We at Villa Tempest would like to wish you, one and all, a very prosperous Year of The Pig.
February 5, 2019 by Villa Tempest
Category Chinese Cooking | Tags: | Comments Off on 2019 Year Of The Pig
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!
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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.
Tsc Tempest (… and yes, that is my real name!)
Category Chinese Cooking | Tags: | Comments Off on WELL, WE’VE HAD QUITE THE ROCKY ROAD…
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.
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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…
Holding it up…
A closer look…
I hope you find these as interesting as I did.
Category General | Tags: | Comments Off on Having fun with KFC
June 27, 2016 by Villa Tempest
What motivates you? For me, it trying to track down or develop a recipe for some obscure, shrouded in mister and time, recipe for some such thing. Today, I present for your consideration my efforts to explore the Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur.
Developed in 1955 by Mampe for Lufthansa, apparently they developed three bottled products, Party, Bitter, and Dry Martini. They were pre-bottled to make it easier to mix in the galley of the Plane. It would appear that “Bitter” is what is known today as the “Classic” mix.
The cocktail, apparently fell out of favour in the mid 80’s but was revived for its 50th Aniversary in 2005 by Berentzen amid a marketing hype of nostalgia. The Berentzen remake contained apparently 12 premium ingredients (Marketers! shades of kfc’s secret original recipe, don’t you think?) and came in at 30% alcohol.
In 2015, ten years later, Small Big Brands gave the drink another makeover, bringing it down to around 15.5% along with adding 6 other mixes to the lineup. It is safe to say that this current incarnation of the Lufthansa Cocktail is a vastly different drink.
According to Lufthansa Magazine, to make a Lufthansa Cocktail you need to mix the liqueur in a 1:1 ratio split. That is, one part liqueur to one part mixer. This mixer can be orange juice & lemon juice, soda water, sekt, or champagne. We also know that the original cocktail liqueur was described as an orange-apricot liqueur. The cocktail that the guest got to drink would vary in alcohol content between 15-21% if we go by Berentzen’s ABV. The Lufthansa Cocktail Recipe typically calls for a 40ml measure of Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur. Why? Because that is the size of the little single serve bottles of spirits on the plane.
Looking at what Mampe was familiar with, we could hazard a guess that it was some portion of Mampe’s Halb und Halb, plus a small addition of Mampe’s Bittere Tropfen, and then some additions to balance out the sweetness, bitterness, and alcohol content of the final product. Either way, the serving suggestion was on the bottle.
With no listing of the ingredients in Berentzen’s mix we we have no direct link between the current and the past, other than both were 30% abv. But! Take heart, there is enough to put together an educated guess, and combine the ides of the past with the reality of the present.
750ml Production Volume
Orange, Apricot, Sweet & Bitter notes
The current Lufthansa Cocktail Classic offering lists: Rose Vermouth, Bitter Aperitif, Raspberry Eau de vie, and Elderflower, and is described as fruity, fresh, balanced between sweet and dry.
Rosé Vermouth is typically around 17.5% abv (current recipe doing the viral rounds); Bitter Aperitif is around 39% abv (note: older cocktail recipes often refer to using Orange Bitters) – this fits our preferred profile; Raspberry Eau de vie is a liqueur of around 45% abv, and Elderflower is typically used as a syrup, i.e. 0 abv.
In my personal opinion, the balance of this above, strongly shifted towards sweet and fruity, away from orange and apricots and more towards berry fruits. The strongest alcohols here are the bitters and raspberry Eau de vie, which become the dominant portions in this mix. The syrup and the vermouth are both diluents, yet, while the vermouth may perhaps have a strong impact on the flavour profile, we really don’t know in which direction this Rosé Vermouth is profiled.
However, this gives us a starting point for pulling together some target products to mix together.
