Food: freestyle experiences

A Blog about Food you truly want to read!

10 Delicacies March 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — thalounette @ 4:59 pm

Some of you have been reading this blog since September, and other readers had also the opportunity to discover my scary articles about Baby Mice Wine, Casu Marzu or Snake’s heart for example…

And today, I am asking you your opinion 😀

Indeed, this article is a poll in fact… I have read your reactions when writing that some people, somewhere, liked eating maggots in cheese or drinking weird liquids… What is the delicacy you would be so afraid to try?

In this list, which of these ‘dishes’ is the most ‘special’according to you? This blog is not about judging or saying that something is disgusting – we should not forget that cultures are really different, that is all 🙂

  • Century Egg
  • Baby Mice Wine
  • Natto
  • Casu Marzu
  • Insect lollipops
  • Balut
  • Súrsaðir hrútspungar (ram testicles)
  • Raw snake’s heart
  • Lifrarpylsa (Icelandic sheep liver sausage)
  • Escamoles

I have written about all those delicacies in the blog, except for one thing: Escamoles.

It is from Mexico… Escamoles are the eggs of the giant black Liometopum ant, which makes its home in the roots of maguey and agave plants. Collecting the eggs is an unpleasant job, since the ants are highly venomous. They must be collected just before the larvae turn into ants, and collectors must wear protective gear to protect themselves from stings. Escamoles are even referred to as ‘insect caviar’! Here is a nice picture:

I thought about naming this article ‘The Weirdest Things to Try’ but I did not want to scare you before reading it! Would you have the courage to eat these really? 😀

Besides, you can tell me about something new or something even more extreme you happened to know about! Go on dear reader, tell everything to Thalounette :p

And be amazed at what unusual animal/cheese/meals are considered delicacies around the world. You may want to think again about some of those trips you had planned hihi!

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Edible flowers to eat March 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroschm @ 3:13 pm

I need your help : when I was young, I was used to gather a violet flower to nibble it somehow. It was rather sweet and romantic. The problem is I cannot remember its name. Have your ever done the same? Do you remember wich flower it is? I can also hear Thalie and Franck teasing me : mmhhh you have “smoked the carpet”, haven’t you?

Anyway this current post is about the flowers we can…eat.

We are in spring yet so I decided to review the most important thing to know about this subject.

First of all, we need to be very careful : is it useful to tell you not to eat flowers obtained from a florist? The best thing is to know someone who make them grow in his garden to be sure they are completely pesticide-free. I read an interesting advice : . it is better to pick the flowers in the morning or late afternoon when the water content is high.

Besides it is necessary to wash them thoroughly (do not eat a forgotten dead bug) by bathing them in a bath of salt water and drain on paper towels.

So you are ready for a flower recipe from http://www.foodreference.com

Zucchini Blossom Frittata

18 large zucchini flowers
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 cups dry white wine
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• Salt
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
• 10 eggs
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Vegetable oil for frying
• 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves
• 1/2 cup grated ricotta salata

Directions
Check the insides of the zucchini flowers for insects and shake them out. Brush any dirt off the flowers, but do not wash them or the flowers won’t be crisp when you fry them. Chop 6 of the flowers and set aside.

In a bowl, combine the flour, wine, baking powder, and a pinch of salt and refrigerate for 1 hour (a little more or less is okay). Heat the olive oil in a medium  skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and chopped zucchini flowers and cook until the onion becomes translucent, about 5 minutes. Scrape the onion and zucchini flowers into a mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste and mix well.

Heat the oven to 300°F

Place 3/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet with the rosemary. Heat the oil over high heat. The oil must be very hot. You can test it by throwing a dash of flour into the oil. If the flour pops, the oil is ready for frying. Dunk the zucchini flowers into the batter and place them gently in the hot oil. Don’t put too many flowers in at once or it will bring down the temperature of the oil, and they mustn’t touch sides or they will stick together. Do not flip the flowers over until you can see that the lower edges have turned golden brown, about 2 minutes. If you are using an iron skillet and the flowers stick, let them cook 30 seconds more. Turn the flowers over with tongs and fry for an additional minute, then remove and drain on paper towels. Do not add more battered flowers until you are sure the oil has come up in temperature again. Sprinkle with salt and set aside.

Place half of the fried flowers on the bottom of an ovenproof nonstick pan in a pinwheel pattern Pour half of the egg mixture on top. Add the ricotta salata, then another layer of fried zucchini flowers. Add the remaining egg mixture, cover, and bake for 30 minutes, until a knife plunged into the center comes out clean. Allow to rest for 15 minutes, and then flip the frittata over onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges.

