Icoberry Torte

It’s hard work being in charge of a space station. If you’re the commander, every issue is brought to your attention - including the fact that a long-lost Bajoran Resistance leader may still be alive (DS9: The Homecoming). If you’re Benjamin Sisko, what better way to distract yourself from station business than with a raktajino and a piece of icoberry torte?!

This is a lovely teacake which is great with either tea or coffee. The batter rises up and covers most of the berries, leaving a fruity layer underneath, topped with the sugar/cinnamon mix. I can definitely understand why Captain Sisko was so fond of this cake and why he ordered it so frequently!

Replicate your own
(Makes one cake which will serve 8-10 people)
(Based on this recipe for a Late Summer Berry Torte)

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Maaza stalks

Something simple this week, in case you are still recovering from Captain Picard Day from last week! These maaza stalks were provided by Captain Sisko to some newly arrived refugees on Deep Space Nine (DS9: Sanctuary). After some failed attempts at communication, they learn that these refugees are only the first few through the wormhole and that there are millions on their way. I think they’re going to need more than 7 maaza stalks…

This dish takes only a few minutes to put together, but is surprisingly delicious. Everything is very approximate - if you want the stalks more charred, leave them under the grill (broiler) longer; if you like more spice, add more! I would suggest making more than the 7 shown in Deep Space Nine though, because they are very easy to keep eating even if you don’t have millions of refugees to feed!

Replicate your own
(Serves 1, but is very easily doubled or tripled - just add more asparagus!)

7 Asparagus stalks
Smoked paprika
Salt
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Preheat your grill (broiler - top down heat) so it is quite hot. Chop or snap the woody ends off the asparagus and place them on a baking tray covered with aluminium foil. 

Sprinkle the smoked paprika and salt over one side of the asparagus and place under the grill/broiler so they are quite close to the heat source. Cook until they just start to char on the outside, about 3-4 minutes. 

Remove from the heat and flip them over. Add more salt and smoked paprika to this side, then place back under the grill and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until this side is also cooked and started to char. 

Take them out of the grill/broiler and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Add more salt or paprika if desired, and serve immediately.

For Easter: The eggs of Star Trek (in cookie form)

There are many different holidays to be celebrated in the Star Trek universe, and Easter and Star Trek don’t necessarily go together. However, in the spirit of Star Trek-ifying the main holidays currently celebrated, I present - some of the eggs of Star Trek, in cookie form.

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First up we have Ktarian eggs, from Star Trek: Generations. These were a popular breakfast choice in the Nexus, and were a particular favourite of Antonia when prepared with dill weed. They certainly look like they might be delicious.

There are four lights, even if there is only one Taspar egg. I think it’s impossible to do a post about eggs in Star Trek without including that iconic raw egg that Captain Picard eats after being imprisoned by Gul Madred for several days. I can guarantee that this sugar cookie version is more delicious than the original.

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Cardassians sure seem to be fond of their egg dishes. This one is from Deep Space Nine, as served in Quark’s. These regova eggs were considered a delicacy, particularly when served very fresh. Personally I think they look too pretty to eat, but maybe they are so delicious I wouldn’t be able to help myself if they were put in front of me.

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And finally, from the depths of the Delta Quadrant, come these Porakan eggs. Again apparently delicious when served with dill weed (is dill weed the universal accompaniment to eggs?), these eggs need to be sterilised for days to make them safe for eating. Luckily there is no such issue with the cookie version of these eggs!

Replicate your own
(Makes 40 egg-shaped cookies).

I used a 1/2 batch of Sweet Sugarbelle’s sugar cookie dough and made royal icing with 1 eggwhite and icing sugar mixed until it reached a thick consistency. Add drops of water to thin the icing if needed.

To make the Ktarian eggs: Outline the egg and flood with bright yellow icing. Let dry overnight and then mix individual batches of red, orange and blue colours with small amounts of water. Wearing gloves, dab a paintbrush into the colour and then use your finger to flick each colour onto the cookie in turn. It’s good to lay down some baking paper or similar to catch drips.

