Saturday, June 4, 2011

Red bean soup, gnocchi, salt is not as bad and fresh pasta is not really fresh

Gnocchi with herring in ginger tomato sauce
Food Diary (June 04, 2011)
Breakfast: Rolled oats with coconut, banana, sunflower seeds and flax seeds
Lunch: Gnocchi with herring in ginger tomato sauce
Dinner: Rye and flaxseed sourdough, gnocchi with mixed veges
Baking/sweets: Sweet adzuki (red) bean soup, vanilla cookies

Beans are normally considered a savoury ingredient, not sweet, by non-Asians. However in many Asian countries adzuki (red) beans are used for desserts, not for savoury dishes. I have previously tried buns filled with red bean paste. Today I tried red bean soup. It was good but not great. Red bean based desserts is an acquired taste and I am in the process of acquiring it. There is also the mental block which I need to overcome. In my mind beans are meant for savoury not sweet dishes. I am sure I will get over it quite easily considering my most memorable dessert ever was foie gras ice cream. I would not be surprised if red beans starts become more popular as a dessert item outside of Asia. It is a healthier dessert after all. 

Today's Favourite Photo
Source: Camemberu
Whole Roasted Duck

Today’s Favourite Blog
Salt has been made a scapegoat, now its earning back its reputation.  Doctors, dietitians and the USDA dietary guidelines recommend eating a diet low in sodium to prevent high blood pressure, risk of cardiovascular disease, and stroke. A new study found that low-salt diets actually increase the risk of death from heart attack and stroke, and in fact don't prevent high blood pressure.

Just like salt fat has also been made a scapegoat. But this is slowly changing. Fat is not as heavily criticized these days, and coconut oil, a saturated fat, is becoming increasingly popular. It is amazing how recommendations have been made largely on unsubstantiated or loosely substantiated findings. And this has a significant impact on the way we eat. 

Of course there are good fats and bad fats, and some salts are better than others. Fries and chips with sea salt may not be that bad after all.

I am still waiting for research that says eating sugar is not that bad, and when the USDA makes cookies and cakes as one of the recommended food groups!

Today’s Random Rambling – Is Fresh Pasta Fresh?
Today in the supermarket I saw a packet of ‘fresh’ spinach pasta on sale. The greenish pasta looked delicious. I didn’t check when the ‘fresh’ pasta was made but the pasta can be kept unopened for a month. If you used it after a month it would still be called fresh pasta. Is this possible?

I saw a documentary yesterday involving Italian food. The owner of a well known pasta factory made dried pasta using traditional drying methods. He said pasta is either meant to be consumed fresh or dried for later use. Fresh pasta is fresh just after it is made and he could not understand how pasta that was made weeks ago could still be called fresh.  After a month or so the ‘fresh’ pasta is still wet (not dry) but I don’t think its fresh. The shelf life of the ‘fresh’ pasta is extended using preservatives and special packaging. In a similar manner I would not consider a month old loaf of bread as fresh even if its loaded with preservatives and packed in such a brilliant way that is it still 'fresh'.

I wonder whether this is a labeling issue. Instead of ‘fresh’ pasta perhaps they can be called ‘undried’ or ‘wet’ pasta.

Getting back to the supermarket. I picked up a package, thought about the freshness issue and put it back. I have never made fresh pasta but if I wanted fresh pasta I would go to an Italian restaurant that makes it themselves or try making it myself. Or find an Italian friend. 


  1. Haha ... I like the part about finding an Italian friend :D
    Won't touch foie gras, even in ice cream ... against my principles.

  2. Hi :) Thanks for stopping by my blog & leaving a comment! What an interesting blog you have... I like the format and your writing style! Very cool... I will be back for more! :) Thanks again!

  3. I love your Gnocchi with herring in ginger tomato sauce! I never combined ginger and tomato together, but it does sounds delicious! Interesting story about fresh pasta! Yes, I'd also find an Italian friend! ;-) Oh! My next-door neighbor! :-)

  4. Very interesting point about fresh pasta. I do find the stuff in the fridge quite different to freshly made pasta which is much "wetter" and more pliable.

  5. You are right, I haven never thought that the "fresh" pasta from supermarkets is not really fresh... On the other hand the taste is different from the dry one, so I admit buying it sometimes. (My Italian friends live to far away and I don't think they make fresh pasta...).

  6. I am such a huge fan of red bean desserts! Love love love mochi with anko inside :D

  7. Great blog- your right pasta is not fresh unless your actually making it! But boy does it still do the trick at times! My husband loves all things bean related so this red bean dessert is very interesting

  8. The gnocchi with saucy tomato looks scrumptious! I love it.

  9. Does that duck still have its head on?