Saturday, June 25, 2016

Another Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! On The Road

This is our last episode of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! from our trip to India (and eventually Dubai).  This one was a bit of a surprise, and it took two parts to get it right.

Click here to check out past episodes of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!


Friday, June 24, 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Monday, June 20, 2016

Part 3 Of Chris Why Would You Eat That From India Is Online

In this third of five episodes of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! series from India, Chris samples a random brown balls that someone left at his dinner table after a meal.  This is probably not a good idea to eat random brown balls left at your dinner table, but that's just what he does.


This Week In Candy

Things are starting to settle down now after our epic trip to India.  We managed to get all the reviews up for our Indian candy review-a-thon, and we managed to post all of the blogs related to the trip as well.  We're still posting more episodes of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! from India and we'll hopefully have them all up by the end of this week.  The last episode may be a two part episode, we're not sure yet.

This week we're going to focus on organizing our podcast Junk Fud and old episodes of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!.  We want to find a better way to archive the episodes, as well as more channels where you can watch/listen to new episodes.  If anybody has ideas, or experience podcasting, any help is appreciated.  This week I'm also going to be doing a lot of writing, both for the future book on the history of chocolate, and for a few articles I hope to get published.  I'm also expanding my travel writing a bit, but you can read more about that on my personal travel blog here.

This week Snack Facts, our Instagram feed is back, and we're looking at Mangoes.  The first fact I can tell you about mangoes is that spelling it in the plural form stumped me for a minute today, who knew there was a "e" in there.  But make sure to check Snack Facts every day for a new fun fact about this very sweet fruit.  You can follow Snack Facts on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

As for reviews this week, we're starting this week with the end of our Indian Candy review-a-thon.  This week's review is made by a famous western brand, Lay's, but with a truly Indian twist.  Click here to read this latest review.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Junk Fud On The Road Is Online, And It's All About India

Our latest episode of Junk Fud On The Road is all about our latest trip to India.  Allison and Chris talk about the cool, and not so cool (aka spicy), things they discovered on their latest journey to India.

Click here to to check out past episodes of Junk Fud.


Friday, June 17, 2016

It's Another Episode Of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! From India

This is the second part of our five part series of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!! videos we filmed on our last adventure in India.  This was the first time we decided to shoot something outside the hotel room, and technically it didn't work very well.  We're still working out the bugs, but at least you get to see me eat something way too hot for my liking.

Click here to see more episodes of Chris, Why Would You Eat That?!!


India Trip Round Up

India's a pretty fascinating place when it comes to food, there's a certain expectation about what to expect when you eat there, however there's also some realities that get in the way. We all know Indian food from eating at our local Indian restaurant (found in many Western countries). While the food is similar, it's a little bit different.  The main difference comes from the fact that when you're in India, you're sitting in a developing country.  While I did eat at many fine establishments in India, I also ate in more places that would probably be shut down in a matter of minutes in Western countries.  That's not to say that the food wasn't good, or that they didn't try to make the meal pleasant, it's just a different environment, and different ingredients than many of us are used to finding in Indian restaurants.

There's also a diversity in India that you just don't find in average Indian restaurants.  We only traveled in the northern part of India, a small fraction of the country, yet we tasted so much variety in the food.  In some cases it was drastic, like the Tibetan influence in McLeod Ganj, or subtle differences, like the variations of butter chicken we sampled.
Speaking of butter chicken, this is easily my favourite classic Indian food, and because of this I made sure to sample as many different versions as I could.  To my biggest surprise, apparently in the north of India it's more common to eat butter chicken with the bone in.  It took a bit of getting used to, but eventually I was OK.  We also did a little research, and planned a visit to Moti Mahal in Delhi.  This restaurant is known to be the place where butter chicken got its start, and famous chefs (including Gordon Ramsay) have visited this place to learn how it's done.  The butter chicken at Moti Mahal was fantastic, and what I appreciated most was the fact that the chicken is shredded (like pulled pork) and then mixed in the sauce.  It creates a great texture and really gets the creamy sauce all around.
Probably my second favourite meal on the trip happened in McLeod Ganj, a city famous for the fact that it's where the Dalai Lama, and the Tibetan government in exile are now located.  I don't know if I've ever tasted Tibetan cooking before, but I'm now hooked.  Tibetan food is simple, hearty, and full of flavour.  I fell in love with two dishes in particular, Momos, and Thentuk.  Momos are small dumplings that are either steamed or fried, and can be filled with just about anything.  Thentuk is a chicken soup with all kind of vegetables, and fantastic flat noodles.  Why Tibetan food is not more popular in North America I do not know, not only is it tasty, but it's simple enough that many picky eaters wouldn't be afraid of it.
Sweets and candy wise I pretty much got what I expected, lots of small treats, similar to what you might find in Indian restaurants in North America.  There were a few new ones to try, but not too many big surprises.  Salty snacks are also very popular in India; I imagine that the spicy options (of which there are many) make salty snacks popular in this country.  The big surprise for me when it came to candy was the amount of chocolate all over the place.  Most of it seemed to be Cadbury, or Cadburyesq chocolate bars.  I imagine that this comes from the British influence of the past.
Although not a sweet, one thing that you must try in India if you get the opportunity are the mangoes.  Not only is the quality fantastic, but the variety is amazing.  I've been told that there are hundreds of variety to choose from, and you can pretty much find them everywhere.  Better still you can also try many different sweet treats flavoured with mango as well.  From ice cream to candies, mango is a really popular flavour and a really popular fruit in India, and for good reason.