To make a Taspar egg: Outline the egg with beige coloured icing, drawing some triangles across the top of the egg, to represent the cracked egg. Flood with the same colour, then leave to dry overnight. The next day, draw some tentacles in black or dark brown icing, coming out of the egg.

To make the Regova egg: Prepare both light yellow and teal icing. Outline the bottom half of the egg in teal, and the top half in yellow, drawing a line across the top third so there is some room to add the decorations on top. Flood the bottom half with teal, and the top half with yellow. While the icing is still wet, drag a toothpick through middle, where the two colours meet. Swirl it around a few times.

With dark red icing, add some small circles/blobs to the top of the egg. Leave gaps in between each blob. Let dry for about an hour, then go back and fill in the gaps with more red blobs (this ensures they don’t all run together when drying).

To make Porakan eggs: Outline and flood the eggs with beige or tan icing and let dry overnight. Mix a small amount of brown colour with some water. Wearing gloves, use a paintbrush to flick the brown over the eggs with your finger. It’s good to lay down some baking paper or similar to catch drips.

Happy Easter everyone!

Sisko’s Aubergine Stew

I thought it might be nice to stay on Deep Space Nine this week (since it was the 20th Anniversary of the series premiere last week) and sample some of Benjamin Sisko’s wonderful Aubergine stew. Judging by Dax’s reaction in The Nagus, this stew is well worth waiting for. And having tried it now myself, I must admit being pleasantly surprised about how good this was.

Sisko was apparently famous for this dish; he made it when he first met Jennifer, his future wife, and Dax was clearly very familiar with it. I followed the basic structure for a classic aubergine stew but feel free to change the type of meat in there if you wish.

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Replicate your own
(Serves 4)

2 eggplants (aubergines), diced into medium pieces
1 onion, diced
1 green capsicum, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced fine
1/2 leek, chopped into small rings
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon each of: dried oregano, dried thyme, cayenne pepper, ground tumeric, cumin and black pepper
Salt
2 or 3 chicken drumsticks, with the bone in
1 or 2 sprigs of parsley, to garnish
Olive oil

Begin by chopping the eggplant and sprinkle the pieces liberally with salt. Set aside while you chop the other vegetables.

In a large pot or saucepan, heat a splash of olive oil. Cook the onion and garlic until soft, then add the spices and cook for a minute or so until they are fragrant. Brush any excess salt off the eggplant and add to the pot, and cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the rest of the vegetables (capsicum and leek) and cook until they soften slightly. Then add the crushed tomatoes and stir so everything is coated in the tomatoes. Push the chicken drumsticks down into the vegetables, then put the lid on the pot and cook on a low heat for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is falling off the bones and the vegetables are soft. 

Remove the chicken from the stew and shred the meat. Set aside, along with about 1/4 of the stew mixture. Blend the remaining 3/4 of the stew so that it is broken into smaller pieces but is still somewhat chunky.

To serve, mix the chicken meat back into the blended stew mixture, and top with the unblended pieces of vegetables. Garnish with parsley and serve.

Notes:

  • You can skip the step of salting the eggplant if you wish, but I find it helps the eggplant keep its shape while cooking and also means the eggplant doesn’t go bitter
  • This can be served with rice if wished.

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Jellied gree-worms

Ahh Ferengi. Always good for helping you spend your latinum and finding recipes for worms and bugs. This time, we’ve got some jellied gree-worms, which are definitely a delicacy. Gree-worms can apparently be served either fresh or jellied - although I’d suggest that jellied are clearly more of a delicacy. These are great to serve to the Grand Nagus, powers behind the throne and of course potential customers.

In thinking of how to present these, you’ll probably be pleased to read that I quickly discounted using real worms. Sweet jelly worms seemed a natural fit for the recipe - with just a bit of sourness to remind you to never cross a Ferengi.

Replicate your own
(Based on Alton Brown’s recipe for super sour gummies)

You will need a squeeze bottle and some baking trays or cake tins.

6 cups sugar, plus an extra 3/4 cup (keep these two separate) sugar
2 tablespoons citric acid
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1/3 cup + 1/4 cup cold water, divided
1/2 cup corn syrup
2 teaspoons flavoring oil or essence
Food colouring, as desired

Start by dividing the 6 cups of sugar across the baking trays or cake tins. Set aside while preparing the gummy worms.

