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culinary bear

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Everything posted by culinary bear

  1. I think there's a shifting line between cook and chef, at least in the public perception thereof. In the UK, just about anyone who works in a kitchen would call themselves a chef. A cook is generally held to be anyone who works institutionally - usually a works canteen, fast food place, residential home, hospital and the like - and can be a term of approbrium to the general public. It's increasingly common to find a young jack-the-lad in his late teens honoured with the title of 'chef' even when they're the only soul cooking spicy chicken wings for pissed punters in some pub in Hackney. In the serious trade, however, there are chefs, and there are chefs. I could liken it to the army - you've your officer types, who command and control; you've got your NCOs and enlisted personnel. In my view, in 'honourable' kitchens, your chefs are the head chef (or exec chef if that's your thing) and the sous chef. The chef de cuisine is the chief of the kitchen, as is borne out by a basic knowledge of French. The sous chef is his deputy. These, to me, are the two 'chef' ranks, because the two of them run the kitchen. They might well run a section as well as needs dictate (and should be able to cook everyone else under the table) but their main function is to control the running and supply of the kitchen. They're the officers - the junior sous is the sergeant, and the chefs de partie the corporals.
  2. This is rapidly turning into what might be colloquially referred to in Army circles as a Cake and Arse Party. Personally, I am opposed to anonymous posting. My name is on my signature line and always has been; it's common courtesy and in a gentler age (non-electronically) one would not have earned the right to be listened to if one did not provide details of who one was. In general terms, witholding identifying information - and this doesn't mean your bank details and postal code, but simply your name - while not marking the poster out as having something to hide or being suspicious by default, does make me inclined to give less weight to their arguments and opinions.
  3. In an ideal world, of course, all eGullet members would have complete faith that anonymous (publically anonymous) posters are known and regulated by the moderators. Given recent events in certain threads, that faith has, rightly or wrongly, been shaken. Should we require posters, anonymous or otherwise, to declare potential conflicts of interest?
  4. Oh dear, tempted as I am by the subject matter I'm afraid I couldn't entirely divorce myself from partisan politics in the writing thereof.
  5. Exactly - it's a really lovely dish. I wonder if giving blood an hour before had anything to do with my head spinning? Matt's just back from his 3-month stage at Michel Guerard's 3* place in Landes, and said he really appreciated 'blood-and-guts' food again. Oh, and Thom - have you seen the natty automated paper dispenser in the Gents? It's brilliant....
  6. You know, I checked up on it yesterday - the clay pot dish at the top of the list is 10.00, which is why it stuck in my head. All the other clay pot dishes are, you're right, 7.50. After two pints in a pub just down the way, we ordered crispy sea bass with sweet vinegar, the poached lamb in spiced broth, and sichuan Mrs Spotty's beancurd. I had to quietly phone Thom to consult on the lamb dish - I thought I'd found the right one on the menu but wasn't too sure. Matt and I looked at each other over the bowl of poached lamb (this sounds like a gay Mills and Boon, I know) and mouthed the following words to each other : "Fuck me, could they have fitted any more dried chillies in this?" Beautiful, tender lean lamb, beansprouts, spring onions, explosively fragrant herbs and spicing, and a healthy (okay, probably unhealthy) amount of chilli - we picked out at least twenty dries chillies as we went. It was hot - very hot - but multidimensional too; the heat was well balanced by acidity, saltiness, the natural juice and meaty taste of the lamb and the amazing fragrance of the fresh herbs. Both Matt and I wanted to drink all the copious broth between us, but feared for our digestive health the next day. The beancurd had a lovely texture - not congealed and hard like you sometimes find, but slippery, just holding its shape. Slightly more subtle spicing than the lamb - mercifully - and a dry sauce of minced pork, nuts, chilli, garlic and spring onion. Really good, and a nice partner for the lamb. We were both surprised by the seabass. Take one seabass, batter it, and deep-fry whole, head, skins, fins and all. Set it on a platter of what I can only describe as a 'proper' sweet and sour sauce, and that fairly describes what we had. The waitress filleted it with two spoons! The bass was fresh and clean-tasting; the sauce pungent yet not acrid, like so many takeaway sauces; the batter was crisp and light, and we were impressed. We were both ravenous, and did justice to the food. With three beers each, egg-fried rice and noodles, the bill came to less than 50 quid for the pair. If you haven't been, go. Seriously, I'd trade all the crappy mediterranean places in Manchester for this one little gem. It was absolutely heaving (we had to wait ten minutes for a table) and westerners were outnumbered by the local chinese by 3:1.
  7. I'm eating there with a friend tomorrow (Wednesday) - will choose something suitably off the wall. thom, I can't work out the pricing - the assorted meats is a tenner, rice and noodles a couple of quid each... did you get the soup and drinks for free?
  8. Andy, are you going to lead by example and trim your signature down to fewer than seven lines? That must add up to a page of text over the course of a day's posting. If you look at the Psalits thread you can see some outrageous examples of quotes-in-quotes-in-quotes ad inifnitum - and also a plea from me much along the same lines as yours.
  9. Sir, I find the latest cover of Private Eye, making fun of our beloved and late Princess Diana distasteful. Please cancel my subscription forthwith. Yours, Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells. (editor's note : one should only read the OpEd pieces if one has the salt cellar to hand) Swinging (oo-er, Tunbridge wells) back on-topic, if Freud's reviews are as good as "No-one Else Has Complained", then I shall not, erm, be complaining. He might be open to the accusation of being a little distanced from some of the readership, but I think that could be levelled at most reviewers.
  10. Jesus... Something compels me to work out the calories in this thing. do(ugh)nuts - 4800kcal, 288g fat condensed milk - 1720kcal, 45g fat I'm guessing the fruit cocktail at a conservative 400kcal. eggs - 150kcal, 10g fat raisins - 550kcal butter - 780kcal, 90g fat sugar - 1815g total = 10215kcal, and a pound of fat. yummy. Divided into twelve portions, it gives 851kcal per portion. Like it's going to be divided into twelve, uh-huh.
  11. Thom, you must have hollow legs - how on earth did you manage to put all that away? I forgot about the squid in mine - and thanks for clarifying the pig-skin, I wondered what that was.
  12. culinary bear


