Posted in Quote

Be the King and Queen at the dining table…

In Chinese proverbs we often say “吃饭皇帝大”, as when you will be the King when dining. It is certainly true and thought that eating is the only time when people can relax themselves. Thinking back when I had my meal, I always felt enjoy when no one disturb. It can be said that the prayers time for the Christian before their meal is to thank to the God and also to communicate with them. Therefore, having a meal is very important, not only to fulfil your hunger but also psychologically relaxed.

As a suggestion, when you have your meal next time, try to feel the King in you and enjoy the honour.

Posted in Food, Travel Tips

Alcohol

After a visiting in the distillation factory, I was surprised that it wasn’t easy to create liqueur. It takes a long process, patience and hard work.

From the fermentation to distillation takes about 3 weeks, then it takes up to 2 months to finish the whole process. According to the tour, the guide said that it can take up to 20 litre per distillation and the fermentation tank can take up to 30,000 litre.

It was surprisingly huge. It was amazing, and a good experience to know more about alcohol. Therefore, if any of the travellers who are going to visit Switzerland, Martigny is a good choice where this distillation factory – Morand is located.

Posted in Food

International Cuisine

International cuisine can be defined as a nation’s food out of one’s country. It can be substitute into Europe, Middle East, Africa, America and Asia. The location itself has their own influence by the culture, religions, traditions and climate. The religions are the most important throughout the world because it affects the type of ingredients that they are going to use. For instance, Muslims are not allowed to eat pork and consume alcohol, whereas Hindus are unable to consume beef. Then the climate will slightly changes the taste, like the countries that are closer to the equator will have more dishes with stronger flavour and more hot spices. However, colder countries will have more fat consuming food, such as more cheeses and butter. The culture and traditions also makes one food to be different. Countries like Malaysia and Singapore have more than one ethnic will combine their tradition into another race’s food. An example of the food is “Sweet and Sour Fish”. This dish is typically from China but the flavour has slightly changed in Malaysia to fit to the people, also due to the weather that also affect the spice to be more spicy.

Posted in Food

Egg

It is made up of three main components:

Shell – Calcium carbonate               12%

White – Protein: albumen                58%

Yolk – Protein: lecithin                    30%

The average weight of the egg:       Whole – 60 g    White – 40 g               Yolk – 20 g

The use of eggs in cooking and baking:

  1. Moistening agents & enriching agents.
  2. Absorbed air when whisked / beaten.
  3. If overcooked, the texture becomes tough and rubbery / scramble.

Coagulation:              Yolk – 65-70 C                      White – 60-65 C

Production:

Free-range eggs (Freilandhaltung) – The eggs are from hens with outdoor access and able to roam.

Mass-produced eggs (Bodenhaltung) – The eggs are from caged hens.

Imported eggs – Individual egg must be marked with a letter, which identifies the source of country.

Nutritional value:

It contains a large amount of complete protein and all amino acids making them a highly nutritious food.

They also contain vitamins & minerals

Fat soluble – A (carotene), D, E, K

Vitamin B – B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6, B9 (folic acid) and B12

Minerals – Calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and lecithin.

Freshness:

Visual – The yolk must be round and firm and the white should ring and firm around the yolk.

Water method – 1 salt: 10 water and place the egg in the water. The fresh egg will sink to the bottom.

Candling – Place in front of the light. If the egg is bad, it will show dark spots.

Posted in Food

The Secret of Tempering Chocolate

Through tempering, we can see that chocolate is very sensitive and they are solid at 5 C and liquid at 36 C. (Reinke et al., 2015). The complex flavour created in the chocolate is because of the cocoa butter. As the cocoa butter is a polymorphic fat formed by three main triglycerides. These fatty acids will form a chain and finally a backbone to create a strong bond. If the cocoa butter is in this state, the chocolate can form a glossy surface, smooth texture and creates a snap after tempering. (Tisoncik, 2017).