The big disappointment on this trip came from the western food. I often enjoy sampling chain restaurants in foreign countries to see how they change up things for their own taste.  We tried 4 different fast food places, and all but one was pretty gross.  KFC, McDonalds, and Pizza Hut, all didn't agree with my North American sensibilities at all.  Maybe the changes were too much, but I didn't like them.  The only chain that worked for me was Subway, and when we ordered we avoided any fresh vegetables (because it's a developing country).  If you're going to get fast food in India, go local.  Visit a Dahba or any street food vendor for some great local flavour.  As I said above, you do have to make sure that everything's cooked, and even then you're taking a bit of a risk.  But when the risk pays off in India, it pays off so well that's it's worth a few bad nights on the porcelain throne.


Candy In The Media

Watching sprinkles get made is a glorious rainbow of fun to watch.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Candy Critic Dessert Club – A Classic Square - Rice Krispie Treats

When I was a kid Rice Krispie Treats were a complete mystery to me.  At the very least I completely misunderstood how they were made.  I don't think my mother, or the media helped in my misunderstanding either.  Until I was a teenager, I always assumed that Rice Krispie Treats were really complicated to make.  Maybe they were easy to burn, or at the very least there must have been some kind of added ingredient that I was completely unaware of.  The fact that Kellogg's started selling Rice Krispie Treats pre-made didn't help either. After all if they were easy to make, why sell them pre-made?

There is a little truth to this, there is a trick, however it's not a skill as much as an ingredient.  The trick to making Rice Krispie Treats is butter, and best not to cut back on it.  Butter is what keeps your marshmallows from sticking to everything, as well as adding just a slightly salty flavour, and this is a good thing.  As any great dessert aficionado will tell you, to make sweeter better, add salt.

The ingredients:

About 20 large marshmallows
3 cups of Rice Krispies cereal
1.5 tablespoons of butter

This might prove to be a very short recipe, as I mentioned before, it's super easy.  First coat a baking pan or pie plate with butter.  Set this pan aside, you'll need it  later.  Now take the 1.5 table spoons of butter and melt it in a non-stick pot.  Make sure to move the butter around, and try to coat the sides of  the pot as well. Once the butter is melted, turn your stove to a medium to low heat.  Add the  marshmallows to the butter.  This is probably the trickiest part of the whole recipe, stir the marshmallows.  Keep stirring until your marshmallows go from 20 individual marshmallows into one giant glob.  You want to be sure that there are no lumps left.

Once the marshmallows are melted, add the Rice Krispies.  If for some reason you don't have, or don't like Rice Krispies, you can pretty much use any cereal you want.  Even granola would work.  Add the cereal to the marshmallow glob and turn off the heat.  Stir the cereal into the marshmallow until it's evenly distributed.  Now take the marshmallow/cereal mix and dump it into the buttered pan from earlier.  With a wet spoon (or wet fingers) push the marshmallow cereal mixture into the pan.  Once it's fairly level, let  the Rice Krispie Treats cool, and voila, you're done.

To say that this recipe is  fool proof is a bit of a lie.  I've seen these fail twice, and once was by my hands.  Keeping your heat low is the first important step.  Marshmallows love to melt, but once they go past melting, they burn.  So keep the heat low so you don't get to the burning stage.  My failure with these happened with stale marshmallows.  If you have marshmallows that have been sitting in your cupboard since the first Ghostbusters movie came out, they won't work.  They'll just turn into a hot sticky brown, lumpy mess.

If you really hate marshmallows, some people use other sticky treats to make these.  Caramel cubes would work well, so might some syrups.  In fact a maple syrup  square with granola might be pretty tasty.  The trick in all cases is keep the temperature low, and make sure nothing burns.  If you're using a liquid syrup (maple or otherwise) you may have to use a candy thermometer to make sure you don't overheat the syrup into a rock hard lump.