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Everything posted by Hawthorne

  1. Bump this; it's nearly time to start thinking about Christmas dinner again! Not that we'll be doing roast beef this year, due to the economy, but I did think it might be useful to add a couple of things. Find a butcher who will sell you a roast which still owns it's own fat. That is, it hasn't been trimmed. You can't make YP (or roasted potatoes) without beef fat. And where I live, if you can't find a place who'll take a special order, even a very rich prime rib may not give up enough fat for accompaniments. Something needs to be done about this situation. I am capable of trimming my own meat, thankyou very much, and prefer to get my meat with the fat on. When I take the roast out of the oven, I pour the fat off the pan very carefully; what I don't need for gravy and the YP I keep for frying potatoes and other such applications. Someone upthread asked about seasoning on the roast - if you like the roast seasoned with whatever you put on it, your potatoes/YP/anything else you do with the fat will be fine. I generally make mine in a cake tin, and cut it in wedges. However, when I make toad-in-the-hole I make that in a square pan - and I find it takes 10 or 15 minutes longer to cook. Whether that is due to the pan or the addition of the sausage I have no idea, but there you are .. Otherwise, I concur with all the comments made above. In fact, I will now pay more attention to the stand time when I make it; I have a hunch that some of my less than stellar efforts may have been due to the batter not having stood long enough. My grandfather always carefully put his YP on his saucer, sprinkled it with sugar and saved it for dessert. Even on Christmas, when there was plum pudding to be had, the old rogue!
  2. Oooh ... I don't really get very creative this way as a rule, but I have certainly got to try a couple ... or a few .. of these soon! Another thing I'm going to try soon (which I just read about the other day as a sauce for something there is no way I'm ever going to make in its entirety), is basil mayonnaise. I've put all kinds of things in mayo for one reason or another, but basil sounds like it might be a winner. How did I miss that??
  3. Bump this .. This thread sure isn't doing much - I hope that doesn't mean that last year's experiments were a bust! In any case, I haven't really got much further ahead since I posted that last message, but my Uncle wrote me not long after wanting to know if I wanted my Aunt's pudding basins .. well, I certainly did, and he's sent them to me! Only one of them could really be called 'small', but I'm convinced they'll freeze, and I'll bet they can be warmed up nicely in the micro wave :-) No sense having all this nifty technology if you don't use it! Here they are: So .. time to check out the recipes! Will be back ...
  4. So .. shall I try this recipe .. ? Or are you illustrating an historic recipe form, which can sometimes be tricky in the execution :-) Actually, I have a couple not unlike this of my grandmother's, and they mostly come out very well, though I did discover that her wedding cake recipe included liquid only as an addendum, and an inaccurate one at that! lol! This looks like a perfectly good recipe (though maybe quite a lot of suet?), and I might use it to christen my departed aunt's antique pudding basins, which my uncle has just most kindly sent to me. If I do it (my list has become alarmingly long since my husband had a heart attack, from which he is now mostly recovered) I will let you know how it came out. I should say that I have eaten steamed puddings fairly often in the days of my misspent youth, but haven't yet made one. It's way too late for plum pudding this Christmas, but I am hoping to have got the gist of the thing by next summer, when it's time for next year's plum pudding, as I have my grandmother's recipe for that too. thanks!
