Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sacher cake

This is the ORIGINAL Sacher torte as sold at Hotel Sacher.
The cake is pretty dense and dry, it's layered and the cover is hard: it's not ganache. It's actually made by making simple sugar syrup and melting the chocolate in the syrup.
The cake is made without any rising agents, except the egg whites. This Mary Berry gets right.
The apricot preserve is to be warmed, sieved and have a little dark rum added. It works to preserve the cake.
A Sacher can be preserved for two weeks after finishing, because of the apricots and chocolate cover.

The Demel Sacher is baked according to the recipe of the original creator, and it isn't layered.

Mary Berry's Sacher is not a Sacher.
Delia Smith's Sacher is absolutely not a Sacher!

Sacher Cake (Sachertorte)
Viennese Cooking, O. & A. Hess, adapted for American use [Crown Publishing:New York] 1952 (p. 229)

This is the original recipe, obtained through the courtesy of Mrs. Anna Sacher.
3/4 cup butter
6 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate
3/4 cup sugar
8 egg yolks
1 cup flour
10 egg whites, stiffly beaten

2 tbls. apricot jam

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
7 oz. semi-sweet chocolate

Beat butter until creamy. Melt chocolate. Add sugar and chocolate to butter; stir. Add egg yolks one at a time. Add flour. Fold in egg whites.
Grease and butter 8-9" cake tin. Pour mixture in.
Bake in 275 degree F. oven about 1 hour. Test with toothpick or straw.
Remove to board; cool.

Cut top off and turn bottom up.
Heat apricot jam slightly and spread over top.

Cover with chocolate icing, prepared as follows:
Cook sugar and water to thin thread.
Melt chocolate in top of double boiler.
Add sugar gradually to chocolate.
Stir constantly until icing coats the spoon.
Pour on top of cake

Note: If desired, split cake into 2 or 3 layers. Fill with apricot jam or whipped cream.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Indian and Rye bread from Victorian times

1 tablespoon is 3 teaspoons
1 fluid ounce is 2 tablespoons
1 gill is 4 fluid ounces; 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup
1 cup is 2 gills or 16 tablespoons
1 pint is 2 cups
1 quart is 2 pints
1 gallon is 4 quarts

The American Pictorial Home Book or Housekeeper's Encyclopedia, by Mrs. Harriet Almaria Baker Suddoth (1883) (pp. 215-216)


Indian Rye Bread.
—Four pints of corn meal, 4 pints of rye flour, 1 1-2 pints of milk or water, 1-2 tablespoonful of salt, 1 cup of good, fresh yeast.

After sifting the rye flour and meal together add the salt and pour the milk scalding hot on the mixture and stir it very hard until all are well-mixed. If the dough is too stiff, add some warm water, let it stand until it becomes milk-warm, then stir in the yeast. Knead the compound into a stiff dough for 30 minutes, then cover the pan with a thick cloth folded several times, that has been warmed; and set it in a warm place or before the fire to rise; when the dough is quite light and cracked on the top, take it out of the pan and put it on a tray and knead it again for 10 or 15 minutes, divide it into 2 loaves, then set it near the fire cover it, let it remain for 30 minutes. Having the oven ready, put in the loaves immedi­ately and bake 1 1-2 hours. If the dough is sour, sweeten it by adding 1 teaspoonful of soda dissolved in a little hot water.

Indian Wheat Bread can be made in the same manner by using wheat flour instead of rye. A little Indian meal is a great improve­ment to homemade bread, as it keeps it moist and sweet.

