Friday, 28 August 2009

Smoothie, Housekeeping and a Question

Today I am sharing a quirky smoothie, some housekeeping information and a question about cocoa. Housekeeping, you ask! Not housework. I mean blog housekeeping.

But let me start with the smoothie. It is a quick one that I made using what was in the fridge. I called it Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie because I have both cottage cheese and toffee sauce in it. I initially imagined the banana and toffee sauce as a sort of banana split smoothie but the strawberries needed to be used and the cottage cheese seemed interesting because we were out of milk and yoghurt. I might try it another time with cream cheese for a real cheesecake taste. It wasn’t as overly sweet as I feared but was creamy and subtly fruity. Delicious with gingerbread bush buddies.

Now onto the housekeeping. The longer I have this blog, the more I want to organise all the information. Lately I have had three pages I have wanted to post. I have finally got them up in a burst of energy because I know busier days are coming.

The first page is an Index by Ingredient. I have had a Blog Index (by category) for a long time now and I use it a lot but I have also wanted to have one to inspire me when I have a fruit or vegetable and want ideas on how to use it. This new index is not complete because I have tried to include the best or most relevant recipes to keep the list from getting way out of control. (At last count there were over 400 recipes). More work is needed and when I have time I would like to add more ingredient categories and more recipes. It probably will not be updated as often as my complete index but I hope you will also find it a good alternative way to seek recipes.

The second page is Kitchen Notes, Ingredients and Substitutions. Call it cultural cringe or cultural pride. I feel I need to wave the Australian flag on the internet and also to provide some clarification on the terms I use. I need to work on this page more but I find it useful enough to want to post it. I want to alphabeticise the translation list but the html needed to do a table was stretching my ability and patience with the blog. (You will notice this if I haven't fixed the spacing by the time you read this.) I will get back to working on it soon, I hope. Please let me know if there are any terms or information you think would be useful for me to include.

The third page is the About Me page. I love looking these up when I go to a new blog so it seems only right that I reciprocate. As you can see by this post, I am not good at short and pithy but – hey – it is my blog and I love to write. I even had some self-indulgent fun with photo editing. I particularly wanted to update it because the long-winded About Me Part One and Part Two were written before Sylvia arrived. I still would like to find a few other photos and put in a few links but it is ok to go. My life has changed so much since I started the blog that I wonder if I will soon have to rewrite this page to keep it updated. Will do my best to make sure it doesn’t lag too far behind my ever evolving life.

Lastly, my question. For the Ingredients list, I have done some searching around the web for words I come across that aren’t the same as the terms I use. One of these is ‘
Dutch processed cocoa’, which seems common in America. I have read a few things about it lately and it seems that it is milder, alkalised and containing less antioxidants than regular cocoa.

I always thought the Dutch cocoa we buy here is richer and quite posh. I don’t always use it but do sometimes to get a dark intense chocolate flavour but now I am wondering if I should heed when recipes specify no Dutch processed cocoa. I have tried to find if what we call Dutch Cocoa is the same thing. I have photographed my plain cocoa next to the darker Dutch cocoa (
Equagold brand). I wanted to clarify it on my ingredients page but need to clarify it in my own mind first. Can anyone help me with this?

Now I am off to update the navigation menu at the right hand side.

Strawberry Cheesecake Smoothie
Serves 1-2

  • 4 strawberries, hulled
  • juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 banana, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp toffee sauce
  • 2 tbsp cottage cheese

Blend

On the Stereo:
Living in the Past: Jethro Tull

5 comments:

  1. Mmm that smoothie sounds good!!

    Hmmm I'm unsure if you should specify non dutch processed cocoa. I can't remember what it was exactly, but not long ago I was reading that dutch processed cocoa just does not work in some recipes, something to do with the alkalinity (I think it cancelled out the bicarb soda or something in some recipes, particularly vegan one's and stopped things from rising properly). That being said, you generally use eggs in baking so that wouldn't be a problem? (No help really, am I? Sorry!)

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  2. Thanks Vegetation - the smoothie was great - and I have heard the stuff about alkalinity but thought the dutch cocoa I use is different from dutch processed cocoa but am unsure - will continue seeking answers but thanks for your thoughts :-)

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  3. Mmm that smoothie sounds amazing especially with a side of those cookies. I've been thinking I should do an about me page too since it's always one of the first places I go when I visit a new blog!

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  4. I'm no expert, but from what I've seen, the Dutch process is lighter than regular cocoa in color and there's that alkalinity problem. The cocoa I use is non-Dutch process and is very dark. There are also differences in fat content--you can get somewhere around 12% fat here, which is light brown, and 24% fat, which is very dark, deep brown (the one I use).

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  5. Thanks Ashley - would love to see an about me page on your blog

    Thanks Ricki - that is useful information - our dutch cocoa is the darker of my two cocoas, unlike yours, and the fat is 21% so maybe Dutch cocoa and Dutch process cocoa are different - will keep looking

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