Everything you wanted to know about cooking, but were afraid to ask; 'F' Fads to Fudge
Last years news..
Fads, trends, fashions…. Cooking & cuisines evolve, that’s true evolution.
Food is a science as well as an artistic media, so it’s not surprising new methods of cookery can be applied to new types of food… Well not really, the methods of cookery haven’t changed, neither have new ingredients been created.
New ingredients, from diverse cultures have been discovered and accepted by Chefs and consumers alike.
Food goes in trends, all of a sudden all the cooking shows are cooking a certain style, new restaurants are popping up promoting these new trends.
Trouble is; it’s a fad, it comes, it also goes…
Before you commit your life savings to a glam new restaurant venture based on the latest fad, think about the shelf life of your product. Do you want to be a player, in for a year, make your money? Or a stayer, find a venue with the permanent market niche and settle in for the long haul?
Me I’m the latter, but for myself, I would combine classic cookery methods with the finest produce available, and present my dishes in a diverse world region style, bringing in some of the flavours which are now available.
Gimmicks don’t work, people need to trust their Chef, Gimmicks and fads are not keepers!
Faggot; Again this may not be what you think on first glance.
A Faggot, in the culinary sense is a bunch of herbs tied together.
Also known as a Bouquet Garni.
If you were making a dish which required flavouring, without actually leaving the herb in the dish; for example woody herbs like Thyme... You could utilise a faggot.
When your dish, which would be a wet dish such as a stew, was ready, you would remove & discard your faggot.
I believe the term Is borrowed from bunches of sticks, tied together & carried, as you would see peasants doing on the discovery channel...
It’s a less common usage nowadays, most Chefs prefer the term Bouquet Garni; the term faggot led to misunderstandings in the kitchen. Such as “could you make me a faggot? Could you throw a faggot into this cauldron please?”
Fajita; this is a Mexican type dish.
I say Mexican type because the name has evolved into a cross over western/ Mexican style dish, known as tex-mex.
Fajita’s is the dish traditionally made from beef skirts, or flaps. The diaphragm muscle.
Purists would argue that Fajitas applies only to dishes prepared from beef skirts.
Bet you didn’t know cows had skirts!
Nowadays, Fajita is any tex-mex type meat dish served on a tortilla
Fajita has become known as ‘served upon a sizzling plate, perhaps with accompaniments served on the side.
Accompaniments being more the Texan influence; Shredded Lettuce, Tomatoes, Capsicum, Onion, Sour Cream etc.
I once had Fajita’s on my menu; I marinated meat in tequila & spices.
These were very popular as the alcohol would flame off when the meat was added to a hot pan. It was an open kitchen, meaning customers could see their meal being prepared.
That’s an interesting phenomenon in restaurants; if a customer cannot decide what to have & they see a dish destined for another table, or in the case of fajitas; a fireball in the kitchen...
They are often influenced by the visual presentation; this is the origin of the term; I’ll have what she’s having”!
Falafel; I always thought this was some sort of acronym, or the name was derived from its phonetic similarity with something f...airly awful.
But it’s nothing of the sort, Falafel are a sort of fritter made from Fava beans traditionally & more recently with Chick Peas.
Falafel has traditionally been a vegetarian snack food, such as you would find at a market stall.
Often they are flavoured with tahini or sesame paste.
They are sneaking into western cuisine now as having a meat filling, lamb falafel etc.
Cuisine tends to evolve with customer demand & product availability...
Fast Food; Hares, Rabbits & Kangaroos!
Not as we’ve come to know fast food in a modern sense:
Fast food to us usually means food that is prepared A la’ minute, to order, cooked at the moment it is served.
I shall avoid brand names; but I have always wondered at the association between a Scottish sounding restaurant & burgers?
Fast food has become a modern blessing for the busy consumer.
It’s also become a curse on the modern commuter.
Fast food is good, as a concept of convenience.
Pulling up to a drive thru & driving off with a prepared meal is very welcome if you are on a restricted time frame.
The downside is; to create an instant menu means preparing the foods in advance. Often precooking them, which diminishes the nutrients you would benefit from in a similarly prepared dish, if you were to prepare it yourself...
The methods employed usually involve high heat; again this diminishes any nutrition otherwise associated with these ingredients.
Usually the high heat required involves deep frying.
Often these foods are high in salt also; a delicious combination.
Both fat & salt are very effective carriers of flavour.