Boston Rye and Indian Bread.
—Eight cups each of corn meal and rye flour, 2 cups of good, strong yeast, 1 cup of molasses, 1 dessert spoonful of salt.
After sifting, mix the meal and rye flour with the salt in a large wooden bowl or tray; have ready 1 cup of warm, but not too hot water; mix the molasses and stir in the yeast. Make a hole in the center of the meal, then with a spoon stir in all the flour that surrounds the hole till it forms a thick batter; put the compound in a pan and sprinkle the top with rye meal; place a thick cloth over the pan and set it in a warm place to rise. In 3 or 4 four hours it will be cracked all over the top ; in this case it is light enough ; then open the middle and gradually pour in two cups of warm water; as you pour in, work it till the whole is so mixed as to become a round mass of dough. Then flour hands and work it for 30 minutes until the dough ceases to stick to your hands ; turn it over, then sprinkle it again with rye flour, and again set it in a warm place to rise. Have your oven at a proper heat, so that the bread may be put in as soon as it rises the second time. When light the dough will stand high and the surface cracked all over.
This will do for a medium loaf. Put it directly in the oven and bake it for nearly or quite two hours. The bread will fall if not baked immediately. When done, wrap it directly in a coarse, wet towel and stand it upright till it is cold. It should be baked in a deep iron pan. If the dough should be sour, restore its sweetness by adding a teaspoonful of soda or salaratus dissolved in a little water, then knead it in the dough.
Premium Rye Bread.—One quart each of Indian meal and rye flour and wheat flour, i teaspoonful of yeast, i one of salt. Make a thick batter with warm milk; pour into pans and let it rise. Bake till well done.

Premium Bread
—Take 3 gills each of new milk and boiling water and stir into this flour enough to form a batter; set it by to rise in a warm place ; when sufficiently risen add flour enough to make it thick enough to work with the hands, and for baking. Set to rise in half an hour; then bake in a moderate oven, with a thin piece of paper over it

Superior Bread without Yeast.
—Take cold or ice water, the colder the better, and into this stir coarse corn meal to make a stiff batter; stir quickly, adding the meal, so as to introduce all the air possible. Put it into small patty-pans or cake tins; bake in a very hot oven for half an hour or longer. Baking is the most difficult part of the operation.

Mrs. Gen. R. E. Lee's Bread.
—Take 1 quart of best family flour, put in 1 egg and sweet lard the size of an egg, 2 large table-spoonfuls of yeast (by her recipe), 1 tablespoonful of salt and 1 of sugar.
By this rule bread can be made and the dough kept for 3 days and sufficient taken off to bake for each day. Mrs. Lee says if kept cold in winter or in an ice-house in summer, it will lie dor­mant and may freeze without injury. If frozen hard enough to cut with an ax it will not be damaged, and will rise readily as soon as placed near the fire. If made in this way, to save, and a change of temperature causes it to rise, it must be worked immediately. It is only in this state that it can be injured or become sour.

1) The American Frugal Housewife, by Lydia Maria Child (1832). (pp. 76-77)
―Six quarts of meal will make two good sized loaves of Brown Bread. Some like to have it half Indian meal and half rye meal; others prefer it one third Indian, and two thirds rye. Many mix their brown bread over night; but there is no need of it; and it is more likely to sour, particularly in summer. If you do mix it the night before you bake it, you must not put in more than half the yeast I am about to mention, unless the weather is intensely cold. The meal should be sifted separately. Put the Indian [meal] in your bread-pan, sprinkle a little salt among it, and wet it thoroughly with scalding water. Stir it up while you are scalding it. Be sure and have hot water enough; for Indian [meal] absorbs a great deal of water. When it is cool, pour in your rye; add two gills of lively yeast, and mix it with water as stiff as you can knead it. Let it stand an hour and a half, in a cool place in summer, on the hearth in winter. It should be put into a very hot oven, and baked three or four hours. It is all the better for remaining in the oven over night.

