Chocolate Covered Lard

OK so I don’t usually post recipes but… I came across this ridiculous recipes for chocolate covered lard… on a Russian website no less!

And given how hard it is to find ways to get fat into your diet when you are low carbing, and given that it marries bacon and chocolate which I personally believe are a match made in heaven (and have been RIDICULED for it)… well you get the idea. Here goes.

Chopping Board
Mold for final product (you may need to be a bit creative here)
Bain marie (metal bowl over a pot of steaming water)

Salted lard (pork fat) 300 grams
Dark Chocolate 150 grams
Butter 40 grams
Crushed nuts 50 grams
Ginger powder 1/3 tsp
Allspice 1/2 tsp
Cardamom 1/4 tsp
Nutmeg 1 pinch
Ground red pepper to taste

1. Grind fat in blender.
2. Place on chopping board and form into a square 5mm high.
3. Place board with lard in freezer for 1-2 hours until solid.
4. Melt the chocolate and butter over a bain marie .
5. Add in all the spices and mix well.
6. Remove frozen lard from freezer and cut into thin strips.
7. Place lard in molds and sprinkle with nuts.
8. Cover with chocolate.
9. Return to freezer for another 1 or until chocolate is solid.

Variation: add bacon bits and/or chili in place of the nuts.


Slow Food East

The slow food movement interests me but as far as I can tell from the website, in Singapore it involves hanging out with these five guys as they get drunk:

To join it costs S$120 which means that the average Singaporean probably can’t afford it.

Q: In the west, is Slow Food a past time exclusive to the well-off?

I always had the impression it was spearheaded by the back to nature granola bunch. But given the menus I see discussed in the Singapore blog, this is clearly a high-end foodie past-time.

Not that the price for the events is outrageous given what you get.

Look at this gorgeous menu put together for S$130:

  • Gazpacho
  • Sautéed of wild mushrooms, Arrugula, dried tomatoes and candy of black truffle
  • Clear and fragrant consommé with celery and baby carrots, served with a toast of duck liver and Parma Ham
  • Pan fried with fresh thyme and garlic, Mediterranean couscous, confit of sweet pepper and shellfish emulsion
  • Confit of beef cheek, Potato gratin, shallots, sautéed of lard and mustard
  • Age Tomme de Savoie, and dried fruits condiment
  • Jivara Chocolate delight with pralines, sesame tuile and passion fruits jelly
  • Chocolate Swiss liqueur

Impressive. The cost is worth it if only for the wine paired with the food.

Nevertheless, I know very few people (outside my i-bank colleagues) who would spend $130 for an evening at, say, Redhouse Seafood. I think last time I was there, four of us dined for a total of $130 though we did skip the sharks fin… oh and the wine with every course.

And given my low-carb religion, there’s clearly not much value in me joining a food club in which I will be skipping every offering of rice, noodles, potato and flour in its many incarnations.

Something tells me that it is not in the spirit of decelerated gastronomy if I were to turn my nose up at the Seafood Fried Rice and Deep Fried Bun, not to mention the inevitable Shark’s Fin rant I would embark upon once I found endangered species in my soup.

Still, who knew that Chateau Les Inferets Corbieres Rouge would be paired with Chili Crab?

Is there a Paleo / Low-Carb slow food faction in the States?
Not necessairly forage cum scrape-it-off-the-road slow… but just getting together to pair Chateau Le Plonk with grass-fed beef?

I guess for now, slow food will continue to mean anything that takes me ages to cook myself.


Chili Crab with Steamed Buns and Satay

Photo By Daxiang on Flickr

The Long White Cloud

I’m back from my latest 10 day trip to Aotearoa.

And trippy it was. With some time to finally submerse myself in it, my vacation reading was Good Calories, Bad Calories.

The stories of the impact of a modern diet on indigenous people were particularly poignant given the massive problem of Maori obesity that was evident everywhere. I saw a lot of women, in particular, who were clearly not sedentary (employed in a variety of moderately active jobs) yet who were morbidly obese. Not that the average Caucasian Kiwi is svelte but the serious problem facing the Maoris was, by contrast, shocking.

There are a lot of paintings available online from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s which provide a snapshot of Maori men and women before changes in lifestyle and diet took their toll. The stats are interesting but the images are a much more wistful reminder of what has been lost.

Raiha Reretu
Maori Woman 1877
Gottfried Lindauer, 1877

Of course the recommendations trotted out by the government are the usual tripe Lack of exercise and unhealthy eating are two of the main causes, We eat too much fatty food, Not enough fruits and vegetables… blah blah blah.

On several occasions I saw people out at restaurants diligently cutting the fat off their steak and then polishing off a huge plate of fries. So the good news is that consumers are keen to follow the prescriptions for a healthy diet. The bad news is that, regardless of continent, the official advice is lousy.

Being on holiday, I ate out the whole time and found a lot of carbs creeping into my diet despite efforts to avoid them. Saying that, there were a few occasions I opted to partake freely because, frankly, I didn’t want to be a complete buzz kill for my travelling companion.

I was travelling with a carb eater who dove head first into all the goodies available. She’s got her own demons to face on that one but hey – we were on hols.

Neither of us have been working out much lately so I was pleased to note that when we went hill walking, I seemed relatively sprightly. She had to stop for breath on the climbs much more than I did and although my legs got a bit rubbery before hers (by that I mean the low blood sugar feeling) my heart didn’t seem too upset by the sudden demands. I thought I’d be in bad shape for the hills but I felt pretty strong… not much worse that when I was a carb eater and working out like a demon every day.

For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven, 1891
  	For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven

From the Auckland gallery. The image depicts a child’s funeral. Death’s next young victim is suggested in the grey pallor of the flower bearer. The poor children from the countryside, with decidedly healthier complexions, look on at the procession.