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Everything posted by DianaB

  1. When I made my PDF recently I also thought it would make a good centre for mould end chocolates, just cut the finished product to the appropriate size and place in mould cavities before capping. I've not tried yet but can't see why it shouldn't work.
  2. At school in England during the late 1960s and through the 70s we learned only metric measurement. Despite the time that has passed there are many people here, younger than me and so presumably also educated via the metric system, who choose to stick with imperial measurements. Personally I can't understand this, units based on 10s are, at least for me, much simpler to conceptualise. 20 some miles south of England lies France, considered by many as entirely metric. Odd then, less than 10 years ago when I was living there loose coffee was sold by the'livre' or pound. Odder still, a French pound is different to the old UK pound. 500g rather than the 453ish g of the imperial pound in the UK before the introduction of the metric system. Two and a quarter pounds of jam weighs about a kilogramme, as my mother taught me. Also, a litre of water's a pint and three quarters. My tin of Saborot lentille vert du puy advises 250g lentils in ¾ litres of cold water, heat and simmer 20 minutes or 10 in a pressure cooker. I don't use that method. I place 125g lentils in a pan, add cold water to around 3cm above the lentils. Cover, bring to the boil, turn off the hob and leave the lentils to cook in the residual heat for at least an hour. Strain, rinse with boiled water and use as you want.
  3. Many thanks for all your ideas. I'm resisting a response to the last bit of uour message for fear of dragging the discussion too far off topic but I understand! Macarons from me aren't special simply because people are used to me producing them. At another firm I am known as the 'macaron fairy'! (You will not find a picture of me on-line but the description is far from accurate)!! I went through a long phase where I obsessed to find perfection. Now I no longer care if the odd macaron isn't perfectly smooth - I've seen worse in some very well known Parisi patisseries. Once our blog is respectable you will be able to see how I make them, they are to be enjoyed even if sometimes there are imperfections. I find them a practical thing to make because they demand little time and store well. If only I could get the same degree of predictability with chocolates and other pastries that continue to challenge me...
  4. Thanks both for your responses. Ideas such as carrot cake would never have occurred, I've tasted this on odd occasions in the past but it isn't something I've ever made. Chocolate was among my own ideas, I've turned out the Valrhona version of a Sachertorte from time to time and it has always been well received, that's top of my list at the minute. Otherwise I was thinking perhaps of some form of bavarois on a daquoise base, that would allow for some fresh fruit as decoration, I spotted strawberries on the market the other day but I'm not sure they will be English yet and don't want to use imported fruit. Smithy, you are absolutely right about packing Jo's cake separately, that will be done. I've learnt from past experience to pack macarons into individual boxes for occasions like this, I'm certain some colleagues will be out at court whenever I time my visit and this allows some chance of everyone getting a taste. The firm has two divisions, crime and family. I only work with the family lot but it's amazing how members of the crime team will wander the corridors if word gets out that there are macarons around... Anyway,. Still open to suggestions. Another thought that just occurred is Paris Brest Conticini style, that looks quite impressive but divides easily into individual portions.
  5. I'm planning to take macarons for the office staff to share, 10-20 people depending on who is around, no problem with those. The item I'm hoping people here might help me come up with will be just for the lady who is leaving and her family, say 6-8 portions, I know the adults like their food! Many thanks for for your interest
  6. Perhaps this question is a little off topic in that I would welcome your advice on what I will bake this weekend rather than show what I have already baked. Earlier in the week, on visiting a client firm, I was advised that a staff member will be leaving at the end of next week. Staff in the firms I work with know I like to bake, they have had macarons, chocolates, éclairs etc when I haven't been able to resist making things the two of us at home would never get through. I would like to take something in the early part of next week as a gift for the person leaving. I plan to make a good batch of macarons that can be shared by all those in the office. In addition I'm trying to think of something a little more special that Jo tmight take home and enjoy with her family. She has twin boys, I guess they will be around 10 now, and her husband. I won't have masses of time available but enough, I think, to make something reasonable. You might have seen photos on this forum of bits and pieces that I've made over the years, I am a reasonably competent home cook but with no professional training (save for the very kind advice of eGullet members from time to time). So, that's the scenario, I'm sure you won't be surprised by my question:. What would you bake or create if you were in my place? There are no known allergies, I did check that with another staff member of the same firm. Jo enjoys cakes and pastries but doesn't get much chance to bake for pleasure herself (job, twins etc). I am in England, pantry reasonably stocked and can obtain things by mail order with next day delivery in many cases. The product needs to be transportable, there is a refrigerator at the office but I know from past experience that it is very small. I plan to visit perhaps Tuesday afternoon, chance of fridge space at the office would be better once staff have eaten their lunches! I hope olé this is the right place to ask the question, I didn't think it merited starting a new topic when whatever does get made will perhaps be shown here when finished. Many thanks in anticipation of your ideas....
