Eating South Australia’s iconic Pie Floater and what to expect.

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I guess most people realise that Australia was first populated by the Aboriginal people.
Then in the late eighteenth century the British our Imperial Overlords rocked up with their ships, diseases and rabbits.
“I say what an ‘orrible place this is, let’s populate it with the garbage from Britain”. “The poor, the Irish, union men and women, orphans, workhouse people and oh yes, some criminals”.
But not in South Australia, we are the State of the very poor free settlers that they wanted to get rid of anyway.
We came here in 1836 and started eating pie floaters soon afterwards.

What is a Pie Floater?

Some claim it is indigenous to South Australia, but I’m not so sure of that.
It is an Aussie Meat Pie, submerged in a sea of green pea soup, with the peas quite visible and topped with lashings of “dead horse” (tomato sauce) and vinegar if you so wish.
Sounds disgusting, yes, but wonderful to eat after a night on the piss in Adelaide, the city of churches.
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Where did you get it? For many years Cowley’s Bakery, based at Cross Road, South Plympton would park their pie cart outside of the Adelaide General Post Office in the City at night and dispense pie floaters late into the night for drunks, shift workers, unsuspecting tourists and coppers.

THE RESULTS:

A shortlived general feeling of wellbeing and happiness, perhaps a gentle vomit or two and for many hours afterwards a series of foul smelling, arse tearing, bowel burning pie floater farts.
They were Wonderful!         Rod

The Secret World of Caffeine.

giant-coffee-cupBy Justin Beach, Daily Digest News
Somewhere in the world, 71 cups of coffee are consumed every second of every day for a total of 2.25 billion cups per year. Worldwide the consumption of coffee provides 26 million jobs and $15.4 billion in exports, much of which goes to very poor coffee producing countries.
Those numbers do not even take into account the consumption of tea, chocolate and other caffeinated beverages.
No one is sure, however, exactly why plants such as coffee, tea and cocoa produce caffeine in the first place. New research published in the September 5 edition of the journal Science provides new information, but also produces more mysteries.
“Coffee is as important to everyday early risers as it is to the global economy. Accordingly, a genome sequence could be a significant step toward improving coffee.
By looking at the coffee genome and genes specific to coffee, we were able to draw some conclusions about what makes coffee special,” said Philippe Lashermes, a researcher at the French Institute of Research for Development (IRD), in a statement.
The newly sequenced genome of the coffee plant sheds light on the evolution of caffeine.
Interestingly, the plants which produce caffeine appear to have evolved separately to produce the same chemical. In other words, coffee, tea and cocoa do not appear to share a common caffeine-producing evolutionary ancestor.
via Coffee genome reveals secrets about the world’s most popular drug, caffeine | Daily Digest News.

The History of Christmas Pudding.

Christmas pudding Matt Riggott

A flaming Christmas pudding. © Matt Riggott at Wikipedia

Over the course of the 18th century, pottage and porridge became unfashionable as sophisticated cuisine increasingly took its cues from France.
In 1758 Martha Bradley, the author of The British Housewife: or, The Cooke, Housekeeper’s and Gardiner’s Companion said of plum porridge that “the French laugh outrageously at this old English Dish”.
Her own recipe for ‘plum porridge’ sounds very rich; it contains a leg and a shin of beef, white bread, currants, raisins, prunes, mace, cloves, nutmegs, sherry, salt and sugar.
As plum pottage died out, the plum pudding rose to take its place. Thanks to cheap sugar from the expanding West Indian slave plantations, plum puddings became sweeter and the savoury element of the dish (meat) became less important.
By the Victorian period the only meat product in a Christmas pudding was suet (raw beef or mutton fat).
At this point it had really become Christmas pudding as we know it, with the cannonball-shaped pudding of flour, fruits, suet, sugar and spices topped with a sprig of holly, doused in brandy and set alight.
How exactly plum pudding got to be associated with Christmas is the next mystery. The earlier plum pottage was apparently enjoyed at times of celebration, although it was primarily associated with harvest festivities rather than Christmas.
There is an unsubstantiated story that in 1714, King George I (sometimes known as the Pudding King) requested that plum pudding be served as part of his first Christmas feast in England.
Whether this actually happened or not, was can see that recipe books from the 18th century onwards did start associating plum pudding with Christmas.
In 1740, a publication titled Christmas Entertainments included a recipe for plum pudding, which suggests that it was increasingly eaten in a Christmas context.
The first known reference to a ‘Christmas pudding’ is, however, not to be found until 1845, in Eliza Acton’s bestselling Modern Cookery for Private Families.
Read more via Dance’s Historical Miscellany: Christmas pudding: a history.

The Romance of Chocolate.

