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Everything posted by DianaB

  1. Great topic Rotuts,. I have learnt loads from watching cooking shows and admit to perhaps watching more than I should. Wandering away from techniques the first things that came to mind when I read your topic was ingredients I wouldn't have tried but for seeing them on TV shows: tonka beans and butternut squash are examples, I doubt I would have tried either if I hadn't seen them over and over on cooking programmes. Piment d'espelette is another. I doubt I would have made fresh pasta if I hadn't seen how easy the process is on a cooking show. i'm sure I will think of numerous other examples with time!
  2. Last night's sandwich bread.
  3. Thanks so much for sharing for those of us not able to join you. Really looking forward to sharing this weekend from afar.
  4. One way to get a perfectly flat surface on a cake is to reverse it after baking so that the bottom becomes the top. I've done this when constructing Opera cakes, so that the eventual top chocolate layer is level. Also with the Valrhona version of a Sachertorte that has a chocolate glaze. With that I discovered the first time that, as gfron1 says above. Every slight blemish is visible once the glaze is applied.
  5. Definitely nowhere near the tropics here but like Liushou I've never stored soy sauce in the fridge, nor Maggi liquid seasoning. I have never refrigerated things like commercial ketchup, or 'brown' sauce (this may be a UK only product?). I keep commercial mayo refrigerated because I want it at that temperature to use, I would always refrigerate home made mayo or tomato sauce. It is many years since I refrigerated eggs, save when they are no longer in their shells.. All my unrefrigerated condiments are stored in a coolish cupboard without light. I do realise that some of these items aren't condiments, apologies if some of this is not strictly on topic. Hope this might help, it will be interesting to read other comments.
  6. DianaB

    Dinner 2016 (Part 4)

    Lamb is probably my favourite meat and we are lucky in having a farm shop very close to home where the meat is local and the lamb in whatever form is wonderful. Tonight will be souris d'agneau as detailed by Chef Simon: http://chefsimon.lemonde.fr/gourmets/chef-simon/recettes/souris-d-agneau-confites-a-l-ail Just in in the oven, cooking is 2h30. Jersey Royal potatoes also from the farm shop (but guessing not that local) to go with the lamb. Jersey Royals seem to be at their peak in flavour just now, the season is short so plan to make the most of it.
  7. Simplicity here today. My first attempt at pistachio ameretti. These took only minutes to make based on a recipe from the cestmafournee blog: http://www.cestmafournee.com/2016/04/les-amaretti-moelleux-la-pistache.html#more I added the tiniest amount of green colouring, my pistachio paste is home made and the biscuits wouldn't have had the colour of those on the blog without a little help. Having read that people had struggled to shape the individual pieces I just put the entire mix into a piping bag, cut the end and they came out nicely. I sprinkled them with a little icing sugar before baking. They are delicious. 12 quickly became 10.
  8. If you google 'china matching' you will come across a large number of companies that offer a similar service to that suggested above by Alex. I would second what Blue-Dolphin says about using and enjoying your family dishes. You will no doubt recall happy times with your family each time you use them or see them if you put them on display, they are very pretty. I regularly visit a vast second hand place when in France. It usually stocks dozens of complete dinner services that were probably wedding gifts decades earlier but which were considered 'best' and so hardly used. The shop owner does house clearances and so often he will have the entire content of a deceased person's home. I think it is such a shame to have things considered too nice to use, especially when friends and family no doubt invested significantly to buy them. Just my thoughts of course. Like you I need to be careful about hoarding, one day we will clear our attic that is full of stuff from my own mothers house that we packed up 28 years ago and haven't looked at since. You can see I have a way to go to address my dis functional habit! Having said that there are many items in our kitchen that also came from my mother or my husband's mother including the Kenwood Chef (56 years old and working fine) our favourite knife, numerous mixing bowls, cake tins etc. I love using these things, a link to past times and memories. I really hope that if you keep your china it brings you similar happy memories. Please post the manufacturer and name of your service if you manage to discover it, I am no expert but I would date it from the 1900s to 1930s if I came across it. I'm guessing from your photo that it has a lustre glaze that was popular in Europe at that time. Can you tell if the pattern is painted on or fixed with a transfer? Sometimes this can be worked out from the feel of the surface. The gold rim seems to have kept well on the piece in your photo, often these discolour or flake off even on expensive pieces with time Looking forward to learning more as you continue your research.