However they are not always synonymous with a healthy lifestyle...
Fast food has the potential to become addictive, or at least dependency creating.
Some people are unable to cook for themselves, being raised on a diet of high fat, high sodium, and highly processed foods.
It is a matter of necessity for the owners of fast food outlets that their food be processed to a degree whereby there is minimal skill involved in the final preparation of these goods.
Naturally it is an individual’s choice, how & when they choose to eat convenience foods.
Fast foods not always being solely take-away’s; many pre-prepared meals are available from the freezer aisle of your local supermarket.
Fast foods in the original context; Rabbits, Hares etc are ironically the polar opposite of modern fast foods. Fast running food is usually lean & well muscled, providing a good blend of protein with minimal fat.
Sourcing true fast food also demands a physical interaction with your environment; in days gone by, getting out & about with your rifle, & how good a shot you were, was the difference between eating & starving
Ironically fast foods often require the longest, slowest cooking times!! How the world has changed!!
Fats; fat gets bad press nowadays; but I suggest the problem lies with our modern lifestyle rather than fat itself.
As our lifestyle becomes more & more convenient, as I mentioned above in Fast Foods; fat gets the blame for our physical degeneration & the rise of obesity & other physical ailments, Diabetes Heart disease etc.
Fat has a role to play in human nutrition; a diet with no fat in it would be inadvisable.
Fat has a necessary function in animal metabolism, without fat we would not exist.
Don’t blame the fat! It’s not the enemy!
If you were, say a lumberjack & spent your days involved in strenuous physical activity; then a high fat diet would be appropriate.
If you drove to work & sat in front of a desk all day, then obviously a high fat diet would not be appropriate.
Fat has always been a high temptation food because of its property of carrying flavour very well.
To get technical oils & fats are the same thing, Oils are a liquid at room temperature.
There is no distinction between vegetable oils or animal fats; there are vegetable fats, such as avocado, but not so much animal oils, unless you think of aquatic life, where fish tend to have oils rather than fats, mostly because of the cold temperatures of their environment.
Some fats are beneficial, Olive oil has become fashionable, as is fish oil; although not something you would perhaps utilise in the same manner as a nice EVOO?
Fats have been refined, in a human dietary context, to good fats & bad fats.
In a nutshell, the harder a fat is the badder it is for your future well being & existence.
Trans fatty acids, cholesterols; I could write a book about them, but I won’t!
To ensure longevity, as far as can be practicable from diet alone; there’s nothing to guarantee life beyond this moment:
Vary your diet with a range of fats, eat animal fats in moderation, and vary fats with cooking methods.
Employ various vegetable fats, oils derived from plants, coconut, sesame, soya, sunflower etc.
Avoid those mass produced oils, such as Canola etc. They are usually genetically modified to render them immune to weed sprays etc. They are harsh on our environment; the one in which we all share.
As a rule of thumb; you get what you pay for, and you are what you eat!
Fava; Fava beans, Human Liver, Chianti, Hector the Lector.
These are things which go with Fava beans
Fava beans are what we know in the west as Broad Beans, no different, just a different name.
Sounds more exotic on a menu, Fava beans.
Apparently these legumes are supposed to have aphrodisiac type/ Viagra like effects.
Can’t say that I’ve ever noticed, but you can be sure I will be stocking up on these!
Actually as a broad bean, these are one of my favourite vegetables & are usually an active participant in my home vegetable garden!
I believe the distinction between Fava bean & broad bean, as we’ve come to know it; is the Fava bean is shelled to reveal the green inner of the bean from their pods.
Broad beans are merely shucked & served with the outer grey skin present.
This is good, as it adds fibre to your diet!
Feijoa; this is a fruit not everyone is as familiar with!
They have a very limited shelf life and do not take to rough handling at all kindly.
If you are fortunate enough to have grown up with a Feijoa hedge in your back yard, like myself, you will be accustomed to the delight of eating these fruit straight off the tree.
Feijoa is kissing cousins with a guava; it is green, about the size of a Chickens egg, with a shiny smooth skin.
The skin can apparently be eaten, but it’s a bit tart.
When I was a child we used to sit under the tree with a teaspoon, scooping out the flesh, we didn’t much care about the skin!
The flesh is very sweet, but kind of gritty; our Mum was always making Feijoa jam, jellies, chutneys, pickles, relishes.
