Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I want to be an astronaut

BBC news

Astronauts sample haute cuisine

Saying "the food was out of this world" has taken on a whole new meaning as the international space station crew has been sampling haute cuisine in space.

Last Sunday the ISS astronauts swapped their usual rations for quails roasted in Madrian wine and duck breast confit, European Space Agency officials said.

The gourmet menu was created by French master chef Alain Ducasse.

The ESA asked Mr Ducasse to come up with meals which could be used to mark celebrations on long space voyages.

The superior food would be dished up at New Year, on birthdays and to mark the arrival of a new crew.

It is hoped that in the future such meals will help men and women on long-term missions, for example to Mars, to survive for 1,000 days in space by raising their spirits as well as providing nourishment.

The meals which Mr Ducasse supplied to the Expedition 14 crew currently living on the ISS were developed in association with the French National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

Each meal was prepared using the usual rigorous hygiene standards applied to food being sent to the ISS and then packaged in tins.

The crew astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria, cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and ESA astronaut Thomas Reiter were simply required to heat the tins up in the ISS oven.

"It was absolutely delicious. It was a really nice treat for a Sunday evening," said Reiter, who has been on board the ISS for almost five months.

"Food is really something which gives us a break. It is something where we find some joy and we are really trying to take some time for our meals," he added.

In fact Reiter and his fellow space crew could only find one flaw:
"We have no doubt that it would taste much better if we had some wine with it as well!"

Main dishes:
Effiloché de volaille en Parmentier (shredded chicken Parmentier)

Dos d'espadon façon Riviera (Riviera style swordfish)

Volaille épicée, sauté de légumes à la Thaï (spicy chicken with stir-fried Thai vegetables)

Cailles rôties au Madiran (quails roasted in Madrian wine)

Magret de canard confit, condiment aux câpres (duck breast confit with capers)

Side dishes:
Carottes de sable au goût d'orange et coriandre (sand carrots with a hint of orange and coriander)

Céleri rave en délicate purée à la noix de muscade (a light puree of celery with a hint of nutmeg)

Caponata (tomato, aubergine and olive dip)

Gâteau de semoule de blé fine aux abricots secs (semolina cake with dried apricots)

Morceaux de pommes fondantes (apple fondant pieces)

Far de l'espace Space (a Brittany 'far' tart)

Rice pudding aux fruits confits (rice pudding with candied fruit)

Cheese Platter

Cheese Platter
Originally uploaded by icecat_seoul.
Got any spare cash?
Splurge on some expensive European cheeses in Seoul! It is worth every single cent.

My cheese platter last Saturday: Bleu d'Auvergne, Brie and Baby Gouda.

Tips for cheese newbie:
- Best to start with the least strongest first - in this case, Gouda. Next Brie and then Blue Cheese.
- Serve cheese with Baguettes and a variety of other bread: walnut bread, sourdough bread.
- Cheese platter can be accompanied by walnuts, grapes, sliced apples. These helps to cleanse the palate between complement them.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Here is a gift for my chocolate lover!

Lemon Madeleines

Dark Chocolate Brownie Tower

Unlike the other lazy mornings, today I woke up with a list of baking tasks to complete. I seldom bake in Seoul. However today is a special day which I needed to make a gift with my hands.

I would make a sinful dark chocolate brownie with .12kg of the Nestle baking dark chocolate that I bought in France - I brought only 1 kg total to Seoul, I'm saving this chocolate up just for special occasions. This is a treasure in Seoul.

Not only did I make brownies, I baked 2 dozen of lemon madeleines for the gift.

The results were a tray of dense and moist brownies - which were very pleasing- and 2 dozen of deflated madeleines. The taste of the madeleines were really excellent but why wouldn't they rise? Wouldn't that be perfect? I guess the yeast didn't work. What a big disappointment.

Dark Chocolate Brownies

2 eggs

70g sugar

100g butter

125g bittersweet baking chocolate

50g flour


Preheat oven to 200 degree celsius.

Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water.

Mix egg, sugar and flour together until the mixture looks creamy.

Add chocolate butter mixture to the egg mixture and mix them together.

Pour it into a greased baking pan and bake it for 15 mins.

Place the pan on a cooling rack to cool. You can eat the brownie straight out from the oven too. It tastes good while warm.