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Everything posted by DianaB

  1. I’ve been trying to learn chocolate making on and off for some years now. I have no aim to do this professionally, just to be competent enough to create a few bonbons for friends and colleagues. I’ve been reflecting on what has helped me so far, I would stress that I am still very much at the start of the learning curve! First, Kerry Beal’s DVDs are hugely useful because the information is there and can be returned to again and again. She posted them to me in the UK ignoring all my requests to pay postal charges. They are inexpensive when compared to books, they focus on what a beginner needs to understand and following the advice they contain can help beginners to avoid expensive wasted chocolate and time. Second, Mycryo cocoa butter. For me, (as yet) unable to justify an EZTemper this product takes (some of) the stress out of tempering. Next, polycarbonate magnetic molds. As a beginner I stick to simple shapes without sharp corners. Circles rather than squares make it easier for me to create an even and complete modded chocolate. I began with silicon molds but results were unpredictable and the molds grew a white bloom however carefully I cleaned and stored them. I now use those molds to freeze inserts for pastries, herbs for adding to cooking etc Also worth a mention: clingfilm and disposable gloves. I use film to cover everything within range when working with chocolate and find the gloves indispensable to avoid spoiling the few nice shiny chocolates I turn out with unwanted finger marks. I haven’t bought many books. I do use Frederic Bau’s L’essential du Chocolat although some of the recipes are less than wonderful it makes for a good guide to basic techniques. I bought Greweling after reading recommendations here but I haven’t made anything from that book yet. Perhaps too advanced for me. Having read this thread I guess I will be looking again at a small tempering machine. I hint to my husband that he might make me one (are you reading this RB) as a newly retired Control Engineer it might be a good project for him and he has indicated an interest in such from time to time. I know he has joined eGullet so might read this.... I sometimes use my dough proofing oven to melt chocolate, it is sold with tempering as one of its functions but it takes a long time. The proofer has transformed my bread making but that’s another topic!
  2. This French company is selling Valrhona Inspirations in small quantities https://www.laboetgato.fr/fr/inspiration/15446-inspiration-passion-couverture-de-fruits-feves-200-g-3333330250706.html I think they deliver world wide, their site now shows currency and language choices while previously it was all French. Their “English” pages show the US flag so I’m guessing they aren’t particularly targeting UK customers. There is technical info on the page linked to above including a tempering guide.
  3. DianaB


    Came across this on Facebook: I don’t often make tarts but am tempted by some of these ideas... I have no link to the creator of the film. Apologies if it has been posted elsewhere, I did search but haven’t found the same.
  4. Across France there are problems in getting staff to work in boulangeries and pâtisseries so if your visa allows you to work in Europe you shouldn’t have a problem securing a job. As I understand your question you are looking for a training opportunity rather than work experience? That might be more of a problem if you don’t speak French. There are courses in both disciplines aimed at English speakers, mostly in Paris and with fees to be paid. Perhaps if your training is business oriented you might be able to find grant monies to assist with fees? If straightforward work experience would be useful I might be able to find you a place but in provincial France rather than in Paris. There are eGullet members living and working in Paris who might be more help. I’m not sure that a month of work experience would allow you sufficient time to learn all of the necessary skills to then run your own shop. An intensive course might be the better route? Even then a month seems short when compared with the more usual routes to these professions (Boulanger and Pâtissier have much in common but as you no doubt know they are different trades). I imagine others might give more informed views, I don’t work in either trade but I know there are other eGullet members living and working in France. I look forward to reading of your progress in due course and wish you success in your endeavours.
  5. I will happily agree that the best and probably the cheapest food from the sea comes direct from the boats. Decades ago I would help out with mending of nets on days the boats couldn’t go out, in exchange were lots of crabs and the occasional lobster. Sadly the town where I lived then, which grew from fishing, has very few boats now. The council considered them an eyesore for the tourist. Boats still go out from Whitby. Once fish and chips have been consumed a nice afternoon can be spent watching them coming into the harbour if you are lucky with the tides (or of course if you have checked them first). I would guess that the fishing communities @liuzhou mentions will be similar to those few that still exist around Whitby. I’m not sure if it is still possible to buy direct from the boats, something tells me that the introduction of strict quotas meant that everything landed had to be declared and then sold via an auction house made for that purpose. Of course if you know get to know people working on the boats you might still be lucky. I think the place that makes kippers is still in operation in Whitby and much appreciated by those who enjoy kippers. You won’t need the address to find it, just follow the aroma... For the enthusiast holidaying in Whitby you can book yourself onto a boat that will take you a little way off shore so that you can catch your own fish, in theory at least. The way memory works never ceases to amaze me. I haven’t thought about the nets or about fishing at Whitby in a long time. While writing I remembered a TV play made years ago about a group of blokes going to Whitby for a fishing weekend. I found it on YouTube here: I need to watch this again.
  6. Good morning,


