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eG Foodblog: Prawncrackers (2010) - Cooking with Panda!


Prawncrackers
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The pork was rolled and roasted for about 3.5 hrs at 170C, the crackling was spectacular. I served it with roast potatoes, grilled chicory and cavalo nero sautéed with my own pancetta:

(Tonight's knife is my most treasured Itou 240mm Gyuto with stag horn handle)

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I'm so glad you made this. I was thinking of trying it out soon, and I wasn't sure rolled up belly alone would do, so I was contemplating wrapping loin with belly. Now that I've seen this, I'll just go with belly by itself-thanks!

Great blog-everything looks fantastic.

(edited for clarity)

Edited by Alcuin (log)

nunc est bibendum...

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I am in *serious* food envy here. And I've been doing some pretty good stuff myself, but this just about takes the cake.

Plus, you do it while you're working and studying. I salute you, Mr. PC !

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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Can we get a full knife battery photograph with labels? S'il vous plait?

I second this request -- PLEASE.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Thanks for all the positive comments folks. Back to work today and even though I'm still feel full from last night i've managed to eat four samosas this morning and for lunch! It's traditional around here to them bring in for a birthday or other special occassions. As we are such a big department this morning there were two rounds of full size veggie samosas, and then for lunch there were mini-meat-samosas available. SO I had a couple of them with a little salad and a slice of watermelon.

Mr. Prawn I was going to ask, As a first generation American, what do you do as far as typical English food?

It's game season at the moment and i love cooking with game birds. I think it's very typically English. Unfortunately I've run out of birds in my freezer and haven't been able to stock up recently. Hopefully Harborne market tomorrow will rectify that and I'll be able to cook some up maybe on Sunday. I don't tend to cook other typically English food very often, faggots, hot pot, roasts, stews etc, very substantial stick to your ribs kind of stuff. Sometimes as a treat for my wife as she likes all that kind of stuff but i'm never really too bothered with it.

Right, I'm doing up a pork belly roll like that up for Christmas. How do you get your crackling so glorious? Did you jack the heat up at the end, or did you keep it at 170 C for the whole time?

That piece of pork was really good. You can tell when you buy it whether you need to do anything special to the skin. In this case just by the dry parched feel of it I knew it would crisp up no problem. I did leave it overnight uncovered in the frige whilst it was marinating just to help it along though. When i pulled it out of the oven I thought is was pretty crispy but just to gild the lily a little I put it under the grill for a couple of minutes. That's why you can see the bubbling on the crackling. Looking back it was probably unnecessary and spoilt perfectly smooth mahoganied skin.

Can we get a full knife battery photograph with labels? S'il vous plait?

I second this request -- PLEASE.

Will do when I get home tonight, I'll have to get the wider angled lens out!

I'm really subject to a lot of roll tying envy. Are they individual ties or those fancy butcher-type rolling looped ties, which I always have problems with.

They are the rolling looped ties, I get a much tighter roll that way. I think they are much easier than all those individual ties. I'll have to dig out a video of the technique, once you learn it there's no going back.

Btw, I'm defnitely taking a break today from cooking - Panda needs a rest. Gonna eat the leftovers from last night and relax a little. So please fire away with any more food related questions as I'll be able to answer them more fully today.

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The pack of 18 quail eggs was only £2 at the wholesale market and i only boiled 10 of them them up last night just a a nibble, with a fleur de sel/celery salt dip. I did have a special a plan for them but changed my mind last minute, I still have 8 left and there may still be time to execute it on Sunday... watch this space!

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Sure thing, you're not the first person to ask me for my recipe for Bakewell tart! I've got the method already written down somewhere...

. . . .

Being Derbyshire born and bred I thought it high time I made a Bakewell tart. I would post a photo but I'd want to be sure you are sitting down when you see it! I couldn't find the base to my 9 inch round tart tin so I made it in a rectangular tart tin and then committed a cardinal sin - I used the only jam I had on hand - blueberry !!!!!!!!!!!!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Sure thing, you're not the first person to ask me for my recipe for Bakewell tart! I've got the method already written down somewhere...

. . . .

Being Derbyshire born and bred I thought it high time I made a Bakewell tart. I would post a photo but I'd want to be sure you are sitting down when you see it! I couldn't find the base to my 9 inch round tart tin so I made it in a rectangular tart tin and then committed a cardinal sin - I used the only jam I had on hand - blueberry !!!!!!!!!!!!

Anna, i'm always sat down when i'm on the forum so let's have a look at your blueberry tart please.

Can we get a full knife battery photograph with labels? S'il vous plait?

I second this request -- PLEASE.

Here you go, this is a photo i took earlier in the year. Left is Shun Cleaver, Right is a Leung Tim Heavy Cleaver made in Kowloon. From top to Bottom is Nenox Parer, Hiro Itou Parer, Global Flexible Boning, Carter HG WHite Steel 160mm Funayuki, Takeda AS 210mm Gyuto, Hiro Itou 240mm Gyuto, Korin Ginsanko Deba, Masamoto KS series 270mm Yanagi, Hiromoto 270mm Gingami Sujihiki. Not in picture is my latest 180mm Misono western deba aka the lobster killer:

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We're off out tonight to catch a movie. We didn't fancy eating the leftovers, it was mostly veg anyway so I think we'll have some Fish and Chips instead. Will report back later.

