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Everything posted by Marco_Polo

  1. Just back from the pub, John. No, not to The Bridge but the much closer Steam Packet just around the corner for pints of Bass (excellent, a raspingly fresh, very hoppy cask) and packets of crunchy pork scratching. Have now returned home starving. Before I raid the fridge, I check the computer only to be tortured by your picture of caneton au citron. Looks fantastic (you know my weakness/addiction to duck!). Fortunately, Kim has left me something to eat and it will have to do until I can satisfy my mad, insatiable craving for all things duck (it's some chargrilled chicken breast with avocado, passion fruit and lime salsa, not a bad substitute at all, I have to say). You are building up the anticipation for the Birthday Cassoulet very nicely - rather like a slow striptease. . . or, more aptly, like a slow-braised dish, in the oven for literally days, your words and pictures like smells emanating out to drive us crazy. The anticipation, the deliciously winding journey is as much a part as the arrival. Good night. M PS I ordered Mirabel's book, yes, for 1p through my one-click settings with Amazon.co.uk. It's just been confirmed that I will pay the 1p plus £2.75 postage and handling. I know what postage costs here: so can anyone please tell me how can it be worth it for someone to package up the volume, then go down to the Post Office to send a book for a penny? The world is indeed a mystery.
  2. Brilliant pics, John. Looks like you enjoyed as nice a day in north London as we have in Devon. Almost springlike. Nice to see Mary making an appearance, looking as lovely as ever. Your vegetarian lunch for £2.95 looks pretty darn good. Did you have seconds? M
  3. John, we meet in many places but rarely here. As you know, I've enjoyed reading about and discussing your virtual cassoulet for years now and this illustrated and annotated blog will no doubt add new levels and depths of delicious information and flavour. Happy cooking, happy blogging and many many congratulations on your milestone birthday. Marc
  4. Hi Gary, This deceptively simple, rather thin, but cleansing and satisfying soup is a regular accompaniment to Korean meals. Soy bean sprouts have so much more flavour and distinctive character than mung bean sprouts. For our kongguk, we keep things really simple and pure, with no anchovies or kelp. It could be what you're looking for (you could always add a little brown seaweed - miyok - to make the broth richer). Kongguk - soy bean sprout soup 1/2 pound soy bean sprouts 2 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and finely chopped 1/2 inch knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated 3 tablespoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons sesame oil Salt 2 or 3 spring onions or scallions, shredded on the diagonol Pinch of toasted sesame seeds Pinch of coarsely ground red chili pepper or red chili pepper threads Remove the hairlike roots from the soy bean sprouts and wash well. Steam for 5-10 minutes, then in the same pot, add the garlic, ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil, and a pinch of salt to taste. Add about 1 1/2 pints of water (900ml) and bring to the boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for a further 15 minutes. Garnish with the shredded spring onions, toasted sesame seeds and red pepper or red pepper threads. recipe from Flavours of Korea
  5. Oops, missed this, Adam. Should have known you'd already covered this!
  6. Adam, you know Robert Burns much better than me, I'm certain. But while we're talking about etymology of ragù, it's interesting to note with what utter nationalistic disdain the "R" word drips from his immortal Scottish pen. from Address to a Haggis Is there that owre his French ragout Or olio that wad staw a sow, Or fricassee wad make her spew Wi’ perfect sconner, Looks down wi’ sneering, scornfu’ view On sic a dinner?
  7. Excellent, Robert. You've made me want to head up to Bristol Airport first thing tomorrow morning and jump on an Easyjet flight direct to Venice (only a couple of hours, after all). It's been far too long since we've been there. Every now and then it is essential to recharge one's life batteries by sampling the electrifying and mysterious delights of the lagoon.
  8. Gary, thanks for this thoughful, well written and argued review. You've made me want to read the book and learn more about Bernard Loiseau. The reverberations of Loiseau's suicide have indeed ricocheted throughout the world haute cuisine - and beyond. Marc
  9. That was true for a long time, but recently cryptozoologists at the Transylvania University have observed the emergence of cabbage-pickle-resistant vampires. Damn, another surefire home remedy bites the dust...kimchi-resistant vampires, what is the world coming to?