    just a short note to say say that if you are in Northern England next year please don’t hesitate to get in touch.  It would be lovely to meet.


    Kind regards,



  7. We hope to be in Crathorne later this week so will try to remember to take some pictures.
  8. I definitely fall into all three categories as does my husband. We have a series of recipes perfected over the years that we make repeatedly. These are things such as beef Bourguignon, bolognaise sauce, chicken in a white wine sauce that can all be portioned and frozen so that we have a good supply of our own ‘ready meals’. Other things, in particular those that require a great amount of time, are not often repeated but recipes are annotated just in case. In patisserie I will work at a recipe in attempt to perfect it. Far from sure that I’ve achieved that with any recipe to date but trying is fun. That best sums up my approach to cooking: curiosity and fun.
  9. I realise that few in this international community will visit North Yorkshire but if members do find themselves in this part of England and are looking for somewhere to eat I would recommend the Crathorne Arms, website here: http://www.thecrathornearms.co.uk/ The establishment is managed by Eugene McCoy, his family have owned and or managed a number of excellent restaurants, the Tontine is perhaps the best known although the McCoys are no longer involved. The company that now owns the Tontine has recently spent a small fortune on a refit and the place is now marketed as a boutique hotel. I’m not sure what qualifies a hotel as ‘boutique’ but it will be interesting to see if the restaurant reflects the excellence we enjoyed when the McCoys were there. The ambience at the Crathorne Arms is warm and welcoming. They offer an option of fixed price menus alongside their full menu. The seafood pancake starter has been served, I think, at all McCoy establishments. In my view it is worth a visit to Crathorne just for that! Last time we ate there I had beef wellington and my husband enjoyed classic steak in pepper sauce. Service is always with a smile. There are live music nights from time to time and in summer there are tables outside. Crathorne is a small village but it includes Crathorne Hall, a much larger hotel/restaurant. Web searches can result in confusion! I haven’t eaten at the Hall in recent years but we won a luxury weekend stay there around 20 years ago. Food was included, management hadn’t been to,d whether wine was also a part of the prize. They kindly decided that it was. We live less than 10 minutes from Crathorne so it was handy to go home each day to feed the cats! It was also great that we could both enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner knowing that neither of us would need to drive home. I rarely recommend places because of course everyone’s tastes are individual to them. I have made this exception because we have never been in any way disappointed with food eaten at the Crathorne Arms
  10. DianaB