2) The Philosophy of Housekeeping, by Joseph B. Lyman (1869). (pp. 168-170)
―A variety of bread quite common in the Eastern States, and, when well made, surpassed by none for its palatable and nutritive qualities, is a combination of rye meal  and corn meal, called rye-and-indian, or Boston brown bread. For persons of sedentary habits and dyspeptic turn, no food is more wholesome, yet it is by no means easy to produce this article for perfection.
Of unbolted rye meal sift one quart, of unbolted corn meal three pints; to the corn meal add, say, a tablespoonful of salt and half a pint of molasses. Pour upon this, boiling milk or boiling water, till the corn meal is thoroughly scalded. Now add cold sour milk or butter-milk with your rye meal, and soda enough to correct the acid  in the milk and in the molasses. If you have stewed pumpkin or mashed Irish potatoes, a half pint added will improve the flavor of the bread. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly with the hand. It needs no time to rise. Bake in a hot oven for two or three hours. This will make a large loaf; and it is better to put it into one pan than to divide the dough. A very thick and hard, tough, and palatable crust is formed, which some find their teeth strong enough to masticate. A mode of cooking, preferred by some, is by steaming in an ordinary pudding-pan, with a tube running up through the middle, after the manner of a cake-pan. Put the dough into such a dish, cover lightly and place in a kettle of boiling water, where it should remain and boil constantly for four hours. As the water evaporates, supply from a boiling teakettle. Cooked in this way, no crust is formed, and the bread has a delicious flavor, and remains moist for a couple of days.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mundus with Morta

24th of August is one of the Roman days of Death, the hole to Underworld was opened this day so that the spirits could visit this world.

Morta was the third of the Roman Fates, the one, who cut the silver cord of life. Don't be afraid of Her, She knows what She is doing, even though you don't. No-one dies before their time. Everyone dies exactly when they are supposed to die. It might seem to us it was too soon, that there was so much to do, so much to achieve, so much to experience, so much life... but there really isn't.
I wish you would learn to know Morta as the kind and gentle sister of Pacithea, Rest. Death is The Big Sleep, the Eternal Rest, where nothing bothers you, nothing harms you, nothing hurts you and nothing pains you.

Have a Silent Party to all your loved ones. Serve their favorite dishes, and set the table for the invisible guests who are passing by your life. All the ancestors who care about you, all your friends and relatives who have gone by, all those who were your soulmates when they were alive... You could also serve a dinner to someone you wish would come and visit you... Who is that? Whom would you like to meet from all the people who are dead today, whom would you serve a dinner? Marie Antoinette? Elvis? C.S.Lewis? Sokrates? Julius Caesar? Mata Hari? Marilyn Monroe?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Come dine with me

I enjoy watching Come Dine With Me. I don't know why... perhaps it's the "I'd do that better" factor.
I sort of like Dave Lamb's sarcasms, except when he's just mean.

The episodes I like most are the ones where the competitors get well on with each other, enjoy their time, really like the food - and the food is good, well-made and beautiful - and give points generously and there are only a couple of points between first and last.

I like least the episodes with... uh.

The purpose of a dinner party is that people enjoy eating together. It's not for you to teach new habits, preferences, opinions, information or anything to your guests. It's not for you to show off. It's not for you to lecture, it's not for anyone to mock the others or the food, or criticise, or shame or... Your job is to do your best to make everyone feel good about themselves, you and the food.
I know Come Dine With Me is a competition, but keep your criticism to the point giving.
In what way will telling the host, for example, that the plates are cold change anything? Is he supposed to take the plates back to kitchen and warm them up? No. You are just showing off and making an ass of yourself. The food won't get warm because you point out it's cold. You will also give an unfair edge to the other competitors as you tell them to watch out with the plates - something they might have missed as well, as most people don't warm up the plates for an informal dinner at their homes. So what you have done is caused unnecessary sorrow for everyone.

