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Posts posted by CYvonne

  1. The only reference I can find to toxins in pig skin is here:

    My link which makes the same unreferenced assertion but goes further and says we shouldn't eat pigs at all.

    There are concerns about what animals are fed and pathogens in the food chain due to farming/slaughter practices (eg My link) but that isn't specific to pig. It'll take more than unreferenced scaremongering to make me give up crackling.

  2. As well as vegan and Asian recipes there's also lots of Middle Eastern/North African Mediterranean dishes without dairy or eggs that taste great.

    Substitutes (frozen tofu dessert instead of ice cream for example) can be acceptable to some - others just mourn the real item and find it better to have something different - a granita perhaps.

    That said olive oil is a very acceptable substitute for butter in quite a number of dishes - including garlic mashed potato.

    Rice, oat and soya 'milk' will all be worth trying to see which she prefers. Apparently you can bake with soya milk although I've heard that almond milk also works (I've never even come across it but maybe coconut milk?).

    Fermented Tofu? It's not a substitute for cheese (there is no substitute for cheese....) but a strongly flavored and rather good thing of itself and potentially a good source of calcium which she'll have to consider.

    More generally on allergy testing: IgE or RAST tests are validated. However, if she had an IgG test and was told on the basis of this alone to cut out dairy and eggs then she should change her doctor!

  3. When I use yeast it's either fresh or Allison's Active Dried yeast which does need proofing - it may be that the recipes you're looking at assume you're using this kind of thing rather than the instant yeasts that don't.

    I can't add much advice apart from keep going. I've been baking all my own bread for a year and a half now after getting the Dan Lepard book - The Handmade Loaf - which is excellent but my first attempts were pretty disastrous. Your's looks lovely compared to some of the stuff I used to produce. The dough just seemed too wet and I couldn't handle it, it stuck to the proofing cloths, loaves came out flat and deformed...... They did taste great so I carried on and eventually, without changing the recipe I just learned how to handle it. Now I only make weird shaped or flat loaves if I let them over-proof (because I forget I'm going out or something) or if my aim is a bit off when I slide it onto the baking stone!

    I have found the crust gets too hard if I bake at too high a temperature for too long. (And with rye breads I've found it best to bake it uncovered for about 15mins and then cover with tin foil for the rest of the time - my rye breads take ages to bake and they do go rock hard if I don't do this).

  4. I went to Casamia in Westbury on Trym for the first time. We had the tasting menu which was very enjoyable. Amongst nine there were four dishes that were amazing and one faliure.

    The stars: Beetroot risotto, iced yogurt, pistachio and pickled fennel; salmon cooked sous vide, confit of fennel, Jerusalem artichoke puree and wild mushrooms; apple and turnip risotto. Go there, have these - the latter would be ideal as a pudding course. Or have the pear and bay ice cream for pudding - pear jelly, pear puree, dried pear and roasted (I think) pear with bay ice cream.

    The faliure: White chocolate drink with fennel foam with a square of white chocolate and chopped black olives. Actually the drink was OK, the fennel added something interesting to the white chocolate. The square of white chocolate and black olives was nasty, just tasted of oversweet white chocolate.

    Other dishes of note: Roast lamb, mirpois of Mediterranean vegetables, roast salsify, salsify puree, pine nuts, grated Parmesan and pesto - interesting but a bit busy; pigeon breast with coffee and caramelized almonds - I don't think coffee entirely works as a sauce.

    The other two dishes were a deconstructed tirimasu (light coffee sponge with a marscapone cream) and an intense dark chocolate brownie thing with beetroot ice cream.

    In the end I realised that the menu was too pudding heavy for me - which I suspected would be the case but I haven't had a tasting menu for ages and I think they should be encouraged.

    What else to say? Service great, atmosphere great, timing excellent, portion size perfectly judged, home made bread and everything beautifully presented. Only criticism - the wine flight. £30 per head, two wines, two sherries, three dessert wines but all served in half measures which felt really mean especially with the two wines - we couldn't make the half glass of red last until the lamb arrived and had to order an extra glass each. Meaner still in that the wine was nice but not particularly special (the extra glass of red was £6 each - a serviceable Dolcetta d'Alba). For the £72 we spent we could have ordered a bottle of something really good and a couple of (full measure) glasses of dessert wine.

    Overall the tasting menu is a pudding lovers dream and the wine flight is poor value, so next time it'll be the A La Carte and a wine worthy of the food.

  5. Bristol now has a restaurant specializing in Sichuan and Yuanan cooking. Called Zen, it's on Millennium Square more or less next to the Planetarium. (http://www.zenharbourside.co.uk/).

    Two of us ate there on Sunday night and ordered the Sichuan Adventure set menu. I'm not normally a set menu person but this one includes Water Boiled Sea Bass, Aromatic Chili Crab and Hell's Concoction which were all dishes we wanted to try. We were warned that this set was spicy.

