Paella Valenciana

Paella is a Valencian rice dish. Paella has ancient roots, but its modern form originated in the mid-19th century in the area around Albufera lagoon on the east coast of Spain, adjacent to the city of Valencia. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain’s national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols.

Paella is a Valencian word which derives from the Old French word paelle for pan, which in turn comes from the Latin word patella for pan.

On special occasions, 18th century Valencians used calderos to cook rice in the open air of their orchards near lake Albufera. Water vole meat was one of the main ingredients of early paellas, along with eel and butter beans.

On the Mediterranean coast, Valencians used seafood instead of meat and beans to make paella. Valencians regard this recipe as authentic, as well. In this recipe, the seafood is served in the shell. A variant on this is paella del senyoret which uses seafood without shells. Later, however, Spaniards living outside of Valencia combined seafood with meat from land animals and the mixed paella was born. This paella is sometimes called preparación Barroca (baroque preparation) due to the variety of ingredients and its final presentation.

paella

Ingredients

2 cups olive oil

1 red bell pepper, cut into strips

3/4 chicken, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika

1 1/2 pounds green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/2 pounds broad beans, shelled

1/2 tomato, chopped

4 1/2 cups water, or fill up the paella pan to the height of the handles 2 times

2 cups snails, cleaned, fresh or frozen

1 1/4 pounds plus 1-ounce rice (3.5 ounces per person) (recommended: Bomba – short grain rice)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pinch saffron, for colouring

Sprigs rosemary, as garnish

Special equipment: large shallow pan

 

Directions

  1. Heat 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the oil in a pan. Add the strips of pepper and fry until they start to soften. Remove and reserve for garnish.
  2. Fry the chicken at medium heat until golden brown, adding more oil, as necessary. Add the paprika halfway through to add colour to the meat.
  3. Push the meat out to the edges of the pan and add the beans and tomatoes in the centre, mixing them well.
  4. Add 1/2 the water making sure to cover the pan until it is 1/2 full.
  5. Simmer for approximately 30 minutes until most of the water has evaporated.
  6. Add the snails and cook for 5 or 10 minutes. Add the rice, distributing it evenly over the pan and fry for a few minutes, moving it around in the pan. Add the rest of the water and cook for about 20 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a pinch of saffron for colour. Once this is done the paella should not be stirred anymore. For the last 1 to 2 minutes increase the heat to medium-high, until the bottom layer of rice starts to caramelize, creating what Valencians call the “socarrat”. If the rice starts to burn remove the pan from the heat immediately.
  8. Garnish the paella with the strips of red pepper and the sprigs of rosemary. Cover the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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It’s a flatbread… it’s Lavash!

Lavash is a soft, thin unleavened flatbread made in a tandoor and eaten all over the Caucasus, Western Asia and the areas surrounding the Caspian Sea. Lavash is one of the most widespread types of bread in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey.
Lavash bread is a traditional thin bread that forms an integral part of Armenian cuisine. Its preparation requires great effort, coordination and special skills and strengthens family, community and social ties.
Women work in groups to bake lavash, which is commonly served rolled around local cheeses, greens or meats. It plays a ritual role in weddings, where it is placed on the shoulders of newlyweds to bring fertility and prosperity. Men are also involved through making tools and building ovens.
LAVASH
 
Baking Temperature: 220 degree C
Baking Time:5-8minutes
 
Ingredients
FOR THE DOUGH:
Refined Flour – 150gms
Whole grain flour – 150gms
Salt – 3gms
Yeast – 20gms
Yoghurt – 20gms
Water – as required + 250ml
FOR THE TOPPING:
Milk – 30ml
Seeds – 2tbsp
 
 
Procedure
1)     Mix the flours and make a well in the center.
2)     Add yeast and yoghurt and water to the well and dust some flour over.
3)     Keep for five minutes.
4)     Knead to a soft dough and prove.
5)     Knock back the dough and divide into six equal parts and prove.
6)     Roll each dough very thinly, and stretch it to make a lavash.
7)     Brush with milk and sprinkle the seeds.
8)     Bake at the required temperature and time.

As Tiny Tim said “God bless us, everyone”

Hope this Christmas be a merriest one and this New Year be the happiest one for you and your family. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

 

Stollen  is a fruit bread containing dried fruit and often covered with powdered sugar or icing sugar. The bread is usually made with chopped candied fruit and/or dried fruit, nuts and spices. Stollen is a traditional German bread usually eaten during the Christmas season, when it is called Weihnachtsstollen (after “Weihnachten”, the German word for Christmas) or Christstollen (after Christ).

