Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Loganberry and Lime Gelato and guar gum. Tuesday 21st November 2017

I have been making ice cream and less often sorbet and gelato in my ice cream maker for a while now but have always come up with the problem of how to make the mixture thick with a good texture.  I am always looking to keep the amount of fat and sugar as low as possible so never use cream and try to reduce the sugar amount or substitute with stevia. I have tried gelatine in the mix but that doesn't seem to thicken it enough to avoid ice crystals. I have tried a custard base but sometimes that tastes a bit floury.  
Last week I was watching a program on SBS TV called Food Safari Earth and a gelati expert made a lovely looking strawberry gelato using guar gum to give it a stretchy quality and to thicken the mix. I didn't know anything about guar gum so started reading up on it. It is made from a bean grown in India and according to the people in my local health food shop is used ,along with xanthum gum, to give those same qualities to gluten free breads. So yesterday I bought a little bit to experiment with. 
Here is my first try , using only 1/4 teaspoon for the mix of sugar syrup, frozen loganberries and a little bit of lime juice to give it a bit of bite. I think I am onto a winner here. Looks pretty good and tastes good too. 

Maybe next time I might try to reduce the amount of sugar in the mix as my palate is now trained to prefer a lot less sugar in ice cream. I find commercial ice creams and gelati a bit sweet for my taste these days. Guar gum is meant to be better in a dairy mix than a citrus mix so next try will be with an ice cream or rather an ice milk mix. Have to eat this lot first though. 😜. Special thanks to the visitor from Panama the other day...you know who you are. I think I need a Nicaragua flag if you are heading that way too!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Skyr in Tasmania Saturday 2nd September 2017

In general, the food in Iceland didn't rated high on my list of memories from my 2014 trip, but one thing did rate a mention. That was Skyr! Skyr is a thick yoghurt though technically a cheese as rennet is added in the process. I have never attempted to make it as I read that it required a Skyr starter culture and this was only available in...Iceland....or New York where some enterprising person called Siggi had started making it, perhaps from a culture smuggled out of Iceland. 
When my sister sent me a message the other day that she had bought some Skyr in her local supermarket, my ears pricked up! Lo and behold the other day,  I found Skyr in local version of the same supermarket chain here. So it was time for experimentation!

It is a pretty simple process. First of all, Icelandic tradition is that it is made with raw milk. Perfect for me. But if you don't have access to raw milk, I am sure it will still work with pasteurised as that is how it is produced commercially. Secondly it is meant to be made with skim milk to keep it low fat and high protein. I could have done that if I had left my milk overnight and skimmed off the cream in the morning but I was in too much of a hurry! So full cream Skyr it is. 
First step is always to sterilise all your equipment...pots cups spoons cheesecloth etc in a dairy sanitiser or by boiling water.  Skipping the pasteurisation step, it is then just a matter of heating the milk to 110 degrees F. Then mix a tablespoon of store bought Skyr into some of the milk in a separate cup. Add 4 drops of rennet to a quarter cup of tepid water (I was using 2 litres of milk). Then mix all together.  It would be interesting to try with less rennet as rennet adds to the sourness of the end product.  Now put the lid on the pot and wrap in a towel or blanket and put in a draught free spot for 12 hours. I sat mine in the oven all day. Have a double layer of sterilised cheese cloth sitting ready in a colander over a container if you want to catch the way or else the sink. Tip the contents of the pot into the cheesecloth. It now looks like curds and whey. Let drain for several hours. I left mine to drain overnight and think that was a bit long. I ended up adding some of the whey back in to make it more liquid and blending it to make it nice and creamy.
And the result? See for yourself. Even better with some fruit added. Be warned Skyr is more sour than commercial yoghurts which are heavily sweetened. Even mine was less sweet than the vanilla Skyr I bought. But your palate can be trained to enjoy less sugar if you persist and it is so much better for you. I find commercial ice cream almost sickly sweet these days after eating my own low sugar version for the past couple of years. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dehydrating experiments. Sunday 16th April 2017

Recently my 25+ year old dehydrator started to make strange noises so I thought the time had come to invest in a new one. Since I bought my 'fan at the top ' design Sunbeam , a lot of new designs have come onto the market. Reading a lot of reviews, it seemed like the fan at the back design is the way to go these days. With this design, everything dries evenly and there is no need for swapping trays around. The Biochef dehydrator I ended up buying has temperature control and a timer which means I can set it to run overnight without worrying about things getting too dry. 

I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with a variety of foods since then.
Most of the foods I have dried for hiking as we used up quite a few of my supplies on our recent hiking trip to Argentina and Chile ( stayed tuned for a blog post on re food adventures overseas) but also snacking on while kayaking. 
First of all I dried some roasted beetroot dip, stored in a ziplock bag ready to rehydrate and spread onto a biscuit. 

