Light in colour, light in taste…. canola oil.
- Canola oil is a version of oil used in cooking, that is extracted from the seeds of specifically bred plants of the Brassica genus – Brassica juncea (leaf mustard or mustard greens), Brassica napus (rapeseed), and Brassica rapa (turnip rape or field mustard).
- ‘Canola oil’ is also known as ‘canola’ and was named by the Western Canadian Oilseed Crushers Association, originating from the words ‘Canada’ and ‘oil’.
- Canola oil originated in Canada, in the 1970s, and the plants were developed by Canada’s University of Manitoba and the government department, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
- In 2014, the European Union produced the most metric tons of canola or rapeseed oilseed in the world, with a quantity of more than 21 million tons, while Canada produced almost 18 million, out of a total worldwide production of more than 71 million tons.
- Canola oil is extracted by pressing and heating the oilseeds, after which the meal of the seeds is separated from the oil; and the meal is frequently used to feed animals like pigs, cattle, fish and poultry and can also be used as a fertiliser.
- Canola oil is commonly used in cooking dues to its high heat tolerance and low level of saturated fat, and it is often used in baking; applied to the surface of pans to prevent food sticking; and used for frying food.
- Canola oilseeds contain approximately 44% oil, with 23 kilograms (51 pounds) of seed, creating approximately 10 litres (2.6 gallons) of oil.
- Canola can only be classified as such if it has erucic acid quantities of less than 2% present in the oil, while the glucosinolates that exist in the dry meal must be less than 30 micromoles for each gram.
- Canola oil is commonly used as the main ingredient in shortening, margarine and salad dressings, and is also found in plastics, machinery lubrication, cosmetics and ink for the printing industry, among others.
- Despite theories that canola oil is not healthy, the product is typically high in vitamin E and vitamin K, and it is believed to be one of the healthier cooking oil options.
Delicious desiccated coconut.
- Desiccated coconut is generally grated coconut meat, that lacks much liquid content, if any, due to it being dried.
- A variant of desiccated coconut, ‘dried coconut’, can be purchased, although it contains more moisture than desiccated.
- Desiccated coconut often comes in the form of a coarse powder, flakes or shreds, that vary in size and generally contain no more than three percent moisture.
- Desiccated coconut that has had sugar added to it during the production process, is known as a ‘sweetened’ version, and it is often used in sweet dishes.
- On contact, moisture is absorbed into desiccated coconut, causing it to swell and grow in size.
- The typical colour of desiccated coconut is white or a creamy white, similar to fresh coconut meat.
- Desiccated coconut is best stored in a dry location, away from light and in cool conditions.
- In cooking, desiccated coconut is used to add texture, taste or visual appeal to a dish, most commonly in sweets, ranging from desserts to baked goods, and it is often used as an outer coating on sweet, rolled balls of food, and the product can also be blended to make coconut butter.
- Lower quality desiccated coconut features discoloured spots or dark brown flecks; the latter caused by the accidental inclusion of coconut skin.
- Desiccated coconut is very high in manganese and fat, and it is high in fibre, copper, magnesium and phosphorus.
Add the water and add the instant coffee… and voilà!
- Instant coffee is a substance that is placed into a liquid to instantly make a coffee beverage, and it used for convenience, due to the lack of equipment required and the speed of which one can make a drink.
- ‘Instant coffee’ is also known as ‘soluble coffee’ and ‘coffee powder’, and while it is convenient, it is often said it has an inferior taste to the equivalent freshly ground beverage.
- The invention of instant coffee began in the 1770s in Britain, when a soluble compound was made, and the substance was further developed by various people in different countries throughout the 1800s, while David Strang, from New Zealand’s Invercargill, is said to have patented a soluble formula in 1890; and there have been notable improvements since.
- Generally, instant coffee starts out as roasted and ground coffee beans, then hot water is added and the grounds go through an extracting and filtering process, after which they are dried either by freezing or spraying.
- Instant coffee is available at supermarkets and other stores, and is most often sold in a airtight bag, tin or jar.
- Instant coffee is generally brown in colour, and can be purchased in both finely powdered or slightly chunky forms, and it can also be bought as a liquid.
- Instant coffee beverages are generally made by adding boiling water to a teaspoon of grounds or powder, and then stirred with a spoon so that the grounds quickly dissolve; and depending on taste, sugar and milk is sometimes added.
- It is possible that instant coffee can increase the likelihood of bladder cancer developing, and decrease the chance of getting type 2 diabetes.
