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Everything posted by fairfranco

  1. fairfranco

    Dinner! 2010

    Some lovely lookin dishes above there. I've put 3 meals from this week below. Prawn and leek risotto. Steak with oven baked chips and peppercorn sauce and a classic british dish of Toad in the hole...yum
  2. I remember once mistakenly tipping the UK 10% in a New York chinese restaurant once. I was amazed at the response as the waiter and manager came over to tell me I hadn't fully paid the bill. I was confused as I clearly had paid the bill and added money onto it for them. they explained to me that in America I pay 20% tip. While I now understand they were disgruntled that I had undertipped them I was amazed at their attitude but then I think the tipping culture is a bit stronger in the US compared to UK. If I chose not to tip, which I've never done though some friends are tight tippers I would leave my money walk out and no one would come chasing me down the street! I don't know how badly US waiting staff are paid compared to US ones though.
  3. fairfranco

    Dinner! 2010

    My first post on this thread. Not the best presentation but I've been having lots of fun playing with my new macro lens! Dinner tonight was salmon with a pistachio, rosemary and thyme crust with parsnip puree roasted small leeks and carrots.
  4. There's a few Vom Fass stores in the UK, it's a franchised business and a relation of mine worked in a wine shop that took on a small Vom Fass franchise in the corner of the store. They are trained by Vom Fass representitives on how to label each bottle and other intricacies of things are run. With the heavy emphasis on the way things are labelled, packaged and wrapped up I'd say they are primarily aiming to look at the gift market. I've not tried any of the licquor's myself and have only had a couple of Extra Virgin olive oil's from them which were all decent enough. In England they are mostly found in Selfridges department stores.
  5. maybe monsoir Blanc needs to get more involved in the design of his own label equipment! I've not seen a tv cooking programme with such a use of a bitched chef for supplying and cleaning equipment before! I'm sure that's realistic to what he normally does whe he's in the kitchen!
  6. enjoyed this programme also. like you i'm easily excited by the site of lovely big slabs of chocolate, melting chocolate and well...anything chocolate they want to show me! While the mousse is a fairly simple dish he did a good job of showing ensure it looked as simple as it was for those that wouldn't normally attempt it. The fondant and the delice both looked delicious and I'd be tempted to do either. The camerawork on the delicately melting delice was beautiful. he says voila and tre bon a bit too much but that's not a major complaint, it's not quite as bad as Ramsey's use of the word "Awesome". I can't see him topping the chocolate one for delight on the screen but I shall be watching
  7. I'm currently reading The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lobovitz over breakfast each morning. To read it without food would leave me drooling! I'm sure many have already read and mentioned it on here. Very entertaining read about Paris, it's delights, it's frustrations, amusingly written but like his blog great descriptions of the delightful food and produce available around Paris and some lovely recipes. Would have been nice to have had some of his picture's to go with it that capture the mood and food so perfectly on the blog but he's gone with a more basic text only book for this. I'm also reading the Italian cookery class by Katie Caldesi which I got for Christmas. A fantastic thick book of Italian recipe's from each region with good explanations on technique, what to use (ie, different yeasts+ flours etc for baking) and pictures that make you want to reproduce each one. I've only so far baked a couple of loaves of bread from it though which is pretty shameful given the amount of time I've had it!
  8. This is my first loaf i've done in a long time and I've done a couple before really. This on is my first with a biga and the first time I've used steam in the oven. Pretty pleased with how it's come out. I used mostly white flour with a little wholemeal and a few poppy seeds thrown in and made 2 smallish loaves.
  9. I live in the channel Islands and wouldn't buy anything but our lovely creamy butter. The prices are pretty regulated on all of our dairy things with all of the milk being the same price (now allowed occasional special offers I think). 95pence for a litre of milk. Price of butter for 250grams I think is around £1.20. As the question of which butter or cream I purchase doesn't come into question I accept the cost that both come at.
  10. This is now on in the UK on "Watch" SKY channel 109. Only been watching 10 minutes of first round and it's amazing that they kept it as the same problem as it's very very different. First round strikes me as very X Factor. Lots of people in an audition room cheering, whooping and clapping. I'm almost expecting some angry parents to go stomping in to see the judges when someone gets turned down. Haven't seen enough to really knock it down but I'm not a big fan of this style so far.
  11. I've always found the lemon has produced lemon flavour through the chicken. HOWEVER, when what I normally do is put the lemon in the boiling water while par boiling potatoes then when I take it out I prick holes around the lemon before (carefully!) putting it into the cavity. This allow the juice to get out more from all sides and with the heat it will squirt quite a bit. While basting the chicken during cooking the lemon juices in the pan will then be put back over the whole chicken thus spreading the lemon flavour through the bird.
  12. a very quick search on google suggests they are still around and still popular!
  13. not had any myself in Paris but a quick search found this site which has a few places listed that might be worth trying: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/archives/2007/05/paris_ice_cream_1.html
