Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘V’ for Vacherin, Vanilla, Veal, Vegetable Spaghetti and Vichyssoise

The A-Z of food…a culinary tour of the alphabet…The letter
V…Vacherin, Vanilla, Veal, Vegetable Spaghetti and Vichyssoise etc.

Welcome to this weeks edition of the Culinary Alphabet…Where I am exploring some culinary delights beginning with the letter V.

Unusual for me as I am a savoury girl and not a sweet girl…I am starting with a dessert…


Well, it could be one of two things they are both spelled the same…although they couldn’t be more different…one is a cheese the other is a light very pretty meringue French dessert.

Photo credit: eltham_mob on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

Swiss people call this soft, washed-rind cheese as Vacherin du Mont d’Or, in France it is called Vacherin du Haut Doubs (or just Vacherin in local shops).

Vacherin is made from pasteurized cow’s milk, which offers a full-flavoured and slightly acidic taste. The cheese becomes almost liquid after maturation. It has a greyish-yellow blanched rind which has to be removed before eating it. This rare and luxury cheese is eaten like a Fondue. Vacherin is produced only from 15th August to 31st March.

The cheese tastes delicious with wines such as Beaujolais Nouveau, Côtes du Jura, and Champagne. It comes in various shapes enclosed with a strip of spruce bark.

OR…isn’t this pretty?

Photo credit: distopiandreamgirl on Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-ND

It is a sweet yet simple, French dessert of vacherin, which is made by layering meringue discs and ice cream. A very pretty dessert.

Vada Pav

A deep fried Indian spiced potato dumpling inside a bread bun a popular street food native to the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Vanilla Sugar

Dried vanilla pods are long and black encasing hundreds of tiny black seeds expensive but so worth it…Just make sure what you are buying as there are many inferior products on the market.

How to make your own vanilla sugar.

If the vanilla bean is whole, slice down the side of bean with back of a knife and scrape seeds into an airtight container with the sugar. Bury bean in sugar and seal tightly with a lid. Let sit for 1 to 2 weeks. Use as regular, granulated sugar…


The meat I have never knowingly eaten or will but one which is quite popular. Veal comes from young bovine animals aged 6 to 7 months. When the calf reaches the age of one year they are called a cow/bovine animal. The veal is then called beef. The colour of the meat has become darker and the structure and taste have also changed.

My grandad was a farmer and kept cows all his life…He never ate veal and it is through his teaching about the cruelty that I never have. He always told me that they born to die.
Along with foie gras and shark fins, veal has a bad reputation because of the extreme confinement and cruelty involved in the way veal calves are raised on factory farms.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oils are oils that have been extracted from various seeds. The most common include rapeseed (canola oil), soybean, corn, sunflower, safflower, peanut, etc. Unlike coconut oil or olive oil that can be extracted by pressing, these new-fangled oils have to be extracted in very unnatural ways. This can be done via mechanical extraction using an oil mill or chemical extraction using a solvent. The extracted oil can then be purified and, if required, refined or chemically altered. After reading that it doesn’t sound like something you want your food cooked with does it?


A velouté sauce (French pronunciation: [vəluˈte]) is a savoury sauce, made from a roux and a light stock. It is one of the five “mother sauces” of French cuisine. The term velouté is the French word for velvety.

Velvet Beans

Velvet beans come from a vigorous growing climbing shrub which is native to Asia. The young leaves, pods and seeds are edible it is the beans which are used to make tempeh which is a fermented bean paste. It is also used in ancient Indian medicine…a topic for another day I say this as I have just realized what the flower pods which are a popular food here are…I have had that light bulb moment…

Vegetable Spaghetti

Something I hadn’t heard of or eaten until I moved to Thailand…I really like it and it looks like a normal oval shaped squash but when cooked it goes into strands just like spaghetti…

It is native to Central America and Mexico and I am assuming was available in the UK I was just walking around with my eyes shut…sigh…I didn’t know what I was missing.


