Monday, March 10, 2008

Food; Mutton followed by cheesecake

Last weekend we happened on the Farmer's Market in Newbury, completely by chance. Some serious meat and free bones. Happy!



Yesterday's supper, a 1.3kg breast of mutton. I just stuck it in the Chicken Brick with two small potatoes and two small parsnips (chopped and posted in to the space around the meat). I added some beef dripping to get the veggies started before enough fat melted out of the mutton to start them roasting properly. Sprinkled salt over the lot. Stuck the whole thing in to a fan assisted oven at 150 deg C for 2 and a quarter hours. It was good. The junkfood was the cauliflower we ate with it.



The Chicken Brick.

For afters we had cheesecake. The cake base was 200g nuts chopped in a blender, solidified with 50g butter and sweetened with 25g honey. Junk food; a layer of blueberries. Cheese part was a 50:50 mix of Mascarpone and creme fraiche, a capful of vanilla and 25g honey. Topping was a 100g bar of 70% cocoa chocolate melted. Boil 100ml of cream, mix with the chocolate and throw in 25g butter. Stir until even, allow to cool slightly and pour on while still liquid enough to be self leveling. Stick it in the fridge and wait while the mutton digests enough to leave some room, then eat.



It's quite nice. You can always adjust sweetness to taste/carb limits. I didn't count anything with this!

Peter

27 comments:

Anna said...

Mmmmm, my mouth is watering. To what degree of doneness or internal temperature did you cook the mutton? Think a Dutch oven (like a soup/stock pot but shorter and wider and covered) would work instead of a clay pot?

I have never seen mutton in the US in a store; I think one would have to really search for it and perhaps make a special arrangement with a farmer directly. Hmmm, maybe I should ask my lamb source.

It is hard to get many US senior citizens to even eat lamb, I have noticed. I think that is because in their younger days (WWII?), what was called lamb was actually mutton, and probably not well prepared. And those who do like lamb seem to like it cooked until grey. I prefer it medium rare or even rare.

I'm going to take a look at your chocolate topping and see how that proportion might work for my chocolate truffle recipe. The 72% bars Pound Plus bars I have tried don't work with the recipe as it is written for bars about 55%; the butterfat always separates out with 72%. I've meant to experiment with finding the right ratio of 72% chocolate to cream to butter, and this might be a very good starting point. Thanks.

Chris said...

I'm sitting in the office, looking at this and drooling......

Looking forward to cheap frying steak with leaks in butter then blueberries and mascapone for afters tonight!

Lee said...

Nice meat. Desert sounds delicious. I must try it.

I have been making loads of chocolate mousse lately. Whisk 8 egg yolks with 75g glucose. Melt a 100g bar of 85% Lindt chocolate. Add a pint of double cream to the chocolate, bring to the boil, pour over the eggs and whisk it all together. Can be eaten warm or cold.

Lee

Peter said...

Hi Anna,

Dutch Oven would be fine, according to my general purpose ref, The Reader's Digest Cookery Year. Sounds awful I know, but it has some quite good recipes and there is a section on basic cooking, temps for roasting/braising of meat/fish etc. How to jug a hare, joint a sheep etc. I use it quite a bit if I have unusual meat to cook.

Anyway, I just took the timing (45min/lb) from the braising info. It looks like a layer of fat in the bottom of the Dutch Oven would be essential. Mind you, it gave the details for boiled mutton too but that didn't grab me somehow... The meat was brown rather than grey but mutton is too tough (until long slow cooked) to choose pink. It tastes lambier than lamb. Good.

Peter

Lee, the mousse sounds good!

Anna said...

Questions about the luscious-sounding mouse:

Pure glucose? Or is that Brit-speak for ordinary granulated sugar (sucrose)? You would think I would know most of these US/UK translations by now being married to a Brit, but he adopted most of the American terms (except for "kitchen" paper) before I even met him). And by now, he's really a "hybrid", I suppose with just over half his almost 54 years lived in the US now.

According to wikipedia.org, double cream is much higher in butterfat 48% compared to what we commonly find in the US, termed heavy or whipping cream, at 35-40% butterfat. I guess heavy cream will have to do. Since it is boiled, maybe I can add some butter to bump up the fat content.

How many servings is that? I'm trying to get an idea of the sugar dose per serving.

