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Everything posted by aprilmei

  1. Wow, paulraphael, how did I miss that other thread? Thanks for finding it. The Ducasse financiers were good; I've sent it to my friend to test. I'll test some other recipes once I can store up a good supply of egg whites - need to make some ice cream or custard.
  2. I'll share my working notes too. I'm working on this with my friend in France, the one I tasted those ultimate Chablis financiers with - she and I are going for the same goal of really moist (but not greasy), dense but delicate financiers. I'm surprised at the variation in recipes: I had always thought of them as having ground nuts, confectioners sugar, egg whites that are just mixed in (not whipped, I mean) and beurre noisette, but Eileen's recipe uses plain melted butter, my friend's recipe has whipped whites that are folded in gently, Pierre Herme's chocolate financier recipe uses unmelted butter and whole eggs. Am testing Ducasse's recipe today, will report back. Need to scale it down by a lot!
  3. Searched the threads and can't find much info about financiers. Until I tasted them in Chablis last year, I never thought much of financiers. But the ones from this bakery in Chablis (sorry, don't know the name of it!) were so good I'm still dreaming of them. They came in several flavours: regular, hazelnut and pistachio with brandied cherry. Does anyone have the ultimate tried-and-true recipe? TIA
  4. aprilmei

    Pork Kidneys

    Yes, this is true - and they don't need to be cleaned. I've eaten suckling pig that still had the kidneys inside and you can eat the whole kidney - it didn't have the strong scent.
  5. Took a trip to Macau yesterday, just to eat at my favourite French restaurant in the region, Robuchon a Galera. I haven't been back for a few months (for awhile I was going about once a month) so this is the first time I've been there since it received the three stars in the HK/Macau Michelin guide. My BF called the restaurant only two days before so I was surprised we were able to get a table - the person on the phone said they were fully booked but when my BF asked them to call if they had any tables open up, they called back within 15 minutes - I think they might have recognised our names because we've been there so many times before. This is the first time I've ever been there that the place was absolutely packed - in fact, they set up extra tables near the lounge area and they also had tables in one of the nearby banquet rooms for a private party. It's still a bargain; I'm positive the food costs are offset by the money they make in the casino (the restaurant is in the Hotel Lisboa). Lunch is HK$368 for three courses, $468 for four and $588 for five. As usual, we (four of us) went for the five courses. The bread basket is still the best in the region - there were at least six types, of which I tasted three - all delicious. The amuse buche was foie gras royale with a thin layer of sherry and topped with parmesan foam - very delicate but you could taste each of the three main elements. There are three selections for each course. For the first course, I had the truffled pied de cochon ragout on toasted baguette which was very enjoyable, although I couldn't discern any truffle flavour. The three men had lightly smoked foie gras with marinated mushrooms. Not sure what type of mushrooms they were but they must have been huge - they were thinly sliced and had a silken texture. The foie gras - thin, curled shavings (how do they do that?) just melts on the tongue. My soup course of Jerusalem artichoke veloute with shredded duck confit and black truffle was just lovely - although again, I couldn't taste the truffle. The soup was thin and smooth but full of flavour; the pieces of confit (with a few bits of duck crackling) added texture. My fish course of black cod fillet was very light (thank goodness) - it had been cooked en papillote but instead of the usual parchment, it had been wrapped in some type of transparent cellophane. The waitress cut it open on the rolling "chariot" rather than in front of us so we didn't get the first whiff of aroma, but it was still delicious. They had stuffed small pieces of chorizo in slits cut into the fish and cooked it with tomatoes and finely sliced peppers. For the main, we all chose Bomba rice with caramelised guinea fowl - the other options were braised Wagyu beef cheek or breaded lamb chops with "oriental fragrance" - we figured we could have those any time but guinea fowl is more unusual. The best guinea fowl dishes I've had have been at Chanterelle in New York and Pierre at the Mandarin Oriental in HK - other versions of it made me think of the fowl as chicken with a fancy name. This version was good but let down because it was slightly too salty - all four of us thought so. It was the only dish I didn't finish. We were eating this dish when Francky Semblat - the chef - came out at the request of a table near ours. He chatted with them for a few minutes then as he was going back, he saw me and my BF and recognised us from before. We congratulated him on the three stars and my BF - who is very talkative and curious (some would say "nosey") asked him if they've been much busier since the Michelin guide came out. He said yes, at lunch, but dinner is still quiet. That surprised me; dinner is expensive but still well-priced compared to other top French restaurants - the 16 course degustation menu is HK$2,188 (I've paid about that much for lunch at Michelin-starred places in Paris). Francky said that the restaurant's move to the Grand Lisboa - which was supposed to take place this month (or at least in the early part of 2009) has been delayed to September due to licensing problems. He said it will still be very small (I think he said 55 covers). Instead of dessert I had the cheese course because it's such an amazing variety. The men had desserts from the dessert trolly - you can have as many as you want! (or at least we've never been told we were picking too many). Between them, the men had a really excellent mille feuille which is rivaled only by the one at Caprice at the Four Seasons, profiteroles with chocolate or coffee, passionfruit tart (excellent), rum baba and ice creams and sorbets. We were rather in a hurry at this point - had to catch the 4pm ferry back to HK - so we asked for the friandises for take-away. They roll over this huge trolley and let you choose: we had lollipops, marshmallows, pistachio financiers with brandied cherries, pates de fruits (apricot, strawberry and passionfruit), nougat, caramels and chocolates. As usual, they are very generous with the selection, asking, "what else?" every time we paused. The wine list is still amazing, and still well priced compared to restaurants in HK (despite the abolition of wine duty). My BF's guest didn't go for the really expensive bottles, instead choosing one reasonably priced premier cru Burgundy and a super-second Bordeaux. Price per person, with wine, came out to HK$1,500 each. ETA: Oh, and for all the fans of Fernando's out there, I heard it's closing - but don't know when. The owner sold the property to developers. So I guess the site will end up with a high-rise building on it.
  6. aprilmei

