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eGullet Society staff emeritus
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Everything posted by lesliec

  1. Is alcohol an option? I can't advise on quantities - there will be others here who can - but a portion of alcohol (flavoured or not) in the mix will certainly stop your ice cream freezing solid.
  2. lesliec

    To Pea or not to Pea

    Tinned peas - urgh! Very unfortunate colour, as I remember (it's been years since I encountered one, I'm glad to say) and a taste, to paraphrase Douglas Adams, that is almost, but not quite, exactly unlike peas. Frozen peas are great - I keep it simple and just microwave them. Maybe a sprig of mint, unless they're already minted. Fresh ones, if they're really fresh, I'd treat exactly the same. But a quick sauté in butter doesn't sound like a bad idea. Don't know that I'd bother with boiling first; your average pea is not possessed of large volume.
  3. Hi Jo. I'm glad you were moved, and in such a good direction. I'm unsure of the chemistry, but a number of the infusions, etc. I've made seem to benefit from some resting time. Maybe there's a beneficial effect from a small amount of oxidation; maybe it's just that the anticipation has grown to a higher level, but whatever it is I'm reasonably satisfied it works. The gentleman whose gin recipe I base mine on even recommends five weeks' rest for gin after bottling. I'm not sure I've seen much development there, but certainly some of my other experiments have got decidedly more rich and rounded over time. Even my vermouth, which I had concluded was a complete disaster, has developed an interesting ginger smell and I can actually sip it without wincing now. Yes, you'd expect the chlorophyll to go brown, but somehow it seems not to, or at least not quickly, in commercial absinthes. But then, how many do you see in clear bottles?
  4. In which some topic necromancy is performed ... Notwithstanding the 'why would you?' comments from the original posts in this topic, if one can legally own a still and has both grand and Roman wormwood growing in the garden, the question becomes decidedly more 'why wouldn't you?'. So I did: A basic absinthe isn't that hard to make. The process is: Soak grand wormwood (artemisia absinthum), fennel seeds and aniseed in high-strength neutral spirit for a day or two Add water to lower the alcohol level and increase the volume Distil Colour with Roman wormwood (artemisia pontica), hyssop and lemon balm (I also used some angelica root). What you see above is the end result as of a couple of hours ago, having started the initial soak on Saturday. A promising colour, I think you'll agree. It now needs to sit for several months before bottling (and tasting). Reports and (I hope) faerie sightings will follow.
  5. Feijoa crumble is good, as are feijoa muffins. And I've just learned that the flowers are edible. Crunchy; hint of cinnamon (it says here). It's too late for me to try them this year, but I'd be interested in a report from you.
  6. I hope you encouraged him to join eG and post in the 'I will never again ...' topic.
  7. I collected the first feijoas of the season today: If you're not familiar with these guys, they're a Brazillian native (Acca sellowiana, sometimes called pineapple guava), which New Zealand has adopted as its own. Many suburban gardens have a tree, or a hedge, and now the season has started we'll see them everywhere. They're in the supermarkets too, but with the number of trees around and the subsequent dumping of people's excess in various workplaces, I don't know who'd really need to buy them. We have two trees. One is generally a little earlier and produces larger fruit - no doubt due to being fertilised, the previous owner of the house informed me, with his daughter's placenta! They're very perfumed, and the flesh is slightly gritty - like pears can be, but more so. They're good raw (everything's edible, skin and all), but our favourite is a feijoa and apple pie. This year's first (of many) is just about to go into the oven:
  8. That looks tasty (and I find I've already got it in my Kindred cocktail book, but not rated yet). I shall have to try it. But the Campari bottle is looking rather empty. Oh dear; another trip to my suppliers seems inevitable ...
  9. Then there's this, at La Tour d'Argent in Paris a few years ago: Give yours a bit of polish and claim it's a duck press. A more authentic, back room, less showy duck press.
  10. Hi stonypaul. I feel your pain - you want to start playing with SV, and you want to do it NOW! I'll freely confess to being an Anova fan. I got the original when it first came out, and now also have a lovely red Precision Cooker (which means the older one rarely gets an outing these days, although I did have both of them going on Christmas Day). You're certainly right that the Anova is prettier. I just looked at the Vac-Star and it nearly put me off my lunch. The capacity of the tank really isn't that relevant. A more powerful circulator should certainly bring a given volume of cold water up to temperature faster, but if you start with hot water from the tap any circulator is likely to be able to keep it at temperature regardless (within reason) of what the volume is. And the important thing is not so much how much water the machine can push around, but how good it is at holding your set temperature. Early May is rapidly approaching ...
  11. Easy solution (he said glibly) - stay on your home time zone. 7pm in Miami is 1am in Spain - they'll think you're locals!
  12. We must disagree; spheres are enormous fun! But that's not one of those spheres; it's a very nicely moulded bit of ganache covered with caramel.
  13. This topic hasn't seen much action lately, so let's see what we can do. This morning I stepped out of the office and walked down the road to Paris: OK, not quite. But Wellington is fortunate to have Louis Sergeant, a real live French patissier. One can order from an extensive range of teas (served in rather lovely china pots), one can browse the wine list, one can have the full high tea experience (I haven't, but it will happen). For today I had Absolument: Ganache sphere, caramel/coffee macaron-lke base. And Wifey had a Religieuse J'adore: Hazelnut praline in choux pastry, covered in chocolate and almonds. Wonderful stuff. If you can't manage April in Paris, April in Wellington isn't that bad.
  14. Continuing the Montenegro adventure tonight with a Xocula (Montenegro, Amontillado, mezcal, mole bitters). I like it. The sherry tames the flowery sweetness of the Montenegro quite nicely. Nowhere near as chocolatey as its creator indicates in Kindred (and that's using my mole bitters, which are way more chocolatey than the commercial ones), but a pretty decent drink.
  15. After two 40-day periods - the first with just solids and alcohol (75%) the second after straining and sweetening - I have a result: Just a shade under five litres of product, and not bad, either. I can certainly taste the cinnamon in the recipe, but I don't think it's as dominant as it was a month ago. I'll be very interested to follow it as it ages, if my friends and colleagues don't drink it all first (and of course make some more in another eight months - I think I've now spotted two walnut trees closer to home). At the sweetening stage I varied the recipe - it called for far more simple syrup than my tastebuds deemed desirable, so I stopped adding it with a litre or more left over. As a result, the end result was around 49% alcohol by volume - great mouthfeel, but really a bit much for this kind of drink (and just over three litres, which possibly wouldn't last long). By adding another 1.8 litres of water I've got the alcohol down to 30%, which seems more reasonable but still feels pretty good in the mouth, and the bonus is I now have nearly ten 500ml bottles rather than six and a bit. If you've got acess to green walnuts and like an after-dinner liqueur from time to time, I recommend this. It doesn't take much effort beyound the initial cutting up of the walnuts, and the end result is very pleasant. Or 'rather nice', as it says on the label.
  16. Shopping day today, so the collection now includes some Montenegro. Interesting stuff - when I was a kid there were some pink powdery sweets called Smokers, with a very distinctive, almost flowery, taste. Montenegro reminds me of that. But it does make a pretty good Montenegroni (1 each gin/Campari/Montenegro, with a lemon twist). Not as dark and bitter as the original, I think, but not bad for a change. And I've just been exploring Kindred, looking for others that sound like the sort of thing I'd like. There seem to be several, so more reports may follow.
  17. The series screened recently here on pay TV, but my black box decided that two episodes was enough and didn't record the last two! But it was quite a nice look at the challenges of bringing something like the Duck to the other side of the world while rebuilding the original. I missed out on the ballot for places while it was in Oz, unfortunately. It's one I'd very much like to add to my list of special restaurants I've eaten at.
  18. You chaps are a little behind the times - the Fat Duck has been and gone from this end of the world, and our very own Chris Taylor posted this review of Dinner, its replacement, back in February.
  19. Yes, Rotuts, but were you looking at bread with them? Maybe that makes all the difference. And I do rather like the trademark sliced-in-half toaster in the MC post.
  20. Has anybody attempted a Montenegroni? And if not, why not? Ah yes - apparently somebody has ... I don't have any Montenegro in the stash. This may have to be remedied.
  21. lesliec

