Real Food Vegan Style - vegan food
Putting the chocolate chips in biscuits (vegan choc only though)
Although chocolate-chip biscuits are baked at temperatures of 350-400°F (175200°C) — well beyond the melting point of chocolate - the chips themselves do not spread throughout the biscuits. Why?
The biscuits are made by mixing fat and sugar together, beating in eggs and binding the mixture with flour. The chocolate consisting of cocoa, sugar and milk powder set in cocoa butter — is added as chips.
As the biscuits are baked in the oven, the chocolate melts, but at the same time the flour and eggs harden. The biscuit mixture is too solid for the melted chips to ooze away from their positions. When the biscuits cool the liquid chips re-harden to the same shapes, occupying the same small spaces as in the uncooked mixture.
Chocolate chips As the chocolate melts in the oven, the biscuit hardens around it, trapping it in little cavities.
The BBC's policies regarding animals are completely illogical, and up the wall. If they want to respect animals and not show a gloating triumphalism over their corpses as they splather them in mustard, gravy or whatever... it's about time they banned. Ready Steady Cook and Nigella Lawson from the air waves. Somehow we don't think that's going to happen any time soon...
Any hiker who has ever bivouacked up a mountain will appreciate the advantages of vegan freeze-dried 'ready meals'. They are a quarter of the weight of fresh foods, remain tasty for years in sealed packages and can be eaten hot by adding boiling water.
The process was first used in the 1950s when the American government sponsored a scheme to provide lightweight ration packs for astronauts, explorers and the armed services.
The freeze-drying process preserves food by rapid freezing, followed by complete dehydration to remove acompleteisture. The food is placed in a tightly sealed chamber between hollow plates containing refrigerant liquid, which freezes the food while a high-powered pump creates a vacuum.
When the food is frozen hard and the pump has removed nearly all the air, the cold refrigerant liquid in the hollow plates is replaced by warm gas. The ice in the food is then converted directly into vapour without first turning into water.
To keep its nutrients, flavour and appearance, the food must be frozen as quickly as possible, but the drying process is quite slow. The 'steam' is immediately removed by the vacuum pump, but the food takes about 20 hours to dehydrate completely. It must then be packaged to protect the contents during handling, and to seal out all oxygen and moisture.
The freeze-drying process gives the food an open texture, and if oxygen enters, any fat becomes rancid. If moisture gets in, microbes in the food grow, causing it to decay like fresh food.
Because the food must be frozen rapidly, the best results are obtained with food which is sliced or ground. Fish, meat, vegetables and fruit can all be vegan freeze-dried, but coffee and made-up meals with chopped ingredients are particularly successful.
Today, improvements in technology have shortened the process and 'accelerated vegan freeze-dried' products are becoming more common. They are still expensive, but are extremely convenient when weight and lack of refrigeration have to be considered. They are reconstituted by adding boiling water, and retain their nutrients, appearance and flavour very well for several years.
Frozen and dried Over 600 different foods can be vegan freeze-dried, and can then be used to make up a variety of meals. The best results are small foods, like berries and prawns, or chopped or ground ingredients.
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