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Miss J

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  1. Thanks everyone for all the suggestions. I've taken them, weighed them up with my sanity and ability to turn things out of my kitchen at a decent clip, and have come up with the following meny. Any final thoughts/suggestions/warnings you may have are appreciated...

    Drinks & nibbles: lychee martinis (made a few this weekend, and found them pleasant but lethal - they're best when on-the-edge-of-freezing), strange-flavour peanuts (already made, and probably the best batch I've managed so far), mochi with sesame stuffing (I'll be sure to warn people about the choking issues...)

    Cold dishes: (all to be prepped earlier in the day, except for the beef which can be done tomorrow)

    Long beans with fresh ginger sauce

    Red peppers with sweet & sour vinegar

    Beef with tangerine peel and chilies

    Hot dishes:

    Steamed whole fish, Sichuan style

    Red-braised belly pork (to be done Friday and reheated on the day)

    Whatever-greens-I-happen-to-find-on-the-day stir-fried with garlic

    Long egg noodles with sea flavours

    Jasmine tea

    Candied kumquats, sesame candies, candied soursop

    This should leave me with only two last-minute stir-fry dishes, although the final prep for the fish and steaming will take around 10 minutes as well.

    Well? I've done all of these dishes before and have done a similar-ish large menu on one occasion, so know that the steaming/braising/cold dishes combo will make it manageable. Any last words of advice before I go in? :smile:

  2. Umm...on the same side of Edgware Road as Safeway, somewhere between the Spec Savers and Faroush. (Okay, I know that's a fairly big range but it really has been a while since I've been.) All you can see from the street is a door leading down some dark stairs and a pink neon "Mawar" sign.

    As I recall, when you walk down the stairs you find a hot bar and a bunch of cheap tables crowded with the aformentioned Malaysian students. There's a number of hot and cold dishes, and you can select a couple to go with your rice for ridiculously little money.

  3. Coming in late, but...

    I love Mandalay. The first time I went, the Ali brothers were so enthusiastic about teaching people about their food I inadvertently ended up taking a 2-hour lunch. (Ahem - it's a good thing I don't work at the same place anymore.) It's been a while since I've visited, but this thread reminds me that I ought to go back soon.

    Speaking of interesting places on the Edgeware Road, has anyone been to Mawar lately? It's been at least four or five years since I tromped down the stairs and into The World's Biggest Malaysian Student Hang-Out, so I'm not up to date on the food anymore.

  4. Had a friend round for dinner last night, so essentially did a quick & easy dinner party:

    -Butternut squash soup with smoked paprika & a swirl of double cream

    -Duck breast (prepared a la Lesley C's superb suggestion on the Duck Breast thread) on baby salad leaves dressed with a kumquat vinaigrette

    -Vanilla ice-cream with prunes soaked in armegnac

    The preparation was immensely eased by the fact that the kumquat vinaigrette was hanging around from a batch I made last week

  5. Best English crisp flavours:

    Smoky Bacon

    Beef & Mustard (which taste mostly of hot English mustard, in a good way)

    Salt and Black Pepper - almost lemony in their pepperiness. My absolute fav.


    Prawn cocktail (think sweet, chemical fake prawn flavour)

    "Curry" (yep, that generic spice flavour)

    I understand that Walkers are bringing back old-fashioned, NOT ready-salted crisps this year - a bag of plain crisps with an attached sachet of salt, so you can add your own. They think they'll be a hit (again), apparently.

  6. Very quickly:

    Had Burnt Ends last night in the company of a number of Gullied-up egulleteers. Very good, especially to a smoke-flavour-addict like me. Slightly spicy, extremely moist, outrageously smoky and slathered in tangy tomato-based sauce. (Not tangy like the more vinegary sauce on the pulled pork, but tangy in a balanced tomato way.)

    Also had half a slab of baby back ribs, which were good but not a patch on the B.E.

