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ChrisZ

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  1. Thank you so much! Not only for spotting the auction (I have been checking Ebay myself but stuff comes and goes...) but thanks to your link, I realised that the plastic mold I've been using is most probably a cheap rip-off of a cast-iron cookie mold design by John Wright... https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=m570.l1313&_nkw=JOHN+WRIGHT+CAST+IRON+ALPHABET&_sacat=0 ...and there are loads of these available! I really had no idea... You have made my day đŸ™‚ Thanks again.
  2. Hoping for some help. I accidentally melted an old mould that is very important to us and I've had no luck searching around for a replacement. If anyone knows where I could buy one - or even has one to spare they would be willing to sell - please send me a message. The mould (label attached below) was originally labelled as "Easy as ABC gelatin mould", although we just call it the alphabet mould. Yes there are lots of alphabet moulds around, including new silicone ones, but we need the specific designs on this one to replace the one I damaged. Depending on the cost, I would consider paying for postage internationally (to Australia). Thanks in advance!
  3. ChrisZ

    How Many Meals From One Roast Chicken?

    In my case it's a regular 3, regular meaning we probably have roast chicken about once a fortnight and we always get 3 meals out of it. As soon as we've finished meal 1 (the traditional roast) I boil up the bones & wings for stock. That becomes risotto (meal 2). There's usually a chicken breast left over which becomes either a sandwich or even an omelette a few days later.
  4. Looks lovely... I have wondered if I can justify the expense next time I'm in Melbourne. Can you shed some light on the booking process - is there a waiting list, set time to finish by, etc etc? And without wanting to be too rude, I'm also curious about the realistic cost of such a meal... FWIW I have enjoyed reading recent articles about both Dinner in Melbourne and Noma in Sydney. While I find articles about (and by) Rene Redzepi endlessly fascinating, and I totally appreciate everything he has done with Noma in Sydney, I have always thought that I would much rather eat at Dinner by HB. In other words, I would prefer to read about Noma, but I think I'd rather eat at Dinner by HB. Obviously the philosophies are totally different and one on hand not directly comparable - but the comparison is bound to be made due to their expense, reputation, celebrity associates etc etc.
  5. ChrisZ

    Scallops [Merged Topic]

    Here, with pictures.
  6. Size is a big thing. I'm happy with my Anova and it has changed the way I use sous vide, but I only have 1 pot that is big enough to use it with. I keep intending to get a larger cooler just for sous vide, but space (and to a lesser degree cost) is an issue. Currently, size is the reason I don't sous vide more often. The one pot I have big enough for the anova is stored in a separate cupboard out of the kitchen, so there's always that small amount of extra effort required to set it up and then pack it away afterwards. If the Joule is small enough that I can use it with my existing pots then great. And competition is always a good thing.
  7. ChrisZ

    Sous Vide steak tips

    I have been dabbling with sous vide for several years. The point with sous vide is that the benefits are most obvious with tough cuts, where you can cook them for a long time until they become tender. So when it comes to steak, there's no real benefit to using sous vide if you have nice tender cuts like fillet, scotch fillet, porterhouse, rump etc etc. If you really like steak and are happy to pay for quality tender cuts such as those then don't bother with sous vide, explore other methods of cooking (FWIW I use the 15-second flip approach). Really, using sous vide on a piece of fillet steak is just a recipe for dissapointment. It won't make it any better than it already is. I do find sous vide useful if I want to pre-cook, or even pasteurise meat ahead of time. This is how I cook all meats for BBQs (which in Australia means a flame grill). If I have lots of guests then having everything cooked before, and pasteurised, means not only is everything safe but I can quickly sear large amounts of meat quickly rather than try to cook everything and get everything right while hosting at the same time. You might also want to experiment with enzyme-based tenderisation, where you sous vide the steak at about 42C for an hour or two before cooking. Hopefully others will share their experience with using sous vide to cook cheaper cuts of steak, something I haven't really tried. But that's where it's really useful.
  8. Gianduja specifically refers to hazelnuts, while pralines can be any nut (e.g. almond, walnut, pistachio and peanut). I guess Gianduja is a specific type of praline. FWIW, while I find nutella too sweet (it's a type of gianduja) I really love some of the artisan gianduja's around. I used to live by a market where a stand stocked big slabs of Callebaut gianduja and they would cut off pieces to order... yum. But that's getting off topic. If it isn't made with hazelnuts, it isn't gianduja.
  9. ChrisZ