However, if the compound for cocoa butter does not form properly, it can result a white stripy on the chocolate – fat bloom. There’s a few reason that forms a fat bloom. The cause can be the temperature fluctuates relatively high, such as transportation has a temperature of 5 C to 10 C that the chocolate is starting to melt. Another result is due to the dirty moulds that the residue sticks to the chocolate and forms a layer of mark. Some of the other reasons are the insufficient cooling, bad tempering, formulation and interaction with inclusions. (Tisoncik, 2017).

There are ways to prevent fat bloom as tempering need to be carried out in the right technique. Secondly, the person who is carrying out the process of chocolate should have the knowledge of formulation. Lastly, proper storage is also very important for not forming fat bloom.

Other than fat bloom, sugar bloom is also another effect that result a bad quality chocolate. It is due to the humidity and the condensation of the chocolate. The sugar recrystallises to fast and form a white, grainy texture on the surface. To avoid, use a clean and dry mould as well as pack well and store in low humidity refrigerator with constant temperature.

Continue reading “The Secret of Tempering Chocolate”
Posted in Food

Cacao, Cocoa or Chocolate?

(Billock 2018)

Cacao in Latin- Theobroma- literally means, “food of the gods”. In the earliest, the Mayans used cacao to create ritual beverage, shared during betrothal and marriage ceremony. This is also the first link between chocolate and romance. 100 years after the Spaniards were introduced to chocolate, they keep the secret of production to themselves. The cacao tree is originated from Central Americas and parts of Mexico. It grows in a limited geographical zone of 20 North and South of the Equator. Nowadays, top cacao beans are produced in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru and Dominican Republic.

It is a hard manual work, as it needs close and continuous attention. The flowers and bears fruit throughout the entire year. It produces large cacao pods and each cacao pod contains about 20 to 30 seeds – also known as the beans. A whole year crop of a cacao tree has around 500g of cacao. After harvest, the ripe pods need to be cut open machetes and beans are taken out. The beans need to be fermented, dried, cleaned and packed. When the beans are packed, the farmers are ready to sell the product to intermediaries.

It is the unprocessed beans ready to sell to exporters. The grinding companies in the global North will process the cacao. The beans are crushed and the shells are removed, roasted, and finally ground. Cacao liquor – is used to manufacture chocolate, or it is further processed for cacao butter and powder.

From Felchlin Switzerland website

The cacao tree is best within 15 North and South of the Equator. It also requires a consistent climate with temperature of approximately 25 C with high humidity. The trees can be found near mountains, coasts and on islands. The noble fine flavour of cacao is divided into three categories. First is the rare, which also called as Criollo. Second, is the versatile – called Forastero, which is the commonly grown cacao. Third is the hybrid – called Trinitario, which is the Criollo combine with Forastero. The harvest season is at the end of the wet season. In Africa, a wooden stick may also be used to harvest the cacao. During the fermentation, acetic acid is produced and evaporates with time and takes up to 5 days. Last is the sun drying process that the cacao will be laid under the sun and regularly mix with a wooden rake. The flavour is due to the period of drying. The process takes between 5 and 6 days. The moisture content should not be more than 6.5% as this is to prevent mould. It is sorted into size and quality, tested by hand or simple selecting appliances. It must be sure that no insects infest the beans and the containers need to be sufficiently ventilated to prohibit the formation of mould.

Continue reading “Cacao, Cocoa or Chocolate?”
Posted in Food

Is good location needed for dining?

Humans have 5 sensory organs and all of them are equally important. I believe none of them should be left apart however there are certain cases that are not necessarily needed such as handicap, listening to music, reading books, etc. But, it could not apply to dining. Scientists found that humans actually eat with more than 5 senses. It is actually 6, which called Umami and Kokumi.

What is Umami?

