The Food Virgin Blog

The Food Virgin is the home of The Food Virgin articles and podcasts, providing everything you need to know to eat any cuisine. With advice covering what to expect, what to order, what the food is like and how to eat it, The Food Virgin provides answers for people who are trying a new cuisine for the first time, as well as experienced diners who want to eat like the experts.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Scrumptious Sorbet

So, recently, I had way too much fruit in my fridge, so I decided to make sorbet. The only problem with this was that I don't have an ice cream maker. Never fear, though-- I found a recipe that was so easy, and didn't need one, and the result: Fabulous Strawberry Sorbet. "The best I've ever had!" declared my husband.

So the recipe is here:

I even will take a picture of it, it was so good (though, really, it will just look like any ordinary sorbet).

Bon Appetit!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sodas of the World

It's easy to talk about foods of the world and overlook the variety of drinks that are out there.

Personally, I'm not much for drinking alcohol, but I like a lot of different soda pop from all kinds of places. Here's my top 5:

Top 5 Soda Pops from Around the World

1) Ting- A Jamaican soda that tastes a lot like fizzy grapefruit juice. Similar to Fresca, a friend tells me.

2) Orangina- More genuinely orange flavoured than those crazy neon orange pops found in America, Orangina comes from Italy and has real orange pulp in it too. Kids, you might be able to convince your mom that it's healthy, like juice!

3) Mitsui Water- From Japan, Mitsui water sounds like something that you might put into a car, but don't-- it's a tasty variation of Sprite/7-Up: A bit lemon-limey, and clear, but slightly different. Yum!

4) Cream Soda- I prefer it white these days, but the pink one does bring me back to my childhood. It seems to be found in British commonwealth countries and America.

5) Ginger Beer- With more of a gingery kick than ginger ale, ginger beer's got the edge. Hailing from England, it's easy to find across SE Asia too. Probably because they know of the healing properties of ginger.

So... anything you like that I missed?


Saturday, February 10, 2007

The most expensive dinner in the world?

How much would you pay for a nice dinner? How about a really nice dinner? How about a dinner cooked by 6 3-star Michelin chefs from around the world?

15 people are spending a million Thai Baht ($35,000USD) for such a meal. I was happy to hear that the money will be going to charity (a good one too- Medicins sans Frontiers/Doctors without Borders), but others seemed to think it was an unnecessary extravagance. Here's the menu for the 11 course meal:

1) Creme brulee of foie gras with Tonga beans 1990 Louis Roederer Cristal

2) Tartar of Kobe beef with Imperial Beluga caviar and Belon oyster 1995 Krug Clos du Mesnil

3) Mousseline of "pattes rouges" crayfish with morel infusion 2000 Corton Charlemagne

4) "Tarte Fine" with scallops and black truffle 1996 Le Montrachet

5) Britanny lobster "Osso Bucco"1985 Romanee Conti

6) Risotto with white Alba truffles "Enoteca Pinchiorri" 1961 Chateau Palmer

7) Saddle of lamb "Leonel" 1959 Chateau Mouton Rothschild

8) Sorbet "Dom Perignon"

9) Supreme of pigeon en croute with Perigord truffles 1961 Chateau Haut Brion

10) 1955 Chateau LatourSelection of fine cheeses

11) Imperial gingerbread pyramid with caramel and salted butter ice-cream 1967 Chateau d'Yquem

I have to say that the wine pairings sound amazing, but for me, truth be told, I'm not much into eating things like pigeon or scallops. I don't even like caviar or lobster, really, so such a meal would be mostly wasted on me (or slipped onto my husband's plate when no one's looking).

That said, dessert sounds amazing.

If you could have a million dollar dinner, what would be served at it?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Recipe Mystery

So there's this recipe I thought I lost. My not-quite-ex-mother-in-law gave it to me because she knew I loved her chicken wings. The only problem was, back when she gave it to me, 15 years ago, I didn't cook. Like, I didn't cook ANYTHING. But loving the recipe, I kept in anyway just in case one day I decided to try.

