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Posts posted by britcook

  1. Much as I am moved to respond to your heart-rending plea I think I will hang on to the money which will almost certainly provide me with decent drinking for the next decade rather than the next month!

  2. I'm totally passive but fortunately had the luck to buy a house formerly (in the mid 19th century) run as a business by a local wine merchant who installed a wine cellar, compete with cask bins, in the already extensive cellars formed when they raised the original street level by about 6-8 feet. Year round tends to average 55 degrees with no more than a 5 degree slow swing either way. Slightly moist without being damp it seems to keep wine "forever", every once in a while we drag out "cellar remnants" which ought to be well past their best but are always drinkable and often superb. Oh the joys of living in a temperate climate!

  3. This morning the only thing off-balanced was me!

    And there you have the problem. I like a glass of wine...or two... with my evening meal, with an 11% wine that's OK, no problems the next day; try a 14+% blockbuster and things get "kinda wobbly". That's fine if you don't have a full day's work ahead of you, but for those of us trying to earn an honest crust to pay for our vinous enjoyment then over alcoholised wines are best avoided.

  4. Now, I'm thinking that if a winery, say, a large winery, had a lot of that to contend with, they might possibly want to just recall the wine instead, dump it into a tank, cold stabilize it to drop the crystals out, and repackage it. It would be cheaper, easier, and more marketable than trying to explain the concept of edible glass to consumers.

    Just a theory. I could be wrong. I dunno . . .

    I would respectfully and selfishly disagree. One of the ways I can add to my cellar without going into Chapter 11 is by buying wine that that is spurned by the "discriminating idiot". Some of us know that tartrate crystals, or a sediment, or other minor "abnormalities" have no real effect on the characteristics of a wine, so when wines with these signs are reduced in price because of general public antipathy we can swoop to top up the cellar with quality wines at "abnormally" low prices.

  5. It would be interesting to know the break down of consumer choice, obviously a lot of people are going for Australian wine in the £5-10 bracket, but if consumers were to spend say £20-40 would they pay that for an Australian wine or would it more likely be French?

    I think they're going for the £5-10 bracket because that is what they are presented with. Most consumers won't even think of spending more than £20/bottle retail, certainly not me, but even in the £10-20 range there is very little Australian on the shelves over here, although there is some and damn fine it often is.

  6. the word 'butt' should not be associated with food. lol

    Yep, especially Boston Butt and butt roast.

    Also, it bugs me when people pronounce the H in 'herbs'

    Funnily enough I find exactly the reverse! :wink:

    Personal pet peeve "Canning"

    Because it isn't. You are putting stuff in bottles or jars, cans don't figure anywhere

  7. I think that for ~£5-7 per bottle, which is about what these popular Australian wine sell for in the UK, better wine is to had from France, Spain, Italy etc.

    Better wine and, of course, worse. What you are getting from the Australians is consistency of product and a regular supply. I can buy Jacobs Creek all year round and the vintage differences are minimal, but the latest vintage of one of my French favourites from the Cotes de Gascogne has just gone off list again and won't be available till the next vintage release next year, and it may (or not) be as good as the last one. Hardys, Penfolds and the like make decent wine, it may ultimately lack that last touch of finesse or individuality but it's honest, well made and well priced.

    To try and get any useful knowledge of what is available from Europe is practically impossible unless you are prepared to put an inordinate amount of time into research and tasting, even if you concentrate on a specific area. This estate or that estate may produce exceptional wine this year, "priced to sell" as they say, but next year the wine may be worse, overpriced and no longer available from the same store due to a change of agency or importer or stocking policy. And this is before we have gone into aging or when the wine is ready to drink, a large number of European reds and even some of the whites are not at their best on release and need bottle age to reach their full potential, in some wines it might be a few months in others several years. Not a lot of use if you want to go out and buy a few bottles for your dinner party on Saturday.

    The Australians take their oenology seriously and have put a lot of time and money into research into viticulture and vinification techniques. They have taken the products produced and marketed them well, and met the needs of the everyday wine drinker so it is hardly a surprise that they have taken the market by storm.

  8. I'd certainly put Longueville Manor up there as World Class, although I've not been for a year or so. Although I wouldn't call it cheap, it is good value traditional French, and is certainly haute cuisine.

    Longueville is excellent, expensive for Jersey but still relatively cheap by normal Brit standards. Indeed world class food with impeccable service, very friendly too. Village Bistro turns out good food for the price but avoid the coffee - dire!

  9. The scary part is that Sutter Home is #3 which means there are still people drinking White Zinfandel...

    What IS this obsession with putting down White Zinfandel? OK so it's not a great wine but it is well made, i.e. it has no faults, for the undeducated palate it is approachable and served well chilled you can forgive the fact that it is a tad sweet for the more sophisticated palate. It doesn't present any kind of challenge and works well with most food, assuming you're not looking for a match made in heaven or something to complement your gourmet meal. I know it's bland, lacks body, length and complexity and I wouldn't normally drink it, but sometimes it just fits the bill. Not unlike coffee, we may normally prefer espresso or French Press but sometimes the very dullness of an instant coffee appeals. If you consider your taste too educated for White Zin that's OK, but as Craig says it's not a bad starter for those whose taste buds are still in kindergarten.

  10. It depends on what kind of garbage disposal you have becaue they range from the puny little continuous flow things that clog at the first hint of anything firmer than Jell-O to the big batch monsters that will handle anything up to and including a chicken carcass. The only thing they all hate is grease which can solidify downstream and generally clog the system.

