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Hub-UK2

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  1. Can anyone help me to answer this question as I have never made jam:

    I made some home made raspberry jam the other day (what a job that was!) and I don't know if I didn't cook it long enough or what, but it didn't thicken up enough. Is there a way to "save" this jam? Please say "yes"!

  2. I was talking to my next door neighbour at the weekend and we got around to talking about food. I believe she said her mother was a Parsee (have I got it right). She said although she cannot remember the food she has been told that it is some of the best food to be found in India.

    If the latter is true do we come across these dishes over here (I live in the UK)?

    Is Parsee cooking simplistic or elaborate - is it hard or easy?

    Is there anything that dominates the style of cuisine?

    Where I can I find some fairly straight forward recipes to try to form my own opinion about Parsee food?

    If this is a repeat of previous topics my apologies.

    :cool:

  3. Calfs liver with balsamic vinegar dressing and fried polenta chips (calves liver was slightly the wrong side of pink but it had good flavour)

    A pity I don't live in London! Any idea of how this dish was done or does anyone have a recipe. Calf's liver must be one of my dream meals - yet I am not a fan of traditional British liver dishes!

    The polenta chips also interests me. I have never used polenta. What sort of texture do they have and how do they taste? Are they actually cripsy?

  4. Hence the interest in the Bamix, which seems to sit between home and professional machines. I chatted briefly with Gordon Ramsay at a book launch; he said he used the Bamix constantly.

    So that confirms that Gordon Ramsay actually uses it and it isn't just publicity blurb!

  5. Anyway, my personal experience is that you'll have a much easier time doing the things you propose with appliances you already own -- and actually I'm not sure that an immersion blender would work very well for those things at all.  Whipping cream is best and easiest to do with a electric hand beater, and I always do mayonnaise and emulsified salad dressings in the small bowl of my KitchenAid food processor.  If you don't already have a small-bowl food processor, I think you'd get a lot more use out of one of those for the tasks you describe than an immersion blender.

    YMMV, of course.  Some people use their immersion blenders all the time.

    I'm not saying you may not be right for you but all these things can be done with the Bamix. It is very powerful. Keep it on your worktop, fit the right attachment which just pushes on, do the job and rinse under the tap.

    They supplied a video with mine so you might be able to either see the video or a demo in one of the shops. Still say it is well worth the look.

    It is the only machine I really use in the kitchen. My main food processor stays in the cupboard most of the time because it is easier to do things by hand rather than get it out, assemble it and then clean it afterwards. My kitchen space is very limited so the Bamix is ideal.

    http://www.bamix.com/english/index.htm

    . . . I should add that I do not work for the company and nor do I receive commission. :laugh:

  6. I was at the BBC Good Food Show last November and watched a demonstration of the Bamix. I was impressed and just had to have one. It takes seconds to make mayonnaise and stick it in a saucepan with all your soup ingredients and woosh, no more lumps.

    Makes great milk shakes and is easy to clean.

    There is one draw back - it is expensive but then I suppose you get what you pay for.

    This is the web site:

    http://www.bamix.com/

    I think mine is the Bamix Swiss Line. Apparently Chef Gordon Ramsay uses one but then he was probably paid to! :laugh:

  7. As some of you may be aware, I travel the U.S. and occasionally elsewhere, in search of joints, dives, greasey spoons, and such searching out really good low (as opposed to high) cuisine.

    Have you heard of the Café Royal?

    When I worked in London it appealed to my sense of humour to ask people if they would like to have a breakfast meeting with me at the Café Royal - not the one on Regent Street but the greasy spoon by the same name in the middle of the Park Royal industrial estate in Acton!

    :laugh:

  8. I started with Rabbit and Foie Gras Terrine (£9.95) which was disgusting.  Served straight from the fridge, the terrine consisted of tasteless rabbit and minced carrots with a piece of foie in the middle and this was the killer - it tasted like no other foie gras I have ever tasted, it was bitter, vinegary and inedible.  It was served with pear chutney which tasted overwhelmingly of cinnamon . . .

    Your lurid description has just put me off my mid-morning MacDonalds!

    I just cannot understand why people (primarily in seemed 60year old businessmen and American tourists) are prepared to pay £10 for a starter and £20 for a main course for essentially mediocre food – is the fact the it is the oldest place in London really that alluring?

    I certainly wouldn't pay the prices for what you were served. Do people go there for the atmosphere and the privacy perhaps? And if so, then they are prepared to pay for it?

  9. . . . I should have also said king scallops and raspberries are two other great ingredients. Feed me these and I'm yours.

    Well, at least I would be yours if you were female. I will do most things for good food but I have to draw the line somewhere.

    :raz:

  10. Can someone please explain to me why foams are so popular now? Is the texture supposed to be novel, or the taste enhanced in some subtle way?

    It's called being pretentious!

    :biggrin:

  11. Moules in any form would make me putty . . .

    then calf's liver would have me yearning for . . .

    creme brulee (need to keep it simple for the afters!)

    :laugh:

  12. Trouble is, I just don't seem to have the mindset for remembering the minutia of any given dining experience, and even where I do my terribly limited vocabularly of techniques and ingredients invariably lets me down.

    Don't put yourself down. I thoroughly enjoyed your review and it certainly painted a picture for me. Having lived quite near (Cheltenham) until last Autumn I now see no chance of getting there as I now live in Ipswich.