    Dinner 2018

    Every time I read this topic I am stunned both by the culinary expertise and the beautiful photos. I need to spend some time learning more about taking food pictures. @Kim Shook there is little nicer than a fried egg sandwich. I was in my 20s before I had my first, I was stunned at its deliciousness even though it was made (not by me) with Chorleywood style supermarket bread. I actually liked that bread then, it was new to me because my mother had always baked her own, great on the day it was made but less than wonderful as the week progressed. Having seen @ElsieD‘s lamb shanks reminded me that it is perhaps time to make this again. Below shows shanks prepared ready to bake from an earlier dinner. They are fall apart gorgeous when cooked in this way: I posted a sausage stuff brioche a few weeks ago. Below is lamb fillet in brioche with a duxelles between slices of the meat. The idea came from a Julia Child recipe and while it took time to create it was very tasty and certainly to be repeated. Off now in search of any discussion on food photography across eGullet....
  11. Thanks so much @liuzhou for taking the time to post the additional information on the Chinese New Year banquets. As you say the first film is simply beautiful and I really enjoyed it even if I couldn’t understand what was said. As you have pointed out it is bizarre to identify a clip as subtitled in Chinese and English when only the Chinese is visible. Perhaps the film was made for a different platform? I know that YouTube will offer subtitles ‘on the fly’ for many films that don’t include any such assistance. I have difficulties with accents sometimes so will use the automatic subtitles YouTube offers, they can be amusing even if at times very inaccurate. I was surprised the bird in the second film wasn’t boned before cooking. As you no doubt know in Europe we have Chicken Ballantine: an entire bird boned, stuffed and then cooked. I haven’t made that in years but your post has reminded me of that recipe and I’m thinking of having another go. I did it with poussins stuffed with a veal mousseline for one of our New Years a long time ago. I would really love to try any of the dishes you have shown us! Thanks also to @dcarch for helping with identification of the chicken.
  12. A very loose interpretation of ile flottante. Crème anglaise made separately. The centre is a milk chocolate and passion fruit ganache montée and the base is just a slab of tempered milk chocolate. As an insomniac I pass a lot of time watching cooking programmes and versions of an ile flottante have been everywhere this week! Mine was OK but far from ‘wow’, our measure to define whether a recipe will get another chance. Might try a different version in due course... The best part part of the experiment was using sucralose in the crème anglaise rather than sugar. That will now be our standard recipe. Next a cat picture. Relevant because he is warming himself on our proofing box in which was melting the milk chocolate for the ganache! @rarerollingobject your rhubarb is a work of art! Our rhubarb is just starting to make an appearance in the garden so I may need to steal your idea...
  13. The first picture Tefal device is the same as ours. The paddle is removable as this is necessary for cleaning. When cooking anything in the device that is too fragile for the paddle we leave it out and cover its mechanism with an upside down ramekin to protect the spindle etc from any grease splashes. It cooks sausages or bacon well in this mode and that means we need to spend less time cleaning the hob or the oven. Everything from the Tefal that needs washing goes in the dishwasher.
  14. Interesting to see the content of @FauxPas‘s boxes. I note that the rice and pasta are already cooked. With HF most ingredients need to be cooked, the only exception being beans or lentils that are supplied in tins (except red lentils that are supplied dried). Of course I forgot to take pictures of the 2 meals we have cooked so far from this latest box. The third will be made tonight so I will try again to remember to have a camera to hand... Packaging from HF is mostly paper or card so easily recycled, plus the cats love the outer boxes so they get to sit in or on them until we are ready to put them into the recycling. The only real waste arises from provision of exact doses of condiments. I don’t see a way round that, if HF relied on us having similar full size products to hand we would need to buy a lot of stuff we wouldn’t otherwise use; this might end up with us throwing things out after they have sat in the cupboard/fridge for a while. I try hard not to put anything edible into the rubbish.
  15. DianaB