Paul said...

Why do you say the cauliflower is junk food? Wouldn't the potatoes and parsnips more deserve that comment, at least from a high-fat low-carb diet perspective, because of their higher carbohydrate content? And brassicas seem to consistently come up as a healthy food in epidemiological studies, do you have an opinion on that?
Thanks, Paul.

Lee said...

Hello Anna

I mean glucose and not sucrose. I have tried it with 50g sucrose (glucose being 70% as sweet as sucrose). The taste is slightly different. With sucrose, you have fewer carbs but some fructose.

A single batch is about 3500 calories so that's about 5-10 servings depending on how much you want.

I think you will have to experiment with different creams. It gets much thicker once refridgerated. You could also serve with additional cream. I have thought about, but not yet tried, adding an orange liqueur.too.

Anna said...

Thanks. I have no idea where to get glucose, though. I've never seen it anywhere except as diabetic candies to prevent hypoglycemia and nasty glucose drinks for a GTT. Any source ideas (keeping in mind that I am in the US and not the UK)?

Peter said...

Anna,

I buy my glucose powder in the pharmacy section of the supermarket. In the UK it's often next to Slimfast or Complan. From the box: "A good source of energy"!

Peter

Peter said...

Hi Paul,

I have the blueberries up there as junk food too. It all goes back to the series of posts beginning here.

Especially see this paper. Spuds and carrots were allowed, look at the effect. Unfortunately I quite like cauliflower and blueberries.

I would agree the epidemiological evidence can be overwhelming, but intervention studies usually say the opposite. You could argue that veggies are good and fruit bad but I don't think these studies have been done as interventions.

My favourite epidemiological studies show higher income is associated with better health. If you wrapped 50p apples in £10 notes I'd certainly buy them (for 50p that is). I might not eat them but I'd certainly keep the wrapping....

Peter

Paul said...

Hi Peter,

Thanks for the pointers. You say that the Green Tea study does include potatoes - are you somehow exempting potatoes when you conclude that this study demonstrates that fruit and vegetables have bad effects? I'm no expert about diet so please excuse naive comments, but what about the whole evolutionary idea that fruits evolved to make animals eat that part of the plant, for distribution of seeds? It doesn't seem consistent with harmful effects (unless we are just not the particular animal that should be eating those fruits),

Paul.

Peter said...

Hi Paul,

I was very surprised at the green tea paper. My early assumption was that all carbs are bad (wrong). The GT paper had people up at around 50% of calories from carbs so it couldn't be the carbs per se. Potatoes are not really much more than a packet of glucose powder with just a tiny amount of fructose. Grains are the same or more so (ignoring the lectins in the protein component). Neither grains nor potatoes were excluded to get the reduced oxidative damage in the study, so we can't say anything beyond that. If you get to the asterisk fruit and veg post you'll see that this group certainly won't be getting any more funding from the EU to check this out for us.

On an evolutionary basis I can't really see where bulk fructose comes from until subsistence agriculture arrived. The gatherers from a group of hunter gatherers might come across a big patch of brambles in fruit occasionally but they'd be sharing them out among 70 or so people. That's not the same as a large pepsimax three times a day for one person with a few cans of coke thrown in. Yams and sweet potatoes are mostly starch with a little sugar (incl fructose). Only plantains/bananas have significant amounts of sugars. These appear to have been semi domesticated for about 60,000 years but obviously only in the tropics.

Peter

Troy said...

soooo...what this study is saying, is that potatoes and grains are safer to eat that fruit and veggies...?

Awesome blog by the way...I have been following the princibles of the weston a price camp for years! I feel great eating 70 to 80% animal fat! People don't think its good for me, but wonder how i stay so lean and muscular, and am able to do anything i want, anyways...i am native american...my ancestors were eating the hearts, livers, and glands, fresh and raw!!!...they were perfect specimens!!!

Peter said...

