When I look at old recipes, recipes of a bygone age, I am struck by how different the cooking methods were. Even a couple of generations back they had little more than a wood fired stove and a pair of hands to make their meals with. Nowadays of course we have many electrical gadgets, indeed I might say that we have a surfeit of them. The modern home has everything from microwave ovens, through multifunction mixers and blenders to the omnipotent Thermomix! One might wonder where it will all end…..
Those of you who like Science Fiction will have seen futuristic scenes where by simply pressing a button, a whole meal materialises in seconds as if by magic. Science Fiction right? Well a couple of recent articles have led me to believe that the this future is possibly nearer than one might imagine…..
The first article was from the BBC and concerned 3D food printing!!! For the moment they are “only” capable of printing a limited number of edible products, but I am convinced this will be just the tip of the ice-berg.
There are a couple of manufacturers out there already, showing off their products at international consumer shows. First there is a US company whose Chefjet models are already capable of printing chocolate or sugar infused with a variety of flavours. So, just fancy-shaped chocolate and flavoured “boiled” sweets, but it is certainly a start. These machines even come with a digital cookbook application, so all you have to do is select the sweet of your choice and press the button. Then there is a Spanish company that makes the Foodini that is capable of making not just chocolate sweets as above, but can also make pasta. These new culinary gadgets are still in their infancy of course, but that is likely to change, and fast.
So if you are a techno-chef and want to keep one up on the neighbours on the culinary front, then look out for the Chefjet Pro at around $10,000. No doubt Amazon will have them by next Christmas….
The second article is from the New York Times and concerns lab-grown burgers. In simple terms we are talking of “meat” that comes from a test-tube rather than a living animal. Some of these burgers were served up and eaten in London just recently.
They fried the burgers in butter, in an attempt to give the meat more flavour. Nevertheless, according to the tasters, it was “dry and a bit lacking in flavour”. I can’t say I am surprised, and yet, of course, technically it is an amazing achievement. Does it make culinary or even alimentary sense though? Firstly to make it palatable, it is going to have to go through a number of chemical and mechanical processes, not something I am generally in favour of. Secondly, why not just use vegetable proteins? I like meat, but if it were to become unavailable I think I would prefer vegetables proteins. I always prefer free range and organic over test-tubes and a chemistry lab.
At the top of the article I mentioned Science Fiction’s portrayal of the future of food. One of my favourite films of this genre is Soylent Green with Charlton Heston. Although it is over 40 years old, the story has lost little of its veracity nor impact and could still portray a future that awaits us all. A classic film with an unexpected climax. If you are tempted to watch it, I would recommend you don’t read any articles on the film, as they often give away the punch line.
My reason for talking about food gadgets is that I was given a new one for Christmas. My sister and her husband gave me a spurtle. For those of you unfamiliar with this most useful of kitchen gadgets, it is a hand-powered rotating, low drag coefficient, carved wooden precision implement with a stick-like profile that has been in use in Scotland since the 15th century.
Actually, joking apart, they are great implements. They are designed to stir porridge, soups and stews, so I gave it a try on porridge. Apart from mixing the porridge very well, what I most liked about the spurtle is it allowed me to give the porridge a really energetic stir. Unlike spoons, with their larger, blade-like ends, the spurtle did not create waves within the porridge. Basically I could slosh the porridge about without the risk of it splashing out of the pan. I am sure I will be using it when I am making sauces too, as I am sure it would be perfect.
And so to the recipe of today, my black currant cheesecake porridge, the recipe I tried my spurtle out on. Let me admit at the start that this is not your average porridge, but then again who wants to be average right? It is lacking in low-fat milk or cream cheeses and it contains no sugar substitutes, but it is really quick and easy to make, and most importantly tastes delicious. I give you my recipe as I like it, but please feel free to alter the quantities to suit your taste. The sugar and milk contents in particular are open to change as you may like your porridge more or less sweet and the milk content makes for a looser consistency. I think it needs a bit of sugar to counteract the acidity of the black currants.
Black Currant Cheesecake Porridge
160g Porridge Oats
½ tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Vanilla extract
50g Cream cheese
120g Black currants
The black currants can be frozen or fresh.
In a saucepan mix together the oats, cinnamon and sugar.
Add in the water and vanilla and cook over a medium heat until soft. Depending upon the oats this may take just a couple of minutes.
Take the porridge off the heat and mix in the cream cheese.
Add the milk until you have the desired consistency.
Add in the fruit.
Reheat a little if necessary (especially if the fruit is frozen!).
You can of course put almost any type of fruit into this recipe.
This recipe works fine with frozen fruit, so if you have frozen a glut in summer, now is the time to use some of it up!
This weeks suggestion is a pudding called Xamingoxo (Basque yoghurt based pudding). I have chosen it because it too is a simple traditional recipe. I also chose it because I made it this last week and I was therefore reminded just how good it is! If you fancy giving it a try just click here:
No mention of Scottish recipes would be complete with a naming one of my favourite sweets, Shortbread. To see my recipe just click here:
tsp – Teaspoon – 5ml
tbsp – Tablespoon – 15ml
Imperial to Metric Measurement:
1 oz – 28g
1 lb – 16 oz – 454g
1 gill – ¼ pint – 142ml
2017 Lincoln W. Betteridge