  10. If anyone has ever smelt (let alone tasted) mildly high winter kimchi - or kept it in your fridge, even wrapped in multiple cellophane bags sealed with rubber bands, as my grandmother used to do - you won't be surprised at this research: the all-pervasive pong of kimchi is potent and pungent enough to fell an ox, let alone the odd strain of salmonella, e coli or the like. A recent study in Transylvania (sorry, don't have the link to hand) recently has suggested that if you sew a piece of the pungent, fermented, chili-tinted cabbage pickle to your chest (just above the heart) it will keep you immune to attacks from vampires as well. Come to think of it, it will keep you immune to attacks from just anyone at all (except fellow kimchi lovers)... No wonder in Korea it's traditionally buried in earthenware jars underground. Even still, it's one of the greatest, most delicious and ingenious foods on earth - so this is a good excuse to double up on consumption (and damn the consequences). Marc
  11. This is very distressing news indeed. Rioja Alta is an historic institution in Haro and the producer of wines of world class and character. I have visited on various occasions and have fond memories in particular of a magnificent bodega lunch of first pimientos cooked over a wood fire and then baby chuletas similarly grilled over the hearth, accompanied by magnificent oak-aged Rioja reservas and gran reservas. Rioja Alavesa is actually located within the Basque country but it has always seemed a very long way from the troubles. This is very sad. I hope no one was hurt and not too much damage (and loss of wine) occurred. Marc
  12. I, like many others, have followed this debate with great interest and I've veered between agreeing with both sides (the case for continued anonymity, the case for requiring participants to post under our own names). It is worth recalling that ever since virtual communities started to proliferate on the Internet, people have enjoyed the possibilityof reinventing themselves, in chatrooms, on bulletin boards and fora such as this, and indeed on blogs and web sites. We define who we are - and who we want and aspire to be - through the creation of nicknames and with the use of creative avatars. In virtual communities, we can choose to change our gender (or not disclose it) or recreate ourselves in any image that we wish to see ourselves in, even if, to the outside world, it may have little basis in 'reality'. In a commercial world, of course this may be open to abuse. Note how so-called readers' reviews on Amazon, perhaps rubbishing a book and causing real damage to on-line sales, have been linked to rival publishing houses. And there have certainly been cases on this site, have there not, where members have used the site to shill or rubbish a restaurant/person/book. For what it's worth, I LOVE the nicknames and the personas on eGullet and would hate to see them go. After a while, through the personality of the posts combined with the persona perceived through the nickname/avatar, I feel I've gotten to 'know' that poster and indeed look forward to his/her posts. The same, of course, is true for those posters who choose instead to use their own names. But surely this site would be less rich, less idiosyncratic, less witty, and yes, less fun, if we did not have the anonymous on-line identities that we've created. Of course, one can still use a nickname and an avatar and add a real name in our signatures, and this is perhaps what is being advocated. I think it's neither here nor there. What is clear is that one gains respect on this (and in any other virtual community) by the sincerity and quality of our contributions - not, I hasten to add, by the sheer volume of them. I like hanging out here and only contribute infrequently, so I still consider myself something of a newcomer. But I've been around long enough to know who's posts are always worth reading (for my taste and interest, that is) - and this most definitely has nothing to do with nickname or real name. Sometimes new members join who, from their very first post, you can tell will be entertaining and informative and a good addition to this community. On the other hand, there are those who jump in, sometimes on controversial issues, having not yet established trust and respect and it is such 'anonymous' new members who's posts are sometimes treated with suspicion. Do they have a hidden agenda? Who are they? Having considered both sides, I was on the point of adding my real name to my signature - but have now decided against doing so because of a point raised above. Yes, it's true, search engines such as Google catalog each and every eG post. In googling some members by their real names, screens and screens of individual posts come up, out of context and often above other related links that may be of more interest and professional value. That to me alone is a reason to avoid signing with my real name. What may be of more value would be to encourage members to add biographical information that fleshes out (in whatever way we all care to reveal) something of who we are, what interests us, however creatively we wish to present this, irregardless of whether such 'facts' exist in reality or virtual reality. I originally posted some biographical details but then omited them simply because it seemed so few do so. Marco Polo
  13. Thanks for doing the maths, champipple, you've just saved me 60 quid! And I most definitely take your point about the windbreak required for serious outdoor cooking. I'll look into this for next season. Marc
