Saturday, March 13, 2010

Friday, March 12, 2010

Live From Fashion Week: Vivienne Westwood's Red Label A/W 2010 London Fashion Week | Live From Fashion Week

She is still living it up - FUN that is my comment to her A/W 2010/11 collection 

Live From Fashion Week: Vivienne Westwood's Red Label A/W 2010 London Fashion Week | Live From Fashion Week

Why do I like raw sugar?

It is the  variety of flavor. I use all kind of raw sugar. Palm sugar for Thai cooking & desert making, organic cane sugar and demerara for beverage, muscovado to sprinkle over creps or making caramel sauce and so on.
I found a great book Sweet by Mani Niall from DaCapo Press 2008 through The Global Gourmet. It explains well about my collection of sweet substances in my pantry and to answer Jarg and some friends questions. 

All About Raw Sugar

by Mani Niall
Raw sugars are in fact boiled a few times to remove impurities, so the name is a little confusing—if it is cooked, how can it be raw? However, the relatively lesser amount of processing used allows these sugars to retain molasses, which includes the minerals and vitamins that are refined out of white granulated sugar.

Clockwise from center: dark muscovado, panela,
organic cane sugar, palm sugar,
demerara, light muscovado, turbinado

Fair Trade Sugar
Many foods (coffee, sugar, and tea, among others) are produced in third-world countries with inexpensive labor, and unfortunately, all too often, the workers do not sufficiently benefit from the profits. Some producers are working under fair trade guidelines, whereby the labor force is paid fairly for its work in an effort to alleviate poverty and improve quality of life. Efforts are also made to keep the product sustainable.
Wholesome Sweeteners is such a company. I love cooking with their third party-certified organic and fair trade sugars, for their high quality and for the company's commitment to their production team. They work with plantations in Costa Rica and Mauritius, but nowhere has there been such a direct and tangible difference in the lives of their team as in the African Republic of Malawi. According to company spokesperson Pauline McKee, "The impact of the quarterly premium they receive from our sugar sales go directly to funding community projects. They now have a freshwater well for both residential and irrigational use, land set aside from cane growing for their own farming, and a health clinic. Working with the Malawians is a joy and an honor, and it really puts life into perspective."

Evaporated Cane Juice and Organic Sugar
This term evaporated cane juice was approved by the Federal Drug Authority to clarify the difference between this sugar and white granulated sugar, which it resembles in appearance and sweetness level. Evaporated cane juice is crystallized sugar, minus the final refining stages, which allows it to retain a small amount of molasses and gives the crystals their light tan color. Most organic sugar (sugar raised under organic agricultural guidelines without pesticides) is evaporated cane juice, and vice versa. You can substitute evaporated cane juice (or organic sugar) for granulated sugar in your recipes without any changes. It is commonly used in the natural foods industry to manufacture baked goods.

Because it has its own proprietary manufacturing process, Sucanat (its name created from the words sugarcane natural) belongs in its own category, but I include it here because it is the least processed of all sugars. Its proprietary processing method of dehydration and aeration was developed by Dr. Max-Henri Beguin in the 1950s. Sucanat, processed from organic Costa Rican sugarcane, is the least processed of dry sugars, maintaining trace amounts of potassium, calcium, and magnesium and other vitamins and minerals, but that doesn't make it a nutritional superfood.
Sucanat is granular, not crystallized. Sucanat does not dissolve as readily as crystallized sugar, so a butter-Sucanat mixture will stay gritty and the resultant baked good will be speckled in recipes that call for such creaming. This may be a small tradeoff for some bakers. Many sources say that it can be used as a substitute for brown sugar, but Sucanat is much drier, so in most recipes I don't recommend swapping it for brown sugar.
Sucanat lends its molasses-rich flavor to cookies, bars, fruit crisps, and cobblers.

A light brown sugar with detectably coarse crystals and a light toffee flavor, turbinado is "turbinated" from steaming evaporated cane juice. It is considered a raw sugar, and one brand is named Sugar in the Raw, which is made in Maui and is a vestige of the once-booming Hawaiian sugarcane economy.
Turbinado is versatile and accommodating in all manner of cooking and baking. In butter-based doughs and batters, it creams more smoothly than demerara. But it stays crunchy when sprinkled as a topping for cookies, cobblers, and crisps. For its toffee flavor and ease of melting (its moderate-size crystals melt into larger pools than does granulated sugar), it is the best sugar for topping crème brûlée.

The Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company on Maui produces a variety of raw sugars, including turbinado. Their Premium Hawaiian Turbinado is the result of slow boiling, producing a crunchy crystal of deep ambercolored sugar, rich with molasses flavors. Asked about further details about their turbinado, they demurred, referring to such matters as being proprietary secrets.
Annually, about 500,000 tons of bagasse (discarded cane fiber) is used to generate steam for electricity. This supplies all the power necessary to run the plant; the surplus energy provides up to 10 percent of the power for the entire island.

Moist Brown Sugars
In the second stage of sugar processing, a centrifuge is used to remove as much, or as little, molasses as the manufacturer chooses. In brown sugars made by the traditional methods, such as demerara and muscovado, the molasses is left in, and then the sugar is crystallized via dehydration. During this process, the molasses remains intact, as in first-stage sugars, yet these sugars become fairly dry. These brown sugars are less sweet than white sugar, because the molasses is somewhat bitter.

A crunchy, sparkly, caramel-hued crystal sugar, demerara is renowned for its textural and visual qualities. It is named for the Demerara River in today's Guyana, a former British (and Dutch) colony, but most of today's demerara comes from Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. If you are presented with a sugar bowl in a fine restaurant in Europe, chances are that it will be filled with demerara. Stirred into hot coffee or tea, its caramel flavor is released.
Demerara sugar is ideal for decorating baked goods, as it will not melt in the heat of the oven. It adds a delicious crunch to the surface of muffins, cookies, scones, and other pastries.

Rich, dark, and aromatic, muscovado sugar is available in both light and dark varieties. This moist, flavorful sugar has a hint of butterscotch. It is also known as Barbados sugar and dark molasses sugar.
Use muscovado sugar whenever you want to upgrade your recipes that call for standard light or dark brown sugar-try it on your morning oatmeal, and you may never use anything else. It is incomparable in gingerbread.
On the shelves of the best specialty food shops, you are likely to find sugar products under the India Tree label—amber-colored light and seriously dark muscovado, rough-textured demerara, and golden baker's sugar that is as pale as tropical sand. India Tree owner Gretchen Goehrend credits professional chefs for unleashing the unrivaled flavors of these sweeteners in their cooking.
Goehrend says, "Both Nancy Silverton and Alice Medrich told me these sugars are elegant just as they are-much like any ingredient they scour the globe for. With something this good, there is no need for other flavors or spices, not even vanilla. They couldn't believe they ignored these sugars for years and now find them indispensable in their baking."

Light and Dark Brown Sugars
Supermarket light and dark brown sugars can be made by a highly mechanized variation on the traditional method, which is how muscovado sugar is still made, whereby raw sugar is centrifuged to remove the molasses and attain the desired sugar color. However, many brands, especially beet sugars, make their brown sugars by another process. The sugar is completely refined to the white granulated stage, then molasses is sprayed back on in amounts to create either light or dark sugar. The molasses used for this is always the cane sugar variety, as beet sugar molasses is considered unfit for human consumption. Choose a brand that you like (look at the label for "pure cane sugar," if you prefer it) and stick with it.
Brown sugar is called for in many all-American baked goods. Light and dark are interchangeable, depending on the desired amount of molasses flavor. Brown sugar must be packed firmly into a metal measuring cup to get a level measure.

Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweetener
from Sweet!: From Agave to Turbinado, Home Baking with Every Kind of Natural Sugar and Sweeten 

Quark Cheesecake cups

I was craving for cheese cake at the same time being aware how rich the calories actually are in the regular cheese cake. As I always do, is to experiment with new ingredients. In Germany there are plentiful recipes for cheese cake BUT they do not have the twang or the New York flavor I was longing. This is my version of adaptation of New York and German style cheese cake without crust. you can make it in cute little munchkin cups or in spring cake form - you need to butter the cake form before put in the cake mix. I prefer the cute version as it is more elegant and personal.
Quark Cheesecake cups
for 4 munchkin cups
2 eggs - room temparature
1 1/2 cups Quark or Yogurt cheese – see below
1/2 cup Raw Sugar
2 Tbsp Whole Milk or Double Cream
2 tsp Vanilla extract
Lemon Juice of Half Organic Lemon
Grated Lemon Zest of 1 Lemon
Very small pinch of Sea Salt

