NEWSLETTER - APRIL 2012
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There is always something happening in supermarkets -
new products, product demonstrations, shelves reorganised
so you can't find anything. Not always interesting, quite
often boring and sometimes a chore but just occasionally something
catches your eye, something is interesting . . .
is funny how something triggers off a memory. In this case
it was chocolate. Does anyone remember Fry's Five Boys Milk
Chocolate? It was discontinued in 1976 but in its day it was
one of the most popular chocolate bars. Probably because there
was not the competition or quality of today.
And my memories? When my age was still in single figures,
back in the 50s, every Thursday afternoon my mother would
take us, borrowing the car from my father, to visit our grandmother
on her small-holding. When the visit was over, without fail,
my brother and I would each be presented with a bar of Fry's
Five Boys Milk Chocolate and sixpence pocket money each. We
thought the chocolate was wonderful so what would we have
thought of today's offerings.
One particular brand of chocolate has always been one close
to my heart from early family holidays to France when the
big treat was to buy a bar of Lindt chocolate . . . they were
twice the size of what we were used to and the taste was far
superior. There was magic in the Lindt chocolate, probably
because it was something we could not get back home.
children what would we have made of the range of Lindt chocolate
which graces the modern supermarket shelves. I suspect Yuk
might have been my first reaction as dark chocolate is a taste
I have acquired with age. As my chocolate tastes have changed
I have found myself becoming a chocolate snob and any old
chocolate will not do, especially milk chocolate.
So what better excuse was needed to sate my lust for chocolate
than to get hold of a good selection of Lindt chocolate for
a newsletter tasting! Of course it was a mistake. You can
only eat so many squares of chocolate at a time so, rather
than let it go to waste, I have had to share it with other
members of the family. (I usually keep my Lindt chocolate
The Lindt tasting did not cover the whole range but certainly
a good cross section, including the new flavours of Dark Wasabi
(yes Wasabi), Dark Coconut Intense and Dark Caramel and Sea
Salt. Along with these I chose Dark Chilli and Dark with a
Touch of Sea Salt to complete the tasting. Additionally I
have some of the Dark High Cocoa Percentage bars to try but
these are for cooking rather than popping straight into the
mouth, and at the moment I have not found time or a recipe
to try but will come back to them at a later date.
should be warned, try any chocolate from the Lindt range of
dark chocolates and you will be hooked on dark chocolate.
Try any bar in the range, leaving a piece of chocolate to
melt slowly on your tongue, and you are guaranteed a Mmmmmmmm!
moment. They are all good, they are all interesting but depending
on your tastes some are better than others.
Of the three new flavours the Dark Caramel and Sea Salt is
the one I liked most. The Wasabi was a very strange combination
and perhaps demonstrates how versatile chocolate is. I did
not dislike it but was left puzzling whether I did or did
not the jury is still out, although it may well be
one that grows on you. If you like coconut this was a really
good coconut and chocolate hit. I did enjoy it but a youthful
over indulgence in Bounty bars has left me still avoiding
anything with coconut in it . . . I do intend to try some
For me the greatest and most pleasant surprise was when I
first tasted Dark with a Touch of Sea Salt. My initial thoughts
were what a strange combination but as it melted on my tongue
. . . words fail me. Out of this world and if you have never
tried a Lindt Dark chocolate you must at least try this one.
The Dark Chilli runs it a close second.
The Lindt Dark chocolates are a real quality range and I
would highly recommend them. Oh, I forgot I did not like the
milk chocolate but who would, once hooked on the Dark side!
And the good thing is they are all available on the supermarket
Lindt have an interesting web site with plenty of information
and some must-try recipes hidden away for you to find at www.lindt.com
Editorial note: This site is not paid to
promote any of the products or places featured in this newsletter.
THE GOOD LIFE IN SPAIN
SPANISH HAM TACOS
ham tacos can be achieved from both the Iberico and Serrano
ham although from the latter is much more common and readily
available. Tacos from the Serrano ham can actually be cut
during any stage of the carving, tacos are similar to diced
ham but larger making them great to lightly sprinkle over
salads, stuff mushrooms or chicken breast and to cook with.
Tacos will become crisp when baked or fried and they are a
firm favourite in Spain being lightly fried in olive oil before
being patted dry then sprinkled over pumpkin soup.
Tacos can be served raw or cooked and add a lovely Spanish
flavour to all types of chicken dishes, soups, casseroles
and other Spanish meals.
Fresh Ham Tacos
Fresh tacos are easily achieved from either a full leg of
Serrano ham or if you have a smaller boneless ham or ham piece.
Simply carve one thick slice which should be around 3mm thick
and then chop into small cubes. Fresh tacos like this are
best served cold as the meat is moist and less chewy.
