Corn salad with blue cheese
This is an easy-to-make and delicious salad. Suitable for vegetarians and laktovegetarians.
Ingredients (serves 4)
corn (canned) - 800g
blue cheese (Stilton, Roquefort, etc.) - 160g
kefir or yorhurt - 200ml
leek - 80g
dill to taste
Slice the leek and mix it with the corn in a bowl. Cut the cheese into small cubes and mix it with the kefir/yoghurt and dill. Pour it on top of corn and put it in the fridge to let the flavours combine.
Photo and recipe by: http://theunseenempire.tumblr.com
Creamy mushroom stew
Easy-to-make and tasty.
- 500 g / 1 lb button mushrooms chopped, with tough portions removed
- 15-20 wild garlic leaves, chopped
- 200 ml / 1 cup single cream (for vegans: full fat coconut milk)
- rapeseed oil
- freshly ground black pepper
Rinse the mushrooms to remove excess dirt, then chop them. Pour rapeseed oil to a skillet, add the chopped mushrooms and wild garlic then simmer on medium heat. Season with salt and ground black pepper. The mushrooms will soon let off moisture. Simmer until it almost evaporates and the mushrooms become tender. Add single cream and stir well and cook for a few minutes. When it is ready, allow to sit on a low heat for a few more minutes so the stew will thicken.
Serve with noodles or cooked brown rice.
(I served it noodles made with chili powder so it was quite spicy. In this case you can omit black pepper)
Recipe and photograph by: http://peregrinefalconwanders.tumblr.com
Drink History: Our First Beverage
Fun fact: the first beverage invented by humans was beer.
Where and when? The land between the Tigris and Euphrates, Mesopotamia. It is first recorded in Sumer, a region of southern Mesopotamia, 3400 BCE.
How? Beer, like many of the best inventions, was an accident. A very, very, happy one. In essence, beer is liquid bread, and bread is solid, baked beer (if it’s yeasted bread.) In the case of beer, the yeast and sugar produce carbon dioxide and alcohol that we consume. In the case of leavened bread, the alcohol bakes out and the CO2 bubbles expand, causing the bread to rise (or crack if you don’t do it right.)
When people starting cultivating grains, they gradually discovered its special properties. One was that gruel, a porridge of water and wheat, when left long enough, would ferment and become fizzy (and boozy!) Beer was discovered naturally, and then people began to tamper with it, making a variety of happy accidents that weren’t always very accidental, and sometimes, probably not very happy, either.
For a long time, because people couldn’t filter or clean their water, they drank beer the way we drink anything but beer today! (Imagine being drunk all day, every day. It’s like 5 o’clock somewhere…all day long?) Though this may not have been the healthiest thing, it was the most sanitary, as you have to boil water to brew beer, killing the bacteria.
Then coffee came along and took over. But that’s another story.
Also useful was how it contributed to the invention of soda. Though, our teeth probably aren’t too happy about that!
Soda water was invented from the beer brewing process much later in history (in England, in 1767, when Joseph Priestley discovered that he could harness the gas produced from beer fermentation.)
It’s overwhelming to think of everything beer has done for societies around the world. And other types of beverages, too (more coffee posts coming later!)
A History of the World in Six Glasses, by Tom Standage
How to make Pretzels (adapted from http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/rosemary-sea-salt-pretzels-with-rosemary-cheddar-cheese-sauce/)
For the pretzels:
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 package active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups baking soda
1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse sea salt
1. To make the pretzels: combine the water, sugar, yeast, and melted butter in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2. Add the salt and flour to the mixture and stir and the knead together until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands until the dough is soft.
3. Place the dough back in the down and cover with a tea towel in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. This will take about 1 hour.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
5. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long rope. To shape into pretzels, take the right side and cross over to the left. Cross right to left again and flip up. Bring a saucepan half full of water to a boil. Slowly add the baking soda to the boiling water. Boil the pretzels in the water solution, 1 at a time for 30 seconds, splashing the tops with the warmed water using a spoon. Remove with a large flat slotted spatula or a spider. Place 4 pretzels on each baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with sea salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown.
6. Remove pretzels from oven and let cool on a wire baking rack.
Photographs of Thea by: http://siobhanfeddenphotographydiary.tumblr.com/
Recipe adapted by: http://postmehome.tumblr.com/
Western Food Comes to Japan
Spiritually, Japan is mostly Buddhist and Shinto (though the exact spiritual culture of the country is an entirely different discussion), and so, until the mid-19th century, people were not allowed to raised animals for slaughter.
In the 1600’s, Japan decided that, in order to prevent the invasion of Catholicism (from Portugal), and Western politics, it would close trade to all Western countries (except Holland, which wasn’t a Catholic society, and already had a small population living on the islands.) The next two centuries were called sakoku (鎖国), meaning “chained/closed country.” This period in the 1850’s with the arrival of Commodore Matthew Perry.
