This video interview is a fascinating discussion with Calum Franklin, “The King of Pies” and author of the book, “The Pie Room.” What fascinated me was his exploration into British Culinary Traditions and Pie Making Technique in response to the realisation that everyone in his Kitchen Gang had no idea about how to use an old pie form they had found in the cellar of their restaurant.
Culinary tradition is an important aspect of a region’s culture and should be preserved. I have visited this issue before when exploring the background to the making of the Chiko Roll – an issue I still have not resolved to this day. It is still on my to do list. Please enjoy this video interview, it is well worth watching.
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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.
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.
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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!
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One of the more intriguing contentions within the KFC O.R. test & research community as championed at The Colonel’s Kitchen Forum (last posts 2015), its mirror (currently having Server problems) in the UK, Lumpy’s Larder (now defunct), and more recently at Reddit & the KFC11 Forum is the accepted wisdom that Tahitian Vanilla is an integral component and the suggested recommendation for Vial C, shown above.
Tahitian Vanilla, especially the Grand Crue Raiatea variety is a fine ingredient and it does indeed enhance the synergies between the various other spices BUT it has never sat comfortably with me that it was a, common ingredient in every Southern cook’s kitchen, that the ingredients toCHS’s most famous secret recipe could be found on, “…everybodys kitchen shelves at home.”
Given this statement, and that the argument has already been put before, why Tahitian and not Burbon Vanilla? Moreover, if not Burbon, then why not Totonacs, the true and original source of vanilla in the world? It’s these mental rumblings that cause me pause in accepting the status quo support for this ingredient.
Now, the argument has also been put that the selection of herbs and spices ought to be made from those that were common to the Cuisine of the, “Old South” as typically identified in books such as, “What Mrs. Fisher knows about Old Southern Cooking.” (dated 1881.)
The problem with this book, good that it is, is that its a book written by white folk, for white folk. It, and others of similar ilk, fail to encompass the extent and variety of spices that may have been used, and their common name variants. Thus other, “Black Spices” (a reference purely to the colour of the spices only!) such as Nigella Seed, Black Sessame, Dried Limes, Goraka, Passilla Chilies, etc. are all but ignored because no one can put an easy finger on their use in Southern and Latin American Cuisine, even though there is a verified history of trade in spices from north Africa, the Indian Subcontinent and Asia, as mentioned in books like “The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture: Volume 7: Foodways” (Page 75) and Wikipedia.
What compounds the issue further is that many of these spices are now seen as modern spices, with no Southern historically use, yet many historical ingredients and their uses have gone the way of the Dodo due to changes in Agricultural Industry Practices, changes in International Trade, and the effects and impacts of post-slavery migration.
Now, I am no expert on Southern Cuisine, so I cannot put any true force to my assertions, but I can ask questions, and seek answers, from those more experienced and knowledgeable in this area, thus encouraging discourse through open dialogue.
Recently, on the KFC11 Forum, much has been made of applying the rigors of mathematics and logic to any underlying recipe formulation.
I Applaude this!
It makes rational sense to start from the basis that CHS with collaborator Eula Gordon would have started with a pinch of this a dash of that into a known quantity of flour, tested and tasted until they got that right, THEN asked the question, how many pieces can we bread with that? Moving from there to wholesale supply is a natural extention and the demands of manufacture and the economies of scale would also dictate necessary changes in the formulation. These changes would then be examined in a homogeneous mix to be tasted at the per chicken piece level, not in amounts, but in impact on taste.
However, Great Wall – Great Fence! Near enough is good enough! especially when it comes to turning over a penny 3 or 4 times before deciding to spend it. It is said that CHS was quite pernickerty about his formulations. However, it also appears he was never the fool with money, and would not spend extra just to, Gild the Lily – cost, feasability, simplicity, and practicality were some of CHS’s core hallmarks.
Another area of investigation Not Looked Into is the impact on the spice trade due to growing demands by KFC spice manufacturers for good quality raw materials. This brings us back to the core of my dis-ease with “Tahitian” Vanilla as an ingredient (so sayeth The Pieman.)
