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Posts posted by pigeonpie

  1. Another great, and very cheap, noodle place is 'Hare and Tortoise', in the recently done up Brunswick Square, next to the Renoir cinema. Huge portions of tasty noodle or rice dishes for 5 or 6 quid (large enough that when I have the laksa I always have to take half home, and it does me for a second meal, so a serious bargain!). You won't need to pay Wagamama prices ever again ...

    The 'New Piccadilly' on Denman Street, just off the bottom of Shaftsbury Ave is definitely a place you have to go to at least once. Trouble is, the food ain't up to much (though it's great for a cuppa alongside treacle pudding and custard, mmm... ).

    If you're around Piccadilly, though, there is a great little caff called 'Sergio's', on Eagle Place which, judging from the decor, hasn't really changed since the 60s or early 70s. If you walk west along the south side of Piccadilly Picadilly Circus, about 50 metres, past the Japan Centre and a 'Ponti's' (don't even think about it), there's a wide alleyway, no cars, that turns off south and connects with Jermyn Street. If the cafe's open, you'll see tables outside it.

    Inside it's always snug, with a real mix of customers, from posh SW1 gents, to students, tourists, builders working on nearby sites, and escapees from the London Library round the corner (that'll be me then). They do big plates of lasagna and other pasta, for a fiver or less, sausage sarnies with proper, tasty, sausages, their toast is made from big slices of crusty white bread, not the sliced packet stuff, and they'll happily do you a huge fry up or a poached egg on toast, sandwiches, etc for caff, rather than cafe, prices. Love the place. The only drawback is that it's a breakfast through to teatime kind of place, and it's not open on a Sunday.

    Edited, because I remembered the name of the cafe.

  2. Selfridge's in general for food and shopping.  She plans to explore it in its fullest.

    Please, please, please don't send her to Selfridges food hall - it's abysmal. I mean really bad. It used to be great, but the quality of at least some of the food has gone seriously downhill, though the prices are the same. I had a piece of inedible game pie from there a month or two back. I mean really inedible, as in despite being starving, I didn't eat it. Dry, tasteless filling; limp tasteless pastry. I'd have taken it back, but I was half way across town by the time i came to (not) eat it. And I've had conversations with friends who've been equally shocked by a drop in standards.

    Harrods food hall, now that's a different matter entirely ...

  3. Two cups of romaine is a lot of salad,

    It wo-orks.  :biggrin:

    Seems to me that if two cups of lettuce is a 'lot' of salad, then no wonder it works for you. Two cups of romaine is merely the beginning of a salad. If I were making myself lunch, I'd start with that and then add a pile of other veggies, a handful or so of chickpeas, some fish/ham/eggs/feta etc, and you've got yourself a salad, otherwise known as lunch.

    What I'm trying to say is that, if one's 'normal' diet includes lots of fresh fruit and veg, a decent amount of oily fish, etc, then this kind of diet isn't going to make much difference.

    Mind you, if I could eat the salmon as sashimi, I might be happy eating not much else for three days ...

    I said might :wink:

  4. Do you utilize the whey? If so, how? I'm going to have quite a bit of it soon. Maybe for the liquid in my no-knead bread? Have you ever frozen it?

    Definitely use the whey in bread - I always do when I have some hanging around from straining yogurt. I used it in bagels a while ago - gave them a very slight tang, which was delicious. Especially when spread with the strained yogurt :smile: .

    Or you can just drink it - I like it absolutely fridge cold, but it's not so good at room temp.

  5. I guess I may not know anything about how your supposed to eat a leg of lamb, but to me that looks raw and I would be afraid the worms were still living in it.

    Worms? What on earth kind of lamb have you been eating? Why should there be worms? Juicy and pink is definitely the way to go for a leg of lamb, and I've certainly never seen any worms.

  6. Okay, I saw the first programme - the chickens - but missed the lamb, so it may be that some of what I'm about to say doesn't hold true for what I missed. However ...

    I had a real problem with the chickens episode for one simple reason: in my opinion it missed the point, or what is to me the main point, the single biggest reason for buying 'proper' chickens (or lamb, or beef, or pork ...): Flavour. I'm one of the converted - big time, I buy my meat here and here and here. I stopped buying the supermarket stuff some time ago for the simple reason that it tastes rubbish (when it tastes of anything at all).