Sent by the United States, Perry threatened to attack Japan with battleships if the emperor did not open the country’s trading ports to the west. The emperor complied, and the Americans settled Hakodate and Nagasaki. They employed Japanese youth to help in the kitchens, teaching them how to make Western food. These newly trained chefs then went to work for the Japanese elite, and thus Western food spread into society, from the coast to the center, and the elite to the populace.
Other aspects of Western cultures followed, religion not necessarily among them (less than 1% of the population is Christian today.) The elite held regular European style banquets, showing off elaborate French menus and British outfits, and parading Western status symbols to the public. From there, Western culture trickled down to the masses, and morphed into a uniquely Japanese interpretation (walk the streets of the fashion districts, or find an isolated pub to see.)
The Japanese, by Edwin Reischauer
My question is, why do you think Western food and culture were so popular at the time?
Coffee History: The Croissant
As it goes, the history of the croissant and expansion of coffee into Europe were very closely linked. Basically, coffee originated in Ethiopia, and was brought east by Muslims, becoming a staple of the Muslim world.
In 1683, the Ottoman Turks tried to invade Vienna by tunneling into the city. As the most common story says, a baker heard the invaders as they tunneled under his store, and alerted the military, who collapsed the tunnels on the Turks. They found on the defeated invaders bags of coffee beans, and, when they went to throw away the beans, someone (Franz Kolschitsky) recognized them and kept the beans, aiding in the spread of coffee into Europe (not necessarily single-handedly, though.)
The baker who discovered the invaders then invented a crescent-shaped pastry, to represent the crescent on the Turkish flag, so whenever a customer would eat the new treat, it’d symbolize the victory of the Viennese over the Turks. There is some disagreement over who actually invented the pastry, and the name of the baker, but the story moves onto Marie Antoinette.
She married the King of France and had to move her court from Austria. Homesick, the queen asked her pastry chefs to recreate/reinvent some of her favorite Austrian foods, the pfizer/kipfer pastry (name depends on whose story you trust) being among them, and it evolved into the more buttery croissant that we eat today.
Interesting how food can be so politically-loaded…
Uncommon Grounds, by Mark Pendergrast (the most comprehensive and readable book on coffee you will ever find)
Hello! I am Nick, one of the contributors to Food Blog Food. I started getting interested in food 5 years ago, when I read Julie and Julia, and decided to do my own mini-project based on the book. In case you haven’t read it or seen the movie, Julie Powell decides to cook every recipe in Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, within one year (that’s 365 days for more than 500 recipes.) A year later, I started my own blog, called Bakefails, about all my experiences in baking. I’ve since worked in a bakery, and started reading a lot about food history and politics (culinary anthropology), hoping one day to write professionally about the topic. So, this I will contribute to you: regular posts on food history and food politics, and maybe some food photography c:
Half Chocolate Half Coffee Cake
My little sister is sixteen today, hence the candles. Birthday cakes are my favourite thing to bake! My sister couldn’t decide between coffee cake or chocolate cake and my mum refused to let her have two cakes so I came up with a solution, a half and half cake.
The Chocolate Sponge:
2oz cocoa powder
3oz self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir the eggs in. Add the cocoa powder and flour, then stir in the milk until the mixture is smooth. Grease and line two round sponge cake pans, spoon the chocolate cake mix into half of each tin. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
The Coffee Sponge:
4 tsp instant coffee powder
5 tbsp boiling water
5oz self raising flour
Cream together the butter and sugar, then stir the eggs in. In a mug, mix together the instant coffee powder and boiling water, once the coffee dissolves, add to the butter, sugar and eggs. Add the flour and stir together until the mixture is smooth. Add to the remaining halves of the sponge cake pans. Bake until golden and a knife inserted into each side of each pan comes out clean. Leave to cool.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
7oz icing sugar
3oz cocoa powder
½ tbsp milk
Mix together until smooth.
Coffee Buttercream Frosting:
7 oz icing sugar
1 tbsp boiling water
2 tsp instant coffee powder
Mix together the instant coffee powder with boiling water, stir in the margarine and icing sugar until smooth.
Assembling the cake:
Remove the sponge from both cake pans and place one of the sponge layers on a plate or cake stand. Spread coffee frosting on the coffee sponge side and chocolate on the chocolate sponge side, add the other sponge layer and repeat. To decorate add chocolates on the chocolate side and nuts in the same pattern on the coffee side.
Recipe by: http://postmehome.tumblr.com/
Photography by: http://siobhanfeddenphotography.tumblr.com/
Who here likes Zines?
“Definition of ZINE: magazine; especially : a noncommercial often homemade or online publication usually devoted to specialized and often unconventional subject matter”
Today: Me and Ellie made a Gingerbread Hobbit House.