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Miss J

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Everything posted by Miss J

  1. Just to back this theory up: while I'm not terribly partial to the first sandwich Stellabella describes above (it's the sweet pickle that puts me off), I'd be more than happy to share a meal with Stellabella.
  2. Me too...if anyone can comment on types and suppliers I'd really appreciate it. Now that I'm getting into multi-dish Chinese cooking, being able to start the rice off and just leave it 'til I'm ready for it seems like a great idea.
  3. No, I wouldn't. I haven't seen Titanic, but if that's what someone thinks that's fine, as long as that person can accept that there are as many best films of all time as there are filmgoers. LML, your standpoint demonstrates magnificent generousity of spirit. And I'm curious to know if this is what informs your opinion of journalists who think Heston Blumenthal's cooking is as innovative and impressive as that of Fernán Adriá.
  4. Ah, I've found the source of that article. It's from Caterer.com. "Adulteration of basmati and blending with cheaper and inferior rice varieties is widespread, particularly in the own-label and no-label market, where the packer needs to drive down the cost to meet a price point. This adulteration not only adds false grains but cuts out the vital ageing process, in which good basmati is stored for at least six months to develop its delicate flavour and help prevent stickiness. The extent of this scam has been exposed by a team from Nottingham University who examined 41 brands and packs of so-called basmati rice, using DNA fingerprinting to identify true basmati. Of the 41 samples examined, 19 were found to have been adulterated."
  5. I've always been a little snobby when it comes to food, though at a fairly low level (why would anyone LIKE well-cooked beef, etc). But I have to say, I've become much, MUCH worse since starting to read egullet. So it's all your collective fault. Edit: I'd like to point out that I still eat plastic-wrapped cheese. So I maybe I'm still reasonably down-to-earth. Edit 2: Oh no I'm not - I've just remembered that I currently have no less than FIVE types of salt in my cupboard - fleur de sel, gris sel marin, malden sea salt, cheap rock salt, and even cheaper table salt. Oh dear.
  6. Miss J

    Dinner! 2002

    Um...I feel a bit silly asking, but how do you squeegee a trout skin? (I'm imagining cleaning it at a set of stoplights when it can't get away.) And a new sig is born...
  7. Okay, now my curiousity is piqued. What brands meet Balic basmati standards?
  8. I read somewhere that the growing demand for basmati rice has lead to a lot of "fake" basmati flooding the market. The article testified that the Tilda brand basmati was the real thing, but that an awful lot of other ones weren't. Sorry, can't remember the source.
  9. Miss J

    Dinner! 2002

    Steak. Okay, sirloin steak seared in a hot pan and finished in the oven, then sprinkled with sel gris marin and served with a drizzle of the red wine I used to deglaze the pan. Eaten with large green salad lightly dressed with oil and lemon, and a large glass of red wine.
  10. Yes...that was a local fav of mine when I was in Queens Park. I think they've refurbished since I left, but in my memory it's a tiny bit of St Lucia in Maida Vale. The jerk chicken is very fine indeed.
  11. And written whilst sober, as well?
  12. Ah...well, I've walked to it from Canary Wharf. Maybe they need to put up one of those "you are no longer on the Isle of Dogs" signs for disoriented workers?
  13. There's a pub on the Isle of Dogs called The Grapes, and it's got (gasp) perfectly reasonable pub food. You can get a pint of decent prawns, a good bowl of seafood bisque, and edible sandwiches. The Grapes
  14. I've been whinging away for ages about the lack of food options in NW2, so my interest was piqued when Tony Finch mentioned he'd had a decent meal at Oasis. For those of you unfamiliar with Cricklewood, Oasis is one of those dark, dingy-looking little restaurants that crowd the Broadway. Its curtains are dark red and tightly drawn at all hours, and the menu posted in the window is so faded it can't be read at all. Without Tony's recommendation, it probably would have hovered around the bottom of my dining "to do" list. Once past those forbidding curtains though, the whole place took on a different character. Neon lights snaked around the ceiling, lending the small dining area a strangely cozy red glow. The tables were neatly laid with paper table clothes, an African choral group thrummed gently over the stereo, and a friendly waitress greeted us dressed in a traditional buba and wrapper. When we got the (readable) menu, we could see that it was split into African and Caribbean sections, with a drinks list leaning heavily towards imported African lagers and juices. I decided to go for the African side of the menu (pepper soup with fish and the Oasis Stew), and my boyfriend opted for the Caribbean (fried yams to start, then chicken curry with rice and peas). The food took a while to arrive, which wasn't surprising given the busy takeaway service. When it did show up, it was freshly made, in enormous portions and zipping with spices...or at least the African stuff was. The chicken curry was a little insipid, especially compared to the generously flavoured Oasis Stew which seemed to contain around half a chicken and the better part of a large yam. The star of the night was the pepper soup, though. As the waitress set it down, she warned me that it was "very hot." While not nuclear, it had a pleasant, tingling spiciness that lingered on the tongue and the edges of my mouth. The unidentifiable (but tasty) fish came as a generous chunk on the bone. With two huge Nigerian lagers and enough food to last for two meals, our bill came to less than £20. Bargain.
  15. Tell me about it. The first time I braved red braised pork belly (at Royal China) I was both delighted and slightly worried by how much I enjoyed the soft, richly flavoured lard. I keep telling myself that it's the same cut as streaky bacon, so it's not like it's something I haven't had before... Since then I've been trying other ways to prepare pork belly, and this weekend I did the steamed-in-lotus-leaves recipe. (See the Dinner thread for the full menu.) It worked really well...again, the meat and fat were very soft and lightly flavoured with 5-spice, and the couscous truc gave a really pleasant, contrasting texture. It really highlighted the lack of extractor fan in my kitchen though, as steamed lotus leaves create quite a fug in a small space. Dangerous stuff, this real Sichuan cookery. Totally addictive.
  16. Yay - I'm so glad someone else has discovered Sichuan Cookery. It's revolutionised my Chinese cooking. What have you made so far, mamster?
  17. Miss J

