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  1. The Ever Elusive “Egg Batter Dough”

    November 25, 2020 by ThePieMan

    What is a Batter? What is a Dough? And, what is an Egg Batter Dough?

    Batter and Dough seem to be mutually exclusive, a batter is liquid and pourable, whilst a dough is malleable, and usually holds its own shape. There are exceptions, such as high hydration doughs, but in essence this is the delineation.

    With this foundation, it would seem that and egg batter dough is a nonsense. Yet an egg batter dough is at the very heart of the making of Australia’s iconic snack food, the Chiko Roll.

    A batter also has two forms, a) its used in its own right inside a form or allowed to spread as a distinct product goal, and b) as a coating for deep fried foods, either alone on its own or in conjunction with some form of breading, to act as a crisp coating and barrier to oil when fried.

    It is this second use that is of interest to us, as the Chiko Roll had a thick paste-like casing that enrobes the filling and provides structural stability to the roll. In essence, this coating is a batter. Yet, its handling and shaping is clearly characteristic of a dough, more akin to that of a pie crust, yet on analysis it is clearly not a fat shortened paste. Nor is it a leavend “soda” bread or yeast dough. Finally it has none of the mouthfeel characteristics of a pasta dough.

    So what IS this Egg Batter Dough? Three Words: three different arrangements (with and without punctuation) – Egg Batter Dough; Egg-Batter Dough; and Egg Batter-Dough.

    Egg-Batter Dough: what is this? A dough that is essentially an egg batter that has been stiffened until it can be worked like a dough? Plausible!

    Egg Batter-Dough: what is this? There is no trace as far as I can find to such a culinary beast, and the two words, by themselves occupy the opposite ends of a spectrum. Then to this should we then add egg? It makes no sense.

    An Egg Batter contains, flour egg, and water or milk. The eggs are normally separated, and then folded into the rest of the ingredients. the batter may also contain added seasonings and flavourings depending on whether it is sweet or savory.

    The problem with a stiffened batter is that the additional flour and working in order to obtain a “strong” paste that can be worked, rolled, cut, and shaped to keep its form, by necessity knocks the air out of the batter that had whisked egg whites in either soft or stiff peaks, folded in.

    This project is still ongoing. It is a thorny problem, because the very classification of the pastry casing of the Chiko Roll, does not, in and of itself, make any sense.

    This truly is not rocket science, and the casing was “invented” by a boilermaker. So, it is easy to overthink the problem, or is it? It is clear that there is no such thing anywhere else in the world as an, “Egg Batter Dough” other than the pastry casing used for making Simplot’s Chiko Rolls and Corn Jacks.


  2. Introducing…

    November 27, 2019 by ThePieMan

    In last 3-4 months there have been many activities afoot at Vila Tempest. We are still based in Shanghai but have relocated to a smaller location. This has meant we’ve had to downsize Life in many ways. However, this has opened up some new possibilities to explore.

    Allow me to introduce to you some new products and services we are beginning to explore and offer.

    I-Reiki: Being a Reiki Master/Teacher since 2015, we thought it was about time to explore offering Reiki to others. You can find out more about this over at I-Reiki.

    Intentional Oils: We have begun exploring cold pressed nut and seed oils infused with Reiki Energy and Positive Intentions. This is an exciting product as we believe there is currently no other supplier of such a product anywhere in the market. To find out more visit Intentional Oils.

    Black Garlic: This is an exciting product par excellence! Our first commercially available batch is still a bit over a week away, but initial trials have been outstanding!

    Black garlic is a transformative product, a respected and desired superfood, and we can’t wait to see how it tastes in some of our new pie recipes. Who knows? You might even see it infused into some of our cold pressed nut and seed oils! So, watch this space.


  3. Technical Difficulties

    November 26, 2019 by ThePieMan

    Apologies to one and all.

    Due to Technical Difficulties our site went offline in August, but we only became cognisant of that fact just the other day and have been busy working behind the scenes to get back online.

    The Internet is becoming more and more a weird, and wild place, in which to have a presence. However, we are glad to be back up and running.


  4. The PieMan is Back!

    July 19, 2019 by ThePieMan

    Aussie pie connoisseurs rejoice! The PieMan is back! and you can find him in residence in Shanghai.

