Welcome to this month’s instalment of the Culinary Alphabet. The Culinary Alphabet, The letter U, yes we are on the letter U.
Halloween is nearly upon us, the trees are changing color and what glorious colors we are seeing around the world. I love the changes of the seasons and Autumn is one of my favorites. At this moment in time, it is 77 nights of sleep which sounds a lot. The reality is before we know it, it will be Christmas Eve.
Without further ado. let’s look at the letter U – not so many this time although maybe as I write some more will spring to mind.
A cross between a grapefruit and a mandarin! It is about the size of a grapefruit but it tastes a bit sweeter and has a wrinkly skin that peels easily. This funky fruit comes from Jamaica and is also grown in the USA – and it’s not that ugly! It can look a bit weird because its yellowy-green skin is thick, rough and puffy – and sometimes a bit blotchy!
Is bread made without using a raising agent? A simple bread that is easy to make.
If you are a baker of pies and cakes recipes often state unsalted butter – why? As we often don’t know how much salt is in salted butter and a recipe also calls for a tsp of salt that ups the salt content of our bake. If you only have salted butter then just reduce the amount of added salt i.e half a tsp instead of a tsp full.
Salt is also a preservative which means salted butter keeps much longer whereas unsalted butter is fresher although it has a limited shelf life.
The Spanish translation for grapes. The tendency to make single-variety wines, dominant in Spain for decades, has led to an increased interest in the identification and authenticity of native varieties. In accordance with current legislation, only those varieties that are found in the Spanish Registry of Commercial Grape Varieties can be cultivated in this country. In total, there are more than a hundred majority varieties grown in Spain, distributed throughout the country and present in the different Designations of Origin as authorized varieties. Eating 12 grapes (Uvas) at midnight on New Year’s Eve is both a tradition and a superstition in Spain. Rare is the Spaniard who will risk poisoning their fate for the coming year by skipping the grapes, one for each stroke of midnight.
Upside down cake
was the first cake my mother taught me to make. It always looks impressive and delicious. You can use fresh or tinned pineapple.
For the topping
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple rings in pineapple juice
- 8 to 10 maraschino cherries
For the cake:
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 8 tbsp(1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 9-inch round cake pan.
- Heat the oven and prepare the pan. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch round/square cake pan with cooking spray; set aside.
- Melt the butter and sugar for the topping. Melt the butter and sugar in a small frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently. The mixture is done when the sugar is bubbly and slightly more brown.
- Pour the sugar mixture into the baking pan. Pour the sugar mixture into a prepared cake pan and spread into an even layer to cool slightly.
- Arrange the pineapple slices and cherries in the cake pan. Remove the pineapple rings from the can and reserve ½ cup of the juice. Set a single ring in the center of the pan, then arrange 6 to 7 rings around the center ring. Place a maraschino cherry in the center of each ring and set the pan aside.
- Whisk together the dry cake ingredients. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Cream the sugar and butter together with a hand mixer, then add the eggs. Place the sugar and butter in a large bowl. Using an electric hand mixer, beat on medium speed until lightened and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until smooth, about 1 minute more.
- Add the flour mixture and pineapple juice in alternating batches. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the reserved ½ cup pineapple juice, in this order: Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add ½ of the pineapple juice, mixing until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add another ½ of the remaining flour and mix again for about 30 seconds, followed by the remaining pineapple juice and 30 seconds of mixing. Finally, add the remaining flour mixture and mix until completely smooth, about 1-minute total.
- Spread the batter over the fruit. The batter will be thick, so use a large spoon to dollop a large spoonful of the batter evenly over the fruit in the pan. Smooth the batter with an offset spatula, then tap the cake pan lightly on the counter to settle the batter.
- Bake the cake for 45 minutes. Bake the cake until dark golden-brown and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
- Cool the cake for 10 minutes and then invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the warm cake from the oven to a cooling rack and cool for 10 minutes (do not wait longer, or the cake will not come out of the pan). Invert a plate over the cake pan and, using kitchen towels or oven mitts to grasp onto both the plate and the cake pan, flip both the pan and the plate over so the pan now sits on top of the plate. Slowly lift the cake pan away. Serve the cake warm or cool before serving and storing
Tend to be liquid at room temperature.
Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can improve your health. Unsaturated fat comes from plants. It’s found in:
- vegetable oils
- nuts and seeds
- some fish
There are two main types of unsaturated fat:
Monounsaturated fats can help improve your cholesterol levels and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. It may also help you control your insulin levels and blood sugar.
Foods that contain monounsaturated fats include:
- olive oil
- peanut oil
- canola oil
- most nuts
- most seeds
Your body needs polyunsaturated fats to function. This type of fat helps with muscle movement and blood clotting. Since your body doesn’t make it, you have to get it in your diet.
Polyunsaturated fats can be further divided into two types: omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial to the heart.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in:
- fatty fish, such as sardines, tuna, salmon, trout, mackerel, and herring
- ground flax and flaxseed oil
- non-hydrogenated soybean oil
- safflower oil
- sunflower oil
- canola oil
- sunflower seeds
- chia seeds
- hemp seeds
Omega-6 fatty acids may also help protect against cardiovascular disease. But there’s a debate about the inflammatory role of omega-6’s. Most Americans consume more than enough of them.
Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in:
- safflower oil
- soybean oil
- sunflower oil
- walnut oil
- corn oil
Recent research reveals that there’s not enough evidence that saturated fat raises the risk of cardiovascular disease. But choosing polyunsaturated fats in place of saturated fat can reduce the risk. That’s not the case if you replace saturated fat with sugar and processed carbohydrates.
Some oils may have more health benefits than others. Canola oil, although considered an unsaturated fat, is typically genetically modified and refined, bleached and deodorized. This process may cause negative health effects. Eating oils in moderation and varying your intake of types of oils is recommended. What are the recommended levels of fat intake?
People need fats, so you don’t have to do without them. But it’s clear you should eat saturated fat in moderation.
The word Umani is heard everywhere now. It is one of the 5 basic tastes in cookery. A savory taste that is found in broths and savory dishes. Escoffier, the legendary 19th-century French chef who invented veal stock, felt sure that a savory fifth taste was the secret of his success, but everyone was too busy gorging on his food to take much notice of his theories. Fast forward to the 21st century and many cooks are delighted to finally see proof of what they had instinctively known. More recently, however, Bottura says that the discovery that parmesan is probably the most umami ingredient in western cookery has enhanced his appreciation and understanding of the dish. “Five textures, five temperatures and five levels of Umami.
That is all for the letter U, Until next time. xxx
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.
The environment is also something I am passionate about and there are now regular columns on my blog this year. It is important that we are mindful of the world we live in. We all need to be aware of our home’s carbon footprints, where does our food come from? How far does it travel? Simple to do but if we all did it. Not only would we support local businesses but reduce our carbon footprint.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to. Then, I will be happy!
More and more of my blogging friends have joined me on MeWe. A social media site that is fairly new and which promises much without the restrictions some other social media sites are choosing to impose on many of us…Join me if you will on MeWe
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:
Connect to Carol
Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a creative week ahead xx