Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Profile Information

  • Location
    London, UK
  1. Baggy

    Ris de caneton

    I’m building a menu from my recently purchased copy of Pierre Gagnaire’s Cuisine Immédiate. I have taken an instant like for the ‘Endives aux poires, poêlée de ris de caneton en bigarade’. Mr Gagnaire describes ris de caneton as having “…unusual delicacy but must be eaten very fresh.” Some questions: Am I right to interpret ris de caneton as duckling sweetbreads? If so, can anyone give me a ‘Technicolor’ description of taste and texture. Where on a duckling is it/are they located? Are they thymus or pancreas or what? I would love to find a source – anything in London? I can’t imagine my local Waitrose will have any in stock, so what’s a good alternative? I’m sure I can get veal sweetbreads, and this is my current first choice alternative. Any other recipes for ris de caneton?
  2. Thanks for the responses. As for searing – this is not the issue. I have tried searing the steak when cold (registered at 3-5C) and before putting in the water bath. Searing on a hot pan (measured at 280-310C with an IR thermometer) for 30 seconds a side increases the internal temperature by around 4-6C for a 2 cm thick steak; not as hot as e_monster suggests, but nowhere near enough to overcook. Less searing time is insufficient to produce significant browning and, even at 30 seconds, whilst acceptable in appearance the grey surface colour shows through the griddle marks. Searing for 60 seconds a side gives a much better look. Searing after the steak has been brought up to 52C is a problem, as the searing pushes a medium-rare into the realms of medium or medium-well done (2 cm steak). As the internal colour of a steak like a rib eye (which has two different muscle blocks) can be pink in one and grey in the other, I favour the theory that it’s the deoxygenation/denaturation of myoglobin causing the grey colour problem. Which leaves me with the question – is there a way of handling the meat so that denaturation of myoglobin is minimised? Douglas – in your extract from Lawrie you mention co-precipitation as a possible cause. Do you have any more detail on this? As I understand it, supermarkets often package meat in a modified, high oxygen or carbon monoxide atmosphere to preserve the pinkness and I came across this link on using rosemary to perform the same trick (anyone tried this?). Any ideas how I can test the increased oxygenation alternative. Short of soaking the steaks in hydrogen peroxide in a pressure cooker (unheated), I’m at a loss as to how I can increase internal oxygen levels. (edited to add carbon monoxide reference)
  3. I might be a few months late, but check out this link for Pierre Hermé making macarons with almond paste.
  4. I’ve been experimenting with cooking steak sous vide and have come across an issue with the colour of the meat. I’m using a chamber vacuum machine and pulling down to around 50 mbars before cooking at 52C for a rare/medium rare finish for anywhere between 20 and 90 minutes. As expected, the meat is moist and has the expected texture (although this varies widely depending on the quality of the meat and length of ageing). Problem is the colour. Depending on which muscle groups are included, the colour is verging on grey (with a pink tint). It’s not the meat as I’ve done comparisons with the same lot of steak grilled vs sous vide, and grilled comes out pink. Also, some steaks come out with one of the muscle blocks a good red colour (as expected), but the other block a dreary grey. First question is why? Second, how do I stop this from happening?
  5. Fergal you are going to have so much fun! But I’m not sure that sous vide can conveniently done on the cheap in the UK – few/no secondhand water baths and no decent inexpensive vacuum packing machines. I started with a FoodSaver vacuum machine but found it unreliable in sealing bags. The vacuum they pull isn’t too great (not a problem if you’re just looking for something slightly better than an ordinary plastic bag, but no good for storage), and the cost of the bags is high. There are other external vacuum packing machines, but they are as expensive/more expensive than the FoodSaver and use the same type of costly engineered bag for packing (has ridges to allow the air to be sucked out). Having progressed to using a chamber machine, I use it many more times just because it’s easy and works really well. I also have a needle probe thermometer which goes through the pack. Apart from having major problems in maintaining a seal when the pack is floating around in the water bath, I find that I use it only when trying new food stuffs or new ideas. As the probe is so fine, it is much more responsive than a regular probe thermometer and I use it in preference to a regular probe most of the time (ie not for sous vide). But it’s a special bit of kit and I have not been able to find a cheap alternative. If you are committed to this style of cooking, I suggest skipping over the ‘make-do’ approach – you’ll only get frustrated and waste your money. I consider the water bath and vacuum machine to be essential – the needle thermometer is a ‘nice to have’, but you can manage without.
