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  1. Here's a very good recipe for XO sauce. I like to make a big batch (this one starts with 500 grams of dried scallops) because it takes a long time to make. You can eat it after cooking it for just a few hours, but I cook it for longer (about eight hours) because it gets darker and more intense. Disclosure - that's me in the video. scmp.com/lifestyle/food-wine/article/1710084/cooking-susan-jung-how-make-xo-sauce scmp.com/video/lifestyle/1705373/cooking-susan-jung-how-make-xo-sauce
  2. You describe this well - better than I could have.
  3. You don't need to add the liquid drop by drop as you do with oil when starting a mayonnaise. He poured in a small ladle-ful of cream then tilted the bowl so it pooled at the edges of the bowl. Then he worked the liquid in slowly to the chocolate, tilting the bowl so some of the liquid dribbled into chocolate slowly. It's hard to describe. Water ganache sounds like it wouldn't work but it does.
  4. Several years ago, I attended a demo by Frederic Bau of Valrhona. He says to treat ganache as an emulsion - if you add the liquid slowly to the melted chocolate, it won't break. He used an immersion blender. Melted the chocolate, warmed the cream (but it can't be too hot) then added the cream in slowly, letting incorporate fully before adding more. At first, the chocolate stiffens but as you keep whisking in cream, it smooths out and becomes shiny and smooth. You can use different types of liquid - not necessarily cream. I've made water ganaches and tea ganaches. It's not the lack of fat in the cream that makes the ganache break; it's the way you add the liquid to the chocolate.
  5. I don't suppose you have time to go to Macau for a few hours? Because if you do, you should go to Robuchon a Galera - especially for lunch, where it's just an amazing deal - something like HK$688 for a five-course meal (you can also order three or four courses, but we always go for five). It's a Michelin three-star, and totally deserving of them. You should count on at least three hours, if you want to give me meal justice. Of the others, I'd go for Caprice or Amber - both are excellent. You might also want to consider Cepage.
  6. I've had good success in making confit/glace kumquats and moderate success in making whole confit/glace strawberries. Now I'd like to try making confit/glace apricots. Should I pit them? If so, what's the best way so they stay as whole-looking as possible? Should I pit before soaking them in the syrup solutions; somewhere in the middle, while they're still firm; or at the end? TIA.
  7. I've been making a lot of fruit preserves in the past few months. A few of the jams (notably passionfruit-mango and guava-raspberry) didn't set up well - they're more of a sauce than a jam. I bought some "jam sugar" for soft fruits: it contains sugar and apple pectin, but the instructions on the bag give a higher proportion of sugar:fruit than I usually use (they call for about 10 per cent more sugar than fruit; I usually use about 60% sugar to the quantity of fruit) so it will be sweeter than I like. I have sugar and I have powdered apple pectin so it would be cheaper to make my own jam sugar, but I have no idea how much apple pectin to use. Can anyone here help out? TIA
  8. They're used a lot in Shanghainese cooking. They make a delicious cold starter of cooked fava beans pureed with Shanghai preserved vegetable and lots of sesame paste.
  9. I searched the other threads but there wasn't much, and the info I did find was a few years old. Has anybody been to the communes of Vicchio, Brisighella and Faenza lately? We're basing ourselves for six days in Vicchio and will be taking day trips to the other areas. Would love some restaurant recommendations (in any price range), and recs for other food-related stuff in these places. TIA
  10. aprilmei

    Cooking testicles

    I've only eaten turkey and chicken fries. I read instructions that they need to be peeled but these are covered with a very thin membrane that was very difficult to peel so I left it on and it didn't seem to detract from the quality of the dish. I thought the texture was similar to brains - very soft, delicate and somewhat creamy. They'd probably be very good in a classic brain dish - pan-fried and served with beurre noisette with capers.