    Dinner! 2002

    A post-Chinese dinner party meal: Leftover rice fried with small cubes of fish-fragrant beancurd, shreds of chicken, garlic-y pak choi and an egg. Flavours brightened up with chili bean paste, shaoxing wine and a splash of light soy. Figs for dessert.
  18. So I guess this means you avoided the batter too?
  19. Although I grew up learning how to cook by volume, I now HATE it. Why doesn't everyone cook by weight? So easy, so straightforward to convert from imperial to metric or scale up or down. I can't go back.
  20. ...and somewhere, cabrales smiled. I'm also curious about the fish tips. Like ChefDAN, I find scaling fish difficult and messy...is there anything you could pass on to us, Malawry?
  21. Alternatively, you could just choke down a large pile of nutmeg.
  22. Miss J

    Dinner! 2002

    "Strange flavour" refers to a combination of specific, strong tastes in Sichuan cooking. In this case, a fairly ordinary dish of cold chicken slivers and spring onions was covered with a sesame dressing that exhibited the "strange" taste combo, ie chili (in an oil form), a good amount of Sichuan pepper, a bit of sugar, and light soy...so it was hot, sweet, salty and tingling with ma (that weird numbing sensation that Sichuan peppercorns cause). And it was cold, creamy and nutty to boot - a veritable mouth-clash of texture and flavours. So, it's not really a technique so much as a set of sensations - I have a recipe for strange flavour peanuts that's basically roasted peanuts candied in caramel and combined with ground Sichuan pepper, chili and salt. Zippy.
  23. Miss J

    Dinner! 2002

    Had friends over yesterday, so I pushed the boat out a bit and planned a Sichuanese feast with the guidance and support of Fushcia Dunlop's Sichuan Cookery (which I notice Mamster has discovered as well over on the Sichuan Peppercorns thread). Putting it all together was suspiciously similar to running a military campaign. The meal went something like this: Premeal nibbles: Boiled aromatic peanuts Deep-fried lotus crisps with sea salt Cold dishes: Blanched green beans with fresh ginger sauce Red pepper strips in sweet & sour rice vinegar dressing "Strange-Flavour" chicken, in sesame dressing with lots of roasted Sichuan pepper Hot dishes: Pot-sticker dumplings with chicken broth Belly pork steamed in lotus leaves Red-braised lamb with daikon radish "Fish-Fragrant" beancurd Pak choi stir-fried with garlic Rice Chili-radish pickles Jasmine tea In order to be really authentic, I should have served a mild, undersalted soup close to the end...but I really couldn't be bothered. Sorry, Fuschia!
  24. Little Gem is small and very crisp - like a more flavourful and textured iceberg. Again, I've found a pic: http://www.langmead-farms.co.uk/little_gem.htm
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