    All the programme seemed to be trying to do was to make people feel guilty about the choices they made about food and guilt-trip them into making different choices. Educating people about intensive farming is a good thing, but it's only part of the story.

    Until a year or two ago, my other half had a 'food-as-fuel, time spent in the kitchen is time wasted, might as well eat a crap ready-meal, attitude to cooking. Unless I was cooking for her, she pretty much always ate rubbish, with KFC, McD's, etc, regulars on the menu. Somehow, even after several years, my enthusiasm and desire for 'proper' food just wasn't wearing off on her - she was perfectly happy to eat what I cooked, but had absolutely zero interest in helping me cook. Now she's as enthusiastic, curious, and hands-on as me and cooking has become something that we truly share. What changed? I started buying really good meat and she noticed the difference. Crucially, here was something that was actually worth spending time and effort over, so she started to do so, and started to understand what it was all about.

    The bottom line is that cooking from scratch is always going to take more time and effort and planning than putting a ready-meal in the microwave, unless you live on scrambled eggs (and even that, frankly, requires more washing-up and attention). Unless you can persuade people to want to invest that time and effort for positive reasons, rather than just guilt-induced ones, you have either failed, or succeeded in rather a cheap manner.

    If Hugh Goody-Two-Shoes really wants to share his enjoyment of good food, then he should do just that. Holier-than-thou isn't very appealing. His 'Meat' book did a great job on this - and educated me not a little - but I'm not sure this programme is going to do much more than make the converted feel smug and the unconverted reach for the remote.

  7. My mum always steams hers in the pressure cooker, and they come out stupendously good.

    I don't have her recipe to hand, but I can ask for it - the only thing I remember is that it has absolutely no sugar (and no, not a carrot in sight), the sweetness comes from all the fruit, and there's plenty of alcohol in there. No beer, but does have flour, and definitely suet.

    Not sure whether any of that helps ...

  8. I think stuff like this is so fun.

    Here's the web site of the person who did this, with some explanation of what was done.

    Also Thorax Cake and Zombie Cake.

    Oh. My. God.

    I was eating my lunch. Bad thread to pick ... and did you Have to entice me to go look at that thorax thing? The arm was gross, the thorax ... how could anyone eat anything after seeing that in the flesh (sorry, bad pun not intended), never mind eating the thing itself? Ugh!

  9. My husband's mother gave him a really beautiful bamboo salad bowl with the matching

    fork/spoon to toss. We've yet to use it......Does anyone have a bamboo bowl? It was

    from the Cooking Enthusiast. Would the cleaning technique be the same? The thing

    came with no information. I'm still on the fence about using it! a hui hou!

    Use it as a fruit bowl.

    And no, I don't mean fruit salad ...

  10. Could it be that the 'pebbly' bottoms are left over from days when such pans were made by hammering metal into shape, such that many modern ones retain the 'pebbles', even though they are no longer an unavoidable result of the production process?

    Just wondering ...

    I think that is what boar_d_laze suggested.

    See, that's what happens when you try to do three things at once.

    (Note to self: pay more attention to egullet ...)

  11. I would not have thought you'd do any damage to a LC over an open flame. I would think the damage would be more likely to occur to your hands, as you reach in to an open fire and try to grab hold of those ridiculously undersized handles. Obviously, if you wait until the flames have died down, and you have a good heap of hot embers, that shouldn't be such a problem.

    Oh, but if you are going to buy one cast iron pot, I wouldn't buy LC, I'd get a Staub instead. I have one of each, and I Much prefer the Staub. Then again, you are more likely to find a cut-price deal on a LC piece, which might decide it for you.

    On the other hand, if you just want something to use over an open flame and not worry about, anything meant for a professional kitchen, where the burners are a lot more powerful than home burners, ought to be fine. Although, that doesn't help much if you want an excuse to buy LC ... :wink:

  12. Copper vs stainless? Well, you can have both if you go for Le Pentole ; slightly higher prices but more detailed info here more Le Pentole, and if you are in London, you can go and look at them here Le Pentole at David Mellor. These are seriously tough, yet beautiful, stainless steel pots with a layer of copper in the base, rather than aluminium. If you have any Nigel Slater books, flick through the photos and you'll spot them.

    Then again, you can get a lot more copper for your money if you go with stainless-lined copper, aka Falk, Mauviel, etc. But - and don't underestimate this - these babies are Heavy. Which is why I would never consider having every pan in my kitchen made of stainless-lined copper, even if money were no object. Why would I want to lift several kilos of copper each time I want to boil water for pasta or cook a stock? I don't.

