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  1. If you're not sure about the kitchen, I'd probably avoid anything that requires dough - you don't know how much counter space you'll have, and you probably don't want a big clean-up either. If he's not a fan of big pieces of meat or any shellfish, why not go fish if you're on the coast? Do a thick piece of something in the pan, oven or on the grill, lightly roast or braise some good vegetables and do a beurre blanc sauce - very quick and easy, but still impressive and somewhat "special". Open a good bottle of white and have a pile of peas in the pod to snack on for apér
  2. jmacnaughtan

    Pattypan ideas

    They're acceptable as decorations, and possibly gifts to your more forgettable colleagues.
  3. Runner beans. While there may be people who enjoy sharp fibrous skin between their teeth, I am not among them. It doesn't help that they're generally served boiled and plain.
  4. Agree about broccoli stalks - they are a really good addition to a mirepoix too. I've tried the star anise thing, but even after a short time and small amount, it always tastes too strong. Lard and dripping (and animal fat in general) gets a bad rap, unjustifiably so. You get a much better sear with them than olive or vegetable oil, and they hold up a lot better at high temperatures. Although, interestingly, fat you've already used once or twice works considerably better than "virgin" lard...
  5. Lovage is a good call, and I'd also throw in savory - it has an aroma somewhere between rosemary, thyme and mint. Button mushrooms get a hard time, undeservedly so. I use them all the time.
  6. I'm a big fan of the Marigold vegetable stock powder from the UK, and bring it back when I'm over. I should try the Maggi fond de veau. It's probably stocked in the Monoprix down the street.
  7. The main trinity here is bread, cheese and wine
  8. Thanks @Kim Shook and @RWood, that clears things up. For what it's worth, I can't get clotted cream here, either. The closest is "crème double", which is thick, rich and tasty but not at all the same. Sigh. Has anyone got a reliable base recipe for American scones? I'd like to try them again. ETA: Just saw @Smithy's post. Thanks for the input!
  9. Those do look very appetising - I'm a big fan of cherries used well I still don't really "get" American scones though - what are they? Are they cakes? Muffins? Sweet, savoury or both? Growing up in the UK, I learned early on that scones are first and foremost a vehicle for butter/clotted cream and jam. Is it the same for these? I remember following a Francisco Migoya recipe for "scones", and being a bit uneasy about what came out of the oven (but I have other issues with him too)...
  10. I'm most impressed by the pastry - the colour and thickness look outstanding. Chapeau!
  11. I've never had much luck with that - just big chips and a lot of powder afterwards. Maybe just put them in a freezer bag and whack them with a rolling pin.
  12. I'd still pound them. And judging by the big gap on the tray, you and your tasters had no problems with them either
  13. Not really - you've never seen a piece of meat retract in the pan? Seems more unlikely that you'd get a perfect contact across the meat. In my experience, you're less likely to have any scorching when you've got a lot of liquid fat. Maybe try it out. No, I use rendered animal fat. If you don't have any lying around, you could probably buy beef suet or duck fat.
  14. More oil means more contact - a rib-eye like his can warp a bit, taking parts away from the metal. More oil keeps it in contact with the meat. I'd always prefer saturated animal fat for searing meat of any kind - it's a lot more stable at high temperatures than oil, and gives better browning.
  15. Huh, I didn't realise he was still on TV. I suppose he has a bit more free time now... There's some good things here I've always wanted to do a proper choucroute, but out of the two of us, I'd be the only one eating it. The odour would probably result in a few Words as well. The main annoyance for these big projects is that they deserve a big audience This is the reason I haven't been making a lot of cakes - if I don't have enough people to feed them to, they hang around and become breakfast...
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