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Everything posted by &roid

  1. Wow! Just WOW. I want one of those so much. Wonder if I can get something in the UK like that... Actually, I'm in New Jersey at the moment, maybe I'll try and find a Home Depot, would this fit in a suitcase? How big is it?
  2. Agree completely, it is source of great disappointment to me that some of my favourite cookbooks (bouchon, ad hoc, les halles) have volumetric measurements. Using grams is so much easier, so much better that it's frankly bizarre that cups etc still dominate American recipes.
  3. Tried my first full plated dish recipe from MC today, was doing some cooking with our 5-year old and he really wanted to make curry so we plumped for the Goan Lamb one. It was absolutely amazing, really really deep, interesting flavours with perfectly cooked lamb shank and a stunning fresh cucumber salad. It was all pretty straightforward too, the only things I changed were the amount of tomato puree added to the sauce - the recipe only calls for 60g but this seemed far too dry and would have gone to powder if simmered for 45 minutes. I think I used more like 250g, even then I added a bit of water a couple of times during the simmer to keep it from drying out. The sauce: The cucumber and black-eyed pea salad: The finished dish: It all went down brilliantly, darling son loved measuring all the spices out (using new gram scale that arrived yesterday) and wolfed down his plateful. The lamb shanks were spot on (after 48h at 62C), probably one of the most successful SV things we've made so far. MC is a truly remarkable book, can't wait to make more from it.
  4. It. Has. Arrived. OMG - what an amazing thing this is, truly overwhelmed by the breadth and depth that it covers. absolutely stunning. Just one small problem now... where do I start??
  5. Just had an update from Amazon, looks like we won't be getting it until October now :sad:
  6. had exactly the same is there any news on the UK availability of MC?
  7. It certainly does! was it nice?? We may be going there next year and I wonder if I should start building myself up to trying some of this...
  8. After you rice the potatoes, work the puree through a tamis or fine mesh strainer. The retrogradation technique doesn't work well with a coarse-textured potato mash, precisely because of the graininess issue. I'm also a bit confused about this, are the grains that I can feel actually the grains of starch? So without passing through a Tamis retrograding will give a MORE grainy mash, rather than a smoother one because it keeps these grains whole and stops them bursting?
  9. Decided to try some steak today, got a nice thick sirloin from my local butcher, their beef is ok but not really up there with the best I've had (from, say East London Steak Co.). It was about 40mm thick so I packed it up with some salt and pepper and a sprig of rosemary: Cooked at 54.5C for what ended up being 6 hours, glazed with some glucose syrup and tiny pinch of bicarb: It had a lovely even medium rare finish but have to say, after yesterday's revelatory chicken breast experience, it was a bit... meh. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't bad, just felt like it had gone a bit mushy and wasn't all that exciting. I'm sure this has something to do with the 6 hours it ended up having, will definitely go for nearer 3-4 next time for this thickness of meat. Also, I want to try it with a REALLY good steak, something with a bit more marbling should be more interesting. Any way, onwards and upwards, tomorrow I'll try some scallops and mi cuit salmon - what are people's feelings on temperatures for the salmon?
  10. That was good. I mean really, really good. I'm stunned at how good a simple, boring chicken breast can taste. Very, very happy with it . So here's the rest of my first adventure in Sous-viding: The chicory cooked for just over an hour at 85C, pulled them out and they felt perfectly tender so left them bagged up while I got on with the rest. I cooled the water down with some ice cubes and when it got to 61C (for some, inexplicable reason I found the idea of 61C instead of 60C felt "safer"!) the chicken went in. From the tables I'd found it looked like 1.75 - 2 hours would be fine, in the end they stayed in for nearer 3 as wife and child were late getting in (have a look at my homemade mozzarella thread for more whinging about this!). The potatoes had spent a good 40 minutes in an ice bath then went into the fridge until I was ready to go with them. I was following a recipe from the excellent Kayahara blog which suggested 25 minutes at a hard boil would be all that was needed to get them ready to puree. Unfortunately my tubers were a LOT more resistant than that... another 30 minutes more resistant. Unfortunately even then they ended up quite grainy, a beautiful flavour from the fried peelings (note to self: definitely do this again) and a lot less fat than normal pommes puree. Not really sure what the issue was here - whether they just needed more cooking after the retrograding, a longer chill period. To finish the chicken and chicory I heated two pans for a good 10 minutes, they both had a lovely texture but looked a little anaemic to say the least: The chicory I just sautéed in a little oil. I was really surprised with how quickly they coloured, it was one of the things that worried me about searing after sous-viding: even with a good heavy pan on my hottest burner raw food seems to take a while to colour. I was quite concerned that I would end up undoing all the good work of a water bath setup by having to overcook things just to get them nice and brown. Safe to say there was no need to stress about this, warm cooked food is obviously - in retrospect - a different prospect to cold raw food. Just to squeeze another new technique into today's adventures I used one of Douglas Baldwin's tips and brushed the chicken with some glucose syrup let down with a little water, again it was amazing how quickly I was able to get colour into the meat. There was absolutely no change in the subsurface, even with a decent level of browning to the skin. So, the finished dish. Not the most exciting looking thing I've ever made (all a bit "brown" isn't it?), but my god it tasted good: Honestly, I have never eaten chicken breast that tasted so "chicken-y". Both of us said this exact thing with the first bite, the herb flavour was just right (I'm glad I used such a small piece of tarragon). The texture though was unbelievable. I know there are scores of posts saying this exact thing but it's not really something that reading about a new way of cooking food can prepare you for, a normally dry boring meat cooked so evenly, so perfectly, tender, juicy and with more flavour than I'd ever had in even the best chicken I'd had before. Overall I'm delighted with my first foray into sous-vide. Can't wait to try some of the amazing things I've been thinking of for so long...
  11. &roid