    Pork Kidneys

    I forgot to say that when we cook kidneys Chinese-style, they're sliced into thin pieces then scored in a very fine criss-cross pattern which makes them curl up attractively when they're stir-fried. Also, as with many other organ meats, kidneys shouldn't be over-cooked or they'll be tough. Oh, and they're good in hotpot and in a Shanghainese cold dish where they're soaked in rice wine.
  7. aprilmei

    Pork Kidneys

    Yum, I love pork kidneys. They have to be cleaned really really well, otherwise they have an unpleasant fragrance. Cut them in half and remove every bit of white "core" and the thin veins. This requires patience and there's quite a lot of waste. Then soak them in cold salted water (that's what we did) or cold milk (i've never used it but I heard you can) to help remove any odour. Rinse them, then cook. I only know Chinese preparations. I've stir-fried them with sliced celery and seasoned with soy sauce and rice wine. I've also had them stir-fried with onions, bell peppers and black beans.
  8. Sorry, but you did use the word outraged - in fact, you said "righteously outraged". If you had used "pissed off" it would have been more accurate about the way some people here felt when the guide first came out. The guide was irritating - in the same way Restaurant Magazine's list of the top 50 restaurants in the world was irritating when it had, for at least a couple of years, Felix (at the Peninsula) as the sole representative of Asia. Everybody here knows you don't go to Felix for the food. I also disagree with your statement that it was "appallingly arrogant and narrow minded". That makes it sound like Michelin deliberately did a bad job of it, or at least didn't attempt to do a good job. I'm sure they tried to do a good job - they failed, but I don't believe it was due to arrogance and narrow-mindedness. I would say that they were ignorant and not well researched - but not arrogant. The thing is, I don't even like this version of the Michelin guide - they did get a lot wrong. If you look at some of the earlier posts, you'll see how we felt about it. I'm not defending Michelin, but I'm disagreeing with your assessment of it.
  9. Touchy. Oooh. Why? I'm not speaking on your behalf, just those who don't post here. I respect your right to eat and live by the Michelin guide, please do try to form your own opinions now and then and try to explore some Chinese food during your time in Hong Kong, with some Chinese friends. Now let's see the fireworks go off. Happy Year of the Bull by the way!! ← Sorry, but you've got it wrong. Sher.eats is Chinese from Hong Kong; she also cooks professionally and eats out a lot. What she's saying (and Sher, if I'm misinterpreting you, please correct me) is that no food lover uses just one source of info when they're deciding where to eat; we might check guides for initial info but you can be sure we're going to get second, third and fourth opinions. I don't think anybody - or any group - can provide a "definitive" guide to any city's cuisine. As I said before, a guide is just that - a guide. Michelin may be the biggest "name" but it's not the only one. I also found last year's Miele guide to restaurants in Asia puzzling in regards to the Hong Kong section. And for that guide, each city's initial list was compiled by food writers in that city, although readers could vote for their own favourites too. For Michelin, what irritates me (although I'm not outraged) isn't necessarily what they included (although there were quite a few that had me completely puzzled) but what they left out. ETA that as for you speaking on the behalf of those who don't post here, I can assure you that my Hong Kong relatives are not outraged over the guide, either. So there's more than just a few of us here who remain un-outraged.
  10. I wouldn't call myself outraged, either; to tell you the truth, my expectations weren't that high even before it came out. I think these guides should be taken as just that - a guide - it's not the gospel truth. Even with Michelin in France there's controversy about some places people think should be on the starred list and some they think shouldn't be included - and they've had years of practice with that country's guide. And just because Tokyo has only starred restaurants in their guide doesn't mean some Japanese citizens and chefs think Michelin gets that city's guide wrong. One Japanese sushi chef I know has said he knows of places that are absolutely amazing that are not included in the Tokyo guide - and next time I go to Tokyo, I'll be asking him (and my cousin, who lives there) for recommendations on where to eat; I won't be looking at Michelin. Even Hong Kong-based restaurant guides can be controversial - and at least they're written by people who live here.
