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Posts posted by britcook

  1. Reasonably easy, but then again I do live closer to France than most of you. Of course I don't get a certificate because I don't live in the US so I used a fake id to enter. Some guy in Iowa is going to be mighty surprised.

  2. What is a marrowfat pea? Colouring tablet? What color? More importantly, WHY?

    A marrowfat pea is just another variety of pea, one of the many pulses available around the world. The colouring tablet is mainly bicarbonate of soda along with some Brilliant Green dye to bring back the colour to the dried pulses. The colouring isn't strictly necessary but saves them from turning out a pale greyish colour. I suppose you'd compare mushy peas (or their predecessor pease pudding) with things like dal/dahl or polenta, not particularly wonderful on their own but they add to the rest of the meal.

    And for Chris with the Homer expression, it was just that the apostrophe cropped up in unexpected places (potato's) and didn't appear where it might have done (em). Original :rolleyes:

  3. Mushy peas are a basic and cheap filler, with no redeeming gourmet qualities. But after a few beers a meat pie (British or Australian), chips (that's British chips) and mushy peas hit the spot. Take dried marrowfat peas, soak them overnight, add a colouring tablet and boil them until mushy, add lots of salt. Perfect meal.

    And Chris wins this week's prize for creative use of the apostrophe.

    Edit to add that they must, absolutely must, be individual pies.

  4. These are occasions when the British sense of humour and irony can be useful. In response to compliments on the meal I can usually say something like, "I know, absolutely dreadful wasn't it but I'm glad you found something to enjoy" or, "Thank you, it wasn't bad for an amateur/beginner/supermarket takeaway". Wouldn't work in the US, they'd think you were being serious.

  5. (And of course the stupid publishing-industry-wide practice of measuring flour by volume makes this impossible to remedy.)

    Insert the word "American" between "stupid" and "publishing". Most of the rest of the world (where cooking is a pleasure not just a necessity) weigh the ingredients.

    Of course the weights can still be wrong.

  6. The Mikasa looks very elegant but the only problem is, as with the Oneida, it comes in a set. Now it's fine if the set has everything you want but where are you if you want to add other pieces, either as a supplement or to replace damaged stuff. You need to identify ranges which are reasonably extensive and you can get by the piece. Unless you're planning to replace them again in a few years make sure you don't buy a "one-off" or end-of-line special because replacements will be impossible in the future. Nearly 30 years ago we bought a beautiful set of WMF flatware for 4. A couple of years later we wanted to increase the number to at least 6, probably more. Discontinued. Couldn't buy it anywhere, including direct from the manufacturer. Learned that lesson well. Since then we bought stock lines and always more than we needed at the time.

  7. Unless you're flying business class your biggest problem is going to be weight. May airlines nowadays have reduced the wright allowance and are being much stricter about enforcing it. Excess baggage charges are going to rather negate the great price you found for your choice of wines.

  8. The point of ordering the dégustation menu for me is not only to try many things, but also to let the chef design the prosession of the food for me.  Batterave en gelée followed with Batterave Rôti was just too much, except perhaps for a dégustation menu of beets, but that's not the case here.

    Rather missed the point for you didn't I? :unsure:

    But others are quite happy to declare that they won't eat common ingredient x under any circumstances, which can be a little limiting.

  9. If you don't like it, get over it. Two choices, if you have an option don't order it, if it's forced on you leave it. I admit that generally I'm Mr Picky but with a menu degustation I always try everything presented, not always with a wonderful outcome but often with some unexpected surprises. Unless you have a physical aversion/reaction (and that's common) just do it. For the Food God just clear your plate.

  10. I'm sorry but you guys are not trying hard enough to be awesome. Set the rules. "I cook what I can and what I'm good at". If they don't like it then tough s**t. I cook for myself and if others don't like it then, to quote GWTW, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a d**m". It may not help family relations (although mine have no problems) but it does make your kitchen a happier place.

  11. I'm going again on Sunday and plan to do just that after a few pints @ The Old Neptune.  :biggrin:

    Now there's bad timing, I've a prior commitment (picnic in Ash) otherwise I'd have made the 20 minute trip to Whitstable to share a beer or two. Echo the comments about the Sportsman. Excellent. For those that want to spend a weekend try an overnight in Read's at Macknade Manor in Faversham, just up the road.

