Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Belgium cooking with beer.

I've decided to make some posts about traditional drink in Europa countries. Now it is time for Belgium's beer. The Belgians are very proud of their beers, of which there are basically three types:

  • Bottom-fermented beers, which are brewed at a low temperature ( below 50 F, 10 C). They are pale and yellowish in color and , because of the hops, slightly bitter and dry taste. The best known brands Jupiler, La Stella, and La Maes.
  • Spontaneously fermented beers, a process which is triggered by bacteria and yeasts which naturally occur in the Senne valley.
  • Top-fermented beers, which can be brewed at higher temperatures (59-68F, 15-20C). Their color is usually copper to dark brown and their taste sweet and fruity.
Belgium's beer brewing tradition goes back about a thousand years. It is not surprising that beer is an ingredient in many Belgian recipes. Here is a traditional Belgium meat dishCarbonnades Flamandes or Flemish Beef Casserole.

Flemish Beef Casserole
ingredients (4 servings)
  • 1 kg beef shoulder
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 500 ml Gueuze, Lambic or any brown beer
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
Cut the meat into large cubes and fry in the butter until brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper and remove from the frying pan. Cut onions into ringd and braise them lightly in the meat juices. Add the sugar and the beer and bring to the boil. Crumble the bread and add to the gravy together with the bouquet garni, vinegar, mustard and the meat. Cover and cook at low temperature for about 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. The best accompaniment is mushed potatoes and carrot.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Kvas a popular drink in Russia.

Russia Sochi has been chosen like the place for the next Olympic Games. So I have decided to look for some interesting traditional Russia meal.
Kvas is just as popular in Russia as beer is in other countries. The name literally means "sour drink", and it is brewed from all kinds of household staples, namely dry bread, apples and pears, cow berries and cranberries, blackcurrant's and redcurrant's, strawberries and buckwheat. Sugar or honey are used to sweeten the brew. Homemade kvas froths up easily and contains only a little alcohol.

Homemade Kvas

  • 500 g rye bread
  • 40 g yeast
  • 100 g sugar
  • 5 Tbs lukewarm water
  • 1 bunch of peppermint
  • Blackcurrant leaves
  • 50 g raisins
  • Rind from 1 untreated lemon

Slice the rye bread and dry in the oven, place in a saucepan and add 4 liters of boiling water. Cover with a cloth and leave for 4 hours, then pour though a fine sieve.
Stir the yeast with a little sugar into the lukewarm water, leave to rise for about 20 minutes and add ti the brew. Then carefully squeeze the moisture out of the bread mixture into the brew, add the remaining sugar, mint- putting a few mint leaves aside- and the blackcurrant leaves, ans leave the brew overnight in a warm place for it to ferment.
Strain once more thought a cloth and bottle. Place a few raisins, a peppermint leaf and a piece of lemon rind in each bottle. Close tightly and store in the refrigerator for 3 days. When the raisins have risen to the surface, strain the kvas ones again and rebottle. It will be ready for drinking.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Which Sauce for which pasta.

Pasta should only be allowed to swim in the much-loved clear broths and soups. Otherwise the sauce should be portioned so that the pasta completely absorbs the liquid. If the sauce is thin, then the pasta must be more absorbent and the hollow than for a thicker sauce.

Aglio e olio - crushed garlic, parsley and cold pressed olive oil with spaghetti, spaghettini, vermicelli and linguine.
Ai frutti di mare - with seafood.
All'amrtriciana - bacon and tomato sauce which good for bucatini, spaghetti, gramigna.
Alla napolitana (Sugo di pomodoro) - tomato sauce with all kind of pasta, regardless of shape and consistency.
Alla panna - in cream (with lots of pepper) comes with tortellini and regatoni.
Alla siciliana - tomato sauce with fresh sardines, goes with vermicelli and bucatini.
Allo spezzatino - with braised fish. Eaten with maccheroni, marelle, fusilli, penne, rigatoni, pappardelle and other ribbon noodles.
Burro e salvia - sage butter, made from butter and crispy fried leaves of sage. Goes well with all kinds of pasta.
Carbonara - bacon, cheese and eggs. Goes with spagetti and other long noodles.
In brondo - clear broth (usually chicken). With anolini, cappeletti and tortellini.
Pesto- basil sauce eaten with filled or unfilled noodles , especially with trenette, fettuccine, tagliatelle, linguine and farfalle.
Salsa cruda - "raw", i.e. an uncooked sauce with raw eggs or uncooked tomatoes, parsley, basil and Parmesan cheese. Eaten with ribbon noodles.
Salsa di noci - sauce with wallnuts and Ricotta cheese. Goes with ribbon noodles.

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