  11. It works. For awhile I was obsessed with making spiral curry puffs and I tried commercial sheets, homemade butter puff pastry and homemade Chinese flaky pastry. The homemade doughs tasted the best but the commercial puff pastry was the sturdiest.
  12. I was in Shanghai last weekend and had a great time eating the street food. San cheen bao, spring onion pancakes (actually, we had a lot of breads) and this most delicious fun see tong with chicken innards (intestines and gizzards, along with pork blood).
  13. Checked youtube and found a few videos; the tip about working over ice water seems a good one. This one is more like the vendor in Shanghai - she didn't put the dough down between making each wrapper: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vfz7od7bpos I'm guessing this woman puts her original handful of dough back into the container because it's getting too warm: And here's some people working in tandem (although I suspect the man could do it by himself if he wanted/needed to):
  14. Yes, I did ask specificially about Shanghai wrappers. The ingredients might not be the same but the wrappers for both popiah and Shanghai spring rolls are made in the same way. I was in Shanghai when I saw this, after all, and she did have some filled spring rolls ready for people to buy and fry at home. The dough for the Shanghai wrappers was very white so I'm sure it didn't contain any egg. And it's definitely a dough (like the second recipe in that other thread) rather than a batter (like the first).
  15. I was in Shanghai for a few days (great food) and while going through one of the food markets, came across this young lady making wrappers for Shanghai spring rolls. She did it with such ease - slapping this very elastic dough into the cast iron pan set over a gas burner then a few seconds later, peeling it off and adding it to a growing stack of wrappers. She would occasionally use a cloth to very lightly oil the pan. The dough was very "loose" - she occasionally (not constantly) would rotate her hand so the dough wouldn't drip through her fingers. I'm going to attempt them this weekend. I have Florence Lin's recipe (from the Dumplings and Noodles cookbook) - the ingredients aren't expensive so even if I fail (which I expect to), that's not a problem, but I would appreciate any tips from experienced popiah wrapper-makers. Couldn't ask the woman in Shanghai because I think she was tired of people watching her - a friend who went to watch her after me got chased away. TIA
  16. So, is it a good soup for a man who is having trouble finding a woman? ← No, LOL. I'll bet a lot of men wish that finding a woman were as easy as drinking soup.
  17. She didn't say anything about olive oil but I'll use as little as possible.
  18. Well, she does have pancreatitis. The doctors thought she had pancreatic cancer but thankfully, she does not. She doesn't want to go on steroids that were recommended by the doctors so she's trying to control it through diet. She found out though hit-and-miss what she cannot eat - and it's a lot. When I went out for dinner with her once, she ordered grilled fish with ratatouille - which seems safe - and she got ill. We THINK it was because of the pesto brushed over the fish - just a small amount but it usually contains a little cheese so that's probably it. Perhaps there was some vinegar in the ratatouille. But we'll never know for sure. Anyway, I thought of another dish I can make for her - bamboo clams sauteed in their shells with olive oil, a bit of garlic and fresh lemon juice. That would go well with the paella. Dessert remains the difficult part of the meal.
  19. was it dry? whenever I make it into soup, there's very little fat floating on the surface.
  20. Please help: a very dear friend is coming over for dinner on Sunday. She has pancreatitis and there's a lot she can't eat or it will make her debilitatingly ill. She can't eat: Gluten Anything fermented - that includes wine, vinegar, fish sauce, soy sauce, cheese, chocolate (because aren't the cacao beans fermented? or am I mistaken?) Dairy She's off fruit at the moment because there's the small danger that it would be overripe which might make it ferment These are real dietary restrictions, not imagined. The only thing I could think of is a main course of prawn and chicken paella - everything in that seems fine. But what else? I'm having an extremely difficult time thinking of other foods that fit into such strict parameters. I was thinking of soup (vegetables and a duck broth) as the starter, even though it doesn't really go with paella. Can anyone think of a dessert without gluten, dairy, chocolate and fruit? TIA
  21. I've only had it in soup too. It makes a good tonic broth for "women's problems".
  22. aprilmei

