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Everything posted by lesliec

  1. I third the motion of a steel stock pot. I cover mine with foil and evaporation hasn't really been an issue, even on long cooks (but I still check). One thing I haven't seen mentioned is insulating the bottom of the pot. This may not be of concern to many, but I don't fancy using my three-metre granite benchtop as a giant heat sink, so I sit my pot on a wooden chopping board. I also have a larger cooler (with an Anova-shaped hole in the lid) for really large or long cooks, but I haven't used it since the Anova 2 (Bluetooth version) arrived, mainly because the new Anova is so much quieter than the original.
  2. Exactly. It's not like you need to sit watching it for 72 hours. I admit my recent experience with pressure cooking has been somewhat tainted by having bought a cheap(ish) PC that I always had major trouble getting to seal, but for me SV is a whole lot easier.
  3. Today I've dried and stored safely away a respectable quantity of wormwood. Once I find a decent recipe (suggestions welcome) and my Roman wormwood is a bit bigger, I shall report further on the home production of absinthe.
  4. Those aren't proper fish and chips - these are. Proper fish and chips are served in newsprint, not on plates at restaurants (you have the right idea, Margaret. When I was a kid it was actual newspaper with a smaller sheet of plain paper inside, but somebody decided the small amount of printers' ink you might ingest wasn't good for you). And slathering it with vinegar is a vile English habit which, in my view, should be outlawed.
  5. That's great, Shelby. I have you on record in my 2011 foodblog as saying my Beef Wellington had got you over being scared of SV. It's only taken another five years
  6. Me? Oh, nothing special ... I bought this bottle in, I think, 1983, on a trip to New Caledonia. And since this year is its 40th birthday I thought maybe it was time to see how it was getting on. New Year's Day and all that. It's been cellared reasonably well since I got it, but has had to cope with a number of house moves. I have no idea now what I paid for it, but if you now want one for yourself, these people will cheerfully relieve you of a couple of thousand US dollars, or 585 Euros if you're on the other side of the Atlantic. (They may be optimistic, since here you can get one for a mere $625.) Robert Parker and Wine Spectator are quoted as having regarded the 1976 very highly. As you can see from the bottle shot, my bottle (cellar dust and all) is showing a bit of corrosion round the capsule and the wine itself is quite dark - call it whiskey-coloured. Here's a better look: That, incidentally, is one of Riedel's Sommeilier series Sauternes glasses. I indulged in a couple a few years ago when I started seriously thinking about opening the Yquem. Do they make a difference? That's a whole other discussion, not for this topic, but here and here are a couple of places eG has addressed it previously. Of the Sauternes glasses I'll say only that they're lovely to look at but slightly odd to drink out of - the lip curves so far inwards, it almost feels backwards. But you get used to it, and being pretty counts for a lot in my book. So ... what was it like? My initial and continuing thought was that the acid level must have been fearsome when the wine was young, because it's still sharp and lively, but Parker's 1998 review, quoted here and elsewhere, talks about relatively low acidity. The reviews of the '76 have talked about the usual tropical fruit salad, but I lack the palate to be too specific. There was certainly considerable power and character. I had a strong impression of citrus, perhaps because of the acid, and I think I can allow Parker his pineapple. But this bottle was not in the first flush of youth, and whatever distinctive fruits may have been identifiable several years ago are now hidden under a patina of age. I don't believe oxidation is much of a factor in this one, but it's certainly possible it had some influence. We drank the wine on its own, but I can't honestly think what food I might have tried to pair it with had we been so inclined. A piece of foie gras might have coped, but I can't get the good stuff here. A great experience, which I don't imagine I'll get a chance to repeat. And the value of my cellar is now only a fraction of what it was this time yesterday!
  7. lesliec

