Battle of the titans

Putting together a magazine is a mix of process, toil, and fun. The fun comes in many ways, from turning a snow-white concept into a dramatic outcome, getting great feedback from our readers, and being kids again!

We did the kid stuff during the photo shoot for our Winter/Spring issue. One of the most popular sections of TMix+ has been Red Corner vs. Blue Corner, where we pitch tried and trusted cooking methods against the Thermomix. Since the launch of the magazine, we’ve matched risotto vs. risotto (traditional won out), salmon vs. salmon (dead-heat), and mince vs. mince (Thermomix dominated this clash). Our latest battle was whisked eggs vs. whisked eggs, with Yolaine Corbin at the controls of the TM5, against me with a whisk and a copper bowl.

I’ve been anti the Thermomix for whisking egg whites for practical and philosophical reasons; generally mounting the whites is part of a multi-dimensional recipe, and the bowl needs to be spotlessly clean, and it’s just as easy to do the whisking by hand while the Thermomix is working on another part of the dish, and I’ve always enjoyed the strange serenity that comes from getting physical with the whisk while feeling and watching as the egg whites mount. Personal achievement vs. machine outcomes is not to be underestimated.

Yolaine, on the other hand, is all for the machine to do the hard work. She’s more organised at the recipe creation than me (she also has a spare bowl), and has a simple process of making sure the bowl is completely free of grease or grime. She adds a quarter cup of white vinegar to 1000 millilitres of water and “cooks” it for 10 minutes/100 degrees/speed 3, before allowing it to dry.

In each case, we had the whites of four eggs (120 grams of egg white), and added a tiny amount of cream of tartar. The challenge was to get the whites to form stiff peaks.

Mike Emmett’s video tells the story.

 

A big week for big days

It seems we can’t let a week go by without a gimmick applied, generally with the aim of generating sales for something, anything. This week the US celebrated National Ice Cream day on July 17, and yesterday (July 21), we, apparently, venerated National Lamington Day.

I must say each of these monuments has passed me by.

The ice cream event, according to America’s International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), was generated in 1984, when President Reagan pronounced July as the month to gobble down ice creams with “appropriate ceremonies and activities”. It would seem a waste to me as the IDFA claims 90 per cent of Americans are into ice cream. You have to wonder what the problem is with the other 10 per cent?

Back home, and it was the wonders of Instagram that alerted me to the Lamington event, which suggests it has not quite reached the levels of Grand Final Day. I’ve since discovered there’s a website devoted to the cult of the lamington, and what it claims is our “insatiable interest” in “Australia’s most famous culinary icon”.

The Australian Lamington official website (sigh) declared of July 21, as “a day to celebrate this iconic Australian delicacy, so glorious in its flavour, especially with its layer of strawberry jam in the centre and an additional dollop of whipped cream on top, that it rivals the French truffle as the number one desert (sic) choice for backpackers and the dollar-conscious alike”. We haven’t worked out why it’s July 21, as Lord Lamington, after whom the coconut covered chocolate dipped cake is named, was born on July 29, 1860?

Of course, any national day in Australia wouldn’t be worth its weight if there was not a call for a holiday in commemoration, and Kirin Tipping, a baker from the Sydney suburb of Brookvale, told the Daily Telegraph the time was right to do just that: “It’s all about cake and suits the Aussie lifestyle, and if it were a public holiday, you wouldn’t be in your work clothes and it wouldn’t matter if the coconut dropped off”. Ms Tipping is a true devotee of the lamington, having developed 300 versions including jaffa fudge, mango ginger tango flavoured with Australian glace ginger and mango and one with smashed Violet Crumble. We’ll bow to her creativity, but we’re one-dog-one-bone when it comes to the lamington: a pound cake base, chocolate and desiccated coconut. No more, no less.

To (belatedly) add our applause to the celebrations, here’s our recipe for honey ice cream and lamingtons.

Look out for our Winter/Spring issue for a recipe for cinnamon ice cream, with a delicious port, orange and cinnamon sauce.

 

PS: Social Media voted with its fingers. #nationalicecreamday had 160,000 posts, while poor old #nationallamingtonday managed just 214.

 

If you needed any further indication that the world is gradually sinking into madness and/or slothfulness, here’s example #5463421: Kellogg’s has just opened a branded “boutique” in the heart of New York City selling its full range of packaged goods with some added pizzazz via quirky names, and even more quirky additions.

For just $7.50, you can jazz up your Rice Krispies with Berry Me In Green Tea, which includes strawberries and green tea powder, or your Corn Pops become The Corny Blues with blueberry jam, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. For $9.50 you can go for a Peppermint Patty, a sundae of Frosted Mini-Wheats, chocolate, cocoa powder and mint. And don’t think this is all done and dusted by 10am—the show goes from 7am to 11pm. Why? The Kellogg’s website notes: “Our hours run from morning to late-night because no matter where you’re from, it’s always a good time for cereal.”

The concept café is run under licence by Anthony Rudolf—once of Thomas Keller’s famed NYC restaurant Per Se—for the simple, but smart reason that Kellogg’s recognises it might be good at packaging that first meal of the day, but running a café is a different thing altogether. Andy Shripka, Kellogg’s associate marketing director told The New York Times: “We didn’t know how to do that” (run a small business).

And will it work? John Stanton, a food marketing specialist told The Times: “You never know whether these things are going to be a success or failure, but you have to give Kellogg’s credit for trying to do something different in a category that’s dying.” Kellogg’s, by the way, has been operating since 1898.

If you want to see the creative energy that is being Peppermint Patty and co: visit yelp.com

We’ve always been homebodies for breakfast, and, in our next edition, we’ve put together a classic granola; just add whatever milk, fruit, lemon zest, juice, liqueur etc. etc. that takes your fancy.