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‘From The Kitchen’ Category

  1. The “Humble” Chiko Roll.

    June 22, 2017 by Villa Tempest

    In my ongoing research I keep moving forward, or at least try to. Recently I’ve been reviewing my notes on producing an Egg Batter Dough, going back to basics, and looking at what is a batter and what is a dough. Essentially they fall on either side of a continuum of similar products. Chief differences relate to stiffness AND Mixing Method.

    Up until now I’ve been focused on the ingredients and how to combine them without actually trying to understand where this item fits into Australian culinary tradition, or on the continuum that lies between Crepe at one end, and Bread at the other.

    So what is it, this, CHIKO Roll?

    Essentially, it is a meat and vegetable filling, coated in a batter/dough/paste and deep fried.

    That is, it is a Risole, or a Croquette. A mighty big one.

    How did McEnroe make the mental leap from, “Spring Roll” (Chinese Egg Roll) to Croquette? What a question that is...

    Now, as for the filling there’s not much mystery there and we’ve discussed that at length in an earlier posting. The mystery is however is in the dough.

    Is it pastry? Like empanada, or Pyroghi. Is it breaded? Like a croquette. Is it a yeast, egg leavened, or chemically leavened dough? Like Pâte à Choux, fritter batter, or soda bread. Is the dough firm, or thick and juicy? Like pasta dough, or corn dog batter. Is it breaded? Like fried risoles, schnitzel, or tempura.

    So many questions.

    I believe that the dough is a firm dough, leavened with egg, and breaded with fresh, fine, dry breadcrumbs. Their coarseness is dictated by the, “hand painted ends,” which is a fancy way of disguising the fact that the ends are, dipped in egg wash and then in bread crumbs.

    But!!!

    Is the rest of the roll also breaded?

    Texture. Surface texture is the key.

    I believe that the roll IS fully breaded, but then, it is rolled and rolled, and rolled to impress the crumb into the dough and to dust off anything loose.

    Now, the dough… Oh what a traumatic line of inquiry that is! We know now, that fried risole dough is short crust pie pastry, which is then dipped and breaded before deep frying in very hot oil. However, CHIKO Roll dough is not a pie/pasty paste. That’s a fact.

    Could it be a very thick batter that is then lightly rolled in bread crumbs before frying? The inner texture of the dough does not reflect such a method, as you’d expect to find bread crumb granules dispersed into the batter coating, and inspection does not bear such observation out.

    Fried Pasta Dough? Unfortunately the short answer is its too dense. Again, the CHIKO Roll casing is somewhat dense but it doesn’t have the textural qualities of a pasta dough.

    So, what then?

    It is my belief that the casing is a dough/paste made initially with medium to hard peak egg whites, folded into a well rested flour water egg yolk batter, which is then lightly folded with extra flour to make a soft to medium firmness dough. It is not kneaded or worked extensively, and very likely, uses a low protein flour. The dough is left to rest to allow any gluten bonds to relax. It is either rolled before or after, the rest, so that it is ready for making rolls.

    The filling is applied very cold and in a firm consistency to the dough. The dough is rolled up in a continuous roll, then washed with egg wash, rolled thorough a breadcrumb shower then over grating to shake off loose crumbs. further rolling consolidates the bread crumb into the surface of the dough. The roll is then portioned and the last step is, perhaps completed manually – dipping the ends in egg wash and breadcrumb before being sent off to the baking and frying line.

    What does all this mean, for the home enthusiast?

    Make your filling. Roll it up firmly (like boudin) in plastic wrap and chill it well. Roll out your dough, put the filling in, roll it up and carefully seal the egg washed seam. Dip the roll in egg wash and then lightly roll in very fine, dry bread crumbs. Dust it off, roll it again but don’t egg wash, in bread crumbs, dust and then dip and coat the ends. Fry in very hot oil until golden for immediate use, or until biscuit and then cool and freeze until ready to use.

    Make no mistake, getting the dough right is an important aspect. There is no recipe here, yet, because I haven’t sorted it out yet. However, if you are an expat, are overseas, have a desperate urge to make a CHIKO Roll kinda dish because of nostalgia, for God’s sake, don’t use Spring Roll Wrappers! You’d be far, far better off, taking a loaf of unsliced white bread, cutting off the crusts, cutting it lengthwise and then rolling the slices very thin with a rolling pin, and use THAT flat bread as your casing for a CHIKO roll. Its much, much closer to the real thing.

    Cheers.

     


  2. 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.


  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. 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.


  6. 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.

     


  7. 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.


  8. 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…

     

     


  9. 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.


  10. 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.