  5. You could be right. It was a science fair experiment from a long time ago. After "thawing," the fish lived about two minutes (during which he seemed completely drunk). I've been doing some searches on cryonics, and most suggest that goldfish can't, in fact survive freezing. But according to many sources, including this one, some fish and small animals can: "Viruses, bacteria, sperm/eggs, embryos at early stages of development, insects, and even small animals (small frogs, some fish) can be cryogenically frozen, preserved for an indefinite time (as long as low temperature is maintained) and then thawed and returned to a living state. Large animals or organs (a few centimeters and larger) can not be safely frozen because removing heat via thick tissue by natural thermoconductivity becomes so slow that ice microcrystals grow big enough to damage cell membranes." At any rate, the issue seems like a complicated one. There are different mechanisms at work causing cell damage, not just in the freezing process, but in the storing and also the thawing process. And these processes seem to be dependent on many variables. It's still seems curious that freezing reliably kills parasites, but not some larger organisms like insects and embryos. ← I don't know how or why it happened, but I saw this done on a science program years ago - the gold fish was dunked into liquid nitrogen, which certainly froze it, and when it was returned to its bowl it was apparently restored. I don't recall it being apparently drunk, but I also don't know how long it might have lived beyond the experiment. Feather mites are apparently killed by freezing, (a little off topic, but not entirely) but I always thought it was the thawing process which did the job, since I understand the thawing process to rupture cell membranes. The only raw fish I eat is Nova Scotia salmon, but I assume that that is less raw than is apparent. It's raw enough for me
  6. Hmm ... hadn't thought of those, but I don't know why it wouldn't, though they would be *very* small .. but I do have one rather small pudding basin, I don't know what it's capacity is but it's no bigger than a pint, and maybe smaller. I haven't seen it in a while, and I hope it hasn't got broken. One of my antiques :-) So perhaps half pint widemouths would work. I don't think I'd risk the very tiny ones, that would probably make nice little single portions .. though once you know your recipe works in a more conventional size, it might be a neat experiment. But someone upthread did say they use all kinds of other containers, whatever comes to hand essentially, so I think I'll poke around and see what I can find. Judging by this thread, most people don't think it's too late to make them, so since I have a fridge full of suet, maybe, after the fruitcakes and the pickled cabbage, I'll run a quick test! I've never made one either, but the people I know who do make them aren't any smarter than I am ... I don't think, anyway! lol! So, I don't think it will be a problem. Unless of course, my grandmother's old recipe is missing something or other, and since no one in my generation has ever used it we don't know about it .. only one way to find out, though :-) The instructions are a bit sketchy, but until I get the fruitcakes out of the way I'll keep looking in on this thread, in case someone posts some tricky caveats. I doubt that they really need to be steamed for 9 hours, as this recipe calls for; I suspect that that is because my grandmother made one huge one for Christmas Day with the whole extended family at the table. I can't imagine little pint or half pint ones would take that long. And that brings me to another question - do they freeze? I'd think they would, but has anyone done it?
  7. Oh no! The link is broken!!! Can you reup it? tia ...
  8. But I've got a stash of suet, and I'd like to make some for next year. Apart from the suet, the other obstacle to the project is a shortage of pudding basins .. anybody know where I can get small ones, short of importing them from the UK? Lehman's and Amazon both list larger ones, but it would be silly for me to make big puddings, because there are only 3 of us and my recipe is very rich, and those I plan to gift are also small households. If you know of functional substitutes for pudding basins, I'll entertain those ideas too. I even hear that people are doing steamed puddings in the microwave ... tell me it's not so, please! Unless, of course, it's very successful :-) Help ... ? tia -
  9. Will have to see if I can find this - though onions are kind of SOP for any slicing gadget you happen to have running aren't they? Not sure about using them as pasta .. I have found that the options are a little different with slicers which have smooth blades. I haven't arrived at a conclusion yet as to whether smooth is better than serrated, but they are different.
  10. I don't know about the sous vide, but I've worn out 2 food savers, and wouldn't be without one. I vacuum pack not only what I freeze (including soup, stock, sauces) but also cold cuts, bacon, cheese ... it seals jars (NOT, as they say, a substitute for heat packing) and their vacuum containers are pretty nice. It also cuts the time it takes to marinate things if you have the shallow, square container .. I'd say go for it! Make sure it has a separate 'instant seal' button, and a port for the jar sealer thingies .. that is, go for a medium to high end model. ← Hawthorne, good old Santa is planning to bring me a food saver this year. What model do you have? Thanks! ← Ah well .. they change their model numbers the way people change their socks ... mine is a 1500, I think, and includes a storage chamber and cutter for bags and seems not to be available any longer. I don't think I'd do the storage part again - it makes the unit rather bulky, though you may have better storage options than I have. The cutter is nice, though. But when the last one went, I really needed to replace it, and that was pretty much what was available over the 'basic' model .. seemed like a good idea at the time. Mid price .. I think the MRP on it was about $180, but I bought it for less. Looks like the prices have come steadily down since I bought the first one, too. That would have been about 10 years ago, and I had to swallow hard to come up with the price on spec. They didn't used to have so many optional models ... This seems to be their latest 'do it all' model Food Saver, and I don't know how much you gain by spending more money - unless higher priced models include more toys or something. Check out their 'all products' list, and tell Santa to google the model you favour; it can probably be had somewhere at a substantial discount :-) Mine regularly sees a couple of hours a week's use, and I get 2 - 3 years out of them, about. This one I have now is about 2 years old, (maybe 3; time flies when you're having fun) and it seems to be soldiering on .. touch wood! lol! I pack a lot of meat; there are only 3 of us, and we aren't big eaters, but it's cheaper to buy (and often cook) for more ... it's probably the appliance I use the most. I squawk about the price of the bag material, but it saves enough food to warrant it I think. Theoretically, you can reuse bag material, but I haven't have good results with that. Maybe I'm doing something wrong .. YMMV on that issue ..