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Is a Bakewell the same as a Frangipane? Seems like the filling is the same but the Frangipane may take liberties replace the jam with fruit or use both.

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Pam, as far as I know the batter is exactly the same as frangipane. Shhh, I won't tell the good folk of Bakewell in Derbyshire that their secret is out if you don't!

Birmingham is right in the middle of the country, you'll struggle to get further from the coast if you tried. You would think a wasteland for our nation's most famous dish - Fish n' Chips. The places you'd assume have England's number one chippy would be Whitby or Cromer or somewhere in Cornwall, not landlocked Brum. But we do, we have officially Englands number one chippy in 2010 - The Great British Eatery. It's fantastic, the incredibly savoury smell of the beef fat that hits you when you enter the shop is almost overwhelming. Why beef dripping? Well as the sign simply says, it just tastes so much better. The batter fries up so much crispier too:

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So today has been a no cook day but i'll be back in the kitchen tomorrow. The wife is meeting up with some friends tomorrow night so the opportunity is there to cook a spicier meal. I've taken a couple of things out of the freezer and my buddies are ready for some lip-tingling dishes.

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Oh...that's a thing of beauty. Am I right in guessing that their mushy peas are fresh made? And Beef dripping! Is there a noticeable beefy flavour to the fish? I would think it would taste rather like a bit of fish fried in a Yorkshire pudding...

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Prawn, great to see you blogging. Gorgeous food, sweet knives, and a wonderful snapshot-sense of Birmingham. I am quite jealous of your ready access to good ingredients.

If you don’t mind the invasion of privacy, I would love to see and hear more about your kitchen. Also, how do you sharpen your knives?

And of course I am looking forward to any lip-tingling food that you care to prepare tomorrow. :smile:

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......

Anna, i'm always sat down when i'm on the forum so let's have a look at your blueberry tart please.

So as long as you are sitting down:

Blueberry tart.jpg

I hope my sister who still lives in Derby doesn't ever log on here! Of course, it's not really a Bakewell Tart when you mess with it this much but my husband kept pointing at it indicating "keeper, keeper" with each mouthful. So thank you for the recipe and apologies for riffing off it.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Oh...that's a thing of beauty. Am I right in guessing that their mushy peas are fresh made? And Beef dripping! Is there a noticeable beefy flavour to the fish? I would think it would taste rather like a bit of fish fried in a Yorkshire pudding...

I would hope that with their reputation they would make their own mushy peas, they make their own tartare sauce after all. It's the best i've ever tasted, i may ask for the recipe next time i'm there - definitely heavy on the tarragon/tarragon vinegar but there's something else too, maybe lime? Yes there is a noticeable beefy flavour with everything that fried in it, it's so good.

I hope my sister who still lives in Derby doesn't ever log on here! Of course, it's not really a Bakewell Tart when you mess with it this much but my husband kept pointing at it indicating "keeper, keeper" with each mouthful. So thank you for the recipe and apologies for riffing off it.

Looking good Anna, I'm all for adapting recipes. That batter recipe is so versatile, use it with canned pears for a quick pear frangi tart, it's really good.

If you don’t mind the invasion of privacy, I would love to see and hear more about your kitchen. Also, how do you sharpen your knives?

I moved house last year Bruce, my last kitchen was really tiny but it was good for developing a really tidy organised cooking style. My current kitchen is twice the size so feels luxurious to me but probably still small compared to your massive US houses:

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The usual integrated stuff - dishwasher, fridge/freezer, electric oven and gas hob. My hob has five burners which includes a largish central wok burner. It's in it's typical state in the photo, quite tidy as you can see.

There's only one way to sharpen quality steel and that's with waterstones:

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Form left to right: coarse diasharp diamond stone, minosharp combi 1000/8000, Japanese natural blue Aoto (around 3000 grit), amakusa toishi stone (400 grit). On top is an F dick combi steel and nagura stone which is particularly nice used with the Aoto. I'm not too retentive about sharpening my stuff, there are some knife nuts out there who like to achieve edge nirvana but that's not me. I probably have a sharpening session once a month, if that. After all I'm only a home cook and not producing massive amounts of labour intensive food. Well apart from this week! :smile:

Edited by Prawncrackers (log)
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This morning I went to Harborne market on the recommendation of fellow egulleter Nickloman and also to meet each other for the first time. Harborne is one of the nicer parts of the city and one that i don't visit often enough. But now I've know there a decent market once a month and that there's also a terrific fellow and his partner Hannah I will have to visit more often. It was great to chat with them and to share the enthusiasm we have for good food. Hope to meet up with you guys again soon:

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At the market we found some nice looking wild duck, which i'll cook tomorrow and I couldn't resist another samosa or two. We tried the ones made with scotch bonnets. I thought it was cute that the Indian lady had to test out our palates with a sample first to see if we could handle the heat. They were really good, freshly fried and so crunchy. A good spicy precursor for what i'm cooking tonight:

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That's a fine-looking kitchen.