    For bread flour you will no doubt find cooperatives supplying to the trade in the part of France where you shop. Through tenuous trade links I am able to buy sacks of 25kg at 17€. If you are baking professionally you would clearly qualify to buy. If not, chat with a local artisan Boulanger, he or she will probably be happy to sell you smaller quantities at little more than trade price. French boulangeries will also give or sell at cost small amounts of croissant pastry, puff pastry etc. Lots quicker to roll that out than to make your own unless you have the magic rolling machine for laminated doughs.
  16. I occasionally have to visit Whitby for meetings but it isn’t one of my favourite places, the pretty old streets team with tourists to such an extent that it can be difficult to get around on any day let alone when the sun is visible. The Magpie keeps a number of the tourists happy and out of the way by having them queue outside for a while before feeding them. If you don’t want to stand in line but you do want excellent chips and fish head over the swing bridge to https://www.hadleysfishandchips.co.uk/. The position is similar in York where there is at least more space per tourist if you forget weekends during the summer. Rather than queue for Bettys https://www.bettys.co.uk/cafe-tea-rooms/our-locations/bettys-york main tea room where you will wait a good while to be allocated a tiny table millimetres from your neighbour, head up Stonegate to what was Taylors but I’ve an idea it has been rebranded Bettys. Both are under same ownership for a good while now. The ground floor is a tea shop selling loose teas etc but upstairs are tea rooms where the menu is mostly the same as all of the other Bettys places. Many people don’t know that tea room exists. Space is more generous, the decoration is nicer and you are not exposed to the stares of all the passers by as you will certainly be in the larger Bettys. Fish and chips are on the Bettys menu but while I’m sure they will be excellent I have never been tempted and I haven’t seen anyone else take this choice when I’ve lunched in any of their places. Pikelets dripping with butter does me, with a serving of their Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee. Ceylon sapphire tea is also lovely. Menu on website. Mmmm pikelets.... butter.... Cant be hard to make pikelets, Bettys is impossible on Saturdays so that might be a project. Fish and chips can wait but having tried the Magpie (admittedly before the rebuild but I see that the queuing is the same) I would always pick Hadley’s if I want fish and chips in Whitby. Despite my dislike of the town Whitby is also THE place to go for fresh fish/sea food. Lobsters were £5 each last time I looked! OK those were the ones with one claw missing or similar but they were all less than £10 per lobster. You need to be there on the right day of course, same for all of the other delights from the sea.
  17. In the parts of Europe where I am used to eating out tipping is very different, I think, to countries referred to so far. In England we will usually tip around 10% and while this might seem mean tipping is not so much a part of the culture. I don’t know what happens in chain restaurants: living in the country we rarely come across them, but I would be surprised if the employees of Macdonalds etc ever receive anything at all. I will be happy for others to correct me on this. When we first began to travel in Europe my husband and I studied our guide books and, in accordance with advice (going back some years) we always tipped at least 10% in other parts of western Europe. In the early 1990s I visited Poland several times for professional reasons. Colleagues advised that as a result of the astronomic inflation of that time generous tips should be given to anyone providing any form of service since salaries were not keeping up with escalating prices. The currency has since changed but I recall giving the lift attendant in our hotel a handful of notes, several thousand zlotys (now, I think, extinct). I asked my colleague if that had been too much, he replied that the sum had been equal to a few pennies so not really appropriate. I left tipping to him for the rest of that visit! The situation in Poland is of course very different now. When living in France I would often dine out with clients or take them for coffee. I noticed that they would be extremely generous with tips, especially in bars where at the time a coffee was usually 1€. Handfuls of change would be deposited on the table by the clients as we left. On one occasion I did a quick calculation and found that my client had placed almost 5€ on the table in coins of small denominations. When I advised him of this, and of the price I had paid for our 2 coffees, he was amazed. He had simply seen an opportunity of ridding himself of a pocket full of change without thought of value. I noticed during those years that people not familiar with the currency would often pay for things with a note rather than taking the time to count out unfamiliar change (I have a long sighted friend who does the opposite but I won’t wander off to describe that approach )! As a result my non-French clients ended up with huge amounts of change and bar staff were often therefore rather well tipped. I think they simply didn’t consider the value of their change in the same way they would with their home currency. Last week I spent some days with close friends who, as you might know, were restauranteurs before retirement. The topic of tipping came up in general conversation and I asked if 10% was still the anticipated gratuity in France. My question was met with laughter. I was told that in years past servers did not receive a salary and so relied upon tips as their