The List currently stands at (German Products, chosen for no particular reason other than this was originally a German concoction – Disclaimer: I make no claim to any endorsement here, implied or otherwise. I have no connection with any of these products, companies or parent companies.):
Belsazar Rosé Wermut; The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters; Prinz Himbeergeist; and Monin Holunderblütensirup.
Let’s add one more product which I will use in our subsequent recipe, Prinz Marillen-Schnapps (clear Apricot Brandy). We’re adding this because orange and apricot are the principle flavours of the original recipe.
The following recipe is my best guess at a Recipe for Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur (Lufthansa Cocktail Likör) it is not the original recipe, nor is it the recipe for any of the subsequent incarnations, but it is informed by what’s been written on the subject and some educated mixology guesswork. So, enjoy, if you will the only recipe on the web for this bottled cocktail mix.
Lufthansa Cocktail Liqueur Recipe (Lufthansa Cocktail Likör Rezept) 30% abv.
250ml Belsazar Rosé Wermut – Rosé Vermouth
370 ml Prinz Marillen-Schnapps – Apricot Schnapps/Brandy
75 ml Prinz Himbeergeist – Framboise/Raspberry Eau de vie
20 ml The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters – Orange Bitters
55 ml Monin Holunderblütensirup – Elderflower Syrup
Combine all the ingredients, mix well and bottle. Makes 1 x 750ml batch. Serving Suggestion: To 2 full measures of Liqueur add an equal portion of well chilled Sekt or Champagne. Serve in a tumbler over ice, or in a saucer rimmed with a lemon segment and dipped in sugar. Garnish with a slice of lemon, or a cherry.
It should be said that “Lufthansa Cocktail” is a proprietary name, and the “real” recipe is secret. That being said, anyone who has drunk this cocktail in the last 10 years or so has not drunk the original but one of the authorized variants. Anyone who remembers the original has a dimming memory of something experienced more than 30 years ago.
I have never drunk this cocktail mix, and like many today, have an interest in it only to satisfy the wishes of someone in our parentage who is reminiscing over this once luxury indulgence. So, keep this in mind. What you are making here is a best guess attempt at something that few remember, and if someone close to you claims to, then they are laying claim to a fond memory and your role here is to elicit and stimulate that memory. I hope, this recipe does help you do that.
June 8, 2016 by Villa Tempest
Waldorf Salad is an old salad, a fascinating salad, a salad common to my childhood, but why did I wake up yesterday and need to make it, to revisit it and the taste of Waldorf Salad as remembered from my childhood?
No-one would have guessed that by the end of the day, I would have immersed myself in the fascinating history of perhaps the most famous celery and apple salad in the western world?
When the Waldorf Hotel in New York opened in 1893, the Swiss-born maître d’hôtel, “Oscar Tschirky” created a simple apple and celery salad for the gala opening, later publishing the recipe in 1896, in his encyclopaedic tome, “The Cookbook, by Oscar of the Waldorf.” (1896, p433)
What we can see from this recipe is that over the intervening period of 3 years, this salad remained essentially a dish of apple & celery, dressed with mayonnaise. It is more than likely that this would have been presented in an elegant manner, but there is no mention in the book about garnishing (a fascinating read that fills in many of the blanks) this salad.
By 1907, however it appears the salad had either undergone some modification and variation, or the principle garnish became part of the ingredient list. Either way, Escoffier, in his, “A guide to modern cookery” (1907, p.623) lists apple, celery root (celeriac), walnuts and mayonnaise.
What’s interesting here is no ratio given for the walnuts and they are fresh, or soft walnuts with no skin. It is interesting to consider, in looking at this recipe as well, the question: Did Escoffier, the most famous chef of his day, presume to teach Tschirky how to make a balanced salad through publishing this recipe, or is he putting his own spin on it, as famous chefs are wont to do?
Next, we have mention of the salad, and how to garnish it, in the Boston Cooking-School Cookbook (1911, p339), by Fannie Merrit Farmer yet walnuts don’t feature in the suggestions.