  7. Many thanks for your kind comment. I have adored your pictures on this thread for a very long time. These days all my bread recipes come from Eric Kayser's book that I know other readers have criticised. This for using yeast in addition to sourdough but for me every recipe I have tried from that book has given wonderful results. Before Kayser I used the Forkish book and also had some great results but without the predictability of Kayser. I'm happy I have both and have learnt a great deal from each. Happy Baking!
  8. Yet another pain de mie, so pleased with this recipe, much quicker to do than other breads I make. I realsise it wouldn't suit those that use only natural levain but this hybrid really has a wonderful taste and gives just the texture we want for everyday sandwiches.
  9. Thanks again gfron1, you seem to be able to read my mind in respect of your latest advice. The idea of reducing the pectin was indeed to achieve a slightly less firm product but I'll stop cooking at 105c next time. Also I'll ensure I have tartaric acid to hand, it's easy enough to find. We usually have apples in the house but I'm guessing something tart like a bramley might be better than our normal Pink Lady. We have a couple of apple trees and I have stacks of purée cooked unsweetened and frozen last autumn. I have 1kg passion fruit purée (90% passion fruit, 10% sugar), that might be the base of my next attempt.
  10. After following @gfron1's kind advice I now have a first batch of Blackcurrant pâte de fruit. They set very well and it was easy to cut the pieces with a large knife. I hit a problem with the final stage, I was certain that I had a jar of tartaric acid but when I went to get it I found that in fact it is cream of tartar. A little research told me that the cream of tartar isn't a substitute and since I don't have time to go out in search of the proper thing today I resorted to sugar with grated lemon zest. I will certainly order tartaric acid for the next batch. The pâte tastes fine, I think another time I would want to reduce the sugar just a little, also the pectin if the latter can be reduced without losing setting capacity. Perhaps I scaled wrongly when adapting quantities given to account for the additional 40g purée. As I said yesterday I should have followed the recipe to the letter and used a bread pan as a mould. I would then have produced cubes instead of slabs but I am quite happy with my first slabs! Many thanks again to @gfron1 for the time taken to set out such an excellent guide for someone with limited home cooking skills, also to others who kindly gave advice about sourcing the right pectin. I am well aware that I failed to produce equally sized pieces, more care needed next time!
  11. Would you you advise on what the flavour(s) are for those of us that can only dream of tasting your beautiful creations?
  12. You clearly have a good understanding of our arrangements at home! The pâte is sitting at room temp but arranged specifically so that we won't find paw prints on it in the morning... Not directly covered but (I hope) inaccessible to felines. What do you use to cut the pâte? I'm guessing a warmed knife might do the job?
  13. Its looking good but I'm going to resist cutting it until the morning. I'm keeping it at room temperature, assuming that's right and no need to refrigerate? Thanks so much for all your help with this!
  14. First attempt now setting. I had 240g Blackcurrant purée after processing the currants with sugar and water and straining as @gfron1 advised and so scaled the other ingredients accordingly. The pectin/sugar mix dissolved nicely with no clumps, as did the sugar added later. I over estimated the quantity of the cooked mass when it was still in the pan so the eventual squares will be quite fine as a result but I don't think that will be a problem. The pâte is already setting nicely, it was quite viscous from the pan and now, two hours on, it seems to be firming nicely.
