Lobster Stock Sous Vide

The advantage of preparing a stock sous vide is that you are extracting the flavors in a sealed bag, so the aromas can’t go anywhere but into the stock. If you make a stock on the stove, all the aromas … Continue reading Lobster Stock Sous Vide

Homemade Pancetta

Pancetta is Italian cured pork belly. I had looked into making it myself before, but the recipes I found required a curing chamber. A curing chamber is a cabinet with controlled temperature and humidity. Even for me it seems over the top to own one. But then I realised that pancetta was originally invented to preserve pork belly when refrigerators had not yet been invented (let alone curing chambers), so I figured that a cellar should do the trick as well. We don’t have a cellar, but in winter our garage comes pretty close with a temperature around 16ºC/60ºF. So I compared many recipes I found online on Italian blogs, on American blogs, and in the end based my first homemade pancetta upon a Dutch blog called missFromage (I bet Shanna likes that name!).

Making your own pancetta is quite easy and not a lot of work, it just requires a bit of patience. The result was great! My first homemade pancetta has a more elegant and detailed flavor than store-bought pancetta available around here. As an added bonus it is cheaper as well. Thanks missFromage for making it look as easy as it actually is! I will definitely make this again. Continue reading “Homemade Pancetta”

Home made Puff Pastry From Scratch

Puff pastry has a reputation of being difficult and a lot of work to make from scratch. I had never attempted it before, but now that I have I thought it wasn’t so hard at all. The main point is temperature control, which is easier right now because it is winter and thus not warm in the house. Puff pastry puffs up because it has a lot of layers of flour and butter. In this recipe, there will be 256 layers! Temperature control is so important because the butter should be soft enough to be able to handle the dough, but not melted to keep the layers intact. This means that a cool room temperature of 18ºC/65ºF is ideal in your kitchen when you make this.

There are several reasons for making your own puff pastry rather than running to the store:

  1. Your own puff pastry will only contain flour, butter, water, and salt. Nothing else.
  2. You will have bragging rights.
  3. It will probably taste better (depending on the quality of the store-bought pastry).
  4. It is cheaper than store-bought.

Running to the store is faster (depending on where the store is), as making your own puff pastry does take about 4 hours. However, most of that time is inactive time with the dough resting in the fridge. Continue reading “Home made Puff Pastry From Scratch”

How to get the Seeds (Arils) out of a Pomegranate

Yesterday I wrote about my ‘discovery’ of fresh pomegranate juice, and complained about the messy procedure to get those arils (seeds) out. Paul and Fae reacted that there is an easier way, which is to whack the pomegranate with a wooden spoon to let the arils fall out. Since I had another pomegranate waiting to be turned into more delicious juice, I decided to try this for myself. And although I still got some small splashes of juice (probably due to my clumsiness), it worked a lot better and quicker. Thanks Paul and Fae! It is always great to learn a new technique. Continue reading “How to get the Seeds (Arils) out of a Pomegranate”

Fresh Pomegranate Juice

I’ve never really liked pomegranate juice because I always thought it was too astringent. Boy was I wrong! I had just never tasted fresh pomegranate juice before. Just like with orange juice, there is a huge difference between the real thing (i.e. freshly squeezed) and store-bought stuff. A post on REMCooks.com inspired me to try making my own pomegranate juice, and I absolutely loved it. Thanks, Richard! Fresh pomegranate juice is as different from store-bought pomegranate juice as freshly squeezed orange juice is different from orange juice from concentrate. Fresh pomegranate juice is sweeter, less astringent, and has a wonderful flavor. It also is very healthy. Continue reading “Fresh Pomegranate Juice”