Mix together the gelatin and 1/3 cup water in a medium-large saucepan. It will clump up and absorb the liquid. Set aside.

Combine the remaining 3/4 cup sugar, corn syrup, and remaining 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Clip on a candy thermometer and heat to 70°C / 160°F, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour this mixture over the gelatin, and heat gently, stirring, until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Remove from the heat and add the flavoring essence, food coloring (if using a single colour - see notes below if you want to use multiple colours) and citric acid and stir to combine.

Pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle and cool until it slightly solidifies, before squeezing out lines or shapes onto the prepared sugar pan. Leave the worms to set for at least 30 minutes (1 hour is better) before removing from the sugar.

If the gelatin thickens too much to squeeze out, you can reheat it by dipping it into a bowl filled with warm water. If there’s extra gelatin left in the saucepan, this can also be reheated to liquify it if needed.

Once the worms have solidified, toss in more sugar so they are covered, and let them dry at room temperature overnight.

Notes:

  • I used orange essence to flavour mine
  • You can add more citric acid to the sugar if you want them sourer (or add more to the worms instead)
  • I found the easiest method was to draw squiggly shapes in the sugar with the handle of a teaspoon, then gently squeeze out the gelatin - it then fell into the grooves left by the squiggles
  • Sometimes, the worms sunk into the sugar a little bit - you can go back and add another layer of gelatin if necessary (also a good way of making weird multicoloured ones!)
  • I found it easier to use smaller baking tins as this meant the sugar came to a higher level in the tin, and there was less chance of the gelatin sticking to the bottom of the tin (but it does mean it takes longer while you wait for each batch to dry)
  • To make the different coloured worms out of the same batch, I left the main supply of gelatin in the saucepan. I poured a little bit into the squeeze bottle, then added the gel colour and shook it up. When this was used up, I added more of the gelatin and began again with a new colour. 
Hasperat

Now we’re talking classic Star Trek cooking. Hasperat is, of course, that well-known Bajoran dish which is said to be spicy enough to make your eyes water. It is mentioned several times in both Next Generation and Deep Space Nine and seems to be a loved Bajoran dish. Apparently the key to strong hasperat is the brine it is pickled in before serving.

You’ll see lots of versions of hasperat online - it is one of the easier Star Trek recipes to replicate as it is essentially vegetables rolled up in a tortilla. However, most of them derive their spiciness from the addition of hot sauce or fresh chilies - not a brine. I wanted to make a brined version to experience the full eye-watering potential of the hasperat. This means you need to start a week in advance of when you want to serve it, but I think the results make it worth the effort. 

(Read more about hasperat at Memory Alpha)

Replicate your own
(Makes 1/4 pickled cabbage, which is enough for about 6-8 wraps)

You will need to start a week in advance.

1/4 white cabbage
1 litre water
250ml vinegar
1 teaspoon of sugar
125g salt
3-4 hot chillies to taste, chopped fine (depends on how spicy you want it)
Juice of one lemon

Start by preparing the brine. Add the water, vinegar, sugar and salt to a saucepan, and heat until boiling. Stir until the salt is dissolved and add the chiles and lemon juice. Leave to cool.

While the brine is cooling, prepare the cabbage. Remove the heart or woody stick of the cabbage, and pull the leaves apart, leaving them whole if possible. Leaving them whole will make it easier to layer them in the tortilla at the end.

Place the brine in a bowl or jar in which the cabbage leaves will fit, and add the cabbage, making sure all leaves are completely submerged in the brine. You might need to put a small plate or saucer over the cabbage to ensure it stays fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 4 days, up to 7 or 8 days. After 4 days, taste the cabbage. If it is not strong enough, return it to the brine. Keep tasting it until it is at your desired level of spiciness and pickled-ness.

To assemble the hasperat
6-8 flour tortillas (buy some or make your own - recipe below)
The completed pickled cabbage leaves
Baby spinach leaves
Any other additions of your choice - suggestions: shredded carrot, more chillies, avocado, capsicum.

