waldorf.” (1896, p433)

    Original Waldorf Salad Recipe

    What we can see from this recipe is that over the intervening period of 3 years, this salad remained essentially a dish of apple & celery, dressed with mayonnaise. It is more than likely that this would have been presented in an elegant manner, but there is no mention in the book about garnishing  (a fascinating read that fills in many of the blanks) this salad.

    By 1907, however it appears the salad had either undergone some modification and variation, or the principle garnish became part of the ingredient list. Either way, Escoffier, in his, “A guide to modern cookery” (1907, p.623) lists apple, celery root (celeriac), walnuts and mayonnaise.

    Escoffier's Waldorf Salad Recipe

    What’s interesting here is no ratio given for the walnuts and they are fresh, or soft walnuts with no skin. It is interesting to consider, in looking at this recipe as well, the question: Did Escoffier, the most famous chef of his day, presume to teach Tschirky how to make a balanced salad through publishing this recipe, or is he putting his own spin on it, as famous chefs are wont to do?

    Next, we have mention of the salad, and how to garnish it, in the Boston Cooking-School Cookbook (1911, p339), by Fannie Merrit Farmer yet walnuts don’t feature in the suggestions.

    Waldorf Salad circa 1922

    The next, “authoritative?” mention of the salad with walnuts, and commonly quoted on the web, is apparently in George Rector’s, “The Rector Cook Book” (1928) however, I can not find an actual online copy of the recipe.

    It is interesting to note that 6 years prior to Rector and 15 years after Escoffier, nuts: in this case almonds and pecans; get a mention by Marion Harris Neil in her book, “A Calendar of Dinners, with 615 Recipes” (1922, p 159)

    Waldorf Salad circa 1922

    Two different types of nuts and quite a substantial quantity. The introduction of lemon juice and sugar and a faux mayonnaise dressing. Hmmm…

    What is clear though is that nuts, in general, and walnuts more specifically, have been been an, on again, off again inclusion, but walnuts are now considered the traditional garnish ingredient, and indispensable component in this salad.

    By 1977, the Waldorf Salad had become so tired that it was featured, perhaps as the poster child for the differences between British and American cuisine, in a Fawlty Towers sitcom. By this time, grapes had apparently become a ubiquitous and essential ingredient.

    As a testament to the Salad’s international appeal, Barbara Rias-Bucher included a recipe in her book, “Das Grosse Buch der Guten Kücher” (1995, p60)

    Waldorfsalat ala Barbara Rias-Bucher

    which is somewhat reminiscent of Neil’s, including lemon juice, sour cream, salt and pepper as part of the recipe.

    In spite of the fact that Chefs of all sorts, and cookbook authors, have been putting their own stamp on the recipe, and ingredients, Robuchon’s, “Larousse Gastronomic” (2009, p1142) preserves the original recipe and simply states that walnuts were added sometime later, with no further attribution.

    Larousse Gastronomique Waldorf Salad

    It is clear from the history seen here so far, that there has been some common threads, and perhaps two schools of thought, guiding the development of variants of the Waldorf Salad, towards how we perceive it today.

    Now, the “taste” of Waldorf Salad, well of the salad that I remember from the 70’s and 80’s, or if you prefer, of late last century, was pretty much the lemon and sugar, mayonnaise, walnuts, apples and celery version.

    I remember clearly the mayonnaise – gloopy, all over the place, swimming in it, mayonnaise – the shop bought kind, like “Miracle Whip.” I was never a fan of mayo, actually of anything that contained a noticeable vinegar hint. The apples were cubed, and the celery sliced across the rib. I think mum might have try variants with sour cream and or yoghurt, basically something similar to Barbara Swain’s, “Cookery for 1 or 2” (1987, p52)

    Waldorf Salad ala Barbara Swain

    but I don’t really recall it so clearly anymore, so I guess I’ll just have to eat my way through salad history and see.

    Original Waldorf Salad

    So, let’s start with the original Waldorf Salad and Oscar’s recipe. This what we need:

    Oscar Tschirky's Waldorf Salad 1896

    Some mayo, a green apple, a rib of celery and that’s it. The apple corer/wedge-slicer is a wonderful bit of kit, easy to use and you don’t need superior knife skills. Works equally as well on cucumbers.

