Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Things, and a quick thought on butter

It's Friday people!

I just happened to be reading a few things about butter and thought I'd quickly share with you. I randomly stumbled onto a "why is butter yellow" thingy and found it interesting so here goes:

Butter is yellow due to the presence of something called beta-carotene which is naturally found in milk. Beta-carotene is part of a group of naturally occurring chemicals known as carotenes or carotenoids. And yup, carotene's are responsible for that orange colour in carrots.

Apparently, the French produce the best tasting butter in the world. I will let you know how French butter measures up to the Aussie stuff when I get there (must go to France to eat butter...). Since butter is made from milk, and we all know where milk comes from, it comes as no surprise that what the cow eats directly impacts how the butter turns out. Australian cattle feed year round on green pastures with high levels of beta-carotene, which makes for a yellower butter that is richer in vitamins A and K. French cows live in barns and are fed dry food, resulting in a paler butter. Unsalted butter also tends to be a little paler than salted butter.

And this brings us nicely along to that funny debate of which butter to use: salted or unsalted. It seems that cooks are divided into those that use only unsalted butter, and those who don't really care, and so are happy to take advantage of salted butter's versatility and convenience.

Proponents of unsalted butter claim that using only unsalted butter allows you to have complete control of the amount of salt that goes into your recipe. They also point out that salt is a preservative, giving salted butter a longer shelf life, which suggests that unsalted butter is typically fresher.

Personally, I don't really care. I have tried both, and have not noticed a huge difference which I guess puts me into the salted butter basket. Seeing as I don't see much of a difference in my baking when I use salted butter, why would I use unsalted butter at all? If I use salted butter, it keeps a little longer in the fridge (not usually an issue at our house), and I can soften it up to spread on toast for a yummy carb-loaded snack.

So! What are your thoughts? Salted or unsalted?

Recipe of the week: Shauna Sever's Lemon Curd
This is a pretty old post on Shauna's blog, but it includes a fantastic recipe for lemon curd. You crack 10 eggs to make it, but it manages not to taste all that eggy. It's also delightfully tart and lemony. The cake's not bad either.

Incidentally, I also picked up a copy of Shauna's book, Marshmallow Madness, today. This is a wonderfully puffy book with plenty of inspiration and lovely pastel photos.

New boots! What else is new? These ones over at Tony Bianco are particularly tempting.

Quote of the week:
"We are what we repeatedly do." - Aristotle

And that's it from me today! Cheers to the freaking weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bye Bambi! We will miss you...


No baked goods today folks. 

This post is entirely dedicated to my beloved Bambi, who passed away last Saturday. 

Yes, she was named after the famous one. And, yes, I do know now that Bambi the deer is a boy.

Bambi came to my family in 1997 as a small, runty, bug-eyed puppy. She was our first dog, and one that came after much shameless begging and empty promises on my part. Within the first week, we had experienced toilet accidents, near miss crush injuries, food issues, and had also managed to misplace new puppy in a memorable incident (she fell asleep in the couch lining). Bambi quickly grew into a young dog with a lot of attitude. Despite her stature (small even for a Cavalier), she was feisty, often challenging the German Shepherd who lived nearby. She was a leash puller her whole life, and never got past 'sit' in obedience training.

Bambi loved chicken and cheese. She barked at her own reflection. She was on occasion accidentally drunk. She reluctantly befriended cats, and later other dogs, but only when it wasn't dinnertime.

Bambi was an expert at picking our moods. She knew when we were happy, sad or angry. She also knew when she had done something bad, reliably making herself scarce and plastering a perfect guilty look on her little face. She was always happy to see me, and slept on my feet in winter.

Bambi has had 2 litters of puppies, one dislocated leg, a case of lead poisoning, and a heart murmur. For a runty pup with a wonky eye, 15 years was an achievement I think.

On Friday evening I came home to a Bambi who was very unwell. She wasn't eating or drinking, was terribly restless, and looked to have a mean headache. She wasn't walking straight, was displaying signs of headpressing, and did not seem to register our presence. We opted for euthanasia the next morning.

I'll miss you so much, bug-eye puppy.


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