  11. Hawthorne

    Baking 101

    Ahhhh, a couple things I see now that you wrote that. 1. Don't use a non-stick pan for baking a sponge cake. And don't butter and flour the pan either. (you'd have been better to change pans if you didn't have any parchement and choose a pan you could de-pan it from.......like a two piece ring mold.....) 2. It needs to cling to the sides of the pan as it rises in the oven and while it cools. ← Has anybody besides me noticed how much harder it is becoming to find plain, not non-stick baking pans? I did finally find a source, and if I'm not the only one who hates non-stick for almost everything (I do have a couple of cookie sheets that are functional), I'll dig up the link and post it ... maybe that's something everybody knows. One of the things I need is some square pans, and I was shocked at the price of them. I am mystified that square pans would be more expensive than round ones, but I guess I can survive a while longer. But all I can find locally is non-stick. Blech ...
  12. Hawthorne

    Baking 101

    The only problem is that more gluten makes the dough a PITA to shape, at least if you're trying to make the dough really thin. ← Somewhere here there is a pizza dough thread, which turned me on to pizzamaking, where I discovered that if you put the dough in the fridge for 24 hours, even pizza dough made with bread flour can be turned into pizza without a major fight! Yes! At last - pizza independence! If you can remember to make the dough 24 hours in advance :-)
  13. Hawthorne

    Baking 101

    Save those egg whites -- they'll last for 6 months. You can make angel food cake or buttercream from them. That's what I usually do with mine. There is also a thread on using extra eggs / yolks / whites Here for some other ideas for the parts of a whole. I'm not a baking dumbass, more a new professional. And, the stuff I see others out there posting, professionals or not, shows me that I have a whole h*ll of a lot to learn still. Ask, and someone will help! ← I'm not a total dumbass, just a semi-dumbass .. but you've answered one of my questions already; now that I know those egg whites will keep (without freezing) I can indulge in more of those extravagant egg yolk things guilt free! I LOVE this site!
  14. I don't know about the sous vide, but I've worn out 2 food savers, and wouldn't be without one. I vacuum pack not only what I freeze (including soup, stock, sauces) but also cold cuts, bacon, cheese ... it seals jars (NOT, as they say, a substitute for heat packing) and their vacuum containers are pretty nice. It also cuts the time it takes to marinate things if you have the shallow, square container .. I'd say go for it! Make sure it has a separate 'instant seal' button, and a port for the jar sealer thingies .. that is, go for a medium to high end model.
  15. Speaking of which...what the hell ever happened to soft boiled eggs? I remember cups, cutters and all kinds of gear to deal with them. At least two or three days a week this was what my mother made me for breakfast. She was a definite believer in breaking the fast, fast. She worked and was always running behind. Can't get a much quicker fastbreaker than a three-minute egg or two... ← Because nobody can be bothered to figure out *exactly* how long to cook their particular preference for the things .. and in some places it's impossible to buy egg cups! I was looking at some in Kitchen Kaboodle yesterday, and the price ... can you say 'l-o-o-n-e-y ..? But you're dissembling ... we still haven't heard the rest of the story! Tell! Tell!