  11. Even the Restaurant Magazine list - which has voting by a limited number of people, most of whom are knowledgeable about food - can be seen sort of as a popularity contest, rather than the absolute "best" (which is hard to define, anyway). For one thing, the number of European/American/rest of the world voters coming to Asia is fewer (proportionately) than the number of Asian voters going to Europe/America/rest of the world, which means the results tend to favour restaurants outside Asia. Also, the voters from outside Asia who do come here will be coming for a limited time, and be will be going to different countries - so their votes will probably be split between Japan, Hong Kong/Macau/China, Singapore/Malaysia/Indonesia, India, etc. And whatever country they visit, they'll probably go to restaurants they've heard of - in HK that would be places like Hutong, Zuma, Nobu, Yung Kee (I've eaten some absolutely amazing meals at YK). So their votes will go to those places, whether or not they're really absolutely the "best" - but they're the best they tried here. And I must confess, that when I have visitors who are making their first trip to HK, I will take them to places like Hutong, because the view is spectacular, the restaurant space is really great, and the food is good. Unless they are real foodie types, I won't take them to hole-in-the-wall places with grumpy waiters (I draw the line at Nobu and Zuma, though; I just won't take them there because I don't really like the food). So that perpetuates the popularity of places like Hutong - when they go back to wherever they're from, they'll tell their friends about it. Michelin - the assessments come from people who are supposedly knowledgeable about food - but they can't review restaurants they've never heard of. Which means (again) the "big names" are in there, not the hard-to-find holes in the wall.
  12. I don't think there will ever be a restaurant guide - including ones published in a city, reviewed and written by people who live in that city, and targeted at the people who live there - that can be published without controversy or criticism. The Miele Guide uses a complicated way of compiling votes that is sort of a mix between Michelin, Zagat and Restaurant Magazine: a panel of people (mostly journalists, I believe) who live in Asia nominate their favourite restaurants in the country where they live, the list of these restaurants is put online, and then others can vote. Voters include the general public (I don't think there are any restrictions on who can vote), plus invited F&B professionals. Voters don't have to stick to the online list; they can also nominate other places they like. As with Restaurant Magazine's 50 Best Restaurants in The World (and that list is much more controversial than the Miele Guide), voters can only pick a certain number of restaurants within their country, and the rest of their votes have to go to places in other parts of Asia. The top 20 most popular restaurants are listed by ranking; while the next 430 most popular restaurants are compiled in the guide by country. I think the reason some of the restaurants made it into the top 20 list is that so many of the voters know of them: if they're visiting HOng Kong, it's easier (and safer) for a hotel concierge to recommend places like Nobu, Atelier de Joel Robuchon or Yung Kee than some small restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui with rude waiters who don't speak English, no matter how good the food there may be. As for the lack of restaurants in Japan on the top 20 list, Chubby Hubby said that the chapter on Japan is twice as big as the chapters on any of the other countries. It sort of makes sense: there are so many good restaurants in Japan (and many of them are very small) that even people who live there might not have heard of them or eaten at them. As he says, the Japan vote is divided because of the high quality of so many places; while in the other countries, the people know which restaurants to vote for because there are fewer places of such high calibre. In the Philippines, probably all the voters living there picked the two that made it onto the top 20 list, so they got a good, concentrated block of votes. I have to add that I am one of the panelists on the Miele Guide, just as I am one of the members voting in the Restaurant Magazine list.
  13. This sounds like a great book - can you please tell me if measurements are by volume or weight? TIA
  14. If you have a decanter that's stained with red wine, you can fill it with water and then add one of those denture cleaners - the kind that promise to "get the stains out" - or something like that. It works very well.
  15. Wow, sorry to hear about your parents. I hope they recover quickly. I can't help you much in the purchasing of bird's nest - I've never bought it or cooked it. But I remember my grandmother and uncle making it back in California (we're also Toisanese). They soaked it for several hours (with some rice wine, I believe) then cooked it with chicken broth and some shredded ham. Add a bit of sherry or rice wine at the end, just before serving it. Making it into tong shui is one of the ways they do it in Hong Kong - with the sugar and egg white instead of the chicken broth. Until I moved here, I had never tasted it in a sweet preparation; I'd always had it as savoury soup.
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