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  1. Thanks, I totally forgot to check McGee, it answered a few of those questions.
  2. How and why does a creme brulee work? I had always been taught that custards are done when they're about 80c (176f) - much over 83 (181f) and they risk splitting. I understand that ingredients other than egg will change this a bit, but I have trouble trying to quantify it so I'm not reliant on any specific recipe. There's a nice table in modernist cuisine (Book 4, somewhere around pagge 84 I believe) that, under creme brulee (as in, achieving that texture), it suggests that 30% egg be used at 83c (181f), 50% egg at 80c (176f), and 90% egg at 75c (167f). Which is great, except it seems other things impact. For instance, I've cooked anglaise out to 83c in the past and it was fine but not quite thick enough until I held it there for another 10-15 minutes. Sometimes lemon curds will set at that temperature and other times they will refuse. What is it that makes a baked CB set firmer than one cooked either on a stove or sous vide (assuming they're all cooking to the same internal temperature)? Is it just a bit of dehydration/reduction? Is it the lack of stirring/agitation that lets the proteins bond differently? Does it matter if the cream (and/or milk if you're that way inclined) is heated before tempering into the eggs, rather than blending to a homogeneous mix and then heating? Does passing post-cooking destroy some of the bonding created during the cooking that provides thickening power? To avoid vanilla seeds sinking to the bottom of the ramekin, is it best to let the temperature of the mix cool down, a la pannacotta, so it better suspends in a more viscous custard? I had a read through a couple of creme brulee threads on here and there is just so much conflicting advice, even as far as whether to use a water bath when using a convection oven; to use a low temp (or boiling) steam oven; or whether the mix should sit overnight (cooked or uncooked) before setting in dishes. Some background/context: I've just started at a new kitchen, and the former pastry chef just left. No handover or exchange of recipes. We each in the kitchen have recipes we've used in the past that work, but the pastry oven, for whatever reason, has no control to lower or even disable the fan. The force of the air leaves a (thin) set foam that looks unpleasant but is hidden by the caramel. There are two other ovens in the kitchen but they're frequently used. My preference would be to cook it in a pot (pastry has it's own induction 'hotplate'), but I feel that'd tie up too much time stirring it. There's a single sous vide waterbath that's used for other things, so it'd be asking a lot to comandeer that for a couple of hours needed to get it up to temp and then cook the custard. Today I tried to cold-blend the mix, vac-seal it and put it into an empty oven set to 'steam' at 84 degrees (which seemed a tad too hot to me, but was the temperature another pastry person said they'd used in the past in a pot on the stove), but I was told it came out lumpy. I wasn't there to see if passing/blending would salvage it. Really really would prefer to not use the 'Thermomix' recipe, despite it seeming to work - mostly because it seems to be too high a temperature (85c) and yet still seems to come out smooth (and also because professional pride and learning opportunities). For reference, after looking over MC@home and Advanced bread and pastry, and comparing recipes other chefs (and myself) have used successfully in the past, it looks like the egg:cream ratio varies from 21 to 40%. The recipe I did a test batch with was 28% (that's 4 yolks and 1 whole egg to 500g of cream; a variation I also tried (less sugar, seemed to let the nutmeg shine better) had 7 yolks to 500g of cream. I don't think it was the recipe(s) that was the problem.
  3. I have a favourite recipe that uses creme fraiche, but it's a relatively tiny amount and would not figure into a substitution with water.
  4. I am incredibly jealous right now. The only thing I've tried making from the Milk Bar book was the crack pie. I deviated a little on the size of the pies being made tho' so I had to leave them in the oven for a lot longer. With the tempura setup, what was the trisol that you used in the batter?
  5. I'm a lot happier with a pizza being a tart than a pie.Unless we're going to start referring to sandwiches as pies, and then all bets are off.
  6. Would putting a pan of water in the bottom of the oven not combat some of the moisture loss anyway?
  7. Sorry for the delay, I didn't forget it's just been a busy few months. I can't help you out with photos - I'll see how I go the next time I order some - but apparently the sauce we've been using at work is a mix of jus and plum sauce. Either native plums, or just plain old regular plum sauce. I don't think I added any additional fat when I did the sausage rolls. Which is probably blasphemy. If I made them again anytime soon, I'd probably forgo fat again, so as to not colour the flavour of the kangaroo meat.
  8. I find rabbit is sort of like that for anyone who grew up having to eat it. It's difficult to explain that it's a nice and tasty animal that is up there on the great things about being a carnivore. I expect that this is kind of the same reaction that people get when trying to explain why horse is an animal that should be eaten more often. I'm okay with that, tho', because it means more for me! I've never really noticed that too much, I guess. When I did sausage rolls specifically, I don't think I used much more bread crumbs than when using processed pork sausage meat, but I have a much less critical eye for savoury food. I'm also a fan of not-puffed puff pastry, so I'm less likely to notice if the extra moisture affected that aspect. I'll see what I can do, although my camera is on the fritz again. The sauce is something that's made at work, but I'm having trouble working out if they're still using native plums, or have moved on to something else. I'll try to find out over the next few days, if they're not too busy, what actually goes into it and a vague recipe.
