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Jonathan Day

eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by Jonathan Day

  1. For what it's worth: in London at least it can be difficult to find chicken for making stock. Sometimes my butcher will happily give me wings, backs, necks, etc.; sometimes he doesn't have any available. The halal butchers here sell "boiling chickens" for a bit of nothing: sometimes as low as £1 apiece. They are scrawny things, without much meat, and with head and feet attached. Perfect for stock making, as long as using them doesn't violate religious sensibilities.
  2. I did read The Fourth Star, cover to cover, but found it disappointing. Other posters and the New York Times reviewer have commented on the wandering, repetitive story, the characters who appear out of nowhere and then vanish again, only to reappear many pages later, the weak writing. I want to focus these notes on something else. What bothered me was that I finished the book without gaining any strong sense of who Daniel Boulud was or what he stood for. Yes, he is a talented, energetic, entrepreneurial chef and businessman, with a strong regard for quality. But what has shaped his personality
  3. Jonathan Day

    Cherries

    I often use cherries (fresh in season, but more often sour dried) in the farce for a duck ballotine. The cherries lend a sweet/acid edge that can be hard to get otherwise and that goes well with the richness of the duck.
  4. Robert, I only replied to the Fat Guy's post earlier because I didn't need my notes to do so. Now having gathered my pane carasau notes, I find that they are somewhat disordered and self-contradictory. I need to do more experiments to get the proportions right. So here are Bugialli's proportions. Unfortunately they are in the American measurement by volume system. For the sponge 1 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour 1/4 cup very fine semolina flour 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt 1 cup water 1 ounce fresh or 2 packages dried yeast For the dough (sponge plus the following): 2 cups unbleach
  5. Just to be clear: I am by no means advocating that anyone buy a bread machine. For me it is a compromise, though one that works pretty well given the constraints under which we operate as a family. The crust I get on the French bread recipe from the Panasonic machine is... well, I've had much better but I've had far worse. It is as good as the best supermarket baked bread in the UK and a lot of supermarket bread in France. It is not as good as artisanal bread (which is hard to find, even in London) or what can be produced at home with a bit of work. The Panasonic machine, by the way, claims
  6. That's about it, but with this bread the devil is truly in the details. The website you cited has drawn on Bugialli's recipe. A couple of notes: 1. Bugialli starts with a sponge which rises overnight; I found that this improved the consistency of the final dough. The best flour, by the way, is a mixture of semolina (durum) and ordinary flour. 2. "Soft, slightly damp consistency" -- this is right. This dough should not have much too body. It needs to be soft enough to be rolled very thin and then to rise. Much softer than ordinary bread doughs, even softer than French bread. 3. Heating an oven
  7. John, I posted that from a grim conference room in Cologne, waiting for a meeting to start. The Germans were not about to be diverted because of the football. Somehow reading/posting on egullet during the work day always feels slightly illicit, like going out for a long lunch...
  8. These were group dinners. There was a choice of roughly 5 starters, mains, puddings but I don't know how closely this menu tracks the carte. And because there were many people present and the topic of discussion was not food, I didn't note the dishes as carefully as I might have. From the last dinner I recall a borscht served with a mesclun salad on the side, the latter with shreds of duck added; the dressing very tangy and well matched to the borscht. Main was a risotto of broad beans and mint, very good without a hint of bitterness in the beans. And the pud was an outstanding "cherry crum
  9. I have recently had several dinners at the Frith Street branch, with groups, in the small private room in the basement. It really is a treasure, even for group dining: everything is simple, the ingredients are good, the preparation is nicely done, and it has a small, "human scale" feeling. If ever I could own a restaurant, this is the kind I would want. You won't get Gordon Ramsay cuisine at Alastair Little, nor will you get stunningly fresh and pure ingredients as at a place like Chez Panisse or the best of the Japanese. But the overall standard is high, the place is unpretentious (it's hard
  10. Robert, the recipe in Flatbreads and Flavors seems to me completely incorrect. This error has, for me, put the rest of the book in doubt. I first bought F&F after reading an enthusiastic review by Corby Kummer, in The Atlantic and trying their recipe for pita bread. The recipe works a treat, and the technique is very similar to pita making I have observed in Turkey. Alas, their recipe for pane carasau (it is also called carta da musica, music paper bread) does not come up to this standard. I can only surmise that Alford and Duguid did not actually observe the bread being made in Sardinia.