  12. My Aunt who orders white wine on the rocks.  If the server/bartender asks which white wine she'd like.  Whatever is the cheapest is her reply.

    She wants something cold, reasonably long and not too alcoholic, she has no taste and doesn't understand wine so she orders the cheapest wine wine on the rocks. 'Sup with that? At least it has no pretension.

  13. Been collecting since we got our present house, which is over 20 years ago. Fortunately in the middle of the 19th century our house was a wine merchant and we have proper wine bins and barrel spaces (although some idiot bricked up the barrel spaces). 12 bins which could hold about 10 cases each if racked out, more in case storage. Personal stock usually runs up to 300 bottles (depending) with the same again for our wine club. Temperature is usually a steady 55 F year round although in the current heat it has reached 60. Just slightly moist rather than damp. I may not have the best collection but I keep it in superb condition.

  14. There are many techniques that growers can use to deal with climate, but mother nature is just too strong and will determine if at the end of the vintage you have the potential to create a great wine or not.

    Oh absolutely, and even if mother nature gives you ideal conditions that's just half of it. And sorry for my incorrect use the definite article in front of key, sloppy grammar (again!)

  15. Well right up to a point. The best wines are generally grown "on the margin" of viability from the point of view of climate, terroir and viticulture. To some extent you can mitigate the effect of too much sun by canopy management, or by early harvest, but the key issue for wine makers is that it doesn't get too cold or too wet before harvest which can ruin the whole crop. As most of them like to make at least some money it makes sense to be able to harvest 100% of your grapes every year even if you only get 95% quality rather than lose half your harvest in the quest of making "perfect" wines. So SethG is right that quality may suffer if nothing is done about it, but revising viticulture and vinification may enable the quality to be retained.

  16. Recycle? Of course I recycle. I use what we call "trolley bags", heavy duty reinforced plastic with decent wooden handles, two fit in an average supermarket trolley. They get used week in, week out, with a thermal bag for chilled stuff (also re-used). I can never understand why north American supermarkets use these paper/plastic bags that you then have to do something with.

    edit to add that I have lost more than one paper bag because of an insecure grip. I'll stick with my wooden handles.

  17. Great article. Point to remember all sherry starts life dry. All port starts life sweet. Another point to rememer, nothing else hits the spot quite like a sherry if you're in need of "something" to lift the day. Still the great bargain, you would be hard pressed to pay more than $50 for the best examples of the excellent wines of Jerez. Where else can deliver that kind of value? And of course it keeps well. Buy now before the "idiot crowd" realise what they're missing.

  18. I'm not sure about ceding to the professionals but I suspect that many people have cut down or given up on desserts because of their excess sugar/calorie/fat/carb counts. We normally just have a simply prepared fruit dessert, mixed red fruit with a splash of framboise, pineapple and mango with kirsch, that sort of thing. Baking and chocolate work tends to be kept for dinner parties.

  19. Times are tough and hotels (and other operations) either can't put up their prices or have to discount heavily to attract custom. This means you can get some very eye catching headline rates through your discount broker of choice. But on that the hotel is making no money. So the easiest place to insert the profit is at breakfast, the customer is almost captive unless they want to get fully prepared for the street just to go and get a coffee and carb infusion. In the evening it's much easier to find alternative eating arrangements, so breakfast gets the price hike. It's not quite as bad as the car rental business where your $20/day headline rental ends up costing more like $80 when you've added the assorted insurances, waivers, fees etc., but that's a different story.

  20. This was included in a recent South African wine tasting and most tasters thought it was a reasonable pastiche of Cotes du Rhone in all senses. Not elegant, but well made and at the price point excellent value for money.

  21. So, what were the health problems associated with White Spot burgers?

    Apparently there was a serious outbreak of food poisoning (although the details are vague at this time and distance). As for burgers, I might as well admit it that I think the burger is vastly overrated. For sure a good burger, a really good burger, is delicious, but then again difficult to find. None of those I've seen (or smelt) in a fast food place look anything like a good burger. Well except the ones in their advertising posters of course.

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