  6. Just in the middle of preparing some lamb’s tongues which I plan to chill, slice and make up as sandwiches with mustard. Last time I brined the tongues for 24 hours, soaked them and then boiled for 90 minutes with some aromatics, but the tongue was tough. I presume it was overcooked. I have seen recipes giving time for boiling lamb’s tongue for as little as 45 minutes and others for longer. I’d like to find the best conditions for cooking lamb’s tongue sous vide in a water bath. I’m guessing that tongue will be less full of connective tissue than say pig’s head (cooked at 68C for 36 hours) or pig’s ears (85C for 36 hours), but I have no benchmark for timing or temperature. Any ideas?
  7. Douglas, still trying to catch up. Does this mean that the rate limiting step to achieve any given internal temperature is not the interface between the water and food, but the rate of heat diffusion within the food?
  8. pounce – you are my link master! Now I have to figure out which pump. Any ideas which of the less expensive aerators sit outside the bath (not in it)?
  9. sygyzy – you’re right, and I was expecting a difference. What I didn’t know until I tried it was how big a difference there is between items of different geometries. Initially I started with a simple theoretical model based on Peter Barham’s formula included in his book ‘The Science of Cooking’. Unfortunately, the experimental approach seems to be at variance with the theory. So, I pose the question – has the theory been subjected to any real-world testing? I’m feeling my way in this area and have the impression that we are not quite ready to recommend a 20 mins a lb approach. e_monster – thanks for the thought. I’ve been measuring the water temperature and find some minor variation depending on location within the bath. What surprised me was the additional variation caused when a pack is added – the temperature is consistently higher than the thermostat setting. So I figured that some circulation might help. After a long conversation (convoluted) with my local aquarium shop I came away with some doubts about using a circulating pump due to the high temperatures (and kit in the UK doesn’t seem to be as inexpensive as in the US). I guess that an aerator seems to work OK for you – how much stuff can you put in the bath before the circulation is slowed?
  10. pounce – thanks for posting the link. Happy I can track the storage temperatures back to a reviewed source. Douglas – Great work! Love the egg pictures – looks just like the ones that come out of my water bath. Do you have experimental data that confirms the heating/cooling tables you’ve put together? For example, I’ve found that in the case of a sausage vs the same thickness piece of meat, the sausage ‘cooks’ a good deal faster (measured with a probe thermometer), so geometry could be an additional factor. Any idea if there is a measurable difference between the use of a circulating and non-circulating bath? I’ve only got a non-circulating bath, and haven’t found an inexpensive way of pushing the water around at, say, 70C so I can test the difference.
  11. I think it’s fabulous sharing this information. Could you give the source. Obviously, this type of information on storage times/temperatures cannot be easily verified and is pretty safety-critical. I’d like to use the data, but clearly it would be difficult to justify without a reference. Thanks.
  12. Not exactly the same as sabayon, but I have made Swiss meringue using a bowl in the waterbath set to 70C. Unsurprisingly it works OK. The downside is the additional height of the waterbath makes beating the egg white less convenient. Also a bowl in a bain marie is a good fit. A bowl in an open waterbath isn’t, so it takes more firmness to hold the bowl and there’s a good chance of the water being ejected over the edge once the whites start to stiffen. So on practical grounds I’m sticking to a saucepan of hot water.
  13. I have been looking up some charcuterie terms and came across ‘palais’ as one of the abats rouges. There seems to be very little reference to this, and certainly no recipes that I can find. The closest I can find is that palais might be the stuff that divides the vault of the mouth and the nasal cavities. I think I can believe it if this is the same as the soft palate – but, honestly, how big is a cow’s soft palette? Is palais taken from any other animal, or only beef? How big is it and how is it prepared?
  14. I was looking up the different types of cream and came across this site (only in French). The site does say that crème fraîche épaisse is thick and slightly acid (sour) from fermentation. From the list, crème fleurette would be closest to a heavy cream with 30+% fat content. I found it mildly amusing (I think this means confusing!) that crème fraîche can apply both to generic ‘fresh cream’ and to cultured crème fraîche.
  15. Baggy

    Popping rice

    I must say that I’ve been somewhat distracted away from my rice puffing by the fabulous taste of gougères – now my technique is a little better I can get back to the rice… iguana - it’s not especially the popping, but I suspect that if the moisture inside the rice grain isn’t contained in some way then it is probably that the grain won’t puff either. I guess the popping is just a consequence of the steam bursting out rather than leaking away. I’ll go for either.
  • Create New...