Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a mix of quite exquisite flavours.

  • Tiramisu is a layered dessert, often considered a cake, that is primarily flavoured with coffee.
  • It is thought that tiramisu originated in Italy’s Veneto in Europe, in the 1960s, although other places and dates, as late as the early 80s, have been suggested.
  • Traditionally, tiramisu consists of ladyfinger or sponge finger biscuits, coffee, mascarpone cheese, cocoa, sugar and egg yolks, however there are numerous variations of the recipe.
  • Tiramisu can be made in a variety of shapes, and although traditionally circular, the dessert is more commonly made in a rectangular shape due to it being easier because of the shape of the finger biscuits.
  • ‘Tiramisu’ is an Italian word that can be translated as ‘pick me up’, often thought to be referring to either the appealing nature, or the energy boosting caffeine and sugar content.
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Tiramisu
Image courtesy of Alexis Fam/Flickr
  • Tiramisu is typically made by soaking finger biscuits in coffee that may be mixed with a liqueur, which are then arranged in a dish so that a mascarpone mixture can be layered on top, with possibly a custard mix on top of that, all of which is repeated one or two times.
  • The top tiramisu layer is usually a cream or mascarpone layer, which is generally sprinkled with cocoa.
  • Fruit is not an uncommon substitute for various layers of tiramisu, while other ingredients may also be swapped with alternative options.
  • In Italy, tiramisu is often reserved for festive or special occasions, and it is now eaten in many countries around the world.
  • Tiramisu is very high in fat, and is high in protein, vitamin A, riboflavin, phosphorus, manganese and copper, and has many other vitamins and minerals.
Bibliography:
Tiramisu: A Cause for Celebration, 2015, Delallo, http://www.delallo.com/articles/tiramisu-italys-dessert
Tiramisu, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiramisu
Volpi A, The History of Tiramisu’ Cake, 2003, Anna Maria’s Open Kitchen, http://www.annamariavolpi.com/page38.html

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French Toast

French toast is a bit less simple than putting bread in the toaster.

  • French toast is a bread-based food that is prepared using eggs and the technique of frying.
  • ‘French toast’ is known by a variety of names including ‘German toast’, ‘eggy bread’, ‘French-fried bread’, ‘gypsy toast’, ‘Poor Knights of Windsor’, ‘Spanish toast’, ‘nun’s toast’, and ‘pain perdu’ which means ‘lost bread’ in French.
  • French toast is made from sliced bread that has been fried on both faces after being dipped in beaten eggs, sometimes with the addition of milk and/or spices in the mixture, and there are numerous variations of the recipe.
  • It is usually advantageous to use bread that is not fresh, in making French toast, despite its availability, as staler bread absorbs egg in a manner that renders it less flimsy, while thicker sliced bread is also less likely to break during the dipping stage.
  • The origins of French toast are uncertain, however, there is record of a recipe from the 300s or 400s AD, and the food was being cooked by Ancient Romans.
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French Toast
Image courtesy of stu_spivack/Flickr
  • A type of topping typically accompanies French toast, which can be honey, jam, butter, maple syrup, fruit, bacon or cheese, among others.
  • The French were advocates of making French toast as an efficient and practical way to consume bread that had gone stale and hard, thus limiting waste.
  • French toast is eaten in many countries around the world, and some like to make it without the crusts on the bread.
  • French toast is often eaten for breakfast, while others eat the food as a dessert, or a snack, and it is typically served and eaten while hot.
  • French toast tends to be high in protein, fat, sodium, selenium and riboflavin, and it has many other vitamins and minerals.
Bibliography:
French Toast, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_toast
Where Does French Toast Come From?,  2015, Wonderopolis, http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/where-does-french-toast-come-from
Why French Toast May Not Be As French As You Think, 2015, The Breakfast Courier, https://breakfastcourier.com/french-toast-may-french-think/

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Crêpe

A thin pancake cannot get a fancier name than ‘crêpe’.

