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Posts posted by britcook

  1. There's definitely an improvement, that dreadful voice over woman has been reined in (and she has finally been told there is no 'n' in restaurateur) and limited to brief intros and dish descriptions without the faux drama of previous series. Much less of the "life changing" schtick, more attention paid to the food and generally better editing with less repetition. Even the two presenters are being more forthcoming about the food on the plates and why they pick particular contestants. Still not great TV but it has lost a lot of the more annoying "features" of previous series.

  2. Back to the original question, a bit of cursory research points to Veal Cordon Bleu (or Schnitzel Cordon Bleu) from Austria or Switzerland as the source of that particular combination, it may have developed as Chicken Cordon Bleu in the US.

    Like lots of "classic" dishes whose reputations have been ruined by poor quality mass catering imitations, Chicken Cordon Bleu properly cooked with decent ingredients can still be a fine dish, albeit not quite the pinnacle of haute cuisine that it once was.

  3. His cooking is reminiscent of The Emperor's New Clothes.It is smarty pants bullshit to target a television audience.

    Who in their right mind would want to cook a Roast Chicken or Fish and chips in such a manner.

    Get a life Heston


    I take it you've never eaten at the Fat Duck? His exploration of ingredients and technique has produced some wonderful food and his current series about "everyday" foods is "In Search Of (Perfection)" so even if you don't care for the finished result, or think it's a waste of time, the search itself is fascinating. It's like a cruise which returns to its original point of departure, you may end up where you started but you've been to some interesting places on the way.

  4. I read Jay's review of Simpson's and think it's a fair assessment, but if you don't get to visit top class restaurants on a very regular basis then I don't think you'd get the sense of ennui that he had. That of course is the problem with critics, however good, in any field, they are looking for new, original, stimulating, because that allows their writing skills full rein, but most of us are just looking for a good product at a fair price. And you will get that at Simpson's.

  5. Say thanks but no thanks. Other than in the glass in front of you wine has very little visual appeal, so as far as TV is concerned a glass of Grange doesn't look any different to a glass of Yellow Tail, so how can you explain, in an entertaining fashion, what the difference is without sounding pretentious? Tasting notes or descriptions are inherently dull unless you have some reason for paying attention, and the average viewer is unlikely to have that reason. Couple that with the lack of national (or international) distribution of many of the more potentially interesting wines, so that people could actually buy the product they saw on screen, means your target audience is severely limited.

    To get the audience you'd have to get some kind of celebrity involvement, along with "experts" from the business - merchants, makers, growers, sommeliers - in some kind of competitive situation, say tastings "Guess the Grape(s)", name the country/price, find a wine to match this dish, design a label, all old ideas just given a tenuous wine connection.

  6. Am I the only one in step? After the rubbish that was the "new" Masterchef this is surprisingly intelligent with more cooking per show than anything I've seen for several years. The "celebrities", with the odd exception, turn out to be much better cooks than the aspiring Masterchefs of the regular series, and the comments from the two judges are much more enlightening, they actually manage to describe the dishes well. The only bad thing is that stupid woman doing the voiceover is as trite as ever.

  7. Israel is just one of several countries that make good wine, but nobody knows about them because they don't have any significant exports and when they do escape they do not usually present a good quality/price relationship in comparison to better known wines.

  8. You will get riper and better fruit, got to agree on that, which will normally produce better, more complex wine. But that doesn't mean you will necessarily get more "intense fruit" in the final product, that will depend on the vinification and the style of the wine.

  9. A new series of Masterchef, nightly on BBC1, with "celebrities" rather than regular folk. Still the same good ol' boys as presenters and annoying voice-over (India somebody or other) but far fewer of the annoyances and idiosyncracies of the normal series. There's more attention paid to the cooking and ingredients and, surprise, surprise (on the evidence of 2 programmes so far) these people can actually cook, one or two of them really well.

  10. An excellent presentation, and I like the concept of becoming a regular. Restaurants like regulars so when I make a phone booking I always start by saying, "Hi this is John Smith, I'd like to book a table...". It doesn't matter if you've never been before, the fact that you announce yourself like that gives them a strong hint that you probably have and that you should be looked after. Even if they know you're not a regular you might be somebody they ought to recognise, so anyways up you might get decent attention and if not you haven't lost anything.

  11. Norfolk is a bit of a culinary desert, there's Galton Blackiston's place of course so long as he stays in the kitchen (he'd be kind of scary in a dining room). Highly recommended is Adlards in Norwich, not easy to get into (quite small) so book well in advance.

  12. You've got two options, either he sells crap coffee to everybody or he has just singled you out. To eliminate the latter you need to get some of the stuff he sells to other people, their 'special' blends, so get a neighbour to let you try their particular blend, preferably by giving you the beans. You can return the gift later using some of your own 'special :hmmm: ' blend. That way you can see what the rest are getting and in the unlikely event that it is better than the stuff that you get you might get feedback when you supply the neighbour. If it's the same old rubbish then you know your neighbours have no taste.

  13. Well Essex keeps turning up these surprising places. Tried The Barn Brasserie at Great Tey (a few minutes off the A12 near Colchester). Great building, huge barn conversion, grade II listed and lots of people. It is what it says, a brasserie, so it's mostly grills, my first impression was of an upmarket Berni (for those who remember!), but that doesn't do it justice. My starter of teriyaki seared tuna loin was just perfect with that little spritz of ginger on the edge, crispy noodles were a bit pointless though. The smoked duck and venison terrine looked excellent, well defined pieces of meat, apparently tasted pretty good as did the smoked salmon and prawn roulades (all around a fiver). Not complex or cutting edge but decent food done well. Mains were a chateaubriand with bearnaise and fondant potatoes, perfectly executed and the night's special, venison with a chocolate based sauce was just what was expected. The assorted dessert plate was a little disappointing, although the individual desserts were surprising good. Decent wine list (Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blance at £35 although we had the rather fine 2004 Sauvignon Blanc Dillons Vineyard at less than £20. We tried the recommended red of the night, 2001 Rioja Crianza, Marques De La Concordia at £19 which was a fit and suitable accompaniment for the chateaubriand.

    Service was impeccable, worked on the team basis, and only at the end (a half bottle of Essenzia seemed to have difficulty finding our table, although assorted other Muscats did not) did it fall apart a little.

    Other than on Saturday night they have 3 course specials for £9.99, which given the overall quality seems like a bit of a bargain.

    The Barn Brasserie

  14. And even if she did have a view it wouldn't be worth anything, because she's not actually that interested in food. (I highlight once again that Brenda refuses to consume garlic, shellfish, spaghetti, tomato-based sauces, foreign water and rare meat...

    That's as maybe but she is the host for this beano so what matters is what she serves to her guests rather than what she eats. As for her reluctance to consume said items above, in her position with a busy schedule and food being prepared in 'unknown' kitchens to be eaten in public in a decorous manner seems like sensible precautions to me.

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