We came from a land of plenty, much imagination was required to utilise the surplus of nature’s bounty, more than we could possibly eat; and you couldn’t give them away!
Ferment; Fermentation is a little trick of nature to decompose organic material, mostly carbohydrates.
The culprit usually is naturally occurring bacteria in our environment.
These roaming microorganisms, yeasts etc randomly patrol the world; wherever they land they set to work devouring whatever organic matter they come into contact with.
If the organic matter happens to be plant based carbohydrates, these little organisms quickly reproduce until there is a whole culture.
Then they set about world domination...
Unfortunately what they did not envision in this master plan was; once the food source was diminished they would all die!
Another fatal error was the fact that as a by-product of the process of fermentation, a toxin was created.
This toxin increased with the increase in bacterial growth
Until a stage was reached where bacterial growth was inhibited by these toxins.
Somewhere, sometime, somebody has lucked upon the fact that this toxin has psychoactive properties, i.e. it gets you drunk!
Then at some stage some enterprising individual, possibly the missing link? Has sought to harness this process to enhance his own state of well being.
This is the origin of alcohol!
Alcohol therefore is natures blessing to mankind, homage or worship in the form of consumption should be practised regularly, as thanks for Nature’s bounty!
Don’t look at a gift horses teeth!
Other less regarded uses of the fermentation process rely on the production of acid as by-product of the process; this is evinced in pickles, cheeses, soured cream etc.
Other processes that produced Carbon Dioxide were also cultured, what do you think gives bread cause to rise? Incidentally, a process known as ‘Leavening’.
Fermentation refers to human intervention; fermentation is a controlled process, as opposed to, say, decomposition.
Besides the more commonly known pursuit of pleasure in the form of alcohol; there are a number of further uses...
Fermentation acts as a preservative, e.g. pickling in vinegar.
Some foods require fermentation to detoxify them before consumption. Example Cassava roots.
Other foods are known in their fermented state. Yoghurt, soya sauce, sour dough, salami prosciutto for example.
Fermentation can offer diversity to the diet in the form of altered flavours & consistencies.
Because of the higher levels of acid produced fermentation has long been regarded as a staple method of food preservation.
Feta; Feta cheese... The white cheese associated with a Greek salad.
Unfortunately the public are being misled again.
True feta, the only feta is from Greece & surrounding districts & is strictly a Ewe’s milk cheese.
Good luck milking a Ram!
Some Goats cheese is also allowed to be added.
The next time you buy feta, if it says ‘product of cow’ it’s not feta!
The Greeks have gotten a bit pissed at the world using their second claim to fame, (the sexual association being the first!).
They have taken out a Protected Designation of Origin, if you make feta anywhere else in the world, you’ll have to call it something else!
Feta, if you didn’t know is an aged cheese which comes packed in brine, usually whey!
It’s a white cheese with a sharp flavour & crumbly texture.
My favourite thing to do with (what we call) Feta, is to marinate it in EVOO, herbs and spices, especially worthwhile with cheaper white cheese products.
Good Feta, i wouldn't mess with...
Fettuccini; Ribbons of Pasta, no mystery involved.
For some reason fettuccine has a state of grace with the public.
A fettuccini dish will usually outsell the same dish with another designation of pasta shape.
Indeed that’s all it is, the same pasta, cut in a different shape.
Tagliatelle is almost identical & the two can be interchanged.
This sort of thing, from a Chef’s perspective are hardly worth sharing with our customers; Imagine your wait staff announcing there was no fettuccine left, but Tagliatelle was available as a substitute...
There would be an outcry of diners all wanting a discount or full refund of their meal.
Penne’ is also a pasta shape that sells well!
FYI it’s all the same stuff, different shapes, doesn’t taste any different, stuff sounds exotic when you’re ignorant!!! Which is what keeps a lot of restaurants in business, and again is the purpose of this diatribe! Xploding food myths!
Fibre; this is a new catch cry of the century: You must have more fibre in your diet!
Food manufacturers are quick to jump on the band wagon.
“Scientists have shown the need for more fibre in your diet”.
This allows manufacturers to tip more plant based fibres, usually discarded in the refining process to be added back to the product.
The marketing dept gets the thumbs up from manufacturing, and the next thing we’re getting high fibre diets stuffed down our throats!
Well get this; the manufacturers have their own interests at heart, they are responding to a new prospective benefit, to themselves!
Plants by nature have cellulose, all of them.
