Adam Balic

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  1. Long Pepper

    It is worth noting that a lot of long pepper on the market is very poor quality. Good quality long pepper has a very complex, sweet aroma, when it is of lesser quality this is lost and it smells very musty.
  2. Long Pepper

    It is used in some Moroccan and Ethiopian spice blends. Well worth trying the latter Wat dishes as they are made using some interestingly different cooking techniques.
  3. Why are lemons sour?

    Lemons, like most of the citrus we eat are hybrids. Some of these are natural, but even so their success and dispersal has been due to human action. Lemosn are sour becasue people like them that way, otherwise lemons would just be some change hybrid growing and being ignored like thousands of other fruit trees. Its likely that many of the ancestral citrus were actually quite sour and bitter as this is the state of most of the extant species (like the native citrus in Australia), many animals have no problem at all with eating these.
  4. Old Scottish cookbooks

    "The Scots Kitchen" mentioned above is a wonderful book, documenting a great deal of Scottish food culture, and is also likely the source of some "Modern Scottish Classics", such as Cullen Skink and Cloutie Dumpling. The first edition has more in it, but later editions contain important recipes like Cloutie Dumpling. Meg Dods is a classic text. Practice of cookery and pastry, adapted to the business of everyday life By Mrs. I. Williamson shows the type of cooking that took place in the New Town of Edinburgh during the middle of the 19th century. In the 20th century there are Scottish WI type books that can be found on ebay. There are also the "The Glasgow Cookery Book", "The Edinburgh Book of Plain Cookery Recipes" and "The Edinburgh book of advanced cookery recipes", although the latter two are a little later then you date of interest.
  5. I guess that part of the problem is about the definition of "cuisine". It can mean different things to different people, beyond being simply "Kitchen/recognizable style of cooking". I actually think that it is a poor term, as it doesn't tend to address what people from a particular area and time actually eat in total. It also can imply ownership of a specific dish or cooking technique, but for the most part dishes and cooking techniques don't respect modern boundaries. Most regions also have multiple styles of cooking that while being recognized as separate, can in influence each other. Home v Restaurant cooking, Urban v Country, class specific cooking etc.Some dishes can be made for decades or even centuries in a particular region, but never get recognition as being "local", in other instances is it can take a very short amount of time. In addition if you look at the cuisine of a specific region, it tends to change quite a bit over time, often very rapidly. Most British people would recognize food published (British cookbooks) in 1850 as British, but not from 1800. "Fish and chips, meat pies, pavlova, meat and three vegs", etc are also representative of Australian foods, so not specifically New Zealand foods. People argue about precedence and some people are very invested in this, but really I don't see much merit in this. If a nations cuisine is based on iconic dishes that as part of that definition have to be owned in total, then it will be teeny tiny list. The people in New Zealand have a specific diet that changes over time, and it has some recognizable styles of cooking/specific dishes. The two don't have to overlap, although often do and there lies the issue as different people see different degrees of overlap.
  6. On Potatoes ...

    In general the names are registered, so they will be the same name in different countries. Sites like the European cultivated Potato Databaseprovide extensive information on individual potato types and there cooking properties.
  7. I think that the "grey" comment is a reference to something I wrote on the thread. This is a slice of Mrs King’s Melton Mowbray pork pie, one of the greats. In "Tradional Foods of Britain (Laura Mason with Catherine Brown) describes a MM pie as "greyish-pink and white". Essentially if you have a pork pie with a bright pink interior the meat has been brined (or dyed) and is not a MM pork pie, which I think was part of the original discussion.
  8. First try - cold pork pie. A pictorial

    I must admit that I am in two minds over Protected Geographical Indication status and food. In theory it recognises a particular food item as having a association with a specific location and allows people that have tradionally been associated with a product to gain the greatest benefit from the commercialisation of that product. However, as the product has to be defined in a specific way then in some ways that is the end of the story for it. The Cornish Pasty Association has applied for PGI status, but they have defined A genuine Cornish pasty as having a "distinctive 'D' shape and is crimped on one side, never on top. The texture of the filling for the pasty is chunky, made up of uncooked minced or roughly cut chunks of beef (not less than 12.5%), swede or turnip, potato and onion and a light peppery seasoning.". Ten minutes on a Google search will inform anybody that is interested that in Cornwall pasties contained all manner of fillings, with beef being relatively rare. So in the end it limits tradion of the food item in question for commercial objectives. Pork pies are more straightforward as the recipe hasn't changed that much since it was developed, although the name has. 1846 recipe: LEICESTERSHIRE PORK PIE. Cut the pork up in square pieces, fat and lean, about the size of a cob-nut, season with pepper and salt, and a small quantity of sage and thyme chopped fine, and set it aside on a dish in a cool place. Next, make some hot-water-paste, using for this purpose (if desired) fresh- made hog's-lard instead of butter, in the proportion of eight ounces to the pound of flour. These pies must be raised by hand, in the following manner:—First mould the paste into a round ball upon the slab, then roll it out to the thickness of half an inch, and with the back of the right hand indent the centre in a circle reaching to within three inches of the edge of the paste; next, gather up the edges all round, pressing it closely with the fingers and thumbs, so as to give to it the form of a purse; then continue to work it upwards, until the sides are raised sufficiently high; the pie should now be placed on a baking-sheet, with a round of buttered paper under it, and after it has been filled with the pork—previously prepared for the purpose, covered in with some of the paste in the usual manner. Trim the edges and pinch it round with the pincers, decorate it, egg it over and bake it until done: calculating the time it should remain in the oven, according to the quantity of meat it contains.
  9. First try - cold pork pie. A pictorial

