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My Ebooks:
A thoughtful blend of original ‪‎photography‬, ‪haiku‬ and ‪calligraphy‬; a cathartic journey upon fluid images and simple words.

31 Aug 2009

TGRWT #18: Plum and blue cheese: Reconstructed Plum Tatin with Blue Cheese Butterscotch sauce and Lavender

The food blogging event “They Go Really Well Together” (TGRWT) was initiated by Martin of the blog in April 2007 to explore unusual flavour pairings suggested by the theory of the key odorants.
As we know, each food has a specific aroma and taste; this means that they release chemical compounds that either fly off to our nose (generating then their aroma) or they are detected directly by our taste buds (creating then their taste). These compounds are called odorant compounds and create all the fine nuances often found for instance, in wines or teas.
Successful food combinations have fascinated chefs since ever since no real scientific or objective reason has ever been found supporting this or that pairing. Lately a new theory has been proposed that hopes to shed some light onto this topic: if two foods share one or more key (major) odorants it might be that they go well together and perhaps even complement each other.
Every month, in order to test this theory a couple of ingredients are chosen, presented in a blog and given to the public to test via the use of new or already established recipes.
This month has been the turn of Aidan of “Aidan Brooks: Trainee Chef” blog to make the choice and this was: Plums and Blue Cheese.

This is my trial in exploiting this pairing in a dessert dish:
Reconstructed Plum Tatin with Blue Cheese Butterscotch sauce and Lavender.

Reconstructed Plum Tatin with Blue Cheese Butterscotch sauce and Lavender

27 Aug 2009

The weight of a foodie

Since one year or so, I have opened the door that conduct toward the world of the conscious foodie world. Up to now, it has been a great journey; many books have been my compass along the way still allowing me to peek at the far landscape of the gastronomy world. The way is still long (thank God, I must say) and I will dedicate myself to it. The bad sides of this path of knowledge is that it applies to so many occasions during the day that you can end up criticizing every single bit of thing you put into your mouth.

Dining with friends can become a nuisance for them; with every mouthful your face going perplexed and analytic and afterwards all the blabla and critics. I think that sometimes it can be useful so, personally, that is why I do it; Ok, often I just cannot control my mouth.

What do we critic mostly after all? Is it taste profiles or techniques? I believe that it is mostly technique since in matter of taste there are no real absolute reference points. For instance, when is something too salty or too sweet? I guess it is matter of who tastes the food, but this can be topic for another post.
The doneness of the meat, the temperature of the items on the dish, the cooking point of starches and sometimes garnishes; none of these are so subjective but just a matter of technique and care for the dish. This is what upset me mostly. An extra thought, a simple touch, can change the dish or just make it right.

It is quite hard to contain the disappointment in these situations. Therefore, I feel like I have to apologize to my friends for being so annoying sometimes.

How do you behave? What disappoints you mostly in a restaurant experience?

Dinner Experience: Restaurant Basilico, Bonn

Tonight was a special night. A very good friend of mine invited me and other four friends out for dinner. She chose the Basilico restaurant by the Hotel Dorint in Venusberg, Bonn.
The hotel is situated in a great region around Bonn. High on the hill of Venusberg, surrounded by woods (and hospitals) the Dorint hotel has a terrace with a great look over the city of Bonn and the Rhine river.
The outside of the building reminded me of a mountain chalet; quite a different feeling from the marble and alabaster covered lobby. The restaurant has gone a restyling lately and the new look is quite appealing with its basil green wall, dark wood furniture and big copper light fixture on the roof.

When we arrived, we were greeted by our maître at the reception and he escorted us to the best table on the terrace. We could look directly at the city without being disturbed by the gorgeous trees.
Once sat down, we started choosing our meal (I have to stress that I do not remember the exact name of the dishes, so what I will write as such is based on what I had on the plate).

21 Aug 2009

Working around Rice Noodles

Since when I decided to avoid wheat, I started experimenting with rice noodles.
What is great about them? They do not need to "cook" just soak in warm water and since they do not leek much starch, they do not clump together if soaked in a tight environment (see glue like pasta in this same condition) you can directly soak them in their sauce!

Recently the guys from the blog Ideas in Food (aka Chef Aki Kamozawa and Chef Alexander Talbot) have translated this soaking method also to wheat pasta.
Their point of view is that, when you cook pasta you are just re-hydrating it and swelling the starch granules. Now, the hydration part does not need heat so it is possible to soak dried wheat pasta in a cold solution (for some hours actually) before cooking its starches (once soaked the cooking will take a matter of few minutes).
From here, the great new versatility of the pasta medium.

Here there are a couple of my experiments (one has already been posted extensively):

- Rice noodles in clove scented oriental soup with chicken, fava beans and peas (read past post);

20 Aug 2009

Dining in Prague - 1st day (02/08/09)

We are in Prague! Well, I was more or less 2 weeks ago.
Arrived at the airport we looked and looked and looked and, guess what?, looked again for our name on a piece of paper hold by the guy of the shuttle service sent from our hotel but we couldn’t find any. Too bad, we took one of those taxi-vans that can fit up to 8 people and we even spent less than thought.
The ride was great! It was such a warm day, too warm probably. The land on which Prague was built is quite varied (it goes from 100/328 to 400/1312 m/ft above the sea level) and the airport is built on the highest plateau. The taxi brought us trough a bit of the countryside and near what seemed to be a lonely McDonald standing in a desert road. At a closer looks we noticed few people with beach-towels. Most probably behind the McDo there was a lake of which we could perceive part of the surrounding wall: a nice cut in the bare rock otherwise covered with luscious green vegetation.
Traveling downhill, we started seeing villas that once should have been almost in the countryside; the German architectonic heritage was evident in some of them.
All of a sudden, tourism buses appear to queue on the right side of the road; we later understood that that was the location of the famous Castle of Prague. Going still downhill through almost now desertic streets (did I mention already that it was a Sunday?), we reached the Vltava/Moldava river. We crossed it on one of its Art Nouveau bridges that brought us directly into the heart of the city: the Old Town Square (astronomical clock anyone? ). We got even a tour through the old city included with the taxi ticket, yuppie!!
Gosh, is Prague beautiful or what? Not always suited for car travels though, some streets have tiny steps along them for instance.

17 Aug 2009

Tonight’s Dinner: Clove scented Oriental soup with chicken and glass noodle

Welcome back! Tonight it has been my first self-cooked dinner since a couple of weeks; my family come over to visit me and, you know, mommy does it better! I managed to put together a nice lasagne for them and friends a couple of days ago though ;). Anyway, back on track for tonight’s dinner I decided to put together a soup oriental inspired. It has been quite some time since I ate glass noodle and today while shopping at my grocery store I got inspired by them. So, this is what I ended up doing:
Clove scented Oriental soup with chicken and glass noodle.