  9. This weekend's Financial Times shows that 'dinner in a box' is in the UK: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c1e9daf8-0683-11e6-9b51-0fb5e65703ce.html?siteedition=uk I also read somewhere that Maxims in Paris was offering gourmet meal boxes via a third party but can't find the link now. As I recall the box itself looked beautifully made but the contents were minuscule.
  10. Thar's perhaps the most imovative thing I've read in a long time dcarch!
  11. Choice of restaurants is significantly limited in the area around us. Despite that, factors we will take into account before committing to eating somewhere include length of the menu. It is nice to find places that go to some effort to prepare their own dishes and a large number of choices can indicate that this is not the case. We also avoid places that use, to us, novel serving techniques, in particular a rectangle of slate in place of a plate. I just can't cope with the sound of a knife against slate! I appreciate this is a very personal thing and I know of places that will happily put our dinners onto plates for us in place of their usual slate. Eating out is a rare treat for us, we have little time free together. We would avoid the many 'pile it high' type places that are popular here. Also places based upon a 'buffet' that has been sitting under warming lamps for who knows how long. I understand these places can be great in some instances. I guess we are just difficult. We are perhaps missing out by sticking to what we know but it is really disappointing to plan a trip weeks in advance only to find that restaurant staff have watched too many episodes of Masterchef and adapted their menus to match that programme's 'modern British cuisine'. I would rather have something simple but well cooked. If a restaurant can cook us steaks to our liking and serve chips that didn't come ready made and frozen and a sauce that wasn't delivered ready to heat in a tetra pack it is probable that we would return and try something more adventurous on the next occasion. :-)
  12. We do have popcorn machines in Europe, hadn't seen one for a while so checked on Amazon, amongst many others was one that uses a halogen heating process. Is this a possible heat source for a grinder/roaster? I've never owned a halogen oven but they are to be had for very little money these days. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Halogen-Popcorn-Maker-Seasoning-Shaker/dp/B007N0LQSA/ref=sr_1_3?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1460540966&sr=1-3-spons&keywords=popcorn+maker&psc=1 Space might be an issue, as others have said, if the final device is to accommodate nuts or spices. Perhaps there could be a smaller container to fit within the larger unit so that the user can select that appropriate to the quantity of product to be processed. I realise I might be a long way off the mark here as I don't know if the halogen type devices would produce the right heat for roasting. Just a thought!
  13. I do wonder if perhaps the market for one task devices, however nicely designed, is perhaps saturated. I have lost count of the number of one task tools we have enthusiastically bought over the years, only to pass them on to friends or charity shops after they have spent some months/years/decades at the back of a cupboard. The kitchen tools we have kept are mostly those that can do several things: a stand mixer; a magimix; a grinder suitable for nuts, seeds and whatever else you want to pulverise. In fact the most used item in all our arsenal of devices is a bottom of the range immersion blender purchased around 15 years ago with several 'add-on' tools. This will chop or grind (with add-on) nuts and seeds ad infinitum. Others swear by their Thermomix, there are cheaper but similar products now on the market; the unifying factor, no doubt the reason other firms have 'copied' the Thermomix, is their multi-tasking ability. Many people live in small places with tiny kitchens, they might resist a product only capable of one process. As others have already said, it is not difficult to roast nuts or seeds in a conventional oven or on a stove top. There are any number of spice or nut grinders to be had for very little money. If you own a Magimix or similar you can grind the roasted nuts into a paste with ease. Apologies, Galamba, if this seems to be a very negative response to your post. I do recall the difficulties in finding just the right direction for a post-graduate project and I don't criticise your ideas. If your device would be programmable, perhaps able to detect the moisture content of the items to be ground and so able to offer a tailored roast after grinding, perhaps that would have some scope. No doubt the professionals and those better informed on modernist cuisine on this forum will advise you further. Good luck with your project, however you decide to progress it! One thing I retain from my own post-grad study is that getting results you didn't expect or want can be enriching. A means to challenge yourself to explore different ideas. You might decide that your direction won't change but at least you will have questioned yourself in reaching that decision. You will be better prepared for the questions that will inevitably be put when you are examined on your thesis.