Early Stollen was different, with the ingredients being flour, oats and water. As a Christmas bread stollen was baked for the first time at the Council of Trent in 1545, and was made with flour, yeast, oil and water.

The Advent season was a time of fasting, and bakers were not allowed to use butter, only oil, and the cake was tasteless and hard.In the 15th century, in medieval Saxony (in central Germany, north of Bavaria and south of Brandenburg), the Prince Elector Ernst (1441–1486) and his brother Duke Albrecht (1443–1500) decided to remedy this by writing to the Pope in Rome. The Saxon bakers needed to use butter, as oil in Saxony was expensive, hard to come by, and had to be made from turnips.

Others were also permitted to use butter, but on the condition of having to pay annually 1/20th of a gold Gulden to support the building of the Freiberg Minster. The ban on butter was removed when Saxony became Protestant.

Over the centuries, the bread changed from being a simple, fairly tasteless “bread” to a sweeter bread with richer ingredients, such as marzipan, although traditional Stollen is not as sweet, light and airy as the copies made around the world.

800px-Stollen_with_candied_fruits

CHRISTMAS STOLLEN

Ingredients
Flour – 250gm
Yeast – 25gm
Lukewarm Water – 110ml
Caster Sugar – 25gm
Egg – 1/2no
Vanilla Essence – few drops
Lemon Rinds – 1no
Salt – 1/4tsp
Butter – 100gm
Raisins – 80gm
Blanched Almonds (chopped) – 25gm
Candied Lemon Peel (chopped) – 25gm
Candied Orange Peel (chopped) – 25gm
Rum – 1tbsp

TOPPING
Melted Butter – 50gm
Icing Sugar – 50gm

Procedure
1)    Line a baking tray with buttered greaseproof paper.
2)    Sift the flour into a large bowl & make a well in the centre. Cream the yeast with little milk then gradually add the remaining milk. Stir in a little sugar, pour into the well & sprinkle with a little of the flour. Cover & leave in a warm place for 15 min, until frothy. Mix the rest of the sugar with the eggs, vanilla, lemon rind & salt, add to the yeast mix & work in with the rest of the flour to give dry firm dough. Knead until smooth then cover & leave to rise for 1 hr.
3)    Work the butter & the remaining flour together, knead into the risen dough, cover & leave to stand for a further 15 min. Meanwhile, mix the raisins, almonds & chopped peel together, sprinkle with rum. Cover & leave to steep. Then quickly work this fruit mixture into the dough, cover & leave to stand in a warm place for a 15 min.
4)    Divide the dough into three portions & roll each piece into a 30-cm/12-inch length. Roll gently so that the dough is thinner in the middle than at the ends. Fold the dough over lengthways, making a 15cm/6 inch length-this gives a typical stolen shape & place on the baking tray. Repeat using the other two pieces of the dough. Cover the loaves & leave to stand for further 20 min, until increased in size. Preheat the oven to moderately hot (200degree C /400 degree C).
5)    Bake the loaves for 25-30 min. While still hot, brush with the melted butter & dredge generously with sifted icing sugar

 

Please, be responsible and leave only a glass of milk for Santa, this Christmas. He’ll be driving all night, you know. Happy Holidays! And hide the liquor, if necessary.

Story of how gingerbread came to be.

Ginger root was first cultivated in ancient China, where it was commonly used as a medical treatment. From there it spread to Europe via the Silk Road. During the Middle Ages, it was favoured as a spice for its ability to disguise the taste of preserved meats. Henry VIII is said to have used a ginger concoction in hopes of building a resistance to the plague. Even today we use ginger as an effective remedy for nausea and other stomach ailments. In Sanskrit, the root was known as srigavera, which translates to ‘root shaped like a horn’ – a fitting name for ginger’s unusual appearance.

Ginger

Gingerbread is claimed to have been brought to Europe in 992 CE by the Armenian monk Gregory of Nicopolis (also called Gregory Makar and Grégoire de Nicopolis). He left Nicopolis (in modern-day western Greece) to live in Bondaroy (north-central France), near the town of Pithiviers. He stayed there for seven years and taught gingerbread baking to French Christians. He died in 999.gingerbread

In the 13th century, gingerbread was brought to Sweden by German immigrants. In 15th-century Germany, a gingerbread guild controlled production. Early references from the Vadstena Abbey show that the Swedish nuns baked gingerbread to ease indigestion in 1444. It was the custom to bake white biscuits and paint them as window decorations.