    Method:

    • wedge and core the apple, then slice the apple wedges in half lengthwise. make sure there are no seeds in the apple slices.

    Coring and wedge cutting apples for a Waldorf Salad

    nicer dicer Plus cubed apples for Waldorf Salad

    • Swap out the cubing blade and replace with the v-slicer mandolin then slice up the washed rib of celery

    Nicer Dicer Plus V-Slicing celery for Waldorf Salad

    • Take equal amounts, more or less of apple cubes and celery slices and combine them with a good mayonnaise. Use only enough to lightly coat the ingredients

    sliced apple and celery for Waldorf Salad

    • Plate up in any manner you wish, I used a ring mould and garnished with some chopped celery leaves for a bit of colour.

    an Original Waldorf Salad on a plate

    Traditional Waldorf Salad

    • Prepare the salad as above and garnish with a sprinkle of coarsely chopped walnuts

    a traditional Waldorf Salad

    A 1980’s Waldorf Salad

    Proceed similarly as above but note the following additions:

    • After preparing the apples, douse them in a little lemon juice, toss well to help combat browning of the apples
    • use the fine dicer on the Nicer Dicer Plus to chop the walnuts, its quicker and more uniform than with a knife.

    dicing walnuts for Waldorf Salad

    • plate up the salad in a suitably sized cup of lettuce leaf
    • garnish with chopped celery leaf, walnuts and a light rasp of lemon zest

    a 1980's Waldorf Salad

    A Contemporary Waldorf Salad

    These days people are looking for ways to make their salads much lighter, and more fat free. This often involves, using low fat mayonnaise, mayonnaise made from so-called “healthy oils,” or by cutting the mayonnaise with sour cream, lemon juice, water, milk, yoghurt, or even substituting with a yoghurt dressing for the mayonnaise altogether. Other ways of shifting it up is to change the way in which the salad is presented, using other celery components and lettuce substitutes and garnishing with various other fruits such as grapes, dates, raisins, etc.

    One of the biggest issues I have with the traditional salad is that it is heavy going from a physical standpoint, you really have to chew on it. One change that makes the salad feel so much lighter is to change the way the ingredients are prepared. Keeping all else more ore less the same, here’s how to change it up, considerably:

    • using a V-Slicer mandolin with the fine julienne fitting, slice the apple into matchsticks

    cutting aapples for a contemporary Waldorf Salad

    • Using the end of the celery bunch, peal away the dirty bits and julienne

    julienne celery for a contemporary Waldorf Salad

    • toss the apple and celery together with a coating of lemon juice and a scant amount of mayonnaise ensuring that all the apple and celery is lightly and evenly coated, but not dripping in mayonnaise
    • Shred the green tops of a lettuce, and place in the bottom of a ring mould, lightly drizzle some lemon juice over the lettuce and layer some quartered walnuts on top

    plating up a contemporary Waldorf Salad

    • top with the julienne of apples and celery and garnish with shredded celery leaves, a sprinkle of diced walnuts and a rasping of lemon zest
    • drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil around the plate and sprinkle the oil lightly with any red chilli powder of your choice. Alternatively you use ultra fine chilli strings, or curled slices of bell pepper…

    a contemporary Waldorf Salad

    and there you have my take on  a gently dressed, easy to chew, flavourful and well textured, crisp and light, contemporary Waldorf Salad, that is true to both the original, and the tradition, elements of the dish.

    Enjoy.

     

     

     


  3. Thoughts on Diet, Dieting and Menu Planning

    May 26, 2016 by Villa Tempest

    When I was a lad, back in the 70’s of last century, I was told that my grandfather had a lifestyle crisis when he was 40. Almost blind, alcoholic, and a size 44 belt (…that’s a 44″ long belt.) After “Studying” Pritikin and Davis (she was his pinup poster girl of diet), he then took control of  his diet and changed his eating habits and doubled his life expectancy. He lost the weight, became less blind, more active, and famous for swimming in the Daylesford Lake during Winter, even when it snowed. He eventually died of prostate cancer at age 86.

