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Everything posted by ChrisZ

  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 🙂 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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!
  16. Oh I can sympathise. I have a certain combination of nieces and nephews that means no dairy, no soy, no wheat and no eggs. It is amazing to think that there are still delicious things we can make! If you want it less sweet, I can only suggest that less sugar will do. To make the dark chocolate one more intense, try using cocoa powder as well as chocolate. If you make it into a paste first with boiling water you can avoid lumps. I find white chocolate a difficult flavour, there's not much too it. I guess your problem adding enough flavour to the buttercream so it doesn't simply taste like sugar. Apart from adding loads more white chocolate, you could always try using a bit of condensed milk instead of all the sugar (some brands of white chocolate taste like condensed milk). Also, if your supermarket sells cans of baking caramel (which are just cans of condensed milk that have been boiled for 4 hours, aka dulce de leche) then a small amount can also add a flavour that distracts from the overall sweetness of something that is really just butter and sugar. It isn't white chocolate, but it's a complimentary flavour that again distracts from the pure sugariness.
  17. Apart from just trying less sugar, which shouldn't be a problem, I can only suggest a different recipe. My go-to buttercream recipe uses 500g butter to 300g sugar, so it should be less sweet than yours. The exact recipe is to boil the 300g sugar to 121C, whip the egg yolks and pour the syrup into it, let it cool down then beat the 500g of butter into it. Then add flavouring, chocolate etc etc to it. It's the best buttercream recipe I've found, I prefer it to ones that use egg-whites.
  18. Thanks again for the various insights. I will look into getting an Edge Pro - I've looked at them before with interest, it is obviously something that is useful for many years despite the initial outlay. Since there are so many knife threads on Egullet I'll try and steer this one back on topic. There are already threads just on Japanese knives, and I have referred countless people to this primer from the eGCI. The original question - GF vs G - may not make sense unless you are really into knives. For anyone else browsing this thread - Global are a Japanese knife manufacturer that became very popular very quickly. Their initial knives were the "G" range, they are quite light compared to traditional European knives. Their 20cm / 8in chefs knife (the G2) is their most popular product and many online articles credit this particular knife for the rapid spread in Global's popularity. All of the knife blocks and sets that Global sell include the G2 as the chef's knife. The GF series is heavier and made from a completely different process - the F stands for forged. The GF-33 is the equivalent 20cm/ 8in chefs knife in the GF range. It is (in Australia) about 50% more expensive than the G2, and none of the Global knife blocks or sets include it. So my question is how these two knives compare - both are 20cm / 8in chefs knives made by the same company but made from a different process. As I clarified above, I do not want to buy a knife without holding it. I have used both the G2 and GF 33, just not next to each other. I have not found a shop that stocks both. The Sydney shop suggested above (Japanese knives and stones) is a great resource but is mail order only. I thought about it and realised that weight is not an issue, only length. I want something shorter than my 26cm Wusthof. The GF 33 is still lighter and shorter than what I have. Whether it is worth 50% is what I'm not sure about. That's a big chunk of change towards an Edge Pro. This is not exactly a pressing issue, I just value the opinions of everyone here. The G vs GF question has been asked online before but surprisingly, I haven't found an in-depth response.
  19. Thanks for your input, it has helped me think a bit more about what advice I am asking for. I chose my current "good" knife when I was 15, and as you might expect when you ask a 15 yo guy what knife they want, I simply chose the biggest I could see. So I have had a 26cm Wusthof since then. In practise it has always been slightly too long. The weight has never been a problem, but the length of the whole knife is about 40cm. For a few years I had a housemate with a G2 and basically really liked it. I would always reach for the G2 over my much longer Wusthof. Ever since then I have intended to get one, just never got around to it. Here in Australia it's not easy to find a wide range of knives on display. Wusthofs and Globals are very easy to find - anything beyond that requires a long trip to a specialty store, and many brands are only available by mail order, but I wouldn't buy a knife without seeing and and holding it myself. I'd love to find a shop that stocks Tojiro knives, if anyone can let me know where abouts in Sydney I will go... So it isn't that I desperately want a Japanese knife, it's that I don't want another Wusthof and as I'm limited by what is stocked by the local shopping mall and department stores the best alternative is Global. I like them and they're only for casual home cooking, so I'm not looking for something specifically Japanese (FWIW this shop is around the corner from where I work and it's kinda out of my league). The GF33 felt like a really nice knife but I'm worried that it isn't much smaller than my current 26cm Wusthof. Perhaps the GF32 - it's a bit shorter - is what I should be thinking of, but I haven't seen one. I'm asking for advice and feedback simply because I haven't yet found a shop where I can see, hold and compare these knives side-by-side.