In Medieval England, gingerbread was thought to have medicinal properties. One hundred years later, the town of Market Drayton in Shropshire, England became known for its gingerbread, as is proudly displayed on their town’s welcome sign, stating that it is the “home of gingerbread”, twinned with Pézenas and Arlon. The first recorded mention of gingerbread being baked in the town dates to 1793, although it was probably made earlier, as ginger had been stocked in high street businesses since the 1640s. Gingerbread became widely available in the 18th century.

Gingerbread came to the Americas with settlers from Europe. Molasses, which was less expensive than sugar, soon became a common ingredient and produced a softer cake. The first American cookbook, American Cookery by Amelia Simmons published in 1796, contained seven different recipes for gingerbread.

Originally, the term gingerbread (from Latin zingiber via Old French gingebras) referred to preserved ginger. It then referred to a confection made with honey and spices. Gingerbread is often used to translate the French term pain d’épices (literally “spice bread”) or the German term Lebkuchen (The etymology of “Leb” is uncertain. It could have come from Latin “libum” (“flatbread”) or German “Laib” (“loaf”). “Kuchen” translates to “cake”) or Pfefferkuchen (“pepper bread”, literally “pepper cake”).

Its Marzipan time!

Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar or honey and almond meal (ground almonds), sometimes augmented with almond oil or extract.

raw-marzipan

It is often made into sweets; common uses are chocolate-covered marzipan and small marzipan imitations of fruits and vegetables. It is also rolled into thin sheets and glazed for icing cakes, primarily birthday, wedding cakes and Christmas cakes.

marzipan.jpg

This use is particularly common in the UK, on large fruitcakes. Marzipan paste may also be used as a baking ingredient, as in stollen or banket. In some countries, it is shaped into small figures of animals as a traditional treat for New Year’s Day. Marzipan is also used in Tortell, and in some versions of king cake eaten during the Carnival season. Traditional Swedish princess cake is typically covered with a layer of marzipan that has been tinted pale green.

Ingredients:

  • 150g  caster sugar
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for kneading and rolling out
  • 400g ground almond
  • 4-5drops Vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp orange or lemon juice

Method

  1. Mix the sugars and almonds in a large bowl until even. Make a well in the middle, then tip in the eggs and citrus juice. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry with a cutlery knife. Dust the surface with icing sugar, then knead the marzipan briefly with your hands to a smooth dough. Don’t overdo it as the paste can get greasy. Add a bit more icing sugar if it seems too wet.

    Note: 

Shape it into a ball, then wrap and keep in a cool place until ready to cover the cake. Can be made up to 2 days in advance.

Is it a dip or a salad?

Tzatziki is a sauce served with grilled meats or as a dip. Tzatziki is made of salted strained yoghurt (usually from sheep or goat milk) or diluted yoghurt mixed with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometimes with vinegar or lemon juice, and some herbs like dill, mint, parsley, thyme etc. It is generally served cold.

800px-Cacik-1

Ingredients:

  • Cucumber-1
  • Salt-to taste
  • Garlic-1 clove
  • Greek yoghurt-1 cup
  • Dill-1 tbsp

Procedure:

  1. Cut cucumber lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.
  2. Toss in salt and drain excess water.
  3. Pat dry the cucumber and mix with greek yoghurt, garlic and dill.
  4. Season and serve cold.

Cicipi Kue itu!

Kue Lumpur

Mud cakes are light snacks with main ingredients of coconut milk, potatoes, wheat flour, and eggs. As perfume is used vanilla and often decorated with raisins and young coconut slices on the surface.

This cake belongs to a wet cake that cannot stand to be stored for long.

kue-lumpur-kentang

Ingredients:

  • Butter-12g
  • Water-40ml
  • Gramflour-25g
  • Sugar-16g
  • Salt-3g
  • Vanilla-1tsp
  • Eggs-1
  • Coconut cream-70ml
  • Rasin-50g
  • Coconut-100g

 

Procedure:

  1. Melt butter in water and add flour. Blend until smooth, then add sugar salt & vanilla.
  2. When the batter is well blended, take off flame & cool.
  3. Break the egg and blend until well incorporated.
  4. Add coconut milk/cream little by little till the batter is smooth.mud cake mold
  5. Heat mud cake moulds, oil them and fill till 3/4th
  6. Cover with lid and cook until half done. Open the lid and add raisins.
  7. Cover again and cook till done. Unmould and serve.