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Miss J

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  1. But does the knuckle method intelligently fluff and warm leftover rice while you're in the shower? Huh? Does it?

    Alas, it does not. I'm afraid that my knuckle-method rice must be fried with those little wind-dried Chinese sausages and a handful of soaked dried shrimp. Which isn't such a hardship, really. :wink:

  2. Folks, I've mastered the knuckle method. :smile:

    Basically, you put the rice in the pot and wash it in a few changes of cold water until you've managed to get rid of most of the starch. Then you put your finger on the surface of the (damp, drained) rice in the bottom of the pot, and add more cold water until it reaches your first knuckle.

    As crazy at is sounds, this seems to work for any amount of rice. I've cooked one, two and three cups of raw rice (all using the same pot), and it seems to come out perfectly each time. I'm trying not to overanalyse, just in case I jinx it. :unsure:

  3. Chicken stir-fried with chillies and holy basil

    Gai lan stir-fried with garlic

    Steamed rice

    Prunes with greek yoghurt

    Even my weekend cooking is starting to get a bit weeknight-ish. :sad:

  4. Jinmyo is correct, of course. One of the great cultural shifts I've embraced since moving here is to realign my Sunday "dinner" time to around 2pm. Here, if you suggest serving the big heavy Sunday meal in the evening, people think you're mad. :smile:

  5. I made an "authentic" sweet & sour pork dish (according to the recipe I was using). The pork was deep fried in a very light, thin batter, and the sauce was a pale, almost tea-coloured brown (the "sour" element was Chinkiang vinegar, and the sweet was white sugar). Overall, the flavour, scent and texture of the dish were lighter and more delicate that the sweet & sour I've had from takeaways.

    Ed, does that version sound like anything you've run into?

  6. Wow - seawakim, you and I were on a wavelength tonight. I used up the rest of the red curry paste I made earlier in the week, and ended up throwing together a fairly simple chicken & veg boiled red curry. Finished with a little fish sauce, palm sugar, fresh sliced chillies and holy basil and ate it with plain rice.

  7. Matthew, you're absolutely right - Monmouth serves better coffee. But that's not the point. Before Starbucks, coffee in this country was really, horrendously bad, instead of just generally bad. The fact that we can pick out ONE particular company that offers good coffee ought to be a sign of that. (Insert sad little sigh here.)

    Like it or loathe it (and I'm delighted to note that so many Britons loathe it, as they've obviously gone waaaay beyond the instant-coffee-made-with-hot-milk experience), Starbucks has made a positive - though hardly gourmet - contribution here.

    So there. :wink:

  8. So, whats the excuse for all the fat Europeans?  Clearly, its not portion size or leftovers. :wink:

    Goose fat. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. :biggrin:

    Edit: Okay, speaking personally. But my weight has indeed started to creep up ever since I became a goose fat convert. :wink:

  9. Fun Fact about British Coffee:

    I know someone who helped launch instant coffee in the UK. He says that the reason why companies decided to focus on instant coffee instead of filter coffee to begin with was because consumer research suggested that Britons were much more comfortable pouring boiling water over coffee granules than going through all the faff of learning how to brew coffee. It was - you guessed it - more like making tea.

    Well, it was a very long time ago. :wink:

  10. Last night, I finally went to my shelf, took down David Thompson's big pink book, and made a red curry paste. I then made a duck red curry with lychees, which I ate with a bit of plain rice.

    It was great. All hail the big pink book. :smile:

  11. 1995: I arrived in London, and discovered that when you asked for coffee in a typical restaurant (ie not in a temple of gastronomy), there was a very good chance you'd be offered Gold Blend. If they really cared, they'd make it with hot milk instead of water. (I distinctly remember reading an approving comment in Time Out about a cafe that did that.)

    Apart from Bar Italia, there was very little effort to produce decent coffee. And if you want to talk about dishwater, the cappuccinos I had in "posh" London cafes in the pre-Starbucks days epitomised it.

    After a while, the Seattle Coffee Company (a clear attempt to launch the Starbucks concept in the UK) started up, and then suddenly there was Costa Coffee as well. Notably, the coffee was still incredibly milky and weak. (Especially at Costa.) Then Starbucks rolled in and bought up Seattle Coffee Company. And - as difficult as it may be to believe - the standard of coffee in London did rise. (Granted, it didn't have to do much to improve, but that's beside the point.)

    It's pretty amazing how much the coffee scene has changed here over the past eight years. :blink:

    (Granted, eight years ago you could rent a flat in Swiss Cottage for £120pw, too. What price a cup of decent coffee?)

  12. I think the fresh ones need to be treated/altered a little bit before using them. I tried a couple straight off their stems last night, and they nearly knocked me sideways. (Remember, and I'm a girl who LIKES really spicy things.) I notice that the Thompson suggestions call for all sorts of other ingredients to temper the ferocious bite of raw green peppercorns, and the ones I had in Cambodia had been cooked.

    Maybe I should get some pickled green peppercorns and do a side-by-side taste test?

    (Oh, I come up with all the best experiments, I do.)

  13. I was wandering around Chinatown last night, and to my excitement I found packets of fresh green peppercorns, still on their stems. I last saw those in Cambodia late last year, where they turned up in a dish of stir-fried prawns. I fell in love with their tangy heat on the spot. :smile:

    I've found a couple of cooking suggestions for them in David Thompson's Thai Food book (a relish, a stir-fry with pork, and a curry with pork), but I'm interested to hear about other preparations. Any culture, and tradition - post your green peppercorn experiences here!

  14. Clb, I have to confess I ducked out on that completely by getting my beancurd already deep-fried from a Chinese supermarket. It cut down on the prep a great deal - in fact, it made for an almost-instant afterwork dinner. We only had to wait for the rice to be ready. :cool:

    Edit: I use sambal olek for the pickled chili paste, which seems to work.

  15. Rolling on from the Roast Beef thread (from which I have gleaned invaluable knowledge), I'm now looking a little closer to home for a preferred butcher. I've got some time, so I can either order in advance and pick up my roast closer to the day, or I can mail order.

    Are there any specific suppliers you recommend? I've had not one, but two reccs for the supermarkets, which surprised me a little. I'm perfectly willing to go that route if ye olde butcher can't do better at a comparable price, but I thought I'd explore the options first.

    As ever, your collective thoughts are appreciated. :smile:

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