Cellulose is simply the old name for plant fibre.
Not to say it’s not good for you, fibre provides roughage in the diet & helps ‘scrub’ the digestive tract on the way through.
Adequate fibre in the diet can be witnessed by a firm stool which will float!
Eat a balanced diet, with plenty of starches & green leafy vegetables & you can’t go wrong, floaties forever!
Field Mushrooms; do field mushrooms, as implied by the name come from a field?
Hell no, they come from indoor controlled growing environments.
Like many elements of Human society, they are kept in the dark & fed bullshit!
They are called ‘field’ mushrooms because they represent the type of mushroom one would find in the wild if one were to harvest said mushrooms themselves.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to harvest mushrooms in the wild, mostly due to less wild becoming available.
Humans, the supposedly dominant species on this planet are impinging on all available land for habitation.
The fields which once were rife with field mushrooms are now being developed & climate controlled, sterile mushroom grow rooms are being constructed in their place...
The upside of this is that; mushrooms that once were scarce, and renowned for their flavour (due to the environment in which they grew), are now more readily available.
But as with all premium products, the price reflects this, rather than the cost of production, which does not differ from house brand mushrooms such as the field, or button mushroom.
Also with the sterile environment, we as a race are losing contact with dirt, the medium of choice for most naturally occurring plants.
Dirt has given us contact with many natural microbes in our environment; and immunity to many as a result.
Nowadays we lead such sterile lives that one day the earth is going to attack & defeat us all.
First In, First Out, a term which applies to stock rotation, use the oldest products first.
I used to work with a French Chef, always wondered why He used twice as much chicken breast as other shifts… Turns out, each week when the poultry order was delivered, He’d open the new batch and push the older batch to the back, eventually discarding it.
The sensible thing to do, which I showed His replacement, was to free flow & freeze the surplus when the poultry was delivered, not throw it out!
Fly In Fly Out. A term used in Australia which describes your means of transport to work and back.
It’s just like getting on a bus, except it’s an Aeroplane! Stand in any Pub around Western Australia and the hairy biker types will be talking FIFO and rosters, swings and shifts.
As a Mine Site Chef you would be FIFO on a 2 and 1, or even worse, a 3 and 1, or gasp, a 4 and 1.
That’s 2, 3, or even 4 weeks away at work, working 10 to 12 hour days, then 1 week back home to get over it.
It’s not exactly family friendly, but it’s a good way to pay for your divorce!
There’s such a demand for Chefs on the mine sites, there is a constant turnover of staff, like a revolving door.
Most mining companies tender out the catering services, the laundry and the housekeeping to companies which will hire people to service the miners facliities, while most of these people are on $100k minimum, you will find yourself earning about 75% of that and working your guts out.
Much better if you have an uncle who works on the mines who can get you in as a T/A and you can earn $140k, and probably earn a better roster too?
FIFO is also colloquial Aussie for Fit In Or Fuck Off, an endearing term which suggests all immigrants should adopt the aussie bogan way of life and forget their own culture.
Fig; figs are one of the oldest fruit known to mankind.
Figs’ you either love them or hate them.
Adam & Eve wore fig leaves; this was after God caught them eating apples & introduced them to the concept of shame as punishment... Original sin...
FIGJAM on the other hand is a relatively modern concept.
Apart from being a jam made with figs, as historically befits the term; there is a new usage of the term.
FIGJAM when used as an acronym implies that the person uttering the phrase has a very high perception of themself, as evinced by none other than themselves.
Just Ask Me!
Filo; AKA Fillo, Phyllo. But filo to me, therefore filo to you!
Filo is a very thin pastry of Greek origin, well it predates Greece to ottoman times, but Greek is a convenient expedite.
The stuff you buy frozen or fresh has very little resemblance to fresh filo.
I once witnessed this being made, stretching a ball of dough across a table until it was paper thin!
The packet stuff; there are a few tips to handling it successfully:
First, make sure your work area is dry.
Take the filo from the packet & carefully unfold it on your bench.
Cover it with a dry tea-towel to prevent it drying out when you are not using it.
There are many ways to fold filo, but the intention is to brush butter, or even a nice oil between layers.
As the fat heats it provides steam, which in turn provides lift, a nice crisp texture.
I’ve had success using an aerosol can of oil also!
Anything with filo is usually popular on a menu!
Fish; who doesn’t know what a fish is?
Animals that swim in the water; right?