  15. DianaB


    Welcome @serenityh, Looking forward to learning more about your cooking through the forum. For me one of eGullet's strengths is the diversity of cuisines the members bring and share. Hope you find some new things that inspire you, I'm sure many of us will enjoy your contributions.
  16. @chefmd Saw your earlier post about the beautiful red,pot and was fascinated to see what you would produce from it. I will admit that on sight of your first photo above, showing the unbaked dough in the pot, I was surprised. I think perhaps I need to look at that first picture on a decent screen to really understand what you have in the pot before baking. The second image shows a beautiful loaf, for me it looks to have ideal crust and crumb. Have you made a similar recipe in a cast iron pot (Dutch oven?). I note the new device has holes in the lid but that you baked your loaf in a steam oven, do you think that the steam produced by the oven compensated for moisture lost through the lid vents? I ask because the only way I can get a crust like your's is to bake in a pre-heated cast iron pot with an unvented lid. I think I first came across the technique in the Forkish book you refer to above and it revolutionised my bread making. For me it was worth the cover price for that baking technique alone! Your pictures, also those of @DianaM have really given me inspiration this morning. Of course there are numerous other wonderful bread images earlier in the thread! This is a topic I enjoy reading almost daily, thanks to all who contribute.
  17. Yellow pectin arrived yesterday so pâte de fruit à la gfron1 will be attempted today or tomorrow. All fingers are crossed. I've been married for over 30 years but only as a result of the discussion with my husband over this thread have I discovered that he likes these. Much of my chocolate or patisserie creations are given to neighbours because we are both people who only have to be in the same room as such to pile on weight. As this will be a small first batch the neighbour might not get a taste (if indeed I manage to produce something edible...).
  18. Sorry for the delay in answering this, I guess we are in quite different time zones. Apologies also for my poor explanation earlier. What I wanted to say was that we can't use the raised beds for potatoes this year. The bags will sit on concrete. Those we bought from Amazon already have drainage holes but we punched holes into the 'home made' varsity. We will plant a bag or two every four weeks through to September. As there are only 2 mouths to feed that will see us through until Christmas hopefully. I'm no expert on imperial measures and haven't looked up what 20 pounds might be in kilo's but our commercial bags are around 40cm across and 80cm high. Supermarket bags are wider but shallower. The bigger bags mentioned above would no doubt be fine if you have space to house them. Hope this is clearer!
  19. Welcome Dario, Very much looking forward to your contributions on the forum, also to learning more about your research.
  20. Potatoes in bags certainly work well for us, having used each of our raised beds for potatoes in recent years they will all be in bags this year. Amazon (and no doubt others) sell bags specifically for the task but we have had equal success with the 'bags for life' distributed here by supermarkets. They are made from woven plastic and are slightly larger than the official Amazon variety. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Potato-Planter-Vegetable-Greenhouse-drainage/dp/B014T7BB5M/ref=sr_1_1?s=outdoors&ie=UTF8&qid=1463673124&sr=1-1&keywords=potato+growing+sacks Both variety of bags can be used over and over, spent compost gets added to the raised beds between batches We simply fill the bags to around one third height and plant 3 or 4 seed potatoes just under the surface. As the plants begin to grow we add compost to make sure the eventual potatoes are protected from light. Around 12 weeks later, simply pull out a handful of potatoes as needed. We had potatoes from bags in this way right through to the end of December last year. Although you might not have loads at any one time there are only two of us so the system is ideal. We have grown Charlotte, Ratte and Royal Kidney this way. Because the supermarket bags have a slightly larger interior we plant 5 seed potatoes at a go. I heard a radio programme recently where the discussion was on carrots grown in bags. Our soil is extremely heavy in the raised beds so we plan to try this technique for carrots this year using a sandy compost mix.
  21. Yellow pectin found and ordered, hoping it will be here for the end of the week so I can have a first attempt. For others in Eorope this company sells a good range of things for patisserie, chocolate making etc: http://www.souschef.co.uk
  22. This is absolutely brilliant and thanks so much for taking the time to set it all out. We have Amazon Prime (free next day delivery) so will search out yellow pectin, if not from there I know of other suppliers to try in the UK. Hopefully if I can get that I'll be making a first attempt at the end of the week. Blackcurrant is one of my favourite fruits, we grow a small quantity here in North Yorkshire so it seems entirely appropriate that these form the base of my first attempt. Will report back in due course!