    These days, my wife, like many women has her ups and downs with personal self image, and seek assistance through various current, all the rage, “it works…” – sorta kinda fad diets like Dukan, and other high protein, low carb diets. Because of this, and being a stay at home dad, I am confronted, and somewhat conflicted with the various recommendations and the implications of them on the household kitchen, menu planning, cooking, and meals in general. Especially given that I harbour polar opposite views to those of such diets and their guru champions.

    Growing up, I was told, by various nutritional experts, that ideally I should eat 4-6 times a day and my food intake should consist of somewhere around 80% Fruit ‘n Veg (including nuts, legumes, seeds and whole grains), and 20% of the other stuff (meat, fats, refined sugars, etc.) My problem however, was that I couldn’t envisage how such an implementation looked on the plate, in actually mentally approaching food in such a way as to be easy-peasy, so la la. Instead I hung on, fiercely, to the Meat-atarian mantra, “My ancestors did not fight their way to the top of the food chain, just for me to be a vegetarian!” And took delight in provoking, otherwise nice people, friends, classmates, etc. who consciously made the choice to be, “Vegos.”

    Since then I’ve spent 8 years in China, 4 years in Vietnam, and 4 years in Germany. Both me and my wife felt better, looked better in Asia. so, to some extent I understand those who advocate for diets based on the China Study, or less extreme versions of Walter Kempner’s, “The Rice Diet” (pdf), but with a caveat. It wasn’t all good for me in Asia, and extensive “hot” chili ingestion has left me with a highly sensitive gastric system. One that responds better to less aggressively spices foods. The “Western” diet, as experienced by me in Germany, also disagrees with me. High reliance on bread, cheese, meat, dairy, twice a day, interspersed with a main, cooked meal in the middle of the day, also leaves me with a sensitive gut, and gasping for air due to too much gas.

    At age 50 now, I guess I’m starting to mellow out a bit, but still I have the problem, I know what is right, but not how to implement it. I wish there was a book that did away with all this Diet crap and just showed me what it all looks like in simple easy to identify building blocks that I can learn and teach to my son, and wife. I’m still no advocate of Starchivore diets, Rice Diets, Mediteranean/Cretan Diets or Atkins/Paleo variants, I believe we as humans are omnivores, using starches, fruits and veg (gathered, foraged foods) to place-mark daily energy needs, supported with  meats, eggs, fish, etc. (hunted foods) as supplemental energy highlights. As such, a “China Study” (pdf) type diet informed by the Cretan Diet (pdf), with a reduced emphasis on red meats, saturated fasts, and refined sugars, is moving in the right direction, i.e. the 80/20 diet recommended to me so long ago, and practically also followed by my grandfather.

    Its interesting to note, that the “Vegan” Diet is defined as 75% Carbohydrates, 15% Protein, & 10% Fats according to Neal Barnard, MD. When you look at that, on the surface, considering what I know from the past, that’s not too unusual or strange. where it gets squirrelly is in the moral/ethical/ego arguments over where those fats and proteins should & shouldn’t come from. For me? I simply just don’t care about any vego/vegan claim to some fatuous moral high ground about protein sources, or about, “saving the world, one mouthful at a time.” I’m still trying to come to grips with how this all looks and works in MY kitchen, on a day to day basis, for me and my family. If you ask me there are too many, “gurus” and guru-wannabes that are doing more ill than good by muddying the waters, so to speak, rather than getting down to the absolute basics of, this is what all this means, here, see, its gets no more difficult than this. Do this, exactly like this, and you’re more ore less good to go. no calorie counting, no protein overloading, no out of balance too far to the left or right extremist, foodist, dietry bullshit.

    I have to plan meals for myself, maintain average weight, my wife, lose weight, my 10 y.o. super active, sporty son – a growing boy and ensure we all eat well, eat healthy enough for us, eat economically, and eat enough of what is right for us and protect my family from the dangers of, radical foodism. So where to form here? I’ve searched out a variety of texts, one of interest is the 400 Calorie Fix book, which appears to come close, really close to what I’m looking for (guess I’ll have to buy it to try it) but its just so -urrrggh, frustrating, no look-in-the-book and it appears to have the same problems as all the other Diet fad books. Like wading through the sewer system, groping around with your hands, trying to find a lost ring or two. What I NEED is a seasonal, 365 1/4 days of the year, menu plan for 4-6 meals per day, for adults and school going kids, and honestly even this doesn’t come close, especially at that price for an ebook!