  16. Where they probably would have eaten whatever was on the menu without grousing! lol! I always try to find out what guests drink, because we drink mostly coffee, water and occasionally beer/wine. You can tell we are having company when I check out a couple of cases of soft drinks when I shop. One thing I often forget is to mention that we use decaf, and before you gag, consider that no one who drinks my (fresh ground french roast) coffee has a clue about that - unless they are heavy caffeine users who develop headaches as time goes on. Often they tell me how great the coffee is. I'm trying to reform, really - particularly since there is rarely anything in the house that would give them a caffeine fix; we don't drink soft drinks at all. I really don't give this whole caffeine thing enough thought; often when I drink coffee at a friend's place I end up so wired I'm practically non-functional by the time I get home! lol! I have resorted, when I occasionally remember, to taking a carafe of decaf with me, but this seems a bit tacky, though my friends are amused.
  17. We should maybe be calling it 'sweet mincemeat' ... I have (untested) a lot of recipes for this, whatever you'd like to call it, which call for everything from pork through beef and venison ... the recipe I use is my grandmother's, which rather modestly keeps the meat down to mere suet. You'd think so .. but old English recipes seem to be the ones which are dependent on suet. And often, though you can make them with butter or lard, or tallow, they really don't come out 'right' unless you find a butcher who will sell you actual beef suet. Until the last few years, hog fat was a very desireable commodity for a lot of purposes. I think it's interesting that we started having 'health problems' (apparently) related to fat consumption - after our diets became loaded with hydrogenated fats. I'm sure much of this is excess; all things in moderation seems like a useful principle, but real fat in seems to me to be useful and tasty. Very true - I like old recipes, and have a good many of my own grandmother's - and some of my husband's grandmother's. I use several of my grandmother's still, partly out of cantankerousness - but I think that old recipes are very interesting, in that they show a kind of evolution of cooking. I like to get hold of old cookbooks, which are often amusing, and just as often enlightening. Unfortunately there were rather a lot of things she didn't use recipes for, and either my taste memory is flakey or I haven't found the right formula to duplicate them. One day ... One of mine was watching my grandmother draw the Christmas turkey on the kitchen table :-) She worked for several years as a meat cutter, too, and was the scourge of the local butchers - when she wanted a piece of meat, she knew what she wanted, and how she wanted it cut. It made them crazy, being as how she was not only in the wrong time as often as not, but also the wrong part of the world! lol! Maybe it's genetic ... a few years ago, we bought a side of beef, and I couldn't get the butcher to give me the cuts I wanted from it. In the end, I told him that when he got to the round, just to bone it out and call me and I'd come and get it. He was skeptical. He said 'you don't really just want the whole round, intact ..?' I said yes I do - just call me when you get it boned, and I'll come and get it. So he did. I got the thing cut and packed, but I'll never do that again! lol! Maybe ... :-)
  18. I'm pretty sure my grandmother's fruit cake (wedding cake) uses suet. Which means I have to call about suet, too ... thanks for reminding me :-) If you can't find out for sure, I'd use leaf lard. Either rendered yourself, or Dietrich's has *beautiful* lard. (610-756-6344) I'd start there anyway ... A lot of old cake recipes use leaf lard, or part leaf lard. Cheaper than butter. Different flavour, better texture than shortening.
  19. Isn't this amazing? When I was married, I wanted a fruitcake, and was told that one could be procured *if* one ordered it at least 3 months in advance, from only god knows where. Comforting in a way, but we didn't have 3 months (my husband was between startups), so we settled for some kind of apple cake filled with some kind of pastry cream. We put the top layer in the freezer - we can do that now, which we couldn't years ago. Interesting that this thread should turn up now; my dh confessed not long ago that he *likes* fruitcake, and I have excavated my grandmother's recipe. I will have to figure out how to translate it from antique imperial to contemporary standard, and figure out what sort of tins and how many it will need, but I should think it would be fun to make. She made wedding cakes to order occasionally, with marzipan and royal icing ... We had a friend years ago who made fruitcakes as a hobby, soaking them in sherry, rum, whatever seemed different. He had a huge collection of fruitcake recipes, and everyone he knew got one for Christmas. Some of them were very nice. Ah .. you were supposed to save the top part of that for the Christening! Or at least for your first anniversary .. lol! I had better go and make a fruit list if I am actually going to make one of these cakes. I found the plum pudding recipe, too, but it's too late for that this year. Maybe next year ...
