Friday, July 25, 2014

American Iced Tea - 2 methods, 3 steps and 5 tips!

What's the one-stop, 100% summer drink for you? I'm pretty sure lots of people will go for iced tea. I know it one of my favourites! There's nothing that says summer like a glass filled with ice cubes, drizzled with tea and topped with lemon with a sprig of mint to the side. But that might just be my opinion..

The history of iced tea is unknown: it seems to be one of those things that turned up and was all over the place. Some recipes date back to 1861 and 1877, while some claim that iced tea wasn't invented until the 1904 World Fair. - I wish I had been there. At the 1904 World Fair foods like hot dogs, hamburgers, ice-cream waffles and iced tea were 'first' introduced to the world. All the newest technology (like an automated type-setter! Can you imagine?) could be found in a 15 by 15 km Fair in Louisiana. It sounds so amazing! I wish we still had World Fairs today.. (or at least Food Fairs!)

But let's focus on iced tea. One of the things that really surprised me about the iced tea is this: the recipes for iced tea haven't changed at all! I mean, a recipe from 1877 is the same as a recipe you fill find on the internet right now. For most recipes you will find a shift in the ingredients: less sugar, less salt or less fat (most of them were needed for preservation reasons). But iced tea remains the same - with only 3 ingredients perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lebanese Ahweh Bayda (white coffee)

Wauw, how long has it been since my last post? Please don't go check - it's too long ago! You'd think with all this vacation going on I'd have all the time in the world! In the meanwhile I'm close to the end of my drinks-around-the-world series (I can't wait to summon it all up in 1 post!). We've covered quite a bit of the world by now, but we're not there yet. I've got two more drinks to go! Today I want to share a Lebanese tradition: white coffee.

The Lebanese white coffee has nothing to do with coffee. It's name probably comes from the fact that it is served in stead of coffee for those who don't like actual coffee. It is usually served after a meal or during any sort of get-together. The soothing beverage is known to relieve stomach aches and facilitate digestion. And it comes in those cute and colourful Turkish style coffee cups (except that in my case it doesn't). Sounds pretty good right?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Turkish summer drink - Ayran

Ah, vacation. Don't you just love it when you get to relax 24/7? You'll get to cook up dishes whenever you want -you have the time for it now!-, take pictures at any point in time and take forever to make them and you have all the time in the world to find out how to put conditionals in your html (although I don't think time can save me there) and then 'suddenly' you find yourself in a country of 35 degrees Celsius (a lot of Fahrenheit I tell you!) and your brain turns to pulp and your body into a sack of potatoes and you're stuck...

And I didn't know what to tell you about Ayran. Or about my vacation. Or life in general. So I did what any person struck by heat would do: do research on the history of the drink and spend hours and hours on end figuring out the difference between things in which there IS no difference and end up ranting a full page full. That's sanity for you right there.

Ayran is a Turkish national drink (like all over the place, super-famous sorts of national) - roughly the same as the Persian/Iranian 'Doogh', the Arabian 'Laban', the Armanian 'Tahn' and the Kurdish 'Mastaw'. And a distant cousin of drinks as the Indian Lassi, the Mongolian Kumis (fermented drink from horse milk), the Indian Majiga or Moru (spiced buttermilks) and Kefir (fermented milk drink much like buttermilk). The summer drink is basically a salted mix of yogurt and water. You'll find it in Turkey and the surrounding countries especially on hot summer days as it's very refreshing - I can tell you from experience! It's most often served during dinner, no, it's served at almost every meal and people will still drink it during the day as well. It beats the heat way better than water.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

In search of the Real Milkshake

Milkshakes are funny things. I mean it! I thought I knew what a milkshake was, until I found out that milkshakes apparently contain ice cream. And then when I actually looked into milkshakes, I found out that even that was wrong. You'll know what I mean if you take a look at the history of milkshakes:

(from The Food Timeline):
1982: "Milk shake also appeared in the late 1880s, but the term then usually meant a sturdy, healthful egg nog type of drink, with eggs, whiskey, etc., served as a tonic as well as a treat."
1999: "When the term first appeared in print in 1885, milk shakes may have contained whiskey of some kind, but by the turn of the century they were considered wholesome drinks made with chocolate, strawberry, or vanilla syrups."
2002: "Milkshake can be made of any flavor, but vanilla and chocolate are the most desirable flavors. This catalog included a milkshake recipe, which instructed the dispenser to fill a tumbler half-full of shaved ice, add 1.5 ounces of syrup, finish filling the glass with milk, and shake well. For a little extra punch, the recipe said to add port wine."

and from Wikipedia:
2014: "A milkshake is a sweet, cold beverage which is usually made from milk, ice cream, or iced milk, and flavorings or sweeteners such as butterscotch, caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, or fruit syrup."

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

That Real Greek Frappé (φραπές)

On request of my mom an authentic Greek recipe: Frappé. You'll find this refreshingly cool drink in every café in Greece - and there are a lot of cafés in Greece. You'll also find that not only it is served everywhere, it is also consumed everywhere, by everyone, no exceptions. It's a Greek staple summer drink without a doubt. (The word frappé, funnily enough, comes from the French.)

Frappé is a foam-covered, iced coffee drink made from instant coffee. It's usually served in tall glasses, with ice cubes, usually with the addition of sugar and condensed milk. Oh, and a straw (preferably black or white) to make it fancy. Plus you'd be drinking the foam if you don't have one. And lastly, with a glass of water to the side. (for the aftertaste and because coffee dehydrates you). In Greece glass of water is always served for free in every restaurant or café, regardless of you ordering coffee.