Make friends with the Nature of things ….
Last night, I was hanging out with of my girl friends. You know us girls, getting together, talking fashion, diet, newest lipstick, with high pitched giggles and having pink feathery pillow fights….. NOT!!! I am sorry guys to rain on your fantasy, but when girls get together they hardly ever have pillow fights! :))
Some of the most profound conversations, selfless acts of care, and best advice come from girl-friends and are usually the happenings of a girls’ hangout. In fact this is a very good chance to bust some myths about Girl Friends…
You know it has become a common thought that women cannot be good friends! That women don’t get along! That women are jealous creature! That women only stab each other in the back…! That all women do is have “pillow fights”, “catfights” and all types of fights!!! It has also become common to think that only men are capable of making good and real friendships. I find it bizarre, our love to throw gender roles to everything. It really is nothing but a personal choice – that is genderless – how people are as friends. Obviously a continuation of the whole makeup and characteristics of a person. There are those who will have a huge smile when with you and turn around to talk nonsense about you. Then there are those whom you know you can count on when no one else comes through. It’s a personal choice. We all choose the type of people we want to be and the type of friends we are.
But hey let me remind you of the power of sisterhood. There is nothing like knowing a person understands you, that a friendship is safe and not threatened by misunderstandings and silliness. There is nothing like knowing there is someone out there who cares and who will be there regardless the stupendous requirement of the task. And certainly nothing like being big enough to go beyond ‘I’, when a she is in need. There is nothing like sisterhood. Sisterhood has empowered cities, changed worlds and in cases changed the course of history. Let’s not let the foolishness of TV ‘cat fights’ and ‘pillow fights’ or ‘Jerry Springer’ plant the seeds of a thought that could not be further away from true. Let’s not chase illusions. Let’s look at the women around us – beyond the CHANEL bag, the Mac lipstick and the Louboutin shoes. Let’s look beyond the penthouse, the car, and the network. Don’t search for yourself in people you meet, we are all separate and different people, all equally interesting. We are colourful and as such beautiful. So let’s not look for ‘I likes’ and ‘I hates’. Let’s stop creating labels and images of a friend and rather look at the person in front of us and find the beauty and goodness within each one, let’s find the friend in the person!
Make friends with the nature of that person. Make friends with the nature of things and you will find yourself richer.
Since we are talking about the nature of things
Fruits are naturally good and sweet. They are your palate’s best friends. A life without fruits is like that without friends… without fruits the world is colourless, less fun and less sweet. And like friends, fruits come in different shapes, and flavours. While it is always a pure pleasure to munch on the fabulous goodness of raw fruits, fruits are still very versatile and lend themselves to so many applications, making your food all the more varied in flavour, colour and texture.
Since fruits are naturally sweet, subjecting them to heat will result in caramelisation, which intensifies their sweetness and adds a hint of caramel to the equation. In terms of texture, the caramelisation process will also add a brittle touch, making them more interesting the eat. It is therefore, only natural to make wafers out of fruits.
Wafers are by definition – a very thin, unleavened, crisp layer (disk, cracker or cookie) that can be savoury or sweet.
Wafers are served alongside food as to compliment the flavour or texture of foods, or they can be used as base for some toppers (like in the case of the beetroot wafers in the foie gras bonbon recipe on this link). Well then, when cut very thin, subjected to heat, fruits too can recreate the definition of wafers. Unlike other wafers, fruits are all natural all the time. There is no additions, flavourings, colourings…etc involved. Fruit wafers are the healthiest wafers and can make for a fabulous snack. Fruits will enhance the flavour of many concoctions and desserts, and can replace the cookie or cracker wafers. Not only that, but fruits are naturally colourful, and have various shapes, sizes… all of which will help you use them as embellishment, or decoration to foods or cakes. These embellishments, unlike their sugar made counterparts are actually tasty and won’t leave you over sweetened. All in all, I would say, making fruit wafers is a skill you want to learn, and use more often. They give you that extra edge, and an innovative option where presentation is concerned.
How to make fruit wafers/ Baked Fruit Chips
These are very simple to make, there are many ways, but all are applications to the basic method.
Basically, you will start by slicing the fruits as thin as possible. This is a place where a mandolin slicer comes in handy. The thinner the wafers the better as they crisp better than thicker wafers. However in the case of strawberries for example – or fruits that are more watery than firm – a little thickness is ok, as when the juices run dry, a super thin wafer will hardly have anything left.
Different fruits, react differently when subjected to oxygen. Some fruits oxidise, and therefore become darker in colour like apples, bananas, pears…etc. These fruits will have to be brushed with acidulated water (water with a squeeze of lemon) to prevent them from discolouring. The fruits will have to be brushed with this water as soon as they are sliced. However, and even when acidulated, the fruits will have to hit the heat ASAP, or they will end up darkening.Therefore, have the oven preheated, and the sheets lined. You will slice, brush, line on the sheets and bake straight away. This is the basic fruit wafering technique, there are no additions, no oils, nothing. There is only the drying of the sliced fruit in the oven.
You might want to add a little something to the fruit wafers in terms of flavour and texture, so you can sprinkle them with spices for instance. A classic example to that is apples and cinnamon. You might want to add sweetness and more caramel, like sprinkling green apple tops with icing sugar and letting the sugar react to the liquid in the apple and the heat, creating more caramel and more browning and therefore brittleness. As you can see the options are really endless.
Once the fruits, are sliced, brushed, flavoured if desired, you will have to line them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, and bake them in a 200F oven for 35 minutes on each side (until they are crisp and lightly browned). I have also found that if you place the fruits on a cookie cooling wire rack (that is heat proof) and place them in the oven, the results are much better as they dry out faster and more evenly due to circulation. If you do not own one, don’t worry, you can go for the first option, it will just take a little longer.
These wafers can be stored in an airtight container, in a dry, cool, and dark place for up to 2 weeks.
- These wafers can be used in Salads for presentation and fruity flavours.
- You can top a cheese disk (like camembert, or brie…) with these wafers and then drizzle with honey for an interesting cheese platter item or snack.
- You can use these wafers to garnish desserts, such as cakes, mousse cups, cheesecakes, and even cookies with the help of a little edible adhesive like piping gel or royal icing.
- You can stack them on a platter and serve them in the place of nuts when entertaining.
- You can make assorted sweet wafers, place them in small bags and send to school in the lunch box for a healthy snack…etc.
- I usually make my fantastic Caramel Apple Cake (on this link) with Apple wafers and love it. It is an excellent example for using these wafers as garnish.