    When I, my brother and sister went to school, we had:

    • Breakfast
    • Morning Recess
    • Lunch
    • Afternoon Recess
    • After school snack
    • Dinner
    • occasionally Supper

    that’s 6-7 meals a day for growing kids. Plus mum had regular meals planned, every week such that, Wednesday was hamburg night, Friday was fish, and Sunday we had a roast chook, every other main meal was basically meat, three veg, and starch. And, eggs were eaten once or twice a week, if we were lucky, but always with some bread.

    When I started working it changed to:

    • Breakfast
    • Morning Tea
    • Lunch
    • Afternoon Tea
    • Dinner
    • occasional Supper

    that’s 5-6 meals per day. Morning and afternoon tea, more often than not, was just something to drink. nowadays I might drink a bucket load of tea and eat once or twice a day, and my wife and son eat at separate times. We don’t eat together and all the routine has been lost. We each have a different diet requirement, none of it wrks particularly well and so I wrestle, again day after day with, why I just don’t get it, why can I not make it work? Why can I not find, “good,” basic information about all of this so that I can get a better handle on things? Why must I go wading through extensive, rabid, polarized, foodist literature (pdf) to find the answers I seek?Its enough to make one sick! maybe that’s the point…


  4. Kitchen Mixers – I think I’ve finally found the one!

    March 10, 2016 by Villa Tempest

    When I started making pies in Hanoi, several years back, I always wanted a kitchen mixer, something robust enough to be a semi-professional item but couldn’t afford to sling for the Profi models, even the Chinese made commercial ones. So I settled for a Bomann KM 348 CB  [looks exactly like this Clatronic KM 3067 here… do like that pasta dough thingy…],

    It’s put in a reasonable job though over the past 4–5 years and I’ve had to modify all the beaters with some space washers to improve the overall performance of the machine, oh! and it didn’t have a Blender. Guess what, not having one meant that I wanted one… 🙁  Other than that, I can’t complain too much about it for being a domestic kitchen item.

    My mum still has her Kenwood Chef, like the one below, (A701A I think) with all the gadgets, well many of them…

    and I remember her being jealously protective of it, so that us kids didn’t, somehow destroy it. I think it originally had green trims and was later replaced with one with blue trims. So long ago its hard to remember. It always seemed to me to be the Kitchen Crown Jewel. Kenwood still has excellent brand recognition to this day, and the price tag to go with it.

    My problem, when in Hanoi, was that I couldn’t access such branded equipment. The choices were limited. After looking at the Kitchen Aid machines in use in professional hotel kitchens, I decided that perhaps the Kitchen Aid 8 Quart Stand Mixer might be the way to go (which can be had on Amazon for around $700 not including shipping and handling.)

    …but I couldn’t find a way around to justifying the purchase, then after seeing this,

    I was more uncertain than ever. Larger volume bowl meant bigger dough batches but I just wasn’t making enough pies to validate such a purchase especially since all the optional extras, were just, optional and cost extra.

    Then, I stumbled across this! I know, I know, its similar capacity and cost to the 8 quart Kitchen Aid, but… I think, this is the one… I think I’m in love  😉

    It costs around €856+ for this Ankarsrum Assistant Deluxe (current brand name for it) and comes with almost all the optional extras, much like my Mum’s old Kenwood Chef. I love the idea, also of possibly buying something that can be functionally heirloom, something I can hand down to my son (or his partner) one day.

    Now,  the challenge… How? As a home-based, non-working, stay-at-home Dad, do I actually buy this?

    ’cause my wife ain’t gonna go for it – cooking and the kitchen are not her thing…

    Thinking… Thinking… What to do? … Time to start baking some pies.

    I so want one of these!


  5. The Search Goes On – Egg Batter Dough for Chiko Roll & Corn Jacks

    March 9, 2016 by Villa Tempest

    I’ve previously approached this topic, reporting my trials into finding the secret to the ever elusive method of making the dough wrapper for that well known, loved and maligned, Australian deep fried snack, the Chiko Roll.