  11. BLH, the procedure for grape sourdough starters is is a lengthy one. There is a detailed essay in Bertolli and Waters, Chez Panisse Cooking. It was contributed by Steve Sullivan, the owner of the Acme Bread company and supplier of bread to Chez Panisse. Also see the US public broadcasting website (click here) for Julia Child's programme on Nancy Silverton of the La Brea Bakery. Essentially, you crush some grapes into a flour/water batter, then let this develop, feeding it periodically, until you have a strong starter. This takes about 10 days, if I recall correctly. You can then use this to
  12. I found the flavour of the broth at Tétou muddied rather than masculine (=robust, clear, strong, with plenty of garlic and just a bit of acidity) -- and it tasted slightly scorched. Bacon also offered cloves of garlic to rub on the croutons, and a rouille that was more boldly flavoured than Tétou's. I don't remember their broth as being delicate. But perhaps Tétou were having an off night. It's been awhile since the last visit to Bacon, and this exchange has whetted my appetite for a return check-up!
  13. Rachel, the bowl comes out of the machine and goes onto a digital scale. Yeast and 400g of flour go in, followed by salt. Water weighs 1g per ml, so another 300g of water are added. Done. We chose the Panasonic machine because it had good reviews and because it is fundamentally simple. I can imagine a manufacturer making a machine with a built-in scale, but would imagine this wouldn't hold up well under the stresses of heating and cooling. The digital scales are cheap and useful. Ours has a "TARE" button so that you can reset it to 0 after putting the bowl on the machine.
  14. I have made a lot of bread over the years: real French bread (thank you, Julia Child and Messrs Calvel and Poilane), all manner of sourdoughs, starters from grapes, bigas, poulisches, pizza doughs. Even pane carasau, the Sardinian (leavened) flat bread that is a kind of pinnacle of breadmaking technique -- rather like causing French bread to emerge from the oven as a balloon of crust with no crumb at all. And while my product wasn't as good as that made by Sardinian artisans it was undeniably pane carasau. All this not to brag but to say that I'm not afraid of or uninterested in bread making.
  15. A lot of people who might not avoid offal now do so because they are terrified of the cholesterol it is supposed to contain. One bite of liver and the arteries shut down forever, etc. The same people will scarf up processed cheese and put thick layers of margarine on bread, but they won't touch sweetbreads. Similar effect a few years ago from BSE, putting bone marrow off the menu for many.