    Good work, will be very interested to see how you get along with the pastry forming. Regarding the use of nitrates, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie (which now has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)status)doesn't have any nitrates added, just pork, so the meat cooks to a grey colour, generic pork pies mostly contain nitrates and have a bright pink interior. I like the idea of all the spices though and will be interested to read how you describe the taste.
  10. As it happens I have just been corresponding with somebody that make these for many years. He is what they have to say: "50% fine oatmeal, 25% wheatmeal, 25% white flour together with a small amount of yeast, a 'mix' for say 40 dozen, in a dustbin sized plastic container,was proved over about 6 hours until the yeast had risen to the top when it was further stimulated by a small amount of bicarbonate of soda." I've used a similar recipe and they always turn out well.
  11. Shepherd's Pie, Cottage Pie

    Hi Dougal, not at odds with Davidson as in this case he is making a guess, rather then offering anything evidence based. As it happens the recipe I have given above is from Scotland and as you can see it doesn't requirer a mechanical grinder/mincer. The recipes remained grinder free for about 40-50 years in many cases. Basically Shepherds were some of the poorest members of the community and by and large were looking after somebody elses sheep (with some exceptions like Farmer-Shepherds in Cumbria). The sheep are not their's to eat. There are some few accounts of shepherds diet, it is pretty simple and when mutton is mentioned it is mostly braxy mutton (meat from sheep that had died of disease or exposure in the field, not butchered). Essentially if you were a shepherd and were offered meat then you would have taken up the offer, not said, "Sorry sir I couldn't possibly eat beef as I am a shepherd and by etymological association that just doesn't make sense". On special occasions (like the Shepherd's Meet in Cumbria) you see dishes like Tatie-Pot being mentioned, but essentially there is no evidence that the modern Shepherd's pie is related to this. There is plenty of evidence that Cottage Pie was a way for well to do households to use up leftovers since the 18th century at least, at some point in the middle of the 19th some people started calling the same thing a Shepherd's Pie (mostly in Scotland), by the early 20th century it had settled on the dish of minced meat and potato. Now there is a stage where a dish that is recognised as a "Classic" has to have an appropriate backstory, as part of this Shepherds and Cottage Pie has diverged as dishes, which is interesting. I should think that the next thing to happen is for some people to insist that it can't be made from fresh mince, as the traditional classic humble dish is made from minced left over roast and therefore making it into a purely middle class event
  12. Shepherd's Pie, Cottage Pie

    This is an early recipe for Shepherd's Pie (1862), you can see that it is a dish for using up leftovers, nothing to do with Shepherds or Lamb specifically for that matter. Shepherd's Pie. Take cold dressed meat of any kind, roast or boiled, slice it, break the bones, and put them on with a little boiling water, and a little salt, boil them until you have extracted all the strength from them, and reduced it to very little, and strain it. Season the sliced meat with pepper and salt, lay it in a baking dish, pour in the sauce you strained, and add a little mushroom ketchup. Have some potatoes boiled and nicely mashed, cover the dish with the potatoes, smooth it on the top with a knife, notch it round the edge and mark it on the top the same as paste. Bake it in an oven, or before the fire, until the potatoes are a nice brown.
  13. Shepherd's Pie, Cottage Pie

    So true! We never had any leftover lamb, so my family has always used beef mince and called it shepherd's pie anyway. Maybe it's a Canadian thing. ← Not really, pretty much all the early (1870-1900) recipes use whatever meat was leftover. The name was ment to add a bit of romance to essentially a way of using up leftovers, not actually refer to anything that Shepherds actually ate. Before the 1870's the same thing was called a Cottage Pie. People have only got worked up about Shepherd = lamb, Cottage = Beef in the last few decades as far as I can determine.
  14. The Davis source makes no claim on the precedence of the name to a particular fruit, where as etymological sources like the OED are quite explicit. But whatever, next time I will be happy to leave people able to spell correctly, but ignorant of what the food stuff actually is.
  15. Terribly sorry about the spelling, typying one handed, feeding a baby at 4 AM will do that on occasion. As it happens that name of the dried grape and the Ribes sp. has been a source of confusion for some time. The true currant is actually the dried grape (Black Corinth/Zante), as the Ribes sp sold as a fresh fruit is actually named after them. An early reference to the Ribes sp is "Bastard Corinthes"