 

Chocolate Show March 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — thalounette @ 6:38 pm

 

I hope you did not forget that it is Saint Patrick’s Day today and if I were you, I would celebrate this great day by making the recipe I wrote a few weeks ago about the green cookies! Do not hesitate to write comments about it on this blog afterwards! Besides, Léa, did you finally find food colouring and are you going to cook green cookies today?

However, Saint Paddys Day is not the subject of this precise article: it is chocolate, oh yes! I do not mean chocolate chips in cookies, or nice and hot chocolates – hmmm… note to myself: do not write an article about chocolate when it is 6 p.m. and you only have a sandwich in your stomach… and a big 750g jar of Nutella still waiting for you in your cupboard 😀 – but the Salon du Chocolat. Literally, Salon of Chocolate in French, it is translated throughout the world as Paris Chocolate Show, even if you can find those kinds of ‘salons’ through France; Paris Chocolate Show is the biggest and the most famous anyway… Besides, those shows are held in different cities like New York, Moscow or Beijing too…

This great show takes place every year at the Parc des Expositions and it has been so for fifteen years already! There, chocolate addicts and people who are simply interested in chocolate can discover about 140 chocolate makers from the whole world! Can you imagine?! They can also taste chocolate of course, and that is the beauty of the Salon du Chocolat 😀 On the one hand, you can appreciate this food in all its forms and flavours and on the other hand, this salon is the occasion to attend a sensational competition, if not a challenge! Indeed, it is a period when those great makers are participating to the World Chocolate Masters selections and can also receive Chocolate Awards, rewarding the brilliant work they have achieved! Moreover, children are introduced to the particular and marvellous universe of chocolate by making recipes and different activities, especially created for them.

During the whole time, the fashion shows are what impressed me most and took my breath away! Chocolate is not only food, it is a passion and it drives a culture, it means a lot. The dresses are so extraordinary! I had no idea people could think about unifying gastronomy and haute-couture, and the result is impressing!

When chocolate becomes more than simple food!!

 

Chocolate-flavoured Article

Filed under: Uncategorized — thalounette @ 4:43 pm

This article is not entirely written for those who loooove chocolate and are chocolate addicts like your dear writer. I guess it is a way to show you that in a few centuries, Chocolate has become one of the most popular food types and flavours in the entire world! ‘Chocolate is in the air’ 😀

In fact, chocolate has quickly become a ‘need’ for me and I could not live without it anymore, even if I know a few rebels who do not really like it. If cacao had not been cultivated and it had not been spread throughout Europe in the 16th century, I would not be the girl I am today 😀

Moreover, gifts made of chocolate molded into different shapes have become traditional on certain holidays now! Right now we can see that Easter will be here soon as we see the ‘phenomenon’ when we go to the supermarket… And it is the opportunity to find chocolate bunnies, bells, eggs, etc… From hot chocolate or chocolate bars to chocolate fountains to serve dessert fondue for instance, dark, milk and white chocolate are everywhere indeed!

Nevertheless, making and sculpting chocolate has become a real art… In Barcelona for example, you can find many museums, but there is an original one as well! Beware, chocolate addicts! This precise museum is dedicated to chocolate! Food museums are big in Spain in fact, as there is also a ham museum in Madrid 😀 Barcelona is not really known for its chocolate, but that is just the beginning of the museum weirdness!

The Museu de la Xocolata (‘chocolate’ in Catalan) proposes to tell you everything about the History of Chocolate and its origins, revealing secrets and famous recipes! And for your information, people can taste chocolate at the end 😀 This museum is not only dedicated to adults, because children can have access to numerous games and discover more about this food. What really caught my attention is not this Spanish museum in itself, because I have visited the Cluizel Chocolate Factory in Normandy and it was truly interesting, I have learnt everything about the discovery and use of chocolate there actually (besides, I had the opportunity to taste chocolate at the end of the exhibition too :p… ). But in this Barcelona museum, a huge exhibition takes place: little and great chocolate sculptures were made and can be seen there, like Don Quijote, Salvador Dali, Lucky Luke, Disney animated characters or famous buildings… Chocolate likeness of Ronaldinho and Messi even greet you at the entrance!

