Macchiato

January 20th, 2017

One of the most unexpected things about living in Addis Ababa was the coffee culture, specifically the prevalence of macchiatos (macchiati?). Since leaving, I’ve really missed it so I thought I’d have a go at making my own. Turns out it’s surprisingly achievable with a bit of creativity.

You’ll need a microwave-proof bottle or jar with a lid – my weapon of choice is a baby milk bottle. I use about 30ml of whole milk, use more or less depending on your tastes (first image). Put the lid on and shake it vigorously until the milk is frothy and has doubled in volume – around a minute or two (second image). Tada! Now, this foam isn’t stable and will collapse if you leave it – so we need to fix it. Simply put it in the microwave for 15 seconds – the heat is enough to stabilise the foam (3rd and 4th image).

Make your coffee however you want – I use a Moka stovetop espresso maker. Pour it into a suitable cup, add sugar, then add some of the liquid milk and spoon over the foam.

I’m going to try out some latte art next and see if it’s possible to do with this makeshift method!

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Other posts in Food glorious food

Macchiato

January 20th, 2017

One of the most unexpected things about living in Addis Ababa was the coffee culture, specifically the prevalence of macchiatos (macchiati?). Since leaving, I’ve really missed it so I thought I’d have a go at making my own. Turns out it’s surprisingly achievable with a bit of creativity.

You’ll need a microwave-proof bottle or jar with a lid – my weapon of choice is a baby milk bottle. I use about 30ml of whole milk, use more or less depending on your tastes (first image). Put the lid on and shake it vigorously until the milk is frothy and has doubled in volume – around a minute or two (second image). Tada! Now, this foam isn’t stable and will collapse if you leave it – so we need to fix it. Simply put it in the microwave for 15 seconds – the heat is enough to stabilise the foam (3rd and 4th image).

Make your coffee however you want – I use a Moka stovetop espresso maker. Pour it into a suitable cup, add sugar, then add some of the liquid milk and spoon over the foam.

I’m going to try out some latte art next and see if it’s possible to do with this makeshift method!

,

Coffee

March 29th, 2011

Having just returned from one of the largest coffee producing and one of the largest coffee consuming countries in the world, it seemed fitting to make a cup (plus I need it to deal with the subsequent jetlag!).

According to Wikipedia:

The coffee production in Ethiopia is critical to the Ethiopian economy with about 25% of the population depending directly or indirectly on coffee for its livelihood. In 2006 coffee exports accounted some $350 million, equivalent to 34% of that year’s total exports…
Ethiopia is the world’s 7th largest producer of coffee, and Africa’s top producer, with 260,000 metric tonnes in 2006

And I’ve just come back from San Francisco, where you can’t walk more than 10 metres without a coffee shop of some sort. The US consumes more than 400 million cups per day – around 4.2kg per capita per year or 1,290,720 metric tonnes per year in total.

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Pancakes, sakura and sansai

May 16th, 2009

Bread

Fresh bread - is there anything better?

It was my friend Ai’s birthday (お誕生日 – o-tanjoubi) today. I had an early morning start cos I didn’t have any money for a present, so baked some bread instead! Then headed over to Ai’s for a slap-up pancake breakfast – all quite spontaneous, but ended up making some yummy banana pancakes (American style fat ones with bananas mushed into the batter!) and splurging out on chocolate sauce and raspberry compote.

Then it was off for a spot of sansai collecting around Niseko Higashiyama. Hokkaido is well known for its wild vegetables and the Japanese love to spend sunny days gathering them.

Sakura + Yotei

Yatta!

On the way, Shiori abruptly veered off the road and headed down a dusty track before stopping in front of a beautiful cherry tree in the middle of a field. We were a little too early so it wasn’t in full bloom yet, but perfectly placed with Mt Yotei providing a bit of background balance. Spring throughout Japan is sakura season, where everyone celebrates the fleeting nature of cherry blossoms and the analogy with life… by getting horrendously drunk at hanami (花見 – flower viewing) parties. Just another example of how Japanese culture isn’t always as Zen as people would have you believe 🙂

Udo

Udo

We moved on to Niseko Village itself, which is one of the 3 main ski areas here in the winter. Last time I saw it, there was a good 3m of snow covering everything, so the verdant, agricultural landscape was quite a surprise. Shiori led us off into what turned out to be the golf course and we were soon ferreting around in the sassa grass (a type of bamboo). I had no idea what I was looking for but kept pointing at things that looked like they might be tasty – we mostly found takenoko (bamboo shoots), but also taranome (an asparagus like thing on a spiky plant – great as tempura) and udo (bitter tasting, wasn’t that keen on it – not to be confused with udon noodles. Now that would be great sansai!).