The next, “authoritative?” mention of the salad with walnuts, and commonly quoted on the web, is apparently in George Rector’s, “The Rector Cook Book” (1928) however, I can not find an actual online copy of the recipe.
It is interesting to note that 6 years prior to Rector and 15 years after Escoffier, nuts: in this case almonds and pecans; get a mention by Marion Harris Neil in her book, “A Calendar of Dinners, with 615 Recipes” (1922, p 159)
Two different types of nuts and quite a substantial quantity. The introduction of lemon juice and sugar and a faux mayonnaise dressing. Hmmm…
What is clear though is that nuts, in general, and walnuts more specifically, have been been an, on again, off again inclusion, but walnuts are now considered the traditional garnish ingredient, and indispensable component in this salad.
By 1977, the Waldorf Salad had become so tired that it was featured, perhaps as the poster child for the differences between British and American cuisine, in a Fawlty Towers sitcom. By this time, grapes had apparently become a ubiquitous and essential ingredient.
As a testament to the Salad’s international appeal, Barbara Rias-Bucher included a recipe in her book, “Das Grosse Buch der Guten Kücher” (1995, p60)
which is somewhat reminiscent of Neil’s, including lemon juice, sour cream, salt and pepper as part of the recipe.
In spite of the fact that Chefs of all sorts, and cookbook authors, have been putting their own stamp on the recipe, and ingredients, Robuchon’s, “Larousse Gastronomic” (2009, p1142) preserves the original recipe and simply states that walnuts were added sometime later, with no further attribution.
It is clear from the history seen here so far, that there has been some common threads, and perhaps two schools of thought, guiding the development of variants of the Waldorf Salad, towards how we perceive it today.
Now, the “taste” of Waldorf Salad, well of the salad that I remember from the 70’s and 80’s, or if you prefer, of late last century, was pretty much the lemon and sugar, mayonnaise, walnuts, apples and celery version.
I remember clearly the mayonnaise – gloopy, all over the place, swimming in it, mayonnaise – the shop bought kind, like “Miracle Whip.” I was never a fan of mayo, actually of anything that contained a noticeable vinegar hint. The apples were cubed, and the celery sliced across the rib. I think mum might have try variants with sour cream and or yoghurt, basically something similar to Barbara Swain’s, “Cookery for 1 or 2” (1987, p52)
but I don’t really recall it so clearly anymore, so I guess I’ll just have to eat my way through salad history and see.
Original Waldorf Salad
So, let’s start with the original Waldorf Salad and Oscar’s recipe. This what we need:
Some mayo, a green apple, a rib of celery and that’s it. The apple corer/wedge-slicer is a wonderful bit of kit, easy to use and you don’t need superior knife skills. Works equally as well on cucumbers.
- wedge and core the apple, then slice the apple wedges in half lengthwise. make sure there are no seeds in the apple slices.
- with the Nicer Dicer Plus, cube some apple slices
- Swap out the cubing blade and replace with the v-slicer mandolin then slice up the washed rib of celery
- Take equal amounts, more or less of apple cubes and celery slices and combine them with a good mayonnaise. Use only enough to lightly coat the ingredients
- Plate up in any manner you wish, I used a ring mould and garnished with some chopped celery leaves for a bit of colour.
Traditional Waldorf Salad
- Prepare the salad as above and garnish with a sprinkle of coarsely chopped walnuts
A 1980’s Waldorf Salad
Proceed similarly as above but note the following additions:
- After preparing the apples, douse them in a little lemon juice, toss well to help combat browning of the apples
- use the fine dicer on the Nicer Dicer Plus to chop the walnuts, its quicker and more uniform than with a knife.