  20. I'm a bit tardy with this - this is the thread that brought me to eGullet a couple of months ago when I was trying to find a source for leaf lard. Partially hydrogenated lard makes crappy pastry. Sorry to use such a technical term. Even shortening does better. But lard is probably better for you than shortening; hydrogenated fat = trans fat. I hear that Crisco is making a 0 trans fat shortening now, but since I believe that lard makes better pastry (and if I wanted a sweeter pastry I'd use butter), I'll stick with good lard. Biscuits and bread, too, now that I think of it. I ordered it from Dietrich's, and they were very prompt, considering the time it takes mail to get across the moun-tings - when I opened the box I nearly swooned; I had forgotten how great fresh lard smells! I wanted it for a tourtiere pie (recipe still in development), and it made perfect pastry, which is the way I remember pastry. I may catch up to my mother yet :-) If leaf lard imparts any flavour to pastry, it's subtle and positive. I wouldn't go so far as to call it sweet, but it's nice if you can detect it. I just use AP flour, lard, salt and a little water - and I cut the lard into the flour with a fork against a knife. I've tried various devices for this, and that's what works for me. I may give pastry flour a whirl, since people seem to like it here :-) I did try the food processor, but it's quicker just to make it by hand I think, and more reliable. Or maybe I just haven't got a light enough touch with the FP yet, but I'm not sure it's worth the time to persist with that. It's great for other things. Anyway, thanks for the link to Dietrich's! I don't make a lot of pastry, but ever since my pastry started to fail and I discovered they were hydrogenating the lard I have been tramping around looking for real lard, and grilling every grocery store for miles around and was beginning to despair. But now my pastry is respectable again! (edited to break paras, I hope)
  21. And not boiled to death ... Actually, my mother did learn that one herself, but raised some anti-veg kids originally ... Um .. canned vegetables. I still don't much like canned vegetables.
  22. Well, you got me going - I googled too, and I won't claim to have plumbed the depths, but all I found was what I already have ... nice bowls, but shallow. The only tallish kind I've been able to find are the stoneware pudding basin type, which are nice, but chip easily. I did find an interesting recipe for onion and bacon pudding, though .. lol! I will hope that someone knows where the kind you are talking about can be got, because I would like some tall mixing bowls too. And I confess to a weakness for glass :-)
  23. Hear hear! I am casserole challenged myself - my Dad didn't care for them, my mother didn't make them, and I have little talent for them! So I'm always on the scrounge for good casserole recipes ... naturally, I married a man who really likes them :-)
  24. How interesting you should say this.Since cheap veg oils have been taken over by soy, I have to be obsessively careful about buying oil, because soy smells and tastes, to me, of rotting fish.Interesting. Many seasoned tasters have reported the same thing, and leveled the blame at one particular omega three (chemists call it omega 15!) C18 fatty acid found in soybean oil, I think (I don't have access to my book at the moment). Interesting that C18:2 fatty acids give roast/toast type flavours, and emphasises the importance of choosing the cooking oil/fat carefully.Like you, I use rape seed oil, and have done so for 25 years, I find it healthy and without flavour. I use it in all my experiments when frying, and always find I get a pleasant 'french fry' aroma with it, even when cooking non-potato ingredients! I have never used soybean oil, and would definitely never use peanut oil, because of peoples nut allergies and possible aflatoxin contamination.cheersWaaza ← It's nice to know I'm not totally out of step here :-) I was surprised to hear that people have this problem with rape/canola! lol!One reason I went back to making my own mayonnaise was the difficulty of finding commercial mayo not made with soy. It's just easier to make it myself.Other than the soy and hydrogenated fats, I use just about every other kind of fat/grease/oil available to me, depending on what I'm cooking. I like peanut oil for some things, but am not cooking for strangers, of course. We don't even entertain much :-)I do get through a lot of rape seed oil, as the flavour is neutral to our taste, though it's kind of dull for some things.
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