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Everything posted by DianaB

  1. DianaB

    Satay from scratch

    Just returned to put together my shopping list for a first attempt at this dish. Those craving a recreation of their restaurant experience insist that only gambas will do, I would have opted for chicken as a less expensive experiment but I’m not making this for me. Many thanks @IEATRIO and @Cronker for your contributions, all advice will be taken into account as best I can and with stuff I can find locally.
  2. Interesting to catch up on this topic months after I last visited. It seems that in some parts of the world the choice of meal kits has risen significantly while elsewhere little has changed. After trying the 3 available options based on our address in England we have stayed with Hello Fresh ordering perhaps every 6 weeks or so depending on what they are offering and what we are doing. In general we have very few complaints. The one time we received a damaged pot of cream we were credited with 50% of the value of that week’s box, the damaged item would have cost pennies. Impressed by some of the spice mixes we asked where they were sourced and were advised that Seasoned Pioneers supplies Hello Fresh so we have been able to buy direct from them and create similar recipes between boxes. We also obtained the name of the company that supplies their very nice stock pots but as Hello Fresh recipes for 2 often require use of only half the supplied stock we have been able to keep spare portions in the fridge. Overall the advantage for us has been the opportunity to try new to us styles of cooking with ease. We have kept the recipe cards in the binder they kindly supplied as a gift in return for detailed feedback we provided in respect of a recipe that we found to be full of errors. That is the only recipe we didn’t follow closely because it was clear to us as reasonably experienced home cooks that we would end up with a poor result. All of the recipes are freely available via their app so we have tried some of them without buying the box. The Hello Fresh experience has improved the range of things we eat significantly. We decided early in the experience that we would make the meals as directed even where we thought we wouldn’t like certain of the ingredients. That has worked well and we have learned that in the right combinations we can enjoy these things that we would never otherwise have bought. The meals are certainly not sold at a bargain price but there is no waste. The insulation used to keep certain things cold is wool based and can be returned to HF at their cost for re-use. I read in this thread that HF works on a margin of 2%, if that is correct it seems that the viability of the business is fragile at best. I hope they manage to keep going, their food has certainly enriched our cooking. We have a box ordered for next week so I will try to remember to photograph the contents.
  3. DianaB

    Satay from scratch

    Thank you so much @KennethT, @heidih, @Okanagancook, @JoNorvelleWalker and @liuzhou for all of your advice. I’m confident I can put something together that should resemble the meal my friends remember. Today is market day here in La Flèche so if they want gambas we should be able to find them, otherwise it will be chicken for a first try. I’ll update if we are able to make this dish while I am in France. Many thanks again
  4. DianaB