- plate up the salad in a suitably sized cup of lettuce leaf
- garnish with chopped celery leaf, walnuts and a light rasp of lemon zest
A Contemporary Waldorf Salad
These days people are looking for ways to make their salads much lighter, and more fat free. This often involves, using low fat mayonnaise, mayonnaise made from so-called “healthy oils,” or by cutting the mayonnaise with sour cream, lemon juice, water, milk, yoghurt, or even substituting with a yoghurt dressing for the mayonnaise altogether. Other ways of shifting it up is to change the way in which the salad is presented, using other celery components and lettuce substitutes and garnishing with various other fruits such as grapes, dates, raisins, etc.
One of the biggest issues I have with the traditional salad is that it is heavy going from a physical standpoint, you really have to chew on it. One change that makes the salad feel so much lighter is to change the way the ingredients are prepared. Keeping all else more ore less the same, here’s how to change it up, considerably:
- using a V-Slicer mandolin with the fine julienne fitting, slice the apple into matchsticks
- Using the end of the celery bunch, peal away the dirty bits and julienne
- toss the apple and celery together with a coating of lemon juice and a scant amount of mayonnaise ensuring that all the apple and celery is lightly and evenly coated, but not dripping in mayonnaise
- Shred the green tops of a lettuce, and place in the bottom of a ring mould, lightly drizzle some lemon juice over the lettuce and layer some quartered walnuts on top
- top with the julienne of apples and celery and garnish with shredded celery leaves, a sprinkle of diced walnuts and a rasping of lemon zest
- drizzle a few drops of extra virgin olive oil around the plate and sprinkle the oil lightly with any red chilli powder of your choice. Alternatively you use ultra fine chilli strings, or curled slices of bell pepper…
and there you have my take on a gently dressed, easy to chew, flavourful and well textured, crisp and light, contemporary Waldorf Salad, that is true to both the original, and the tradition, elements of the dish.
May 26, 2016 by Villa Tempest
When I was a lad, back in the 70’s of last century, I was told that my grandfather had a lifestyle crisis when he was 40. Almost blind, alcoholic, and a size 44 belt (…that’s a 44″ long belt.) After “Studying” Pritikin and Davis (she was his pinup poster girl of diet), he then took control of his diet and changed his eating habits and doubled his life expectancy. He lost the weight, became less blind, more active, and famous for swimming in the Daylesford Lake during Winter, even when it snowed. He eventually died of prostate cancer at age 86.
These days, my wife, like many women has her ups and downs with personal self image, and seek assistance through various current, all the rage, “it works…” – sorta kinda fad diets like Dukan, and other high protein, low carb diets. Because of this, and being a stay at home dad, I am confronted, and somewhat conflicted with the various recommendations and the implications of them on the household kitchen, menu planning, cooking, and meals in general. Especially given that I harbour polar opposite views to those of such diets and their guru champions.
Growing up, I was told, by various nutritional experts, that ideally I should eat 4-6 times a day and my food intake should consist of somewhere around 80% Fruit ‘n Veg (including nuts, legumes, seeds and whole grains), and 20% of the other stuff (meat, fats, refined sugars, etc.) My problem however, was that I couldn’t envisage how such an implementation looked on the plate, in actually mentally approaching food in such a way as to be easy-peasy, so la la. Instead I hung on, fiercely, to the Meat-atarian mantra, “My ancestors did not fight their way to the top of the food chain, just for me to be a vegetarian!” And took delight in provoking, otherwise nice people, friends, classmates, etc. who consciously made the choice to be, “Vegos.”
Since then I’ve spent 8 years in China, 4 years in Vietnam, and 4 years in Germany. Both me and my wife felt better, looked better in Asia. so, to some extent I understand those who advocate for diets based on the China Study, or less extreme versions of Walter Kempner’s, “The Rice Diet” (pdf), but with a caveat. It wasn’t all good for me in Asia, and extensive “hot” chili ingestion has left me with a highly sensitive gastric system. One that responds better to less aggressively spices foods. The “Western” diet, as experienced by me in Germany, also disagrees with me. High reliance on bread, cheese, meat, dairy, twice a day, interspersed with a main, cooked meal in the middle of the day, also leaves me with a sensitive gut, and gasping for air due to too much gas.
