Thursday, August 25, 2016

There's A New Episode Of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! Online


In this latest episode rather than watching Chris get grossed out, you can watch Chris be disappointed, and when it all boils down that's just so much worse.

Watch past episodes of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! here.

CC

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Two Years In Pakistan

Pakistani culture is similar to its food, it can be really good, and sometimes it can be very difficult.  While I'm sure locals get over the difficult parts, as a foreigner that can be much more challenging.  If you're even somewhat  adventurous, the challenging can be at the very least educational. The part that shocked me most when moving to this country was the amount of good that there is, both in the people and the food.  People wise there is a lot of good, some of the most friendly people you'll ever meet, people who want to make you happy, and many who are willing to give the little that they have just to be a good person.

Food wise the challenges mostly came from the poverty issues. Health and cleanliness are a big issue in Pakistan.  There are really two levels of this when it comes to the food, one is that there are certain bacteria that locals can handle, but foreigners cannot, this lead to some problems particularly early on.  The second comes from other contaminants that even the  locals can not handle.  The contaminants are often found in the tap water, and this makes life very challenging. While this is a problem that cannot be overlooked, if you did you'd be in for a bad night of stomach upset, you also can't overlook how great some of the food is as well.

You can't start a conversation about Pakistani food without India.  In the 1960s Pakistan was part of India, while the religion may have been different, the food has many similarities.  Spicy is the order of  the day, and you'll have a hard time finding anything that isn't spicy, even the basic fast food places have menu items that would shock most westerners.  There is also a great range in spices used, it's not just about heat, but it's also about the flavours behind the heat.  The biggest differences you'll find  in the food between Pakistan and India is the meat.  Beef being illegal in many parts of India, is a huge part of the Pakistani diet.  Pork, while not illegal in India is not common, in Pakistan pork is illegal. This certainly makes for different choices when it comes to meals.

Subtlety there are a few differences between the two cuisines.  I found that Pakistani food tends to blend more spices together in each dish.  It's much harder to take apart a Pakistani dish and figure out what flavours are mixed in.  In Indian food the flavours are simpler, and maybe a little bit cleaner, with one or two spices leading each dish.

One of the great debates in local cuisine between India and Pakistan is who makes the best naan bread. Many people prefer the lighter Indian naan bread, but personally I really liked the thick heavy naan bread from Pakistan.  Indian naan is more flexible, and would then be easier to pick up food, but the heartiness of Pakistani naan made it a meal into itself. Pakistani naan also often had highlights, as well.  In Pakistan you can find naan stuffed with so many fillings, spicy or sweet.

As for candies and confectionery, Pakistan was a fascinating place.  In the packaged candy department there are a few locally made treats.  Most of these are either hard candies or gummies, and two of the most predominant flavours are Imli (a sweet red bean) or hot peppers.  The most popular packaged treats in Pakistan are not Pakistani at all.  Most of the chocolate bar market seemed to be British, this is likely because of the British influence from occupying this area for so long.  Dairy Milk and other British brands can be found everywhere.

Locally made treats where very different indeed.  Most treats came in the form of barfi and jalebi. As unappealing as it sounds to North American ears, barfi is a really great sweet treat, often made of milk.  It's a smooth creamy and sweet treat that takes on many forms.  Jalebi is a common sweet treat found in Pakistan that looks like a poorly made pretzel, but is in fact a sweet deep fried treat.  It's my favorite of all the treats I found in Pakistan, and something I hope to learn how to make myself.  As with the food, many of these treats can also be found in India, and there is always great debate as to where they have originated.

I can't lie, I had some trouble with the food in Pakistan. Many a night I found myself in the bathroom lying on the floor wondering what could have possibly made me this sick.  It's not a place for those that aren't adventurous (I'm still not sure how I survived).  The thing is, when it works, it works really well.  There's so much more to Pakistani cooking than just the food. I can't tell you how many times I enjoyed the environment, and people around me when I was eating. I'll never forget eating on New Food Street in Lahore, up on the rooftop of Andas restaurant looking down at a giant mosque with good people all around me.

Before I go, I can't forget the mangos... They're like nothing I've ever eaten before.

CC

Monday, August 22, 2016

This Week In Candy, I'm Home

It's been 6 years now, but I'm finally home.  Over the last 6 years I've been living outside of my home country of Canada. It started with 4 years in Greece, and then 2 years in Pakistan.  Withing these times I traveled a lot, and saw a great deal of the world (including sampling a huge number of awesome treats), but now I'm home.  For the next little while my travel plans are going to go down (but not all gone), and I'm going to look at the food from my home and native land.  I'm also going  to look at the food from my favorite neighbours to the south as well.

