Bacon-tastic Food!

A friend of ours recently redefined bacon for us as ‘Bacon is the candy of meats’, and we couldn’t agree more! 🙂 Bacon is clearly a favourite among Team Zoink! and a big hit around the world as well. Lately, bacon has become a trend and almost used as something to rebel against the health conscious and dieters. Hence, we are finding bacon everywhere – in apple pies, in vodka, in fondue and now, even, ice creams!

So here is a list of our top 5 unconventional bacon dishes that we love (we’re sorry, but that bacon ice-cream was simply too weird for us too!). Also, you wouldn’t find your traditional B.L.T. in this list.

1.       Bacon Cups: 

This is your traditional BLT decomposed, and served without bread. Strips of bacon are folded and weaved together so as to make a firm cup structure to be able to hold vegetables in them. With the baked bacon cups, you can fill them with cherry tomatoes and lettuce, even top them with a poached egg and a drizzle of mayo. This is officially the best way to have a salad. Guaranteed to leave your plates (or cups) clean. With the cup missing, of course. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to make it here – Martha’s awesome and extremely innovative food blog.

2.       French Toast and Bacon Cupcake:

This is breakfast served in a cupcake. Really. Eggs, butter, bacon and well, something baked to compensate for the missing bread. The idea of this dish came to a passionate baker (behind the awesome food blog www.liefewithcake.com) when she heard about a unique Maple Cream Stick and Bacon Crisp Doughnut served at Voodoo Dougnuts. She decided to create some magic herself and decided to make little cupcakes of heaven out of those big slices of French Toast. The buttercream frosting gives it a really nice flavour and is finally topped with that gorgeous and delicious piece of bacon! Find this innovative recipe here.

3.       Breakfast Pancake with Bacon:

You will stop caring about boring flipped pancakes once you get a bite of this pancake tower. It gets a whole lot of flavours together under one roof, literally; and once you bite into this, the party in your mouth starts and you wouldn’t want it to stop. Layered with roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon, whipped cream and strawberries, this is quite a hearty dish, and best served to at least 3 people. The strawberries add a nice sweetness to the entire pancake tower, without being overpowering – the crunch of that bacon screams through alright! Learn to make this pancake layer by layer here.  This blogger Alice Currah likes experimenting with sweet and savoury flavours, and we love her for that!

4.       Bacon Bread:

What tastes better than a bacon sandwich? A bacon sandwich with bacon bread and more bacon. Yes, you can make a fresh batch of bacon bread right at home. Infused with all the awesomeness of bacon and just a hint of maple, this escalates the deliciousness of bread altogether. The bacon filled bread baking aroma out of your oven is to die for! You must try this at home! Every sandwich you make with this bread is going to make you a local hero. Find this amazing recipe here. This blogger loves to bake and we thank her for this kick-ass recipe!

5.       Bacon and Cheese Pie:

This pie is what dreams are made of! Your favourite fatty bacon and yummy cheeses come together for the pie of the decade. The recipe requires you to weave strips of bacon together, cook them, add cheese and more bacon bits and cook them again, before putting them in the oven. Maybe even finish off with an egg on top, if you thought it didn’t have enough carbs. Find the step by step guide to make this here, where you can also notice that bacon grease is poured into a cup, to be used for greasing up all other dishes and making dinners bacon-tastic with that grease! The author Chris Kelly is a passionate photographer who has some surreal photos on his blog. He also shares a love for good things in life, like bacon.

“Money can’t buy you happiness. But it can buy you bacon. Which is the same thing.”

Spread the bacon love, Zoinkers! 😀

Secret Ingredient X

Hey Zoinkers!

This Valentine's, try Zoink's Secrets instead of Victoria's! 😛

January is long gone and finally the month long awaited by valentines is finally here. And we here at Zoink believe it’s not just the way to a man’s heart; a tummy full of good things can make anyone fall in love. Here are some ingredients right out of your kitchen which will work some extraordinary magic into your cooking and leave your valentine guessing.. and wanting more! 😀

You know that plain jane jar of peanut butter you have in your kitchen? Make it you secret ingredient X by adding a couple of spoons into the brothy soup to add body. Or try adding it to your meatballs instead of egg as the binder.  It’ll add a Thai twist to your dishes without giving away the secret.

For your salads, we have quite a few ingredients to make it special. You can mix in 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon into your favorite chicken salad to add a subtle second flavor. Or try one of these salad dressings –

Dressing it up for your valentine! 🙂

  • Whisk together equal parts low-sodium soy sauce, dark brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and mustard oil for a delicious, full-bodied salad dressing.
  • Mix mayo with lemon juice, minced garlic, and parsley to add to your salad, You can even use this as a dip for your starters. Or try Mayo with Madras curry powder and minced shallots for the very Indian flavor that we love!

Mayo also works wonders with your grilled and deep fried meats. Next time you are thinking of deep frying, coat fish fillets or skinless, boneless chicken breast halves with an even layer of mayonnaise before coating it with breadcrumbs. This will lock the moisture inside the meat. Then pan fry in oil as usual!

Talking of wonders, try adding cinnamon powder to your duck or pork’s spice rub for an enticing yet subtle sweetness.

Sometimes sweet, sometimes spicy..like you!

And if you did read ‘Like water for Chocolate‘, you’ll know that no hot chocolate is complete without a few pinches of powdered red chilli. Yep, Red chilli in your desserts like fruit salad or bread pudding can add a wonderful complexity to the taste. Another surprising candidate is your low sodium soy sauce you use in your Chinese dishes. Create a sweet-salty dessert by stirring 1 to 2 tablespoons soy sauce into homemade caramel sauce to pour over ice cream, apple pie, or cake. The end result is an amazing play on your senses.

