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dougal

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  1. "fancy sharpening gizmos in 2011? Are there any that don't suck?" Is the EdgePro Apex a "fancy sharpening gizmo"? It certainly does NOT suck.
  2. that's not a review. it's press. Anyone seen a review? That journo has completely missed the fundamental point that the 'family' in the title is referring to the 'restaurant family', ie the team, the staff. Its incidental that you might use these recipes at home to feed your relations, your real family. All 20 or 72 of them ... This is the most important thing to understand about this book!
  3. If they did, they'd also have to rewrite the paragraph on 'Precision' found on page 396 ... The book itself says (on page 396, Precision, under Using This Book) "The best way of giving you the chance to reproduce these recipes at home, it seems to me, is to specify precise weights, timings and temperatures. That's why weights are given only in metric and not in cups. While cups might seem like a convenient system that's appropriate for a book on home cooking, it can be quite inaccurate, particularly with irregular solids." (The emphasis is mine.) Strikes me that a gram-free bowdlerisation of the book would be contrary to the author's clearly expressed intent, and cause enough for an immediate return for full refund.
  4. Pretty much every UK cookbook nowadays uses weight measurements. In grams. If they did, they'd also have to rewrite the paragraph on 'Precision' found on page 396 ...
  5. Mine only arrived today, so I've barely scratched it yet. Its a lovely book. Its laid out like a practical recipe book - minimal mid-flow page turning, components well cross referenced, and a very practical (and attractive) page layout. The single (serifed) typeface (Sabon) is very readable, and in a comfortably large size. I like the explanations of what is being attempted, why rather than just how. Its modern, but its not about food additives. I was a little disappointed with the sv section (don't buy it specially for that). Its a small section. Despite the glowing intro about how sv "is going to revolutionise the domestic kitchen", etc, etc, ... its a bit isolated. There are lots of slow-roast meat recipes (oven set well below 100C), but I haven't spotted a single "or sv it" comment in any of them. I haven't noticed a single mention of sv in any recipe outside the brief sv section. Which I find a bit curious. And disappointing, if truth be told. The recipes are an interesting and wildly varied mix. From a three-layer mushroom verrine using ice filtration, to a toasted cheese sandwich. From Roast Potatoes to Pear and Sherry Salad (with Sherry in jellied cubes). Ice creams from Mustard to the whimsy of Cinnamon & Vanilla (with Cinnamon and Vanilla scent bottles ...) Whisky-flavoured gelatine sweets to ... celeriac remoulade. Its a weird mix of Fat Duck (Parsley Porridge or Red Cabbage Gazpacho) and the distinctly homely given a few cheffy tweaks (Chilli con Carne with brined beans, pressure cooked tomatoes, etc and finished with a spiced butter). All of it seems to be interesting eating, even if none of it is typical weekday suppertime fare. Its cooking for the pure fun of it, doing things a harder way if that gives a better result. But with a grip on the reality of doing things at home - there's no liquid nitrogen, chamber sealer or centrifuge needed. Cooking you could hope to do at home, but not 'home cooking'. Its expected that you will have digital scales, thermometers, and timer, etc He makes much use of a hand blender. Naturally an Isi whipper or sv bath is going to be pretty much essential for a few of the recipes. Some ice creams call for dry ice (eg bacon and egg), others can be done in a domestic machine. In keeping with his precise instructions, where appropriate he gives refractometer (Brix) readings. A very interesting (if not quite perfect) book and a bargain at Amazon UK's current price of £15. Blumenthal was generous in his praise for his ghost writer in this month's Waitrose (supermarket) magazine, and Pascal Cariss gets a couple of small credits on the last pages.
  6. If you have gas that is dissolved but shouldn't be (its over (or super) saturated), all you need to release it back to being undissolved gas is a nucleation site where bubbles can form. By having the 'carbonated beverage' at room temperature, you are making it more super-saturated. The colder it is, the more gas it can hold dissolved, the warmer the less gas. Take away points: cool your drink before you open and pour it. Don't rely on pouring it over ice to do the cooling - apart from gassing off lots of carbonation, you'll be melting excessive ice which dilutes/waters down the carefully-formulated drink.
  7. Had an email yesterday from Amazon UK. Its actually running early. My (free, not fastest) delivery is expected to arrive before 1st October.
