Monday, March 29, 2010

Fishing for coffee

Sometimes you just make things for fun. Like this fish - it is a coffee fish - actually it is COFFEE CREAM but for some unknown reason I decided to put my cream in my fish mould et volia - COFFEE FISH - swimming in a mint leaf sea.



INGREDIENTS.- 1/2 a pint of cream
1/2 a pint of milk
coffee essence
2 1/2 oz. of castor sugar
3/4 of an oz. of gelatine
the yolks of 2 eggs.

METHOD. - Beat the yolks of the eggs, ass them to the milk when nearly boiling, stir until they thicken, then put in the sugar and cool slightly.
Now dissolve the gelatine in 1 tablespoonful of water, and add it to the custard.
Whip the cream stiffly, stir it into the custard when nearly cold, add the coffee essence, and pur into the prepared mould.
Let the mould remain in a cold place until firm.

TIME. - About 1/2 an hour.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Artists reflect the course of obesity with expanding portions in the Last Supper

From The Times
March 24, 2010

Chris Smyth

Jesus Christ and Ronald McDonald may seem to have little in common. But both are presiding over the supersizing of their followers’ eating habits, according to researchers who found that the portion sizes in paintings of the Last Supper have piled up over the past 1,000 years.

American academics analysed 52 of the most famous depictions of the Last Supper and found that the appetites of the Apostles have become increasingly prodigious. The size of the main dish grew 69.2 per cent and bread portions by 23.1 per cent over the millennium, while the plates grew by 65.6 per cent, they found.

The findings suggest that today’s obesity crisis may have deep historical roots, according to the researchers. “I think people assume that increased serving sizes, or ‘portion distortion’, is a recent phenomenon,” said Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, New York, who led the study. “But this research indicates that it’s a general trend for at least the last millennium.”

From the austere repast laid on by the early 14th-century Tuscan artist Duccio, through Leonardo’s lively party of 1495, the supper became a feast in Titian’s depiction of 1544. When Tintoretto painted the Last Supper in 1592-94 the table was groaning with dishes.

Professor Wansink, with his brother Craig, a Presbyterian minister and Professor of Religious Studies at Virginia Wesleyan College, examined dozens of artworks including modern depictions by Stanley Spencer and Salvador DalĂ­.

Using computer design software, they scanned the meals and calculated the portion size relative to the head size of the average apostle. They found a big upwards trend, in research published in the International Journal of Obesity.

The Bible, being more concerned with its religious import, does not dwell on the amount of food consumed at the Last Supper, and it was a “tertiary matter” for most artists, Professor Wansink said. “The ampleness of the food is coming from the mind of the artist, showing what he thought was reasonable and appropriate in the time and place he was living,” he told The Times.

Professor Wansink, whose book Mindless Eating studies how social and environmental forces affect how much we eat, argues that the increasingly meaty Christianity on display is an indication of improvements in agriculture.

“The last thousand years have witnessed dramatic increases in the production, availability, safety, abundance and affordability of food,” he said. “We think that as art imitates life, these changes have been reflected in paintings of history’s most famous dinner.”

The New Testament mentions only bread and wine, but Professor Wansink discovered that fish was the most commonly depicted main course, featuring in 18 per cent of canvases. Considering the symbolism of the fish and Jesus’s injunction to his disciples to become “fishers of men”, this is perhaps unsurprising. Lamb was the main course in 14 per cent of the pictures and, more puzzling for a gathering of Jews on the eve of Passover, 7 per cent of the paintings featured pork.

Jeff Brunstrom, Reader in Behavioural Nutrition at the University of Bristol, described the research as “very interesting”. But he said: “The obesity epidemic is a relatively modern phenomenon and it’s really only in the past 40 to 50 years that you’ve seen big changes in body mass index (BMI).”

The researchers needed to show whether the larger portions had been making people fatter, he said. “If people were really eating 70 per cent more calories than they used to we would be rolling around,” said Dr Brunstrom. “Whether we have seen an increase in BMI historically is unclear.”

That will have to remain among the divine mysteries: the Wansink brothers did not assess whether Christ and his disciples themselves were getting bigger.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Yes, Virginia - there is meatloaf in Britain

Except it's called 'Beef Cake'. (Beef Cake, BEEF CAKE) Sounds delicious, doesn't it?

I misread the recipe and added only half the required breadcrumbs, so I resulted in more of a Savoury Mince, than cake, as my cake didn't hold together. However, my husband said it was delicious and even better because it wasn't dry like some meatloaves are. So, win for me.

Here is it beforehand.



INGREDIENTS. - 1 lb. of cold roast beef
4 oz. of breadcrumbs
1 small onion chopped finely
2 oz. of cooked ham or bacon
1 teaspoonful of chopped parsley
pepper and salt
1 egg
1 gill of stock
2 oz of bread raspings
1 oz of dripping

METHOD. - Grease a plain mould or shallow cake tin, put in the raspings, and turn the mould round until quite covered with raspings.
Melt the dripping, fry the onion until slightly brown, mince the beef and bacon finely, and then mix all the ingredients together, using more stock if the mixture is very dry.
Then turn into the prepared mould, press carefully into shape, cover with a greased paper, and bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes.
Turn out carefully, and pour a little brown sauce round.

TIME. - To bake, 45 minutes. SUFFICIENT for 4 persons.

With apologies to Virginia, who was only inquiring if there was a Santa

Monday, March 15, 2010

The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you're afraid of it — James Beard

I showed my fear... but I didn't back off. I didn't let my fear rule me. But my souffle still didn't rise. Well, it did a bit but not as much as I was hoping.

However, it was still delicious. So you can't really complain.



INGREDIENTS. - 1/2 a lb. of ripe raspberries
2 oz. of cake-crumbs or bread-crumbs
2 oz. of castor sugar
2 oz. of rice-flour or cornflour
1/2 an oz. of butter
1/2 a gill of cream
3 eggs

Put the raspberries, cream, rice-flour and sugar into a basin and reduce them to a pulp by means of a wooden spoon.
Beat in the yolks of the eggs, add the cake-crumbs, stir in lightly the stiffly-whisked whites of eggs, and turn the mixture into a well-greased mould.
Bake in a hot oven from 25 to 30 minutes, and serve.

TIME. - From about 25 to 30 minutes. SUFFICIENT for 5 or 6 persons.

I don't usually have cake crumbs just lying around - so I used sponge fingers and crubled them up... and ate the left overs ;) ... definitely calls for another go around... stay tuned