    As well as my trusty 18/10 stainless steel cup, half, third and quarter cup measures, and my tablespoon, teaspoon, half, quarter and eigth... I also have a set of three steel measuring spoons, marked 'dash', 'pinch', and 'smidgen'... I'll take a photo when my camera's charged.
  13. I do the final rise on a Silpat, for much the same reasons. Useful for baking at higher temps as I find greaseproof/baking paper can burn.
  14. Try using a slacker starter, so that you needn't develop the gluten quite so much when you mix it in...
  15. Jay doesn't particularly rate it either...
  16. Isn't there a table-ban on Afghan cookbooks?
  17. Mine tend to be a capella, as I find backing music would wake everyone else up. I tend to go for salty things. A solitary pickled onion, or a smear of gentleman's relish on a piece of buttered toast.
  18. I was lucky enough to hit IKEA when they happened to be selling BILLY bookcases for 25 pounds each. I have two and I've got nearly 200 books on each - they're very sturdy, easy to assemble, and look good. Adjustable shelves too, which is handy for oversized books. I tend not to keep books in the kitchen unless I'm using them.
  19. Unless you're a fatter bastard than I, I sincerely doubt it. You'd need to be a very very hungry bunny indeed to put away a whole clay pot plus rice, never mind appetisers. To give you some idea, the pot held about three or four pints, and was more than 3/4 full (for a tenner!).
  20. Lunch today at the Red Chilli with a commis in tow. The waiting staff have a tenuous grasp of English, but to be fair, it's better than the Cantonese skills of the commis and I. We were given three menus - the fairly generous set lunch menu, the 'anglicised chinese' menu and the 'traditional chinese' menu. We quickly disposed of the first two and set about choosing from the traditional chinese. After failing to spot the husband and wife lung slices, we settled on three mains - the Hot Wok Trotter, the Crispy Smoked Sichuan Duck and the Hot Chilli Clay Pot Assorted Meats. We ordered soft noodles and egg fried rice in memory of Gary Marshall, and tucked in. The smoked duck was, as Jay said, very similar to a standard crispy duck with pancakes, though the smokiness was definitely there. The clay pot arrived as a vast seething cauldron of meat (and fish) in a deeply flavoured chilli broth. Chicken, deep-fried tofu, tripe, mushrooms, fish balls, scallops, and pork, in a very generous portion. The Hot Wok Trotter had been braised, boned, pressed, lightly battered, deep-fried, and came sliced on a platter. A good mix of crunch, yielding fattiness and lip-sticking gelatinous bits, and like all of the food, deftly seasoned. Neither the commis nor I are particularly light eaters, and we admitted defeat about four-fifths of the way through the mountain of food. James's fisrt taste of tripe too, which is worrying considering he's from Oldham. Together with two Tiger beers and two Tsingtaos, the bill came to a ridiculously cheap 41 quid. You need to go. Everyone does.
  21. culinary bear


    What's your recipe and kneading/resting/proving times?
  22. Black chef's trousers, black leather clogs, white jacket, white waist apron, no bloody hat.
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