(The Vegan Street Meme 2014)

It is a flavour enhancer that usually found in fermented product. The word Umami means ‘full’ taste which was taken from the Japanese as the creator, Professor Kikunae Ikeda, a Japanese Chemist as well as the co-founder of Ajinamoto. The begin of the Umami derived from Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), a product that adding flavour to the food. And how do we know if Umami tends to appear? Usually products contains Inosinate bring out this flavour and carries the function to enhance the food and allows it to smell better.

What is Kokumi?

(YOUSSEF 2014)

It was translated from Japanese words, which means rich (koku) flavour (mi). It actually signify the flavour of its own and the characteristic of the food itself.

What is the difference?

Umami presents the flavour combined from different products and create a good flavour, which makes the dish tasty. However, Kokumi is about the flavour itself and it has its characteristic such as crunchiness, the smell of the product, etc.

Conclusion

Therefore, is it necessary to have a good view while dining? The answer is yes as we are using all of our sensory organs to stimulate a good dining experience. Other than a good view while consuming food, choosing a right beverage is important for the meal too. For instance, drinking a coke while having a dessert may result the dessert to be too sweet vice versa if a person is drinking tea while consuming sweet food, it might help to balance the sweetness and reduces cholesterol. Researchers prove that green tea that contains Catechins, which is in a polyphenol group of green tea and also antioxidant in black tea could help in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol. Overall shows that 5 sensory organs did functions together while humans are eating, which can result different tastes in different locations.

Continue reading “Is good location needed for dining?”
Posted in Travel Tips

Tips for new students in Switzerland

The experience when arriving…

The journey from Malaysia takes about 12 hours of flight to Zurich. When the year that I just decided to come to Switzerland in 2017, I had no idea how to pack my luggage and could not prepare my daily product. I panicked and I wondered how can I find tips to get ready to the place that I am going to stay for 2 years. Finally I found Travel magazines, which help a little… why a little? As these magazines are for travellers not that suitable for long term students. However, it helps! I took my first flight with Thai Airway but I would recommend Singapore Airlines which gives a better option in seats and food. When I arrived in Zurich, I was picked up by the school so I do not need to worry about transportation.

Transportation to Lucerne

It is very convenient to take transportation in Switzerland. There are certain ways to get to Switzerland. I used this as an example as I was studying in Lucerne.

    • Train: 1 hour 20 mins – CHF 15 per journey
    • Uber: 1 hour – CHF 141.51 per car

For the Uber, I would recommend when you come in a group of 3 or the train is definitely the best in Switzerland. When Malaysian arrive, it is usually in Terminal 2 and you can cross the road to Terminal 1. SBB station is located next to the escalator and you could also post your luggage to the destination but it takes about 2 days to arrive. The train to Lucerne is usually at platform 3 but the schedule might change so it is better to check.

Grocery

There are a few of convenient stores in Switzerland such as Coop, Migros, Kiosk, Aldi, etc. I would recommend Coop as their products are better quality and you are considering of cheaper price, then Aldi will be much suitable however there are lesser stores around. These stores are open from:

  • Monday: 9.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
  • Tuesday: 9.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 9.30 a.m. – 6.30 p.m.
  • Thursday: 9.30 a.m. – 9.30 p.m.
  • Friday: 9.30 a.m. – 9.30 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9.30 a.m. – 4.30 p.m.
  • Sunday: Closed (except restaurants)

This timetable is for shops in usual boutique, as for the train station, they are open till 10.30 p.m. usually.

Reminder for long stay

  • Half-price card in SBB
  • After 7 card in SBB (Optional, I choose not to buy as it cost much as well)
  • Super saver (You must get this online/SBB apps)
  • Prepaid card (Lycamobile is cheaper but Sunrise has better quality)
  • Remember to bring winter and summer clothes as the temperature can be quite hot or cold.
  • Comfortable shoes
  • Sunglasses (strong UV ray)

Enjoy the beautiful view in Switzerland is the joy of living here and studying here is a great opportunity for future career. Especially for the hospitality and culinary students. I hope all the students best of luck and for the new comers a warm welcome.