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Everything posted by jmacnaughtan

  1. What's up with that calorie count? How can it vary by more than a hundred per cent?
  2. jmacnaughtan

    On "Natural Wines"

    Many old wines don't actually have that much sediment, especially whites, red burgundy or sweet wines - I tried an 1897 Rivesaltes at a wine show and there was almost none. In any case, if the restaurant does corkage, you can often drop off the bottle a few days before, so it can settle down if you need to. Sometimes, it's good to let someone else take care of the cooking if you're bringing out a special wine This really should go without saying, but thank you for doing so. It's incredibly rude to just rock up to a restaurant with your own bottles and expect them to accommodate you - the wine list is where a lot of their revenue comes from. And even if they do have a corkage policy, you should still order at least one bottle from their list.
  3. jmacnaughtan

    On "Natural Wines"

    An interesting article, and indeed balanced. I have no problem with natural wines - provided they don't have the rank, animal notes and excessive sourness that I've often seen. From what I understand, these come mostly just from a lack of hygiene, with bacterial infections that would normally be controlled by sulphur. Great natural wines just taste, thankfully, like great wines If you get the chance, try Montirius in Vaqueyras. They're natural, but their hygiene is impeccable - they use dairy pipes and pumps rather than standard wine ones, so they can be kept completely clean and sterile when needed. And it goes without saying that you wouldn't know they were natural until you actually went and talked to them about it.
  4. I find the colour is far better if you just leave it alone on each side, compared to flipping. And it's less effort.
  5. Interesting. I read that it came into Europe through the Ottoman Empire and Muslim North Africa, and was for a long time held to be heretical by the Church. This is how we get the image of the devil with a fork.
  6. Hi @Kim Shook, Those gougères look pretty appetising to me The main difference between our recipes, I think, is the cheese - yours is grated and only just mixed in, while I microplane my Parmesan and really beat it in. I normally add a little more egg after the cheese too, because it tends to "dry" the mixture a bit (I always look for the long smooth "V" when it's hanging off the spoon). Maybe the food processor is incorporating air, too? For small quantities, I just do it by hand, as it's easier to judge the texture. You'll also get much more consistent results with a piping bag and a plain 1cm tip than with a spoon. It takes a bit of practice, but it's worthwhile
  7. I was asked to bring something for an apéro, so I went with my old favourite. Gougères! These are with parmesan and smoked paprika.
  8. jmacnaughtan


    I don't think there is one - it's possibly the sheer hassle that makes artichokes so delicious. Just get your husband a pile of artichokes, a YouTube video and a lobster glove. Keep him in beer and he should be OK.
  9. I've always found it much easier using a very small paper cone - no more than about 10-15cm long. It makes it more like writing with a pen. Also, you can put the tip directly onto the surface and write like a pen, too.
  10. Good effort I'd recommend making your layers a lot thinner - it'll make it easier to spread the ganache and buttercream evenly. You'll also get all the layers you need (around 9 or 10) while keeping it nice and low. Don't forget to soak your layers of joconde, too. It's almost impossible to over-soak them
  11. I could be wrong here, but it sounds like there may be a distinction between using salt as a seasoning to balance sweetness and salt as a distinct flavouring. While I frequently use salt to balance out white chocolate with strawberries, I'd certainly hesitate before pairing the fruit with a salted butter caramel. In fact, I'd probably avoid pairing that with most fruit.
  12. What you need, sir, is an elaborate mould. Preferably in the shape of a game animal or architectural masterpiece. Then you can start to add your candied fruit, flowers, sugar paste, whittled candy, blown sugar, live birds, dancing ladies, etc. Then some kind of trolley to wheel it in on, plus various pyrotechnics to amuse and terrify your guests. I think that's very much the way to go with the old-fashioned moulded desserts. Thanks - I did think about that, but I wanted some kind of structural integrity and a relatively thin layer. When I use a sponge layer, it's down to well under a centimetre, and I think it would be a little complicated to do that with ladyfingers (which, incidentally, I make as the sponge layer itself). I think I may buy a brioche next time, slice it down and possibly toast it slightly.
  13. It's gariguette season, so the fraisiers are going to keep on coming. No kids involved this time, though. It was too hot to bake anything, so the base is a failed combination of diced madeleine, white chocolate, butter and lemon zest. Way too dense, and I should have known better. The rest is as normal, and as good Fraisier (with some lemon) Gariguette strawberries White chocolate chantilly Madeleine concoction Candied citron I'll keep trying with a no-bake base, but I think I'll need a completely different approach. It'll be difficult to get the softness, and I don't want to add any crunch at all.
  14. Excellent, I love pryanik - but I've only ever had the commercial stuff. Could you send me your recipe? I'd love to try it
  15. First fraisier of the season! And an attempt to get a child interested in pastry. In this respect, something of a failure - possibly my Dickensian attitude to children, possibly the undying attraction of the smartphone. Who knows? Anyway, it was tasty. Same as usual - lady's finger, white chocolate chantilly, gariguette strawberries, a little booze.
  16. You have married well.
  17. Really well done on the pastry work - it looks excellent. If you're unhappy with the rack, I'd suggest properly docking the galette all over with a fork - when I used to do them, they'd end up with a tight herringbone-type pattern. This will help them stay nice and flat and elegant - especially with inverted, which will puff up massively if you leave it unchecked. I can't tell whether you've done it on yours, but it's always a good idea to brush it with syrup at the end of the bake, then put it back in for a few minutes. It gives it a really nice shine and makes the pastry a little more interesting to eat.
  18. You can't really compare bread, pie pastry and choux - they're completely different preparations, for completely different purposes. Try making a Paris Brest with bread or pie crust, and you'll see.
  19. Ace, thanks @teonzo I'll give that a try the next time I do a Dobostorte. Hopefully it'll work better than last time.
  20. Thanks for the tip. This is not something I do a lot of - do you have a reliable recipe? I've generally tended to avoid tuiles since having to stand and roll them for hours in front of a roaring bread oven... 😓
  21. I have since thought about a tuile, but I think you'd run into the same issue as with the caramel or the crepe - humidity. The ideal, I think, would be some kind of caramel opaline tuile to refer back to the classic, but coated with cocoa butter to keep it crisp. I don't think I have the resources to do that elegantly, though. Do you know whether Florentines are badly affected by humidity? If not, they might have the finesse, crunch and flavour profile for the cake.
  22. Apparently on Friday it was the Hungarian Independence Day, so it's only natural to break out one of the great Austro-Hungarian classics Dobostorte Almond crunch Biscuits à la cuillère (lady's fingers?) soaked in apricot schnapps Milk chocolate and caramel chantilly Crispy crepe Almonds It's a cake I used to make a lot when I first starting baking, but it's been seven or eight years since the last one. Traditionally, you would use chocolate butter cream, no crunch layer and at least six layers of sponge, but I prefer something a bit lighter now. I still haven't figured out how to make the mandatory fan pattern look elegant, though. Traditionally, it's another layer of biscuit covered in hard caramel, but it's a bit unwieldy and not very pleasant to eat. A quick Google image search will show you what I mean. I though a crepe might work, but it's lacking something - and while a chocolate décor may look OK and fit the cake, I'm against them in principle. I'll go back to the drawing board with this one.
  23. Good review! I had the good fortune to be taken here for my birthday a couple of years ago (dinner, tasting menu, Clos de la Maréchale 2011) and it was one of the best dinners of my life. Tragically (and the day before I dined there, in July 2017), Laurent Jeannin passed away - I believe the new pastry chef, Juan Alvarez, is keeping the lemon dessert as an hommage.
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