    Prime Rib Roast

    That's a nice looking piece of beef! What was in the dry rub? I think I see seeds, or are they peppercorns? Welcome back, Jmahl. Keep the posts coming.
  8. Hi tirgoddess. I think I'd be reluctant to glue the cover. There would potentially be lots of new uneven surfaces for bugs to hide on, and with the vibration a food processor sets up it would have to be a very good glue. Have you tried this company? They seem to have accessories and spare parts for quite a few KA models.
  9. lesliec

    Dinner 2015 (Part 7)

    That really does look like an elegant dinner, Dave - very nicely done. I can't remember if you're among the sous vide fraternity. SV is the kindest way possible of cooking lamb, and one of my frequent presentations is lamb rack cooked for a couple of hours at around 60 C then seared. It's phenomenally good. I'm pretty sure I can find beef tallow here (I suspect we call it dripping). Is it that good? Better than, say, duck fat?
  10. Thanks Jo. Or just leave it on the plate a little longer before trying to eat it ... as long as I can get it out of the container with something short of a chisel.
  11. I may also have to try some of the suggestions in this topic. Fruit flies aren't usually much of a problem for us, but for some reason for the past week or so a few persistent ones have been appearing out of nowhere when I start to mix the nightly cocktail (at least they're fruit flies with taste!). But you know what they say ... time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. Sorry ...
  12. It is now 'due course' (the next morning) and I'm happy to report the gin-botanicals ice cream was a great success. It was perhaps a little sweeter than it needed to be, so next time I'll take the sugar down to 100g rather than 150, and (according to one taster) the cinnamon dominated. That may not be a fault - cinnamon ice cream is great - but I'll dial that back a little as well. But for me the predominant taste was juniper, just as it should be. I'm marking this as a sucessful experiment, worth reproducing.
  13. Since I started making my own gin a couple of years ago - here it is - I've really liked the smell of all the botanicals as they infuse in the base spirit before distillation, and wondered what ice cream flavoured with gin botanicals would be like. So, finding myself on holiday and the season being summer, I've now found out. Gin can be flavoured with ten or more different botanicals, but that seemed a bit excessive for ice cream so I stuck to a few of the basics - juniper berries, coriander seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and citrus zests. The amounts were purely guesswork, but based more or less on the proportions I'd use for gin I went with a tablespoon of juniper, a teaspoon of coriander, three cardamom pods (all lightly crushed), a 5cm cinnamon stick and one strip each of orange and lemon zests in my standard base of 500ml cream, 250ml milk, 150g sugar and six egg yolks. I infused for about an hour in the milk, sugar and half the cream, then tempered the yolks and poured the mixture into the remaining cream through a strainer. After it had cooled I put it in the fridge overnight and churned it this morning. Early indications, straight from the Cuisinart, are promising. The distinctive juniper smell and taste is there but not too strongly (if you hate the smell of juniper you're probably not going to be doing this anyway!), with quite a lot of influence from the citrus. The real test will be tonight after it's firmed up properly in the freezer. I shall report n due course.
  14. Thanks, Rotuts. I've just been having an email conversation with a chef friend (and fellow eG member) about why you'd use TG if you could just use string. The answer is partly 'because I can', but you do get an effect you just can't get with string. When it was time to carve, I was dealling with, effectively, one piece of meat. With a no-TG version you've got the distinct possibilty that the components will separate, causing you presentation stress. But it's going to taste good, either way. I think it's probably similar to why I cook my beef sous vide before I assemble it into a Beef Wellington. I'm then dealing with cooked meat and all I have to think about is getting the pastry browned nicely. But in both cases it's using a cooking technique that will save just a little bit of stress at preparation or serving time. Should everybody use TG? Of course not. But I enjoy dabbling with these slightly less-than-mainstream things.
  15. This! Well, it takes care of a couple of them, anyway.