True; but for our frame of reference fish is fin fish.
Fin fish also includes phat fish!
I like fish; I also like to fish for fish, but really that’s angling...
Naturally our interest in fish is in the eating of them; you can go to an aquarium & look at the fish, think how much fun it would be to catch some monster of the deep, paraded in front of you. Or you could lick your lips & say ‘yum’!
Vegetarians are known to include fish in their diet.
In the immortal words of Kurt Cobain it’s okay to eat fish ‘cos they don’t have any feelings... But who’s ever asked them?
Actually a group of Scientists in Scotland performed some tests on Salmon, or Trout; they rubbed Capsicain on their lips! Turns out they do have feelings after all…
Fish can be defined into white flesh or red flesh, such as trout, salmon, tuna etc.
Also they can be flat, like a sole, or a flounder; or round, like all the rest of them, cos there’s only a few flat fish...
Cat fish are not aquatic cats; they are fish with whiskers like a cat!
Fish are also classified as to whether they are bony, or not.
Some fish are excellent tasting, but are a pain in the ass to fillet, rendering them uneconomical as a commercial catch.
Shellfish, crayfish & jellyfish aren’t really fish, neither are seals, whales or dolphins; but that don’t stop people from eating them.
To further complicate matters; fish are categorised by the environment in which they live, either salt water or fresh.
Flavour; the way our senses define a taste is by its flavour.
Taste & flavour being pretty much synonymous.
Taste is one of our primary senses; formerly known as the five senses: Sight, hearing, taste, smell & touch.
Now the world has turned a few times since last Aristotle trod the earth, we’ve added a few others; heat, balance, pain, self awareness, and a few more.
But flavour is our interpretation of a taste.
We as humans can only sense five basic flavours; sweet, sour, bitter, salty & savoury.
Add to this our sense of smell and we can have infinite combinations of flavours.
Of course the sense of flavour is subjective; it’s what you become accustomed to as part of your regional diet & lifestyle.
Nowadays flavours can be constructed in a laboratory, scientists have discovered various chemicals which emulate certain flavours, think of jelly beans; are those really pineapple & orange?
Or are they Allyl hexanoate & Ethyl propionate?
Unfortunately the onus of the manufacturers is convenience, cost & standardisation, but they make up for it with nice glitzy packaging & claims like all natural ingredients, which technically is true...
The point is, us lolly consuming cultures have learnt to identify these flavours, using the colouring as a cue, as genuine flavours.
I’m sure there are people who would not know the real taste of a fruit, unless it was a synthesised sweetened flavour.
There is some debate about the savoury flavour, some like to use the Japanese term Umami, which basically translates as ‘yummy’.
It’s a flavour which can be described as brothy or meaty, the smell of a roast, or meat cooking, what I prefer to call earthy, or robust.
Like all flavours, we associate tastes & colours as memories that are our terms of reference.
Umami refers also to the sensation of eating well cooked meats, the actual swallowing of it triggers receptors which arouse pleasure.
This is why some foods are labelled as ‘comfort foods’.
Flour; Flour is any starch or grain that has been processed, usually by milling for the starch content.
We are most familiar with wheat flour, or maize flour, but there are hundreds of variants dependent upon regional availability.
Producing flour from grains, or seeds is by no means a modern concept, Adam & Steve had to grind grains to make the flour for their apple pie, they got in big trouble for taking just one, so how much more trouble could they get in for taking a few more? We’re still paying the price for that…
Historically, all cultures, excepting Innuits have ground seeds to make flour; hence it has always been a staple part of the origin of the modern diet.
Flours are a power food, the grain is a seed, packed with the nutrients to grow that plant; we harvest and utilise that energy. Flour, or farinaceous dishes were once peasant foods, they were the meal for the day, you lived on bread, you didn’t have bread with your meal, bread was your meal…
What I’m getting at, flour, staches; packing the energy they do are ideal nutrition if you are out ploughing fields all day, in the hot sun.
Nowadays flours and starches are mass produced and readily available, but our lifestyle has become sedentary, working indoors all day. We are not utilising the power of the seed, so we are storing it as reserve fat.
First step of any diet, look at how many carbs you are downloading from flour, then avoid.
FLOWER a flower is the sex parts of a plant!
Possibly more attractive than many animalian sex parts!
Flowers have many culinary uses; Saffron comes from the stamen part of a crocus flower, many thousand must be collected to make 1 gram.
