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Everything posted by Blether

  1. Blether

    Malt Vinegar

    An option for using malt vinegar is in British-style chutneys - apple chutney, tomato chutney and so on. In the past I made a mixed-fruit chutney, with part malt vinegar and part wine/fruit vinegar, that was close to - but better than, hah! - Branston Pickle. We've talked about Branston Pickle around here before, it was originally a Crosse & Blackwell product, I think.
  2. I made a batch of flapjacks. They wouldn't all fit in the biscuit box, so I wrapped the extra couple of pieces in foil. Basic ratio 3:3:4, sugar:butter:rolled/porridge oats. Sugar - 8oz soft brown + 1oz golden syrup Butter 9oz Oats 12oz pinch of salt I added sliced almonda and leftover broken cashews, chopped sultanas and chopped dried apricots. When I opened the bag of apricots they said "chocolate" very clearly, so I added 2oz milk chocolate to the melted butter/sugar mix. Next time I'd take an ounce or an ounce and a half out of the butter quantity to compensate, as the flapjack ended up a bit greasy underneath, but the little bit of chocolate works really well in the caramel. Which is ironic since the apricots that invited it disappeared, flavour-wise. They're in there and they're chewy, but their apricotness isn't assertive. Baked at 170C, in the end i think it was 35 minutes. Anyway, watching the colour and the state of the caramel to take them out so's they'll be nice & chewy. The tray being 20cm x 25cm (8" x 10"), they ended up about 3/4" thick. So I need a bigger tray to get the 1/2" I was aiming for.
  3. Blether

    Snakehead fish

    Have you had Snakehead before (I haven't), and how did you rate the result, Baron? What did you use in the forcemeat?
  4. Chilled Stolly and chilled kombu ponzu. Especially in the heat, when your electrolytes might need a boost. Non-alcohol version: iced water & KP. And I wasn't joking about champagne (methode champenoise) spiked with scotch whisky (blend / malt). There are lots of permutations, but where straight whisky can be challenging, champagne has a tendency to go glug-glug-glug and then you wonder where it went. Put them together!
  5. Gamberi al forno. We don't see scampi out in the shops here more than very occasionally. The prawns are 赤海老 aka-ebi "red prawns" from Argentina. Beurre "maitresse de knocking shop", no parsley when I went shopping, so mitsuba, garlic, black pepper, lemon juice: Ready for the oven. I only used about a teaspoon of the butter per prawn: And roasted: - the golden colour of the drippings is the natural cooked colour of the prawn juices: they're still liquid, not roasted dry, and just the right amount for the two slices of plain, fresh home-baked bread that went with them. Butterflying prawns from the front is harder than I expected, but I'm glad I did it. Eaten "col bacio" if I remember the Italian right. Smartphone cameras are great, but I reckon the lens cover needs to be easily replaceable. Everything I shoot now has a faint mist over it.
  6. How did you puree your rasps, and how thick was the result? Is it possible you could apply the rings of puree with either a flat piping nozzle or a small, flat brush? They didn't bother with the swirl effect in that photo, as far as I can see.
  7. It seems I instinctively like, and have to 'like' every meal you post, Ann_T. My name is Blether and I'm an Ann_T fanboy. There, I said it. Another quiche (I put the last one in Dinner! but the clock doesn't lie and this one has to come here). Mature cheddar and home-cured bacon, this time. I've got the crust much more the way i want it now - and to think that if I go to the French bakery across town that does the best quiche (albeit adulterated with lumps of boiled spud! Sort it out, guys), they'll charge 5 bucks per 1/6 slice. Last time with the bought in smoked ham, I reckoned I'd spent about 11 bucks for the whole thing. This time it'd be around 10. "Coffee not included", the blurb would have to say. Ten minutes out of the oven:
  8. So many Rice Cooker threads... I'm not a user, but was talking with a chap yesterday, who is, it turns out: "What do you like to cook?" says I. "I like to make spicy Asian stuff like Tom Yam Kun. Also roast beef". Oh, says I, "how do you make roast beef ?" "Well", says he, "we don't have an oven, so I buy a piece of beef thigh (aka round, I guess?), sear it in a pan, then put it in the 炊飯器 / suihanki / rice cooker, and put it on "temperature hold" for about 20 minutes". A piece of beef weighing about half a kilo / a pound or so, apparently.
  9. What's the secret?
  10. Blether

    Breakfast! 2014

    Kim, yes, that makes sense. I grew up with a spicier (black or white pepper, not chilli) sausage and I miss them. On trips to the States and in Americanised venues I've noticed that the 'standard' American style is milder. I love the combination of the pepper burn in my mouth with hot breakfast tea.
  11. Blether