  14. Oreo's seem to have been growing in popularity in the UK now and I've heard a few people at work rave about how great they are. I tried one out of curiosity but really wasn't keen, not as charcoaly as I imagined from the colour and look of them but I didn't think the taste offered anything to make me want to eat them again. I used to really like Crunchy bar's however recently I've found the honeycomb has lowered in quality and has become much more sticky, this can be seen also when breaking it open and it isnt' really as appealing. I'm a bit of sweet (candy) fiend though and all too often eat way too many sugar coated sweets and jelly type sweets. far too sickly, far too sweet and I can munch through them far too easily....mmmmm astrobelts! Chocolate bars is a tough one, I don't often buy chocolate bars when not at work and at work I'm limited to whatever's in the vending machine if I have a major craving for one! Bounty has been my recent bar of choice, not too much chocolate but enough to smother the big chunk of desicated coconut. Split in to 2 bars to try to slow down your eating a bit (or share if your that way inclined!). The danger for unhealthy foods at work seems to have magnified ever since Marks and Spencer created those tubs of cakes and snacks with such things as chocolate rolls, caramel shortcake (mmmmm) and rice crispy type cakes.
  15. thanks for the info PB. I was unfortunately only in Madrid for 1 full day and 2 nights so didn't get a chance to try much. I then went to Lisbon but the only thing of any note I had while there was the Pastel de nata (or Pasel de Belem) which is a small custard tart bought from apparently the best place to have them in Belem. All recipes i've seen state puff pastry but the sides at this place seemed more like filo pastry. Might be wrong though. The cafe's website (in Portugese) is here by the way http://www.pasteisdebelem.pt/
  16. Went to San Gines a couple of days ago after spending an age trying to find the place in the pouring rain. This was I'll pla admit down to some poor navigation rather than the place actually being hard to find! So what did I think. Well I've never had either thing before (not that kind of hot chocolate rather than never having hot chocolate). The place itself was fairly decent looking inside, it was very quiet at the time (around 2:30-3am) (4 other people, 2 couples) which suprised me a little thuogh the streets were pretty quiet around there, maybe the Real Madrid fans all slink off home after losing and with Athletico losing heavily in their game everyone was staying home! The chocolate I found pretty tasty though it had a slightly unusual side taste which I couldn't quite place, maybe it was down to the cornstarch. The actual chocolate wasn't an amazing taste and I'd say that my own hot chocolate, usually made with G&B dark (70%) and a little milk and usually a bit of cream if I have some is tastier. The Churro's I enjoyed, as I say I've never tried them before so can't compare but they were crisp on the outside and nicely doughy on the inside and held the thick chocolate well with it's coarse texture and grooves as it should. It definately went well with the chocolate and made what would have been a very average chocolate experience a much tastier one. I don't think I'd rave about it and promote it heavily to anyone else going over there. There was a fairly late sandwich shop we went too which some may recognise which was doing a roaring trade. It was near to Sol and rammed full of Jamon. A busy cafe, a delion one side and they did sandwiches in the middle. I didn't get anything, friends did and it looked decent enough. Not a lot of other comments for me as I was only there for 1 whole day (2 nights) but there was plenty I saw of the tapas that i'd fancy trying. Unfortunately at lunch I had a big Jamon sanwich and sat agonising over weather to order some tapas but eventually decided my stomach couldn't take it.
  17. Read your post while seeking places to go for my imminent trip to Madrid, all be it for just 2 days. Can't wait to try the hot chocolate at San Gines and just happend to come across a recipe for their Churros and Hot chocolate that you might be interested in: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/follow-that-food/churros-and-hot-chocolate-recipe/index.html The only difference between their chocolate and mine that they add cornstarch and sugar where I tend to go with just milk or cream (Channel Island double cream or milk) and dark chocolate. Will be interesting to try their's tomorrow and see how it compares and maybe try their version when I get back.
  18. I've had Ryan down as the winner since he won his heat. You could see Michel had a bit of a thing for him, obviously recognised his determination and ambition and the talent to go with it. Some of the others have shown some improvement but that shows the most geniune desire which Michel clearly appreciates. Does anyone know what the actual prize is in Masterchef? Much like X Factor type programmes they tend to just spend the whole show saying "I really need this", "I want this so much" and "I'd be devistated if I went out now" without ever mentioning what it is they really want apart from recognised and to be a winner. Before anyone says it, yes I obviously understand that winning or doing well in this competition is clearly something which would be recognised by restauranteurs and other important people to their trade.
  19. fairfranco

    Skallops (sic)

    This is my first post so I apologise if it's not up to scratch! My heart sank at the thought of something imitating the beautiful taste and texture of the scallop. Without someone who's eaten scallops commenting on the skallops from experience I'd find it hard to reccomend using them as scallops. For a simple recipe you can do as you say and wrap streaky bacon/pancetta around them and then fry/griddle or grill. However if you do not eat bacon then that restricts it further. Does the vege bacon contain fat? The fat of the bacon is used to give flavour and aid in the cooking of the scallops when done like that. You can serve them by themselves with additions such as black pudding, chorizo, pea purre. Also a lot of asian recipes use scallops try a ginger, seasame seed and chilli type sauce. However it really depends on what the skallops can offer and weather they taste good enough to use. I would happily eat scallops with nothing but a little seaoning added so maybe you should try like that and see what you think.
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