  14. Both episodes of Heston's world have been on You Tube for two days, played fine when I tried just now. No doubt they will be taken down as soon as the copyright holder becomes aware.
  15. Love your asparagus Shelby. We've been trying to get some growing for three years now. Only one spear so far this year despite great foliage last year. We've grown them before with ease but this location seems unwilling to yield much. At least we have rhubarb this year, another plant that has grown like a weed elsewhere but here we have really struggled. Looking forward to a real old fashioned crumble and custard next weekend...
  16. I had completely forgotten about this topic so I have had the pleasure of page after page of fantastic food photography and reporting on rediscovering it today. I find it really interesting to read of, and see, foods that are everyday items in some parts of the world but rare or unobtainable elsewhere. Here in North Yorkshire we can (but I don't) buy New Zealand lamb that has been transported from the other side of the world at a lower price than lamb reared locally. However we cannot obtain fruits like yuzu or finger lime from the same part of the world as the lamb, it was great to see the latter in one of the recent posts from Australia - thanks @rarerollingobject. I did get a half dozen fresh yuzus courtesy of a Japanese acquaintance who had been home to visit his mother who has a tree in her garden. Yuzu seems very popular in French patisserie but despite trawling every greengrocer I could find in Paris during our last trip none were found. I think my husband is glad that the Japanese guy finally allowed me to try these fruits, he seemed to have lost interest in the quest after the first hundred or so shops I had visited. :-) Still looking for my first finger lime! We did come across Victoria pineapples for the modest price of 75€ each. In England we just buy 'pineapple', perhaps priced by size or weight but never costing anywhere near a tenth of the Victoria variety. Has anyone tried a Victoria pineapple? For our day to day shopping we get processed goods delivered by one of a number of supermarkets. Delivery cost is typically £1 if you pick an unpopular time slot and it would cost me five times that in petrol to drive to the same supermarket and back. Reading some of your posts it seems we are lucky to have this service in a rural location, I guess it is feasible because England is so small compared with Canada for example. We say we are 'rural' but we are only 15 miles from a decent sized town and the city of York is only 40 miles. Fresh goods come come from our local farm shop. Similar to that beautifully photographed and described by @Tere but on a smaller scale. Most of the meat is their own and the best quality I have ever enjoyed. Fruit and veg comes from neighbouring farms save things that won't grow in North Yorks. I don't have any photos but they have a website if anyone is interested. http://www.rootsfarmshop.co.uk Alcohol and other stuff I got used to buying while living in France is bought in bulk during my visits to friends, perhaps six times a year. The supermarket there has a service called 'Drive' whereby you select your shopping on-line and they pack it up ready for collection. No delivery system there but the pre-order saves a huge amount of time. My friends ran their own restaurants for 35 years and have kept accounts with some of their wholesale suppliers. As a result I came back with a 25kg sack of French bread flour last time. Should keep the two of us going for a little while!
  17. This is a really interesting topic, I had no idea there were apps for stocking your own recipes. Personally, while I use my iPhone to take a huge amount of photos as I cook, recipes, whether my own or from other sources, are handwritten with a pencil into an exercise book! I put dates to my recipes so that I can easily find any relevant photos on the iPhone. Not very sophisticated but I like to do this as it allows me to note things in my own words, also to change or annotate as time passes if I find a better way to do something. I do annotate cookery books if they have recipes I often use and I haven't made any significant changes. In the past I have 'bookmarked' numerous on-line recipes, or printed them out. Neither option works for me, I rarely think to look through my bookmarks and am not organised enough to keep papers in an orderly way. Perhaps I will now look at some of the apps mentioned earlier to see if one might be good as a means of storing all the 'one day' recipes I come across. For some reason I find it much more difficult to follow a recipe on screen rather than on paper which is perhaps why I haven't looked for apps before. I do keep cocktail recipes on my phone, just using the Notes app that comes pre-installed. I do this so that I can make cocktails when away from home.
