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.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Reblochon Tuesday January 5th 2016

The Reblochon cheese which I made at the end of November last year is starting to get really stinky now. This is a washed rind cheese which has a particular bacteria in the mix, brevibacterium linens ,which gives the characteristic yellow rind. Washing with a weak salt solution every second day helps the rind to develop while the inside softens as it matures. We had some for Christmas but it was still a little young at that stage......this one will be ripe for eating in a coup,e of weeks. Luckily the smell is can natives within a plastic box in the cheese fridge!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Summer Pudding, Christmas Eve 2015

It's well and truly berry season. Everything is early this year due to the warm and very dry ( drought) Spring perhaps. I have been picking raspberries, loganberries, blueberries, strawberries, jostaberries and gooseberries. I have always wanted to try making a Summer Pudding when we had fresh fruit so yesterday I actually got around to doing it.
I forgot to take a photo last night before we had our first try so this is a close up of the remainder this morning. It was pretty easy to make. Heat the berries in half a cup of water with a quarter cup of caster  sugar. Line a bowl or cgame nation er with some slices of bread, crusts taken off and the edges soaked in the berry juice so that they join together. Pour the fruit in. Cover with more soaked bread. Cover with plastic wrap then weight it down with a couple of tins and refrigerate. Easy and delicious!  Merry Christmas everyone!