  11. Ah, the Box Tree, I remember it well, first went there in '71 or '72 and it was the restaurant that sparked my abiding interest in food, at that time there were very few restaurants of that quality (Thornbury Castle and The Gavroche spring to mind) and certainly none that I had been to, it was, as they say, a revelation, an epiphany. The fixed price for three courses (before any extras) was £3.25, which was a hefty sum for food back then. Went regularly for 8 or 9 years before a new family and move out of the area stopped the pilgrimages to this gastronomic shrine but in all that time the food and service were always superb. Revisited about 5 years ago but under the new owners it was but a shadow of its former self, competent but not exciting. Anything that can bring back glory to this fabled establishment has got to be welcome.

  12. Unfortunately, that's not how it works. A better solution would be to send French winemakers a message by not buying their wines at absurdly high price points.

    There's simply too much good wine out there to be stuck with buying a label or a rating.

    After one or two vintages sitting on inventory, French winemakers might reconsider their pricing policies.

    Problem is, even under those circumstances, its probably not likely. :sad:

    Sadly there is a whole population out there that has more money than taste and so will buy whatever Mr Parker recommends, however ridiculous the price. Fortunately for me my preferences rarely coincide with his, and where they do, well I can live without high priced wines. Mind you if he ever got into an area that commands my affection I might have to seek him out and cauterise his taste buds to stop him ruining another market.

  13. I've been told by growers that the only grape that tastes like the wine made from it is gewurztraminer.

    Really? I've heard that about Riesling. Although considering the Gewurtz is a hybrid of Riesling and Traminer...

    Gewurtz is the German for "spicy", hence Gewurtztraminer is the "spicy Traminer" grape, a clone of the original Traminer. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Riesling, other than it can take on similar characteristics.

  14. Difference between a classic and a cliche? Not much in the dish, everything in the cooking. To stay strictly on topic, mango salsa when properly made and served with something appropriate (like salmon) it's a classic. When poorly made and served with something stooopid its a cliche. If enough places do a classic badly enough then everybody gets bored or annoyed with it, stops buying it and then its a fad which has passed. Sometimes a cliche gets revived, maybe with a new twist, and we get to enjoy again what made it so popular in the first place.

  15. I suppose the interesting thing about this thread is how many people have not responded to Dan's original question (what do you do if there's NOTHING wrong with the food but you just don't like it), which is kind of interesting, and given their views of what happens if there IS something wrong, which is not the same thing at all.

    For me, fortunately it doesn't happen often, it is when I am surprised by something on there that I didn't expect and wasn't advertised (like the excess of capers mentioned), or for me when looking for a small meal of grilled chicken it was served on a huge heap of linguini, not mentioned on the menu or by the server. The linguini was probably fine but I don't care for it in quantity and I was just out-faced, it had to go back. Not charged.

  16. ...with a colour coding of a big fat dot, on the corner of each board. So you remember: this board is for raw meat, this one for cooked, this one for veggies, this one for fish, etc. its fantastic!

    Been doing that for years...but where do you store the boards so that they don't come into contact (and contamination) with each other? My kitchen doesn't have storage space for a large number of individual boards so they all go in the same slot. At least I mean well.

    Other than taking measures against the more obvious forms of contamination, like raw chicken, I tend to be fairly relaxed about a lot of this stuff, I think (personal opinion only, no data to back it up) that you can be too clean and then you lose your immunities to minor bugs.

  17. I've had this exact same problem-- after setting the seared scallops aside, they leak a puddle of tasty juice (never-frozen, no-water-added, dry pack scallops). They look and taste great, but I'm still troubled by the juice loss. Will try the low oven finish method.

    What's all this worrying about "juice loss"? If your scallop is moist and tasty why should you worry about a little juice on the plate? Searing is NOT sealing (see McGee et al) and anything you cook in this high temperature fashion will leak a little if left to rest, even steaks.

    As others have said if your scallops are the correct size then a minute or less per side is ideal, and this also works for frozen, thawed and dried scallops, not just "fresh out of the sea" one. If your scallops are too big for this then you should either consider cutting them or using a different cooking method.

  18. My Mom always told me you salt for 2 reasons.

    1) flavor

    2) it raises the boiling temp of the water, and pasta tastes better and cooks faster in hotter water.

    She could be wrong, but I'm not going to argue with her.

    I was never good at science but isn't boiling water at a constant temperature of 212 F/100 C? It can't go higher. I think.

    Only if you use pure water, add a salt and it raises the boiling point (and lowers the freezing point), not that it would have much effect on the pasta.

  19. There are tiny Oxfordshire villages (such as Great Milton) which have pretty decent restaurants. :rolleyes:

    You are right about it being mostly pubs though.

    That definitely crossed my mind as did Bray, albeit in the next county, but the surprise was that Julian had the sort of optimistic naivety which thought there might be more than one in each village. If he'd have said "within 10 miles of Benson or Shillingford" then that's a question for which there is almost certain to be a positive recommendation

  20. Let me play devil's advocate here.. what would the reaction have been if I had said the owner was really rude and lectured the guys on wasting their food :raz:

    He's still right, let's face it other diners are going to pay for those asshole's bad behaviour, and if I was another diner there I'd help the owner throw them out.

    Not that I'd ever be there in the first place, buffet is spawn of the devil.

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