    This summer we will be exploring a whole new world of pie fillings, to bring to you the best pies on offer, to all you true pie connoisseurs, in Shanghai.

    Villa Tempest Pies are bespoke, hand made on demand, made to order pies. They offer exceptional flavour, and are the pies you choose for us to make, not what we choose to make that day and then offer to send to you.

    Unlike commercial companies, Villa Tempest is a one man show, offering a person to person, personalised service in order to bring you the best tasting pies, outside of Australia or any other pie-oriented culture, today.

    For now, relax and rejoice, because The PieMan is back!


  5. 2019 Year Of The Pig

    February 5, 2019 by Villa Tempest

    We at Villa Tempest would like to wish you, one and all, a very prosperous Year of The Pig.

     Year Of The Pig 2019. Public Domain Image.

  6. Happy New Year

    January 1, 2019 by Villa Tempest

    To You and Yours, from Us and Ours, we wish you all the very best for the coming Year, 2019.

    We hope that your goals and dreams, this year, amount to being everything you hope for.

    Over the coming months we hope to resolve grittiness issues, with our stone flour mills; to successfully make, “On Demand” fresh ground pastry flour from whole wheat berries; to improve our bread and pie baking processes; and to offer something tasty, and new to interested expats in our local region.

    All the best from Villa Tempest!


  7. WELL, WE’VE HAD QUITE THE ROCKY ROAD…

    December 10, 2018 by Villa Tempest

    In the last few years we seem to run foul of attempts to Stop Fake News, Control Anonymous Postings, and other such socially-encouraged, vigilante justice like Scroll-by (drive by) Social Network Assassination.

    My Facebook Profile has been down since February 2016, LinkedIn, and Xing, in quick succession shortly after that, and more recently my Twitter accounts – Funny, my clearly pseudonymous Twitter feed was/is quite ok? Go figure.

    To make matters worse, we missed a Bluehost Renewal Deadline by a week and somehow their system deleted Our site, completely. Thankfully the Wayback Machine had us covered and we were able to recover most of our former postings and image library.

    We have now moved over to Internet Solutions HK, for domain registration and hosting, and hope things will be soon put right again. It’s been so frustrating, trying to recover our entire site, and even the WordPress backups that we had made via Bluehost turn out to be incompatible with the new hosting regime – something to do with .tar files are not .xmr files, or something like that. Grrrrr…!

    So, do please bear with us, we will be up and running again soon. But, for now, I’d like to give a shout out to all of those food bloggers who took the time, in the past, to check out our info, test it and give a thumbs up in appreciation, especially the folks at ALE.is.GooD – it feels great to know that we are being read from time to time.

    Cheers!

    Tsc Tempest (… and yes, that is my real name!)


  8. The “Humble” Chiko Roll.

    June 22, 2017 by Villa Tempest

    In my ongoing research I keep moving forward, or at least try to. Recently I’ve been reviewing my notes on producing an Egg Batter Dough, going back to basics, and looking at what is a batter and what is a dough. Essentially they fall on either side of a continuum of similar products. Chief differences relate to stiffness AND Mixing Method.

    Up until now I’ve been focused on the ingredients and how to combine them without actually trying to understand where this item fits into Australian culinary tradition, or on the continuum that lies between Crepe at one end, and Bread at the other.

    So what is it, this, CHIKO Roll?

    Essentially, it is a meat and vegetable filling, coated in a batter/dough/paste and deep fried.

    That is, it is a Risole, or a Croquette. A mighty big one.

    How did McEnroe make the mental leap from, “Spring Roll” (Chinese Egg Roll) to Croquette? What a question that is...

    Now, as for the filling there’s not much mystery there and we’ve discussed that at length in an earlier posting. The mystery is however is in the dough.

    Is it pastry? Like empanada, or Pyroghi. Is it breaded? Like a croquette. Is it a yeast, egg leavened, or chemically leavened dough? Like Pâte à Choux, fritter batter, or soda bread. Is the dough firm, or thick and juicy? Like pasta dough, or corn dog batter. Is it breaded? Like fried risoles, schnitzel, or tempura.

    So many questions.