  18. Prices of basic products outside their usual market have often been exorbitant. I recall years ago when it was rare to find instant coffee in France (but very easy to get excellent ground coffee), a French lady staying in the Parisian hotel we were at coming to breakfast each morning with her tiny jar of Nescafé. We were intrigued, the hotel normal coffee was good. She would have staff bring her a cup of hot water into which she would add her granules. Having never spotted instant coffee in French supermarkets we went out looking, at the time (80s) the only place we could find Nescafé was Fauchon, a luxury food shop in the centre of Paris. I don't recall the price but I do remember that we were no longer surprised that the lady kept her tiny jar close to her person. Like @Deryn we sometimes buy pre-prepared or packaged vegetables because there are only two of us and we only have opportunity for one meal at home most days. In years past I avoided such goods on grounds that the higher prices were ridiculous. However, taking into account the value of what we were throwing out just because we couldn't use it while it was fresh, I don't think the price difference is that much. We grow as much as we can which reduces waste further, especially with salads but of course not everyone has a garden or good enough health to deal with home growing. Setting aside Costco and similar, it seems to me that ordinary supermarkets here push quantity over quality. We are inundated with 'buy one get one free'. I recall an occasion when I wanted one pastry (breakfast on the go) but the supermarket had one of these offers. The check-out lady was really upset that I wouldn't take a second. I said that I would,I would donate it to her for her break. That didn't happen, the lady said it wouldn't be permitted. I found that really sad.
  19. Hi Anna, I haven't made myself clear in my last post, apologies and to anyone else I confused! The first pic is around a year old, I had just started making bread after reading of Forkish, on this forum I think. I made a mistake in that I bought the Kindle version of his book, I have since found that for me, while Kindle is great for novels, I need to be able to flick back and forth with a cookery book. Rather than buy the same thing again in paper form I found Eric Kayser's 'Bread'. I know the book has its critics on this forum but every recipe I have made from that book has worked superbly for me. The book coincided with me acquiring a starter for liquid levain. Following advice on a blog I respect enormously (c'est ma fournée - in French) I drastically reduced the amount of bakers yeast added to the recipes but they still have between 2-5g alongside usually 100g levain. I do understand that many people want to make bread without addition of any yeast beyond their levain. At my stage in the learning process I'm just happy to have recipes that work for me. I tried M. Kayser's own 'signature' bread a few weeks ago in Paris and found it superb. The sandwich I bought from his shop was whole grain, it would have kept me going for a week had I eaten it all but the flavour was wonderful. So we're his pistachio éclairs but I digress..... So, the sandwich loaf baked yesterday is Kayser's recipe. I used a tin without a lid after reading that if you can get the second rise right it shouldn't dome too much. In fact the shape didn't alter at all during cooking. I'm tempted to buy a lidded loaf tin, it would be nice to have square slices, at the moment though I seem to be spending a small fortune on chocolate moulds so I'll make do for now. I hope this resolves any confusion I caused with my earlier post. I'm really enjoying catching up with you all on eGullet, it has been a good while since I found time to read the forum but I am so enjoying many of the topics and learning a great deal. Thanks to all for sharing your beautiful creations sweet and savoury.
  20. With regards Smithy's Sourdough Rosemary Bread, I had exactly the same problem when I started using techniques in the Forkish book, this loaf was also a mix of whole wheat and white bread flour as I recall. It tasted fine but whatever flour I used at that time, the results were similar. More recently I have stopped using a banneton and reduced hydration slightly. Because the breads I'm making at the moment aren't comparable to those I was making a year ago I can't be certain which of the variables has improved my results but I think it is hydration. Somebody told me I was over proofing these loaves but I don't think that was the problem. Yesterday, my first ever sandwich loaf (pain de mie). I was delighted with this, I really didn't expect it to turn out so well at the first attempt. It was all gone within an hour of baking! Will definitely try again to make sure it wasn't just beginners luck.
