do you have a herb mincer?

forgotten kitchen tool

This rolling herb mincer was right at the back of the kitchen drawer and I had nearly forgotten that I  even owned one. I have no idea how long it has been in the drawer, but I know it has been there for some time.

The herb mincer was given to me, possibly by my mother on one of her visits to see me. Mum knows how much I like kitchen tools and I guess she thought I just might need one of these. With all it’s rolling blades the herb mincer looks like it will deliver as a kitchen tool, and I do like how it looks. However if memory serves me correctly I do not think it had lived up to what is was supposed to do.

The herb mincer is not a kitchen tool that I would go out and buy because I generally chop or mince herbs using  a knife, scissors or a mezzaluna. Everything deserves a second chance so lets see if I find this herb mincer useful with some of my recipes…will keep you posted.

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fresh Parmesan please

DSC08693A little bit of information

Many people think that the massive wheels of Grana Padano, the semi-aged hard Italian cheese, are maybe a cheaper knock-off of better known Parmigiana-Reggiano, says Lou DiPalo, part of the fourth generation to run DiPalo’s Fine Foods in Little Italy. In fact, he says, Grana is a great cheese in its own right and well-known in Italy. Grano Padano is a subtler and less nutty and salty than Parmigiano, says DiPalo, with a more delicate flavor that he prefers on risotto or when you don’t want to overpower a dish.

via Know your Italian cheeses: Grana Padano vs. Parmigiana-Reggiano – New York Daily News.

The above link does not exist anymore… will up-date soon.

Fresh is best

None of that dried Parmesan cheese that you get in packets will ever find its way into my cooking, you cannot compare the flavour against  fresh Parmesan. Sometimes I like having more visible Parmesan cheese in my food, so shaving the Parmesan cheese with my swivel vegetable peeler makes it an easy job.

So easy

Run a swivel vegetable peeler along the narrow side of a chunk of Parmesan to obtain thin shavings of cheese.

Add a burst of flavour and make your food look good:

  • Top a caesar salad with some Parmesan shavings or toss them with a green leafy salad with fresh strawberries and balsamic dressing
  • Scatter some Parmesan shavings over a freshly baked pizza before serving
  • Before serving I like to garnish risotto and pasta dishes with a small bundle of Parmesan shavings, piled on top of the food.

Chocolate Curls

Quality counts. Chocolate… dark, milk or white always buy good quality. Room temperature chocolate gives the best results when making these easy chocolate curls.

How to curl the chocolate: Not wanting to melt the chocolate with my warm hands I used the wrapper to hold onto the bar of chocolate while running the swivel vegetable peeler firmly along the narrow side of the bar of chocolate, this gave me lots of lovely delicate chocolate curls to use for my culinary requirements. Sometimes I make the chocolate curls in advance and store them in a covered container in the fridge, chilling also makes them easier to handle.

A few ways of using the chocolate curls 

  • Cupcakes decorated with a generous mound of chocolate curls
  • Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate curls
  • Add a touch of chocolate indulgence… pile chocolate curls on top of cheesecakes, trifles, mousse, pavlova and cakes
  • Pile some chocolate curls on top of ice cream before serving

It really is so easy to make chocolate curls and they add a touch of glamour to your sweet treats… so take out your vegetable peeler and get curling.

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