Already in my first few days back I've noticed a few things.  First of all portion sizes are huge compared to most of the world.  I haven't been able to enjoy too many desserts lately because I can't even get through half of my giant dinners and lunches. Secondly, the selection of food in North America is amazing, I've found snacks and treats at Walmart that before this I only could find at local shops in developing countries.  Finally, food looks really good in North America, it doesn't always reflect the quality of flavour, but everything just looks great.

You might be asking, now that I'm back, what's going on here at Candy Critic?  I think there will be a few changes, mostly with when and how things are posted on this blog.  I might delay the posts so they go online later in the day, but that will come about as time goes on.  This week we're still going to have our regular posts with a new Candy Thing and Candy In The Media.  We'll also post a new episode of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! going online later this week.  For the next few weeks Snack Facts (our Instagram feed) is going to continue on vacation mode, and just post facts as we come across them.  This could mean you get several posts in one day, and maybe a few days off in between.

Later this week I'll also be  posting a recap of my time, and the food I discovered in Pakistan.  It's a pretty amazing place,  and although it's not an easy place to live, I had some great experiences. All this week I'm also going to be posting updates on my life settling back in Canada.  You can follow this adventure on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.

This week's new candy review is a candy made by some of my favorite candy makers here in Canada.  OMG's came out a few years  back, and I was lucky to have been visiting when they did.  Now that I'm back, I'm really happy to see that they're still around.  This week's review makes me proud to be a Canadian. Click here to read the review.

CC

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Candy Critic Dessert Club – Ice Cream Meets Apple Pie - Apple Pie Ice Cream Cake

I have a strange goal in life, I want to discover the best ice cream recipe that does not require an ice cream maker. By this I mean no ice cream maker at all, not even a makeshift ice cream maker, like two Ziploc bags and salted ice. This recipe might be one of the best answers to this goal so far. It not only delivers an ice cream like substance, but it also tastes pretty good as well.

Ingredients:

Crust:

1/2 cup of melted butter
2 cups of crushed digestive cookies
2 tsp brown sugar

Ice Cream Filling

2 Cups of whipped cream
14 Oz of sweetened condensed milk
About 1 cup apple pie filling (I have a great recipe right here)
1 tsp cinnamon

You'll also need a baking pan (that can be frozen), waxed paper, a mixer (or a whisk with some serious elbow grease) and a mixing bowl.
Take your broken up cookies and in the mixing bowl add the brown sugar, stir till incorporated. Take the melted butter and ad it to the crushed cookie mix. Stir these together until your cookie bits are made up of fairly evenly sized clumps. Take the cookie mix and pour it into your baking pan, that should already be lined with waxed paper. Using a spoon, press the cookie mix into the bottom of the pan until it evenly covers the bottom. Once you have a smooth cookie base, put the baking pan and cookie base in the refrigerator.

While the base is cooling in the refrigerator, wipe out your mixing bowl, and add the whipped cream. Whip the cream until it sets, and the cream forms peaks. With the hand mixer this shouldn't take more than a few minutes, with the whisk it will take much longer (and will be a little painful). Once the whipped cream is whipped, ad the condensed milk and whip it a little more on the lowest setting on your mixer. You only want to blend the two dairy products, and you don't want to over whip the whipped cream.

Once the two dairy products are mixed together, add the cinnamon and pie filling. Using a spoon or spatula gently fold the ingredients together. Do not use the mixer for this as it will over whip the whipped cream.

Take your cookie crust out of the refrigerator and pour the filling mix on top of the crust. Using the spoon or spatula level the cream filling off. If you'd like, you can sprinkle the top of the cake with more crushed cookies, or any other hard topping you'd like. Place your unfrozen ice cream cake in the freezer, and leave it there for at least 12 hours.

Once the cake has frozen remove the cake and let it sit for a couple of minutes. After a few minutes you should be able to remove the cake and the wax paper. Take the cake and waxed paper out, then peel off the waxed paper. You might have to flip the ice cream cake upside down to peel off all of the waxed paper. Once the waxed paper is removed, cut the edges off the cake and discard (into your tummy).

Cut the rest of the cake anyway you like. You can either serve immediately or return it to the pan and serve later (should last a couple of weeks in the freezer). When serving you can add whipped cream or any kind of sauce you like.

CC