,,One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating.
And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends. ,,
-Laurie Colwin

Monday, April 18, 2011

Agar- Agar

Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin derived from red algae. Agar agar is suitable for vegans, vegetarians and for most religious diets.
Agar is, melting at around 85 °C and solidifying to around 37 °C. It is sold in package of dried strips, flakes or in powdered form. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve and then flavor or color is added. The liquid is poured into molds to set and can be served as desserts or vegetable aspics.
Agar agar is unflavored, is rich in iod and has a mildly laxative properties as is consists of approximately 80% fiber.
Agar-agar sets in about an hour and don’t worry if you don't get it right the first time, you can fix it by reheating the gel.
I use 10 g of powdered agar agar for 1 l of neutral liquid and 13 g of agar agar for liquids with acidic ingredients.
Keep in mind that high acid fruits like lemons or oranges may require more agar-agar. Also, enzymes from fresh mangoes, papaya, and pineapple break down the gelling ability of the agar-agar so that it will not set. You need to cook these fruits before adding them to a recipe to neutralize the enzymes so that the agar-agar can set.
Do not shake or disturb the jelly before it have set completely, otherwise it will not set. The form you use to set the jelly must be grease free.
Playing with agar agar is a lot of fun, here I will show some of the stuff I have done with it. I use agar most for desserts but, from decorating the plates to making jellies, desserts or just a garnish to a dish.
 Here I made peppermint agar in different shapes for different desserts, from cubes to spaghetti.
Here I made strawberry spaghetti were you need to use a syringe and a bowl of ice. I dissolved the agar in strawberry syrup and water. Use the syringe to insert the syrup mixture in the tube and chill in the ice water for 3 minutes. Use the syringe to push out the spaghetti.  
 Blueberry caviar made by dripping blueberry and agar mixture in a ice cold water.
Here I made white chocolate jelly and served with salmon caviar and blueberry caviar. To be honest, I did not like this combination of flavors.
 Coconut jelly and blueberry jelly with fruits.
 Coconut jelly and blueberry jelly with fruits.

 Here I use agar to the sauce of a clasic dish for a new presentation.

 Here I made chocolate jelly and served with mango sorbet on a top of a chocolate sponge cake.
 Chocolate jelly served with chestnuts compote. 
 Vodka Jelly shots.
 Vodka jelly cubes. These are great for parties.
 Vodka jelly cake. Recipe here.
 Mango jelly with popping candy and marinated grapes on champagne and mint.

Here i made different fruits jelly in silicon forms.
 Mango jelly with raspberry soup.
Trio jelly with Baileys shot.

 Mango and Cointreau jelly.
 Jelly on the glass with  chocolate truffles.
 Green mussels with trio beetroot.
 Spicy sprat with beetroot jelly. 
 Salmon tartar with beetroot jelly and polenta.
White chocolate truffle with peppermint jelly.
Enjoy. Pin It Now!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Mmmmm... Cheesecake

We made soooooooo… many cheesecakes, from plain to very rich flavor ones. For a New York cheesecake style you can find recipe here. Cheesecake is a dessert made of soft, fresh cream cheese on a base made from biscuit, pastry or sponge. All modern cheesecakes use cream cheese but ricotta and cottage cheese can be used to.
Philadelphia cream cheese is the most popular cheese used for making cheesecake today.
A good cheesecake is smooth and creamy in texture.
I love all flavors, but if I had to live on just one type it would have to be chocolate.
To make sure your cheesecake comes out right all the time you need to know this:
- all the ingredients need to be at room temperature before you begin mixing, or you'll end up with lumps in your cheesecake.
- do not overbeat your cheesecake batter.
- do not over use the gelatin (were is required)
- do not boil the gelatin.
- do not attempt to remove your cheesecake from the pan until it has chilled at least 3 hours in the fridge.
-to remove the cheesecake from the form pan sides, use a very thin knife that has been warmed in hot water. Go around the edge of the cheesecake to loosen it using a slow up and down motion. The cheesecake will slide easily on to a plate.
Here I share with you the recipes for 3 different types of very easy to make cheesecakes.
Blueberry cheesecake or ‘’Blueberry 250’’ is the way I call it, because all the ingredients I use in this recipe are 250 gr. For this recipe I use 26 cm ring and end up with 12 generous portions.
- 250 g plain vanilla biscuits
- 100 g butter, melted
- 250g blueberry ( fresh or frozen)
- 250 g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 250 g whipped cream
- 250 g honey
- 15 g gelatin
- 250 g blueberry (fresh or frozen)
- 100 g honey
- 5 gr gelatin.
Place biscuits in the bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Transfer to a ready prepared ring or cake tray. Use a spoon to press mixture firmly over the base. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
If you use frozen blueberries be sure they are defrost before use.

