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petit cochon

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Everything posted by petit cochon

  1. I haven't lived in the Marylebone area since 2008, so my tips may be a bit out of date... However, there used to be a fantastic delivery-only pizza spot - 752 degrees pizza - on Dorset Street. It seemed to operate out of the basement below another restaurant - Hardy's - which was certainly still there as of a few months back, though I didn't notice the pizza delivery bikes. Phoenix Palace - as mentioned above - really is a solid Chinese delivery option: http://www.phoenixpalace.co.uk/ Will try to think of others, but those are the two that stand out in my memory... We recently visited London with our then-8-month-old and did manage dinners at both St. John (couldn't resist!) and Cafe Caldesi (downstairs, which is more casual). Both restaurants had high chairs, in both cases we inquired about this and whether it would be ok to bring the baby. At St. John we managed to time things so that she slept on the way there and up until the first course was served - she then ate a bit and played with toys for a bit, by which point we were able to make a fairly graceful exit, take-out brownies from the bakery in tow for dessert back at our hotel. At Cafe Caldesi we ordered the bread plate straight away so that we had something to offer the baby and kept things relatively short. Either spot may be worth a try, as they both seemed relatively baby-friendly - though I certainly realize that a large degree of timing - and luck - is also involved!
  2. I need to do further experimenting, but had good initial results using the 'brown sugar bear'. Added the bear to tupperware along with leftover scones and their texture didn't seem to deteriorate nearly as much as I've previously experienced with other baked goods - still very enjoyable and fresh-tasting (to me) after several days. Of course I've never made scones before, so could just be that they are more forgiving. Anyhow, will try again with muffins (which prompted my original question) and report back!
  3. Kim - thank you! That's clotted cream and strawberry jam on the scones. Very decadent, but sooo delicious!
  4. petit cochon

    Dinner! 2010

    Meant to add these a few days ago when I made them, but better late then never! Leftover braised shortribs, roasted veggies, and cauliflower puree became pot pies. Pre-crust: Finished product: Looking forward to experimenting with more leftover-inspired pot pies this winter!
  5. Technically this was my SECOND breakfast of the day, but at 30 weeks pregnant I hear I'm allowed to do that! Wanted to make a practice batch of scones since they will be my contribution to my baby shower tea in a couple of weeks. So yummy!
  6. petit cochon

