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Everything posted by DianaB

  1. Never heard of the variety pictured left until now, does anyone know if it has the same flavour as the better known variety pictured right? Will be searching for some seeds, we do grow the more usual coriander but find that it bolts easily and that it isn't too weather resistant. The alternative looks to be perhaps sturdier as a plant. @Shelby it is most inspirational to read how you have worked to recover your garden after the storms. I've been moaning lately because we aren't having much of a summer here but compared to your area we have been extremely fortunate. Having read all of your posts in this thread I'm going to stop the moaning, get outside and pull weeds! It is, after all, an easier task when the earth isn't baked dry.
  2. ETA this should have quoted @Okanagancook's post from 22nd June up-thread, hadn't realised how many other entries came after that when first submitting! In my experience andouille and andouillette are two different things. The first are fatter, when sliced you find concentric rings of pig intestine, this page has a clear picture of the inside: http://www.keldelice.com/guide/specialites/landouille-de-guemene Andouillette is more like the product described above, there is a picture here: http://www.northernfrance-tourism.com/Regional-gastronomy/Produce-speciality/Andouillette-or-andouille-you-can-choose With regards the former, in general I have found these disgusting but, on one occasion I was offered artisan made slices from Brittany and they were, to my amazement, more than edible. The second variant is more likely to be enjoyable and in fact on one occasion we ordered them by chance in a restaurant and they were amazing, in a positive way, served alongside a gratin dauphinois. Of course recipes might be entirely different elsewhere. I had never heard of Mexican chorizo until reading this thread so it is entirely possible that sausages carrying French names are in no way comparable to the product one might find in France. Despite my one positive experience I would need a great deal of persuasion to try another slice of andouille. In some parts of France you might call yourself an andouille if you do something stupid. Quel andouille can replace 'what an idiot'.
  3. DianaB

    Dinner 2016 (Part 5)

    Braised lettuce is one of our discoveries of the year so far, with or without peas. Since it seems summer weather is giving us a miss this year it is proving a good way to use up our garden lettuce before it bolts. We have lots of little plants waiting to be transplanted to the garden so need to get the first lot finished and salad is less than appealing in wet and windy North Yorkshire....
  4. Your tart looks beautiful @RobertM, I tried to find out more via Google but without success. Would you give a little more detail? Many thanks.
  5. Version of Valrhona's 3 chocolate entremet. Not sure how I'll finish it, probably just a dusting of cocoa powder over the top. Used Dulcey for the top layer in place of Ivoire in the original recipe. The base is a praline biscuit that I hadn't tried before. Will certainly use for other similar creations, I could happily have that on its own...
  6. While I've never tasted these pastries they are part of the French variant of oriental cuisine. I came across a blog a while ago that set out in great detail how to form these pastries. Of course I can't find it today but I'll keep looking. If you google 'recette cravate chinoise or recette cravate au miel and go to the images section you will at least find plenty of photos. Seems these pastries are popular in Reunion, hence the number of French recipes. If you spot something that looks like what you are hoping to produce I'm happy to translate any recipe from French to English.
  7. I have Eric Kayser's version of a German rye loaf if you opt for dried yeast rather than a liquid starter. PM if you want the recipe. Am out first thing but will be around from mid-morning. Glancing through the method you would need 1 hour first rise, then 16-20 hours second rise then 6 hours to cook. I've not tried this recipe but everything else from the same book has given fantastic results. This is supposed to be baked in a covered ´Pullman' type tin 17cm X 7.5cm X 7.5 cm but am sure you could improvise with an ordinary loaf tin.
  8. Magnificent loaves @keychris! Any advice on the method you use for slashing the dough prior to baking? I just can't get the technique at all.
  9. Very impressive garlic crop. My husband planted a couple of rows last autumn, I was less than enthusiastic, friends in France had not been lucky with their attempts, they produced small bulbs with miniature cloves all but impossible to peel. Anyway our plants have grown well, still growing in fact. Can you advise at what stage they should be pulled? Many thanks.