Frozen mixed Berried or
mixed fresh fruits

  1. Preheat oven to 170 c
  2. Whisk eggs. Using a spoon, mix in Quark, Whole Milk or Double Cream, Sugar, Lemon Juice, Grated Lemon Zest, Small Pinch of Sea Salt and vanilla.
  3. Pour mixture into 4 Munchkin dishes. Bake until the mixture is set in the middle, about 1 hour. Let it cool.
  4. Serve chilled and top with Frozen Berries or mixed fresh fruits

How to make Yogurt Cheese

I am  using this lovely healthy and low fat fresh cheese in substitute for cream cheese, curd and quark when I am in the location where I cannot find any of the above ingredients. All you have to do it plan in advance and have patient. It can be kept for couple weeks in air tight container in the fridge.

Yogurt Cheese Recipe

Large tub of Plain Yogurt – regular or low fat – important that DOSE NOT CONTAIN GELATINE.
Measurement: 1 cup of yogurt make ½ cup of cheese

Cheese cloth
Glass bowl

  1. Line the Colander with Cheese Cloth. Put the prepared Colander over the Glass Bowl then pour Yogurt in it to drain
  2. Fold the rest of cheese cloth over the yogurt to cover to form a ball
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate  and let it drain over night about 18-24 hours till it forms a ball of cheese

Using tip: you can use this cheese in cooking Indian curries also a good substitute for Cream Cheese or Quark (German soft cheese) and many other dishes both sweet and savory.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Teach every child about food.

 Jamie Oliver on

Teach every child about food at

I hope that "I taste the world" can help some of you about eating well and enjoy food.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Banana Apple Bread Pudding with Yogurt and Honey sauce

The other day was very cold and I did not feel like cooking something major. Even though I was craving for a nice warm healthy savory dinner. There was still some leftover Ratatouille, a basket of mix stale breads and grated mozzarella cheese. We also had nice fresh salad leaves we bought on the same day...not everything we had was old. 

I put together a casserole with cooked pasta and ratatouille by adding some black Provencal olives, anchovies and a bit of tomato sauce. I mixed them all up and topped with grated mozzarella cheese and baked it at 170 degree Celsius for ca 30 minutes. That was the main course and we had green salad with fantastic extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar. For desert I used up all the stale bread we had – small baguettes, corn bread and sour dough bread to make a bread pudding and jazzed it up with banana and apple to give me a healthy feeling. I served this lovely warm desert with nice light yogurt sauce. A liter tub of thick yogurt is a regular resident in my fridge.

This Bread Pudding recipe can use any mixture of stale bread you or your neighbor has. It is easy to make and it tastes really good. We also breakfast with this sweet leftover. A YUM indeed!

Banana Apple Bread Pudding with Yogurt and Honey sauce
4-5 cups of stale bread – tear into pieces
3 large Eggs at room temperature
2 cups Milk
½ cup melted Butter
1 cup Raw Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
½ teaspoon ground Cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground Nutmeg
Pinch of Sea Salt
1 Ripe Banana, mashed
2 small Apple, chopped
Chopped nuts - Optional (Walnut, Pecan or Almond)

2 cup of Thick Yogurt such Greek – can substitute with thick creamy regular Plain Yogurt
1/3 cup Honey – runny
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Bread Pudding
Heat the oven at 180 Celsius degree
1.       Beat the egg vigorously with hand whisk until it turn pale yellow about 3-4 minute
2.      Add Raw Sugar, Melted Butter, Vanilla, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, salt into eggs and continue beating until it well blend
3.      Add milk into the egg mixture and mix well
4.      Add bread into the pudding mixture. Stir well and let it sits for 30 minutes or until the bread pieces absorb
5.      Add chopped Apples, mashed banana and nuts if use and mix well
6.      Grease the baking pan or dish with butter and bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Until the Bread Pudding is nice and brown and fluffy
1.       In a bowl mix Yogurt, Honey and Cinnamon well with whisk
2.      Cover with plastic wrap and keep cool in refrigerate until ready to use
Serving tip: it tastes best when serve warm with sauce.

Chandelier Creative and Commonwealth Fashion Week Diner

 I love this dinner setting ... please click in to see how beautiful it is: