Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fascinating Foodie Find: Molecular Gastronomy

Its time to start playing with your food boys and girls, check out my  fascinating foodie find:

A company based out of MontrĂ©al has launched the newest food revolution. MOLECULE-R Flavors Inc has just launched their Cuisine R-EVOLUTION Kit. This kit contains everything you need to create original dishes while experimenting with the most popular molecular gastronomy techniques, at home. 

For those of you that don’t know: Molecular gastronomy is a discipline practiced by both scientists and food professionals that studies the physical and chemical processes that occur while cooking. 

Molecular gastronomy takes the conventional norm of food and turns it inside out; for instance green tea caviar, or arugula spaghetti. These things become possible through the use of additives which manipulate the way food reacts. These changes allow us to create new and interesting ways to experience what we eat.

Until now molecular gastronomy was something you could only experience at very expensive restaurants or by watching Iron Chef. MOLECULE-R Flavors Inc have now made molecular gastronomy accessible to the every-day person. The kit includes specialized tools, additives and a DVD with recipes and ideas. There is also a molecular gastronomy network that has lots of advice and videos for the newly molecular chef. 

For tutorials, recipes and some foodie fun  be sure to check out:

I think this might be my next big foodie purchase, if anyone else takes the plunge before I do let me know how your experiments turn out.

Good Luck!

To start experimenting purchase your own kit HERE.

Molecular Gastronomy Kit

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Wake up and smell the lemon.

Well it’s been a week without blogging, too long I admit to go without updating. It has been a week of fairly uninspired cooking. I have somehow managed to aggravate my knee again, and the thought of standing in the kitchen prepping anything is less than appealing. Even so I decided a trip to the grocery store and some yummy veggie meals would make me feel better.

You see it’s the one week I can cook without dragging a hunk of meat out for my husband. He could live on steak alone and I veggies until the end of time. Opposites attract, that much is plain to see. I couldn’t pass this opportunity up to try out some of the recipes I have been hoarding for such an occasion. Don’t get me wrong my husband enjoys fruit and vegetables as much as I do, as long as there is a good amount of protein on his plate as well. I miss him dearly when he is gone, but as I told my mother when she said she hated cooking for one “this is an opportunity to experiment and not have to worry about anyone else complaining”

So with that philosophy I headed to the grocery store for some fresh fruit and vegetables, there I encountered one fateful glitch. At the risk of sounding like my Oupa (grand-father), “In this modern world” freshness isn’t a priority. I grew up with a garden, and I used to spend my days eating strawberries right off the plant. No washing and no worries. We didn’t use dangerous chemicals to preserve them until the end of time; you ate them when they were fresh and ripe. They tasted of, well, strawberries and smelled of strawberries. I find that fruit here in the states, is bland. It may be the shape of a strawberry, but it sure doesn’t taste or smell like one. I miss fruit, real fruit with real taste.

I believe that if more Americans had access to fresh fruit and fresh picked vegetables they would enjoy them more. Here is a little hint an lemon is supposed to smell like a lemon. When you pick it up the aroma should be apparent. Lemon is not just a scratch and sniff scent.

Everyone is too concerned about perfection, your food cannot have the slightest blemish or else it is tossed away. I watched a women at the grocers pick through a bunch of broccoli heads, tossing aside every single one with a slight bruise. Come on people; are we that caught up with looks that we will forgo taste? Do you think those in rural Africa will toss a tomato just because it has a soft spot? No they don’t, they cut around that part and eat the rest. It isn’t going to kill you. What is going to kill you are all the hormones they pump into fruit and veg nowadays so you get a uniform look. Fruit is supposed to be imperfect, it’s not man-made it’s grown by the earth. Give me a deformed peach picked off a tree over a perfectly round supermarket find any day of the year. At least mine will taste and smell like a peach.

So there you have it; my rant from my fruitless shopping cart.

I’m off to find a farmers market, or even better a farm that will let me pick my own fruit and veg. Might I suggest you do the same.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A heart shaped cake and some Canon love

Let me start off this post by saying that I am like a dyslexic newborn puppy. I have no (read none, zilch) hand eye coordination what –so-ever. It makes life interesting and means I am a clumsy and have difficulty doing things delicately. In this case that would be decorating a cake.  Unlike my mother the cake decorating maven (more on her abilities soon), the best I can do is scrape icing onto a cake. Forget the fancy twirls  and swirls, they are not happening. The one and only time I tried something my husband compared my flower and vine creation to a road map.  

That being said I still like baking, and will continue to leave the creative stuff up to those who have the god given ability.  Instead I will stick to my schmear of butter cream; Its good enough for my husband and therefore its good enough for me. So here my foodie friends I give you my super yummy, if less than creatively decorated valentines cake. I used a recipe I found in Cakes to Celebrate Love and Life. It turned out really well, except I thought it should have been a bit lighter. The cake turns out quite dense. Even so it was heavenly and I hope you enjoy. I added pictures this time too- taken with my trusty Canon Rebel XTi

-White Chocolate Cupcakes 

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
100g White chocolate, chopped 
75 g butter softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup + 1 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 170 C

1. In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set this aside. 
2. In a double boiler melt the chocolate until smooth. 
3. Cream together sugar and butter. Add in eggs one at a time. 
4. Add the vanilla and white chocolate to the sugar, butter, and egg mixture. 
5. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk, always ending with the flour. 
6. Mix until just combined and pour into prepared tin. 
Bake for 20-30 minutes until the center springs back when lightly pressed. 


