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    Hampshire, UK

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  1. The piece about how wonderful things were in France was somewhat annoying. No, not everyone in France buys the finest, local artisan produce daily. But equally, if you do want good bread that will last past the morning then you don't buy a Baguette - there are plenty of other french breads that will last, and Michel Roux presumably knows that. Another top recession busting tip of putting the oven on to refresh half a leftover baguette too....
  2. Carlovski

    Cooking for One

    I live in a house share, but we mainly cook for ourselves, so I am in a similar position, but with added complications of limited storage, and shared use of the kithen. Most of my meals tend to be one pot kind of affairs, or one pot plus some pasta/rice - cooking separate vegetables/sides for one is a bit of a pain, plus it hogs all the burners. Stir fries, obviously are well suited to the solo diner - cooking for any more without a high powered restaurant style burner is difficult anyway. It's the shopping I find tricker than the cooking itself - it's fine when I have had time to do a proper shop, somewhere where I can get things loose, so can get just what I need, but I often end up relying on trips to small supermarkets or convenience stores, where veg is pre-packed, and fish/meats always seem to come in packs of two. The best thing about cooking for yourself is that you can make things as spicy, weird and experimental as you like!
  3. Careful - you will wind up with a bakery that sell the odd necklace on the side! Said in jest - but i've seen a similar situation where an art store which sold the odd coffee and cake on the side discovered that it was much more profitable. It's now a very popular cafe/tea shop which sells the occasional painting.
  4. People in general are terrible at estimating time and effort - they estimate based on what they would like to happen rather than what is likely. Also, don't do like I did last weekend and invite people round, relying on an internet shopping order arriving a couple of hours before. It didn't arrive until about half an hour after I was suppose to be serving! But on the flip side, I think people do need to relax a little. Unless you have another pressing engagement or issues controlling your blood sugar then waiting a while for dinner shouldn't be the end of the world - an hour or even two without food isn't going to kill you. Or are we all too used to having food right now, whenever we want it?
  5. It would definitely have been a bit more colourful - the winning menu did seem a bit beige!
  6. I think the problem is that they are trying to shoehorn the sort of food that is usually produced as part of a tasting menu in a traditional 4 course meal (because they can't mess with the original format, presumably driven by the fact that the Queen likes a fish course?). Weird and wacky can work in small doses, as part of a progression of dishes. Also means you can be fairly purist about each dish as you don't need all the elements of a 'course' on each plate. using things like spherification, foams etc are supposed to be about getting the pure flavour out of an ingredient. the effect is somewhat diluted when you have to plonk them on top of some meat, potatoes and gravy... Thought that Simon Rogan did really well with the limitations - each of his dishes probably had more elements on the same plate than he would do on one of his menus (The 'clamped' vegetables probably would be a dish in their own right for example) but they did seem to make sense.
  7. Hi, Not sure how well the concept translates in America, but in the UK there have been a number of startups where existing premises are used which would not normally be open or serving food in the evenings - Pubs and Cafes normally. One guy locally kickstarted his business that way, cooking (Very good, and more modern) Indian food in a local pub and now has a number of very succesful restaurants. Another cafe opens as a restaurant, just on weekend evenings along with the occasional specialist sri lankan night midweek. How the finances and contracts work in such an arrangement I'm not sure - I imagine negotiating where liabilities lie in terms of health and safety could be tricky, and no idea what it would do to any insurance policies, but it could be worth a look?
  8. Tomato pasta sauce - my issue is apart from the fact that it's no more effort really to cook down some tinned tomatoes is that they tend to be over sweet, too homogenised and gummy in texture. Unfortunately the economic argument doesn't stack up though - you can buy jars of sauce cheaper than a decent tin of tomatoes. I used to use them a lot when I was a student living in college - can keep them in a drawer and cook with a single pan on an electric ring!
  9. I started a rant about pre-chopped veg once, until somebody mentioned that a relative, who had arthritis found them a godsend as she could still cook despite not being able to chop comfortably (A butcher will cut meat to order for you - a greengrocer doesn't!). Made me feel quite bad! I'm sure 90% of sales aren't for these reasons, but I'm glad they are available for those who need them. Jarred tomato sauce I don't understand, pre-made pasta sauces aren't things I buy in general, but I can sort of understand you might not have all the ingredients in for a puttanesca for example, or wouldn't use anchovies or capers for anything else, but a plain tomato sauce?
  10. Was going to make a separate thread about this, but hijacked this one! Ocado now appear to be stocking some of the Natoora line. Great for me as I like the Ocado service, the website is the best of the online groceries IMHO and the delivery times and rates are good. could never really justify a full Natoora order for a few speciality items, plus wasn't sure if I'd be in for the delivery. Got a few items delivered this morning, by the world's friendliest delivery man! Got some pancetta, artichokes and some pink fir apples. Was looking at the Guanciale, but it implied it was quite thinly sliced (but not clear). I'll try some next time. Was upset that they had ran out of N'duja though - fancied trying it.Not on commission from Ocado, or Natoora by the way - just a fan of the service! Can see my already high Ocado bills going through the roof though....
  11. I always have multiple forms of chilli heat on hand - I've come back from shopping before to realise I have bought 6 or 7 variants! I'm similar with mustard - normally always have at least prepared english, french, a wholegrain plus mustard powder on hand. Normally have at least one or two artisnal or flavoured mustards on hand too.
  12. What, you don't pocket mulch? Sorry, obscure simpsons quote.. Great blog by the way - loving the mix of molecular gastronomy (Hate that term really though!), mexican food which I know nothing about and the realism of occasional burgers and eating leftovers!
  13. Strange, that's the second time in a couple of days I've seen the 'fold the bottom lasagne sheets over the top' technique having never seen it before - which makes really good sense (Saw it on a tv program, but he did put a final thin layer of sauce on top I think). I'm a fan of the more compact lasagne.
  14. Dark and Stormy - definitely a drink that is more than the sum of it's parts, although dependent on the quality of the ginger beer used. fortunately it is one thing that is very easy to get hold of in the UK. I sometimes add a dash of bitters to it as well, especially if I'm using a lighter rum.
  15. Sounds like a fairly straightforward hypothesis to test? Although probably difficult to get funding for an extensive study!
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