  14. Wow, infernoo, your wok burner looks great!! I've got a wok grate accessory on our Viking range but frankly it's disappointing and not man enough for the job (even though the range itself is wonderful - with a chargrill that is almost restaurant quality - powerful, cooks steaks great, with perfect seared marks from the bars). I've been looking at this Hot Wok which seems to have three heat controls and is rated at 7000 watts. But I ask, is this a mere toy? Or worth getting? I already have a propane-fueled paella ring such as the Spaniards use to prepare paella outdoors. Problem here in Devon, England is prevailing so'westerly winds in our riverside garden - the wind really effects the strength of the fire and it can sometimes be terribly erratic, one minute a raging inferno, next utterly pitiful. I wonder if the same thing might happen with the Hot Wok or other similar appliances. Whereas yours, infernoo, looks like it could function most effectively in the full face of a gale. Marc
  15. Deh-ta Hsiung is an eminent author and authority on chinese cuisine and cooking. His website Chinese at Table has a limited number of recipes (in English) and you can always contact Deh-ta with any questions from the contact email on the site.
  16. One of your very BEST of many great posts, Kevin. That ragù looks just like the real thing, deeply dark, concentrated and glistening - I can just imagine the taste on those beautiful handmade noodles. And the meal itself, from antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno right the way through to dessert is truly Emilia-Romagnan in conception and outrageously generous bounty. As you've already suggested, this will not be a month for the fainthearted. Bravo!
  17. Objection objection, can I please request that the eGullet moderators BAN this post immediately. It is too cruel and unusual punishment for those of us who, as anticipated above, are unable to find decent (or even half- or quarter-decent) Chinese food where we live - I'm way down in the boondocks of Southwest England. On second thought, I've been enjoying the Chinese home cooking pictorials so much, and this thread will only add to the virtual vicarious pleasure of it. If I can't go out for good Chinese food (or even half- or quarter-good) then the next best thing is drooling over this monitor. Sad, ain't it? But thanks again in advance!
  18. Hi Nancy, good luck and go for it! For four years I organised a memorial charity century cycle ride that finished with an outdoor pasta feast for cyclists and friends and family. The ride was in memory of my great friend who was an Italian chef as well as cycling chum. Risotto was his signature dish, so it was essential that it was part of the feast menu. The first year we fed about 150; the second year, word of the previous year's feast spread and over 300 turned up! We still managed to make the risotto, but only by enlisting an army of starving cyclists to help stir the pot, knowing that unless they did so, they wouldn't eat! Cooking upwards of 6 kilos of vialone nano in a large pot is an immensely labour intensive task, simply to keep the rice stirred and bubbling away - and vialone nano takes longer than arborio as it absorbs even more cooking liquid. But it can be done and a fresh cooked risotto makes a wonderful plate of food enjoyed nell'aria fresca (I served it with Tuscan sausages braised in porcini and red wine). Here's the menu from that first memorial ride pasta feast Marc
  19. Korean fritters, cooked on the griddle and served piping hot with cho jang vinegar dipping sauce. Nothing on earth is better! Pa'jon is often described as 'spring onion pancake' - but it's really a fritter, the egg and flour batter used to hold together any number of ingredients, spring onions, shrimp, zucchini, carrots, kim chi, etc. Koreans will make a fritter out of just about anything: we love to make fritters from broccoli and chillies, from zucchini, from sweet potatoes, from crab and fish, and with marinaded bulgogi meat: just about anything at all. And who needs the season of fall as an excuse to make fritters! They are one of the best picnic foods in the world (as good cold as piping hot) and they are delicious in the depths of winter, too. GG, thanks for bringing up this topic - you've sent me straight into the kitchen to rustle up some delicious Korean fritters. Marc
  20. Great job, Adam, wonderful pictures (as usual) and wonderful interpretations of this fascinating day that is so important to Mexicans. I was born in Mexico and spent many summers there as a boy. The imagery of death within life permeates throughout much pre-Columbian art and, like so much in Mexico, has become intricately interlayered and blended together - like a rich, complex and spicy mole poblano - with Hispanic culture and catholicism. Though we don't celebrate it, I find the Day of the Dead very appealing, this day, this concept, this innate belief that the departed are still very much with us and that this should be celebrated with, what else, food, family and friends. Some years ago there was a wonderful exhibition in London's Museum of Mankind about the Day of the Dead. Does anyone else recall this? And of course last year's magnificent exhibition about the Aztecs was simply awesome in scope and scale - and a very different celebration of death within life and life within death. Marc