Cauliflower & broccoli are actually flowers, and some flowers may be eaten as flowers, such as zucchini flowers.
FLOUNDER. Flounder are a flat fish with 2 eyes on 1 side of their head, facing upwards. They are born (hatched) with an eye on both sides, but it corrects itself and swings around to the upright position alongside its peer.
They are now on the worldwide endangered or at risk fishery. But not in New Zealand, where there are still plenty!
There’s a trick to skinning a flounder, you lose 65% if you fillet them, so skin them for restaurant service, or cook ‘em in the skin at home...
The trick is; to cut across the tail, cut all the fins off, with scissors, unless you’re me, but I still prefer scissors!
So then get my carving fork & run it up underneath the skin, over the fins only, and break it out. Then you can peel the skin back without ripping the delicate flesh.
Either way they are an appreciable delicacy!
FROMAGE; say cheese. In French
FREEZING is relative; today people were wearing cardigans & saying it was freezing. It was 22*C!
I was in the freezer today, doing a stock take, -18*C, it was freezing!
A few very important things about freezing food...
Make sure your freezer works properly, good seals, fridge thermometers are only $5.
Wrap food up well, cling film it when the food’s hot, will shrink wrap the item!
I have a small vacuum sealer at home, I freeze leftover meals in these, so long as there’s no air in the bag crystals don’t form, destroying your food.
Don’t allow food to defrost & refreeze, temperature must be constant.
Failure to adhere to the simple guides will ensure your food is freezer burned, or full of ice.
Have you ever taken something out of the freezer & it’s covered in ice? That’s why...
Don’t put hot things in the freezer either.
A freezer will be more efficient if it’s kept full. To defrost a freezer, empty it put all the food together & cover with a wet towel, on a tray like...
Freezing food does not stop bacterial degaradation; it will slow down biological growth to the point it’s dormant, but as soon as you thaw, or defrost if you like, that food; bacteria will recommence its commission.
So if you’re going to freeze perishable food, do it while the foods still fresh…
Refreezing food which has been previously frozen is a risk, but use some common sense, I often refreeze food, so long as they are still refrigerated and/or are partially frozen.
The risk is if you presume that food is as good as fresh. If it is anything but fresh, no way; by the time you defrost it again, those little bacterias will have woken up and started to party again.
The official story is; bacteria continues to grow as food is defrosting, but defrost in the fridge, never on the bench, and you’ll be fine.
So many times I’ve heard of a power cut, and people throwing everything out of their freezers.
If your freezer goes down, keep it closed, if it’s full you will have 2-3 days before the food defrosts. Then have a BBQ, cook everything up, freeze it once it’s cooked, or give to the poor.
Fill a bucket, or a bowl with HOT water, sit the bucket in there, don’t be a tipper; close the lid/door & after 10 minutes the water will be cold & all the ice will be melted off the walls of your freezer. Simply scrape it all up, keep it for slushies, mmm.
I dunno about this punctuation thing, so I hedge my bets, a bit both ways!
Apparently pretty popular in France.
Also popular among the aristocratic swamp people in the everglades.
Apparently they taste like Chicken. So why bother?
FRUCTOSE; Just another bloody sugar. Fructose is the sugar found in fruits & vegetables, just to complicate things further, fructose is part of sucrose. Glucose & fructose make up sucrose, or table sugar... another bloody sugar is all...
Can't believe people are becoming fructose intolerant!
Guess when you mess with peoples organisms, feeding them full of preservatives and vaccinations, then a diet of high fructose sweeteners, guess I could see it?
FRUIT: Put simply; fruit is the seed bearing part of a plant.
There are often mass debates about whether a tomato is a fruit or a vegetable.
A tomato, for example is classified as a fruit, but since it is used as a salad veg it is often interpreted as a vegetable.
Some say a veg is a veg if it’s served as a veg, but truly, if it has seeds it’s a fruit.
FRUIT JUICE; here’s one of the biggest myths going; ‘fruit juice is pure & natural with no added ingredients so it must be good for me, right?’
Wrong, some fruit juices maybe, pure & natural whole fibre (pulp) juices possibly, I'm not talking about fruit you juice yourself, the stuff you buy.
But a lot of fruit juices are simply flavoured corn syrup.
No added sugar doesn’t mean a thing; when the fruit juice is reconstituted from concentrate, it’s easy to retain high sugar content without necessarily adding more sugar.