Show me the uptick in trade for this comodity against the background of increased sales in KFC and franchise expansion, and you might just win me over.
So, if not Vanilla then what? The three ingredients from above that stand out the most for me are:
Dried Limes (DIY Method over at Charlie Eats, top one, mate!)
Nigella Seed, and
Why these three?
Nigella Seeds: also known as Fennel Flower, Black Cumin, Roman Coriander, and Black Carraway, has been described as tasting like onions, black pepper and oregano. It is a common enough pepper used in North African and continental indian dishses, and is particularly paired with poultry. Knowledge of this spice would have transported with slaves and possibly made its way into Southern Cooking… I have no specific verification for this and am still looking for evidence of its use or trade into the US and Latin America. Certainly it might be masked by common names like those listed here, or perhaps under another trade name.
Dried Limes: also know as black limes are small limes, like Key Limes cooked in brine and then air dried until black. They are commonly used in noth African stews and chutneys. Knowledge of how to make them would have travelled with African Slaves and been applied to Key Limes. It is quite possible that this would be considered so common as to be almost without need, to be mentioned. Again, I have no hard evidence of their usage in Southern Cuisine or their ready availability as a household staple.
Pasilla Chillies: are a Mexican Black Chilli. Others have posited that Red Pepper or Ancho Chilli (a dried chilli) is an ingredient common enough to be known to CHS as an every day staple. So I posit the qusetion if this, then why not Pasillas? I know nothing more about them, but consider them to be local enough to be on the table for consideration.
With all of this it comes back to, What was the real flavour profile of CHS’s Original Recipe 11 Herbs and Spices Mix? Those with the experience are now passing on, the forums are grinding to a halt, are closed to new membership or have been shut down. Those that are still in the search, the new guard, are going it solo, or have no memory, recollection, experience of, or connection with the Original Recipe that has been the source of much of the efforts described in the above mentioned forums.
At 50 years old, I hardly even remember the KFC of the 70’s – I didn’t like it then, it was grey, salty and goopy, and merely tollerate what we have today. So why am I in the Search?
Simply for the fun of it, the mental discipline, and the application of clear, logical thought to the problem at hand… and the idea that one day, I may find a recipe that I truly like that I can pass on to my kids, so that they can genuinely claim to be the first!to state they have truly discovered the Original Recipe, with no help from anyone, anywhere… did it all on their own. 🤪🤪🤪
This search requires an eye on ingredients, and eye on tradition, an eye on history – both recent and distant; and, an eye on commerce. That’s a lot of eyes…
It is not enough for some Copycat Replicator Wannabe to jump up and say, “Here it is!” “I’ve found it, The Original Recipe!” “I AM THE ONE! (the only one)” … “Just gimme da prize!”
Fuck that shit!
Show me the evidence of the claim, show me the research, show me the truth of it all, and not some goddammed, shuckster histrionics, and flim flamery.
Get that shit out of my face!
Its an insult to the dedicated, concerted, & consdered work that so many people have so far done and becomes increasing irrelevant as time ticks on.
I am known in the forums above as, “The Pieman,” this commentary here is my personal view.
Any search of the Internet for “Dim Sims” – an Australian Classic; will pull up no end of recipe suggestions, and lamentations from Expat Australian’s wanting to recreate a little taste of home.
That being said, almost everything out there is wrong; with many an arm chair expert chiming in and correcting those poor Aussie Expats, telling them that what they’re searching for is, “Dim Sum,” not, “Dim Sim.” Dickheads!
[Addendum 04.2016 – at a guess based on what was listed above try: 500g meat, 75g prawns, 50g water chestnuts, 40g spring onion, 2 tspn light soy sauce.]
Depending on the State they come from, every Aussie Expat will have a different opinion on what constitutes a “great” Aussie Dim Sim. My search is for something, known to almost every Melbourne School Child: that is, how to make at home, Marathon-style Dim Sims – a classic Aussie staple in Supermarkets, Service Stations and every Victorian Chippie out there.
