Balso Tonic (cucumber juice)

This drink comes to us from the Trill homeworld, where it is enjoyed for its medicinal qualities. While it was not available via the Federation food replicators (TNG: The Host), I think this is definitely a drink that can be enjoyed far and wide.

Balso tonic is not shown on screen, only mentioned. In coming up with a suitably healthy drink for the Trill, I decided on a base of cucumber juice. Cucumbers are not only refreshing, they have all sorts of health benefits such as helping to rehydrate you, assisting with skin and hair care and can apparently also help relieve joint and arthritis pain. The additional benefit to this drink is that it is delicious and great in the heat! So next time you’re feeling like you need to exchange host bodies, make yourself some balso tonic, and hopefully your next joining will go as smoothly as possible.

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Replicate your own
(Makes about 400ml of cucumber juice)

1 English cucumber
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4 sprigs of mint (a good handful)
100ml water
1 teaspoon sugar (optional, to taste)
Soda water (optional)

Coarsely chop the cucumber and throw the pieces into a blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend for 3-4 minutes until it is smooth. 

Strain the juice into a jug, pushing the pulp down with a back of a spoon to extract as much juice as possible.

To serve, add more lemon juice or sugar as needed (to taste), and top up with soda water if desired. Garnish with a piece of cucumber and an additional sprig of mint.

Notes:

  • I prefer to blend everything together so it is well integrated, but you could also blend the cucumbers first so you have a neutral juice base you can then add other flavours to.
  • I don’t bother peeling the cucumbers before blending, as they’re all going to be strained anyway, but you can peel the cucumbers if you wish.
  • The cucumber juice also makes a great cocktail base - Hendricks gin is recommended!
  • Add some yoghurt to the leftover pulp and you will have a smooth, raita-like dipping sauce.
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!

'Owon (eggs)

So far, we’ve covered some drinks, lots of main courses, canapes and a few sweets. However, there hasn’t been much you’d want to eat for breakfast (except if you’re like me and would happily have hasperat for breakfast). All this is about to change. This dish is perfect for breakfast!

The eggs in this dish are from the 'Owon. Riker purchased them while on a Starbase, and hoped to impress the crew with his eye for strange ingredients and his wonderful cooking skills (The Next Generation: Time Squared). Unfortunately, the eggs proved inedible to everyone but Worf. I hope to provide a version which is slightly more palatable to a Human audience…

I thought about various unusual eggs and decided to use an emu egg for this dish. A single emu egg is about the same as 10-12 chicken eggs, so it can certainly feed the entire senior staff of the Enterprise. Emu eggs are also much prettier than chicken’s eggs, with a green textured surface:

You can get emu eggs from some farmer’s markets or emu breeders at certain times of the year. You can, of course, substitute chicken eggs to get a perfectly acceptable dish of scrambled eggs.

The emu egg is creamier and fluffier than a chicken egg, but apart from that, your eggs will turn out pretty much the same. And remember, a cook is only as good as his (or her) ingredients.

Replicate your own
(Serves 4)

1 emu egg (or 10-12 chicken eggs)
Butter
Parsley, chopped, to garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

You will need a large frying pan or wok to cook the egg in.

Break open your emu egg into a large bowl. The shell is very thick, and I found the easiest way was to saw it open with a bread knife. Break the yolk using a knife or fork, then gently whisk the egg with a fork or whisk until it is yellow and frothy.

Heat a large frying pan or wok. Add the butter and let it melt. Swirl it around until the pan is covered in the butter. When the butter starts to bubble, add the egg. Leave it on a high heat for about 1 minute, then turn the heat down to low. Pull the egg gently around the pan, taking care to remove any egg that might be sticking to the base. Continue to move it around until the egg is cooked and there is no runny egg yet.

Remove from the pan immediately (so that it doesn’t continue to cook and get rubbery) and sprinkle on some chopped parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve to your favourite bridge crew. 

Notes:

  • As an emu egg is quite creamy on its own, I did not add any cream or milk when making these eggs. If you’re using chicken eggs, you might want to add a dash of cream or milk.
The (zombie) captains of Star Trek

Happy Halloween! I know that Halloween isn’t really a Star Trek-related holiday, but I had this idea which made me laugh, and seemed too good to ignore. I present to you: the zombie captains of Star Trek - in cookie form!

For once, Captain Kirk has managed to keep his shirt on but unfortunately has managed to partially pop his eye out and his intestines have exploded everywhere - I sense a shirt change coming up!

Picard, on the other hand, has lost his head somewhat but is still keeping a firm grip on it under his arm.

Captain Sisko has lost a limb (I think he may have eaten it) but is still looking dapper despite the fighting he’s undergone.

Poor Janeway has somehow had her brain exposed (and it appears to be…leaking) and she’s also almost lost an eye. At least she’s made sure her hair looks nice.

And finally, Captain Archer has clearly recently had a nice meal (I wonder where Porthos is…) and has also been in a battle or two.

I couldn’t help reproducing the photo of all Star Trek captains together at the recently held Destination Star Trek event in London.

It’s good to see they’re all still friends.

Notes:

  • I use Sweet Sugarbelle’s sugar cookie recipe - it’s easy to work with and the cookies don’t spread or rise too much. For these cookies, I made a half batch and ended up with 15 cookies. 
  • While there were a lot of colours, I decorated all the cookies with 1 batch of royal icing
  • When piping details onto existing icing, make sure you let each layer dry completely before adding the next one (for several hours or overnight). You risk the base colour bleeding through if you don’t.
  • If you’re interested in making your own decorated sugar cookies, there are lots of blogs out there who can explain the process a lot better than I could (and with lots of pictures!). Three of my favourites are Sweet Sugarbelle, Bake at 350, and Sweetopia.
  • Happy Halloween!
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
Klingon Octopus

I must admit I’m both intimidated and super excited about Klingon food. Much of it is quite confronting but I think it also has the potential to be delicious. Today’s recipe definitely falls under the scary-looking but delicious category!

