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culinary bear

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Everything posted by culinary bear

  1. I've always found the more adventurous photographs in WFI to be well worth the cover price alone; I remember a piece from four or five years ago about Lapland where the photography was simply stunning. The better photographs in WFI remind me of Lepard's small 'reportage' snapshots in the chapter fronts in "Handmade Loaf", lovely pieces that don't look overworked, good honest pictures which steer very far away from the microwaved tampon school of food photography. Looking into my crystal ball (okay, whisky decanter top), there are going to be a lot more people posting, as Dan says, photos for immediate consumption. Given that good basic digital point-snd-shoots are now widespread, that camera phones are beginning to humble the old Kodak Easyshares of five years ago, and that goodish digital SLRs are no more than a week's income for most of us, are these pictures going to be better? Will the average chimp behind the lens (and I'm one of them, trust me) use this technology to improve the pictures we take?
  2. Westmorland's okay, but some of the produce is comically overpriced.
  3. Whisky, unlike wine, does not develop further once removed from the cask and bottled. A 1967 whisky bottled in 1977 is going to be a very different whisky to a 1967 bottled in 1997, for example. While obviously not the world's oldest whisky - Wm Cadenheads on Edinburgh's Royal Mile have several 'old bottlings' from the 1920s - this may well be the 'most (cask) aged' whisky known to exist.
  4. Ah, so I see. Nope, still resolutely bored shitless. Ronson has his moments, I'll grant you that. This isn't one of them.
  5. That's a restaurant review, albeit the first instalment? If it's the first of a two-parter, I'm bored shitless already.
  6. I can certainly vouch for the fact that Bapi knows what he's talking about. Punjuna, It's a little unseemly to present an opinion, to present it again, and yet again, without any hint of evidence, reasoned argument or analysis. If you "cannot elaborate" as to the reasoning behind your opinon, then you'll find that people are far less interested in hearing it.
  7. I was in Liverpool yesterday. Was dragged kicking and screaming to Lark Lane, near Aigburth. It's a piece of the city that I think must have forgotten that it's in Liverpool. We went to Keith's Bar (clunky wooden tables, no pretensions whatsoever) and had a really good pork and chorizo stew with rice, and a tomato and lemon risotto, both at a fiver each. The kicker was the bottle of '97 Chateau Musar which only cost 14 quid! Note to add: I see in Jay Rayner's review of the Vineyard at Stockcross that they're charging £115 quid for a '97 Musar. Insanity. Thence on to the farmers' market down the road, to buy a trio of black puddings and a really good pork pie for later consumption.
  8. The non-stick spray is a non-starter if you're going to dip the ganache as it makes the dipping chocolate slip off. Cling-film (saran wrap) works, but it's time consuming to line the moulds. Are the moulds plastic or metal?
  9. I find cookies are best stored gastrointestinally Incidentally, you shouldn't really store your bread in a sealed ziploc bag; it encourages mould and you tend to get flabby bread. An old-fashioned bread bin is a better bet.
  10. Altrincham's (just about) Manchester I know what you mean though Gary, it does seem that in the North the trend is for the culinary gems to be somewhat off the beaten path and not in the cities.
  11. The North is thriving well, culinarily speaking, and has a goodly amount of good chefs doing good things (Messrs Pern, Flinn, Heathcote, Haworth, Laybourne, Rogan and Wilkinson, to name a few), but the incongruity of Liverpool's situation is striking : City of Liverpool population (2002) : 441,477 - the fifth largest city in the UK. In that area, there are four one-rosette restaurants : Ziba Simply Heathcotes (also holding a Michelin Bib Gourmand) The Radisson SAS Liverpool 60 Hope Street ...and that's it. This in the city that in less than two years' time is going to become the European Capital of Culture. You have to go over the Mersey (Ferreee, cross da Merseee) to Oxton to get food anywhere near the standard you'd expect in a large and important city. I'd say the culinary scene is at least 10 years behind Manchester, Glasgow or Edinburgh.
  12. Frozen pre-made puff pastry that's never seen a pack of butter.
  13. I've never eaten at Caesars, though every single time I've walked past it's never been less than half full (even at 3:30pm on a Monday). At a conservative estimate, it must seat well over 150 people. The menu reads like the bastard offspring of Bella Roma and Little Chef. The trouble with Liverpool is that the locals will quite happily blow upwards of 50 quid getting absolutely shitfaced of a Friday night, but won't spend half that on a decent meal. There's almost no culture of dining out. Come 2008 and the City of Culture there are going to be some very bemused tourists.
  14. Gethin, they've closed the upstairs restaurant at the Baltic Fleet. The previous owners got a little above their station in opening an ambitious restaurant in an undesirable location in what remains a city at best apathetic about decent food. Having said that, they do a brilliant full breakfast in the pub on a Saturday and Sunday.
  15. Mattas International Food Market on Bold Street was a regular stop off when I lived on Merseyside - a fairly eclectic mix of foods from pretty much everywhere. You must, MUST, go to the Baltic Fleet pub in Wapping, just a midly inebriated stagger frm the Albert Dock. It's a brewpub of great character with an owner relatively new to the scene and a head brewer who has a phenomenal way with dry-hopping. I can't remember the name of the beer, but it's the dry-hopped version of their normal 'Wapping' session ale and it's the best IPA I've ever had in my life. The Ship and Mitre, near the entrance to the Wallasey Tunnel, has 15-20 hand pumps going at any one time. A proper old pub, full of character, and grizzled locals. A good place for lunch - on Renshaw Street (the road running parallel to Bold Street and ending at the bombed-out church) there's an Indian restaurant called Masterchef. Ignore the curries and the plastic desserts, go in and order a starter portion of the lamb chop tikka. Five charred and savoury chops for 4.50 and have the salty lassi to drink. On my first visit there they were still serving seven(!) chops as a starter portion before they realised no-one had any room left for anything else. The Philharmonic is a decentish pub, but I only mention it for the gents' loos and the fact that they have listed status. Trust me, you have to see them. The Phil is just opposite the Philharmonic Hall (funny, that) and as such is within spitting distance of the Carriage Works. Go to the Baltic Fleet. Seriously.
  16. I'm not entirely sure, although I've heard it'll cost you 50 quid down the docks on a Saturday night...
  17. I've found untoasted sesame oil is excellent for keeping my beech board in good working order.
  18. What next? Employing people with parkinsonism to shake cocktails? It's a gimmick, but worse than that, it's a deeply patronising gimmick which will only serve to highlight the apartheid between able-bodied and disabled diners and worse, restaurant staff.
  19. Good to see someone from Ockenden in the Regionals, Matt. Damn my advancing years, or I'd have given it another go....
  20. culinary bear

    Xanthan gum

    I've worked with xanthan gum professionally. When I worked with Ian Morgan he was using it - laughingly referred to as 'Anthrax powder' - to stabilise foams so that they'd last longer on the plate. A litre of chicken froth-base needed 1-2 tsp of powdered xanthan gum in order to gain more stability, and gave a good lasting froth that didn't linger on the tongue longer than was needed. The xanthan powder was added directly to the warm froth mix with no slaking needed, just a 30-second blitzing with the stick blender. For the record, we got ours from MSK foods (hideously pricy for what it was, too).
  21. Good... malty, with a slight Guinness bitterness to it.
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