2008. november 24., hétfő

It's snowing!!!

It was so lovely how everyone stopped for a moment and all stared out the window in awe when someone shouted that during the Saturday class. The snow was a nice little touch to the class on sweets, which instantly put everyone in a good mood. :) Winter is finally here.

I was a bit tired Saturday since it was the first time I taught 2 classes back to back (hopefully my fatigue didn't show too much in the afternoon class...) so my husband and I decided to go out for dinner in the evening. When we returned and opened the door, the most delicious whiff of sweet & spicy smell welcomed us home! That and a smiling dog greeting us was the nicest thing to come home to. I wish I could bottle this scent and carry it with me as a reminder of a beautiful winter afternoon...

There were few questions during the classes that I didn't feel I answered fully - one regarding palm oil and another regarding sweeteners. 

Here's a bit on palm oil:
Palm oil is frequently confused with palm kernel oil, which is highly saturated. In contrast palm oil contains a balance of polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. In addition palm oil contains essential substances such as linoleic acid (an essential fatty acid which the body cannot manufacture) and tocopherols and tocotrienols, which act as natural anti-oxidants against damaging free-radicals. Like other vegetable fats palm oil is free from cholesterol. Because palm oil is solid at room temperature there is no need to use hydrogenation, a technique which hardens liquid oil but also produces damaging trans fatty acids and raises cholesterol levels in the process. Human feeding studies have shown that palm oil does not ordinarily raise blood cholesterol levels and in some cases has been found to lower harmful LDL.

All of the sweeteners we used in the class (barley malt, brown rice syrup, maple syrup, evaporated cane sugar, tapioca syrup) are considered to be whole foods, therefore have nutritional values and break down in your body slower than simple sugars. Agave out of them all, are best for diabetics. But if you are on Candida diet, all of them including agave, will feed Candida but stevia(which we didn't use but is worth experimenting) will not.

One more thing about the difference between baking powder and soda you can find here. Hope this clarifies somewhat, though topic of fats and sugars is complicated enough to make my head spin sometimes...

And the Vegan Black Forest cake that turned out more like a brownie than a cake for the afternoon class - since dark brown sugar was added accidentally, it kept the extra moisture and caused it to have a bit of raw or chewy texture in the center. If you follow the recipe exactly as it is written, you should have a moist chocolate cake. For those who took the afternoon class, please give it another try at home and let me know how it went?

Next class is on easy holiday cooking. It will have meat as a main but with lots of veggies and grains so look forward to that!

Stay warm guys!

2008. november 20., csütörtök

Oh how cold the weather is becoming!

The day is getting shorter and my dog sleeps just a bit longer... It's the perfect time to reflect and be still with the surroundings.  I'm enjoying my walks with the dog more, feeling the dry leaves under my steps and watching Danube flow as it always has.

The colder temperature has gotten me itching for warming foods and little snacks that I can take in between chores.  I've been roasting butternut squashes a lot these days and playing around with the puree, trying to come up with new recipes.  The one I tried  this evening was a squash flan, made with farm eggs, fresh milk, agave syrup, vanilla and what I call Christmas spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.  The result?  Not bad, though a bit too gingery maybe and I should have put the eggs through a strainer to make it even more smoother but it looked delicious in the terra cotta cups I brought home from France:)  I'll certainly play around with it a bit more another time, even placed the left over puree in the freezer for later use.

The warming foods I've been turning to is no surprise - soups/stews!  To those who took my last class - I made myself the Italian soup today for lunch in under 15 minutes and in one small pot!  Hey, I was hungry so it was necessary to rush things a bit...  But I do hope it encourages you to cook yourselves a nice meal, even if it's only for you alone.  Afterall, we deserve to treat ourselves nicely, right?

Happy cooking guys and stay warm!  ^_^

Chef Maki

2008. november 9., vasárnap

Meleg levesek, egytálételek

Kedves Cheftanoncok!

Szombat de.10-kor folytatódik a főzősuli. Mit főzhetünk a megszokott húsleves és főzeléken kívül? Kulináris utazás Indiától Japánig.

A következő menüt készítettük el közösen:
* Dél olasz leves szardellával és tésztával
* Sütőtök és szalonna ragu
* Vegetáriánus curry seitannal
* Gomba és tofu miso leves vermicellivel

Happy cooking! :)

2008. november 1., szombat

Pasik! Irány a konya!

Nagyon könnyen elkészíthető négy fogásos menü pasiknak! :)

Ezt készítettük el a srácokkal:
* Narancsos és szója szószos sertés oldalas
* Sörretkes krumplipüré fokhagyma konfittal
* Rukkola saláta citrommal
* Banánhajó vajas, whiskys és mézes szósszal