At age 50 now, I guess I’m starting to mellow out a bit, but still I have the problem, I know what is right, but not how to implement it. I wish there was a book that did away with all this Diet crap and just showed me what it all looks like in simple easy to identify building blocks that I can learn and teach to my son, and wife. I’m still no advocate of Starchivore diets, Rice Diets, Mediteranean/Cretan Diets or Atkins/Paleo variants, I believe we as humans are omnivores, using starches, fruits and veg (gathered, foraged foods) to place-mark daily energy needs, supported with meats, eggs, fish, etc. (hunted foods) as supplemental energy highlights. As such, a “China Study” (pdf) type diet informed by the Cretan Diet (pdf), with a reduced emphasis on red meats, saturated fasts, and refined sugars, is moving in the right direction, i.e. the 80/20 diet recommended to me so long ago, and practically also followed by my grandfather.
Its interesting to note, that the “Vegan” Diet is defined as 75% Carbohydrates, 15% Protein, & 10% Fats according to Neal Barnard, MD. When you look at that, on the surface, considering what I know from the past, that’s not too unusual or strange. where it gets squirrelly is in the moral/ethical/ego arguments over where those fats and proteins should & shouldn’t come from. For me? I simply just don’t care about any vego/vegan claim to some fatuous moral high ground about protein sources, or about, “saving the world, one mouthful at a time.” I’m still trying to come to grips with how this all looks and works in MY kitchen, on a day to day basis, for me and my family. If you ask me there are too many, “gurus” and guru-wannabes that are doing more ill than good by muddying the waters, so to speak, rather than getting down to the absolute basics of, this is what all this means, here, see, its gets no more difficult than this. Do this, exactly like this, and you’re more ore less good to go. no calorie counting, no protein overloading, no out of balance too far to the left or right extremist, foodist, dietry bullshit.
I have to plan meals for myself, maintain average weight, my wife, lose weight, my 10 y.o. super active, sporty son – a growing boy and ensure we all eat well, eat healthy enough for us, eat economically, and eat enough of what is right for us and protect my family from the dangers of, radical foodism. So where to form here? I’ve searched out a variety of texts, one of interest is the 400 Calorie Fix book, which appears to come close, really close to what I’m looking for (guess I’ll have to buy it to try it) but its just so -urrrggh, frustrating, no look-in-the-book and it appears to have the same problems as all the other Diet fad books. Like wading through the sewer system, groping around with your hands, trying to find a lost ring or two. What I NEED is a seasonal, 365 1/4 days of the year, menu plan for 4-6 meals per day, for adults and school going kids, and honestly even this doesn’t come close, especially at that price for an ebook!
When I, my brother and sister went to school, we had:
- Morning Recess
- Afternoon Recess
- After school snack
- occasionally Supper
that’s 6-7 meals a day for growing kids. Plus mum had regular meals planned, every week such that, Wednesday was hamburg night, Friday was fish, and Sunday we had a roast chook, every other main meal was basically meat, three veg, and starch. And, eggs were eaten once or twice a week, if we were lucky, but always with some bread.
When I started working it changed to:
- Morning Tea
- Afternoon Tea
- occasional Supper
that’s 5-6 meals per day. Morning and afternoon tea, more often than not, was just something to drink. nowadays I might drink a bucket load of tea and eat once or twice a day, and my wife and son eat at separate times. We don’t eat together and all the routine has been lost. We each have a different diet requirement, none of it wrks particularly well and so I wrestle, again day after day with, why I just don’t get it, why can I not make it work? Why can I not find, “good,” basic information about all of this so that I can get a better handle on things? Why must I go wading through extensive, rabid, polarized, foodist literature (pdf) to find the answers I seek?Its enough to make one sick! maybe that’s the point…