Venison originally meant the meat of a game animal, but now refers primarily to the meat of elk, deer or antelope (in South Africa). Venison can be used to refer to any part of the animal, so long as it can be consumed, including the internal organs. Venison is the type of meat which is lovely with a good sauce…This Juniper Berry sauce is made using venison stock…

The sauce recipe paired with game meat like Venison, quail, pheasant it makes a great sauce.

Juniper Berry Sauce


• 1 banana shallot peeled and finely chopped.
• 8 juniper berries very lightly crushed.
• 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped.
• 1/2 tsp sugar
• 200 ml white burgundy or a dry white wine.
• 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
• 40 gm butter
• 25 gm flour
• 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves.
• 3oo ml venison stock
• 100 ml double cream
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Let’s Cook!

  1. Put the shallot, garlic, sugar, white wine vinegar, juniper berries, white wine and the fresh thyme in a pan and bring to the boil.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes this needs to reduce to about 2 tbsp.
  3. In another pan melt the butter and whisk in the flour to make a roux. Strain your wine reduction through a fine sieve and still whisking…we don’t want a lumpy sauce now do we? Add the wine reduction…keep whisking!
  4. Pick out the juniper berries from the strained mix in your sieve and add to the sauce.
  5. Keep whisking and add the stock slowly to the sauce a ladle at a time.
  6. Cook the sauce for 10 mins or until it coats the back of a spoon.
  7. Finally, pour in the cream and bring to a very slow simmer. Remove from the heat and season.
  8. The sauce can be used immediately or reheated when it is needed.

This is a beautiful sauce over when poured over a luscious piece of beautifully cooked venison or my favorite quail… if you have guests for dinner or just for that special occasion.


An Italian, Spanish and Latin American term that most often describes the colour of a food ingredient. Mole Verde, Salsa Verde, Oliver de Verde, Chilli Verde, or spicy Verde are all examples of sauces or condiments that have a green colour and are described using the “Verde” term.

Foods described as Verde indicates the use of a green ingredient instead of some other colour, thus improving the taste and/or appearance of the food being prepared.


Vermicelli, which translates to “little worms” in English, is a long, very thin pasta. In Italy, vermicelli is thicker than spaghetti, but in the USA the pasta shape is thinner. This pasta originated in Campania, but this type of pasta has also been adopted in other countries.


This delicious creamy soup – made of onions, puréed leeks, potatoes, chicken broth, and cream – is typically served chilled as a first course during the warm months, but can also be served hot.

Vidalia Onion.

The Vidalia Onion Story takes root in Toombs County, Georgia over 80 years ago when a farmer by the name of Moses Coleman discovered in the late spring of 1931 the onions he had planted were not hot as he expected. They were sweet! It was a struggle to sell the onions at first, but Moses persevered and managed to sell them for $3.50 per 50-pound bag, which in those days was a big price.


As a child, I only recall ever having malt vinegar with our fish and chips on our winkles and cockles and used for my mum’s homemade pickles… it was only as we started to travel and taste other cuisines that it opened up the world of vinegar and now I don’t just have malt vinegar but white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, white or red wine vinegar even fruit vinegar…

On the subject of vinegar, it is worth buying a good quality vinegar as it has a longer shelf life. Here in Thailand, there are many kinds of vinegar and most of the labels are in Thai, however, the one word which stood OUT in my search for the kinds of vinegar I use was artificial…That sent me scuttling home for a chat with Mr. Google…I mean those of you who know me expect no less…

What did I discover?

“Artificial vinegar” is acetic acid that is made by a chemical process.

“Natural vinegar” is acetic acid that is made in a biological process using the Acetobacter aceti bacteria. If the “natural vinegar” is distilled, it is very difficult to tell the difference between it and the “artificial vinegar.”

No great shakes then it seems but suspicious Annie here believes…Not much…lol… So, I will not be buying it…You get what you pay for…


Vinaigrette is made by mixing an oil with something acidic such as vinegar or lemon juice. The mixture can be enhanced with salt, herbs and/or spices. It is used most commonly as a salad dressing, but can also be used as a marinade. Traditionally, a vinaigrette consists of 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar mixed into a stable emulsion, but the term is also applied to mixtures with different proportions and to unstable emulsions which last only a short time before separating into layered oil and vinegar.