  9. To be fair, this is approximately how I say these - I can't vouch for my terrible accent being particularly representative of anyone else from Melbourne (Mel-b'n . mocha = MOCK-uh (I hear mo-KAH too) gyros = Yi-ross (I try to roll the r a little; pretty common to get YEEE-ross) pecan = PEE-kan croissant = kru-SONT (unless I'm talking to someone who speaks native francais!) dolmades = dol-MA-diz (I mostly hear DOLL-mades, and wonder what the doll made) basil = BAZ-ull (as in pull) oregano = orry-GAH-no I might just not be frequenting the right places, but it's rare to actually see/hear shawarma or even gyros; it'll typically just be kebab or souvalaki ( or even just 'souva'). It's rare for me to hear jalapeño screwed up too much, but that seems weird because as delicious as Mexican cuisine is, it's a rarity here, and 'el niño' is often simply rendered 'el nino'. It is common to hear gelato referred to as gelati - even if it is one scoop of one flavour :< Who am I to insist that it is one gelato and not a million conjoined bits of gelati.
  10. A 'rainforest plum' sauce goes excellently with kangaroo. The majority of the red meat I buy to cook at home is kangaroo. With some whole seed mustard and cayenne, minced kangaroo also makes a mean sausage roll.
  11. As a non-American, I'm curious how 'croissant', 'habanero', 'chipotle', 'jalapeño', and 'mocha' are all pronounced up there. Is there any consensus on 'pecan', too? As far as 'gyro/gyros' goes, is it at all common to see it written as 'yeeros', in the US/UK?
  12. Nich


    The Bordelet is the only Calvados I've had that was nice enough to remember the name and chase it down. Even if it is prohibitively expensive - I think it retails for AUD$200+ :\
  13. Some notes from what I remember, as I go through and archive a bunch of this stuff. A few clarifications, too, because I'm finally sitting down to look at the menus of the places we visited; I deliberately wanted to go in with no expectations whatsoever, which worked against me for a few things. Now that I understand what Ormeggio were doing with their chocolate dessert, I am happy with how strong the coffee taste was - after all, it's meant to be a mix of equal parts coffee, cream, and chocolate. I still think it dominated the tokay, but that's my preference for very sweet with a little bitter, rather than very bitter with a little sweet. Normally, anyway. When I was younger, I worked at a raspberry farm for a few years, and so I got quite used to picking the overripe berries for myself to eat while picking the ones you usually see on sale at market for work to sell. There's nothing like an over-ripe raspberry, that is more blue and purple than red; it's incredibly sweet, has almost no texture from being so soft (to the point that they turn to mush if any weight is placed on them), and yet remains that lovely tartness that raspberries are known for. Knowing why these can't be sold commercially or used in kitchens has still made it hard to be let down when most places use ripe, or barely ripe, fruit. I was definitely too harsh on a number of places for using perfectly fine raspberry fruit. So much for my exptectations not getting in the way of enjoying new and strange food. That being said, I still think the raspberry mille feuille at Guillaume was lacking. The ginger rice-pudding at Four-in-hand was amazing, especially with the shaved and roasted coconut. I want to make this for at home, and at some point for at work to replace the vanilla rice-pudding. I need to remember to add more egg yolks. Much more. So. Incredibly. Rich. I really liked the eel at Sake (it is hard to ruin eel for me, TBH), but my favourite were the tonkatsu cups. It's the first time I've had porkbelly and it's been *light*. I really liked Becasse. Really really. The service was never short of amazing, the food was never less than good. They were understanding of my having to cut back on extra courses because we'd gone overboard at lunch. And yet I feel like lunch had killed the mood - or at least, three hours in the city, and no-where quiet and relaxed to unwind and recuperate. I definitely want to visit Becasse again in the future, and will definitely be making sure I don't eat much before I go there. Also, the kitchen looks pretty amazing. And, I don't know if I mentioned, but I was really really impressed with the winter still life. I've been to a few places that have done landscape desserts that show a natural setting. Becasse's is probably my fabvourite, if not my favourite dessert. At est, I have to say that, yes, the wine was the best dessert drop I've ever had. I kind of suppose I'd want it to be, at ~$60/glass, but I know that's not particularly expensive in the scheme of things. The desserts were all nice, but I couldn't really say which I liked the most. I liked that muscovado was used with the fruit, and that the fruit was given a chance to speak with their own sweetness. The souffle was probably one of the better I've had, but I haven't had enough of them to know how a souffle should ideally be, so the centre felt a little too foamy and un-set to me. As much as I tried to enjoy Sepia, I was well fatigued by that point of the week, and the noise was loud enough that I could not really hear anything said at the table I was on, nor most of what the staff said. The food was all nice, and the