income. This practice is long since abolished, France has a minimum wage and (almost) everyone is paid for their work. The exceptions are irrelevant here. Restaurant/bar/hotel etc bills will all include advice that service is included in the total price and my friends were adamant in saying that as a result they would never tip however excellent the food or the service. This is what they have paid for in the sum determined appropriate by the establishment concerned. I was told that when still running their restaurant the only clients that left tips were ‘foreigners’, most often English (they consider all English speaking peoples English and can’t discriminate accents between English English and American English). I was amazed at the information on tipping. Of course I had seen ‘Service Inclus’ on restaurant bills but we often see similar in England and I had not imagined that this really meant tipping was not expected. This did help me understand the reaction of staff in the few Parisien restaurants where we eat reasonably often. I had thought the exceptionally warm welcomes simply a result of our repeat visits and expressions of interest in the menus and staff. When we have particularly appreciated a meal we have certainly tipped in excess of 10% as we would elsewhere. We have accepted the little extras offered at the end of the meal as simple generosity but my friends have advised that we have perhaps embarrassed restaurant owners or waiting staff and they are anxious that we receive value for our money! I guess we will never properly understand a culture that is not our own. This is a topic I intend to discuss with others when next in France. For now our tipping won’t change. The minimum wage is clearly better than having staff entirely dependent on tips but it is as the title indicates and if a small gratuity can bring a little joy to those doing a job involving hard work at less than ideal hours I am happy to provide that. To finish, the one aspect of tipping I really dislike is that of certain English establishments where one is presented with a bill that doesn’t include a total. When paying by card as is often the case one is invited to add the tip in writing so that it will be included in the total transaction and deducted from your card alongside the menu charges. If I want to tip I want to do that in person for the benefit of the individual who has provided the service. I appreciate I can be criticised for this but I don’t claim to be perfect! I have yet to tip in this way, when I do pay by card in such a situation my tip will be given as I leave, in cash, to those directly concerned.
  18. @liuzhou, given the situation in respect of knives at the table (I know there are also spoons, the book ‘Consider the Fork’ by Bee Wilson is an extremely informative easy read on all such everyday items across cultures), what does the apparently steel dish towards the middle of the table contain? On on my iPad it appears to be a green vegetable with something I can’t identify in a sauce. Perhaps it is one of those things obvious to many but not to me, ‘‘tis often that way... How would this piece be shared and eaten? Perhaps it is tender and will fall apart so that diners can help themselves? I’m intrigued.
  19. I realise this is going back a bit but I have dreamt of making a cheesecake like this for decades. Berries optional but the cake itself appears identical to that sold in a deli in the town where I grew up. Saturday was market day in our town and on rare occasions my father and I would visit the market, just us, a treat because he was often away for work. On the best of those days we would stop at the deli on the way home and he would buy me a slice of that cheesecake. The nearest I have found in adult life was in a deli known as La Boutique Jaune in Paris. That is a tiny shop always packed with customers and I have never felt it appropriate to discuss the recipe due to the crowd waiting to be served. Can anyone point me in the direction of a similar recipe? I did PM @Captain but recognise that we don’t all have time to scan messages. . All contributions will be very welcomed.
  20. Wonderful to see properly authentic Chinese food. I am intrigued that everything is presented in small pieces having recently read a book about the history of kitchen equipment. The section on knives explained that in China and Japan knives are reserved for the kitchen. Diners wouldn’t be expected to cut their food themselves when a chef with knife skills beyond those most can imagine will do the chopping before service. Made sense of chopsticks for me.
  21. Apples sliced and layered with brown sugar and a very small amount of butter. Will be covered and baked at 90c to apparently produce apple confit that can once cool be sliced to include in other desserts or with ice cream. We will see.... Pleased with my new dish, got 2 in glass with snap on lids that are just the right size for meals for a couple. Mostly we end up with receptacles too large but these were a great price and made in France where they were bought so not too many transport costs.
  22. If I follow a recipe and find the outcome dry or dense I generally find that slicing it lengthways (don’t imagine either way would make much difference but length ways would preserve the appearance of something pretty like this lemon cake). Soak the resulting cut sides with a syrup to your taste, mixed perhaps with a liqueur if that is appropriate to your diet. Limoncello with simple syrup might have worked well in this instance. Adds succulence and moisture in my experience when it is too late to change the main mix. Will also revive a cake of this style stored perhaps longer than ideal. The cake looks beautiful and inspires me to make similar...
  23. DianaB

