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Miss J

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  1. You drank more.  I was almost monastical in my restraint

    As I recall, the only people who can claim restraint were Macrosan, Scott and Samantha, as they had the good sense to leave before things went pear-shaped. You seemed to keep up with the rest of us, Simon... :hmmm:

  2. Me too - I'm starting to move on to thinking about doing something more traditionally Chinese (and most likely Sichuan, thanks to the reliable Ms Dunlop) but I still don't have much idea about what symbolic foods I can take advantage of. So far I've found out that kumquats are a good bet, as well as the little cakes you've mentioned. And I've also found that technically I shouldn't cut up anything on the day, but I suspect I'll have to turn a blind eye to that one...

  3. It looks like a gathering at my flat is going to coincide with the first day of the Chinese New Year, and I'd like to observe the event as far as my cooking/sourcing skills will allow.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for food, ingredients, or serving? I'm open to both traditional and "nouveau" ideas. So far I'm leaning towards doing a more "Euro twist" approach, but that's probably more about not knowing where to start rather than trying to avoid real Chinese dishes. I've been toying with the idea of kicking things off with lychee martinis, lotus root crisps and Sichuan peanuts, but that's as far as my thinking has gone.

    Does anyone know if peach blossoms smell/taste of anything? Or for that matter, where I'll be able to find them in London in February? :wink:

  4. Even today, I'm told that for wine to be kosher, it must be made by Jews only, or boiled.

    Boiled? :blink:

    (Where's the "bleugh" emoticon when you need it?)

    Like stefanyb, I am impressed by the level of discourse in this thread. And I need to go off and think about making a more profound statement. Meanwhile, I'll just continue to ponder boiled wine.

  5. I use a large bamboo steamer. I only have one. This is due to kitchen space more than anything else.

    At the moment I just pop my steamer on a stand in my wok, and it seems to work pretty well. Dumplings, things-wrapped-in-lotus-leaves and fish in fine, clear broth have all tasted/felt good. However, as I've mentioned elsewhere I'm learning my Asian cookery from books rather than life, so I'm at a bit of a loss when it comes to finding out "better" ways to do things. (And obviously, I'm at a loss when it comes to evaluating whether a finished dish is really good, or good by my uneducated standards.)

  6. Tell that to my clients. I've been trying to arrange research through them for the past THREE WEEKS, and no-one has wanted to commit to an HOUR before Christmas. The project is now late. Now none of them are in the office at all... :rolleyes:

    Edit: Hey...where are you finding the time to follow this thread, oh hard-working Scott? :wink:

  7. Last "Dinner" before the big Chrimbo meal:

    Pancetta, shallots and garlic sauteed in a wee skiff of OO, then combined with steamed red & green kale. Served on rye toast.

    Clementine. Mince pie.

  8. I've been looking for sweet bean paste for ages, and not been able to find it. I've come across hot bean sauce, crushed bean sauce, yellow bean sauce, and sweet lotus paste, but not the elusive sweet bean sauce.

    Does anyone know if there's another name for this stuff? I've searched London's Chinatown and Wing Yip pretty exaustively. In the end I used a wee bit of lotus paste to make steamed belly pork in lotus leaves. The result tasted okay, but the lotus paste was a lot harder and drier than I anticipated the sweet bean paste would be. I suspect it had quite an impact on the texture of the finished dish.

  9. Thanks Sandra, that's precisely the sort of info I was looking for. I envisage a trip to the Japan Centre in my future. :smile:

    That said, I still think a group Billingsgate trip would be a good idea, mainly because I need serious peer pressure to get up that early in the winter and I'll never make it on my own...

  10. Has anyone here done Billingsgate? I haven't, but keep meaning to.

    Hmmm...Jon and I both mean to as well. Maybe a fieldtrip is in order? Nothing like a trip down to a cold, wet fish market at the crack of dawn on a chilly January day...

    Simon: I'm jealous. At the moment I'm sitting in a office that's so empty it appears to have been suddenly evacuated. Wiggly worms would brighten things up considerably... :wink:

  11. Speaking of sushi, I was looking at my mini-sushi set yesterday (thanks again, Santa) and wondering about the availability of sushi-grade fresh fish in London. Has anyone sourced any? Are there any particular fishmongers you recommend, or should I just head straight for Borough or Billingsgate?

  12. I like Sushi-Hiro, too. And it has the enormous benefit of being inexpensive as well as good.

    Kiku, have you been to Kulu Kulu on Brewer Street? I've heard good things about it (that is, I've heard it's good in spite of being a kaiten sushi bar).

    I still haven't found anything like the variety of good, inexpensive sushi places here in London that Vancouver offers, though. My brother lived off sushi during his studies at UBC - not a bad dining option for a poor student.

  13. I started drinking cocktails around the time that Hot Wired had a whole section of their site dedicated to cocktail mixing, parties, and lore. I used it all the time. Unfortunately, it's been left unmaintained for ages now and it starting to get unreliable.

    Can you recommend any books that give great cocktail history, stories and recipes?

  14. I also have a fairly punishing fitness regime

    Simon, tell us about your fitness regime.

    (I can confirm Simon is surprisingly thin.)

    Was this the point at the Xmas Bash during which I turned to see Simon holding up his jumper, and several people crowding round to poke at his belly? :wink:

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