After exhaustive searching and testing here is my current recipe (based on this ingredients list.)
Classic Australian Marathon Dim Sims Recipe
130g diced Cabbage
97g Pre-made Wrappers (flour, water)
78g cooked Ground Beef (this should be approx. 23% of the total mix)
2 tspn Water (approx. 21.0g)
2 tspn Wheat flour(starch) (approx. 4.1g)
1/4 tspn free flowing Table Salt (approx. 1.0g)
1/2 tspn Onion Powder (approx. 0.7g)
1/8 tspn granulated white Table Sugar (approx. 0.4g)
* According to Australian Food Standards, “All the ingredients which make up a compound ingredient must be declared in the ingredient list, except when the compound ingredient is used in amounts of less than 5% of the final food.”
*Chinese 5 Spice is only a guess on my part as it is a compound ingredient, and at the bottom of the ingredients list is the listing, “Spices.” Note, this implies more than one spice. 5 Spice, or Mixed Spice are options, but then so too are proprietary blends. I don’t think this’ll ever be know, but this is my best guess.
Combine all Ingredients into a bowl and mix well
Fill a Food Processor with the mix and pulse until the mixture combines
Empty Food Processor contents into a clean bowl and continue to process the rest of the ingredients
Set mixture aside to rest and meld for 30-60 minutes before using
Take a fresh wrapper, place it on your open, non-dominant hand and put 1-2 tablespoons of mixture in the center
Fold the corners up over the mixtureso that they come together, then flute and fold the sides up s well
Carefully form the Dim Sim into a rectangular parcel and stand on its end until read to steam or fry, or freeze.
When ready, cook the Dim Sims in your prefered way. If deep frying ensure that the oil is maintained between 180°C and 190°C It is the heat that causes the blistering effect on the wrappers.
Dim Sim Wrappers This is also a contentious area, so here’s my take. There is no egg listed in the ingredients list on Marathon Dim Sims, nor is there any oil! Its just flour and water, with perhaps, a little salt. Given the above recipe the combined weight should be around 97g give or take. In the above links it is mentioned that the “Original Recipe” used a custom siu mai wrapper. If you’ve looked at this kind of wrapper you can clearly see that Dim Sim wrappers are by neccessity thicker – this is the, “Custom” aspect. Dim Sim Pastry Dough Recipe Ingredients:1 cup of plain white flour (dip and shake method) 1/4 cup water (a tspn or two more if the dough is a little dry) 1/8 – 1/4 tspn free flowing table salt (optional) Method:
Season the flour if using salt (optional) and mix well
Add water to flour and combine until it forms a dough, add a scant more water, if neccessary, to produce a soft, non-sticky dough
Cover in cling wrap and set aside to rest for 30 minutes
Either by hand, or with a pasta press, roll the dough into a 12cm wide strip, and approx. 1-2mm thick.
Cut the dough strip into 12cm squares and keep covered until ready to use
Dough can be frozen in stacks if you place a square of non-stick baking paper between each dough wrapper
So there you have it, my take on the Australian Classic Marathon Dim Sim.
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In recent days, I’ve been redoing my recipe collection, and I’ve come to the realisation, that I have three types of recipe books: a) printed books, b) hand written notes, notebooks and a kitchen diarie, and c) my kitchen scrapbooks – that is books for scrapbooking recipes picked up from supermarkets, snipped from magazines and news papers, and printed copies of online recipes.
Now, in my hand written nots are my notes for the Chiko Roll. Several pages of them, and it has left me contemplating, in my dreamtime, techniques of cooking the roll. Now, in a previous post i mentioned rolling the pastry onto cannoli tubes and blind baking them, well that didn’t work so I ground to a halt again, need to cogitate.