  21. If I apply MR to a bottle of Gewurtztraminer it will be the imported (to France) version that sells for less than 4€ rather than the Alsacian version which is significantly more expensive. We make French 75 with cognac, I haven't come across a recipe that suggests calvados but might give it a try. According to David Embury (The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, 1948) gin can be added "but then, of course, it no longer should be called French."
  22. Thanks Ann_T and ElainaA for your kind comments. I was happy with the texture, can't get the slashing right though, on baguettes or any other shaped loaf so far. Just been given a new scalpel so plan on trying with that next time....
  23. This bottle was included in a photo I posted on eGullet some while ago, I can't now recall the topic, I do remember though that someone advised me that the bottle should be shown respect and I would be glad of it in the future. I accept that that my progress is slow. Unfortunately opportunities for cocktails are restricted and the possibilities endless. We now have a fair selection of spirits and liqueurs and we try, when we can, to test different recipes. I was given this bottle at least ten years ago by my then next door neighbour in France. I am certain she would have stored it correctly in her cave (in the Loir region many properties have their own cave at the back). Since the bottle has been in my charge it has been stored in a cool dark cupboard. The liqueur was certainly made by a farmer in Normandy. At the time a farmer could distil enough spirit for his or her own use, popping along to the Town Hall to declare how many litres had been made so that he or she could pay the necessary tax. Licenses to do this were passed down to the next generation but I understand this is no longer the case and when a license holder dies the license expires also. There were mobile 'stills' that would be moved between farms where the family didn't own their own. The writing on the label states simply "eau de vie des pommes 1975". I am of course glad to have the bottle, it reminds me of the very kind person that I lived next to for seven years and from whom I learnt a huge amount, not least about the little everyday things that don't necessarily occur to one when living in a country not one's own. Unfortunately, despite the time that has past since I was advised to hold onto the bottle, I have absolutely no idea how this eau de vie might best be used and would welcome any advice you might give. i was about to hit 'Submit' when it occurred to me that the original post was probably on the manufacture of cherries as a garnish for cocktails. I think I had considered using the eau de vie for the task but one of you advised me against. In the end I did make my cherries using a Jacques Pepin recipe, they are so much nicer than the commercial 'neon' alternative. Looking forward to your suggestions for the contents of this bottle!
  24. As we live at a distance from any decent shops selling alcohol we do tend to buy most things on line. Amazon, be it the UK site (default for us), French, Italian, Canadian - we can log in to Amy of them using the same account, sells a vast range of liqueurs at prices often lower than might be found locally, that is if you can find the item locally. We do check prices where products are offered by other vendors, often it is these vendors that use Amazon Market Place as another shop window. We do understand that smaller vendors need sales and will use them when we can. In England most supermarkets will deliver your weekly/monthly groceries but the 'budget' chains don't do this. Recently however the Allbrecht brothers' discount store (aka ALDI - Allbrecht Discount) have started delivering wines and spirits. The service is excellent, superb packaging and free delivery, at least for the moment. I see that Aldi owns Trader Jo in the USA, perhaps they have similar offers? Aldi Australia was apparently the first with this service.
  25. I was offered this at a friend's house a short while ago and for me, to date, it is the nicest tasting gin I have tried. It took me a while to find a vendor but I'm glad I persevered. Of course my experience is limited but the only other small distillery gin I bought didn't seem worth the extra cost. Not sure how widely this is marketed but I would appreciate the views of anyone who has tried it. Below is the Champagne we buy annually having met M. Ducoisy by chance at a friend's B&B. In our view this is a beautiful wine in its own right. It makes a French 75 worthy of a special occasion. Of course tastes differ and I'm sure everyone has his or her own preference. I collected our supply a couple of weeks ago, seems an eternity now..... Toying with the idea of applying méthode Rotuts to a bottle of Gewurtztraminer for the same cocktail. Has anyone tried the method with a similar wine?
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