    Breakfast! 2014

    Hey, Kim. Since we're talking about sausages - what is it that's good about the Wrights? What are the flavours? How peppery/spicy hot is it?
  12. I have a plan to make lamb sausages with garlic, black pepper and heavily-reduced red wine. And no rosemary! I've never heard of fennel pollen as a food ingredient. I'd have expected you to grind up fennel seeds? That said, building around fennel and aiming for complexity, I'd look at heavily-reduced white wine, brown-fried onions, maybe a splash of a compatible vinegar and your choice of pepper - chile/black/white/as you like, just enough to give some character without being hot. Maybe green peppercorns, for me. If you're interested strictly in spices, then apart from pepper, yes, mace, and also allspice & coriander are traditional as ingredients in British sausages, at least. ETA - oh, and won't your meat counter grind for you?
  13. Steady prices here in Tokyo, in the right places but retail and in retail quantities, are: Ground USD4.50/lb Good chuck roll USD8/lb Rib-eye was cheap for a while after the GFC when the yen stayed strong (USD12/lb), but is now back to like USD19. Tenderloin's not much more. Clod, round, silverside are all around or under USD5/lb. - all for imported beef, western-style.
  14. Or, FauzPas, you could go for a fat-based extraction, for "maybe even the best [shrimp pasta] preparation possible" TM
  15. FauxPas, why not try this? As soon as you get the prawns home, rinse one, pull off he head, put the open end to your mouth, gently squeeze the sides of the head together.and suck in. That's a great way to enjoy such fresh, whole saltwater prawns - the flavour's similar to the brown parts of crab. No need to cook. Marcella Hazan's Pink Shrimp Sauce with Cream (Google) is another.
  16. paulraphael, yes, I understood the situation in the US, thanks. I thought I'd point out that it's not all plain-sailing in Japan, either. It's corruption, which exists everywhere, but the food-industry corruption is particularly widespread in a way that I don't recognise from back in the UK. "We bought insecticide-tainted rice licensed only for industrial use, but sold it on to food manufacturers as fit for human consumption". Huh?!
  17. Anna - I'm pleased with the way it turned out. 4 eggs & 375ml milk, so it's a light quiche, no cream. The good-quality smoked ham really makes it - one of the best uses for the ham, I'm guessing. It makes putting it in a sandwich seem like a waste.
  18. I made a quiche - it's been a while. Smoked ham & mature cheddar. First slice out of the tin:
  19. And it wouldn't be like the Japanese (link #1: 2002) to mis-represent (link #2: 2008) food products (link #3: 2013) to the consumer... From link #1: "Tokyu Store Chain said 26 packs of meat falsely labelled as Matsuzaka beef were sold at a shop operated within one of its supermarkets..." From link #2: "Cheap American pork used in school lunches was reportedly mislabelled as domestically produced by staff at Seiniku Ishikawaya, a meat wholesalers, in a bid to obtain a higher price" From link #3: "A traditional ryokan-style hotel in the ancient capital of Nara said it used Australian beef but labelled it as high-end Japanese “wagyu” beef, among other things" (these three quotes just skim the surface, even within these three articles). ... much.
  20. My guess is, Nonna lived in a time & place (and climate) where minced meats were less reliably hygienic than those in a modern American supermarket.
  21. "Wagyu" 和牛, literally "Japan beef" is what Japan calls its own beef. In English, "Wagyu" has also come into use as the name for the breed of cattle that's raised in Japan for this beef. So you can now get Wagyu from Australia, for example, where some enterprising farmers raise this breed in the Japanese style. It'd need a better legal expert than me to tell you how reliable "Kobe beef" is as a designation - whether you can trust that something in a store labelled "Kobe beef" is actually beef produced in the Kobe area.. Kobe is an old port city in Western Japan, which is famous for producing this kind of beef, finely marbled with fat for genetic and 'lifestyle' (ha ha) reasons. In the Kobe area, there are further designations for smaller areas such as "Matsuzaka beef". Some people will tell you that Matsuzaka beef is "the best". To my personal taste, Kobe beef is a game that's not worth the candle. I was raised on grass-fed beef in the western style, and I look for that beefy flavour and juiciness. I find Kobe beef to be too unctuous and to be lacking in flavour - like eating melted butter. Melted butter's great, but in small quantities and not at USD100/lb. I much prefer Yamagata beef, from Yamagata in the north of the country. Meat-eating is only fairly new in Japan as a widespread phenomenon (not even 200 years). Traditionally the fatty parts of fish were highest prized for their nutritional value and flavour. Some of that culture has carried over into meat-eating, with the sad result that you can be served some very off-putting meat dishes here, with lumps off un-rendered and un-roasted fat in them. It's also worth noting that, again culturally, the meat trade has traditionally been an outcast occupation. Butchers and tanners belonged to an Edo-era underclass, and today there remains prejudice against families engaged in the meat trade.
  22. Blether

    Breakfast! 2014

    Cat - well, what's normal, after all? If collagen is what the butcher uses (and he's a good butcher), that's my normal right away. Why would I want to fuss about sourcing hard-to-find expensive animal gut casings, fiddling about rinsing the salt out and footering around trying desperately not to tear them? These things are easy to work with and they cook up nicely and taste good.
  23. Blether

    Breakfast! 2014

    And Smithy - the pork is from Canada. So, thanks.
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