  • Crêpes are a flour-based food item comparable to pancakes, although notably thinner, and once made, they are often filled with a mixture.
  • The term ‘crêpe’ or ‘crepe’ can refer to a filled one as a dessert, or part of a main meal, and the more specific term ‘crêpes de froment’ refers to those made of wheat flour, while ‘galettes’ refers to those made of buckwheat flour.
  • The term ‘crêpe’ is a French word, that comes from the Old French term ‘crespe’, that originates from the Latin words ‘crispa’ or ‘crispus’, meaning ‘curled’.
  • Flour, eggs, milk and butter are typically the primary ingredients used to make a crêpe, and they are cooked on a hot plate, frying pan or special appliance.
  • Cooking temperature and batter thickness are major factors in crêpe quality, and they can result in bumps and unpleasant texture if cooked poorly or have the incorrect batter viscosit.

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  • Crêpes as a dish can be made sweet or savoury, depending on the ingredients of the batter and/or fillings or accompaniments, and these can include sugar, lemon juice, egg, fruit, custard, cream, fruit, jam, ham and other meats, syrup, or cheese.
  • Crêpes were originally made of buckwheat flour and eaten as bread, in France’s Brittany in Europe, sometime after buckwheat flour’s introduction to the area in the 1100s.
  • The colour of crêpes ranges from mottled oranges, browns, creams, and yellow shades; and they are generally thin and flexible in nature, which enables the cooked batter to be easily rolled or folded.
  • Numerous crêpe variants and fillings have been seen throughout different communities, particularly in Japan, many European countries and more recently, Western societies.
  • It was only when wheat flour became a widespread, affordable flour type in the 1900s, that it became a popular flour used in crêpes; and the food is now available in restaurants, supermarkets (sometimes frozen), food outlets that specialise in them, or they can be made at home.
Bibliography:
Crêpe, 2008, Epicurean, http://www.epicurean.com/articles/crepes.html
Crêpe, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cr%C3%AApe
History of Crêpes, 2014, Monique’s Crêpes, http://www.moniquescrepes.com/a-brief-history-of-crepes/

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Fairy Bread

No Aussie party is complete without a bit of fairy bread.

  • Fairy bread is a food, generally considered a sweet snack, that is typically bread decorated with a sprinkled topping.
  • Fairy bread is usually made of white buttered bread, topped with hundreds and thousands or other types of sprinkles that stick to the butter or margarine.
  • Most commonly, fairy bread is triangular in shape, and is generally a full bread slice chopped in halves or quarters, however other shapes can be made using a knife or cookie cutters.
  • Parties for children in Australia and New Zealand often have fairy bread as a type of party food, as it is usually popular with children and quick easy to make; while one of the only cafes known to serve fairy bread in 2015, was in Sydney, Australia, and its name was the Parliament on King.
  • Fairy bread is relatively unknown outside of Australia (and New Zealand), where it was invented, and one of the first mentions of sprinkling buttered bread with 100’s and 1000’s was in 1921, as part of an advertisement for Perth’s Plaistowe and Co’s nonpareils, and by the late 1920s and early 1930s the snack was used as a party food.
Fairy Bread, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Sprinkles, Dessert.Party, Australia
  • A poem written by Robert Louis Stevenson, published in 1885, referred to ‘fairy bread’ as a term, and it is believed to be the food’s inspiration, however at least one other author of that era also used the term in their works.
  • In the 1920’s in Australia, ‘fairy bread’ was the name of plain wafer-thin bread that had been dried in an oven; and it was not until the early to mid 1930s that this term was used in reference to the now common buttered bread version.
  • It is thought by some that fairy bread is a variant of the Dutch hagelslag, which is simply a slice of buttered bread with chocolate sprinkles (various flavours now exist) on the top, however, chocolate hagelslag was not invented until 1936.
  • Unlike many bread spreads, stacking pieces of fairy bread on top of each other without pieces sticking together is possible, due to the sprinkles themselves.
  • Fairy bread comes in a variety of colours, stereotypically rainbow, although the bread can be decorated in bright blues, greens, pinks and other colours.
Bibliography:
Fairy Bread, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_bread
Hurst P, Australia, We Need To Talk About Fairy Bread, 2015, Munchies, http://munchies.vice.com/articles/australia-we-need-to-talk-about-fairy-bread
What is Fairy Bread?, 2015, WiseGEEK, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-fairy-bread.htm

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Crème Caramel

Crème caramel? Bon appétit!