    Short Ribs

    I just did braised short ribs tonight, actually! Rainy day here, so felt like something warm that I could serve over leftover roast cauliflower (repurposed as a mash). My braise wasn't a recipe so much as just what I had on hand, but it seemed very seasonal so I went with the 'see what happens' approach. Braising seems to be fairly forgiving because the result was very flavorful! I'm encouraged to experiment again! This round what I used was essentially: couple of onions, carrots, celery, and garlic cloves; a pumpkin beer plus a beer bottle-full of water; half a can of pumpkin puree (leftover) and about as much tomato puree (also leftover); a few sprigs of each thyme and rosemary.
  7. Plum Tart, I'm sad to hear that future batches may be freezer bound - was hoping there was some way to stretch the 'shelf-stable' window a bit - but am thankful to learn from your experience! I'll try the freezer approach next time. How do you recommend defrosting for optimal texture? How long do you find that muffins keep in the freezer? One other last-ditch idea just occurred to me too - I may try to find one of those clay (I think?) things that I've seen marketed as brown sugar 'savers' and seal in a bag w/ a muffin. Or, easier still, maybe rice (have heard of that being done w/ salt)? Anyone tried that? Will do a little experimenting w/ all of the above once I finish this existing batch and am ready for more!
  8. Thanks for the thoughts! Hmm... No sugar on top. I did use foil muffin liners - the bottoms didn't seem moist, just the tops that were exposed to air (inside tinfoil). Even in tupperware (in the past) moisture seems to be an issue... do the muffins (etc.) give off some sort of moisture that gets trapped in the surrounding air when I wrap them? Would I be better off not wrapping them at all or just wrapping in kitchen towels or some other breathable material? I don't really know what the issue is here!
  9. We like omelets and salad on nights when we need an "instant" dinner.
  10. I feel like I am missing something obvious here. I'm never sure how to store homemade baked goods - muffins, cookies, cakes, etc. seem to change texture overnight. My pumpkin muffins were so good out of the oven yesterday afternoon; this morning they have a slightly sticky surface after having spent the night in a tinfoil parcel. I've tried tupperware too - doesn't seem to yield better results in my experience. Am I missing a trick here? How do you store your baked goods?
  11. I recommend taking a browse through the Mario Batali cookbooks - some of our favorite non-tomato pasta dishes are adaptations thereof. Some that have made recurring appearances in our kitchen include a goat cheese/fennel pollen/orange zest sauce (I think that was adapted from a ravioli recipe?) and a roast cauliflower/mint/red chili flakes/bread crumbs pasta (w/ olive oil & garlic). I'm not sure which book specifically either of those are from... We improvised a really yummy summer pasta the other night: mushroom tortellini tossed with grilled corn (cut off of the cob), grilled zucchini (chopped), and sage-butter. Another somewhat unusual favorite is a combo my husband discovered: pasta w/ beets, sauteed onion, goat cheese, and beet greens. I also *love* the sausage/broccoli rabe/red pepper flake/parm combo. We do carbonara occasionally, usually for brunch, and cacio e pepe is a comfort food / nothing-in-the-house-to-eat stand-in. The one preparation I really want to try but have not actually made (yet) is some sort of Sicilian inspired sardine/fennel/orange/raisin/breadcrumb type of concoction... Wow, it really sounds like we eat nothing but pasta! Not so... I'm actually currently on a pasta hiatus in order to 'save myself' for an upcoming trip to Italy!
  12. Am I too late? Nothing like a bit of kitchen clean-out to start a new year - although I didn't exactly plan the timing in advance, just couldn't motivate to shop this morning, created 'odds and ends' breakfast burritos then remembered this topic... I don't have much of a stockpile, especially since I was away for Christmas, but I'm pretty sure I can go for a week. This morning, aforementioned burritos: leftover chinese take-out rice sauteed w/ minced onion, cherry tomatoes, & a spoonful of salsa; black beans; diced kielbasa mixed with scrambled eggs; grated cheddar. Rather mediocre - but saved us having to get dressed, brush snow off the car, drive to the store, etc. on a rather groggy New Year's morning! Dinner: I had a whole chicken in the fridge so tonight was easy. Roast chicken, added some diced potato and onion to the roasting pan. We also had a large package of arugula, so had salad w/ walnuts & dried cranberries. I feel like I got off easy tonight, but the days to come should take more creativity! Minced the leftover potatoes and onions w/ a bit of the leftover chicken - will have hash & eggs for breakfast tomorrow. Making chicken stock as we speak and have a decent amount of chicken leftover too. Wont get to use those tomorrow as we're having dinner at the in-laws' (and maybe breakfast the next day) but I'll report back thereafter!
  13. I saw these brewing kits at Brooklyn Flea's holiday market and thought they looked like a really fun gift - esp b/c they have fun holiday flavors (I'm clearly not a beer purist!): http://brooklynbrewshop.com/store/
  14. My supermarket cookie staples: Walkers Shortbread Highlanders Jules Destrooper Chocolate Thins Pepperidge Farm Milanos In terms of candy, I find Haribo's gummy/marshmallow -hybrid frogs strangely compelling, even though I would be hard pressed to describe them as, well, GOOD. Also, Star Mix (thankfully NOT a temptation now that I'm back in the States!). And candy #3... I look forward to Cadbury Creme Eggs every spring - though 1 per year is generally more than sufficient!
  15. Was first introduced to dukka in Cape Town during my honeymoon this past August. Our hotel served it w/ soft-boiled eggs and toast soldiers for breakfast - we loved the combo so much that we have been replicating it at home (w/ dukka we brought back from South Africa). I've also been meaning to try this as a topping for home-baked pita served w/ hummus... actually, maybe tomorrow as part of my Halloween spread!
  16. Oh wow, that website looks great! Thanks for all of the suggestions! I'm going to do some experimenting and will report back w/ results...
  17. I've just had an epiphany - it's possible to make fresh chorizo?!?! In my kitchen?! I just stumbled across a recipe in my Sunset Mexican cookbook (browsing, thanks to various cookbook usage threads), which seems to indicate that it's as simple as mixing ground pork with chiles, onion, vinegar, various spices... Now this blows my mind because: 1) As a former SoCal native, I grew up on huevos con chorizo for breakfast. This is literally at the top of my must-eat list for visits home - probably because I have spent years coming to terms with the idea that elsewhere, chorizo seems to exist (almost) only as a dried product - not at all the same thing as far as I'm concerned. 2) I'm generally not a stupid girl. It's not like I thought chorizo grew on some rare warm-climate kind of tree... did I? OF COURSE it's a seasoned ground pork mixture! Why is this news to me?!?! Is it really as easy as just mixing up a batch using store-bought ground pork? Has anyone tried this? Will this really give me the 'real thing'? I'm going to try the Sunset recipe - but would love to hear others' recipes / experiences... Exciting times ahead for my freezer!
