Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by ermintrude

  1. As a complete generalisation In the UK - unless you are going for chef - Don't bother if you want to make a decent salary, you can make a living but not a decent amount for the hours you will have to put in (there are exceptions) but they are not the norm. You have academic skills - what are they - these could give you a salary better or worse than the reastaurant industry depends what they are?

  2. I know a few people mentioned trying cranberry caviar, but has anyone had any success with it at all?  Any tips?

    Did this with standard supermarket cranberry juice, no need to add sodium citrate, but found that the taste was not strong enough to make the caviar worthwhile.

    Perhaps a higher quality (i.e. bigger % of cranberry juice) or reducing the cranberry juice to concentrate it would help.

  3. Gratuity - something given voluntarily or beyond obligation usually for some service.

    The moment you have a specific amount added to a bill it is no longer a gratuity. It is a restaurant-imposed server service fee.

    In the UK many restaurants add what you would call a service charge to the bill however under law it is discretionary and if the service is bad you do not have to pay it or if it's good you can pay more. (Only twice have I ever reduced or refused to pay this amount - and service was shockingly bad)

    Can't a restaurant state on the menu AND clearly on the check when it arrives that an optional 18% service charge has been added to the bill. Human nature being what it is most people will pay it and if they have excellent service leave a bit more. Only when service is bad would anyone have a reason to reduce or not pay this amount. And as such be a gratuity that would be distributed to staff.

  4. I rate restaurant's I've visited and get a free copy of the London guide.

    As a customer I like that I can add my opinion and if this is done correctly this is a good way to gauge opinion of the paying public as good reviews will outweigh an off day and vice versa . But being the twisted individual I am, they have not had requested any verification of who I am and so I think, with planning, how easy it would be to create fake ID's to give undeserved good/bad reviews.

    I also find the Michelin as flawed as it depends on the opinion of a few inspectors.

    The ideal guide for me would take the opinion from verified individuals (Say a $1 credit card payment or perhaps some other proof that you were who you say you are) and combined with a couple of visits by a reviewer for the high end and random visits for the lower end.

  5. Well oils not just olive:-

    For dressings where I want taste etc, a premium extra virgin - everything on here seams to mention Italian oils but there are some excellent Greek, Spanish etc oils out there. I can't say I have a particular favourite I tend to go to go to the olive oil shop/stall and pick what takes my fancy. I tend to have two oils in the cupboard - one peppery one grassy.

    Taste free oild for dressings - grapeseed or rapeseed oil

    For marinades and general low temp use - a supermarket or blended extra virgin olive oil.

    Low temperature frying - olive oil (i.e. the yellow stuff)

    High temp frying - Sunflower or corn oil

    Very high temp frying - Avocado oil

  6. How about vodka tomatoes

    Cut a small cross in the end of the tomatoes and put them in a jar.

    Fill up the jar with vodka, then pour back out (leaving the tomatoes and garlic in the jar) into a measuring jug.

    For each 1/2 pint of vodka you have add 1 tbls of Worcestershire sauce, a 4 good dashes of Tabasco. Add salt and pepper.

    Fill up the jar with vodka mixture, seal and leave in the fridge for at least a week, the longer the better.

  7. So perhaps if someone has access to information on how to differentiate between the two, they'd like to share?

    Look at your butcher, if they are covered in scratches it's cat :biggrin:

    My favourite quote on this must be from is from "The Oxford Companion To Food" by Alan Davidson "CATS ... are rarely eaten for reasons discussed under DOG."

  8. For me it's all about the piping-hot, salty, herby garlic butter the escargot are served in...  something about the snails just makes the butter so good!!

    That's such a classic that's hard to beat but "Snail Porridge" at the fat duck was amazing and even the people who said they didn't like snails liked it but the best ever snail dish I've ever had was about 5 years ago in Minneapolis (sorry can't remember where) where the snails were each on a spoon, covered with a dusting of herbs, no butter, no idea how they cooked them (almost like they had been fried and then poached for a short time) they had a great texture and all the flavour of the snail came through.

  9. The way I learnt to cook was from my mums copy of “Good Housekeeping” a great 2 inch thick black book that started with boiling an egg (and took 6 B&W pictures to show this) to making a wedding cake. Now sadly unavailable, as whenever a difficult or new step was shown it was done in B&W pictures i.e. what do egg whites look like loosely whipped or when in peaks – obvious when you know but as a kid cooking from a book this was perfection. The nearest thing you can get now is Delia Smiths “How to cook” series including pictures of what simmering and boiling water look like BUT the whole lot is not in one book.

    The old “Good Housekeeping” book got me where I can cook to today by teaching me what to do and not to be afraid to improvise and try new things.