  • Crème caramel is a European dessert known worldwide, and is made primarily of custard and caramel.
  • ‘Crème caramel’ is also known as ‘crema caramella’, ‘flan’, ‘crème renversée’, and ‘caramel pudding’.
  • Typically, to make crème caramel, sugar syrup is made and poured into a ramekin or other container, which is topped with an egg and milk-based custard, and then cooked in an oven in a water bath.
  • ‘Crème caramel’, when translated from French, literally means ‘caramel cream’, and the dessert is often prepared with cream, in addition to the milk.
  • Although very similar to crème brûlée, crème caramel is not the same, with the primary difference being the latter’s caramel’s softness compared to the former’s hard layer of caramel.

Original Vanilla Crème Caramel, Dessert, Food, Culinary, Custard, Sauce, Ten Random Facts, Flickr

Crème Caramel
Image courtesy of L.A. Foodie/Flickr
  • Crème caramel is best presented cold, so it is usually refrigerated once cooked and cooled, and then flipped out of the container and presented on a plate with the caramel syrup sitting on top.
  • Fruit, mint, chocolate, or other sauces can be used to garnish crème caramel desserts, and vanilla is often used to flavour the custard mixture during preparation.
  • Crème caramel was popularised by restaurants in the late 1900s due to its relative ease to make and store.
  • While crème caramel is thought by many to be a French dessert, the country of its origin is disputable, and Spain and England also suggest that the dessert originated in their own country.
  • Crème caramel is especially popular after a hot main meal; and variations of the dessert are made in different countries.
Bibliography:
All Time Classic Crème Caramel, n.d, Culinary Flavors, http://culinaryflavors.gr/2014/10/all-time-classic-creme-caramel/
Crème Caramel, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cr%C3%A8me_caramel
What is Crème Caramel?, 2015, wiseGEEK, http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-crme-caramel.htm

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Lamington

Sit down and eat a nice lamington.

  • A lamington is a sweet snack that is primarily cake-based, and it is generally eaten for morning tea, afternoon tea or at a high tea.
  • Lamingtons are traditionally a vanilla sponge cake, cut into squares, that are coated in a chocolate sauce, and then covered in shredded and dried coconut (known as desiccated coconut).
  • Lamingtons may be halved and layered, with cream or jam in between, and can come in a variety of flavours, such as strawberry or lemon.
  • The shape of lamingtons can vary, and are often a rectangular block in shape, although they are traditionally square.
  • Lamingtons were invented sometime between 1896 to 1901 in Toowoomba, Brisbane or Ipswich in Queensland, Australia, and are said to have been served to the then Queensland Governor, Lord Lamington and/or his wife.
Lamingtons, Chocolate, Coconut, Cake, Ten Random Facts, Dessert, Squares, Prisim
Lamington
Image courtesy of fugzu/Flickr
  • In mid 2011, the Guinness World Record for the largest lamington was created in Australia’s Toowoomba, in Queensland, and it weighed 2361 kilograms (5205 pounds), and was said to be the size of 45,000 standard size ones.
  • The exact story of the invention of the lamington is disputed, as it may have been accidental, by dropping a cake in a chocolate mixture, or purposeful.
  • Lamingtons are symbolic food icons of Australia, and as such, are often made for and eaten on Australia Day, the nation’s special day.
  • The first known published lamington recipe appeared in a Sydney newspaper in late 1901, and while the size of the blocks is not specified in the recipe, they are commonly cut into 4 to 5 cm (1.6 to 2 inches) cubes.
  • A national day for Lamingtons in Australia, has been designated as July the 21st, and the cake has often been used as a fundraiser for various clubs, schools and other groups.
Bibliography:
Halmagyi E, A Brief History of Lamingtons, 2015, Fast Ed, http://www.fast-ed.com.au/a-brief-history-of-lamingtons/
History, n.d, Australian Lamington Official Website, http://australianlamingtons.blogspot.com.au/p/history-of-world-famous-australian.html
Lamington, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamington

 

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