  18. My husband and I spent our honeymoon in South Africa this past August. You will love it! We only spent a couple of days in Cape Town, so I obviously have a very limited perspective - but I'm happy to share our dining experiences! We wanted to sample Cape Malay cuisine (your guide book probably provides much better context than I possibly could) and had a fantastic dinner at Bo Kaap Kombuis (which we had inadvertently been mispronouncing terribly, the actual pronunciation - to my American ear - sounded something like 'Boo Cap Kambay'). Our favorite dish was the bobotie - a baked meatloaf-meets-custard type dish which was fantastic because of the deliciously subtle spices. Not spicy, but spiced - my memory of the flavors several months later is that they were almost similar to pumpkin pie spices. Definitely unique. The restaurant also has an incredible view - we were sad that we had to arrive after dark due to a very delayed flight. That being said, the restaurant was happy to change our booking to a later time - turned out that we were one of only two tables in an otherwise empty restaurant (and I think our later dining time wound up being at around 8pm). So, definitely not a vibe-y place, at least when we were there, but we were happy to have had the experience. Oh, and also be aware that they don't serve alcohol. For our second dinner, we opted to try Bizerca. We wanted to try a spot that seemed like someplace we might eat if we actually LIVED in Cape Town, and, as such, were more interested in trying some local creative cooking than in having a more formal tasting menu-style meal. Obviously not everyone's approach to dining in a new city, but Bizerca lived up to our hopes for the evening. Delicious, intense flavors - I recall loving the oyster dish (local oysters were consistently great throughout SA), fantastic ravioli of some sort, delicious scallop/trotter dish, and an interesting tongue preparation w/ a vinegar-y herb/caper (?) sauce - unfortunately I can't remember more details as this was the very beginning of our 2-week honeymoon and I wasn't taking notes! I do remember that they recommended a pinotage that turned out to be one of our favorites of the trip (we're wine people, but don't know South African wines so had mixed luck). It's also worth noting that this was one of the few restaurants we visited where most patrons seemed to be locals. We also enjoyed a casual lunch at Manna Epicure - fairly central on Kloof Street and we didn't want to make too much of a production out of lunch since we had limited time to walk around and explore the city. We shared some sort of grazing platter that was very good - and I think I recall that they bake their bread on location? I'm guessing you've already sorted out your accomodations, but if not, we LOVED our hotel: Les Cascades de Bantry Bay. It was a quick cab ride (10-15 mins?) away from everywhere we went 'downtown', had an amazing view overlooking the sea, and the breakfasts there were hands-down my favorites of the entire trip: eggs w/ dukkah (explained to me as a spice/seed/nut mix), toast soldiers, and pancetta-wrapped asparagus. Yum! Where else will you be visiting? Happy to provide any further rec's, as relevant!
  19. The Saffron Panna Cotta recipe from the Babbo cookbook is excellent! One of my go-to desserts... I usually serve w/ grapefruit and mint.
  20. Snowangel, thank you so much for saving me from a big disappointment! Glad I asked! Good advice re keeping the ma po separate - I'll come up w/ some other use for the rest of the tofu while it's still fresh!
  21. Thanks all for the cheese tips - sounds like I should be ok as far as broiling on the top of french onion soup is concerned! Just added some rocket pesto to my freezer stash... I'm definitely taking the 'building block' approach for the most part, although I'm thinking of trying to make (and then freeze) ma po tofu this weekend. Any good/bad luck freezing tofu?
  22. I'm very new to the whole 'stock the freezer' thing - but am very excited about the onion confit and rogan josh curry I've stashed away so far! Looking forward to experimenting over the coming months... but am wondering if anyone can share some dos / don'ts regarding freezing cheese? I seem to recall seeing elsewhere on EG that parm freezes well - but I'm guessing I might have varying degrees of success with other cheeses depending on moisture level? I think I'll toss the leftover Comte from my first batch of onion soup into the freezer w/ the leftover onion confit and see what happens! That way it will be on hand for next time - and it'll end up broiled anyway, so might be ok? I'm guessing that wouldn't be the case for, say, a half-eaten Epoisses on the other hand... ;-) Would be very interested to hear about others' experiences freezing various cheeses!
  23. Thanks for the recommendations on the restaurant review websites - and apologies for taking so long to reply! They were extremely helpful... We have now booked (much of) our dining itinerary and are so excited that this is now just a few weeks away... Here's what we have planned in/around Cape Town: Bo Kaap Kombuis Bizerca Bosman's Bread & Wine (lunch) Apparently the (unintentional) theme is restaurants that start with 'B'! Still need a CT lunch plan, but think we'll do something quick and easy since we don't have much time to explore as is... Maybe Manna Epicure? Or Zorina's? Further afield we have several dinners included w/ our accomodations (safari, etc.), but are also planning on trying Koornlands (we have a night in Swellendam), Ile de Pain (lunch in Knysna), and maybe the Grand Cafe in Plettenberg Bay. It was really hard to choose, since we have limited time (esp in CT) - in the end we decided to (mostly) forego the uber high-end spots in favor of (hopefully!) interesting, intimate (it is our honeymoon, after all!), fresh/local ingredient-inspired choices. Does it sound like we've created an appropriately varied 'Taste of South Africa'? We're really looking forward to it! Will report back...
  24. petit cochon

    Dinner! 2009

    I was particularly proud of Sunday night's dinner - sufficiently so to actually take a photo (!), so figured this is a good excuse to actually post for a change instead of just browsing! Here goes (I hope!)... Tomato Tarte Tatin! Based on a recipe from the Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook - I even tried my hand at making pate brisee from scratch, which was much easier than expected! I usually don't like to turn on the oven during the warmer months, but this was sooo summery and delicious! Served with steamed zucchini ribbons tossed w/ olive oil, s&p. I also made a chilled honeydew/yogurt/mint soup to start - which was a good thing, since dinner was rather late what with the making-crust-from-scratch and all...
  25. Has anyone eaten at Bizerca? Impressions? http://www.bizerca.com I can't recall where I saw it mentioned, but am finally beginning the restaurant booking phase for my August trip and am wondering if this should make the short list.
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