Most sweet drinks are about 10% sugar.
Personally I abhor whole pulp OJ, they grind up the whole Orange, add a bit more sugar and put it in a bottle, yuck.
Nectar is just concentrated sugar and fruit pulp..
Fruit SALAD, Now aren’t salads made from vegetables? Is a tomato a fruit? Yes. So is a tomato salad a fruit salad? No.
A fruit salad is typically fresh fruit in a sugar, or stock syrup.
Some fruits don’t go well in a fruit salad; apples for instance will go brown, unless you toss them in lemon juice. And Banana’s, never put bananas in fruit salad
Frying is a big subject, so make yourself comfortable.
Frying can be shallow, pan, sauté’ stir or deep. Basically there’s 2 types of frying, shallow, which comprises most of the above, & then deep frying.
Shallow frying uses a small amount of fat, or oil & the food is partially submerged.
Deep frying; food is immersed in the fat or oil.
Sautéing & stir frying, less fat is used so the food must be ‘tossed’ to prevent it sticking to the pan.
Frying gets a bad rap from its critics, words like oil, fat, saturated fatty acids, cholesterol all come to mind; but to be fair, this is not fryings fault.
People abuse & mistreat frying.
Frying is a legitimate method of cookery, it is fast & ideal for smaller food items which complement this style of cookery.
Deep frying is surely the biggest culprit of the healthy eating trend. There are campaigns to reduce the amount of fried food in our diets, unfortunately these are usually aimed at the vendors, rather than the customers.
Fried food is okay; but by nature it lends itself to convenience foods.
Don’t expect to eat high energy compact foods & still retain that cat-walk figure...
Apart from overuse by some consumers, frying, particularly deep frying is a great medium for cooking, fried foods are often preserved for long periods, by fact of the water content being removed, and the residual fat coating forming a preservative itself. Look at your average packet of potato crisps, how much fat they contain?
Thin fries absorb more fat than thick fries, ditto ‘wavy’ fries; It’s all about surface area, big fries for example have less surface area than crisps, or pommes frite (skinny fries).
Some important things about frying...
The medium itself is flammable; unlike, say water, fat will continue to heat until it smokes, then it will reach a flash point & catch on fire, burning down your kitchen.
The old adage about oil & water not mixing is especially pertinent when it comes to hot oil. DO NOT NEVER allow water near hot oil, it will explode in your face...
If a pan is neglected & it begins to smoke, or catches on fire; turn the heat off, then put a lid on it. It may smoke, but without oxygen it is unlikely to keep burning.
Most commercial kitchens will have a fire blanket to use in a similar manner, smother the flames...
Deep fryers are usually a lot safer, they are thermostatically controlled. But I have seen faulty thermostats, the oil heats & heats, it begins to smoke, then without intervention it will catch fire...
This is particularly dangerous at home, if you fancy a feed of chips & eggs after a night out, there is a good chance you will end up fried yourself...
It’s not unheard of for someone to fall asleep or be otherwise distracted with a pot of oil on the stove-top, it will burn your house down!
Maintenance of a deep fryer is very important; in a commercial kitchen the fryers are drained & filtered every day, this removes debris & particles which burn & deteriorate the frying fat.
Fat & oil being interchangeable terms, oil is a fat...
I used to drain the oil daily, wash the vat out with chemicals, rinse it with vinegar; any residual detergent or caustic will deteriorate your fat. Then dry it completely, any drop of water remaining will spit.
Now I have a whole new plan; I drain & filter, but use some of the oil to wash the fryer vat out. I’ve found this to be much faster & far more efficient, & effective.
Food must be dried before it deep-fried, delicate foods, or foods which tend to break up are usually coated in a batter.
Deep frying is a particularly harsh method of cookery, it probably accounts for more deaths than any other method of cookery; from house fires to heart attacks!
Fudge ; is a confectionary, made from sugar, butter & milk, or cream.
The secret to a good fudge is temperature, the caramel must be heated to soft ball stage. Soft ball is about 116*C, use a sugar thermometer, or drop a drop of caramel onto a saucer of cold water, if it forms a soft ball... Not to be confused with softball, the game.
Also important is mixing the fudge mixture as it cools, this is where I have my first kitchen memories, helping Mum to make the fudge; “is it finished yet” , “no, keep going...” “Is it finished yet? How about now?”, Mum, you there? Muuum, where are you?