I read this paper about “Blue Zones” regarding life expectancy and what have in common those areas. One interesting thing, checking the map, those blue zones are not in extreme weather regions and three of them are islands.
So these are the 9 points those communities have in common:
Move naturally (no climbing 🙁 )
80% rule (dont get full)
Belong (faith, philosophy)
Loved one first
(Correct) Social network
So all those points are very nice. I like them, but they dont fit in our current cut-throat capitalism world.
Would I live in a similar community? I think I could. I would have to adapt though (technology?)
I tried Dal from this place and I was amazed. It was so good that I wanted to try and some time later I found this recipe. I failed miserably. Again I tried last week using a different recipe, that doesn’t looks like very authentic after reading others but still I went for it.
3/4 cup of lentils put in water the night before
1 can of beans (mixed, kidney, etc)
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic chopped
1 tbsp ginger grated
2 tbsp medium curry powder
ping of chilli paste.
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 can chopped tomatoes
3/4 cup of rice + 1 star anise
Put same amount of rice and boiling water in a pan at medium heat. Put the star anise in the middle.
After a couple of minutes reduce to low heat the rice. Dont stir and check from time to time to avoid getting burn.
In a medium-heat frying pan, put half of butter, onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder and chilli paste. Cook until the onions are soft.
Pour the coconut milk and tomatoes, season with salt/pepper. Bring to boil and then to simmer.
Add beans, lentils and remaining butter. Simmer for 30 minutes or so.
In a sauce pan, put the milk until boil. Pour a bit of sugar and dont stir!!!
In a bowl, mix egg, yolks, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Then add flour.
Add the boiling milk gradually to the egg mix. Whisk properly.
Return the mix to the heat. Stir until thickens. Dont stop stirring! You should see bubbles.
Remove from heat and add the butter. Mix properly.
In a clean tray, pour the mix, wrap with cling film and let it rest in the fridge.
Chox pastry Ingredients
100g butter in cubes
150g plain flour
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
In a saucepan, heat the water until boil. Add sugar and salt.
Melt the butter in the boiling water.
Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Whish properly and return to the heat.
Keep stirring the mix until if stops sticking to the pan. Be sure is properly cooked the flour.
Spread the mix in a cold surface to cool down a bit.
Using the back of a tray, wash it with a bit of melted butter and then dust some flour. Smack the tray in a side so the excess flour falls. You should have a neat unti-stick proof tray.
With a block of butter, pinch it with your thumb and index finger. Your index finger should touch the edge of the tray. Use this method to make a straight line in each side of the tray.
Beat the 4 eggs.
Pre-heat oven at 190C
Take the dough back into a bowl. This is a critical point! Add a bit of egg at each time. You should stop adding egg once you can create a solid “V” when dropping a big dollop of the mix with the spoon 2-3 times in a row. Maybe you need to bit an extra egg or dont need to add the 4 eggs. So keep it in mind.
Prepare a piping bag. Twist the bag with a finger, fold the bag around half and add the mix. Tight the bag carefully, twisting it. Hands on the bottom.
Over the tray where you made the two vertical lines, pipe in each side a small line between the edge of the tray and the vertical line. Leave space between each eclair as they will raise.
With a fork, dip it in egg wash, an score the top of each eclair length way
Bake for 35 minutes, they should raise and be golden brown. Then drop to 120C for a couple of minutes before removing from the oven.
Let the eclairs to cool down in a racket.
Take the cream from the fridge, put it back in a bowl and whisk until became a cream again.
Prepare a new piping bag. As usual, use the index finger to twist the bag, fold until half and then pour the cream. Tight the bag twisting carefully.
Once the eclairs are cold. Using a small knife, on the bottom of the eclair, make two holes in each edge. You will pipe the cream through those holes:
Be sure the tip of the piping bag is big enough to fit in the hole. If the tip is too small, is very likely the piping bag will break.
Once piping, you need to feel the eclair filling and become heavy. Try to pipe through both holes.
Chocolate Foundant Ingredients:
100g of dark cooking chocolate (at least 65% cocoa)
Dip the top of the eclairs in the melted chocolate. Use your thumb and index fingers. Try to dip just a third of the eclair. Till the eclair so the chocolate drops by one side and then with a finger smooth the chocolate run so it stops and looks smooth.
Let the eclairs rest until the chocolate settles.
Powder a bit of sugar glass on top of the dry chocolate.
Ready to eat!
They were tasty and not bad for the first time. The pastry didnt raise much to be honest. It seems the oven needs a bit of steam for that.
Another recipe where you can use puff pastry. For visualization, this video.
Pastry Cream Ingredients:
75g plain flour
1 ts vanilla paste
pinch of salt
glass sugar to cover the cream
In a pan, put the milk to boil. Add a bit of sugar and dont stir it!
In a bowl, mix eggs, yolks, sugar and vanilla. Then Add flour. Mix all well. Add a pinch of salt.
Just when the milk starts boiling, remove from the heat, and pour it bit a bit in the egg mix.
Return the mix to the pan, and dont stop stirring, this is the key for cooking the flour!
Keep stirring until the mix thickes up. You should see bubbles forming up.
Remove from the heat and add the butter. Mix until all combined.
