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Dave Hatfield

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Everything posted by Dave Hatfield

  1. Maybe somebody can help with my whipped cream problem. My problem being that I can't seem to get it to whip. The cream I can buy here has a butter fat content of 35% as a maximum. It just won't whip. It gets a little thicker with lots of whipping, but never to the'soft peaks' stage. Its ultra pasteurized so maybe that the problem? Or, is there some other kind of cream that I should be buying? (here in France)
  2. Here's yet another way to use up tomatoes. Although they don't look large these tarts use up quite a lot of tomatoes. Here is my recipe for Tomato Tarte Tatin. This recipe works really well with lots of cherry tomatoes since you don't have to do anything with them except put them in the pan. Here, however, I've used plum tomatoes because that's what a friend (?) gave me. You need: About 11/2 -3 lbs of tomatoes (Depends up on the diameter of your frying pan.) 5 tablespoons of powdered sugar 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar 50 grams of parmesan shavings 30 grams of unsalted butter 1 sheet of puff pastry Here's the basket with about the right amount of tomatoes for one Tarte. Having cut each tomato in half then pushed out the seeds & pulp they're ready to cook. First make a syrup using the butter, vinegar and half the powdered sugar. Let this mixture cook for a minute or two until its a thick consistency. Now (carefully) add the tomatoes cut side down. Sprinkle the remaining powdered sugar over the top, add the parmesan shavings spread evenly and cook for roughly 5 minutes. Let cool a bit then; Cover the tomatoes with the sheet of pastry carefully tucking it in around the side. Place in a 200 degree C oven and cook until the pastry is browned on top. Take the tarte out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Now comes the moment of truth. Place a flat plate over the top of the tarte and quickly invert the whole thing. With any luck the tarte will fall onto the plate. Ready to eat either hot or cold. These freeze well so I made 3 today and managed to use up roughly 5 pounds of tomatoes in the process.
  3. Freshly-made fruit cake is nice - I enjoy it when I do have it, which is not frequently, admittedly. Heresy! Proper Yorkshire fruitcake must be aged. Its not that its not nice when fresh but like fine wine or many cheeses it improves with a bit of age. There'll be many a household in Yorkshire making their fruit cakes for the holiday season about now.
  4. Popup restaurants are popular here. Probably illegal, but can be fun. We went to one recently where two ladies were doing an Indian meal. It was great especially as Indian cuisine is thin on the ground in rural France.
  5. Its a shame that there's not a good market outlet for the many great American cheeses. The French cheeses do well not only because of the long history of cheese eating in France, but because the big Super Markets give them an outlet. Go to any French Super market and within their large cheese counters you will see local artisanal cheeses displayed & sold. Usually they will be featured because they are local. Unfortunately, the French are very chauvinistic about cheese so its hard to find cheese from any other country. There's hope, however, as one local big Hyper Market has recently started selling English cheddar. Sadly its not a very good cheddar so won't do much to further the fortunes of foreign cheeses in France.
  6. Peanut butter & Dill pickles or American mustard Go figure!
  7. I should point out that pickled chilli peppers are widely used in Chinese cuisine, especially in Sichuan and Hunan. I just meant they would radically alter the flavour of this dish. Whether that is god or bad, I don't know. Ok, thanks again. I'll try to find some fresh chilli peppers at market, failing that I'll try with my pickled ones and see how that works.
  8. Any chilli would probably be OK. Some 'hotness' is desirable, but obviously the level is up to you. I've had it served everywhere from mild to searingly hot. Are the jarred peppers pickled, though? That would dramatically alter the flavour. I wouldn't use pickled peppers in this dish. Thanks for the tips. They are in vinegar and your point is a good one. I know one guy at Caussade market who just might have fresh hot peppers. I'll go on Monday & see. ​BTW I use the jarred ones in my guacamole.
  9. Katie Thanks for the update. I'm glad that much survived. I was fortunate enough to buy a copy of 'American Charcuterie' shortly after they closed the shop. I still use it and still think its one of the best books of its kind.
  10. Thanks, I'll check again, but our local supermarkets seem to be very light on fresh peppers. Probably because out here in the hinterlands they're pretty conservative food wise.
  11. In my efforts to learn Chinese cooking I'd like to try this dish as it sounds & looks great and because I love calamari/squid. But, I seriously doubt if I can get birds eye chilli here in France. Any suggestions for a substitute? I can get jars of chillies that look very similar & are fairly hot, but they're just labelled 'piments' (peppers) on the jar. They're reasonably hot, but I'm wondering how crucial the 'hotness' is to the dish. Doing a search turns up various alternative chillies, none of which I can easily obtain. Any advice?
  12. Usually these menus are pretty good especially if you are not familiar with the local wines. A quick look tells me that the train from San Sebastian to Biarritz is just under 2 hours. If you're not staying overnight you could easily get a morning train & a late afternoon/ early evening return.
  13. Nice post! Nice cheeses! I was very happy to learn that the Cheese Board is still alive & well. Your post brings back memories of the early 80's when I lived in Emeryville & my Saturday routine was Chez Pannise, the Cheese Board, Monterey Market and Pig By the Tail. Sadly, Pig By the Tail is long gone, but I wonder? Is Monterey Market still there? Thanks for bring back some fond memories.
  14. Yes, the bread freezes very well, just wrap it in some cling film. It also thaws very quickly. The Garlic Sausage does not freeze well, but keeps for a long time in the fridge, wrap in foil. (In our house this is moot point as it never lasts long enough to be a problem.)
  15. We always have a variety of cheeses in the fridge plus bread in the freezer plus home made chutney, cornichons & tomatoes. A favourite is baguette sliced thinly across the loaf with some Dijon mustard (just a smear) a slice of garlic sausage & then on top of that a slice of cantal (cheddar works well too) & topped with a sprinkle of herbs de province. Pop these on a tray under the broiler & they're done as soon as the cheese has melted. This being France there's always a glass of wine around.
  16. Dave Hatfield