    Satay from scratch

    Again, many thanks to all who have supported me through the ‘Satay’ adventure via this thread. To clarify a couple of things, I was staying with friends in France last week. They had spoken repeatedly of a remarkable Satay dish eaten at a seaside restaurant some 4 years ago. When I began my attempts to recreate their dish I hadn’t realised their memory was so distant, I thought it had been last summer or perhaps that before when they had been at Pornic, the seaside town concerned. My friends are retired restauranteurs with decades of experience but their excellent cooking is based on traditional French food with a sprinkling of Italian dishes thrown in. ‘J’ opened the first pizzeria in the area in 1990 when all local banks refused to support him with such a ridiculous project! That restaurant was a success and trades to this day under new ownership. A little context is now perhaps relevant to properly respond to other comments. At each recent meeting J and M have spoken of their love of their Satay Gambas and last week they showed me the various powders and potions bought online or sent by a family member living in Turkey. J and M know that at home I cook some ‘exotic’ dishes and so again they asked if I had any advice. I inspected the spice mix from Turkey, it might have been interesting when fresh but it had no aroma and its composition remains a mystery as it had been bought from a market in an unlabelled bag. A similar bag holds a half kilo of ‘safron’ but if the content is really safron I’m the man in the moon. Never mind, Turmeric makes a nice base for some things and the powder will probably stay in its bag until the end of days. The above resulted in me starting this thread in hope that collectively we might make some progress. I studied your advices and also read around the topic across the Internet. I asked my friends to tell me of any flavours they could recall from the Pornic dish. Both said only that peanuts gave texture to a sauce that was delicious with the famous gambas. We weren’t getting very far and I was somewhat lost having never seen Satay let alone tasted it. I don’t like peanuts as I have written before. I will try anything once however so I attempted to put together a list of items that could be found locally. Had I been cooking at home the list would have been different because we have a few Asian stores not too far away and Mr Amazon will deliver from his grocery by next day. We subscribe so next day delivery in the UK is free and that saves us a lot of petrol. M came shopping with me. We searched everywhere for gambas or other appropriate seafood but bearing in mind that much of France was badly hit by snow last week produce from the sea was thin on the ground at best. I suggested chicken or pork. Chicken was M’s reluctant choice but she insisted we shouldn’t buy an entire bird because she still gets them wholesale and has a freezer full. There wasn’t time to defrost a bird she advised. At home I could have done that but I wasn’t at home. My choice would therefore have been boned chicken thighs but we were forced to go for breast fillets as these were the only organic option available and I won’t buy the other types of chicken meat in France or the UK knowing very well how the birds have been raised. While the hypermarkets in rural France are vast their stock supports traditional French cooking, some Italian and a minute range of Asian ingredients. We scoured the town for lemongrass but there was none to be had. In the end I bought a bag of dried leaves intended for tisane that the very pleasant young woman at a ‘Bio’ (organic) supermarket assured me others had used in cooking. You have seen the stuff we returned home with. The dried lemongrass might be useful if J and M run out of tooth picks. Back at J and M’s I explained our progress to J. He announced that he doesn’t eat the white meat of chicken because it is dry and flavourless and therefore not worth the effort of chewing, in his view it is an acceptable cat food. I tried to assure him that I was capable of making it tasty and moist. J returned to his crossword and his Gitaine. Having put the meat to marinade I created a sauce based on peanut butter and coconut milk, the thicker part having gone into the marinade I used the more liquid part to let down the sauce. I asked J and M to taste said sauce. Both pronounced it good but nothing like that they had enjoyed at Pornic. Only now I was told that the original peanut sauce had been red in colour. I don’t know why but I had assumed that having cooked the meat in its coating the sauce would be served cold like a condiment. By now the chicken was almost ready, also the rice and M asked how I would be cooking the sauce. I quickly tipped it into a saucepan to warm through. In fact as you can probably see from the photos posted earlier I managed to split the sauce but by now I was becoming exasperated so I said nothing and whisked in a little water, a technique that has saved sauces for me previously. Not really a success but I don’t think that really mattered. All morning I had been encouraging J to at least taste the chicken. I knew that I had failed when I saw a pan of beef stew simmering on the hob. It was a good stew, we had eaten the same earlier in the week and as J and M still cook restaurant quantities (nothing is wasted, food is portioned and frozen) there was plenty. It is unfortunate that all this happened at a time when J and M have just sold their beautiful home due to retirement causing reduced finances. In France for people of our generation who have managed their own business retirement is financially complicated, I might write on that elsewhere because different decisions taken earlier would have produced a much better outcome and I know there are other eGullet members working in France. My friends are preparing for a move to the coast where they must now find a much smaller home. They have lived within 50km of their current home all of their lives so even while the choice to move to the Atlantic is their own it is a huge thing for them. Location choice was made so that they can be close to their grandchildren. I won’t go into other personal issues save to say that the death of M’s youngest sister on Christmas Eve hasn’t helped. All of this has caused depression and intolerance that is understandable. In other circumstances I would have been both hurt and annoyed. A great deal of effort went into that dish even if it was far from authentic. J and M know vaguely about this forum and I had made clear that we were privileged to have the advice of experienced cooks from around the world. In the circumstances as they are I can only repeat my sincere thanks to you all. Apologies for wanderings in this response; I wanted to fill in some of the context for those who have been so helpful over the past week. I will certainly use a similar marinade in the future and perhaps even work on the sauce. Your advice has broadened my own limited experience of this style of recipe and learning something new is positive even when the outcome wasn't quite as I had hoped! COOKING THE CHICKEN Having cut the chicken into strips before putting them into the marinade I then rolled those strips and set them out in the baking dish pictured in Friday’s post. That went into a warmed fan oven at 200c for 20 minutes. We use the same technique at home for tandoori style chicken when we can’t grill outside and it does produce moist meat, flavour enhanced by the marinade in which the rolled strips are coated. My husband makes a curry dish using chicken thigh meat cooked in this way and at the moment that is my favourite dinner. He has prepared that for us to enjoy tonight, first night back home, when now retired DH gets home from work Most of what I bought in France came home with me. The peanut butter stayed with J and M because their grandson is with them for a week. He had never tasted peanut butter but found that he likes it very much so his breakfast comprises that on bread for now. He is an extremely active 10 year old so I don’t think the calories will cause him a problem. If only I had his energy!
  24. DianaB