    Bo Innovation

    I first ate at Alvin's restaurant in 2004 (two locations ago, back then it was called Bo Innoseki) and I've watched his food evolve over the years. I liked his food then - at the time I said it was the most innovative meal I'd had in Hong Kong. It's even better now. The occasional dish is a "miss" (although interesting for the technique) but many more are really delicious and exciting. The last few meals I had (at the Ice House Street location; haven't eaten at the new place) were astonishingly good, although not everyone at my table appreciated it. I think it might be that some of my friends were unfamiliar with some of the flavours he was using, like wah mui (in a sorbet) and the century egg (same version Spike had). I think over the years, Alvin's improved the flow of the meal and also the portion size - it's not as rich and heavy, I can actually finish the whole tasting menu without feeling like I've overeaten (I have a pretty large capacity for food if it's really good, although I'm quite small). Some of the dishes Spike ate were on the menu back in 2004 and have evolved: the laap mei fan ice cream was very different from the one in his post (it looks freeze dried, is it?) - I've tasted at least three versions but not this latest one. The hairy crab souffle still looks the same, though. I've eaten twice at El Bulli and have tasted the food of many Ferran Adria wannabes. While I think Alvin is influenced by Adria (as well as other chefs) he's not just blindly following him - he's using the modern techniques but making the food in his own way. I was looking back at what I first wrote about the restaurant - in 2004, the 12 course tasting menu was HK$468!
  23. That's it?? That's IT?? god, what a wimp! That's a lot of eating in two days. You know, I've never eaten the pork chop bun... must plan a trip to Macau. When did you book Robuchon a Galera? I love that place - love almost everything about it (except the decor). The breads are incredible, the petits four trolly is amazing, the cheese selection is the best in the region (that I've seen, anyway). And Francky is an extremely talented chef. The service has always been excellent, especially now the French sommelier is gone (I found him supercilious). About a month ago, some French people asked me what's my favourite French restaurant in HK and I said, "it's in Macau!" They had never heard of Robuchon a Galera!
  24. They were testing Hong Kong restaurants at least as late as September. They might have tested Atelier much earlier but they still had plenty of time to try some of the newer places.
  25. Wow, aprilmei! I gotta record that episode on my DVD and go through it frame by frame to see if I can guess which one you are! Is this one in Yuen Long also featured in a TV food show? I remember seeing a Chinese woman running her private kitchen/dining room (only 1 round table) in a small village near Yuen Long. What impressed me was that she made her own baking oven to make char siu with 2 big terracata flower pots (one upside down on top of another). ← yup that's her. here's the link to her new place http://www.openrice.com/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=22106 . her terracotta oven was moved over too, a chickens roasts in <10 min w perfect crisp skin. dinner is 10 courses at $6xx per person but for 8ppl, lunch is $3xx per person 4 courses. she's been getting slack from so called critics who says her portions are too small blah blah, so if you call ahead and chat a bit that way she knows ur a foodie =) ← Margaret's chicken is amazing. She serves it whole - so you tear it apart, rather than cut it (so it doesn't lose its juices). Her suckling pig is also excellent. Sher, I think you said earlier you thought Yin Yang opened too late for Michelin - but I checked, it opened in April - that's plenty of time. re: Golden Bauhinia, I think that's in HKCEC.
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