    Homemade Mozzarella

    Wow! that actually tastes like proper Mozzarella! It wasn't perfect and wasn't quite as good as the better stuff we normally buy but for a first (well, second) attempt it was great. Made two balls, the one in the pic above was kneaded for about 2mins, the other less than one. The longer knead was definitely the better of the two, perhaps somewhere in the middle would be ideal - the right balance of stretchy, silky cheese with the creamy melting effect of the shorter knead. Had to add salt too, will make a note to increase the concentration in the whey next time. Overall a real success, especially as it was a pretty easy going job. Plus, for about £1 worth of milk we got two good sized cheeses.
  12. &roid

    Homemade Mozzarella

    Once I'd got the proper Rennet, it was actually pretty easy to do, two heating processes with a 30 minute rest in the middle, followed by a bit of warming and shaping/stretching. A LOT less messy than I managed to make yesterday's effort too! Have you got a copy of Ideas in Food? I STILL haven't been able to taste it yet!
  13. So yesterday I thought I'd try my hand at cheese making... How hard can it be??? Well, if you buy the wrong ingredients, very hard is the answer. I got a copy of Ideas in Food a week or two ago and read about how easy mozzarella was to knock up at home so I duly went and got 8 pints of whole, unhomogenised, organic milk, some citric acid and what I thought was Rennet. Turns out it was "Essence of Rennet" which is a world away from what you need for cheese making (massively diluted, no use at all). A gallon of wasted milk and a lot of dirty pots and pans later I gave up. After a quick internet trawl I found a health food shop that sold proper rennet nearby and went along there earlier today. Chastened by the mess I made yesterday I tried it with a half quantity from the Ideas in Food recipe. Also, I omitted the Lipase as couldn't find anywhere nearby to pick some up: 4.5g Citric Acid in 120ml water 1893g whole milk 35 drops of VegeRen This time things worked MUCH better, after the 30 minute rest I got a nice clean break in the curds: And after cutting the curd and warming it to 43C managed to strain them easily: A brief warm up in salted whey and they came together beautifully: So, how does it taste? Well, unfortunately I don't know yet! I am under pain of death not to try any till the family return home, and as I only made a half quantity I definitely won't get away with it... I'll report back later on how it is. Have been pretty busy today (have a look in the Sous-Vide thread for another long winded post describing my first attempts at water bath cooking). Really wish I could give up the day job and do this fun stuff ALL the time, rather than just when I'm off work!
  14. I’ve got some time off work this week so have been going mad trying out new cooking things. Yesterday was a bit of a disaster: apparently “Essence of Rennet” is NOT the same thing as “Rennet” (it’s a rubbish, watered down version for making puddings, not the sort of thing to be adding to 4l of really nice organic milk when attempting my first go at homemade mozzarella). Any way, undeterred, today saw the arrival of some proper rennet and, far more excitingly, my Sous-Vide Supreme! I think the cheese making might keep till tomorrow... Having spent the last few months desperately waiting for my copy of Modernist Cuisine to arrive I finally bit the bullet and got a water bath. Am really looking forward to some of the things I’ll be able to cook in this contraption, off the top of my head: scrambled eggs, perfect poached salmon, mi-cuit salmon, slow cooked short ribs, beef cheek pastrami, pigs cheek anything, Onsen eggs, foie gras, twice-cooked scallops, duck confit, egg custard, brisket... I’m giving up work, I won’t have time for it with all this nice stuff to make. So, what was I going to do for my first ever sous-vide meal? I hadn’t really planned on having the SVS for a while so had to just wander around the supermarket looking for inspiration, I wanted something that would be fairly quick to cook (the 72-hour tough cuts will have to wait) and I knew I wanted to do some mashed potatoes with it. So, in the end I came up with the following: Chicken breast with tarragon and butter, retrograded potatoes and chicory with orange and thyme. Not the most adventurous first foray into sous-vide but hopefully achievable and it will give me a good idea where to start from with simple things like lean meat/vegetables. So far the potatoes have been peeled, sliced into thinnish sections, vac-packed with a little water and put in for an hour at 66C. After they finish I’ll chill them in an ice bath and fridge them till later. Their peelings have been fried in a good chunk of butter (probably about 100g) until they looked (and tasted) like posh crisps. I love it when cooking stuff gives you a tasty by-product! The butter was then strained and fridged, ready to be added to the mash later. The chicory have been sliced in half lengthways and sealed in a bag with some thyme and a little bit of orange juice, some agave nectar and some salt and pepper. Similarly the chicken breasts are sitting in the fridge sealed up with some butter and tarragon, having been brined for about 45 mins in a 5% salt solution. I’ve gone very sparingly with the fresh herbs in both of these as I’ve read that they can easily overpower things when cooked this way... we’ll see whether I’ve gone easy enough! More later... (I hope!)
  15. Any news on the arrival of the second edition in the UK? I have one on order from Amazon but not heard a peep from them yet. I'm amusing myself with the excellent Ideas in Food right now (can't believe I haven't bought this book sooner!).
  16. &roid