A note on the photography: I had to add this in here because I know my good friend Michael Sewell, who is by far the most amazing photographer I have ever met, will be turning up his nose at the mention of Canon.  I love my little Canon and always will. However if any of you decide you want to buy me my dream Nikon, I wont stop you.  Until then, you will all just have to deal with my Canon love. 
Don't forget to check out what Michael Sewell and his Nikon can do. He is an amazing photographer and a truly great friend. I was lucky enough to have him shoot my wedding, and I would suggest him to anyone and everyone. View his site here:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My own personal cupcake war.

I am entering into a cupcake competition!

Basically today has been a miserable day at work, so in order to lift my spirits I have been browsing around Low and behold I decided to enter a contest which will end on the 20th of this month.

I am going to need everyone to help me win this. Voting will be open from the 21st to the 26th of this month. So check back later this week to see what I enter. I don't want to give anything away just yet; there might be spies out there trying to steal my recipe.

Wish me luck, and pray that my oven is having a good day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Mojito Cupcakes with Meringue Icing

We have been pummeled with snow for the second time in two weeks. Since Dallas is less than prepared for such an event, we are stuck inside yet again waiting for them to figure out a way to clear the roads. Luckily for you, this gave me an opportunity to dig through my cookbooks.

A few years ago I was given a book called Cakes to Celebrate Love and Life today I was flipping through trying to find a cake to make for my lovely husband for valentines day. Well my friends did I ever find a cake. I give to you a Mojito in a cake, what more could you ask for?

This book is a must buy for any cake lover, from the Fresh Coconut cake to White Chocolate cupcakes, they can do no wrong. Check out Cakes to Celebrate Love and Life on Amazon, and order your copy today. I promise you will not be disappointed.

-Mojito Cupcakes from Cakes to Celebrate Love and Life.-

Cakes to Celebrate Love and Life
For Cupcakes:

1/2 cup mint leaves
Zest of 2 limes
3/4 cup hot milk
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/4 tsp salt
125 g butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs - at room temp
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp rum

To make the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 180 C.

1. Add the mint leaves to the hot milk and let them steep for 15 minutes. Remove mint and let the milk cool slightly. 

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, bicarb, and salt. 

3. Put butter into stand mixer bowl and beat until creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until mixture is light and fluffy

4. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then slowly mix in lemon zest, rum, and Vanilla Essence. 

5. Lower the speed of the mixer and slowly start adding warm milk and flour. 

6. Fill muffin liners half full and bake for about 20 minutes. 

7. Let these cool and get started on the meringue icing. 

For the icing:

4 egg whites at room temp
1 cup sugar
a pinch of salt

1. In a heatproof bowl combine the egg whites, salt, and sugar.

2. Set over a pan of simmering water and whisk continuously for 3 to 5 minutes until sugar has dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch.

3. Attach the bowl to your stand mixer, with the whisk attachment.

4. Beat on low for two minutes and then switch to high for five minutes until mixture has cooled and stiff peaks form. Use immediately.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lemon Testing Center

I have to admit I have a slight cookbook addiction. I have gotten better over the years, only holding onto those books that I love the most. Mainly at the request of my husband because he is tired of moving my cookbook stash around.  That said I have become very picky in my cookbook selection. I want recipes that work, taste good, and that I can use again. Too many times I have fallen into the trap of a gorgeous picture,only to realize that the recipe only works 6 times out of 10.

I have had a baking book for about six years now, and I don't know why I keep it. I have tried almost every recipe in there, and had almost every recipe flop.  I am so stubborn, that I keep going back to it and trying again and again. Thinking it must be something in my technique, rather than a bad recipe.

My advice is if you have a cookbook that just doesn't work for you, get rid of it. There is no point in continuing to waste money on a recipe that obviously doesn't yield the desired result. is great place to sell these books and in exchange get something that is more suited to your taste.

However I know many of you are as stubborn as I am. If you have a recipe that usually seems to flop, I am always up for a challenge. Feel free to drop me a line and together maybe we can find out where things are going wrong.

Remember just because it is in a recipe book, doesn't mean its always tried and true.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Go Ahead Bite the Lemon...

It is a new year and it is time for a new blog. I have decided for once in my life to start something and actually finish it. Yes I am one of those who has all these great life changing ideas, and a week later I forget about it and move on as if nothing happened. Well today is a day for change, circa Julie Powell I am writing a new food blog entitled Biting the Lemon. My aim is to share my culinary exploits as I use my loving husband as a guinea pig for my imagination.

I might not be a restaurant chef, though I am not completely hopeless. In fact I had two of the best teachers out there. My Ouma taught me how to bake anything from sponge cake to chocolate souffle. She was my saviour and introduction into the culinary world. My mom taught me the basics of cooking and left me to my own devices. She still feeds my cookbook addiction.

I love food, I enjoy cooking, and I am not afraid to try.

 I want people to learn to love cooking as much as I do. Even in this busy world, it is still possible to serve a proper meal without the assistance of pre-made junk. Everyone seems too afraid to even try a new recipe now-a-days. So I offer a solution to all of you; I will do the trial and error, you reap the benefits. I will work out the kinks and try to give you foolproof and delicious meals.

So go ahead,whoever you might be, and Bite the Lemon.