I had read on a hiking blog page about dehydrating yoghurt so I tried a plain yoghurt ( homemade of course) and one with some whizzed up fresh strawberries. 
I found a recipe on a photocopied page I had kept for years for Taco chips- made from food processed corn cobs, capsicum and grated cheese. Delicious.Not sure if theses will last isn't the freezer as they are a bit too tempting to snack upon!

Next I tried some vege chips. Sweet potato sliced very thinly with a mandoline and tossed in a tiny bit of olive oil and salt, beetroot sliced, carrot slices all turned out really well. 

Finally, I dehydrated a mix of puréed strawberry and raspberry.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Scrumptious Sri Lanka Part 2 11 August 2016

Breakfasts in Sri Lankan guesthouses were pretty good. A  couple of them served eggs and toast but most of them served an assortment of fresh fruit : bananas, watermelon, papaya, pineapple and if you were really lucky mango.
Then there were pancakes with a shredded coconut filling, coconut roti, potato curry, coconut sambal, dhal and of course a nice big pot of tea. Some days i couldn't eat it all so kept some of the roti to snack on during the long public bus trips.
Sigiriya breakfast
Breakfast in Ella
Halfway through my Kalkudah breakfast

Breakfast in Arugam Bay
Coconut pancakes in Sigiriya

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Scrumptious Sri Lanka. Part 1 August 10 2016

It's almost two months now since I spent a fortnight in Sri Lanka. I wanted to go somewhere for a food experience and I well and truly got one. By staying in small guest houses and travelling around on local transport I felt I got a truly authentic experience.
Rice and curry is sort of the national dish and although I had this almost every night, not one meal was the same as the next. I was always given a big plate of rice but it was the accompanying curries which varied so much. Six or seven curries was the standard fare well as pappadums. Usually one curry was a meat or seafood dish : chicken, fish, prawn, crab, cuttlefish. The rest were delicious vegetable curries using eggplants, cabbage, spinach, jackfruit, tomato, beans, banana flower, sour mango,soy, carrot lentil dhal, and some vegetables which I didn't recognise. The curries were nicely spicy, not too hot and made with freshly made coconut milk.
Mrs Siva's Crab curry in Kalkudah

Mrs Will's Rice and curry in Ella

Mama's cuttlefish curry in Galle

And what better to accompany the meal - take your pick of fresh juices from mango,papaya,lime ,banana,pineapple,King coconut.

More Kalkudah curry from Mrs Siva

Fish curry in Unawatuna

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Chillies Wednesday, February 24th 2016

Last weekend my sister in law gave me a bag of chillies which flourish all year round in a protected warm spot on her garden. She assured me that they weren't too hot but a scratch of the skin made me think otherwise. She wasn't sure of the species but distinctive features of black seeds and slightly hairy leaves made it quite easy to identify as Capsicum pubescens, a pepper of Central and South American origin known as Manzana. It was rated as "very hot"! As I am not a great fan of mouth burning foods, I had to find a way of modifying the heat to make good use of them.
My first experiment in the Preserving Patch Kitchen was to try adding them to my standard Zucchini pickles recipes. This recipe requires you to salt the zucchini, onion, lemon zest overnight which I thought might be a way of drawing out the heat. Next morning, I heated up cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, dill seeds and mustard seeds then added the veges and brought quickly to the boil for 5 minutes. I bottled the pickles and they looked beautiful with touches of red throughout the jar. These pickles you can use straightaway so I was able to do a taste test. The pickling did modify the chilli heat and made it quite palatable. Winner.

Next experiment was to try to preserve some under oil,I've I do for artichoke hearts. This involves bringing the chilli slices to the boil in white wine and white wine vinegar. This kills off any surface bacteria which could cause botulism. You then cover the slices in oil to keep them long term. The result of the taste test this time was quite different. Hot, hot,hot. Something to use sparingly in a curry perhaps. It looks lovely on the windowsill though. I tasted the vinegar as well and that was even more potent. That was definitely destined to be poured down the sink. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Delicious Dukkah Sunday January 10 2015

Last night when I decided to barbeque salmon coated in dukkah for dinner, I discovered my homemade dukkah jar was almost empty. Time to replenish it. My recipe is very easy. 
Dry roast:  1/4 cup sesame seeds, 1/4 cup coriander seeds, 1/8 cup cumin seeds. 
Grind and mix with 1/2 cup hazelnut or almond meal ( you could dry roast whole nuts and grind for a slightly different flavour), 1/8 teaspoon salt and a little bit of pepper. 

That's it! Great for coating fish or dipping into with some bread dipped in olive oil.