dinsdag 9 november 2010

NY food - Serendipity 3

Today I saw an old Oprah-show in which she said you HAVE to put Serendipity 3 in New York City on your bucket list. Or, to be more precise, the 'frozen hot chocolate' at Serendipity 3.
I have seen that one featured in many food shows on tv, a blog or two and just about every travel guide out there. Serendipity 3.
THE placee to go. For Frozen Hot Chocolate :-)

Or, if you fancy, for the famous us$ 1000 golden opulence sunday. Choclolate icecream, yes. With edible gold.

Since I did not have an extra $1000 in my pocket I went there for the FHC. Online I studied the menu, they had a lot of all time american favourites besides the FHC.
And a waiting line of about half an hour. Not too bad, so I decided to wait for my 'table for one'. While I was standing there another single girl came in and we decided to join up and share a table for two. We ended up sharing a cheeseburger as well, but decided on a FHC each.

Well...what shall I say.
I'm not sure it is the best chocolate milkshake I ever had. I mean, it was nice enough, and certainly big enough, but the taste? It is made with a chocolate blend from 17 different chocolates, made into a powder, their signature mix. One cup full of this powder is mixed with one cup of milk and three cups of ice, and blended 'till smooth. Then you add whipped cream, and chocolate shavings.
I have to say, it reminded me a lot of the taste of the chocolate milk made from little dissolvable chocolate powder balls called 'Benco' from when I was a child.(I loved that stuff, by the way). Or perhaps even nesquick powder.
I was a little dissapointed, so to speak. My expectations ofcourse were quite high, with all this media coverage.
But...What a charming lovely place, and what a nice afternoon I spend there with my friend-for-the-afternoon, we shared the burger, laughter and facts of life and later on had fun in Dylans Candy store next door, before each going our own way.
And Serendipity 3? Don't let my opinion stop you. If so many people like their FHC, and they sell the mix online to all over the world - it's definitely worth a try!
Wether it has to be on one's bucketlist...well..I dare to disagree with Oprah on that one!

donderdag 4 november 2010

jam and jelly and Swan turnes one!

Time flies...
One morning you wake up thinking it's time to blog about your jam-making again. And then you realise: Jam! That whas my first real entry on this blog. ONE YEAR AGO!!! Time flies..!

So I was in the Netherlands again, this september. Beautiful weather, and there was time to enjoy our house, family, friends, fall weather and cooking. And my favourite: Apple and pear picking in (commercial) orchards. Sun in your face, rubber boots stuck in the mud in the wet orchards, the smell of the fermenting fruit that fell off already, doing some shopping in their organic supermarket - I love it!

I came home with bags full of apples and pears. I made some juice, I baked applepie, and I made jelly!

Searching the internet I found lots of recipies that call for extracting the juice from the fruit by cooking chunks of fruit (no peeling or coring necessary) for half an hour with water until soft, and filtering this juice through a colander lined with cheesecloth or a teatowel, to make sure you get very clear juice for unclouded jelly.

Patient as I am...I decided to take the easy, quick way out and just extract the juices in my superjuicer that can handle the whole fruit (just half them to check for worms :-) )
First I juiced the pears, left the juice to stand for half an hour so the foam could separate from the juice.

With a large spoon I removed as much foam as I could, then mesured out my juice and sugar. (like last year I used the special jam-sugar with pectine that gives you half-sweet, fresh tasting jam and jelly)
For a little difference I infused my pear jelly with rosemary, by adding a sprig of rosemary to the boiling juice and sugar and allow to infuse for about 3-4 minutes. (on 1 litre of pearjuice I used one sprig, which is plenty).

Spooning of the foam from the hot liquid, by the time the roar in the pan was over I tested the jelly and spooned it into the sterilized jars. Voila, that was my first batch!
Ofcourse the first jar is opened already and nice as it is on toast, it works wonders with cheese, or even better: use it to glaze your apple pie. No, I mean it: USE IT FOR YOUR APPLE PIE!!!

The apples underwent more or less the same treatment, this time giving the jelly a hint of calvados by adding one tablespoon of calvados only, to the amount of one litre juice and 500 grams of this special sugar. The jelly gets a nice little kick but is still ok to use with children or pregnant women - my yield was 4 jars of jelly , so hardly any alcohol per jar. Besides, the jelly is very hot when you add the calvados so some of the alcohol will evaporate.

By all means add an extra tablespoon if you like!
I am sure the jelly will mature beautifully but as it is now it has a wonderful fresh, happy, comfortable flavor. And who wouldn't want that from her jam!

Using the juicing method instead of the boiling-and-filtering method worked well for me. The pear jelly came out just a little clouded - but just a little - nice and golden and beautiful and just not 100% see-through.
The apple juice, from which it was indeed easier to remove the froth, made into a perfectly clear jelly.

Ofcourse I could not NOT make my fig-jam, so that has been done as well. With rose-tea again, this time I enhanced the rose flavor a little by adding some rose syrup.

The only downside is I could not take all my jars with me to HongKong...so while I do have some here, the rest is patiently waiting for transportation when we next visit...!

dinsdag 2 november 2010

Ofcourse they use English in the supermarket!

I'm glad they cleared THAT up for me :-)