  10. I was feeling most depressed reading this topic and seeing all of the wonderful gardens you have, full of crops ready or almost ready to eat, then I got to @Shelby's report and realised my own difficulties are trivial, in fact not even difficulties in the scheme of things. Shelby, I've read your posts throughout this thread and seen all the work you have put into your garden, alongside creating the fantastic meals that you post elsewhere on the forum. I really do hope that you manage to recover at least some of your produce this year. Here our gardens are well behind most of yours, in part because of our geographic position but also this year because the weather has been dreadful for a long time (most of 2016). We are still running the heating in the house because it is so cold, especially at night. Our space is tiny but as there are only two of us that doesn't cause a problem. We are now eating our own salads, tomatoes still in the greenhouse but in flower. Physalis also in flower but again still under glass, they need to be moved out so that chillies can take their place. We have parsnips in for the first time. Butternut squash germinated but too small to go in the ground yet. We had decided to forego courgettes this year since much of last year's crop is still in the freezer but a neighbour gave us a plant so that is also in the ground. One plant will be more than enough for us. The olive tree made it through the winter under glass and is growing well outside, joined by a miniature cherry this year. I had had hoped we would be eating our own asparagus this year but not a chance. Elsewhere in England I've not been able to keep up with the amount of spears one crown produced but this garden is odd, it produces some things really well but others that are often difficult to contain just won't take. I have grown asparagus from seed in the past without difficulty, not here though. Parsnips: Strawberries, thornless blackberry, raspberry and rosemary: Supposed to be a kiwi fruit. Grows well but never any sign of a flower. It was described as a plant suitable for pot growing without need of a partner. We live in hope but it looks nice anyway.
  11. Having just visited the blog of @ProfessionalHobbit and seen his stunning photography made me think we should have a food photography thread. Of course a quick search brought me here. Bumping the topic up for now, I'm looking forward to reading it through over the next couple of days. My own photography skills are extremely limited but with my husband I'm working on a food blog that needs better pictures than I often produce.
  12. like others I remember your earlier posts and very much look forward to hearing more from you. Just had a quick look at your blog, most impressive photography! Perhaps we should have a food photography thread (if there isn't one already)? San Francisco is a city I would love to see but probably never will, I've enjoyed reading about your experiences there just in this thread. Another welcome back! Edited to to add food photography thread found!
  13. @Patrick S, choux with Craquelin look really good. I'm waiting for a delivery of Valrhona Dulcey that seems to have got stuck between France and here, probably due to horrible weather in Northern France last week. A couple of days ago I had a first attempt at Cyril Lignac's chocolate/marscapone cake: A not at all sweet recipe. As you can see my technique for finishing the top layer (chocolate with a small amount of butter) needs work. Overall we found it disappointing, it was more interesting when served with a raspberry coulis. I've since read that the cake becomes more interesting if Dulcey is substituted for the chocolate in the top layer and will certainly try that when my Valrhona box arrives. The cake is extremely simple and quick to make. Did your choux keep their texture after filling @Patrick S? I can make choux, with or without crachelin, that are beautifully crisp and stay that way if well packed unless I add cream, compote or any other 'wet' ingredient. I guess I'm missing something fundamental, I'm sure we've all seen pictures of various ''pieces montées' where filled choux pastries are welded together with caramel to form a centre piece for a wedding or other celebration. One such is on my list of projects to try but it won't be soon. I know I couldn't achieve this with my limited knowledge to date. Very small squares of the Lignac recipe go exceedingly well with a strong espresso as a 'café gourmand' so our's won't be wasted.
  14. Many thanks for posting the recipe. It could well be the one I've been searching for. My father used to make it but he died when I was 12 so no idea what he used. I do recall sometimes he would add dried fruit, perhaps sultanas, other times it would be plain but always delicious.
  15. That looks like a beautiful cheesecake, are you able to share the recipe or its author? I've been searching for a recipe for cheesecake that I knew as a child, this looks close!
  16. Thanks to everyone for comments, It is 6.30am here so brain not yet fully engaged (needs coffee). The translation @pbear gave is good, the 'magic spoon' is indeed known by that name, a very useful little device: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Generique-01135-Magic-Spoon-Stainless/dp/B00DQC048C/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1465363950&sr=1-1&keywords=magic+spoon I think I paid £1 for mine. I've download the .pdf @Anna N recommended, it does look very useful. I shall study the rest of your advices once back from the 7.30am meeting that seemed a good idea when we arranged it!