    Beef Cheeks

    I love cheeks, pork, beef, whatever - had some nice cod cheeks the other day. for ox cheeks it might be worth having a go at the catalan beef stew from ad hoc at home. The recipe uses braised short ribs but was great last night with feather steak braised with onions, fennel and carrot then incorporated into the catalan recipe. I'm sure cheeks would be even better. I really like Keller's way of cooking the main veg (in this case baby leeks, fennel and my addition last night some sweet summer carrots) separately from the braise - they end up perfectly cooked and a lot fresher and more distinctive than they do when braised for hours with the meat. The olives and orange give real interest to the dish. Perfect with some nice white bread with loads of salted butter.
  17. Gary Rhodes has had a couple of places in manchester IIRC. Nowhere current. And yes, Andrew Nutter was a bit tongue in cheek, though he did do a fair bit of tv a few years ago. Not sure why any of this matters though, why a James Martin branded restaurant should necessarily lift the pretty dismal standard of Manchester dining?
  18. Michael Caines? Gary Rhodes? Andrew Nutter?
  19. I know exactly what you mean, I often wonder how much I would enjoy repeated visits to this sort of restaurant. there has to be something special about the trip to put it up there with the most memorable experiences. I think I get quite easily accustomed to things and after few trips would probably be a bit blasé about things - in a way I'd never want to be about a $800 meal. I've got some friends who have been to the Fat Duck a couple of times and they found the second trip slightly disappointing for exactly this reason, the food was just as good but the surprise value had taken away some of the magic.
  20. Don't mind it so much for that sort of course, really it's just something to stop the waiter from having to carry five lumps of cheese in his bare hands, but for a main or starter where you are eating with cutlery it's pretty horrendous.
  21. We did! And so did a fair few of the other diners. The staff were great though, they just dealt with it like it happened every night (though I did wonder if the waiter fell on his samurai sword when he returned to the kitchen). I think one of the things that impressed me most was that such a high end restaurant was as relaxed as it was, we felt completely at ease from the moment we walked in. I've eaten in plenty of places which couldn't get near producing the sort of food we ate there but which were far stuffier and less welcoming.
  22. We went to the French Laundry about 6 years ago and it is a memory I will have until I die. My first time in a 3-star restaurant, during the time when it was rated as the "Best in the World" (whatever that really means). Every part of the visit was brilliant and truly memorable - the ability to bring ten successive courses that each seemed better than the last was truly astounding. We had a great waiter who put us completely at ease, talking knowledgeably about not just the food but films, our home town, music... Even when things went slightly "wrong" it made us smile: they momentarily forgot to bring my glass of sweet wine to go with the foie gras course, cue fresh piece of brioche toast arriving just as the wine did (less than a minute after the mistake was noticed), just so I didn't have to suffer the imperfection of eating slightly cooled toast. They also managed a moment of comedy: bringing a $3500 lump of alba truffle to the table next to us, much pomp and ceremony, hand carved hardwood box, two wait staff, big fanfare then watching as the most expensive piece of food I've ever laid eyes on got fumbled after being grated to roll along the floor and under the table! I've enjoyed a lot of meals since then but this one really set the standard for uber-high end dining for me.
  23. I agree, that revised version looks a lot better. Better contrast in visual apperance as well as flavours. Onion soup and osso bucco are two of my favourite things in the world to eat. But both end up being pretty brown and meaty. I'm not sure that they'd be awful together, just that something like the second menu would give a lot more interest.
  24. Really simple this but it surprised me how nice it was. For a dip with middle eastern food just mix in some dried mint (which seems to work a lot better than fresh for this) and some really nice olive oil, possibly a little salt. tastes far greater than the sum of its parts.
  25. We're over in NY for a long weekend and had lunch at del posto today. It was fantastic, truly memorable - great service, beautiful room but above all some really really good food.
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