    If I'm going to spend serious money on pots and pans, I want them to be suited to the task at hand, do multiple duty wherever possible, and be a pleasure to use (as well as lasting forever, etc). The copper I own consists of a couple of Falk copper 'Stewpan' curved saute pan - go to 'products' and scroll down to 'Stewpan' . These - what Falk call a 'Stew pan' or 'Stewpan' are exactly the same pan as the curved saute pan ('Spheric sautepan' on their website), but instead of one long handle, they have two small 'ear-type' handles. Advantages? Much easier to lift and carry and pour from, especially the larger, 28cm version; I can easily transfer them to the oven, and I don't have handles sticking out all over the place on the stove top - mine is a pretty small kitchen.

    Verdict? I Love these pans - I use one or other just about any time I cook, because they are so flexible as to their use, and such a joy to use. They are worth every penny and a constant pleasure. Don't bother with copper lids though - just use stainless steel; cheaper and stronger and easier to clean.

    Would I expand my, currently limited, copper empire? Only in the direction of, say, a small saucepan for making delicate sauces, and perhaps a large frying pan. But large saucepans, stockpots and the like? Not a chance - copper would just be too heavy, and the advantages of copper unlikely to be of much use for the kind of things such pans would be used for, at least in my kitchen.

    So, I guess this is my way of saying don't be seduced into buying everything in copper - or whatever. Choose each pan for each job. There are plenty of times when I choose my Staub enamelled cast iron pots over copper or stainless, for long, slow cooking (and, as a tangent, I've found I much prefer Staub to Le Creuset - better browning with more moisture retention), whilst any old thin enamelled-steel pot, or s/s with or without copper/aluminium base does for pasta, as long as its big enough.

    Buy each pan for each task, don't feel that you have to buy everything at once, or that everything has to match, and if you are buying pans in an unfamiliar material or shape try to get a feel for them - their heft, handle arrangement, balance, etc, by handling them in a shop first. Then buy off the web for better prices!

    Oh, and let us know what you decide to go for in the end.

    edited to fix a dodgy link

  13. Don't you have to pre-slice the onions horizontaly?  If not, won't you end up with matchstick (depending on the size of the squares) slices of onion?



    I'm so glad you asked this question; I've been wondering the same thing. I bumped this up to emphasize the question. OK, gadgeteers: how does pushing down on a grid produce dice instead of matchsticks?

    Um, it's an onion, so it's already sliced horizontally, so to speak, since it's made up of layers. Do you slice your onions horizontally when using a knife to dice?

  14. Well I tried straining it with a triple layer cheesecloth but it was all going through ...

    It's possible that your yogurt didn't have time to thicken enough - next time try leaving it for a few hours longer and see if what results is thicker.

    Otherwise, just use a thicker cloth - I actually use something a lot thicker than either cheesecloth or muslin, namely a tea towel, simply because that is what I have around. The only time everything runs through is if the yogurt has not 'yogurted' sufficiently because I have been impatient and not waited long enough for it.

    Hope that helps.

  15. So I tried out making the yogurt and I was pleased with the taste but the yogurt was thinner than i expected and a little sticky although I'm not sure thats the right way to explain it ... if you take a spoonful and lift it out, theres a pretty long tail that follows. I dont know if any of you have experienced this before.

    That's exactly the way mine turns out - I like it that way for some things - say putting on my breakfast muesli - but that's also why I suggested straining it, that way you can get it as thick as you like. Also, I think some milk produces more 'stretch' when you turn it into yogurt than others. I've never tried goat's milk, but I seem to remember that sheep's milk created a very 'stretchy' yogurt. I'd be interested to know why that is, if anyone knows?

    You can do other things to create thicker yogurt such as adding powdered milk (never tried it), or boiling and boiling the milk to lose liquid that way (tried it once, took ages and, unsurprisingly, took on something of a boiled-milk taste, so never again), or, I suspect, adding in lots of thick cream, but it's very easy to just strain it, and if the point is to take advantage of some particularly nice milk, then it seems to me that's the method that mucks about with it the least.

