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I’m an idiot. It’s official.
A couple of weeks back, on another thread, the subject of celtuce and its leafing tops came up (somewhat off-topic). Someone said that the tops are difficult to find in Asian markets and I replied that I also find the tops difficult to find here in China. Nonsense. They are very easy to find. They just go under a completely different name from the stems – something which had slipped my very slippery mind.
So, here on-topic is some celtuce space.
First, for those who don’t know what celtuce is, let me say it is a variety of lettuce which looks nothing like a lettuce. It is very popular in southern mainland China and Taiwan. It is also known in English as stem lettuce, celery lettuce, asparagus lettuce, or Chinese lettuce. In Chinese it is 莴笋 wō sǔn or 莴苣 wō jù, although the latter can simply mean lettuce of any variety.
Lactuca sativa var. asparagina is 'celtuce' for the technically minded.
Those in the picture are about 40 cm (15.7 inches) long and have a maximum diameter of 5 cm (2 inches). The stems are usually peeled, sliced and used in various stir fries, although they can also be braised, roasted etc. The taste is somewhere between lettuce and celery, hence the name. The texture is more like the latter.
The leafing tops are, as I said, sold separately and under a completely different name. They are 油麦菜 yóu mài cài.
These taste similar to Romaine lettuce and can be eaten raw in salads. In Chinese cuisine, they are usually briefly stir fried with garlic until they wilt and served as a green vegetable – sometimes with oyster sauce.
If you can find either the stems or leaves in your Asian market, I strongly recommend giving them a try.
Millet groats cookies with tahini and chocolate.
This time I prepared millet groats cookies with tahini and chocolate. They are not so sweet, have lots of sesame seeds and are crunchy with a beautiful, homely smell.
Ingredients (30 cookies)
3 tablespoons of tahini
120g of brown sugar
100g of butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
a pinch of salt
130g of millet groats flakes
75g of flour
½ teaspoon of baking powder
½ of baking soda
100g of dark chocolate
Heat the oven up to 180C. Cover a baking sheet with some baking paper.
Pulp the butter with the brown sugar, vanilla sugar and salt to make a fluffy mass. Pulping constantly, add the tahini and then the egg. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder and millet groats flakes. Break up the chocolate and add it to the dough. Mix it in. Make little balls from the mixture, around the size of walnuts. Put them on the baking sheet. Keep the cookies separate. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Leave to cool down.
Enjoy your meal!
By Bijay@Sugar Daddy Bakes
I am a Baker and Cake Decorator in India. India has a huge Vegetarian Population that does not even eat eggs/gelatin. So I am constantly looking at finding vegetarian options.
Issue at Hand:
Regular Butter Cream - American Butter Cream ( Icing Sugar 10X + Butter + Milk/Lemon Juice / Cream) is an option ..and a lot of decorators use this as it sets hard, and they also add shortening into it ..and I am like , Nope I can't eat that , much less serve it. Its too Sweet /Gritty and Crusts and just tasteless. It has also made sure that people in my country to completely throw out any butter cream cake . You say Butter Cream and they say - too Sweet/gritty.
I have been successful in the last two years to break that impression by making European Meringue based butter cream - I love Swiss Meringue Butter Cream . It is smooth, just sweet enough , takes colour well, pipes well , and is mostly temperature stable. But I can't serve it to people who don't eat eggs.
I have so far been making a substitute - Ermine/Rue/Cooked Butter Cream - a Flour + Milk+ Sugar custard (AKA Pastry Cream minus the eggs) and whipping butter into it. It tastes good - people like it ..nut its a misery to work with - will not hold shape , will not colour well , and most of all weeps and weeps some more when we chill the cakes.
So I am looking for suggestions on finding a starch that will not weep when frozen in a custard? And my second approach is to move to Aqua Faba to build the meringue and make SMBC. The starch custard option is easy and economical and does not leave me with mountains of Chickpeas .
would love to hear thoughts .
Feather-light chocolate whip with aquafaba
There wouldn't be anything special in this dessert if it wasn't for its main ingredient. It was aquafaba - i.e. the liquid which is left after straining chickpeas from a tin. Up to now I have poured it away. From today I will never make this mistake. Joël Roessel, a French chef, was the discoverer of aquafaba. He wanted an alternative to eggs when preparing meringues.
Protein and starch are the only ingredients of aquafaba. It doesn't have any other additives. Cold aquafaba can be whisked like an egg white. Next time I will try to prepare some meringues with aquafaba, but now I would like to share with you the recipe for an extremely simple chocolate whip. I served it with the sub acid from an apricot mousse. My children were delighted, and so were we.
Ingredients (for 4 people)
200ml of aquafaba (from one tin of chickpeas)
2 teaspoons of caster sugar
150g of dark chocolate
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 tablespoons of brown sugar
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and leave it to cool down a little. Whip the aquafaba in a very clean glass bowl. Add the sugar spoon by spoon and whip constantly until the foam is stiff and glossy. Add the chocolate and stir thoroughly but gently. Put the chocolate whip into some small bowls and leave in the fridge for 3-4 hours. Wash the apricots and remove the stones. Put them into a pan with the lemon juice and sugar. Boil until the apricots are soft and the juice has evaporated a bit. Blend the fruit. Leave to cool down. Put the apricots onto the chocolate whip and decorate with some peppermint leaves.
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