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Miss J

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  1. Orik - I am fascinated by your warm fig/balsamic/black pepper syrup - could you describe this a little further for me please? Did you use fresh/dried/jam figs? Lots of little light seeds sitting alongside fleck of black pepper? Oh, the mind whirls. :smile:

    Last night I made risotto. I used some butter, a bit of red onion* because I didn't have any shallots, carnaroli rice, a glass of Soave*, and veggie stock. I finished it with a spoonful of mascarpone, and a large handful of sake-steamed prawns*, a bunch of chopped fresh herbs (parsley and sorrel) and the usual final round of seasoning. Then I popped it into dishes and topped each serving with a spoonful of trout roe*.

    It was very pretty to look at - the risotto very pale with the faintest hint of rose from the red onion, the delicate pink curves of the prawns, the bright orange-y red roe - and the flavours worked well, although I wish I'd kept all the prawn shells for stock so I could have intensified the sea-flavours. It was also very rich (note to self - smaller portions required when finishing risotto with mascarpone). I have also decided to find more uses for roe in my cooking. I love its texture and the way the little beads pop in your mouth. :smile:

    Served all this with fennel* rolled in a little OO and roasted, then dusted with some fleur de sel, and a final glass of the Soave.*

    *All things leftover from Sunday's drinks-n-nibbles party. Ah, leftovers...

  2. Thanks for writing that up, Wilfrid. I've heard good things about the service at Gavroche, and your experience certainly seems to bear that out. (Comped a huge dose of prune eau de vie? Wow. Colour me impressed - not to mention jealous.)

    Anyone know if the £40 set lunch offers a comperable experience? I'd like to think that Gavroche isn't the sort of place to offer a drastically different set lunch/a la carte dinner experience, but you never know... :hmmm:

  3. Jinmyo, may I ask for more info about the chiu chow chile oil?

    Okay, so it's not really dinner, and I've already mentioned this on the food diary thread, but what the hell:

    Christmas mulled-wine-and-nibbles party:

    Samosas fried in ghee with tamarind chutney a la Suvir (I hope)

    Prawns in the shell steamed in sake, served with nuoc cham

    Crostini 1 - gorgonzola/mascarpone/marsala with figs

    Crostini 2 - sauteed kale with pancetta


    Bagna calda with lots of veg (fennel, endive, cherry tomatoes, yellow peppers, radishes, blanched sugar snap peas, blanched yellow beans)

    Sausage rolls (request from the bf, for whom there can be no Chrimbo gathering without sausage rolls)

    Teeny blinis with smetana, trout roe (very pretty) and garlic chives

    Sichuan strange-flavour peanuts

    Chocolate-covered toffee, mince pies

    Mulled wine

    I have lots of food left over. (It's not my fault, both my mother and my grandmother are known for the same thing. It's hereditary.) Look for "101 creative uses for leftover nibbles," coming soon to the Dinner thread. :rolleyes:

  4. Pork loin braised in milk

    Steamed broccoli with lemon (a good balance for the rich sauce)

    All followed up with more than a few tastes of the chocolate-covered toffee I made last night. Quality control, y'know? :wink:

  5. Roasted a chicken. (Usual method: half a lemon inside, bit of butter outside, bit of salt.) And let me tell you, it was great . Once again I was left wondering at how something so insanely easy can be so good.

    Made gravy/jus by scraping up sticky bits from pan, squeezing in chickeny lemon, adding a bit of marsala (the sweetness offset the sour lemon nicely, but not too much) and some water because I didn't have any stock.

    Ate with a salad of bitter greens and carrots glazed with butter, a touch of honey and a good dash of hot smoked Spanish paprika.

  6. The sweetened condensed milk doesn’t hurt any either. Why don’t we use more sweetened condensed milk? I’m outraged.

    Tell me about it. When we got to Ho Chi Minh City, I kept overhearing other Western tourists warning each other not to stir in the sweetened condensed milk because it would "ruin" the coffee. Now, I never put sugar in my coffee or tea, but that viscous layer of sweetened condensed milk on the bottom of my coffee glass really added something. And it made my morning cuppa look like a little upside-down half pint of Guinness, which can't be a bad thing.

    Now if I could just get the baguettes shipped over as well, my breakfasts would be sorted. :sad:

  7. post-Yoga snack:

    Toasted pain Polaine topped with Tuscan salami and wilted spinach with olive oil, black pepper and fleur de sel

    Water, water and water - all good old London tap.

  8. I've got a bag of Vietnamese coffee beans, one of those groovy little stainless steel filters (there's a picture here), and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I'm desperately hoping I can recreate the coffee I had every morning in Cambodia: a tall, slim highball glass with a finger of sweetened condensed milk at the bottom, topped with a couple slugs of dark, rich, seriously strong black coffee.

    Does anyone out there make this? Any tips on how fine I should grind my beans, ratio of coffee to water, etc? I've got limited quantities, so I want every drop to count.

  9. Last night I made pho bo. It was pungent, flavourful, and still not as good at the ones you get in Asia.

    Fruit. Ditto.


    Am now seeking a cure for the post-holiday blues...

  10. Akiko, I do in fact cook a Thanksgiving dinner. Of course it's an October thing for me, but I generally make an effort to drag a few North Americans under my roof for turkey & trimmings. I also do bread stuffing with leeks and thyme, as well as shredded brussels sprouts with pancetta, mash with butternut squash, braised sweet & smoked paprika carrots, and something green & crunchy...this year it was green beans with lemon.

    I'm going to miss the American bash in November though, as I'll be sunning myself in Sihanoukville on the day. (Oh, the burden...:biggrin:)

    One result of observing Thanksgiving here is it makes me keen to cook something other than turkey at Christmas. I really want to try roasting a goose, but Mr J's mum is so spooked by the prospect of all that rendered goose fat she won't hear of it. :sad:

  11. Excellent local cheese, and a few posh imported varieties

    Good ham (Italian, Spanish), pancetta

    Local seasonal fruit & veg (cobnuts, new garlic, etc)

    Good bread


    A couple of fresh filled pastas

    A couple ready-to-be-heated main dishes (pies, boned stuffed chicken legs, etc - changing regularly)

    A regularly changed salad/antipasto type dish

    Something gorgeous and chocolate - an eat-on-your-way-home item

  12. You can probably get one from Lidgate on Holland Park Avenue (020 7727 8243) - they sell free-range, organic Bronze turkeys year round. It may be worth double-checking though, as I've heard a lot of American accents in there so supplies may be getting scarce.

    I found canned pumpkin puree in Selfridges Food Hall after searching for it exhaustively for AGES. I've heard there's a deli in Hampstead that has it as well, but generally it's generally been hard to find.

    And finally - in a pinch, I've used the ready-made shortcrust from the chilled section at Waitrose (I can't remember what brand, sadly). It has a nice texture, even though it's not made with butter so you lose out a bit on flavour.

    Good luck. What are you having for sides? :smile:

  13. From the Cool Chile Company (at Borough Market, the Spice Shop, and Portobello Market as well as www.coolchile.co.uk). They have the small ones like what I saw in Mexico, rather than the enormous flour "wrap" tortillas that have become popular in the UK recently. And if you're really feeling adventurous, they also sell masa harina and tortilla presses.

    The chorizo came from Brisinda at Borough Market, as usual. :wub:

  14. Great menu, Adam. I notice the geoduck didn't make an appearence, though - did you eat it all before your guests turned up? :wink:

    We went for a super simple supper last night, and had scrambled eggs with chorizo, sauteed onions, tomatoes and fresh coriander with gently warmed corn tortillas from Cool Chile company.

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