    Wine in boxes

    Its nearly 4 years since I started this topic and I'm wondering how much change of opinion has occurred regarding boxed wines. My opinion hasn't changed a lot. I still think they're a good idea and I'm still disappointed that vintners don't put better quality wines in boxes. I must admit that our 'house wine' has switched from Paul's boxes to a bottled wine from Gaillac. For white wine that is. The reason being that we've found a really nice white for about 3€. This winery also has some nice oaked whites for a good price. Interestingly, Christian who makes the wine as well as some wonderful reds recently told me that he was now making a boxed wine. He was reluctant to sell me any because the wine was intended for restaurant & café use. With a fair amount of arm twisting (I am a pretty good long standing customer) he finally agreed to sell me a box. I should have listened to him in the first place. It was pretty foul, barely drinkable. And this is from a winery that makes excellent wines across their range. My point is that if one puts plonk in the box you'll get the traditional negative reaction. I just wish more wineries would try putting decent wine in boxes. In any case I'd love to hear everyone's opinion of boxed wine as it is today. Better? Or worse than in 2009?
  17. Can't say that I've been there. Thus I'm going on my general knowledge of that high end restaurants cost. The menus look good if a bit too pricey. Then again Biarriz is a somewhat pricey town in general. Think I'd go for one of the lunch menus. Also, I'd really check out the wine prices. These can be pretty steep. Still, with a newly acquired Michelin star it definitely worth a go.
  18. Thanks for the advice. I'll try that as I've been waiting until the wok cools and using a soft cloth.
  19. I'm a complete novice at wok cooking only having started trying to cook Chinese dishes recently, but for what they're worth here are my observations. I'm stuck with a induction hob. I bought a 'flat' bottomed carbon steel wok. I did quite a bit of on line research before seasoning. Can't say that I was wildly successful in that effort, but the wok seems to be coming around as I use it. Its now at a point where almost nothing sticks to it and I can easily clean it with warm water & a soft cloth. I think one of my main problems is that my induction hob is not linear in its heating. The difference between a '7' setting & an '8' setting is not proportional. Don't know if this is a common problem or not. The 8 is too hot & many times the 7 too low. What I have learned though experience is that using the wok on my largest burner works better than using it on the burner that seems to fit it best. Go figure? In any case I'm beginning to be happy with the results and I'm beginning to get a good sense of how much I can cook at a time. I'm still mystified as to how people get what look to be extremely fast cooking without burning or sticking. My wok will stick or form a coating if I try to use too much heat. Any advice anyone would care to give me would be greatly appreciated.
  20. Don't know about tons, but here's a link http://www.greenplanetcompany.net/optimair.html. For $29.95 it may just be worth a try. Assuming that is that you can import.
  21. I think your fundamental problem is that your fridge is staying too humid. Most fridges are fairly dry, but in your extreme circumstances that's probably not the case. So, have you tried using a desiccant (not sure of my spelling here, but I mean a powder or crystals that soak up moisture.) to dry the fridge out? You could perhaps find some of the little bags that are put in shipping boxes to keep things dry. A problem is that given your constant high humidity you might have to be changing the thing pretty frequently. If I remember correctly, however, you can dry them out in the oven for repeated use. In our medium humidity climate our cheese keeps well wrapped in foil. Hope this helps
  22. Dave Hatfield

    Storing Sherry

    Agree with Zachary. You can,however, extend the life quite a bit by using the little vacuum stoppers to pump out most of the air. Especially true if you're only cooking, not drinking. For cooking I'd go with the Taylor.
  23. My parents would drink water or beer with dinner. Since they were rarely home though I used to eat at my friends houses pretty often. Since most of them were of Italian extraction they drank wine. Dago red in the vernacular. We kids started with a splash of wine with lots of water. ! we grew older the wine content vs the water content changed. By the time we were teenagers we'd get one small glass of wine. No more. It helped that we were in California wine country & everybody know some body who made wine, Uncles, Dad, friends, somebody. It came in 2 gallon jugs. I've kept to wine with dinner ever since. Living where we do it would be hard not to. I'm drinking a glass of local white wine as I type this. a votre sante.
  24. Here is a link to a pictorial recipe for making croissants du buerre. http://lacuisinedannie.20minutes.fr/recette-croissants-facon-boulangerie-355.html. Google will do a pretty good job of translating this for you. I don't know if this recipe differs much from the USA ones, but it has the virtue of being authentic. Hope it helps.
  25. Those are great looking croissants! I'm not sure if they can be bettered. Here in France most bakeries sell two types of croissants. Plain croissants and croissants du buerre. ​Yours, obviously, are of the latter type. That you even make your own butter is awesome. About all that I can suggest for a possible improvement is that you try to get your hands on some really top quality butter from Normandy. That's what the very best bakers here use. In the meantime, I'd be more than happy to sample your croissants any time.
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