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Everything posted by aprilmei

  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.
  16. Anyone got an answer to my question? Surely those of you who were on the voting panel must have some idea. Or would the answer merely support my assumption that the sole reason so few restaurants in Asia are on the list is because there are so few reviewers in Asia and so few of the reviewers actually visit Asia? Let's look at the reviewers who participate on eG, and just for the sake of argument, I'd like to include Lesley C although she no longer takes part in the judging. aprilmei Fat Guy Alex Forbes Lesley C In the 18 months prior to the vote (or the last time you voted, in the case of Lesley C), how many Asian countries had you visited? IIRC, aprilmei lives in HK, but did you visit any other Asian countries? If so, which ones? How many African countries had each of you visited? African countries are also very much underrepresented on that list. How many European countries had you visited, and which ones? How many North American countries had you visited, and which ones? South American countries? Just wondering. . . ETA, I just noticed Alex Forbes had already answered the question about which countries she visited. ← I've posted about how the voting process has changed over the years on past threads - I was asked to be on the panel from the first year they opened it up to voters from Asia (FWIW, I'm Chinese American). At the time, it was called the "Far East" panel (I guess that means I'm an "oriental"). When the results came out, I found out the the Far East panel consisted of ALL of Asia - Hong Kong, China, Macau, Japan, Korea (north and south), Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia... I can't remember all the countries. There were 30 panelists to cover all of Asia - and at the time, we could pick two restaurants within our region and the other votes were for outside the region. France was its own region - with 30 panellists. Italy was its own region - with 30 panellists. Spain and Portugal were a region - with 30 panellists. And ALL OF ASIA was a region - with 30 panellists. It was completely stupid. The second year, I was asked to be on the panel again and I said no, that it was outrageous that there were only 30 panellists to cover all of Asia. But I was told that it's now been divided into separate regions: Hong Kong/China/Macau, Japan/Korea, Malaysia/Indonesia/Singapore. So I said yes, and have continued to vote in the past several polls. As for travelling, of course I travel within Asia. In the past 18 months I've been to China, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam (probably more but that's all I can think of now) - but I haven't been to Japan lately. I've also been to Spain, France, Australia and the UK (Scotland and England). The voting has changed so we're now voting for three restaurants within our region. When I travel within Asia, I tend to go to very local, very inexpensive places - I deliberately seek those out because I love the food. I don't want to eat French food when I'm in Malaysia, I want to eat Malaysian food. But would I vote for one of those restaurant for the "best of" list? no. The exception to that is when I'm in Japan - then I do seek out the higher-end Japanese places but also eat at cheaper places. But like I said, I haven't been to Japan within the past 18 months so I can't vote for any restaurant from there. When I travel in Europe, I seek out a mix - simple, everyday food and high-end (including Michelin-starred places). But I don't always go to the same restaurants - of the Michelin-starred places I've been to, I've only eaten at two (El Bulli and Cellar de Can Roca) more than once.
  17. I'm a Hong Kong based juror and I can assure you, I did eat at the restaurants I voted for within the stipulated 18 months. That included El Bulli - which I've voted for for the past two years - because I ate there in 2006 and 2007. If I'm on the panel for the 2010 list, I won't vote for it again because I didn't eat there in 2008 (and don't have plans to go there this year). I think that just because a restaurant is old doesn't mean it doesn't still deserve praise, and nor does it mean it isn't still extremely influential. ETA: I'm not defending the list entirely - there are restaurants on the list that I find extremely puzzing (Zuma Hong Kong, for one). But I'm defending the integrity of most of the jurors. Actually, I just realised, I voted for EB three times - for the 2007, 2008 and 2009 lists. But all three times were within the stipulated 18 months of eating there.
  18. When I was in KL over the Lunar New Year, we tasted the most amazing rempeyek - flavoured with cumin and curry leaf and embedded with peanuts and salty ikan bilis. I came back with four large bags - which are long gone, so I'm craving more. Does anybody have a tried-and-true recipe? And are the ikan bilis any different from the little dried anchovies I can get at Japanese or other SE Asian markets? TIA
  19. Not very many! Maybe 120 grams. ← Wow, the price has gone up a lot (or maybe they charge more because of fancy packaging). When I used to buy them at the atelier (after calling first) they were 70 euros for a kilo. The passion-fruit mango caramels are wonderful but yes, the flavour does fade. I found some in the back of the wine fridge that I'd bought about a year ago and while the texture was still lovely, there wasn't any fruit flavour.
  20. Which one are you talking about? And how was it prepared?
  21. aprilmei

    Kimchi tacos

    Okay, so I made tacos this weekend with marinated spicy pork, red leaf lettuce and spring onion salad (dressed with sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, a little soy sauce, chilli flakes and toasted sesame seeds) and kimchi. It was Korean, except for the corn tortilla. And it was delicious - but why wouldn't it be, I just wrapped it in a warm tortilla rather than lettuce leaves. Next time I'm going to try marinated pork belly with Chinese white radish kimchi (the un-spicy one). But I'm still curious about the Kogi ones, they sound TDF.
  22. aprilmei

    Kimchi tacos

    So is the only Korean element in the taco the meat? The toppings sounds Mexican-ish.
  23. aprilmei

    Kimchi tacos

    I just found a link to their website, wow, do the tacos sound good! http://kogibbq.com/ But from their descriptions, they don't have kimchi in them at all - so apologies for the misleading subject title. (although thinking about it, adding kimchi is not a bad idea!) Must do some experimenting this weekend...
  24. aprilmei

    Kimchi tacos

    I read online articles in the New York Times and LA Times about kimchi tacos. Has anyone here ever eaten them, and if so, would you have any idea on how to make them? They sound delish but I probably won't have the chance to eat at these taco trucks anytime soon because I live in Hong Kong. From the descriptions, it doesn't sound as simple as just putting kimchi and kalbi in a corn tortilla. If anyone can help with a few clues on how to make these, I'd be grateful. Here are the links: http://www.latimes.com/theguide/restaurant...0,4560062.story http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/25/dining/25taco.html TIA
  25. Here's the Ducasse recipe, it was originally x 8 and for that amount, he called for 8 vanilla beans, which I find excessive. He also doesn't call for salt (!) but I added it in anyway. It's from the Grand Livre de Cuisine for desserts and pastries: 30 grams almond flour 30 grams flour 90 grams icing sugar (salt) 80 grams egg whites 80 grams beurre noisette (I started off with 100 grams; I'll try 110 next time) 1 vanilla bean (I used paste) Ingredients are mixed in that order and baked initially at 220 degrees Celsius then reduced to 200. I used metal financier moulds, about 8cm long. Sprayed them with pan coating. They had a really nice crust and were moist. I will try reducing the sugar next time (as per paulraphael's recipe, his uses 125%, this one has 150%) and I'll also toast the almond flour. But wouldn't reducing the sugar make them less moist? I've seen some recipes that whip the whites to soft peaks then fold them in. That would make them lighter (right?) so might try that. Would it make them peak? These rose slightly but just enough to completely fill the moulds (I filled them about 3/4 of the way). I sent this recipe to my friend in France and she says she likes them better than the ones we ate in Chablis (except she says they weren't purchased in Chablis but Auxerre). Says they're not as heavy. Has anybody made financiers with those egg whites you buy in a carton? Usually I have loads of whites on hand from all my other baking/pastry/ice creams but I'm really low on them at the moment.
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