    Satay from scratch

    Many thanks @KennethT for your response. My friends are totally inexperienced in respect of this type of recipe. Their memory is of an unforgettable and excellent sauce which seems to have included roasted chopped peanuts and spices that they can’t define. The restaurant was at a French seaside resort , we’re not talking gastronomy here, rather a French bistrot interpretation. My own research and discussion with my friends leads me to think they should try one of the numerous spice mixes they have bought with a sauce based on coconut milk which they have never tried. That is easily available here. Ideally I would love to understand the spicing so that we can make something they can repeat. The miscellaneous mixes now in the kitchen probably won’t be found again. Many thanks for your reply. All further ideas welcome!
  5. I am hoping someone here might help me find a recipe for Satay that I can share with the friends who are kindly accommodating me this week. They had Satay Gambas in a restaurant a couple of years ago but they have never managed to recapture the flavour at home. They are very experienced cooks but they don’t have any real knowledge of spices. That said there is little they have to learn about traditional French cuisine. I imagine a recipe for a chicken based Satay would work fine with gambas. I did search before posting this topic but I couldn’t find a recipe based upon individual spices rather than a mix that would perhaps not be available in rural France. Would anyone help? I can source spices at home or on-line if necessary. I will also contribute a set of scales that can weigh fractions of a gramme so that they can make their own spice mix, I think that would be something they would enjoy. Any suggestions would be very much welcomed.
  6. In that case hope to have chance to meet you in the Autumn. If you would be interested in extending your visit by a couple of days to visit the Loir region a little it would be a pleasure to arrange that for you, or of course if you fancy relaxing for a couple of days in North Yorkshire after the salon that would be another alternative.
  7. Having been absent from eGullet for a while it was with great pleasure that I came across this thread and was able to read it all in one go. Had I known you were in Paris I would certainly have tried to join you, at least to say hello. Next time perhaps. How did the EZTemper go at the Salon? I read and see a great deal about the Salon every year but have never visited in person. To be honest for those of us not in the profession there is enough mastery of chocolate to be seen in a walk around Paris, or any decent sized French town. I hope that the visit was good for you professionally as well as interesting from a more visiting type perspective, if that makes sense... I’m off to rural France tomorrow for a week, weather permitting. Thanks for all the pictures and for your perspective on one of my favourite places to be.
  8. We have a Tefal Actifry which I thought was an air fryer. I grew up on latkes so was interested in this topic. The pictures above indicate that perhaps our device isn’t an air fryer at all. There is no basket with our Tefal, more a pan with a paddle in the centre which rotates. We often take the paddle out to cook larger stuff than chips, stopping the machine to turn stuff by hand. Makes for less mess than cooking sausages and similar in the oven. I’m thinking this might make good latkes, has anyone tried in a similar device?
  9. Sachertorte, best chocolate cake I’ve ever made despite the difficulties in achieving a perfect finish. Gold leaf is still in the cupboard.
  10. DianaB

    Dinner 2018

    Sausage meat in brioche before and after cooking. Should have photographed when sliced but didn’t. Next time needs more filling and less brioche... The ball of brioche top left was just to use up the rest of the dough. Makes good toast.
  11. Thanks so much to @kayb, @Anna N and others for joining in the lunch game. I find it extremely interesting to begin to understand the basics of our different food cultures and this is a great place to learn. It would be lovely of course if we could all meet in person over a lunch or dinner. Given that for numerous reasons that is unlikely I shall continue to salivate here, and elsewhere on eGullet, savouring these virtual moments of togetherness and joy over food.
  12. Is it perhaps cheese round the edge and sesame seeds in the centre? It might be a result of looking at the image on an iPad rather than a computer but the bits around the edge look longer than panko crumbs to me.
  13. Thanks for replies to my question to date. It was because I only know of the types of Canadian foods that @Anna N lists that I was curious to learn more. Despite the numerous links between Canada and Europe we very rarely hear about events in Canada and Canadian culture is rarely discussed, at least in my experience. If you had to express Canada on a plate @Anna N what would you serve? Are there typical Canadian cheeses? I’m ashamed that I don’t know of any. I know I could search Google but others here might also be interested and an exchange is more rewarding than a screen full of facts...
  14. Seeing all of the creations posted here over the past 6 months or so has been a very pleasant way to pass a very cold Sunday afternoon. As always I am stunned by the talent of those posting here, also inspired to try to develop my own baking. While time for cooking has been limited until recently I really wanted to ensure that for once we would consume all of the apples produced by our two small trees last autumn. In previous years we have tried to store some but without a great deal of success. As I have written before I hope one day to be in a position to create an apple dessert that looks like an apple. I’ve made various attempts using half spheres but nothing anywhere near as impressive as @rarerollingobject‘s lemons. A new apple shaped silicone mould arrived via Amazon too late for this season’s harvest but I look forward to testing that later in 2018. Most of this year’s desserts have been layered. This first had too much biscuit and not enough fruit: The top is Ivoire chocolate ganache with chopped dark chocolate mixed through. Variations on this next attempt tasted good. The génoise was replaced with a pistachio dacquois, the top is white chocolate with marscapone (if not it is white chocolate mixed with a bavarois cream, I can’t remember which iteration this was)! An insufficient amount of pectin in the purée gave a sloppy look to the finished product but it tasted fine. This final version had little inserts of raw apple set in apple juice and frozen in what was bought as a silicon chocolate mould. I have had no real success in attempting to make moulder chocolates in silicon so the mounds are now usually employed to freeze things in. Top layer is passion fruit purée set with gelatine. The middle is half bavarois and half apple purée. I did try to freeze the raw apple in calvados on one attempt but without success. Hopefully I will have more time to experiment this year.
  15. Hello there,