  16. Neither Michelin nor Gault-Millau mentions chez Michel. Neither does Le Bouche à Oreille -- in fact, none of the bouillabaisse places it recommends are in the Alpes Maritimes. It does single out La Table De Laurence (22 rue Victor Cousin, Cannes), giving it a score of 2.5 ("very good") but for a "bouillabaisse" made with poultry. Sounds like something Julia Child created in her later years, but perhaps worth trying nonetheless. Epicurious does mention chez Michel in Nice, and I quote them because Marquise seems to agree, in a certain way, with Steve Plotnicki: "For a main course the bouillab
  17. Au Routier Sympa, in Mougins (but not in the old village). Pasta for the children, a grilled steak for my wife, a coquelet (poussin) for me, with roast peppers for the table. All of it simple and good; the poussin had been nicely flavoured with tarragon. Hardly a place to seek out, but pleasant, reliable and good value for money. Hotel de Mougins, again well outside the old village. We met friends who were flying in that evening and arrived on time for a 9 pm reservation. This was obviously too late: they had held the table for us, but the staff seemed confused. No one was on hand to greet us
  18. Robert, I think you are exactly right here. Bacon offers a "degustation" serving of bouillabaisse: a smaller serving that can easily follow a starter. If I recall correctly, they offered to refill my bowl when I had finished it! Between us we did finish all of the fish at Tétou, but not all of the soup. They weren't overly generous with the langoustines. Nonetheless I somehow think they wouldn't have allowed us to share one bouillabaisse, refusing to give more than one bowl for example. Given the multiple rounds of service, passing a bowl back and forth would have been clumsy. Bouillabaisse d
  19. Tétou is a bouillabaisse specialist on the beach in Golfe-Juan. We went a week ago, on a rainy evening, so the terrace was closed and sitting next to a window wasn't the pleasure it might have been at this time of year. The room is long and very simply decorated. The first thing you notice about Tétou is that they don't take credit cards. They tell you this when you reserve. There is a sign on the door. The menus and the bills all say: "no credit cards". Even the restaurant's calling card says it. Pay in cash, with a cheque drawn on a French bank or in travellers' cheques. No credit cards. Go
  20. Just returned from a week in the South. Following the helpful advice in these pages we dined at Loulou, Tétou and several other places and I wanted to provide brief feedback. This note covers Loulou and I will separately write about the others. Loulou / La Réserve in Cros de Cagnes specialises in fish, but also features meat from the Boucherie Marbeuf in Paris. There is a detailed review from Steve Plotnicki elsewhere in this group, under the topic title "Loulou in Cros-de-Cagnes", so I will try not to repeat information from that posting. Three of us started with the fish soup, one with tiny
  21. John, you are very kind. I am not a pseudonymous pro -- nor, I hope, a professional pseud. Much of what I do for a living involves writing, but not about food. Perhaps that will be a second career some day. It's hard to know what to think about Claiborne. On the one hand there was the readiness to compromise, the comfort with tinned gravies and adulterated "gourmet" recipes. On the other, he seemed to have a large and positive influence at a time when good food, fresh ingredients and caring restaurants were in the minority. He discovered such talented cooks and writers as Virginia Lee. In t
  22. I have not done a systematic survey but this general tendency to carp and criticise does seem heavy in food writers. There is a lot of it in Reflexions: MFK Fisher is slammed because she drinks a lot of sweet vermouth, and Julia Child gets her knocks for using phrases like "cookery bookery". The strange thing about Olney was that he seemed to permit others to use him mercilessly: they would show up as unannounced house guests, demand that he cook for them, etc., yet he didn't seem to complain at the time. James Beard orders him to cook caillettes for a book launch party, and he spends a day u
  23. The last article in my paperback edition of Is There a Nutmeg in the House is Asher's obituary of Elizabeth David, published (I think) in the Times. It is several pages long and answers to the description you give: trip to California, etc. Could this be the piece you are thinking of?
  24. I discovered it, with great joy, at Books for Cooks (floreat!) late last year. It has some lovely ice cream and sorbet recipes, previously unpublished. Jill Norman, who was David's literary executor, seems to have done a good job with the editing. I was sad to learn, a little over a year ago I think, that Norman finally got tired of storing David's remaining papers, and gave them most of them away or sold them to collectors. Who knows what was lost?
  25. Here's how the story appears in Olney's memoir, Reflexions (Brick Tower Press, 1999). 1955. Olney meets Lucien Peyraud in Paris, at the Salon des Arts Ménagers, where Peyraud was presenting wines from the Domaine Tempier. He orders each succeeding vintage from the Domaine. 1961. Taking possession of his house in Solliès-Toucas, Olney visits the Peyraud family and "becomes a frequent guest at Domaine Tempier." Around 1971, at about the same time Chez Panisse is founded, one of Waters's early partners gives her a copy of The French Menu Cookbook, Olney's first publication; this has a strong e
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