Friday, January 16, 2015

Pumpkin Cheesecake


Pumpkin Cheesecake

Prior to making and eating this dish, I don’t think I had ever tried a pumpkin dessert before.  Considering the popularity of pumpkin desserts, I had always been really curious to see what all the fuss was all about.

I love cheesecakes but the idea of having a pumpkin cheesecake sounded a bit unappealing to me. However I was very pleasantly surprised. Far from unappealing, it was outrageously delicious. The pumpkin flavour was subtle but present, it was just enough. The texture was amazing, soft and silky. Pumpkin added a nice creaminess, as well as a pleasant yellow color. While eating the cheesecake I got reminded of dulce de leche, not sure why. Maybe cooked pumpkin and cream cheesecake has a slight dulce de leche flavor or aroma. Or maybe my senses went astray. The recipe is available here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Texas Quorn Chili with Spinach


Texas Quorn Chili with Spinach

Recently I received a bag of Quorn mince to try. Quorn is a meat substitute. According to the Quorn website, “Quorn products main ingredient is Mycoprotein which is a nutritionally healthy protein source. Mycoprotein is produced by a process of fermentation similar to that used in the fermentation of yeast in bread.” This didn’t make too much sense to me, so I consulted Wiki. Here’s wiki’s explanation:

“Quorn is made from the soil mould Fusarium venenatum strain PTA-2684. The fungus is grown in continually oxygenated water in large, otherwise sterile fermentation tanks. Glucose and fixed nitrogen are added as a food for the fungus, as are vitamins and minerals to improve the food value of the product. The resulting mycoprotein is then extracted and heat-treated to remove excess levels of RNA. The product is dried and mixed with egg albumen, which acts as a binder. It is then textured, giving it some of the grained character of meat, and pressed either into a mince resembling ground beef; forms resembling chicken breasts, meatballs, and turkey roasts; or chunks resembling diced chicken breast.”

So Quorn is produced by growing fungus in water, then it is mixed with egg whites. I suppose Quorn is quite different from laboratory grown beef.

I decided to use the fungus and egg white mixture (aka Quorn) to make Texas chili. It turned out OK. The Quorn was too soft. It felt slightly mushy but held together, if that makes sense. Quorn definitely looked like minced meat, but didn’t really feel or taste like it. However strong sauces will mask the taste, so you won’t know whether you are eating Quorn or meat.

Quorn, or other meat substitutes, don't necessarily have to taste or feel like meat, as long as it tastes delicious on its own. For example, tofu's texture is nice (debatable). Unfortunately Quorn's texture was not appealing to me, I would rather eat tofu, other vege or meat. The recipe is available here.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly


Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly
This is the nicest crackling I ever had. Really crispy, no chance of breaking my teeth. And the meat had a fantastic flavour. Soy, garlic, miso and five-spice powder all worked well together and produced a good result.

I have made crispy pork using different methods but the method suggested in the recipe, pouring boiling water over the skin, did miracles. The recipe is available here.


Crispy Chinese Roasted Pork Belly