Stock for Soups

Recipe :

Ingredients:

  • For chicken stock only – chicken pieces on the bone (Ideally chicken stock is preferred to be prepared with chicken bones or chicken pieces with bones. However as chicken bone pieces or bones only are mostly not readily available, and also to simplify my soup making process I use the same chicken pieces which I will be using in the soup recipe)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves
  • 10-12 peppercorns
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 medium onion, smashed
  • 1 inch ginger piece, cut into pieces
  • veg trimmings – outer leaves of cabbage, scrapings of carrot, discarded green leaves of spring onion. (Celery stems, coriander stems optional)
  • Water – slightly more than the quantity of stock required by recipe

Note : Avoid using tomatoes as it imparts reddish color to stock.

Method :

For Vegetable Stock :

  1. In a pan, take the water
  2. To it add all the mentioned ingredients except chicken pieces.
  3. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain the stock in separate bowl and discard the vegetables.

For Chicken Stock :

  1. Take water in two pans. In pan 1, you will prepare actual stock which should contain water a little more than required for stock and other pan 2 should contain water to boil the chicken pieces.
  2. Once water boils in pan 2, add the chicken pieces.
  3. In a while you will notice scum (frothy layer) forming on the surface. Discard it.
  4. Remove the pan from the gas.
  5. Retain the pieces and throw off the water.
  6. Wash the chicken pieces under cold water.
  7. In pan 1, add the chicken pieces and all the other ingredients.
  8. Bring to a boil till the chicken pieces are well cooked and simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Strain the stock in separate bowl and discard the vegetables while retaining the chicken pieces. If you using chicken bones to prepare the stock, you should discard the bones too.

The stock can be refrigerated and used for around 2-3 days. If frozen probably in an ice-cube tray, it can last for weeks.

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´╗┐Blanched Almond Flour/Meal

I came across this type of flour while I was exploring different recipes for french macarons by various experts. In those tutorials they did mention that it should be available in grocery stores. Me currently being in the US, was sure though that I shall find it here quite easily but did not know how much it would cost and how much will be the least quantity available.

As I would be attempting to prepare the french macarons for the first time, two important things were going on in my mind. Firstly, it was mentioned everywhere that it was difficult to achieve the macarons right in first go. I usually do not prefer trying out all the things in one single recipe. Here my main aim was to get the macarons right. If I tried making the blanched almond flour too at home, and the macarons didnt go right, it would have been difficult to find the root cause. As in IT terms they say the causal analysis would be difficult. Secondly, I had not yet checked out the grocery store  for the availability and cost. Though I had searched on the internet. There were these blanched and unblanched version. Incase, it was not cost effective to buy this flour then I would have have to prepare it at home which I was reluctant to do. So I was checking the procedure to prepare the flour as well.

Thank god that I bought the flour that was readily available. I have posted the picture below.

IMG_20160711_195022-COLLAGE

But when I posted the pictures and recipe on a food group, one member did enquire about the availability of almond flour. I am not quite sure if such flour is available back in India. So I posting the rough process to make the flour at home. You can prepare and keep in the fridge in an air-tight bag. Though I have personally not yet tried it as yet but guess it should work.

Roughly 1 cup of almonds yields around 1 1/4 cup of almond flour or almond meal.

Recipe :

Ingredients :

  • 1 packet of raw unsalted almonds

Method :

  1. In a bowl, take filtered water more than enough to soak the almonds. To this water, add some salt and allow it to dissovle. To this add the almonds, cover and soak for overnight.
  2. In the morning, keep water for boiling in a saucepan. In another big bowl, keep ice water.
  3. In the meanwhile, rinse the almonds.
  4. Put the almonds in the boiling water, stir and after a minute, you will find that the almond skin will wrinkle and the almonds will float.
  5. Remove them and put directly in the ice cold water.
  6. You will notice that the almonds will pop out of the skin when you press. You shall get the blanched almonds.
  7. Towel dry the almonds and spread on a cookie sheet.
  8. Pre-heat oven to the lowest possible temperature. Roast them till they are dry and crisp with the door of oven kept ajar.
  9.  Let them cool. Then process them in a food process or mixer/grinder till finely powdered.
  10. Pass the powder through a seive. The larger particles shall remain in the sieve. Process these again.
  11. Sift again. Repeat the process till you get entire almonds turned to a fine powder.