    I believe that the dough is a firm dough, leavened with egg, and breaded with fresh, fine, dry breadcrumbs. Their coarseness is dictated by the, “hand painted ends,” which is a fancy way of disguising the fact that the ends are, dipped in egg wash and then in bread crumbs.

    But!!!

    Is the rest of the roll also breaded?

    Texture. Surface texture is the key.

    I believe that the roll IS fully breaded, but then, it is rolled and rolled, and rolled to impress the crumb into the dough and to dust off anything loose.

    Now, the dough… Oh what a traumatic line of inquiry that is! We know now, that fried risole dough is short crust pie pastry, which is then dipped and breaded before deep frying in very hot oil. However, CHIKO Roll dough is not a pie/pasty paste. That’s a fact.

    Could it be a very thick batter that is then lightly rolled in bread crumbs before frying? The inner texture of the dough does not reflect such a method, as you’d expect to find bread crumb granules dispersed into the batter coating, and inspection does not bear such observation out.

    Fried Pasta Dough? Unfortunately the short answer is its too dense. Again, the CHIKO Roll casing is somewhat dense but it doesn’t have the textural qualities of a pasta dough.

    So, what then?

    It is my belief that the casing is a dough/paste made initially with medium to hard peak egg whites, folded into a well rested flour water egg yolk batter, which is then lightly folded with extra flour to make a soft to medium firmness dough. It is not kneaded or worked extensively, and very likely, uses a low protein flour. The dough is left to rest to allow any gluten bonds to relax. It is either rolled before or after, the rest, so that it is ready for making rolls.

    The filling is applied very cold and in a firm consistency to the dough. The dough is rolled up in a continuous roll, then washed with egg wash, rolled thorough a breadcrumb shower then over grating to shake off loose crumbs. further rolling consolidates the bread crumb into the surface of the dough. The roll is then portioned and the last step is, perhaps completed manually – dipping the ends in egg wash and breadcrumb before being sent off to the baking and frying line.

    What does all this mean, for the home enthusiast?

    Make your filling. Roll it up firmly (like boudin) in plastic wrap and chill it well. Roll out your dough, put the filling in, roll it up and carefully seal the egg washed seam. Dip the roll in egg wash and then lightly roll in very fine, dry bread crumbs. Dust it off, roll it again but don’t egg wash, in bread crumbs, dust and then dip and coat the ends. Fry in very hot oil until golden for immediate use, or until biscuit and then cool and freeze until ready to use.

    Make no mistake, getting the dough right is an important aspect. There is no recipe here, yet, because I haven’t sorted it out yet. However, if you are an expat, are overseas, have a desperate urge to make a CHIKO Roll kinda dish because of nostalgia, for God’s sake, don’t use Spring Roll Wrappers! You’d be far, far better off, taking a loaf of unsliced white bread, cutting off the crusts, cutting it lengthwise and then rolling the slices very thin with a rolling pin, and use THAT flat bread as your casing for a CHIKO roll. Its much, much closer to the real thing.

    Cheers.

     


  9. 4K Video Dowloader

    April 2, 2017 by Villa Tempest

    From time to time, we find amazing videos of beautifully created food. Sometimes so amazing in fact that we want to watch the videos over and over again. Since we are not always online 24-7 we like to watch videos offline, and cast to our TV. The best way we’ve found to do this is to use 4K Video Downloader. We’ve been using it now for over 4 years and, at least for the Mac Platform, we haven’t found anything better, and today we’ve finally stopped looking. It just works. We’ve never once been nagged for testimonials, or for likes, or for advertising, or money, and as far as we can tell, we haven’t received a barrel load of email notifications either. In essence, its a sweet application, that regularly gets updated, and is free, to good homes. We’re happy with it.

    Cheers.

     


  10. Having fun with KFC

    February 21, 2017 by Villa Tempest

    So a while back the released a picture of the, apparently, Original Recipe Eleven Spices and Herbs which originally were locked up in some safe somewhere, which they later encased in clear plastic resin. So here are some pics…

    Having a cuddle…

    Original - Photo 11 Spices and Herbs - Corrected - sRGB - v1

    Holding it up…

    Original - Photo 11 Spices and Herbs - Corrected - sRGB - v2

    A closer look…

    Original - Photo 11 Spices and Herbs - Corrected - sRGB - v3

    I hope you find these as interesting as I did.