    Dinner 2016 (Part 3)

    Our dinner last night was materially assisted (without her knowledge) by @Tere, who very kindly over here posted this link to a step-by-step 'how to make Heston's triple-cooked chips' recipe. I've done them several times before following (I think) the Big Fat Duck Book but the results have been variable. The linked article somehow seems to codify the process more exactly, and yesterday's results were real beauties - definitely the best I've done. Thanks, Tere. The rest of the meal was a piece of fillet steak, SV for a couple hours then seared, accompanied by some nice sautéed vegetables. Pretty simple (if we ignore the triple-cooking process!), pretty good. No photo, sorry.
  22. The fruits of today's excursion: The nocino is a local (Nelson) one which I shall use for comparative purposes when my own is ready in a couple of weeks. The Four Roses is a restock. Decent mezcal is really hard to find here, so I grabbed the Minero when I saw it. And I shall use the Barbancourt for making Supercool Vieux Carrés, among other things.
  23. I had a rather wonderful drink last night at the Hawthorn Lounge. I'd taken some of my Genever in for them to try (Peter approved) and he made me a 'fancy Martini' with it. So good that I made myself another one tonight. 45ml Genever (last night's was unoaked; tonight's was oaked. Both good; oaked probably a little better) 7.5ml maraschino liqueur 5ml simple Garnish with a maraschino cherry and a slice of orange zest Interesting comment from the bar: they could never sell the drink because too many people don't like the taste of Genever or maraschino (or both), or don't know what Genever is so the staff would have to spend too much time explaining it. Sad. The drink's delicious.
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