Hi Troy,

That's not quite what the study said because they never went on to remove the grains and potatoes and put back the fruit and veggies, so we'll never quite know. Or they could have then removed the spuds and grains and looked again. Somehow I doubt they will get funding for this! The other caution is that this is one of those "10 weeks and look at a few lipids" type studies. But when you tie it in with the WHEL and PPT long term intervention trials it looks quite convincing as a general principle. You could certainly argue that the damage done by the fat reduction, especially saturated fat reduction, in the long term trials, and the damage done by the fructose from the fruits and fruit juices, must have been off set by something. Maybe veggies, maybe not. More likely there was a drop in refined sugar which helped. No one knows as the trials have all been set up just to confirm the "low fat high fruit 'n' fiber" preconceptions as a complete package. Multiple intervention trials are always set up to do the absolute best possible for the intervention group. But they never tell us anything concrete as the variables were never controlled... Unless the whole package fails, in which case we can say the whole package as a totality is a failure. Which it is!

Peter

PS you just reminded me to put up a post about organ meats. Apart from liver and kidneys they're like gold dust here in the UK.

Lee said...

Anna,

Try this for glucose in America. It is listed under dextrose

This is a nice chocolate recipe too. Use 70% chocolate.
Chocolate Mousse Cake

Paul said...

Hi Peter,

That is a very interesting comment, that you no longer think all carbs are bad (because you differentiate between glucose and fructose?). I have read before about possible risks of fructose, but I just thought of the implication as fructose being 'very bad' versus glucose 'bad'. I will keep reading to try to catch up with your whole blog.

I think we are not quite seeing each other's point about evolutionary reasoning. I was saying that fruits would not evolve to contain compounds that hurt animals if a plant's goal is for animals to eat the fruit. You replied about ability to eat fruits in bulk, which seems more to do with overdosing than being actively poisoned.

BTW, you are lucky if you can buy liver and kidneys. As a US city dweller (no access to farms) I only see liver, and that only from industrial farming,

Paul.

Peter said...

Hi Paul,

I see what you mean. The other thing which has come up in discussion is that there may well be hormesis with fructose, ie a little is good, a lot is bad. A bit like radiation. This would easily allow low dose fructose to be nice to eat and good for you, it's just when you get to high doses things go badly wrong.

Much though I am committed to LC eating you cannot ignore the observational studies of healthy populations on a wide range of macronutrient ratios. Glucose is not bad per se. There seems to be a lot more to it than that.

My main feeling is that most modern carbs are not remotely like the carbs eaten by unacculturated people. Though our meat is damaged by agriculture it's nowhere near as damaged as a an apple is. Eating LC automatically puts you on to healthier foods. There is quite a bit about insulin and the upper limits of longevity that are worth talking about at some stage.

Peter

Bruce K said...

Another point about modern fruit is that it's not naturally ripened and fresh. Most of it is shelf-ripened, like bananas, avocados, peaches, or what have you. I'm thinking it will be best to focus on local, seasonal fruits; frozen fruits; canned fruit without refined sugars; and perhaps sun-dried fruits occasionally. When fruit isn't naturally ripened, many natural toxins are present and that might explain the problems with it.

Paul said...

Bruce K,

Twenty years ago, strawberries would start to grow mould within a few days. I now buy strawberries and raspberries that never show mould, just dark spots if I wait long enough (my occasional bad fridge hygiene). I am talking about US 'organic' fruit, so these are not GM fruits. I would really like to know what changed there. You are bringing up a larger point. I wonder how much effect there now is from animals on unnatural diet, pollutants, long-life storage methods, artificial methods of ripening etc and to what extent that is a hidden factor falling under the radar when we analyze epidemiological and dietary studies,

Paul.

Bruce K said...

That's weird, Paul. But I have read that high-quality foods don't mold. They will just dehydrate. (See Brix theory.) Maybe they are really good strawberries or maybe they are just being sprayed somehow? Another huge factor in disease is hygiene. Folks are too clean, plus they are making themselves a scientific experiment, with all hundreds of chemicals used daily on their skin, hair, teeth... Who knows what harm this does. Many are deciding to break free.

http://tinyurl.com/ypklc7

Paul said...

Interesting article, thanks. It made me think how an artifact like the mirror could have had a major effect on human behavior - would there be much interest in washing and hair without the ability to routinely examine one's own appearance? But this is straying too far from hyperlipidity. Thanks for the comment about mold, I was having such a blind-spot that I didn't even consider the 20th century strawberries as maybe being at fault!

Anna said...