  17. I've searched the forum and while pectin has been discussed in various topics I didn't find any that considered the variants available in detail. To set the scene, as regular visitors will know, with the assistance of other members, @gfron1 especially, I recently made a first and successful batch of PDF. I was given very clear advice that to succeed I must use 'Yellow Pectin'. Last week I wanted to make a layered desert following a recipe by Christophe Felder via the C'est ma Fournée blog (http://www.cestmafournee.com/2016/05/le-framboisier.html#more). I should have known better, while the blog is great and I've made loads of her recipes successfully in the past, my 'relationship' with M. Felder is less happy. I have his bright pink tome 'Patisserie' from which most things I have tried have disappointed. Stupidly, being impressed by the Framboisier and another Felder recipe on the aforementioned blog I ordered the book containing these and other recipes last Thursday from Amazon. Even this purchase has not gone well: promised next day delivery by Messrs Amazon here I am 5 days on and the text has yet to be despatched. I'm sure it is the Felder curse that strikes again. M. Felder, if by chance you are reading this (I know you have shops in the US so assume you speak some English), what did I do to cause you to bring me such bad luck? Sorry, I digress. Anyway, before buying the Yellow Pectin I had wanted to get hold of some Pectin NH to make a recipe I'd seen elsewhere. I couldn't find this at a price I was willing to pay but in the past I had bought xanthan and other powders from a UK company called SpecialIngredients. I wrote to them, having received helpful advice in the past, they responded by saying to ignore the direction for Pectin NH, their Premium Quality pectin would do a better job. So, as I began to prepare my Felder creation I wondered which of my 2 pectin variants to use. The Yellow is more expensive and I plan on making more PDF so I thought I would use the 'Premium'. Looking at the lists of ingredients, Yellow Pectin contains: Pectin E440i, sodium & potassium tartrate E337, dextrose, sodium polyphosphate. Premium pectin contains: Pectin powder E440 I admit that until just now when I used reading glasses to check the ingredients I hadn't noticed the little 'i' next to 440 in the Yellow Pectin. Thinking that both products were based on E440 I decided to save the Yellow for PDF and try the other. If you glance at the recipe cited above you will see that it uses pectin to set a fruit coulis that becomes an insert for the final product. Once cooked, the insert is to be frozen until needed or for at least 2 hours. I left mine in the freezer until the next day so of course it was a solid block when I constructed the creation. Felder had specified Pectin NH. I went on to create the other components in the recipe, none particularly time consuming or difficult. I decided to make the thing upside down so that the bottom would become the top and would give a smooth surface for the mirror glaze. In addition to the set coulis there is a biscuit de gênes, a bavarois set with gelatin and of course the glaze which includes more gelatin and white chocolate. The biscuit layer and the glaze are supposed to be bright red. I had no red colouring so ordered via Amazon next day delivery both a single pot and a set of 3 including red (after reading comments that the colours in the set of 3 were not necessarily those shown in the picture I ordered the single pot as insurance). The set did arrive next day but no red. I decided that as the biscuit would be hidden until the product was cut it would be baked without colour. Amazon's understanding of next day differs from mine but I had only to wait another day for a second package from Amazon. Great! Or at least you would hope. Unfortunately on opening the package I found a pot of brown colourant. So, no red and no time to mail order anything more. The only thing I could do was drive into town and hope to find red colouring there. The only choice was a liquid colourant but with time running out I thought this would have to do. I didn't want to add a lot of liquid to the glaze for fear of preventing it setting. The red was extremely disappointing but it seemed at least I could complete the recipe in the time remaining. By now all components except the glaze were present and in the freezer. I had lined the round tin with rhodoid to prevent any imperfections that might spoil the mirror effect. I used a spring form tin and once the glaze had cooled sufficiently I took the item from the freezer. The side was indeed perfect. If only (Felder effect? No, just my stupidity) I had thought to line the bottom of the tin with acetate or indeed anything! The bavarois was welded solidly to the base. I didn't have a gas torch to hand and time was short. In the end I managed to separate cake from metal with a large hot knife. The surface was far from the smooth perfection I had hoped for. Please dont laugh too much... Here is my newly glazed item: Despite the appearance I knew that the components tasted good and so decided it would have to do. I had also made a stack of macarons so the intended recipients would at least get something that looked good. While the above creation was far from what I had wanted to make it would have to do. I put it in the fridge ready to transport the next day. Next morning the product seemed fine, my husband said it looked great even if it didn't match the original. I work from home and was due to visit one of my client firms that afternoon, it was the last day for one of the staff members who was moving on. I had arranged with her colleagues to arrive mid-afternoon so that we could all wish her well with a drink and cakes. Each time I opened the fridge that morning the product appeared fine and I had come to terms with the less than beautiful finish. Until around midday. When I next opened the fridge it seemed there must have been an earthquake. The product had developed huge cracks and the once set (or perhaps not) coulis was seeping into all corners of the fridge. We store all our cocktail glasses and such in the fridge so the washing up machine worked hard that evening. Here is (some of) the remains: At first I thought the problem must have been insufficient gelatin in the bavarois but my husband was certain from the start that it was the coulis insert that had destroyed the creation. I think he is right, you can see in the bottom picture that the coulis is much more liquid than it should have been. When first glazed the product was frozen. It