    However if I had to pick cook books they would be:-

    Essential: - as they have all the info you need if you have no other book (in the UK)

    Delia Smiths complete cookery course

    Good Housekeeping,

    Making it easy:-

    How to eat – Nigella Lawson

    Doing it right:-

    Anything by Simon Hopkinson,

    From nose to tail – Fergus Henderson

    A good read:-

    Family food – Heston Blumenthal

    The Prawn Cocktail Years – Simon Hopkinson

    Elisabeth David

    Why or how it works!

    McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture - Henery McGee

    But the Crackling Is Superb: An Anthology on Food and Drink by Fellows and Foreign Members of the Royal Society (Hardcover)

    Family food – Heston Blumenthal


    Any of the El Bulli books

    The French Laundry

  10. When Coca-Cola tried to launch Dasani here in the UK the press were full on that it was filtered tap water but corporate speak said it was the highly filtered and had and when it did launch it had to be withdrawn as it was contaminated by Benzine!

    Had to laugh.

    Wonder if they'll try again?

  11. Always check your chickens for brown/darkened marks on their hocks (the joints you can see protruding towards you if you look at the back of a packed chicken). An extreme example is shown here http://greenfield.fortunecity.com/garden/156/hockburn.jpg

    If present these are ammonia burns from resting in their own faeces and to the live chicken they are like blisters. 99% of standard supermarket birds will have these, they can often be found on so called free range chickens as well, as often while fulfilling the technical definition of free range the standard of the roost and amount they manage to get out means that these also suffer burns.

    A good healthy chicken reared in good condition will not have these marks.

  12. Forget Induction, unless it is a stand-alone unit you can throw out. Induction was designed for industrial heating applications, where control was important, not efficiency. Induction cooktops have no place in a home, though one who has bought one would be difficult to admit to that.

    Wrong - Induction is the most efficient way of transferring energy into heat cooking. There are many ways thay induction can be criticised:-

    - Pan limitations

    - Control - more a function of how the controls are designed but will never be infinite

    - Expense

    - No flame, if you need to char things

    - Standardisation - each hob is individual and takes time to get used to etc

    But to criticise induction for efficiency is incorrect. They are around 90% efficient compared with 50% or less for gas and electricity.

    .As stated before my ideal hob would be 4 induction rings and 1 large gas wok burner.

    With regard to cooking my chef friend didn't like my induction hob - she'd used it on the odd occasion while at mine and had linked it to electric. Also had had a bad experience with cheap induction hob - when she lived at mine for 3 weeks and got used to it she now raves about induction for it's speed and control. Also in her restaurant the idea of minimal extra heat being pumped into the kitchen in a hot summer has an immense appeal and if rebuilding the kitchen given a choice of one or the other she would go for gas for ultimate flexibility but if the budget allowed her preference would be 4:1 or 3:1 induction:gas burners

  13. Well I need to go back home to Wales and visit my Mum as London is not top for foraging but in reverse order:-

    Go home is September and:-

    4. Wild plums - small tart fruits that make a great sauce to go with duck.

    3. Mushrooms - oh so many - I'm hyper safe so tend to leave the possible ones, but some great puffballs, boltius and others.

    2 Wymberies - think of a very small wild blueberry (the bush is only 4 inches tall) but that tastes much more earthy and is 1/4 the size or a normal blueberry.

    1. Sloes - the fruit that if you bite one turns your face inside out. But home made sloe gin is nectar aand nothing like the rubish sold as sloe gin. However the &*%*&% at the local council cut down a whole hedge of sloe trees - they could have trimmed as they were impinging on a road but no they hacked them down - bring back the death sentence for crimes against food. So no idea where to look this year.

    Other times, elderflower, chestnuts, don't know what it's called but a tiny sharp tasting plant (I think is wild sorrel), wild mint and watercress

  14. Cheddar seems to be an abomination amongst cheeses as so much rubbish cheese is labelled cheddar and it has no relation to the real thing.

    Good cheddar is wonderful and may be anything from very pale to yellow (but not that 'yellow' colour) and range from mild to very strong.

    It's one cheese I wish there were EU rules about.

    As for the USA my cheese buying experiences there were horrible. Parmesan - vile till I discovered that in the USA any muck could be labeled as Parmesan and I had to find the shops that sold the real deal. I wish the USA had rules like the EU over what you can call food and drink. Another pet USA hate of mine is when I've asked for a glass of Champagne and ended up with a vile glass of fizzy wine (not saying they have to go to the EU level but a quality standard should be in place)

  15. i modify almost every recipe from a book just a little...  unless it requires precise measures(baking, M.G., ect...) but even then i usually adjust flavorants...  more of this, less of that...  or flip the flavor profiles completely...  i thin my faves are the ole standards...  la technique, la rousse, chernosky, escoffier, CIA, any 'base' recipie book.  when i look at books written by a specific chef, i tend to use them as more of an inspirational guide...  flavors, platings.... 

    well thats just me.

    Same here - they are a source of inspiration not a rule book but also use them as fact books how long at what temp do I cook x etc

  • Create New...