Virgin Olive Oil.

Virgin means the oil was made by simply pressing olives. It didn’t undergo any of the industrial processes used to make ‘refined’ oils such as canola, sunflower, soybean and the lower grades of olive oil labeled ‘Pure,’ ‘Light,’ and simply ‘Olive Oil.’

Virgin olive oils that have no taste defects and pass strict tests in terms of chemistry can be labeled ‘Extra Virgin.’

Virgin olive oils that have modest taste defects and meet somewhat less strict chemical parameters are labeled ‘Virgin.’ Unfortunately, you don’t see ‘Virgin’ oils for sale because too often producers market ‘Virgin’ oils as ‘Extra Virgin’ to command higher prices. Until standards enforcement catches up with the practice, real ‘Extra Virgin’ will be hard to come by.

Always buy the best olive oil you can and you will be rewarded by the taste do however check the label and google it as not all is as it seems with olive oil unfortunately and labels can and are deceptive.


A vol-au-vent French for “windblown”, to describe its lightness) is a small hollow case of puff pastry. A vol-au-vent is typically made by cutting two circles in rolled out puff pastry, cutting a hole in one of them, then stacking the ring-shaped piece on top of the disc-shaped piece. This pastry is usually found filled with savory ingredients, but can also have a sweet filling. They come in all sizes from small buffet ones to quite large ones.

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed this post…We are nearing the end of the alphabet now next month it will be W…

My thanks to Carol for another fabulous post about food.. who knew there were so many ‘V’s around… as always Carol would love your feedback.


About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology Amazon US

Connect to Carol – Blog: Carol Cooks 2 – Twitter: @CarolCooksTwo – Facebook: Carol Taylor

26 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘V’ for Vacherin, Vanilla, Veal, Vegetable Spaghetti and Vichyssoise

  1. Reblogged this on Retired? No one told me! and commented:
    The letter V…we are nearing the end of the alphabet which means the festive season is nigh…I do hope you are enjoying this series as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing it …my thanks go out to Sally for republishing what is one of my favourite series…Enjoy the letter V and please stay safe and well xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Carol Vacherin as a dessert looks beautiful. I love that idea. My sister has asked for [boring] custard slices for Christmas day [the things we do for family – where is the fun in custard slices], but, as I mention on your blog, I have my giant gingerbread challenge going ever since I discovered you can freezed baked gingerbread. I am looking forward to outdoing myself this year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know the things we do I have to make prawn cocktail every Christmas but this year I have decided we are going out and someone else can cook…I have signed up for a gingerbread exchange not sure if it is the one you mentioned,,, I am looking forward to your creation Robbie I am sure it will be awesome xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • It is run by Gingerbread by Design and you can get loads of free templates which is great. It is nice you are taking a break and I hope you enjoy it. I prefer to eat home made food. It is very hot here in December and I got sick from a Christmas meal out so now it is ‘at home’.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I think your seasons are similar to ours Robbie , December is hot here(high ) season…The place where we are eating we have eaten before and always been ok she is really good and hygiene is good as well although I do have a cast iron stomach not much upsets me…lol…I ‘ll check Gingerbread by design …Thank you 🙂 x

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Amazing that you have gotten this far – V in your culinary alphabet. We do not live too far from Vidalia, Georgia, and can get the onions fresh, so good. Also, my dad often bagged a buck during hunting season, and when he did we had venison. Thanks Sally, and Carol!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I now have a head filled with ice cream layered meringue and gingerbread structures! This also reminds me to dig out my empty vanilla sugar jar and refill it. Thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up -8th -14th November 2020 – 40th Celebrations, Brad Mehldau, Relationships, Vichyssoise, Aromatherapy, Reviews and Funnies | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Food Column – Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘V’ for Vacherin, Vanilla, Veal, Vegetable Spaghetti and Vichyssoise — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine (Reblog) – The Midlode Mercury

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