Friday, May 30, 2008

Vanilla Dreams

Weird dreams have been plaguing me as of late. I wonder if it has anything to do with my diet. Come to think of it, I've been eating an abundance of bread. Bread, vegemite and parmesan cheese. I'm aware that excessive white bread can cause flatulence but that's not really my concern. Ruling out bread, could cheese consumption therefore be a cause of nightmares? I sure as hell hope not! Although.. Perhaps I may have force fed myself the same items a few too many times. This could very well be my body's method of subconsciously regurgitating all of the bland and boring foodstuffs that I've been shoving down my throat this past week.

Keeping to the theme of 'boring', vanilla instantly springs to mind. Vanilla is a classically overused aromatic found in every chefs repertoire when nothing else seems to inspire; from chocolate cookies to royal icing, chantilly cream, panna cotta and lemon puddings. Again, it's also an easy choice when attempting to bridge sweet and savoury.

I imagine there must be a hoard of vanilla-obsessed gnomes flashing past when our backs are turned to add a dash of vanilla to every dessert so that one day when we are all vanilla dependant they can control an underground extraction monopoly.
(more pointless rambling..)
Here's a simple recipe you could do whilst sleeping upside down if you so please. The malty flavour of parsnips would do well to be combined with venison and chocolate sauce, caramelised hazelnuts or dulce de leche ice cream.
Vanilla Parsnip Puree
1 kg parsnips, core removed
1.5 L milk
200 g unsalted butter, chopped
1 vanilla pod, split & scraped
300 g cream
1 tsp salt
Simmer parsnips gently in milk until cooked through.
Strain and discard milk.
In a food processor combine parsnips and butter.
Bring cream and vanilla to a simmer to infuse.
Add cream and salt to parsnip mix then strain through a fine chinois.

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