    Much of the history and preparation info is summarized at Cooks Info which is a little more sensible and tempered than some of the outlandish recipes being postulated, like this one from Food.com – I mean, seriously? Spring roll or wonton wrappers? Come on! Asian sauces & spices?!?!

    Let’s not go there, but get our heads back in the game. First, It is NOT a Chiko Roll recipe if one is advocating the use of Spring Roll wrappers. That so many do highlights just how difficult it is to get the dough of the Chiko Roll right. What is the true mystery of the Chiko Roll? Well, it ain’t the filling, its the dough!

    (Addendum: here”s a more recent site that make a credible attempt at the dough. – 06.2016)

    Now, according to a  more reputable source than most blogs, including this one  😉 we get the following description of how it was originally made:

    He made his first rolls on a small hand-fed sausage machine.  They were a concoction of boned mutton, celery, cabbage, barley, rice, carrots and spices.  This combination was then wrapped in a thick egg and flour dough, then fried.  Both ends were hand- painted.

    Next, over at the Cooks Info site we get this description of more current practices:

    The Chiko factories make as one long roll which is cooked, then sliced, then pastry ends are added, then the rolls are fried a second time.

    Kind of like this Finger Spring Roll maker, but with different dough:

    Looking at the other end of the world and another similar roll like product, we have this preparation of Cannelloni:

    And then there is this method:

    So why are we looking at these anyway? The reason is simple, different doughs have different tensile strengths and their thickness impacts on the way they bake or fry. The modern Chiko Roll seems to be first baked to set the dough, frozen and then deep fried at point of sale. None of the videos above give an indication of how the ends are applied to the roll, or when in production that might occur.

    Before we get too carried away, we need to look at the dimensions of a Chiko Roll: weight – 170g, length – 20cm (8″), diameter –  4-5cm (2″); cooked dough thickness is approx. 4-5mm thick. Now, if we go back to the original description where the dough was filled with a sausage stuffer, we must confront some questions:

    • Were the dough casings made before filling or after, and if before how were they kept in shape to be successfully filled? I have previously tried to make dough tubes, semi-bake them using cannoli pipe forms – it was a disaster and the texture was all wrong.
    • Was the filling extruded into fixed lengths then frozen before wrapping the dough around the frozen filling? I tried that too, the dough wrapper kept expanding and became loose around the filling.
    • Why 20 cm long? Why 5 cm diameter? I suspect the dough was rolled out using a hand operated pasta dough roller, the filling extruded from a sausage stuffer into lengths and then placed down the length of the dough sheet and the sheet folded over and sealed before being cut into approx. 20 cm lengths (the length of a cooks knife blade, also happens to be roughly the length of two hands held together side by side.)

    Now, the, “egg batter dough.” I’ve also asked this question a dozen times before and every trial so far has produced the wrong texture. I’ve tried plain egg with flour and salt,no egg, adding baking soda, just using egg yolk… you get the picture, nada, zip, alles kaput!– just another way to make fried bread dough.

    Recently however, I was browsing through one of my mum’s old books, a post-war era gem from the Victorian Housewives Association and it described an method for making a batter for coating fish, the method was not something I was familiar with nor did I expect the results it produced. The concept is simple, separate the yolk and the white, beat the white to stiff peaks and fold it back into the thicker batter then allow it to rest for an hour.

    There are two take home points in this, often in baking we use beaten egg whites to incorporate more air into a batter, cake mix (especially) or bread type dough. The second point is the resting of dough or batter for an hour or so. We now know that this resting allows the starch to fully hydrate which then cooks more evenly, insufficient hydration of starches in flours results in what is referred to as a “floury taste” something especially disliked in a gravy.

    What is clear from all of this is that the Chiko Roll Egg Dough is a batter pastry dough. It is well aerated when cooked and has a chewy, spongy texture. It is definitely not  a soda bread dough. So, where does this lead us?

    1. two stiff egg batters: both with beaten egg white, one with yolk, one without; made to the raw consistency and feel of a soft pasta dough or pie base. Well rested before use, perhaps 12-24 hrs.
    2. two processes to explore effects of heat on dough texture: one, biscuit bake the fresh rolls; two, blanch fry the rolls.