In the meantim, here are a few sites of interest of other peoples efforts to reproduce the roll. My main critiscism, if it could be even considered on, is that rolling the filling up like a Spring Roll and putting it in a Chiko Roll Bag, doesn’t make it a Chiko Roll – Tasty! Yes, pretty and parctical, but not the kind of near to result I’m trying to reproduce.
This mob need to reedit their page for consistence. They list rice as an ingredient and then demonstrate in the Nutritional Info that there’s no rice in it at all, some people… Cooks Info
The only recipe for an egg dough batter for a Chiko roll that I’ve been able to find. Except for folding the roll like a Spring Roll, this is one of the best dough efforts I’vew seen: Paul’s Cheeky Roll Recipe
And from a Museum display case, a description of the original process.:
“The Chiko Roll is an old-fashioned fast food which is still sold in shops today! It was first sold at the Wagga Show over 50 years ago. Wagga was the birthplace of the Chiko Roll. The inventor? A Bendigo boilermaker named Francis Gerald McEncroe. “He made his first rolls on a small hand-fed sausage machine. They were made of boned mutton (lamb), celery, cabbage, barley, rice, carrots and spices. This combination was then wrapped in a thick egg and flour dough, then fried. Both ends were hand-painted.” (source)
Addendum: To increase the thickness of a Spring Roll Wrapper, whilst “I” don’t advocate using them: one can brush a wrapper lightly with water then lightly dust with flour and stack the next wrapper on top. Separate the stacked sheets with wax paper and lightly weight the stack when finished and let them rest fo 20 min. or so. Alternatively, join the sheets together using a cornstarch paste.
But after extensive searching I felt that I needed to revisit this recipe and analyse it just a little more. So instead of a traditional recipe this is going to be a bit more of a “Talk Through” of the changes and reasons for the changes.
First off, that elusive, Tabriz Sauce. Its been the cause of much frustration for myself and for others for some time. At one end is that Sauce, in this case stew-like sauces in arabic are called Khoresh whereas Sauce in the genreal sense is refered to as Salsa. Add into this the way words are combined and you get search terms such as khoresht-e Tabrizi and Tabrizi khoresht and other odd things i don’t really understand that google translate doesn’t explain.
It turns out that a lot of these khoresht sauces use a base spice mix which is then enhanced or “seasoned” to taste. This base spice mix is called, Advieh Koresht. That’s cool, I’ve got most of these spices in my pantry anyway, so then what changes to the sauce might make it a Tabriz? Well, most references seem to refer back to variations on one recipe, Koofteh Tabrizi whereas wikipedia has doesn’t have it listed as Iranian food famous to Tabriz.
Disecting this recipe we find that the broth in which the meat balls are cooked consists of: water, some onion, some savoury, tarragon, leek chives, mint, tumeric, advieh khoresht and tomato paste. As for the meatballs, they consist of: split yellow peas, ground beef, salt, ground chili peppers, onions, and the previously mentioned herbs; everything else in the recipe are fillings for the meatball centers.
Of course all of this adds to the overall flavour and texture of the dish. But that’s not our meat sauce, really, is it. Even turning it into a stewed meatsauce isn’t on the money, there’s no wine, bacon or mushrooms in it for starters. Thus we confront the question, How true to regional flavour is Pancake Parlour’s Tabriz Sauce? Another question is, is this Tabriz Sauce an Aussie-fied recipe or something that’s had a hint of the exotic added to it and then named accordingly to make it seem even more exotic?
I suspect the last part, a nice bit of marketing – and look how successful it’s been, people are chomping at the bit trying to find this recipe, which effectively doesn’t exist except as a standard resipe for use in Pancake Parlour.
So, going back to my old recipe, what have we got?
With part by part analysis
100g Whole bacon or bacon rashers
1/4 cup Diced Mushroom
1/2 cup Diced, seeded, skinned tomatoes (optional) or
1 tbsn Fine diced carrots (optional)
One thing that can westernise, Aussiefy any recipe is to toss bacon into it. Because, everything is better with bacon, right? Another is to add carrots. Mushrooms are used in another Khoresht recipe and diced tomatoes are also not out of place but in pieces small enough but just large enough the add comfortable recognisable flavours that we know. As such these items are really not optional… well maybe the carrots.