    I’m catching up with eGullet after some months with little free time.  I’ve just seen a beautiful cheesecake that you published here last July.  In view of the time that has passed I thought it probably better to contact you direct rather than in the thread.


    Your cheesecake looks exactly like a style I remember from childhood but have never been able to recreate.  Are you able to share the recipe, or the source of the recipe.  I would be happy to buy a book if it means I can finally achieve that dessert!


    I look forward to hearing from you in due course and thank you in anticipation of your help.


    Kind regards,


    Diana B

  16. I have now caught up with this thread and really enjoyed all of the details on lunches. Kerry and Anna’s reports are always of interest but one thing occurred to me repeatedly as I worked my way through. Perhaps best expressed by way of a question: If I was able to join you for lunch close to your homes in Canada (please don’t panic, this is very unlikely) what would we eat as a typical Canadian meal? The question could be broadened if others want to join in: What would any of you propose for me, European living in England, as an appropriate lunch to reflect the cuisine of your local area? Looking forward to some virtual lunching.
  17. Really enjoyed reading the positive events that resulted in a trip to Nice and the photos are beautiful even if I’m surprised that the restaurant didn’t use linen table cloths. I had thought it obligatory for a Michelin starred place but perhaps not for the tables outside. The ‘Toutes Directions’ sign is replicated all over France, usually to get traffic away from a town centre and onto a ring road from which drivers can pick the appropriate destination from similar boards but with place names listed. Am all but certain we have similar in England but these things become so much a part of one’s landscape that they don’t stand out. ETA I hadn’t realised how long ago the original post was made! I had momentarily forgotten that I’m working my way through months of content at the moment.....
  18. From memory (not been to KFC in a while) the UK branches don’t offer mashed potato, green beans, gravy or biscuits. Basically it’s variations on chicken and chips.
  19. This is a topic that divides our household (of two). Husband would prefer his main meal at around 6.00 pm while I would rather eat later. We tend to compromise on around 6.30 pm now that we are both at home and able to cook together. A benefit of my husband’s recent retirement. When I lived in France most people had their main meal in the middle of the day and that pattern persists when we are there since we stay with friends and adapt to their daily routines. When working my lunch break in France was two and a half hours. Many French restaurants, at least in the provinces, cater for a main service in the middle of the day perhaps not even opening in the evenings during the week. In England I think most people now have their main meal in the evening. When I worked in France colleagues never understood my choice not to eat a large meal at midday. My apple and coffee were considered inappropriate but amusing to those I worked with... i always find these cultural differences interesting, thanks for starting this thread.
  20. I’m late to this news but have just seen film of the ‘private’ launch of Ruby chocolate in China that took place recently. The Callebaut Rep was adamant that his samples were ‘bean to bar’ and that only 5 people in the world are aware of the source of the beans that produce Ruby chocolate and the production steps necessary. Elsewhere on the web I found news that Nestlé is launching a Ruby coated KitKat in certain Eastern markets this Spring. I didn’t know that Callebaut and Nestlé were linked, perhaps they aren’t but in which case I’m thinking the knowledge behind production of Ruby chocolate must have broadened from the original 5. The Callebaut Rep likened discovery of Ruby chocolate to Newton discovering gravity...
  21. This is probably obvious to others but would you explain 'sweet cream'. Is it a chantilly: whipped cream with added sugar? Your guidance would be very much appreciated, the recipe makes me think it is a mix of what in the UK and France I know as double/heavy cream whipped with icing sugar. The desserts look delicious but I would like to properly understand your recipe. Again, apologies if I am asking the obvious, just want to be sure! Your photographs are beautiful, in particular the mint leaves in the last one.