Those "fountain of youth" fruits/veg are hybrids selected for traits that are commercially valuable, and nothing else. The main criteria is that the product look good, stores well, and especially, travels well. Other factors that might come into play are resistance to disease and fungi, seasonal factors (early, late, long producing), size, ease of growth, cost to grow, cost to harvest, yield, uniformity, etc. I would imagine that flavor and nutrition traits are barely considered when breeding commercial produce. It's all about what is most profitable throughout the entire production line.

Fruit and produce developed for the home gardener often do tend to have reordered priorities, with flavor rising on the list to at least a reasonable level, but with other growing habits also being factored in (growth habits, ease of growing, etc.). One has to select carefully still to get the best balance of flavor and other desireable qualities. Heirloom (unpatented) varieties often have the highest flavor and the shortest shelf life, but many people are put off by other less desirable characteristics.

Strawberries are a excellent example. When I was a kid the 70s in Upstate NY, my dad had a great strawberry bed with several carefully chosen varieties with different qualities. Some were heavy producers, but short season, others the opposite. All were chosen for flavor and we had a bounty of strawberries for roughly the month of June. They were smaller, juicier, and tastier berries than anything I can buy fresh in a store or at a field today, organic or otherwise. Even so, my dad's strawberries were nothing like the intense flavor of wild strawberries we would sometimes find, which are much smaller, and much lower yielding.

A few years ago we were in Norway at the "family farm" of my husband's grandfather, which one cousin is managing to keep going with specialty crops (and "outside" jobs, plus lots of farm culture preservation grants from the gov't). It was the end of strawberry season and we helped to pick. The berries were incredibly flavorful, and quite small compared the beautiful and large, but flavorless, "styrofoam" California berries we find locally (in So Cal). These Norwegian strawberries also had a very high moisture content (which made them very delicate). They had to be sold the day they were picked (bought at the farm or at the farmer's market in town). They would not tolerate much handling and travel. By the next day after picking they were already getting soggy (great for sauce). They were the most delicious strawberries I had ever tasted (and I have sampled a lot of varieties!). But they were so delicate, it would be very difficult to grow them and sell them in grocery stores, at long distances, and in huge quantities. And the size is not impressive, either. Weather factors are very critical for these, too, because too much moisture makes them nearly impossible to pick without damaging the berries.

Produce that is produced and sold on a big scale, with wide distribution, conventional or organic, simply isn't the same plant anymore.

Bruce K said...

"Produce that is produced and sold on a big scale, with wide distribution, conventional or organic, simply isn't the same plant anymore."

I agree. That's why I tend to avoid most fresh fruits and vegetables in stores. They are seldom ripe/fresh, and they have been bred for profit, rather than nutrition or taste. The fruits I do get are: frozen mangos, frozen tart cherries, organic apple sauce, sun-dried fruit, frozen wild blueberries, frozen peaches, etc. I can't stand the "fresh" produce you find in most groceries and farmer's markets. It tastes repulsive. Every once in a while, you find some good ones, but most are garbage.

mtflight said...

hmmm it feels like an inappropriate question, after all the talk about fructose, cauliflower, berries, etc. But here it is:

How much Mascarpone and Creme Fraiche? I know the ratio is 50:50 but no quantity (or did I miss it?).

Thanks!

Peter said...

Heehee, as much as you like!

Peter

Bling said...

You can improve the junkiness of the cauli by making a cheese sauce - splodge about 2oz of butter in a saucepan, melt slowly then add about 50-100ml of cream (double or single) then 2oz or as many as you need lol of mature cheddar. Just melt it altogether nicely until it bubbles taking care not to burn it. If you put oo much cream in then sometimes it needs a little thickening but if you stick with a small amount of cream (less than 100ml) and plenty of cheese then even if you serve it straight away the cheese will start to set and give the sauce thickness when you pour it.
That amounts enough for a hyperlipid couple to enjoy with half a small cauli between them. I love cheese sauce. Yum.

Ty Fyter said...

Hey Peter great recipe! Gonna be my signature dish :D
Anyways my question pertains to other varieties of cheesecake: that is what do you think of cheesecakes made from ricotta, cream cheese or cottage cheese? (not necessarily all at the same time!) I guess the basis of the question is the level of "goodness" if any from the other form of cheeses for cheesecake making/eating....

p.s. I realise ricotta isn't techniqually 'cheese'

Thanks Peter, absolutely love the blog!