Japanese twist was a nice counter to everything else we'd eaten that week. The venison was, somehow too rich for me. The still-life dessert was a nice touch, as were the complimentary 'stones'. I really liked that the petit fours were made with Meyer lemons - they see so little use in this country. Pier was... odd. When I heard that the pastry chef who had left, and probably helped cause some 'hats' being handed back, had potentially been worth those two hats on their own, I was really worried. And, when we got there, the service was very patchy, and the menu just didn't grab my fancy. It seemed to take a good five minutes to convince one of the wait staff that, yes, I wanted a four course meal entirely comprised of desserts. No savoury. Just cake. Only cake. And I wanted them roughly brought out as everyone else had a course brought out. Not four at once at the very wend after watching people eat for an hour or two. At some point, Chris and I went for a short walk outside to let our poor ears rest; surrounded by nothing but glass, the sound inside had nowhere to go but around in circles, even with only perhaps four or five more tables than us being seated. It was a little, uh, disturbing to see just how much better the overall service became once we walked back inside, camera and notepad in hand. The noise was still too much, tho', and so I sat there with a dozen friends, barely able to hear the person right beside me. With that being said, the desserts were mostly nice. I really liked the kiwi fruit one, and their use of yoghurt meringue - I ordinarily hate meringue for being too sweet (go figure). The ice-cream cone inspired one was very very nice. The Island one was inspired - Pier's take, I guess, on a still life by adding the movement of the tide, but tasted quite bland in comparison. The chocolate one was nice enough, but I'm not sure if the use of salt in among the chocoalte was, like the mains, a deliberate touch or just accidental heavy handedness with seasoning. I definitely enjoyed my meal more than most we were there with, but it still reflected quite poor value, considering the price I paid and the service I got throughout. I ended up liking Bentley enough to go back, a week later, with a different group of friends (and some who'd been sick that day). The service was still good. I went with the vegetarian degustation, this time, which did some very very sexy things with vegetables. Really liked the spiced beetroot dish. A couple of people commented that, I think the lobster dish, was a little overcooked. About half of us went for the dessert degustation off the back of the savoury one, tho' we had to hurry it along a little; I'd booked us in for 1pm on a Saturday, but being Slurry Hills on a weekend, it took us over an hour to find parking and get inside. The ice-cream, as previously, was all superb. I ended up ordering a glass of $20 bourbon (Hudon's baby bourbon), just to see if I liked expensive bourbon more than cheap bourgon; I'm happy to say I did, tho' I'm confused that it took a non-sweet bourbon for me to finally appreciate bourbon. I ended up going back to the Locla Taphouse again, too, for a liquid lunch with a burger. Such a filling burger. Worth pointing out that the cider-of-the-day on tap was called Dirty Granny. Teehee. I ended up passing on Bilsons; I was just too worn out, even after a week gap of eating two courses per day.
  14. I was planning to go back to Bentley tonight for desserts with a couple of friends who hadn't been before, but apparently Sunday evenings are not busy enough to be open for. I'm thinking of maybe heading to Bilson's with some friends this week, if I can get a dinner booking at such short notice. The next time I'm up - I try to visit Sydney at least once every 4-5 months - I'd want to revisit Etch and Bentley, and probably Marque and Quay. There are a few places up in the Blue Moutains that I'd try to make room for, and a few other places - Rockpool, Tets, Billy Kwong, and a few others I would definitely do a lot more research (not hard, hah) and find some places that specialise in desserts, or are specifically known for their desserts - it's where my palate is most developed, and what I most enjoy, so I feel like I'd be getting more out of that. I'd probably be happy, if I did something similar again rather than a last grasp at my 20s, to only book one thing per day, whether it be lunch or dinner. I'd fill in most of the other meals with sugestions from staff at places I liked, or I'd just be happy to only have one degustation per day. The first few days of last week were okay, but I guess it got beyond silly when we started eating for more than 75% of the day. Becasse definitely felt like it would have been a lot more enjoyable if we had done nothing else that day. As far as taking photos, if you have a camera, go for it. There are enough people with blogs and whatnot, these days, that I can only imagine really insecure establishments are going to be offended or say something.
  15. Will post a few more thoughts in a few days when I get some time to myself and amn't rushing between lunch and dinner reservations. Really impressed to see a bar with a geuze on tap. Especially impressed to see some Cantillon bottles available. Even if they were in the $40 per 750ml ballpark.
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