It is worth noting that while this dish is shown on screen (in TNG: Genesis - an episode directed by none other than Gates McFadden), it is never identified by name. So while it’s been called a Klingon octopus, it could be a different type of Klingon sea creature (you can read more about it on Memory Alpha here).

Octopus needs to either be cooked for a very short or very long time - it is rubbery in the middle. For this recipe, I felt that cooking it on a low temperature was a better option for the large pieces of octopus. Warning: eating this dish may lead to the first stages of genetic de-evolution!

Replicate your own
(Serves 2 for a main course)

1kg octopus, chopped into large pieces
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped finely
Capers
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup pearl couscous
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
Olive oil for cooking

Chop the onions and garlic and sautee in olive oil until soft. Add the white wine and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and capers and bring to the boil. When boiling, add the octopus pieces, and turn down the heat and cover. Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the octopus is soft and can be pierced with a fork.

When the octopus is cooked, remove from the saucepan and bring the sauce to the boil. Add the pearl couscous and stir until it is cooked, about 5 minutes. Serve in an appropriate Klingon style with lettuce or salad greens. Sprinkle the chopped parsley over the top for a garnish. Hope that Reg Barclay is not nearby.

Notes:

  • This recipe is definitely better with large pieces of octopus, but in a pinch you could use small octopuses instead
  • Standard couscous could replace the pearl couscous if you prefer
Cocktail: Coco No-no

In case it isn’t clear, this blog isn’t just about the food of Star Trek. It’s about the drinks as well. Only with this drink, I hope it serves you better than it served Geordi La Forge (Next Generation: Booby Trap). This coco no-no was the drink he served on his big date with Christy, which, like so many of his dates, ended badly. While it might have ended badly, at least he didn’t run out of drinks - or coconuts. 

As far as I can tell, the coco no-no is a made-up drink. I decided to go an almost tiki route, using rum along with freshly squeezed orange juice and of course the coconut juice. It’s best served on a beach with your loved one by your side - gypsy violinists optional.

Replicate your own
(Makes 2 - more than what will fit in a coconut shell)

1 coconut and its juice (about 70ml)
100ml spiced rum
Juice of 1/2 orange, about 80ml
2 dashes bitters
Soda water (optional)

Start by extracting the juice from the coconut. Pierce one of the three dark ‘dents’ or eyes with a chopstick, or, if your coconut is thick, hammer a nail through. Widen the hole slightly, then push your chopstick or nail through one of the other eyes to act as an airhole. Turn your coconut upside down over a glass and let the juice drain out. If needed, strain your juice through a coffee filter or similar to remove any particles.

Next, prepare your coconut. Find the seam running around the middle of the coconut. Using the back of a heavy knife, tap firmly around this seam. The coconut should split open along the seam, giving you two halves. Rinse  the coconut so it is clean when you add your cocktail.

To make the cocktail, combine the coconut juice, rum, orange juice and bitters in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into two coconut halves (or a glass if a coconut isn’t available). Top with soda water if desired, and decorate with paper umbrellas and straws. Serve to your date and hope that he or she is more receptive than any of Geordi La Forge’s dates. Enjoy!

Heart of Targ

So we’re going to start this whole thing off with a bang. Heart of Targ! That traditional Klingon dish that Commander Riker tried before going to serve on the Klingon ship Pagh (Next Generation, "A Matter of Honor"). Perhaps surprisingly, none of his Enterprise crewmates joined him in eating this dish.

When designing this dish for the show, the prop master apparently used a selection of organ meats, including liver and kidney. However, it seems wrong to be making heart of targ and not using actual hearts. Preparing this dish is not for the faint of heart but the end result is delicious, and will help channel your inner Klingon.

Replicate your own
(Serves 2)

6 Lamb’s hearts
1 head of kale, sliced into thin strips
6 stalks of celery, sliced into small pieces
1/2 cup water
Vegetable oil

For the sauce:
1 cup red wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Start by preparing the hearts. Trim the hearts to remove any fat and tubes still remaining on the hearts. You will probably need to trim a fair bit. Slice them into thin slices and set aside.

Next, prepare the sauce. Put the red wine in a saucepan and heat gently. Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Add the Worcestershire sauce to make the sweet and sour sauce.

In a separate bowl, add the cornstarch and a splash of the red wine, and stir to form a slurry. Add this to the saucepan with the wine and stir. The cornstarch will thicken the wine as it heats. You may need to add another round of cornstarch slurry if the sauce does not thicken sufficiently.

In a large saucepan or wok, add the water and heat until it starts to steam. Add the celery pieces and cook for a few minutes, until they begin to soften. When they are the texture you like, add the kale. Cook for a few minutes, until kale softens slightly (but still remains bright green and holds its shape). Remove the celery and kale and tip out any remaining water.

When the wok or saucepan is dry, add a splash of vegetable oil and heat. You want the wok  / saucepan to be fairly hot before you add the hearts. Add the hearts and stir around the saucepan / wok. You will only need to cook them for a couple of minutes - do not overcook or they will be very chewy.

Turn off the heat and add the sauce to the hearts. Toss or stir around the pot until the hearts are thoroughly coated in the sauce.

To serve, place some of the kale and celery mix onto a plate or bowl. Add the hearts in the middle of the greens, adding extra sauce if desired. Qapla’ !!

Read more about Heart of Targ at Memory Alpha, the Star Trek wiki.