  20. I have been intending to replace my 25+ year old Wusthof chefs knife with something newer and lighter. I have always liked Globals and I assumed that when I got around to it I would just get a G2. I've used one and like it, they're everywhere (i.e. easy to find in shops) and relatively cheap. However my friend has a GF33 and it seems really nice... Wifey also liked it a lot which is important! The problem with the GF33 is that they don't seem very common so I haven't yet found one in a shop. I'd really like to compare them side by side. They're a lot more expensive than the G2, and also there aren't any Global knife blocks that include the GF33 - for the same price as a GF33 Global have a set of 3 knives that includes the G2. The G2 is so popular - any thoughts and advice on the G2 vs the GF33?
  21. In theory pectin should work, I have a recipe for a chocolate cake that uses pectin in the glaze and it freezes and thaws very well. What you want to avoid is syneresis - the weeping or leaking of water when it thaws out. I just did a google search for pectin and syneresis and it came up with this page, it might help you?
  22. I really liked Chef too, a lot. This thread is good to re-visit when looking for a film to watch, but it's pretty obvious that many of the films listed here aren't "food films" but just films that have a bit of food in them. Chef is a real food film. It's so much more subtle than Ratatouille, the language feels authentic. Scenes like the father buying his son his first knife are really nice, but done in a very casual way - nothing like the in-your-face lecturing you get in Ratatouille. And now that I have seen the film, I always butter the outside of my toasties! The chef's rant about the chocolate lava cake had me giggling for ages. Another film which hasn't been mentioned yet is "The five year engagement". Like most of the other films mentioned, this is not a true "food film" like Babette's feast - but it does have a very authentic food related theme. At the start of the film, one of the two main characters is an up & coming chef at a high-end, modernist restaurant. When the couple move for his fiancé's career, he finds himself in a small town with no other options except to work jn a deli / sandwich shop. The film itself was pretty average, almost boring, but I did enjoy the food-related scenes and could really sympathise with the chef character.
  23. I was given "Dessert Divas", by Christine Manfield for Christmas. She is a very well know pastry chef in Australia. The recipes are complex, interesting and gorgeous. I haven't made anything from it yet and I think any attempts will need a lot of forward planning. The book doesn't seem to be available on Amazon, so it may take some effort to buy outside of Australia - or at least ordering it from an Australian site. I found an article/review that includes one of Manfield's most famous desserts, so click here for a indication of what the whole book is like.
  24. It's recommended somewhere to blanch garlic if you want to include it in sous vide bags. I remember trying the blanching in milk thing (with sous vide cooking) and was surprised what a difference it made.
  25. My wife was looking for a solid egg-shaped mould that was in 1 piece, ie. you did't need to make 2 halves and join them. With a bit of internet searching she found some guy in china that makes all sorts of moulds out of silicone. She emailled to ask if he had what she wanted and although he didn't, he offered to make one for her. It cost $8, arrived quickly, and works very well. However it is a single mould so only 1 egg is made at a time. It's hard to describe but basically once it is filled up and set, you just turn in inside-out and the silicone stretches enough that the egg pops out. I'd take a photo but I don't know where it is. It's not suitable for mass-production but I guess you could buy several of them if you needed large quantities. I was impressed at how quick, fast and cheap the process was. I like watching Heston's TV shows and he often uses custom-made moulds as part of the overall theme of a dish. It looks impressive and expensive but in reality, it's possible to DIY silicone moulds and certainly cheap enough to do yourself over the internet.
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