  16. ... in which I indulge in some topic necromancy to show the result of my most recent employment of TG. Christmas dinner this year was for a group of international waifs and strays we've picked up along the way who, like us, don't have large families to join at Christmas. So we had two Americans, a Frenchman and an Australian as well as we three New Zealanders (well, wifey was born in England but she's better now). The guests started arriving a little before 1pm and we finally saw them off some 9½ hours later, well filled but still walking. And here's part of what they were stuffed with: It's another saddle of lamb, as in my previous post above (nearly three years ago. Have I done nothing else since?). The photo was taken today, long after the guests had departed and the meat had cooled down. I think you can identify the components better that way. The lamb meat can be seen mostly in the two nice pieces at the top. Between them, right in the middle, is some Toulouse French Grind seasoned minced pork from L'Authentique, a local company whose Toulouse sausages are a very frequent addition to our shopping trolley. There are two more sections of that visible at the four and eight o'clock positions, with pieces of chicken breast across the middle. As before this was all held together with transglutaminase/meat glue (plus string because the TG was getting old and I didn't entirely believe it would still work - but it did, despite being a year past its best-before date!). What was different this time is I managed to fit the whole thing in a FoodSaver bag so I could cook it sous vide. I think it's the biggest thing I've done SV, so I gave it plenty of time - something like seven hours at 60°C by the time it came out. Then it spent another half an hour or so in some duck fat in a hot oven, just to give it some colour. A beautiful result. The TG had worked perfectly and the whole thing was juicy and delicious. I even got some respectable gravy out of the bag juices added to some chicken stock and thickened a little. I didn't take photos of the meal preparation itself - I was a little busy at one point, with two Anovas plus the oven going! - but it wasn't greatly different to how it looked in my previous post above. One of the party doesn't eat pork, so I gave a turkey breast very similar treatment (no TG, but SV first then into the oven) for her, also with very satisfactory results. If you're still wavering about trying meat glue, there's no need to be scared of it. Yes, used as I do it adds little more than novelty value to your cooking. But a little novelty never hurt anybody.
  17. I suspect there's a word or two missing there, Andy. Three tablespoons of ...?
  18. Yep, the bath is very useful. Our oven is pyrolytic self-cleaning, but that doesn't include the racks (which is a great pity, since they're the hardest bit to clean). They're much too big for the sink, so I soak them in hot water and detergent in the bath for a while, then attack them with a BBQ brush.
  19. I love your tiki mug, FP - haven't seen him before. It seemed to be the right night for a Mai Tai a couple of evenings ago, but now I need to make more orgeat and Curaçao!
  20. Another one of our man Rafa's last night - the Werewolf of London: Aquavit, Gran Classico, mezcal and Amontillado sherry with a lemon twist. About as far as you can get from a pina colada at Trader Vic's, but unusual and delicious.
  21. Indeed, sir. Thank you for the clarification. A 225-litre barrel is unfortunately somewhat beyond my ability to both fill and store, but I think would certainly give a more refined result than my little fellers. But for something I can get finished in my lifetime the small ones will do. Should I ever manage to get to NY (or your path lead you here) I shall be delighted to provide samples.
  22. It's really just a time thing. A barrel has a lower proportion of wood surface to spirit than chips so does its thing more slowly; the larger the barrel the longer it takes (all else being equal). But as I noted, all was not equal; the larger-but-previously-unused barrel put a lot more oak into the spirit faster than the smaller-but used-for-a-few-other-things one. But the end result is pretty much the same however you do it.
  23. Couple of small oak barrels - two and three litre - with a bit of time in glass with oak chips to start with. The two barrels gave different levels of 'brown' (the bigger one is new so coloured up quite quickly). Overall, the finished product has had about six months in different bits of wood.
  24. 'What did you buy' is not entirely accurate, but this is now on my shelf: Not too bad for a first attempt. I'm not sure I'll be able to exactly reproduce it; it's a mix of ground and whole rye plus a small amount of a ferment I did using spent grain from a brewer friend. But I learned a few things along the way and as recently as last Sunday acquired another piece of equipment that will help me do grain ferments 'properly'. This one is bottled (for now) at 50%. It's not a match for Rittenhouse 100, but the day may come.
  25. I wasn't game to try it on mine! She has a very low Fernet tolerance ...
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