- Depending on the water to instant coffee ratio, the drink can be strong or quite a diluted beverage.
- A typical instant coffee beverage contains small levels of potassium, niacin, manganese and magnesium.
Add just the right amount of stock to your dish.
- Stock is typically a liquid that is used for flavouring savoury food.
- Stock is generally made by extracting flavour from meat, herbs, spices, bones and/or vegetables, via simmering or cooking in water, or sometimes wine.
- Broth and stock are similar, although the latter generally lacks solids and is used as a flavouring, while the former usually contains solids and is eaten like soup.
- Sauces like gravy, and soups use stock most often, which is their main ingredient, while it is also used in other main dishes to increase their flavour.
- To prevent waste, stock can be stored in a freezer, or in the refrigerator for a few days, which can then be boiled every three or four days until used.
- Ready-made stock powder or cubes, that only require the addition of water, can be found sold commercially in supermarkets, and these are quick and easy to use and give instant flavour, although ready-made liquid stock is also available.
- Stock ranges from brown to white in colour, depending on the ingredients and process of cooking; and these are named fond blanc and fond brun respectively.
- Common types of stock include fish, chicken, vegetable, lamb and veal.
- Recipes for mushroom-based and beef-based stocks surfaced around the mid 1600s, and many recipes have developed over time.
- Although nutritional value is dependent on the type of stock, common nutrients of significance include protein, riboflavin and niacin, as well as sodium, and many other vitamins and minerals are also present.
Foreign food, like katsuobushi, is quite interesting.
- Katsuobushi is a Japanese food product of fermented, smoked and dried fish, such as bonito or most commonly skipjack tuna.
- ‘Katsuobushi’ is also known as ‘okaka’, both Japanese words, as well as ‘dried bonito’ and ‘dancing fish flakes’.
- Katsuobushi is commonly used in Japanese cuisine to make soups and sauce, or more specifically, broth, as well as a garnish or topping that imparts flavour to the dish.
- Katsuobushi has a savoury taste, and the product includes fungi that is part of the fermentation process.
- Heat emissions and steam can cause Katsuobushi to move as if the substance is alive, and it is often used decoratively on hot foods for this reason.
- Katsuobushi can be bought either in blocks or as shavings, often in sachets, in a coarse or fine version, and it is typically pink to brown in colour.
- Katsuobushi is made by filleting the fish, boiling and smoking the fillets, sun-drying them and spraying them with moisture-absorbing fungus, and letting them ferment, while the entire process takes many months.
- The final product of Katsuobushi, before shaving, is generally a very dry, hard block that looks similar to wood, and weighs over 80% less then the original fillet, and once shaved it resembles wood shavings
- Katsuobushi is available in fine or coarse flakes, while the larger flakes generally have a stronger taste and are bulkier.
- Katsuobushi was first made in the 1670s, in Japan, while a more modern version was brought into use by 1770.
Worcestershire sauce must be the most mysterious condiment out there!
- Worcestershire sauce is a condiment in the form of a liquid, made primarily through the process of fermenting.
- ‘Worcestershire sauce’ is also known as ‘Worcester sauce’ and, in Spanish, ‘salsa inglesa’, meaning ‘English sauce’.
- Worcestershire sauce is most often used as a flavouring in beef and other meat based dishes, Caesar salad and hamburgers, as well as cocktail beverages.
- Worcestershire sauce is typically made of anchovies, garlic, spices, molasses and onion, as well as a mixture of other ingredients that often includes vinegar.
- Although its history is uncertain, Worcestershire sauce is said to have been first invented by English pharmacists John Lea and William Perrins, in England’s Worcester, in Worcestershire, Europe, and it was sold commercially by them by the year 1838 under the Lea & Perrins brand, now the most popular brand in the world.
- The initial Worcestershire sauce made by Lea and Perrins is said to have been very strong and unpleasant and therefore placed in a cellar, however, years later it was tasted and discovered it was pleasant after fermenting.
- Worcestershire sauce is high in sodium, iron, potassium and vitamin C and it contains many other vitamins and minerals.
- It is widely accepted that the Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce recipe is derived from an Indian condiment, that the Englishmen tried to replicate for an acquaintance who had visited or lived in the country.
- Worcestershire sauce is commonly available in supermarkets and is usually sold in bottles, under various brand names.
- The list of ingredients, but no method, of the original Worcestershire sauce by Lea & Perrins was first uncovered in 2009 in a rubbish bin, and the document now resides in the Worcester City Art Gallery and Museum.