Spread the cream in a clean tray, spread sugar on top so a crust doesnt form.
Cover with cling film and put into the fridge.
Baking pastry layers:
Pre-heat oven at 200C
Cut a baking paper with the shape of your baking tray.
In a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry in a long rectangle like your tray using the paper mould.
Using the paper as a mould, trim the sides. Put the paper back in the tray and then put on top the pastry.
“Docker” the pastry with a fork.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
Using another tray, place on top of the pastry and push it so the pastry keeps flat. Bake for another 15 minutes or so.
Remove from oven, remove top tray and check the pastry in golden brown and flat. Cool down in a rack before next step.
Using a paper mould (rectangle) cut three pieces from your pastry. Use a serrated knife and be careful.
Chop very finally left over pastry
Assembling time. Take the cream from the fridge, put it in a bowl and mix so takes a bit of room temperature. Using a piping bag, fill with one cup of cream. Using your hand on the bottom of the bag and dont put too much cream. Use the index finger to roll the bag in the nozzle before adding the cream.
Using one piece of pastry as the bottom layer, in the middle, make a line with the cream. Then two layer on top, and two bottom. Total 5 layers. Add another piece of pastry on top. Trim the sides of cream with a spatula or small knife, fill the pockets with cream.
Using the left over pastry crumbs, cover the cream sides with it.
Add the cream again in the middle pastry layer like in the bottom. One line in the middle, two top, two bottom. Add the final (be sure it is the best piece) pastry piece on top.
Again, trim the side of cream with a spatula or small knife, fill the pockets with cream.
Using the puff pastry recipe. We can do the following:
Sausage Roll ingredients:
400g puff pastry
450g sausage meat
salt, pepper, extra spices of your choice
60g pickle, (Stilton cheese optional)
1 egg beaten
pre-heat oven at 200C
mix meat, salt, pepper. Roll it a long shapped sausage.
Roll out pastry to the length of your sausage. And 3-4 times wider. Trim edges to make it neat.
Spread the sausage nearly in the middle of the pastry. Add the pickle lenghtway the sausage (and cheese). Roll the pastry on top the meat until enclosed, you will have some left over pastry. Leave only aprox 3cm, trim the rest (but dont throw it away!)
With a fork (and a bit of flour), flatten the edge so it is enclosed properly.
Eggwash the pastry, then score in diagonals (both directions).
Spread some sesame seeds on top. Cut in 4 pieces with a sharp knife.
Put the rolls in a tray with baking paper.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden-brown. If you have a thermometer, the meat should reach 165C to be cooked (I think).
This will make 4 big sausage rolls
Eccles cakes ingredients:
75g dried currants
1 tbs of mixed peel fruit
25g demenara sugar
1/2 ts mixed spice
250g puff pastry
2 tbs sugar
pre-heat oven at 220C
in a small sauce pan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add currant, mixed peel, demenara sugar and spice. Stir until sugar is disolved and fruit properly coated. Remove from heat.
Put a bit of flour in a work surface and roll out the pastry to 1/2cm thick. Using a circle mould (10-13cm diameter), cut as many pieces as you can.
Put the fruit mix in the middle of each circle. Wash with a bit of water the edges. Pull all edges together in the middle like a parcel. Pinch it so it doesnt open. Invent the parcel and flatten it with slap of your hand.
Brush each cake with eggwash and sprinkle with sugar.
Score each cake with 3 cuts. Put them in a tray with baking paper.
This is a good example for a visualization of the process:
250g plain flour
135ml cold water + squeeze a bit of lemon
200g cold butter
Mix flour and salt in a bowl
Gradually add water, mixing with one hand. Mix all together.
Put the dough in a work surface. And knead (bull method) with both hands, until smooth. Aprox 10-15 minutes depending on conditions.
Put the dough back in the bowl, cover and leave it rest.
We are going to make a parcel with the butter. Take a baking sheet paper and fold it in 3 parts horizontally, then do the same thing vertically. Once you unfold the paper, you will have 9 “squares”. Put the butter in the middle square, and fold again the paper until you have a parcel. With a rolling pin, flatten the butter until forms an uniform square thanks to the baking paper.
Take your dough, with a rolling pin and using the butter parcel as a reference, spread the though to make a rectangle 1cm wider in each side compared with the butter and in double in length (plus 1cm extra on top and bottom). The goal is to enclose the butter with the dough.
Once you have your dough spread out, put the butter (be sure is cold), in the top part, use the bottom part to cover the dough. Be sure the butter is covered by the four sides.
With a bit of flour in your rolling pin, start to press down the pastry to squash the butter gently.
Roll the pastry into rectangle lenthways.
Folding process. Take the top 1/3 of the dough and fold it down the center. Now take the remaining bottom half and fold it up. Turn the pastry 90 grades like you have a book (the seam on the left). Repeat the process, spread lengthways and fold as book. This is a double fold.
Rest 30 minutes in the fridge (wrap in cling film) (important the butter is firm and never melts!) and do another double fold.
Again 30 minutes rest and another double fold.
Now the dough is ready for action. You can keep in the fridge for at least one week before you use it. Always keep it wrapped properly in cling film.