    First the cold appetizers - Sichuan mouth watering chicken, a black fungus salad where the crunchy/slightly slimy texture of the fungus was as important as the taste, and garlic pork rolls - thinly sliced cold roast pork wrapped round slivers of garlic and vegetables and dressed with a hot chili sauce. All excellent.

    Then Aromatic Chili Crab. A whole crab between the two of us, hot and cooked in a sauce of, I think, chili oil, softened garlic cloves - lots of garlic cloves - ginger and spring onion. Fiddly, messy and really good. Scrape the garlic/ginger/chili/crab meat mess out of the shell, it's probably the best bit.

    A short gap, then the Water Boiled Sea Bass, Hell's Concoction and dry fried green beans with garlic, and steamed rice. The first two came in bowls the size of tureens thick with dried chillies and, with the fish, Sichuan peppercorns. We made a mistake with the Hell's Concoction and allowed our waiter to skim off quite a lot of the dried spices - he was concerned we wouldn't cope but he left all the spices with the fish when asked.

    Water Boiled Sea Bass - Chinese cabbage and chunks of fresh fish floating in a fragrant broth with dried chilies and the best Sichuan peppercorns I've had, not just numbing but with a clear, spicy citrus taste. They did offer to take the fish out for us but we refused, preferring to hunt for it.

    Hell's Concoction - Chinese black pudding, various bits of tripe, other offal and unidentified meat along with bean sprouts. This was all floating in a very oily, hot broth. Not everything in this was to my liking - some odd spam-like meat for example - but there was plenty that was. We did ignore the beans a bit because there was a huge amount of food and good though garlicy, spicy beans are, the other dishes were much more interesting. (Expect to take left-overs home.)

    I've been cooking from Fuschia Dunlop's Sichuan Cooking for 5 years and only this year actually eaten Sichaun food in restaurants. I made it to Bar Shu in Feb and Red Chili in early April and have been hoping for a good Sichuan restaurant in Bristol for a long time. In my opinion Zen rivals Bar Shu (and is better than Red Chili - although more expensive). The service was very friendly and I am sure they'd be very happy to help those less familiar with Sichuan cooking through the menu. Not everything is insanely hot.

    Anyone else been?

  6. I roasted a 1.2kg guinea fowl this weekend. I smeared the bird with herby butter and roasted for 15 mins at 220C then poured white wine into the roasting tin (not over the bird) and roasted for a further 15 mins at around 180C then rested for about 20mins whilst making gravy. Next time I'll roast at 180C for longer - probably closer to 25mins - because it was a bit pinker than I wanted around the legs. It wasn't tough at all though and had a great flavour.

  7. I think he is actually a fully trained medical doctor with interest in nutrition. When he had his article in the normal magazine he seemed to base his 'facts' on recent scientific research, from extensive and reputable journals. I like his bit in OFM.

    He is a fully trained medical doctor but I have no idea where his nutrition training comes from. The two are not necessarily connected. He is very selective in the research he chooses to highlight and the way he discusses it.

    Besides, anyone who's prepared to write that rice, pasta, potatoes or bread shouldn't be eaten should not be writing for a food magazine.

  8. While I would never want to put anyone off making their own baby foods you DO need to be careful with salt:

    BBC news

    It is very rare for babies to die from salt overdose, and this one was only 3months old - so his kidneys were probably less developed than a 6 month old but caution is advisable. Salt (sodium) is needed, but like so many essential nutrients more is not necessarily better and babies will get the sodium they need directly from food without having to add extra, especially if you feed them some meat which is great for iron, protein and other essential nutrients too.

    A heaped teaspoon of salt is about 6g - and babies can't deal with that amount.

  9. Bristol - Quartier Vert on Whiteladies Rd

    The Riverstation on The Grove, BS1

    Deason's also Whiteladies Rd

    Juniper on Cotham Rd South (don't finish the starters though as the portions are huge)

    All of these are sort of Modern European but still very different from each other. All enjoyable places to eat - Quartier Vert and Deason's are probably the best of that list.

    Then there's Fishworks on Whiteladies Rd - excellent fish, unsurprisingly, although if you eat late they start running out.

    The Glass Boat on the Welsh Back (it is a boat) is more or less French (and better than Hotel Du Vin).

    Other, cheaper options, especially the first two:

    Kathmandu on Colston Street for Indian/Nepalese

    Plantation on Cheltenham Rd for Jamaican

    Bocanova on Colston Street for Brazillian/Mediterrranean

    A Cozinha on Alfred Place for Portuguese


    Il Tocco D'Italia is almost the only Italian I've found worth eating at in the area but is wonderful. (The other is Sergio's in Bristol on Zetland Rd- pleasant but not in the same league)

    The Moody Goose was very good but has moved to Midsummer Norton.

    This list is not exhaustive..... I can think of around another 10 places I'd happily go to. Perhaps I eat out too much....


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