Lay the tortilla out flat. Add a layer of baby spinach leaves on the tortilla. Take a leaf or two of the pickled cabbage and lay them flat on top of the spinach. Add any other vegetables or toppings you wish, and then roll the tortilla up by folding in the sides and rolling it up. Cut it into two pieces and experience the true tongue-searing goodness of hasperat.

Flour tortilla recipe
(Makes 6-8 tortillas)

2 cups plain flour
1 pinch of salt
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water

Combine the flour and the salt, and then mix in the oil. You may need to rub the flour between your hands until the oil is integrated and the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the boiling water a little bit at a time, stirring each time, until a rough ball is formed.

When the dough has come together into a ball (you may not have needed all the water), move it to a floured surface and knead for a few minutes, until it is soft and elastic.

Put the dough back in its bowl and cover with plastic wrap, and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6-8 balls and roll out on a floured surface until they are fairly thin (you could also use a tortilla press or similar).

Cook them one at a time in a heavy frying pan (you do not need to add any oil or butter to the frying pan). When the top starts to bubble, flip the tortilla over and cook the other side.

As each tortilla is cooked, remove it to a plate and make a stack of them. These can be covered with a clean tea towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Notes

  • The brine used for the cabbage can be used to pickle any vegetables of your choice, and you can also add whatever spices you like to flavour it
  • If your cabbage is too salty after being in the brine, soak it for a couple of hours in cold water
  • The flour tortillas could also be made using butter instead of the vegetable oil if you prefer
Jumja sticks

Jumja sticks seem to be one of those ubiquitous treats on Deep Space Nine. Beloved by many - and detested by almost as many - jumja sticks are made from the sap of the jumja tree, and are noted to be very sweet. I’d also suggest they seem to be quite large for something so sweet, although they appear to have been consumed with great gusto.

I thought that treacle was a good match for jumja sap due to its consistency, sweetness and slight caramel overtones. I admit my jumja sticks were a little smaller than some featured on Deep Space Nine, but over the course of several episodes they do seem to vary in size, shape and colour, so I’m still confident mine are within acceptable jumja stick parameters.

These are very sweet but quite delicious in small quantities.

Read more about jumja sticks at Memory Alpha.

As always, you can see photos from the cooking process over on the Facebook page.

Replicate your own
(Makes 2 medium-sized jumja sticks)

1/4 cup golden syrup
1/4 cup treacle
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

You will need: candy thermometer, lollypop sticks or small plastic spoons, small jars or glasses to rest the lollypops in, baking paper, cooking spray

Start by preparing your containers for the jumja sticks. Take some baking paper and scrunch it into a ball, or fold it up several times. Unfold it, spray with cooking spray, and tuck inside your glass or jar, taking care to leave some of the baking paper overhanging the glass. The number of jars you’ll need to set up will depend on how large you want your jumja sticks to be.

Add all ingredients to a medium to large sized saucepan, and heat gently, stirring the sugar until it is dissolved. Clip on your candy thermometer and let it boil without stirring. It will bubble up quite a lot so be careful. Keep boiling until it reaches 300°F / 150°C / hard crack stage. Let it cool a little until it reaches 265°F / 130°. Slowly and carefully tip into your prepared jars, taking care to stay within the baking paper. Let cool for a few minutes.

After the candy has started to cool, insert your lollypop sticks or small spoons. Hold for a couple of minutes, until the candy has cooled enough to support the weight of the spoon. If needed, the spoon or lollypop sticks can be supported with chopsticks or more cutlery to hold it in place.

Let the lollypop dry overnight. In the morning. upend your jumja stick, remove the baking paper and with one lick, you’re right back on Bajor.

Notes: 

  • When measuring out your treacle and golden syrup, spray a little cooking spray in your 1/4 cup measurer - this will stop the treacle from sticking to it when you pour it out. 
  • The mixture does bubble up a fair bit when heating, so make sure your saucepan is large enough to accommodate this.
  • I found small plastic spoons easier to use than lollypop sticks, as they were strong enough to take the weight of the lollypop when hardened.
  • You could substitute more golden syrup for the treacle, if you want a sweeter candy or cannot locate treacle. 
  • You could also make these in normal lollypop moulds if you wanted more manageable-sized candy!