One thing that really irks me with people and food is the terrible intolerance people have. I'm not picky, I know what I like and what I don't like. I don't like seafood. It smells and tastes bad, and the consistence is weird. I have eaten seafood, and I will eat it if I ever has to, but I don't like it.
I don't like onions (onions, leek, chives, garlic etc.) In small amounts, correctly made, in right company, these can be really nice, but 90% of time people use too much, wrong and in everything, so it's better to avoid getting disappointed and having to eat stuff that smells and tastes like rusty nails in sweatty woollen socks.
I don't like mushroom, because they taste dirt.
I don't like asparagus, brussel sprouts, saffron, koriander, coffee and several other things, just like I don't like purple, daisies, ladybugs or Hugh Grant. It's a question of preferences, not that I'd be spoiled, immature and whiny.
It really is not your job to "convert" me. Serving me seafood is just as faux pas as serving meat to a vegetarian.
The worst thing you could do as a host of a dinner party is trying to trick your guests to eat things they have expressed they don't like. I would eat shrimp with aioli and say I like it, because I have manners, not because I liked it.
(P.S. You don't know why people don't like certain foods, and it really is none of your business. Show a little tolerance and respect, and set your guests' comfort before your own.)

Now, there are foods many people don't like. Try to choose food most people will be able to eat.

Food people have generally difficulties with:

offal (liver, tribe) and odd cuts, like pig feet
odd animals, like giraffe
food that looks at you. No whole fish or sheep's head.
raw fish and meat
asparagus, okra, brussel sprouts, peppers, spinach, coriander/cilantro, artichokes, eggplant, beets
garlic and other onions mushroom
spiced food
strong cheeses, blue cheese, havarti, limburger
peas and beans
seafood, especially oysters and squid, sea urchin, roe...
(anchovies, sardines, kippers...)
ants, grasshoppers, larvae... insects
fermented food, like kimchi/sauerkraut
grits, polenta, semolina, rice pudding, tapioca

There is plenty of delicious food most people have no problems eating, so there is no need to serve any of this.

If your guest asks for something, see that she gets it, if possible. Don't roll your eyes, if your guest wants to "spoil" her dinner with ketchup or horseradish, it's her dinner, and really none of your business.

See that there is salt and pepper on the table, so that your guests can help themselves. Some people like more salty or spicy food than others. It's not an insult, so if you take it as such, you're an idiot.

There should also be plenty of clean, fresh water.

Also see that there are toothpicks on the table, and if you serve anything that is to be eaten with fingers, have bowls of water so that people can wash their hands.

Also, if you are the host, see that your toilet is in pristine condition and there's plenty of toilet paper, soap and towels. The rest of the house doesn't need to be extra super hotel standard clean, but the toilet and the kitchen should be.
See also that there is sanitary napkins visibly (but discreetly) available in case of an accident; and that there is headache pills and something to treat heartburn and upset stomach.

Don't tell people what is the proper way of cooking, serving or eating. It doesn't matter whether you're the host or a dinner guest. It's not your job to educate people of the proper way of doing anything. It's a dinner party, not a finishing school.

Don't say food looks horrible. Keep it for yourself. Most probably the others can see it too, so no need of pointing out the obvious, and if they don't see it, good for them.

Don't criticize the food in any way. If you cannot say anything good, don't say anything. If you're a guest of a competition dinner, you have the points to express your critique, if not, it's rude to criticise a gift. You don't need to eat anything.

Don't make noises or faces, don't "ew" or "yuk", don't roll your eyes, don't grin. 

Don't ever, ever, ever say the food looks, smells or tastes like poo or puke or anything else inedible. Don't even talk about poo, puke or anything else inedible.
Do not talk about disgusting things you have eaten or plan to eat, or have heard someone ate, no discussing placentas, insects, rotten food or baby animals.
Also, no medical details, no mentioning of surgeries, injuries, childbirth or illnesses.
Don't talk about anything that might make anyone feel sick.
No talk about frogs, snakes or snails, even though some people find all these things delicacies.
Just don't. If anyone starts talking about these things, put a stop to it immediately.

If you find the discussion boring, start a non-boring one yourself.