    When I lived in Wales (and while my mother was still alive) I was always coming and going through Ludlow. Sod's law that I now don't even get close. I admire your dedication to a good meal - a long drive that!

  13. So are you saying that Shaun Hill keeps his dishes and his menus simple?

    If you are doesn't this (in view of your collective opinion of him) bear out the argument.

    On a slightly different tack but I think still relevant to this argument I remember coming across Charlie Trotter's book Desserts eighteen months ago. I thought it was so over the top that I couldn't believe that any restaurant would seriously serve a dessert of such size and complexity. Furthermore the combinations did not appeal to my particular taste - I don't know about anyone elses!

    Priced at $50 dollars it perhaps reflects the cost of trying to create any of these pompous desserts. A celebrity chef cashing in on his name by just being different for the sake of being different?

    One purchaser of the book wrote:

    "Visually stunning, would be great if only . . .

    When I recieved this book I was very excited. Looking through it the photography and presentation of the desserts is magnificent. Unfortunatly after numerous attempts on at least 3 recipes I have decided to put this book on my coffee table and not my cookbook shelf. I found the recipes to lack clarity and some just don't turn out right even with following the directions to the letter. I have used it only as picture reference since the last fiasco. A beautiful book but a sad dissapointment as a cookbook. "

  14. Served cold with thick cream is the only true way.

    I did ask for contributors to send in rhubarb recipes last year but nothing beats this simple way of eating the world's best "fruit"!

    :laugh:

  15. I think it's unfair to characterise modern chefs as lacking in talent, but perhaps they may tend to be over ambitious and more interested in laying claim to signature dishes and establishing a reputation in the media than dishing up good grub. But on the other hand, do you really want to see the same limited repertoire replicated up and down the country?

    What is been said is the complete opposite - bad chefs, lacking in talent, who misguidedly think they are great and have just been overlooked by the media, are hiding behind their menus.

    It only works once of course because if you have had a bad meal you will not reuturn.

    A good chef does not gain by his menu description, he gains by word of mouth. The best publicity for any chef is a satisfied customer and what will that custome say to friends and associates:

    " You really ought to try Chef Xyz's tarte tatin - it's out of this world" or does he say "You really ought to try Chef Xyz's tarte tatin with a garlic, bay leaf and cinnamon foam - it's out of this world".

    I think it would be the former. The chef is remembered and recommended for the main part of the dish and this is how it becomes a signature dish needing no frills just the initial words "Chef Xyz's so-and-so dish"

    One of the famous design sayings is that "Less is more" - this to my mind is true of food. Enjoy good food well prepared and presented and you need no frills.

  16. I think you are probably right - I would want to know about it being served with a garlic foam. I could then upset the chef by asking it to be served without the Foam!

    I think perhaps I have chosen a bad example to try and illsutrate the point I was trying to make or the two points.

    The first point is that more restaurants should concentrate on a range of simpler dishes.

    The second point is that more and more food etsablishments are employing copywriters instead of talented chefs.

  17. If I added something to my Tarte Tatin such as cinnamon it would be to enhance or change the flavour. In the true sense it would no longer be Tarte Tatin but what we are actually trying to say is that we creating a dessert in the "Tarte Tatin style" - it can only be Tarte Tatin if the original recipe is adhered to.

    I think the Tarte Tatin style dessert or savoury dish is very worthwhile creating with diffrerent ingredients (which reminds me I must make some more savoury ones to serve cold now the warmer weather has arrived).

    What I find pretentious is the attempt to add to a dish by adding to the menu description with

    garlic, cinnamon and bay leaf foam

    Describe it as the Chef's interpretation of Tarte Tatin served with ice cream and leave it at that. If a diner asks what it was served with that enhanced the taste then by all means say so and bask in the glory - don't be pretentious and arrogant before the dish is judged.

    A lot of very poor eating establishments now justify their chefs and their prices merely by the menu description - Sirloin of Beef served with Jus de Boeuf - my God, its beef with gravy!

    Whether the Foam adds to or not (in this case) is not the issue. The issue is the use of such pompous descriptions.

  18. I read this in another thread:

    a magisterial tarte tatin (for 2), one of the best I've ever sampled. It came with good ice cream, and a tasty but superfluous garlic, cinnamon and bay leaf foam.

    To my mind Tarte Tatin is one of the world's great desserts. It should be served with no more than cream or a good ice cream. Simple and an outstanding dessert. Why do chefs, presumably encouraged by the food critics, presume to mess about trying to show off - creating something for the sake of creating it.

    In the world of design there is a saying that "there is no longer anything new". I am inclined to believe this is largely true of good food. It has all been done before in one way or another. What is wrong in repeating a great dish - just because it originated somewhere else does not make the chef any less great in his skills. He is still to be admired.

    Menus with a dish described like I have quoted above would send me running a mile. Does the chef need to tell you what is served with the tarte tatin - is he trying to impress by the description? Won't a great dish speak for itself?

    I blame Fusion food for all this messing around which has led to a competition to see who can write the weirdest and longest sounding menu.

    These menus can only be for food snobs!

    Let the great chefs stand up and be counted - simple descriptions with the food doing the talking. That would show who was great and who wasn't!

    :laugh:

  19. I was only looking at the recipe the other day on some packaging and thought it might be rather good fun to start collecting them. I have been musing with the idea of running a section on Hub-UK dedicated to such recipes. Anyone got any thoughts on that?

    It would also be fun to try and collect the older recipes a bit like people used to collect things like cigarette cards, etc.

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