  16. And why would you want to dring the whey straight up execpt for the fact that it has lots of nutrients in which case it may be good to blend into a smoothie

    Because, if you're weird like me, you'll like the taste of it when chilled from the fridge. :wink:

  17. If you want to make either/both yogurt and a very simple, mild, soft curd cheese, do the following:

    Stage one, the yogurt:

    You will need a small amount of yogurt as a starter - doesn't have to be goat yogurt, any plain yogurt will do. Heat the goat's milk until it reaches a boil, then turn off the heat and let it cool down until you can dip in a finger and count to 10, reasonably slowly. If you feel your finger is getting too hot before you reach 10, it's not cool enough yet. If you can comfortably keep on counting up to 13 or so, you need to heat it back up a little more (though better a little too cool than too hot).

    When the milk cools to about the right temperature, mix a small amount with, say, half a cup of yogurt, adding more milk until it's quite liquid, then pour this back into the warm goat milk and stir well (you can just put the yogurt straight into the milk and stir, but I find that this way it mixes better).

    Then cover and either wrap in plenty of blankets/towels, and/or put into a cool box - anything that will serve to insulate it and keep the heat in. If you're somewhere warm and it's a sunny day, you can even just leave it in the sun (covered!).

    Leave it like that over night, or all day, about 8-10 hours is usually enough, but twice that will do it no harm if you're out or whatever.

    Open it up and you have goat's milk yogurt.

    Stage two, straining it:

    By straining the yogurt you've now made, you can produce thicker 'Greek style' yogurt by straining it for, say, 2-4 hours, or by straining it over night you will end up with a soft curd cheese. Just find a clean tea-towel, piece of cotton cloth, cheesecloth, etc, lay it into a bowl, pour in the yogurt, bring up the corners of the cloth and tie together, then find a place to hang it up, with a bowl beneath. Leave it like that until the yogurt has achieved the consistency you prefer, then take it down and eat it! You will find that the yogurt that is in contact with the cloth will be thicker than that in the middle - you can just stir it up to even things out.

    Oh, and you can drink the whey (the liquid that drains from the yogurt), or use it in making bread, etc.

    Let us know what you do with it!

  18. I do! I Love honey.

    What do i do with it? Mainly eat it on toast.

    But I also eat it on yogurt, put it in bread (ie as an ingredient in making bread) drizzle it over muesli, add it to the pan when deglazing pork chops, stir it into lemon juice and hot water when I have a cold.

    Or just eat it by the spoonful from the jar :biggrin:

    And I love the fact that the supermarkets sell lots of different types now - I buy them all, plus I tend to buy honey wherever I find some that looks good/interesting/different, so that I generally have eight or so different kinds floating around in my larder to choose from.

    Mmm, hot toast, dripping with honey. Yum!

  19. My husband is obsessed with Nutella. He is German and grew up on the stuff. Some friends of his gave him the kilo millenium jar for christmas 1999 as a joke and I think he finished the entire thing in less than a month. But what's funny is when he moved to the US he swore that the nutella tasted different here. I thought he was nuts but we brought a jar back with us from Deutschland and I have to say, he was absolutely right. Blind taste test. The German stuff was a less sweet, more bitter choco-hazelnut flavored and more buttery. So now we have to schlep jars back with us whenever we travel, and save the american stuff for emergencies. Actually he dislikes the american stuff so much he eats peanut butter instead. I wonder if anyone else has ever noticed a difference?

    BTW, given how much he loves Krispy Kreme, I think I have to either never tell him that restaurant in DC exists, or else bring him there as a surprise next time we are in town. Thanks for the tip!

    I've found that chocolate tends to be sweeter in the US than on this side of the pond - and whenever we go to visit relations in America, we always have to cart loads of bars of Cadbury's chocolate because they prefer the British stuff. Crazy but true ... Mind you, when I was a kid and you couldn't get m'n'ms here, I used to bring those back.

    Oh, what about a nutella peanut butter and banana sandwich? Haven't had it in ages, but it used to be a favourite. Come to think of it, perhaps I'd better pop out and get some nutella and bananas (pretty sure i have the peanut butter lurking in the fridge).

  20. Hey, I just wanted to say this was a great blog - I had to catch up in big chunks here and there cos I wasn't around much this week, but it was really fun. I really like your approach to food and cooking. I thought the baked Capresi salad was a great idea - it's kind of pizza without the bread, if you think about it ... Thanks for sharing it all.

    And, boy am I jealous of those tomatoes. Mine are still only flowering!

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