  8. Whatever you might think of 'Good tempered', its worth looking out for the same author's 'Art of the Tart' http://www.amazon.co.uk/Art-Tart-Tamasin-Day-Lewis/dp/0297843591/ (IMHO best she's done)
  9. The British advice spells it out fairly clearly. (But it does seem like a lot of celery ...) http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/5ADAY/Pages/Portionsizes.aspx
  10. Different materials/surfaces emit IR differently even when they are at exactly the same temperature. (They have different "emissivities".) Which means that an IR thermometer will give different readings depending on what you are pointing it at. And that means that as a general "point and shoot" NONE of these things is very accurate. Emissivity adjustment allows you to 'calibrate' the instrument so that its reading (for a particular surface) is more accurate. Or alternatively, you can calibrate the thing at the user end, applying an offset as you work based on experience or previous calibration. "When the oil is at 175C, I know it shows as 160" - or 180 or whatever. My (far from extensive) experience is that (variably shiny surfaces apart) they are quite consistent (giving consistently the same reading - whatever that might be - from the same surface at the same temperature). One additional point - the distance ratio. With a 4:1 you do need to get quite close to what you are measuring (or looked at differently, it averages over a large area) whereas a 12:1 allows you to be 3x further away when measuring the same area (otherwise you measure a smaller spot from the same distance). Wide angle or telephoto - there is a choice! Any laser fitted is simply to indicate the approximate centre of the measurement area. A laser takes no part in the measurement and does not indicate a 'point' being measured - the thermometer is always measuring from an area (whose size varies depending on how far away from the surface the instrument currently might be). It doesn't even need to have a laser. But people like them ... I suggest you get a chinese cheapie from eBay and play with that until you know that you need something better (or perhaps a specific job to do with it, like chocolate).
  11. I had presumed that sourcing spare parts might be your principal need, and that a specific model id was still required for that. Glad to hear that you are ahead of the game!
  12. Regarding sausage for cooking, its traditional if not gastronomic to include binders, emulsifiers and padding to glue the thing together. Don't make the mistake of thinking that all historic production was of the highest quality. The best has always cost more and used extra care and extra tech, beyond that available to everyone - hence the best, not the same. If you want a 'traditional' binder, try "Rind emulsion". Boil your pig rinds, ears, etc (? !! ) for an hour or more, depending on thickness, then mince on the finest plate you have, and then blitz with some of your flavouring/spice mix before cooling. Add up to 10% of this sludge to the forcemeat mixture ... (from Maynard Davies 'Manual of a Traditional Bacon Curer'). Or try a bit of boiled rice. And just an incidental point - did you know that 'Ye' (as in Ye Olde...) is actually pronounced 'The'? In old (olde) english, there was a 'thorn' character, pronounced 'th'. When printing came along a few hundred years ago, printers just substituted the vaguely similar looking Y for the thorn. EDIT - or rather for ye yorn. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A2922077 And of course we know that 'olde' is pronounced 'old' and not 'oldie' ...
  13. To help with the Googling, the brand is 'Tefal' in Europe ... I'd hope to find any model refs on the plastic rather than the metalwork. And do try google.fr rather than just .com - Good Luck!
  14. If you are worried about serving eggs with cool (although ideally cooked through) yolks, then it does make sense to do it Pedro's way round -- cook the whites first (and arrest before the yolk cooks), then heat the whole thing through to yolk-cooking temperature, and hold before service. If you chill the whole raw egg, you should be able to maximise the cooking of the white while leaving the yolk 'raw' -- which is what you normally try to avoid by specifying room temp eggs for boiling. It would be ideal to leave as much as possible of the yolk 'raw' because you are going to cook it in stage 2, at 62.5 or whatever you choose. In stage 1, the thing is to get the white cooked WITHOUT (over) cooking the yolk. But unlike trad 'boiling', you are not trying to 'perfectly' cook the yolk - you actually want to under-cook it. Hence starting from cold should help.
  15. You might precook many eggs at 75°C for the required time, then either transfer to your 60°C bath until served, or chill for later use and reheat in the 60°C bath. As a pre-production exercise, I'm not sure why one would wish to go directly from the sv bath to the 'boiling'. An intermediate hold would seem best suited to production - as with standard poached eggs. Also, having already 'pre-cooked' the yolk to 60C, I'd expect that chilling the egg would help limit additional yolk-cooking on reheating/white-setting.
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