Things to discuss
- what is the best thing you have eaten, what is the best food experience, what was your favorite childhood food, what has been the best dinner experience so far, any restaurants you have visited that left a good memory (or bad)
- Is food a purely taste experience for you, or is it a health or ethical issue?
- What five things you have always in your fridge?
- If you had the opportunity to meet one person you haven’t met who would it be, why and what would you talk about?
- any recommendations about books, movies, tv series
- what is your favorite and least favorite color and why - interesting info; what favorite colors tell about the person
- If you could change one thing about the human body, what would it be?
- If you had a super power / magical ability, what would it be?

If one or more of your fellow guests irritate you, let them. It's a question of just a couple of hours. You can keep your mouth shut for a couple of hours. You can snicker at your smart comments and responses, but don't say them out loud. Lashing out on them will not make them less obnoxious, in the contrary. You have taken the bait, it works. It will only spoil the dinner from others as well, and yours is already ruined, so take one for the other guests.

Dress up nicely. Be clean. Surprisingly people need to be told this.  

If there's a dress code, follow it. It doesn't matter if you think it's stupid or ridiculous or unflattering or something else, it's the host's party and he/she decides.

Bring a gift.
Flowers are good.
Wine is okay, even though some people don't drink it.
Chocolate is okay, even though some people don't eat it.
Other food gifts are okay as hostess gift for a dinner party, for example spiced oil or vinegar, an exciting preserve or cookies.

It is also a nice idea to give party favors. It doesn't need to be expensive or advanced. It's just a gesture.

Have some entertainment or party games.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Countdown to Beltane, Day 1

Today is April Fools' Day. It's 30 days to Beltane, the feast of feasts and song and dance and merrymaking and lovemaking...

I am going to post a similar countdown to Beltane as I posted to Ostara, and the same goes as for Ostara countdown; if you leave comments, I'll link to your blog, or if you leave links to an interesting page, I'll link to that.

I appreciate comments, it would be enough to just say ":-)" or "thanks for posting this", if you find it hard to express your thoughts. Just give me a little word to remind me I'm not alone. :-)

I was reminded of the difficulty of reading heavy posts, so I will be sharing the information into three:
in this blog will be all the recipes and meny suggestions,
in Homes4Her will be information relevant to household, living and general holiday information and
in Need More Fiber will be all crafts, daily ornament and such.

Goddess of today is the Trickster Goddess; Loki's mother Laufey, Eris-Discordia, Apate-Fraus, Furrina and Laverna

The trickster God is one of the most misunderstood deities in the world. She is not evil. She is there to remind us of that nothing is fair, we are still animals and everything changes all the time. The world seeks from order to chaos and back again, like a pendulum. She is there to remind us not to take ourselves too seriously. "I'm full of it and know nothing. Dude." Compared to it all, just such a tiny bit of it all as the starry night sky, we are pretty small and insignificant... and yet - the center of the universe ;-)

Eris is considered to be an evil Goddess, interested in creating arguments, quarrels and fights. But... if you think about it... she didn't MAKE people to fight. That is what they CHOSE to do to "solve" the problem they were presented.
"To the most beautiful" stood on the apple she threw among the wedding guests. Naturally the Goddesses were the most beautiful, and they all were equally beautiful, but would they agree on that and let the apple lie?
Would they let it lie because they KNEW it was one of Eris' apples?
Did they agree to give it to the bride of the wedding, Thetis, who was not that much uglier than the Goddesses... and we all know the bride is the most beautiful woman in her own wedding, what ever she looks.
No. They chose to fight over it.
Eris is the Greek Goddess of Strife, Contention, Discord and Rivalry and a Goddess of War.
She is generally understood to be the same Goddess as Enyo (Warsome), who is associated with Bellona and Anatolian Ma (Hebat/Hipta/Kubaba/Kupala/Cybele).

Apate-Fraus, the Goddess of deceit, guile, fraud and lies... interestingly her male counterparts are listed as "cunning wizard God of trickery and disguise" :-Z

Apate and Eris are daughters of Night and Darkness.
(Other children of Night are Sun, Moon and Stars, Dawn, Dusk and Day, Air and Sky,
Doom, Violent Death, Nightmares, Blame, Misery, Faith, Revenge and Avengers and Insolent Pride,
Old Age and Hard Work,
Peaceful Death, Sleep and Dreams,
Moderation, Prudence, Love and Affection.
Pretty basic...)