  22. Many thanks @Thanks for the Crepes and @Lisa Shock. I'm still to find time to try this confection but I'll post a commentary of my attempt which will provide the essentials of the recipe without translating word for word. It is highly unlikely that I will employ a blow torch, the alternative proposed on the site I linked to above is a hair dryer which seems a less risky approach. While I love making all manner of bonbons, sweet patisserie etc nougat is one of the very few such items I will happily eat and enjoy. Perhaps the coming weekend will find me with sufficient time to have a first attempt. I have ingredients to hand for a nut based variant, I'm sure the dried flower additions will result in a more sophisticated outcome, such to keep in mind if I manage to find a base recipe that works. I'll report back in due course...
  23. I realise this is an old thread but is anyone making nougat at the moment? As most of you will know I am far from experienced as a cook/pastry enthusiast/sweet maker. This is the next project I would like to try, mostly because it is one of the very few sweet things I enjoy eating myself. The recipe I plan to use is in French and here http://www.mercotte.fr/2011/11/16/nougat-une-deuxieme-version-plus-classique-sans-chocolat-encore-un-cadeau-gourmand/ for anyone interested. I will translate if anyone wants to try this along side me? I have invested in the rice paper (thanks Amazon) so am ready to start. I don't see my husband being happy about the suggested use of a blow torch but nor do I see blow torches mentioned in this thread so perhaps heating the bowl isn't necessary if temperatures of sugar and honey are right? I'm really hoping some of you might want to have a go at this but will report back (might be a while, still swamped with work) with results.
  24. Cherries - a final instalment As planned I attempted to transform my cherry puree into PDF following the advice that had worked well for me previously and which is reported earlier in this thread. Unfortunately although I made sure to get the pate to 107c (took an age) the chilled product tasted great but wouldn't hold its form once the frame was removed. Reluctant to waste the ingredients, in particular the cherries which are the last that will be had from that particular orchard (it belonged to parents of a friend, Dad died a couple of years ago and Mum has moved to a smaller place, the family finally has a buyer for the farm where the orchard is situated) I decided to try piping the semi firm pate into moulded chocolates. Taste wise these are amongst the best chocolates I have ever made. I am not at all experienced in chocolate making, I have the Choc Doc's tutorials (many thanks @Kerry Beal) but my time is hugely limited and I hadn't attempted chocolates since the end of last year. Even then I cheated, I made 'rochers' which are far more forgiving in terms of appearance than moulded pieces. I had some Valrhona Guanaja from my last Vente Privé buy. The round bitterness of that combined with the sweet bitterness of the cherry paste was more or less taste perfection. Although I enjoy the challenge of making chocolates I'm not usually bothered about eating them. Unfortunately for my wardrobe I can eat these in abundance! The remaining pieces have gone off to be shared with my husband's colleagues this morning so temptation is no longer taunting me. I have some of the PDF left. It has been refrigerated throughout and stored in a thick piping bag so protected from air. I also have some of the chocolate left. I plan to make a last batch and I hope to find a way of packing them so that they will survive a postal journey to France and the lady who allowed me to pick her cherries. Below is the first batch. I had stored them in the fridge. Not by a long way amongst the most beautiful looking chocolates on the forum but the flavour was beyond anything I had imagined. The polycarb mould is the first I bought and I have really tried to look after it. No dishwasher, no soap. I've cleaned it with v hot water and v soft cloth. Despite all the care directed at it I noticed a crack in the corner of one of the cavities when I was drying it the other day which is annoying. At least I found a way to use up my too soft PDF, thanks to those who have already posted here about using PDF in chocolates. I'm not sure that I would have thought of it if I hadn't read posts on this thread.
  25. Most French kitchens will have (and the inhabitants will use) a variation on these devices. Why go complicated when these simple gadgets can do the job with elegance?
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