  23. Many thanks for your detailed advice gfron1. I don't have a recipe, this is something I probably wouldn't have attempted if I hadn't seen the discussion above but I do like eating pâte de fruits and they might well make a nice gift in place of chocolates from time to time. I know very little about pectin. I understand it needs to be mixed with sugar to prevent clumping, then into a cold liquid that is heated to whatever temp depending on the final product. I bought the NH on the recommendation of someone at Speciality Ingrdients, a U.K. firm that has numerous things for 'modernist' cooks (I'm not one, for now I'm enjoying learning bits and pieces here on eGullet but that's it), the person advising said it was the best pectin available. So, I have the blackcurrants and the other stuff listed above. I think the Thermapen is reasonably reliable, just need to convince myself it's doable and get started! Thanks again for your kind advice.
  24. I have never made pâte de fruits although I have enjoyed eating them from time to time. I have read most of this thread and installed the Boiron app mentioned above. The Yummily recipe also cited above is no longer available. I would like to have a go at making these, preferably without a great deal of investment due to the amount of stuff I have already accumulated for other cookery projects and very limited storage space. In my cupboards I have: Cream of tartar Certo liquid apple pectin Xantham extra fine powder NH pectin powder Sugar in various forms sheets of gelatin, also powdered, I've never had any success with the powdered. glucose but only about 100g bought in raspberry coulis that claims to include 42% raspberry juice, 18 % raspberries, and 7% raspberry purée! sugar! glucose! lemon juice cornflour and water make up the rest. entire bottle is 250ml 350g frozen morello cherries. Small amount (perhaps 200g) frozen blackcurrants from the garden smaller amount blackcurrant coulis Any amount of cooked but unsweetened apple from the garden. indeterminate amount frozen mango pulp, probably around 250g, not cooked, I froze it to save throwing fruit away. i have a Thermopen and a different probe thermometer, also a single induction hot plate, I note earlier in the thread there was reference to using induction as a good way to control temperature in this process. Our usual hob is gas. I have a scale that can measure very small quantities, also nice little cellophane bags that would look really good filled with the finished product..... I can test for ph. Given the above as a starting point, what would you suggest as a first attempt? It would be good to have pâte de fruits to give as small gifts in place of chocolates during the warmer months when chocolate can be difficult to transport. I am not a professional cook so small quantity based suggestions would be really welcome. I know I can scale if necessary but at times a recipe for a large quantity doesn't translate too well when significantly scaled down. Thanks in advance to anyone who has time to help me with this project.
  25. Our vegetable garden is minuscule compared to many here. Also we have had major building works earlier in the year, combined with an indifferent Spring means that so far we have little to show. Building work was completed on Thursday, the cold and wet period has stopped for a while and we had a little time yesterday to make some progress: The end of last year's leeks and the first of this year's salads that have been waiting in the greenhouse until work was finished; Strawberries, those at the front had been turfed out during the works. Tonight they have picked up and I'm sure they will soon regain their strength, they are Gariguettes. The most flavoursome strawberries I have ever known( An olive tree that came from Aldi a couple of years ago and a miniature cherry just acquired; Repotted bay bay next to the cherry, limited space means lots of things in pots. We also planted a second batch of potatoes in bags, great to be able to pull out a handful as needed. We are growing Royal Kidney as the results were beautiful last year. Tomatoes etc will have to be found as plants, too late to grow from seed this year. We stick with cherry varieties that mature fast and crop abundantly. I found some some seeds from the sunflowers we grew last year and they were also planted yesterday but in the greenhouse to get them started. Usually we have grown courgettes but we still have a load in the freezer from last year so I'm wondering if butternut squash might grow here instead this year. To be researched. We are a 2 person household (and 2 cats but they have no interest in vegetables) so we aim for small but continuous crops.
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