    100 hour oxtail gone bafflingly wrong

    When it's happened me I've always suspected the stuff I put in the bag, not the meat. I like to experiment with sous vide, I've always added a bit of fruit juice (or pureed pear) and wine to the bag with the pork. After having problems I now boil the liquid for a bit first. I have wondered if the problem I had was fermentation not spillage. I like the idea of a pre-sear to add flavour as well as sterilise the surface of the meat, but the problem is judging the pre-sear so you're not actually over cooking the meat to begin with. That kinda defeats the purpose of the long sous vide cook. But it's pretty hard to get right, so now I just dunk the meat in boiling water for a few seconds. Since I started the practise of boiling any cooking liquids first, and dunking the meat in boiling water for a few seconds too, I haven't had any more problems.
  10. ChrisZ

    100 hour oxtail gone bafflingly wrong

    Hi, I've had this happen a few times with 72hr pork belly, so I can share the input and advice I've received when I asked basically the same question. The important thing is this bit: "Shouldn't any possible pathogen have been killed off after at least 80h @ 60C with no sign of bacterial activity?" The answer is no. The dangerous pathogens - yes. But not all. The lactobacillus family, for example, is very large and many strains will survive temperatures in the mid 60s. But they will not kill you (I guess you might get a stomach ache but overall you'd be OK). It's a safe bet that your spoilage was caused by some strain of lactobacillus, simply because they're so common. The last time I had the same thing happen as you did, the bag smelt worse than my baby son's nappies. But despite the smell, I did actually taste 1 small mouthful of meat and it just tasted like pork. The smell is bad, but not necessarily dangerous. ​The temperature and time guidelines for sous vide are usually calculated with the dangerous pathogens in mind. The nasty bugs that you want to avoid - e coli, salmonella, listeria and so on, ARE killed off by extended times over about 56C. ​But the bacteria that cause food spoilage are not the same ones as those that make you sick. It's an important distinction to understand. It's probably more important to understand the reverse - that food can smell perfectly OK but still harbour dangerous pathogens. The basic way to avoid these problems is to avoid contamination, which is easier said than done. But for something like a 72hr pork belly or a 100 hour oxtail, you can always set the temperature a bit higher for the first hour (e.g. 70C for 1 hour), which may help to kill any spoilage bacteria from the bag, the stock, the surface of the meat and so on.
  11. I love Gruyere but in a blind test I doubt I could tell it apart from Emmental and Jarlsberg, and other cheeses made with the same cultures. So if you wanted to be pedantic, it isn't just the Swiss who have holes in their cheeses. (As Liuzhou also pointed out). But whenever I use those cheese it's always melted, so I have to say I've never paid much attention to the holes. Even on sandwiches I melt the cheese. Love the distinctive flavour of those cheeses. In terms of the size of the holes, I am wondering if there are parallels between the differences between brie and camembert - the main difference is just the size / shape, and yet this (apparently) is responsible for the differences in flavour - sonmething to do with surface area. So maybe smaller holes in swiss style cheeses are affecting the taste? I'm not that into cheese but would love to hear expert opinions...
  12. ChrisZ

    Desserts from the 1960s?

    I'm enjoying this but not sure what I would think if I saw "tunnel of fudge" on a menu. That's a new one to me! Lots of suggestions are just a google search away, including this site with pictures.
  13. I am guessing that the title of the article is making people assume it is about the 5-2 diet, which has been as fashionable as diets get. But yes, this is a different thing and I was wondering the same thing.
  14. ChrisZ

    Desserts made from Dinner

    Not sure if this is a German or broader European thing, but both cake and pancakes can be made from mashed potato. My mother often used to make a "kartoffelkuchen" - or potato cake - topped with streusel. It would be made with leftover mashed potato. I don't think she ever boiled potatoes specifically to make the cake, but it was one of those things that was part of my childhood. When I was old enough I would make the streusel. And I also have a recipe for pancakes made from mashed potato, which I got from a French chef, but they are incredibly light and delicate. I love them.
  15. Most recently it was a can of cassoulet. I have never had cassoulet but it seems like something I would love. I saw a stand of specialty / gourmet french imports at a local farmers market, and one of the things they sold were cans of cassoulet. Admittedly I don't normally have much hope for anything in a can, but this was french made, and sold to me by a french person, and it cost over $20 for a small can sitting alongside other decidedly niche and desirable items, so I thought it might be OK. In reality it tasted exactly like a can of 50c refried beans, or that weird bean-paste they smear on cheap burritos. I can only hope that genuine cassoulet is much better!
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