Back at Ai’s place, I discovered just how much effort it takes to prepare bamboo shoots. First we trimmed it, then boiled it and finally peeled back the fibrous layers to uncover the light green and yellow shoots (it no longer surprises me that pandas are nearly extinct). Well worth it though as they were delightfully tender and tasty with a trace of bitterness. Quite a contrast to the chewy, yellow stuff that I’m used to finding in tins! Delicious alongside taranome tempura and yakiniku (meat and veg communally fried on a teppan – hotplate) with a nice bottle of wine and the company of friends – おいしいそう!!!

Takenoko - Pick them...

Takenoko - Pick them...

...boil them...

...boil them...

...peel them...

...peel them...

...ready to eat!

...ready to eat!

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Food intro

December 27th, 2008

I like to cook. A lot. It lets me be creative (literally and figuratively) and connects me to my food. And most importantly, I end up with something yummy to eat (most of the time!).
Lots of people who’ve sampled my culinary experiments have asked for recipes, so I thought I’d start blogging on food. The problem is I don’t tend to follow recipes – I look at them to get ideas and inspiration, but most of the time I get an idea then just make something up (usually cos I don’t like, haven’t got or can’t be bothered to get a particular ingredient). My approach is probably best described as ‘cincai’ (a wonderfully Manglish word meaning ‘casually’ I guess). Chuck a bit of this, bit of that, see what it looks/tastes/smells like – you know, cincai lah! This makes it kinda tricky, cos I never remember what I did!
But I thought I’d give it a go and both share my experiments/accidents and keep them for my own record.

Boxing Day Udon

The perennial question of what to do with all the left over meat from Christmas Day. In my family, it tends to get turned into a turkey curry or turkey muay (sort of Teochew rice porridge, also known as congee). But this year, I thought I’d try something different. Given that I’m heading off to Japan soon, I’ve been learning how to make my favourite Japanese foods, one of which is udon (fat, wheat noodles). Udon, like most noodles, are quite versatile, chuck ’em in soups, stir-fry them, put them in salads or the Japanese like to have them cold with a dressing. You don’t have to make your noodles from scratch, you can buy them from most asian stores and a few English supermarkets, but I’m on a quest to learn how to make grain based staples, so I made my own – more on that another time.

Noodles

  1. Dissolve the salt in the water. Sift the flour into a big bowl and slowly stir the salt water in.
  2. As the dough comes together, start using your fingers to roll it in the remaining loose flour and squeeze it. Once it’s picked up all the flour and is a consistent lump, knead it for a few minutes on a floured surface until it feels elastic.
  3. Flatten it slightly and let it rest for a few hours in some clingfilm – this lets the gluten do something or other and makes it more elastic. I like to sandwich it between a large piece of folded clingfilm. Go make your soup. Chop chop.
  4. Bring a big pot of water to the boil while you roll your noodles out.
  5. Once the dough has rested, it’s time to roll it out – the fun part. Now because the dough will be quite firm, the traditional Japanese way of rolling it out is to tread on it! The warmth of your feet and your weight make life a lot easier. I keep it between a piece of folded clingfilm (give it lots of room!) and put it in a clean plastic bag, drop it on the floor and start walking!
  6. Once you’ve got it quite spread out (and before it squeezes out all over your feet and the floor!), unwrap it and lay it out on a floured surface. Dust a bit of flour on it and roll it out so that it’s even and about 5mm thick (or however thick you want your noodles).
  7. Flour the dough well so it doesn’t stick to itself and fold the top 1/3 towards you and the bottom 1/3 away from you so it gives you 3 layers. Using a sharp knife, through the layers thinly (or as fat as you want your noodles). I usually go for about 3-5mms.
  8. Separate your noodles carefully and lob them into the boiling water for a few minutes to cook. Once they’re cooked, drain them and rinse them in cold water to stop them sticking – magic!

Soup

This is quite a generic soup recipe, it changes everytime I make it, but this time I wanted a bit of a kick, so put chilli in. If you’re in a rush, or not keen on strong flavours, then you can just use chicken stock (but that’s boring!!).

To serve

  1. Bring the soup to the boil, add noodles and veg. I like a bit of bite to my veg, so I don’t cook it for long.
  2. Cut up the meat and add it to the soup to heat up (you don’t want to cook it so that it’s chewy).
  3. Serve it into bowls and add some garnish. Enjoy!

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