Laverna is Goddess of Thieves and Furrina... not much is known of this Etruscan Goddess, as the Romans accepted and honored the deities of the conquered people, but didn't know much of them, but one can assume she too was Goddess of Thieves and other nightly activity, and the Goddess of Underworld. I think she might have been the Etruscan Night Mother (Nyx).

Patricia Telesco gives Laufey as the Goddess of April 1st and says
"Spring's upbeat theme continues into April, offsetting the rains with laughter.  It it's been a while since you really chuckled, consider renting a good comedy movie.  As you watch it, light a candle and ask Laufey to join you!"

Here's some information of the positive influence of laughter.
I love Marx brothers' movies and Aristocats. I still laugh when I watch it :-D Part of it is that I'm laughing at myself for laughing :-) It gets me all the time :-)

What's for dinner?
The Fool's Dinner, of course! Serve the desserts first and savoury course last, looking like each other. You could serve "chicken nuggets with peas and carrots and mash" and have a wonderful cake as "dessert". Here some other "switched" recipes and here some ideas for you to try.

You can also eat fish for the April Fish, or eat what ever you want, to honor The Fool and Trickster Goddesses.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some side dishes for Yule :-)

Richard Corrigan's Mustard Fruits (Chutney)

250 ml water
400 ml sugar
dash vinegar 100ml
piece of cinnamon
3-4 cloves
peel of one lemon
dried cranberries
50 g dry mustard powder
200 ml mixed peel
400 g dried fruits in small pieces; figs, dates, apricots, pears...

mix all the ingredients in a pot and cook 10 minutes with the lid on.
Spoon the mixture into sterilised jars and seal while hot. Invert the jars until cool. Store in a cool dry place.
Serve Mustard Fruits with ham or cold meats. Refrigerate after opening.

Moroccan orange salad

Peel the oranges. Be careful to get out all the white. Slice the oranges and arrange beautifully on a plate.
Take a pommegranate, cut it half and pound all the seeds on top of the oranges
Sprinkle on some mint or flat-leafed parsley (or arugula) and onion rings, if you like onion.
Make a nice dressing of one part of olive oil, one part of vinegar, orange juice and orange blossom water, and a little sugar, salt and pepper, and sprinkle over the fruits. Dust with a little ground cinnamon.

Waldorf salad is excellent at Yule :-)

Mix some grated horseradish in applesauce :-) Wonderful to ham and roasted bird

Danish red cabbage - also wonderful to pork and poultry

Swedish browned cabbage

Don't only roast potatoes for Yule dinner - roast all kinds of roots, like sweet potato, turnips, rutabagas, swedes, carrots, celery, parsnip, beetroot, even pumpkin and squash goes well :-)
Just peel and cut the vegetables in good chunks, perfect for a mouthful, rub them with oil, salt, a little sugar and herbs, like rosemary and thyme, and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, then turn them and roast 15-20 minutes more. Absolutely wonderful :-)

Finnish carrot casserole (kugel)
It's slightly sweet, and in my mind goes wonderfully with meatballs and sausage, but it's too sweet to some people.
Rutabaga casserole
this is the best with pork :-)
Sweet potato casserole
(not sweet potato casserole, but potato casserole that's slightly sweet)
Beetroot casserole

Rosolli - mixed vegetable salad

What to eat with this?

Of course you could eat turkey, duck or goose for Yule, but you should be eating pork. Now, of course the pork should be from a "happy pig". Go and see your Yule ham while it's still alive and see it has a good life.

Delia Smith's Roast Collar of Bacon with Blackened Crackling

Jamie Oliver's Jerk Ham

Nigella Lawson's Coca Cola Ham