2 tspn Tarragon
2 tspn Parsley
These are the herbs I guessed at, and looking at the Koofteh Tabrizi recipe are certainly not far off from being right, but I’d recoment changing them out and using the other herbs: Savoury : Tarragon : Leek Chives : Mint in a ratio of 4 : 4: 4: 1 – this ratio is important other the mint will overpower every thing.
1/4 tspn Tumeric (optional)
1 tspn Coarse ground back pepper
1 tspn Rough crushed sea salt
Here we can certainly spice things up a bit more to bring it a little closer to traditional Irranian Sauce spices. For authenticity I’d suggest making the Advieh Khoresht mix listed above. However the key ingredients seem to be Cardamon : Tumeric : Nutmeg, in a ratio of 4 : 2 : 1 with tumeric adjusted dishside for colour and flavour.
250g Ground beef
1/4 cup Diced Onion
400ml Beef/Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Red wine
1-2 tbsn Olive oil &/or butter
This last bit is classic French cookery and a mainstay typical Aussie meat sauces. The fancy bit being the plonk! (red wine) 😜
So, where does that bring us to now? Tabriz Sauce as I remember it from the Pancake Parlour in Melbourne, Australia always seemd like a Burgundy sauce with aliitle bit of something else, It was salty, oh boy definietly salty I would have never called it sweet, certainly winey and a touch peppery, but no noticeable heat.
Let’s take our experiences and thoughts on this and bring together a new recipe One that is true to my memories and one that would do well to tantalise with Hints of the exotic, subtle, understated, and not in your face, Here I am, taste me!”
ala Pancake Parlour, Melb. Aust.
Ingredients for Advieh Khoresht Mix
1 tsp of each of the following: star anise, black cardamom, green cardamom, tumeric, corriander seeds, ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of the following: groung black pepper, ground nutmeg
Ingredients for Tabriz Herb Mix
1 tsp mint
4 tsp of the following: Savory, Tarragon, Leeks/Chives
Remove the skin(cases) from the cardamom pods and discard, keep the seeds; combine all spice ingredients in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and reduce to a fine powder. Bottle and store in a cool dark place, ready for later use.
If using fresh herbs, wash and shake off excess water, place in a blender and add a scant amount of olive oil and process into a pesto-like paste. bottle and store in the fridge ready for use.
Ingredients for Tabirz Sauce
250g ground beef
100g finely diced bacon
1/2 cup diced, seeded skinned tomatoes
1/4 cup finely dices white onion
1/4 cup finely diced field mushrooms
400ml Beef stock
1/4 cup dry Red wine
1 Tbsn Tomato paste
1-2 tbsn Olive Oil
1-2 tsp Advieh Khoresht spice mix
4-6 tsp Tabriz Herb Mix
ground salt and black pepper to taste
Heat olive oil on a medium heat and warm the spices on the dry pan.
When fragrant and aromatic, spread half the mix on a cold plate and place into the fridge
add oil to the other half in the pan increase the heat
add dice onions and sautee over medium-high heat until soft and translucent
add the bacon and cook out a little
add the mushrooms and the carrots
drain and keep the fat and set the cooked ingredients aside
add the fat back to the pan and start to brown the mince
add the tomato paste to the browned beef, mix together well and caramelise for 2-3 min
deglase pan with red wine and reduce to 1/3 the volume
add the previously cooked ingredients and mix well
add beef stock and check the flavours and seasoning, adjust to taste
bring the stew to a boil and then simmer uncovered for 20 min or until the liquid has a sauce starts to thicken
Check the seasoning anf lavour once more and adjust accordingly and slightly thicken with a tsp of arrowroot/tapioca starch mixed with a little water.
And there you have my new and improved take on Pancake Parlour‘s Tabriz Sauce. That’s all from the Bait Layer today,Get that int’ ya!