One handy tip for carving tacos is to slice from around the
protruding hip bone which will eventually be encountered while
slicing your ham try to avoid carving a curve
into ham but if you find yourself doing so you can straighten
up by carving shorter thicker pieces from near the bone.
Tacos from the Bone
Another way of achieving tacos is from those hard to reach
areas of the Serrano ham such as around the hip joint. There
are places in a Spanish which require the use of a small boning
knife and these areas are usually left until last. Instead
of wasting the last of the meat you can carve out small pieces
and be surprised how much meat is still left on that leg!
Ham pieces such as these can be cut into tacos and used in
cooking, if the ham is old (ie been cut into a month or so
prior) then your tacos may be quite hard these are
ideal for cooking with especially in casseroles where the
meat will soften in the juices or sauce.
Spanish hams >>>
TO MAKE RECIPES . . . CUTTING
recipe from Natoora
for Rainbow Trout with Pickled Cucumber is another simple
but tasty way to cook trout.
TROUT WITH PICKLED CUCUMBER
2 Sicilian cucumbers*
2 tsp sea salt (coarse)
60ml rice vinegar
sprig of fresh dill
50g caster sugar
thumb of fresh root ginger
4 trout fillets
salt and pepper
Sicilian cucumber is miles ahead of the supermarket version.
Firm, cool, and slightly bitter to the taste it is perfect
for so many dishes. Do not worry if you cannot get hold
of it as any cucumber will do.
For the cucumber:
the cucumbers and slice thinly.
with the salt and mix well.
for 10 minutes, then rinse with cold water.
any excess liquid, then return to a large bowl.
the ginger and finely chop the dill.
with the sugar and vinegar, then add the cucumber and
for at least 3 hours before serving.
the trout with salt and pepper and place on some tin foil,
leaving enough to wrap the fish.
a small knob of butter to the top of each fillet, and
some slices of lemon.
a dash of white wine and seal the foil packets.
for 8 - 10 minutes at 180°C.
the trout and serve hot or cold with the pickled cucumber.
HADDOCK AND PEA SOUP
750ml chicken stock
1 lt creamy milk
400g smoked haddock
Bag of frozen peas or fresh
4 garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped)
1 medium onion chopped
Grated Gruyere cheese
Place smoked haddock in the milk by bringing to the boil
off the heat and leave the smoked haddock in milk to infuse
for at least ten minutes.
Remove the fish from the milk and take off skin.
the fish into big chunks and set aside.
Put onions, garlic and olive oil in a sauce pan, season
and cook gently until soft and translucent.
When the onions are soft, add the peas, all the milk and
some chicken stock.
back to boil and simmer until the peas are cooked.
Use a blender or a hand blender in the pan to make the
and check the seasoning as it will need some salt as the
peas will make it sweet.
Pour through a sieve back into the pan.
back to a simmer and add some chicken stock to get the
consistency you want.
a piece of smoked haddock in each bowl.
Cover with grated cheese and pour soup over so that the
smoked haddock is covered.
Add a swirl of cream if you want and some chopped chives.
SCHOOLS TAUGHT DOMESTIC SCIENCE
SYRUP SPONGE PUDDING
3 tbsp / 45ml Lyle's Golden Syrup
4oz / 100g butter or margarine
4oz / 100g Tate & Lyle Caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
Grated rind 1 lemon
6oz / 175g self-raising flour, sifted
1 - 2 tbsp / 15 - 30ml milk
Grease a 900ml (1½ pt) pudding basin.
the syrup in the bottom of the basin.
In a bowl, cream together the fat and sugar until light
the beaten eggs, a little at a time and beat well after
Add the lemon rind.
a metal spoon, fold in half the flour, then fold in the
rest, adding sufficient milk to give a dropping consistency.
Spoon the mixture into the basin, cover with greased greasproof
paper or foil and secure with string.
Steam over a pan of boiling water for about 1½
hours until well risen and firm to the touch.
MIXING BOWL . . . RANDOM BITS AND PIECES
YOUR FISH FRESH?
to tell how fresh fish is? With filleted fish it can
be very difficult, one must rely on your sense of smell
lightly pressed the flesh of fresh fish should be
quite resilient and bounce back, the older it gets
the more likely it is that the indent will remain
or slowly bounce back.
should of course smell fresh, the more it smells like
fish the older it is. The fresher it is the less unpleasant
aroma there will be.
above presumes you are allowed to smell and touch
prior to purchase otherwise you must rely on the supplier
and maybe the use by date if packaged.
whole fish look for:
pleasant aroma (someone once wrote that, fish should
smell of the sea, be briny in aroma . . . by the time
it smells of fish it is too late).
flesh that is resilient.
scales that are not dried up.
body being covered in sea slime.
gills should be bright and / or red and free from
any yeasty aroma and slime (slime in the gills is
usually a bacterial slime - not good)
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