_79911679_chocflorentinePapillotes are a popular Christmas treat in France – the specially wrapped chocolates have romantic origins dating back to the 18th Century.
I tracked down some of the best in a small shop in Paris.
If Willy Wonka was real and a Frenchman, his name would be Philippe Bernachon.
Bernachon is a master chocolate maker. His Lyon kitchen creates the most mouth-watering delicacies – not least, his chocolate bars. Roll over, Wonka’s Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight.
Smooth, very dark or creamy milk – Bernachon bars are oozing with rich, salted caramel or stuffed with pistachio, roasted almonds, candied pineapple and kirsch, marzipan, or bitter orange and crystallised fruits soaked in Grand Marnier.
They’re usually found in only two places in the world – in Lyon or 400km (248 miles) north at a small sweet shop near Montmartre, A L’Etoile d’Or – At the Golden Star.
But last February, The Golden Star blew up, sending the exquisite 19th Century decor, the trays and jars of divine sweetmeats – and Bernachon’s incredible chocolate bars – sky-high.
A gas explosion smashed it all to smithereens.
The proprietor, shocked but unscathed, has been without her shop for months – and Paris is bereft of Bernachon.
Read on via BBC News – The most romantic chocolate ever made?.

‘Eat, Drink & be Merry.’

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by Rebecca Rupp
We all know what food is for. Biologically, food is fuel, the stuff that provides us with the energy to do all the things we do.
Like every other animal on the planet-from protozoa to panda bears-we eat in order to live.
For us alone, however, out of all the animal kingdom, food plays a far greater role. Shared food promotes friendship, fellowship, and communication, and functions as social glue.
Food is an integral part of life’s transitions: we have wedding and birthday cakes, funeral casseroles, celebratory champagne, and that rite-of-passage first legal beer.
Food is symbolic: on New Year’s Day, for example, depending where and who we are, we eat grapes, lentils, black-eyed peas, or soba noodles for luck.
Christians celebrate Shrove Tuesday with pancakes and Good Friday with hot cross buns; Jews commemorate Passover with bitter herbs and unleavened bread; and Muslims, after Ramadan, traditionally break their long fast with dates.
Food forges our national and cultural identities. Almost every family has its special dishes that—collectively partaken of—solidify the sense of belonging to a tribe.
There’s a good argument that many of the characteristics that define us as human evolved from our peculiar custom of sitting down together for dinner.
Among these are kinship systems, spoken language, technology, and a sense of right and wrong—all of which may have their roots in food, brought home and divvied up among people gathered together around a primitive communal hearth.
Researchers guess that we (and our distant ancestors) have been sharing meals in this way for nearly two million years.
sustenance_NGM_1214_002Afghan women share a meal of flatbread, goat, lamb, and fruit in the Women’s Garden, a refuge for conversation and confidences outside the city of Bamian.
The garden and surrounding park were created to promote leisure activities for women and families­. For this group it includes the chance to bond over food.  Lynsey Addario, Reportage by Getty Images/National Geographic
Continue the article via Eat, Drink, and Be Merry – The Plate: Rebecca Rupp.

The Hottest Pizza in England.

The world’s hottest pizza was created by Paul Brayshaw, of Paul’s Pizza, in Saltdean, England, a self-confessed spicy food fanatic and fan of the Man vs Food TV show.
After opening his own pizza place, Paul decided to include a challenge on the menu, and stared working on the hottest pizza he could make. He used one of the strongest chilies on the planet – the ghost chili – and spiced it up even more with a special chili paste with chili extract.
The 32-year-old father of two says the Saltdean Sizzler starts out as a regular pizza, with a homemade dough base, regular Italian tomato and herb sauce and fresh mozzarella, but turns into a world of pain after he adds his killer sauce.
Apparently it even changes from a nice “red tomato color” to an “evil black/red”.
Ever since he put it on the menu last year, Paul has sold over 1,300 Saltdean Sizzlers, but only eight men and one woman have managed to eat all six slices of the 10-inch pizza.
Saltdean-Sizzler
Saltdean-Sizzler – Photo: Paul’s Pizza/Facebook
Word of the Saltdean Sizzler’s hotness spread like wild fire, and Paul was even contacted by the Guinness Book of Records, who told him that if it would score more than 1 million units on the Scoville scale, it would be awarded the title of world’s hottest pizza.
After a series of tests, scientists at Warwick University rated Brayshaw’s creation at over 3.2 million on the Scoville scale, which makes it three times spicier than the world’s strongest chili and police pepper spray.
Paul himself has only been able to finish two slices of his hot delicacy, and says the after effects are much worse than eating the pizza.
“There was no pleasure. Just pain. It was unbearable. I was scared about swallowing it.
The pain subsided after 20 minutes but then the relentless stomach ache started. I would never do it again. I would not wish it on anyone,” said 28-year-old Christopher Barnard, one of the brave souls that dared take on the Saltdean Sizzler challenge.
via World’s Hottest Pizza Is Three Times Stronger than Police Pepper Spray | Oddity Central – Collecting Oddities.