Soak gelatin in 2 tbs cold water for few minutes then heat it up. With an electric mixer or a whisk beat cream cheese and honey in a bowl until smooth. Add the blueberry, whipped cream and gelatin, and mix until just combined. Spoon the mix into base and place in fridge for 1 hour to chill.

For topping mix the gelatin with 5 cl of cold water,let it soak for few minutes then heat it up.
Combine the blueberry and honey in a bowl, add the gelatin mixture, then pour it over the cheesecake and chill for 2 hours.
2. CHEESECAKE WITHOUT GELATIN. This type of cheese cakes are my favorite because they are more smooth and creamy. For this cake I use 32 cm ring and serve 16 portions.
Irish coffee cheesecake
350 g amaretto biscuits
150 g butter, melted
First layer:
250 g dark chocolate 70% cacao
200 g cream
5 cl Irish brandy (I use Jameson)
50 g butter - melted
Second layer:
200 g milk chocolate
150 g cream cheese
150 g cream
1 tbs instant coffee powder
Third layer:
200 ml light whipped cream
1 tbs vanilla sugar
To make the base place biscuits in a bowl of a food processor and process until finely crushed. Add the melted butter and mix until combined. Transfer to a ready prepared ring or cake tray. Use a spoon to press mixture firmly over the base. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes to chill.
For the first layer melt chocolate and cream in a microwave then add the brandy and melted butter.
Spoon the mixture over crust and chill in the fridge for ½ hour.
In the meantime you can prepare second layer by melting the chocolate, instant coffee and cream in the microwave. Add the cream cheese and mix well. Spoon the mixture over the first layer andchill for ½ hour.
Top the cake with light whipped cream and vanilla sugar and chill for 3 hour. Sprinkle with grated chocolate before serve.
Serve with chocolate sauce and fresh fruit.
3. BAKED CHEESE CAKE. This is a favorite in Estonia and made with a local cheese called ‘’kohupiim’’, similar to curd cheese or ricotta cheese. This cake is made in tart 32 cm cake tray and serves 12-16 portions.
Ricotta cheesecake with fruit salad.
This baked Ricotta Cheesecake is absolutely delicious and perfect for morning tea.
Short crust pastry base -700 gr for one cake
450 g plain flour
50 g icing sugar
150 g butter
1 large egg
1-2 tbs water
600 g ricotta cheese at room temperature
200 g caster sugar
2 tsps vanilla essence
5 eggs separated
2 tbs plain flour
100 g melted butter
300 g sour cream
2 tbs honey
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Sift flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Rub in butter. Add egg and enough water so that the ingredients come together. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead mixture until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Gently roll out pastry with a rolling pin so that its large enough to cover base and sides of a 32cm spring form cake tin. Press pastry into tin, trim the edge. Lightly prick base with a fork. Cover pastry with baking paper and fill with dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
To make the filling, beat the cheese, sugar and vanilla essence in a medium bowl until the mixture is creamy. In a separate bowl with an electric mixer beat the white eggs until peaks form.
First add the egg yolks to the creamy mixture and mix well. Beat until well combined and the mixture is light and fluffy. Add white to the cream cheese mixture and fold light until just combined.
Pour the mixture over the ready baked crust pastry. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees, or until set in the center. Remove from the oven to cool completely. To make the topping, mix the sour cream with honey and spoon it over the cake.
Chill in the fridge overnight to firm. Remove 30 minutes before serving. I serve this with fruits salad, fruits compote or ice cream.
Enjoy. Pin It Now!

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