must have taken hours to defrost in the fridge, hence appearing unchanged all the next morning. The insert was protected by the bavarois and the biscuit and so would have taken longest to defrost. My husband said that once the coulis had defrosted and lost its viscosity it would have caused the rest of the product to crack. It sounded more logical when he explained it. Outcome? Macarons are always welcomed Colleagues enjoyed laughing at my account of the above and the photos. It will be a long time before I make another of Christophe Felder's recipes. I really need to understand more about pectin, gelatin and other setting ingredients (agents?). Would anyone have time to explain the differences between the two types of pectin described above? Is xanthan a good substitute for gelatin? I've used it in the past but without properly understanding how it should be used. It has 'saved' more than one cream based dessert when gelatin has been insufficient. Apologies for the length of this post, I thought it necessary to demonstrate the extent of my ineptitude to show that I really need to start from the beginning in attempt to build sufficient knowledge to perhaps predict similar catastrophes. With hindsight I can see that this mess could have been predicted at stage 1 when the coulis was more liquid than my earlier PDF once cooked. At the time I thought it would be OK because it wasn't intended as a stand alone item. I should have known that when defrosted this 'insert' would never stand at all. Hindsight would be a remarkable gift.....
  18. My local bar/tabac used Lavazza, an Italian brand most recently (closed due retirement a couple of months ago). This is easily available to private customers in Europe, we buy it mail order on-line. I'm sure you must be able to find the brand in the USA, Lavazza is a huge firm. We buy kilo bags of beans but they also sell pre-ground and in smaller packs. Other places that I know, hotels in particular, use the Grand Mere brand https://www.cafegrandmere.fr. Available in supermarkets as well as wholesale in France. I've not seen Illy in Paris in recent years but it is another well known Italian brand. Often a bar will have its coffee cups, saucers, accompanying biscuits or chocolates supplied by the firm it buys coffee from. Might be worth looking at the logos of Lavazza, Illy etc to see if you remember these same designs on cups you drank from of the small biscuits often provided with your espresso. Might help you find the brand you liked best. Hope this helps!
  19. Topi me is simply what you get when your iPad automatically corrects your text and you don't notice it on reading through before posting! It should have read 'when we first started spending time in France...'! My apologies for confusion caused and time lost chez Google! I agree with much of what has been written in this thread. I would never claim that McDo is a cheap option in France, certainly in my experience as I said earlier I could get a decent 3 course lunch for 10€ but not even main course plus drink for the same price at McDo. Salaries, even in the professions in France, are incredibly low compared to the UK and people really struggle to make ends meet. As to eating out, a small amount of research will uncover numerous small restaurants in Paris and beyond where a menu based upon the home made plat du jour will be great and reasonably priced. It seems @Orbit found this even in the very tourist oriented area of Montmartre. Friends recently opened a restaurant in that area where the prix fixed lunch time menu is just 15€. You won't find decent food in England for that price. Not convinced they will be in business for long, when we last spoke the place was haemorrhaging cash at an alarming rate. Going above that price would simply encourage their clients to look elsewhere. Despite the cost, young French people will choose McDonalds because they want to associate with the culture they think it represents. It is the middle layer of restaurants that has largely vanished in the past 20 years. When I moved to live in France the town where I was based had some great examples but only one remains. The rest are now bistros selling cheap, if often good, identical menus. Any variation on steak and fries you can think of. Always a buffet for self service entrées, The one place that has kept its slightly more refined menu got its first Michelin star a year or so ago. It is extremely expensive but it seems to have found a way to stay in business that one time competitors missed.
  20. I'm not sure where @jmacnaughtan gets 70% from, I don't recall the figure from any of the documentaries I've seen but as my base is England these days I might well have missed the one referred to. Certainly there is quite a movement supported by restauranteurs who do make their stuff from scratch, that doesn't exclude use of some pre-prepared ingredients in my view. My friends who are retired restaurant owners would say everything they served was 'maison'. Nevertheless they bought potatoes peeled and ready to throw in the fryer, as a two person operation they simply didn't have time to peel and chop a mountain of potatoes each morning. Your articles are intersting @huiray, I remember José Bové and his quest to dismantle one of the early MacDo's. If I recall correctly he ran for election when Sarkozy became President. Like you I'm sure there are many places where food is a central part of local culture. In France all events have catering, even the smallest village 'comice'. There will be mergeuz and frites for all, the buvet will be well stocked and there will be churros all day for those peckish after lunch. Joking of course. France still celebrates its regional cuisines but does that alongside embracing US style fast food. Paris is also well stocked in respect of its interpretation of Japanese sushi, Chinese dim sum and anything else that can attract enough of a margin to offset the costs of employing staff to work in the restaurants. As as to the frozen ready to heat meals, there is a distribution centre right next to the Rungis meat/fish/fruit & veg/dairy market that I understand is the largest in Europe. Ready prepared doesn't have to mean poor quality, there are choices for all budgets. If the only other option is to put up a closed sign who can blame the small restauranteurs for wanting to stay in business yet not having capacity to pay staff. Where ever we live, compromises are often necessary to continue a business when economic circumstances are difficult. They are certainly that in many European communities at present.
