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About jmacnaughtan

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  1. Mystery Ingredients

    I would have said some kind of artichoke, or other flower bud. But I'd probably be wrong. I've got an interesting one. Does anyone recognise this?
  2. Lièvre à la Royale

    Thanks. I figured that if anyone on the forum knew about this dish, it would be you That's a good tip about the foil - I do have a trussing needle, but it's not something I've ever used. I like the idea in the video, of using a bandage to hold it together. It's not a technique I've ever come across before, but I imagine it would be a great help taking it out of the liquor without breaking it up. And I understand about the gloves. That is something I will certainly do. Wild rabbit is bad enough, hare is pungent. The last place I worked was an 800m² fully air-conditioned traiteur/pastry site; they had 6 hares hanging for 3 days and you could smell them everywhere.
  3. Lièvre à la Royale

    So I've been looking at this dish for a while, and while I've seen threads talking about where to eat it, I haven't found anyone who's actually made it. I thought it might be fun to try. This is the recipe I've found (in French, my apologies), and there's an informative YouTube video of same. Again in French, and as a bonus in a heavy southern accent. I'm going to pick up my hare, sausage-meat, foie gras and bard on Wednesday, and get to de-boning. I'll see if I can get my better half to take a couple of photos or videos If anyone has done this before, or anything like it, I'd love to hear any advice you might have. As for now, I have a couple of questions for more experienced eGulleteers before I start: 1- I can't seem to get hold of the requisite pork back fat, but my butcher can provide veal kidney fat. Is this a decent alternative? 2- I've been re-watching the video and re-reading the recipe, and neither say when to remove the string used to truss the hare. Would it be better to do it after taking it out of the cooking liquor? Once it's rolled and chilled? Removing each small piece from each slice - but before or after it's reheated? I have horrific images of doing everything perfectly, then have it fall apart right at the last moment. So any input would be gratefully received. In any case, I'll try and document the process as much as possible for future information/hilarity.
  4. It's been a while since I posted anything here, so here's one for the colder weather. I also had a lot of bananas to use up. Banana Cake Milk chocolate crunch Banana bread Treacle syrup Banana cream Glazes Maltesers
  5. Why would you want to share a Serrano ham? I think one per person is a reasonable portion
  6. Making meringues

    I don't recommend baking Italian meringues: in my experience, they go hard and gummy. Swiss meringues are better for this. But if you've properly beaten the meringues, you shouldn't have a problem with them holding their shape - I was taught to meringuer the whites, mixing at half speed while incorporating around 2/3 of the whites, then once you get stiff peaks cranking it right up and adding the rest. For a really good texture, a good thing to do is replace half the caster sugar with icing sugar. Use just the caster sugar when whipping, then once it's properly stiff fold in the seived icing sugar and pipe. They don't hold their shape quite as well, but the light, crumbly texture makes up for it.
  7. Steamer or microwave?

    Sorry, it must have been you I was thinking of. My apologies.
  8. Steamer or microwave?

    I'd agree with that. I generally don't use water for vegetables, unless I'm blanching them or making soup. I prefer to cook a lot of them à l'étouffée (in a little fat, covered with a lid - carrots, especially) or just sautéed. That way you don't lose any of the stuff leaching out, and the flavoured oil helps dress the vegetables. ETA: I seem to remember huiray talking about Chinese cooks doing this - cooking vegetables in fat rather than in steamers. Seemed like a good idea
  9. Non Lemon / Lime Curds

    Sorry for the confusion - I meant to say that if the recipe says 1/2 a cup of lemon juice, take 1 1/2 to cups of orange juice and reduce it down to 1/2 a cup. That way you get the acidity and concentration without having to use any extra lemon or lime juice.
  10. Non Lemon / Lime Curds

    Take your favourite lemon curd recipe, and replace the lemon juice with freshly squeezed orange juice that you've reduced by around 2/3 or 3/4. Depending on what you want to do with it, adding 1% of the final weight in bloomed gelatin will improve the set, and/or 3% in cocoa butter will improve the texture. I generally use gelatin and cocoa butter together when I want to use less butter. ETA: don't reduce the juice with the rind, or it can become bitter. Add that to the sugar and egg mix.
  11. French Food Culture

    I get the impression that the whole "frozen dinners reheated by 70% of restaurants" thing is wildly exaggerated. Firstly, what is considered a restaurant can be anything from a bistrot to a McDonald's to a corporate or school canteen. Secondly, the documentary looked at restaurants that brought in "ready meals or frozen ingredients". You can include frozen ingredients into high-quality dishes. In fact, all of the major pastry places in France and around the world rely on frozen purées, etc. I can only really compare France with the UK, but from what I've seen, there tends to be a similar level of quality at both the cheapest and most expensive restaurants in both countries. The major difference seems to be in the mid-range, where you're much more likely to eat well here than across the Channel.
  12. Waxed Salt Crystals?

    I don't have a lot of experience with pretzels, but I know with baguettes that go hard, you can just throw them in a hot oven for five minutes to "refresh" them. It might work with pretzels - soft bun, crunchy crystals and, as a bonus, they'd be warm.
  13. I like it. For the squiggly décor, is that chocolate piped into cold water, then sprayed? And is that a moulded chocolate base, or just a plastic casing?
  14. You could do; I think it would depend on the size and insulation of your oven. You'd probably have to keep an eye on the sugar for the first 20 minutes or so too, to avoid burning.
  15. It seems fun, but especially as it's starting to get warmer, it seems like a lot of effort to run the oven for five hours... I'd probably just go with the derided caramel powder if I needed something like that, or brown sugar for a more complex flavour. Although saying that, it might be interesting to roast brown sugar too.