Fast forward 15 years to now, when I thought I'd lost the recipe. My husband has friends over for dinner and has brought home shrimp. For no apparently reason, he had bought these things, and had no plan of what to do with them, so I started to go through recipe books to look for something inspiring. I open a book I haven't seen for a while, and *wow!* there, taped into the front of it, is my long lost chicken wing recipe! Too cool!!!

So yesterday, I had the perfect conditions to try making them: Home alone, so I could experiment and not screw up anyone else's dinner if it all went wrong, and most of the ingredients.

There was just one problem: What this 'recipe' was, was a collection of ingredients, but no instructions on what to do with them. It was called 'Fried Chicken Wings', so I figured that some frying must be involved.

I decided to do the easiest thing: Mix everything together in a bowl, coat the wings with it, and then deep fry them.

I mixed everything as best I could. Two things were missing- thick soy sauce, and Chinese 5 spice. To make up for this, I added extra regular soy sauce and added each ingredient in 5 spice separately. All I had to do now, was just cook the wings into tasty perfection. Unfortunately, this is where it all started going wrong.

Problem #1: The oil heat was too high. As such, I charred the outside, but still had raw insides.

Problem #2: Did I mention the charred outsides? So to finish cooking the insides, I dipped them into more sauce and put them back into the fryer.

How did they taste? Well, like any charred chicken wings would, I guess. They did not seem anything like what I remember other than the fact that there was chicken involved.

So what's next in this saga? My plan is to try making the recipe again, according to the instructions of other Chinese chicken wing recipes I've found online. Most of them involve marinating the wing overnight, while other Asian recipes that fry stuff involves cooking them twice-- once to cook the meat, and then again after being dipped into a batter.

Stay tuned for the next update on how this goes.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

T'is the Season... for Gingerbread Cookies!

Why is gingerbread such a holiday-time food? Probably because you can shape it and decorate it into fun things. Last year, I made a gingerbread shack. I say 'shack', because my architectural measurements were done rather lacksidaisically, so when it came time to put up the structure on the plate, it was less like a perfect Amish barn raising, and more like building a shanty in a third world slum. Even the decorations didn't help. Ultimately, its only tenants were fruit flies.

Today, I tried to make my favourite gingerbread cookies. They are normally delicious and get rave reviews. Today, though, they stuck to the pan, so getting them off without breaking them was a challenge that has left my cookie sheet forever scarred. My plan is to bring them to a Christmas party tonight, and blame the broken ones on the bottom on breakage in transport. Hee Hee Hee! In all honesty, I think my problem today was a slight shortage of butter. They do say that baking is a science, and boy are 'they' ever right!

Happy holidays to you!

Here is the cookie recipe: Spice Sugar Cookies

Friday, December 15, 2006

Forgotten Recipes

Does anyone else cook in cycles, or am I the only one who makes lots of one recipe for a while, and then move on to other things only to not make the recipe for a long time again?

Tonight I just made something that I haven't made in months- shashlik- and while it turned out fine, if I'd been in the habit of making it, I'd have remembered that I should have everything ready to go before starting to cook (yes, this is something that everyone learns in lesson 1 of Home Economics, but hey!). Anyhow, I'll probably remember to do so for the next little while, but that's only if I make shashlik again sometime soon.

Here's a link to the recipe:


Maybe I'll add a note to myself so that I don't forget ingredients or key cooking tips! :-)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Seasonal Food

A lot of the time, when someone talks about food being seasonal, we think of fruits and vegetables that only ripen at certain times of the year: Apples in the Fall, strawberries in early summer, peas in late June.

We do also have seasonal meats too, though. Spring lamb, turkey in the holiday season.

Are there meats that are eaten in your part of the world that are seasonal? Let us know here, or at the forum!