  21. Certainly one can eat well and at a reasonable price in Paris. Over the past twenty or so years however the French have developed a vast supply chain providing what appear to be family bistros with ready to reheat meals. There have been numerous documentaries on the difficulty of finding truly 'home' cooked meals, especially in Paris. There is a movement now created to identify those restaurants or bistros that do their cooking more or less from scratch. You might have seen this organisation's logo in certain restaurant windows or menu boards. Length of menu can be another good indicator, a small place with few staff is unlikely to create dishes from scratch if the menu is huge. As to fast food, Mcdonalds is extremely well represented in Paris and throughout the provinces. It is comparatively expensive when measured alongside smaller 'plat du jour' restaurants. I recall that 8 years ago when living and working in France we were given 10€ per day to buy lunch, usually the main meal of the day in France. At the time my 10€ would allow me to buy a three course lunch in a local bistro. One if the girls I worked with suggested we go to McDonald's one day for a change. We did but the 10€ didn't cover the price of 1 X burger and fries and 1 X drink. I'm sure I read somewhere that Paris has more McD's than any other city, I'll try to remember the source of that info. In addition there are home grown fast food chains: Buffalo Grill (steak/fries) Quick (burgers) spring to mind, also a chain that sells variants on a baked potato (lots of profit potential, one can only eat so much potato). French supermarkets resemble those in England more each year. When we first started spending topi me in France there were no breakfast cereals for example, now there are aisles of them, just like in England. Of course one can eat well in France with relative ease. There is still pride in local ingredients but for many such items have become ruinously expensive. Supermarkets throw out stacks of unsold fresh goods every day. There was a group of people who would visit the bins of these places at night, recuperate anything edible and distribute it to those in need. To prevent this, supermarkets began pouring bleach over their waste food. Again this waste attracted media attention, there was a series of programmes last year in which chefs with Michelin stars or MOF collars cooked vast amounts of food that had been considered waste. As others have said before, the best way to have good tasting fruit and veg is to grow your own, so much can be grown in very little space, even in pots on a windowsill. Meat is expensive in France but people still use parts of an animal rejected by others, particularly the English, such as liver, kidneys, tongue, brain. Great that Orbit had a good holiday in France, it was most interesting to read about the airline food and to know that on long haul flights Air France still serves edible meals. While I am old enough to remember good food on shorter Air France flights these are long gone, at least for those of us not willing to pay for a first class seat. If you want to learn more about current food trends in France there are numerous documentaries and cooking shows available through YouTube. Capital have done good food based analyses, as have Cash Investigation. Petitrenaud produces a weekly programme about food cultures across France, these are often well filmed and put together.
  22. DianaB


    I'm really glad you made the suggestion of the link between the two types of pastry, I doubt I ever would have thought of it and it's always interesting to know about the cultural development of foods we simply take for granted,
  23. DianaB


    I had never thought of this before and looking for a reason for a few minutes away from work I consulted that fountain of all human knowledge (and fantasy): Wikipedia. It seems you are absolutely right shain, here is the link - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puff_pastry
  24. I'm struggling to phrase this question but here goes... A recipe chosen to make as a gift for later in the week has a single colour variant of the finishes so beautifully depicted above. I need to transport my finished creation and so would welcome advice on the surface once set. Is it dry to the touch or sticky? Will any (gloved) finger mark show up? I'm guessing if products with such a finish are sold commercially they must be reasonably robust but it would be useful to know in advance if my carefully packed creation is likely to resemble a pig's ear on arrival at its destination (not that I have any bias against pigs or their ears, but I guess you might know what I mean. Apologies for so many questions on this forum, I look forward to the day when I can offer advice rather than repeatedly seek it! Many thanks in advance for any help you might provide.
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