    So far its been quite the odyssey so I look forward to these next steps. Once this is close to right, then things like Corn Jacks are an interesting sidestep – Corn Jacks appear to be rolled before cooking, in coarse Semolina, to texturise the surface and give a slightly different look to the more or less naked look, of the Chiko Roll.

    Stay tuned, and we’ll get back to you on our progress. Watch this spot. Cheers.


  6. Fowlers Vacola Preservers End of Summer Discount on Pro Model

    February 25, 2016 by Villa Tempest

    Just in Fowlers Vacola are having a 30% Off Sale on their top of the range, Professional Preserving Unit (source)

    Fowlers Vacola Professional Preserver, 2016

    Fowlers Vacola Professional Preserver, 2016 30% of RRP

    Now, this is part of their End of Summer Sale, that’s right, end of Summer in Australia. This is an all-Australian product from a company that has been around since before my Grandma, well, since 1915 at any rate. This, not so little, beastie has a 34 L capacity, revamped electronics and design, and a 2400W element. It can also be used as an urn.

    As a Hobby Brewer my only concern would be if the element, copper core & stainless steel coated, is exposed or concealed, if exposed does it float above the bottom of the pot, like the older “Royal Preserver” or ring the side like a Braumeister? Ideally, it has a concealed element so that a BIAB bag can sit fully in the pot without risk of contact with the element.

    Unlike the Braumeiseter its not programable, but it is 1/3 of the price; nor does it come with a pump and malt pipe; but, to be fair this product is not primarily targeted at brewers, but at homesteaders, households that grow & preserve foods, preppers, cottage industries, etc.

    I remember the excitement in the house when my Mum opened the box of her Fowlers Vacola “Royal” Preserver – a gift to herself, a 30 something litre, 1800W stainless steel kettle. I was even more excited when Mum gifted it to me after almost 20+ years of use. I still have it and its still far better than many of the other, commercially available Preservers I’ve had the displeasure of using – I’ve gone through 4 digital pots in the last three years; but, this one just keeps on going and going (kinda like the Energiser Bunny of Preservers)

    Fowlers Vacola "Royal" Preserver, circa mid-late 1980's

    Fowlers Vacola “Royal” Preserver, circa early-mid 1980’s

    I found the electronics were sufficiently stable enough for it to be successfully used for exploratory Sous Vide Cooking producing reasonably predictable results. However, the control dial needed to be tuned somewhat in order to be certain that the temp on the dial was actually the temp in the pot. Interestingly enough, seemed to be somewhat misaligned, temperature wise I guess this would relate to how carefully its was assembled in the first place. No great biggie.

    This thermal stability, was what allowed me to progress to the point of getting a dedicated, Sansaire Immersion Circulator Sous Vide Wand.

    (ha ha, I just got it, Sansaire – “Without Air”, Sous Vide – “Under Vacuum” ha, ha, ha… after more than 6 mths? That’s just sad…)

    Considering that this Urn design is at least, 30 – 40 years old and its still going strong, (Spare Parts are still available!!!) I venture that anyone contemplating buying the new Fowlers Vacola Professional Preserver could expect many, many years of reliable and dependable service from the unit. It’d be pretty hard to go wrong, with this.

    I know, I’d certainly love to have a new one, even if only to, one day, hand onto my son.


  7. Free E-Book: Chángshā Kǒuwèixiā 长沙口味虾

    April 15, 2015 by Villa Tempest

    I wrote a little booklet back in 2012 about this wonderful Chinese dish.

    Today, I just updated it, making a few corrections and changing the recipe a little to reflect an improved understanding of the process of making this dish.

    Couple of things to add though, if you have access to Louisiana Crawfish, then feel free to use that instead of the Chinese variety. If you don’t have access to either then one option is to use IKEA Kräftor, which on last check are sourced from China and are of the correct crayfish species. Another alternative is to use some other medium to large, fresh water crayfish, e.g. if you’re in Australia yabbies are a good substitute. If using Kräftor, they need to be rinsed and soaked to reduce the influence of the dill that they are packed with.

    Oh and one last thing, when adding water to hot oil, be really careful! The oil has to have had a chance to really cool down so that the temperature is around 100°C or a little lower. This is really important!

    Have fun.

    Changsha Kǒuwèixiā


  8. 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!


  9. 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.

     


  10. 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)