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  1. We are going on holiday to Naples next week with three small children who, like their parents, can't get enough Mozzarella (or fior di latte or scamorza for that matter...) We're thinking of visiting a Mozzarella farm, ideally near Salerno since we'll combine it with a trip to the ruins of Paestum. Has anyone done anything similar and have any recommendations? Know of any Mozzarella farms operating as agriturismos (agriturismi?) Does anyone have any favourite Mozzarella producers we should look out for in the shops? Any other suggestions of things we should be looking out for at this
  2. Thanks so much for the sound advice and kind encouragement everyone. Apologies for not reporting back sooner - have been in the 'trenches' juggling tax returns, deadlines, and daughters, including a baby who won't sleep before midnight. So. Last weekend I remembered that far from being in a sourdough desert, our local market has a really great bread stall selling delicious pain au levain. The lady who runs it looks a bit like a witch - complete with warty nose and arms as big as thighs. I faffed around a bit before finally getting to the point - she looked at me askance throughout, as if to s
  3. Thanks for the replies everyone. I agree there's perhaps too much mystique around the starter, and it was in that spirit that I set to with my first attempt, in the spirit of George and Cecilia Scurfield in their - otherwise - very reliable little book 'homebaked'. Their advice is simply to mix a few tbs flour with warm milk and let it sit for a few days... I have tried to resist getting obsessively drawn into all those sourdough forums but I do feel a little sad whenever I glance at my second attempt jug of pasty stuff sitting on the shelf above the radiator (temperature is 20 celcius so sure
  4. Not sure if it's just the weather, or my German roots coming out, or the fact I have three small children who love baking and 'scientific' experiments, but I've got this urge/curiosity to start making sourdough bread, specifically rye bread, which I just love. After two, admittedly not very scientific, failed attempts to make a starter, I'm now reluctantly considering the idea of giving up on doing it all on my own and trying to get a levain from somewhere. Has anyone here ever tried persuading a French bakery to sell them some of their own levain? I can imagine they might feel that's a bit li
  5. When I was growing up in Northern England, my parents used to take us puffball hunting, and we've got great pictures of each of us kids holding one of the giant things. That was quite magical and now I think about it, hard to believe. How on earth did my parents know where to find them? We lived at the bottom of a heathy hill and in the late summer there were always bilberries (a bit like blueberries, but much smaller) to pick. They grew amongst the heather and those of us in the village who were bilberry pickers were quite competitive and never failed to boast about our high-yield spots (who
  6. Reading this thread, I can't help thinking of the story of the search for a vaccine for polio, and how researchers couldn't figure out why kids growing up in, literally, dirt poor neighborhoods were less vulnerable than middle class kids from homes that benefitted from modern sanitation; the rich kids had not had a chance to build up their immune systems in the same way. A couple of years ago I came across this article in the New York Times which I have to say has reinforced my instinctive view on germs, although the idea of my kids running around with worms is not something that excites me!
  7. Thanks for the replies everyone. Sounds like it's something of a tradition with certain 'ethnic' cuisines and not much of a trend outside of New York. I suppose it would also be tricky to define - I agree that perhaps a 'noodle' restaurant wouldn't count - otherwise by the same token you would also call a pizza joint a 'single ingredient' restaurant. I guess I'm thinking of a place where the chef is passionate about a particular thing, e.g. truffles, and includes that on everything on his/her menu.
  8. I was curious to read a recent article in the NYT about single ingredient restaurants experiencing a trend in New York. It seems that they are mostly quick lunch/comfort food type places. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/nyregion/29onefood.html I've also read somewhere that the single ingredient restaurant has been singled out (ha ha) as a key culinary trend for 2011. It sounds like a fun concept and I once had an incredible meal in Tokyo in 2005 in a restaurant that specialised in Tofu dishes - all the more extraordinary since I had heard about, but never tried, the myriad varieties of tof
  9. I should also add we'll be about 20, and since I also have a fifteen month daughter who needs entertaining, I'm especially attracted to simple, hearty, not overly complicated stuff!
  10. We're heading off next week to a big gathering of friends in a house in the South of Le Marche, on the edge of the Sibillini mountains. I've volunteered to be one of the cooks. Is anyone familiar with the region at this time of year? Would absolutely love any tips on exciting seasonal treats that we should be making a beeline for in the markets, or favourite recipes involving local ingredients. I'm feeling hungry already...
  11. Am looking for a single flame wok burner available in Europe and wondering which the best manufacturers are? We're looking for something to sit next to an induction hob. Miele and De Dietrich both do dominos rated at 6,000 watts. Am wondering if there are other manufacturers we should also be looking at? Are there any decent brands which aren't as expensive as Miele? Are 6,000 watts even enough for proper Chinese blast furnace cooking? Any thoughts would be most appreciated!
  12. Just wondering what brands people have had good experiences with? Have just received an insurance payout of €800 euros so that's approximately our budget. We had a De Dietrich but it was a bit iffy with the electrics. Are there any brands people swear by? I heard somewhere that most induction cookers are made by two or three companies, and then packaged and sold under different brand names... Is this true? Any thoughts would be most gratefully received.
  13. Thank you for all the feedback everyone. Not sure what I think now... Maybe our De Dietrich wasn't installed properly... and our Bartscher is just a crappy brand... and maybe have just had a lot of bad luck... still feeling not entirely convinced though!
  14. I have a dilemma and was curious to know whether other egulleters have had similar experiences. Having always refused to live anywhere where you couldn't cook with gas, we moved into a flat without a cooker about a year ago and bought a Bartscher portable one ring induction cooker to tide us over until we'd decided on/ordered our real hob. It was the first time we'd used induction and it was a revelation which turned is into complete converts. When we had guests our favourite party trick was 'guess how long the water takes to boil' and we'd stand around and marvel like it was the 1960s and we
  15. It's my mum's 70th and we're hoping to organise a suprise birthday party, ideally somewhere simple and unpretentious but good. There'll be a crowd of 20 - 30 converging from across Europe. We have been thinking about the River Café in Bridport which has been a bit of a family special occasion place for years and years, but my mum is very aware of 'how expensive' it's become, and she'll just end up worrying about what it will cost us instead of enjoying herself. Maybe we'll go for that anyway but I thought it's worth investigating potential alternatives. For example The Broad Street Restaurant
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