 

Now here’s something that special for making the ladies veryyyy happy on valentine’s!

Love your melons! 😛

Next time, don’t throw away your watermelon rinds, especially if you feeling frisky! Cut the melon rinds into small parts and get the juice out of them with the help of a mixer, or a juicer. What you hold in your hand right now would be some home made, au-naturale viagra! Add some honey and serve it to your honey and watch him get into your mood! (Giggle!)

Well now that we have given away our secret love portion as well, all that remains is for you tell us how well these worked!

 

Ps: do you have a secret ingredient with which you add dazzle to everyday dishes? We would love it if you’d share it with us! 😀

What's your secret Ingredient?

Uncooking anyone?

We’ve all had our turns at the stove where everything we did messed up and stank from here to high heavens. And that’s about the time when either we wish we had not started this venture or we could, errr.. uncook it. And amazingly enough, someone has unlocked the key to ‘uncooking’. You heard me right, it’s ‘Uncooking’! And we have the fathers of fine dining, ie the French, to thank for. Well,  one French guy in particular called Hervé This.

A little about Hervé before we go on. Heard of Molecular Gastronomy?* Well, this is the physical chemist who, along with physicist Nicholas Kurti, came up with the concept. He breaks down the science of everyday cooking, thus discovering more efficient way of assembling a recipe. For example, it’s been an old debate among cooks, how to make  béchamel sauce ie white pasta sauce without lumps; whether to to add roux (cooked butter and flour) to milk or vice versa. Also whether the milk should be hot or cold. Turns out one of the polymers is not water soluble and another dissolves only in hot water. Dissolving starch in hot water creates a gel that makes lumps. The solution? Add the roux to cold milk. Who knew that the dreaded chemistry lab would help us make that perfect pasta!

Check out his CHOCOLATE CHANTILLY recipe. It has only chocolate and water with sugar optional! Now if that the not the shortest ingredient list you have seen for a mousse then I don’t know what you been making!!

INSTANT CHOCOLATE MOUSSE (CHOCOLATE CHANTILLY)

As easy as Chocolate Chantilly?!

Recipe by Herve This & Heston Blumenthal

Ingredients

4 servings

  • 9.35 ounces (265 grams) bittersweet (%70 cocoa solids) chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 4 tbsp sugar, optional

Method

  1. Place a large mixing bowl on top of another slightly smaller one, filled with ice and cold water (the bottom of the large bowl should touch the ice). Set aside.
  2. Put chocolate and water (also sugar and/or liquor if you’re using) in a medium-sized pan and melt the chocolate over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl sitting on top of ice and water, and start whisking with a wire whisk (or an electrical hand-held mixer) until thick. Watch the texture as you whip and make sure not to over-whip as it will make the mousse grainy. If the mousse becomes grainy (which is possible at your first try), transfer it back into the pan, reheat until half of it is melted, pour it back to the mixing bowl and whisk again briefly.
  4. Divide into four serving cups and serve immediately.

And you can also flavor it with cinnamon or add a tablespoon of liquor like Grand Marnier, Chartreuse or Tia Maria. Just make sure the amount of liquid stays the same (subtract the amount of liquor from water). Or boil the water first, take off heat, place a couple of Earl Grey tea bags, let infuse and then use it as your liquid. You’ll have Earl Grey scented mousse in no time. Watch this video for finding out the perfect consistency from the man himself,Heston Blumenthal and he tells you why it works!(Applause!!)

Best part is that since it doesn’t lose it’s consistency it can be used as filling for cakes or any kinda bakes! 🙂

Anyways, got side track there, din’t we? Back to ‘uncooking’. We are not at a place where we can uncook that really complicated  ‘pate en croute’ yet, but we can start with the humble egg. And you can try this at home, just that it takes about ,say 3 hours! 🙂 It’s just easier watching the video!

Check out how to uncook an egg:

Ps: ignore the last 5 secs.. have no idea why Chucky! :-/

Well, that’s a lot of new things you learned today! Let us know how you liked it! 🙂

* If you have not, then more on that in later posts! 🙂

This is not calamari… and this is NOT for the squeamish!

We love our seafood here at Zoink! We even love our sushis and sashimis. But this Japanese dish left us, well, morbidly fascinated but ( think for the first time evaaaa..) without an appetite.

Calamari fries! 🙂 And we looovvee our calamari fries!

It’s called Odori Don. The main ingredients are sushi rice, sashimi and to top it all off, a dancing squid! Yeah, you heard it right. It’s a dancing squid. Before you let your imagination carry you away and start wondering about ballet trained cephalopods , let me assure you it’s a dead squid.

Still don’t believe us? Check this out:

Odori is a traditional dance form of Japan which explains the name of the dish. But guess you must be more curious about the dancing than the naming. This is possible because of the physiology of the squid. Cephalopods  ie squid family, are head-footed creatures which means their limbs are attached to their heads. And Odori Don is prepared by separating the head from the body, killing the squid but keeping the nerve ending of the tentacles intact.Turns out the sodium in the soy sauce acts on the muscles causing it to contract, thus the involuntary dance.

As simple as the explanation sounds, the end result is pretty, hmmm, eye-catching? entertaining? grotesque? Whichever adjective you choose to label it, you just can’t ignore it.

Ps: they also have Odari Ebi, which is dancing prawns :-/

Pps: what’s with the Japs and live stuff?! 😕 The only movement on our plate we are comfortable with is from the plate to our mouths!