The Museu de la Xocolata was created in 2000 and is now very popular! The idea is original, the entry fee is not expensive, and who do not like chocolate?! 😀

 

 

 

Cookies March 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — thalounette @ 2:51 pm

This is another try to make savoury cookies! Those cookies were made by me this time and they are my idea; then if you have complaints, criticisms or compliments to express, you have to tell me in person 😀

I kept my friend’s idea of using bacon to make delicious cookies, but I decided to make them savoury…

Bacon, Basil and Pine Nuts Cookies

For fifteen to twenty little cookies approximately:

200g Flour

100g Butter

1 Egg

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

Salt and Pepper

1 Pinch Fresh Basil

1 Tablespoon Pine Nuts (love them!)

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

5 Slices of Bacon

In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and paprika. Add butter and quickly mix with your hands until well combined. Add egg, basil and bacon cut into small pieces and pine nuts. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Make into balls the size of a walnut and put on oven plate on greaseproof paper. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes approximately. Let them cool on a wire rack and keep them in a box, like actual biscuits.

Those cookies are really simple to make and it’s always nice to have one especially when you are a little hungry. Besides, it is always better to eat funny cookies than to eat crisps (those evil ones are going directly in the butt 😮 )

 

Bacon Cookies

Filed under: Uncategorized — thalounette @ 2:44 pm

 

This is a huge thank you to my dear friend who is seriously following and reading my blog every week, even if she has difficulties when it comes to dealing with ram testicles and baby mice wine… I understand her by the way 😀 My friend created cookies last week… in which… guess what? In which she put bacon! 😀 She sent me an email a few days ago, telling me everything and sending me pictures. She told me that the green cookies I had made were really funny and then, she wanted to create strange cookies herself! As I had already made green cookies, she had decided to make savoury ones. And in fact, she took what she had in her fridge – eggs, butter and bacon actually – and made a recipe out of them!

I was thinking about stealing her recipe in order to discover the real taste of Bacon Cookies when she told me it was a German recipe she discovered last year when she was in Bavaria! But she changed it because she added chocolate chips and maple glaze! Yummyyy! I love the chocolate-bacon combo idea! It sounds awesome! And I also like the idea of a glaze on a cookie…

Ingredients for cookies:

5 Slices Bacon, cut into small pieces

2 Cups Flour

1/2 Cup Butter, chilled

1 Egg

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

1 Pinch Salt

3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream

1 Pinch Black Pepper

1 Beaten Egg Yolk

Ingredients for glaze:

4 Tablespoons Butter

4 Tablespoons Maple Syrup

1 Cup confectioner’s sugar

Fry bacon pieces in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to paper towels, and let bacon cool completely.

Into a large mixing bowl, place flour, butter, egg, chocolate chips and salt and heavy cream… Using the mixer’s hook attachment, mix the contents of the bowl together until combined. Then, transfer the dough to the counter and quickly mix with your hands. Knead in cooled bacon pieces and pepper. Roll up the dough into a log. Wrap in aluminum foil and refrigerate for two hours, until the dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove foil, cut dough roll into slices (not too thin), and place slices on greased baking sheet. Brush each slice with beaten egg yolk. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes approximately, until cookies are brown. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a wire rack, until cooled completely.

While cookies cool, combine butter and maple syrup in a small sauce pan and whisk until butter has melted and liquids are well-combined. Whisk in confectioner’s sugar. Drizzle warm glaze over cooled cookies. Allow glaze to set completely before packaging.

I am a believer of Everything Is Better With Bacon, and even if this recipe sounds a little peculiar, I find the idea excellent!!

I have been dreaming about those cookies and really wonder how they taste like… Unfortunately, the South of France is a bit too far away in order to taste those marvellous cookies. Don’t worry my dear, I will come and visit you, and you will have the opportunity to make them again hihi! 😀

Anyway, thank you for this unusual recipe miss!

 

strange, green, half seaweed, half bacteria March 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — caroschm @ 12:15 pm

The last post I wrote was about seaweeds.

This time there won’t be any recipe, but just an article about that green strange half seaweed half bacteria called spirulina.

I can hear you : “where has she been to find this again!”

You can tease me but not only Spirulina does really exist bur also it yield a lot of money.

Originally Spirulina is used by the Chad lake population: they collect this seaweed. Then it is dried into cakes called Dihé, which are used to make broths for meals, and also sold in markets. It was first used for as a medic or to cure skin problems.

But Spirulina is currently well known for its high amount of protein, between 55% and 77% by dry weight. It can be used as a food supplement, and more and more  is currently sold all over the world.

Indeed now it is a business : spirulina is not only collected but also produced. Every year about 1500 women take part to the production of 400 tonnes of this green special seaweed in Chad. But the largest commercial producers of spirulina are now located in the United States, Thailand, India, Taiwan, China, Pakistan and Myanmar (Burman).

But the problem is in Chad : some part of the Chad lake is drying because of to much production and the global warming.

Spirulina was first a great way to bring wealth for all this country but today the danger is overexploitation.