    Satay from scratch

    The meal has been made, as I mentioned yesterday we had to use chicken because there were no gambas to be had. Based on the ingredients available I made a marinade for the chicken using garlic, ginger, shallot, green chili pepper, salt, black pepper and small amounts of the Thai seasoning and curry paste we had found. I sautéed the ginger, shallot, garlic and chili for a few minutes: Next added the other seasonings and the thicker part of the coconut milk to complete a marinade. The chicken in strips sat in the marinade while I made the accompanying sauce. Peanut butter, soy sauce, coconut milk, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of piment d’espelette to liven it up a bit. I should have bought another fresh chili to add. I hadn’t understood that the peanut element should be warm but there was time to stick it in a pan and warm it through. Ready to cook the chicken, I was now informed that one of the couple I was cooking for wouldn’t be eating the results because he doesn’t like chicken breast. I baked the chicken coated in its marinade for 20 minutes: I’m not keen on peanuts so I served the chicken separate to the sauce together with basmati rice. The friend who did share the meal with me said that it was good but absolutely nothing like the satay they had enjoyed in a restaurant. I have suggested that they return to that restaurant and ask for advice. I know nothing of Thai cooking but I will make the chicken part again for my husband once home. It would probably be good with salad as an alternative to rice. Below is my plate before addition of the rice. The very small portion of satay sauce reflects my own tastes, there was plenty left. The balance of the ingredients will go home with me on Sunday. Tonight we are having tartiflette which should suit everyone’s tastes. I will need to buy some larger clothes tomorrow.... Many thanks to all here who have helped me in my (failed) attempt to recreate the meal. I have learnt much about the dish, the limited availability of ‘exotic’ ingredients here and the preconceptions of certain individuals .
  25. DianaB

    Satay from scratch

    Back from our attempt to find ingredients for a first attempt. No gambas to be had so we will use chicken. No fresh citronnelle and no Thai curry paste. After visiting all possible shops we have the items pictured plus garlic and onions already here. To be tried tomorrow.....
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