  7. To be honest with all the glassy-eyed faces, intense discussions, and Simon rabbiting on about some guy called 'Billy the prophet' I feared egullet might have some cult like initiation for newbies.

    Don't be silly. The glassy eyes and intense discussions can be rightly attributed to the side-effects of the Gully(s).

    I have no such explanation for Simon, though. :wink:

  8. Verdict on The Gully:

    A nice, fruity, refreshing drink with well-rounded spiced orange flavour. An excellent example of its type. Though personally, I have to agree with Gavin Jones in his assessment that it's a "pleasant breakfast drink." I think it's the vodka base. It just does too good a job of convincing you that you're not really drinking. :wink:

  9. Right. The more this foams & gelees topic has drifted around in here, the more interested I am in finding out if the home cook can do some interesting desserts involving them.

    Any suggestions? Do I absolutely have to have an isi to attempt interesting foams? (My parents have one, but I don't.)

    I'm planning a Chinese menu for Feb 1st, and I'm still undecided as to what I'm going to offer for dessert. After a lot of pondering, I'm going to do a proper Chinese menu in everything BUT the sweet. But I want to try and offer something that doesn't cause too much culture clash. Are there any foams or gelees that I could try?

  10. This is an interesting thread. :smile:

    I grew up having dinner early. My dad worked from 8:30 until 4:30 for years, so dinner at 5:30/6:00 was simply logical.

    As a student, I was lucky if I remembered to have dinner. I snacked - usually reasonably heathily - and had lunch, which I got at the restaurant where I worked.

    Now I live the London life, and as JD has pointed out it's exceedingly rare for the day to end at 5pm on the dot. I generally get home around half seven (or half eight on nights that I exercise), and I cook something after that. So I usually eat anywhere from 8 to 9pm. Which come to think of it, it probably why I usually just have a latte for breakfast. :hmmm:

  11. I think it would be interesting to try. I know people who like eating dark chocolate with porter or stout, although I've not seen it actually used in a chocolate dessert before. Could be worth a try. I imagine that you'd REALLY want a harmoniously nutty/sweetish porter or stout, though.

    A bit about porters from Beer Advocat:

    "Modern-day Porters are typically brewed using a pale malt base with the addition of black malt, crystal, chocolate or smoked brown malt. The addition of roasted malt is uncommon, but used occasionally. Some brewers will also age their beers after inoculation with live bacteria to create an authentic taste. Hop bitterness is moderate on the whole and colour ranges from brown to black. Overall they remain very complex and interesting beers."

    The rest of the article is here.

  12. I'm afraid I have to chime in on the zaru-soba. It was the first meal my host family offered me, and the one during which I had to try using chopsticks with something approaching grace. :wacko:

    I have very fond memories of it. It always makes me think of Yokohama.

  13. I see foams and gelees as a good way to introduce different textures/contrasts to desserts. Until I moved to the UK I most often ran into gelees as "Jello" (which is pretty grim stuff), but over here I've had some gorgeous rhubarb-and-muscat jellies. And when I was in Japan years ago, I had some amazing, mild and sweet pale pink jellies featuring a few suspended sweet red beans, which were eaten with bowls of pungent, thick green tea.

    It's interesting that they're seen as affected in the US. North America is generally very pie/cake focused when it comes to desserts (a result of all those farm lunches, maybe?), so maybe the idea of not hanging a whole dessert off of a pastry or cake base makes people feel shortchanged?

  14. I have "Food Fast," and I have to confess I'm not as much of a fan as I used to be. The pics are lovely, but the ideas are pretty straightforward. When I'm looking for ideas these days, I find that I'm more usually inspired by things I've read on our own Dinner thread. (As much as it's reputed to showcase dinner party cooking, the Dinner thread also has great tips for simple weekday meals.)

    It's funny that this should be brought up now, actually. I've been putting together a donation box of my no-longer-loved books, and it was only when I discovered "Food Fast" hiding under the coffee table that I realised I hadn't looked at it in months. More proof that egullet changes how people cook?

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