  21. Bleak House. Brilliant.
  22. Totally agree with Dejah. I remember once being talked out of buying shin at a fancy butcher's, got some round or chuck instead. Not the same at all. Fell apart to bits and was dry. The beauty of braising, of course, is that the cheaper, the tougher the cut, the better the end result! A miserable, wet, rainy day down here in southwest England: a perfect day to try beef shank braised with five spice!
  23. This looks really great, Ah Leung, as do all your other pictorial recipes in this brilliant series. We do something similar, Korean style: changjorim, or soy braised shin of beef with chilies. Shin (as we call shank in the UK) is a brilliant cut for slow braising, not least because all the tough connective tissue melts down to make the braising liquid thickly gelatinous and so able to set into a firm jelly. What we do is slow braise the meat (usually in one piece or else in big chunks) in soy sauce, water, with slices of garlic and ginger, and heaps of fresh red chillies. I usually just leave the chillies whole, maybe add a dozen or more. I cook until the meat is falling apart, allow to cool and de-fat, then shred the meat and chillies into the braising liquid and allow it to set in the fridge. Delicious cold, a chilled yet fiery, meaty hot condiment to eat in small, mouth-searing bites with huge bowls of steaming white rice. The chilli jelly is the best part! I will definitely try your version and the delicate spices I'm sure will give a great flavour (but I'll probably not be able to resist throwing in a chilli or two). Thanks again for this series! Marc
  24. In a microwave? Surely you jest?! Half the fun of making zabaglione is the theatricality of whipping up a frothy panful, preferably in front of your guests, the syncopated clatter of whisk against pan adding a unique cacophany to the anticipated enjoyment of this sweet and rich custardy pudding that always seems — and ought to taste — special, in part no doubt due to all the kerfuffle to make it. When we make zabaglione. we use a copper dome-shaped basin held over a pan of just simmering water. Though Marsala may well be the classic wine to use, we've enjoyed examples made with Barbera and, as in the photo below, with delicately fragrant Moscato. A nutty Amontillado would be interesting, I'm sure. Here's the maestro Cesare Giaccone whipping up a pan on a recent visit to Piedmont (as reported on another thread). Note that such is Cesare's deft skill that he eschews using a double boiler, working directly over a flame that is quite high - this takes skill - and incredible speed of hand! His 'zabag', served over a pear, poached I think in the same exquisite Moscato wine, was majesterial.
  25. In Galicia at country fairs, boiled in oil drums, fished out then quickly chopped up into small pieces by the guy with the glass eye and a missing finger or two, smothered in olive oil: to eat piping hot off toothpicks or with the fingers, washed down with tazitas - white handleless china cups - of lovely, soft creamy white wine wine, or rasping, tooth-staining red from Ribeiro. Another octopus memory: in a drinking tent at Haeundae Beach, near Pusan, Korea. The baby octopus were so damn fresh that, well, yes, the little critters were, um er, still alive and kickin'. Despatched in front of your very eyes with a cleaver, served with fiery kochujang as a dipping sauce, the tentacles of the oct still wriggling, or worse. You take a bite and the suckers stick to the top of your mouth. You have to hoik off with your finger, then wash down with copious quantities of soju or ice cold maekchu (Korean beer). A very weird experience. Yet not unpleasant, just damn weird. Octopus: I love it. Rich, fatty, chewy, tasting of the sea. Delicious! MP
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