Do you use a microwave? Mine crapped out a few weeks ago and it was hard to go without, at first. I kept thinking (and singing) "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone". Now I'm thinking it's a handy thing but by no means essential.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Hey Prawncrackers, I'm really pleased we could show you Harborne market today. We both really enjoyed meeting you and having a good old chat about food! Great fun and it would be really great to meet up again.

Hope the duck and lamb work out well!

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This has been such a fun blog to watch. I check in every morning. :)

I'd love to know what are the one or two dishes you make on a regular basis? What you turn to when you are tired but want a good hot meat and veg dish on the table for dinner.

Grace

Grace Piper, host of Fearless Cooking

www.fearlesscooking.tv

My eGullet Blog: What I ate for one week Nov. 2010

Subscribe to my 5 minute video podcast through iTunes, just search for Fearless Cooking

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Peter, microwaves are only good for heating up leftovers in my kitchen. Does anyone use one to actually cook with?

Grace, I usually crave variety but if i were to nominate a regular go-to meal it would be rice, steamed fish (bass, bream or sole) and veg.

Sadly, i can't seem to upload any photos to ImageGullet at the moment. Anyone else having this problem?

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Nevermind about ImageGullet, I can still describe tonight's meal and post a link to my Picasa webalbum for you look at instead.

My wife is not great at handling spicy food so I don't usually cook very spicy stuff for us to eat. However I am a latent chilli fiend and I when I do eat hot food I like it really hot. It's probably why i have so many hot condiments from all over the world. So I can pep up my plate without killing her tastebuds. That's why when the cat's away the mice will play...

One of my absolute favourite dishes is rendang. My version is based on the one in Cradle of Flavour, and like all dishes of this nature has evolved to become my own. I've done it with many different cuts of lamb and beef and the best results have been with ox cheeks. So yesterday I pulled some of the last batch out of the freezer to have tonight. It's funny I love eating rendang so much that I like to build a meal around it and invite my mates round to share the joy! I took a nice piece of pork leg out of the freezer too that I butchered especially to make Twice-cooked pork and I had some prawns. My Thai chilli plant was calling out to be harvested so yes, i thought, i can make some Prawn Pad Krapow (chillies and holy basil) too. Alas when I went to get some holy basil from the Asian mini-market today i was told that all Thai basil imports had been stopped at customs, just basil, bizarre! Disappointing, but after a quick rethink I picked up some long red chillies and shallots to experiment with making a prawn sambal. I picked up some Ung Choi (water spinach) too.

Now, i have rating system for my friends based on the amount of chilli heat they can handle. Kinda like the chilli pepper score you get with Indian takeaway menus. My two mates tonight are a one and a two. I'm a three and ask the waiter for little something extra from the chef. So in the interest of fair play I decided to go for an honest one a half on the heat rating tonight!

Starting with the prawn dish I make the sambal paste. I had an idea of what i wanted; a balance of hot, sweet, rich and fragrant notes. I blitzed up some fresh and soaked dry red chillies, ginger, garlic, galangal, lemongrass, shallots and toasted belachan in readiness for action. Then I start preparing the twice cooked pork, which is actually cooked three times. First is poaching for 10 minutes which helps to set the meat up so that it can be sliced thinly. Second the slices need to be browned in my wok on a medium heat to get them slightly crispy and set aside. The third time I make the sauce with a little garlic, ginger, lots of chilli bean paste, black beans, shaosing, sugar, soy, scallions and toss the pork slices in this glorious concoction. In the meantime, in a small pan, curry leaves have been frying in a little oil before the sambal paste is cooked out thoroughly - a good dollop of the thick cap off the top of a can of coconut cream is added to help it along (the rest is used for coconut rice). Sugar is added to taste before the prawns are put into the pan and coated in the sambal.

Working quickly now, the pork is plated up from the wok. The wok's cleaned, and heated up again, a swirl of oil is added then a couple slices of ginger, crushed garlic and dried chillis. The water spinach is stir fried quickly in this aromatic oil, a splash of fish sauce and plated. The wok doesn't need to be cleaned this time, it's still hot too, so when the sambal prawns are tipped in they sizzle into life immediately. The prawns don't take long and are plated next. I ask one of my mates to heat the rendang up in the microwave whilst this is all happening so that's the last one to dish up dressed with a quick chiffonade of lime leaves. Oh and the salted duck eggs make a reappearance tonight too. The Thai chillis from the plant are simply sliced and soaked in soy for dipping.

I love cooking and eating this type of spicy pan-Asian meal. As long as the balance is there between the dishes, it makes for wonderful eating. The rendang was once again favourite tonight, I love seeing people's eyes light up when they try it for the first time. The prawns were good for a first attempt, next time i'll omit the coconut and use tamarind instead. Twice-cooked pork is twice-cooked pork and is so much better with this leg cut of meat. The Sichuan restaurants that i've been to all use pork belly but I like my version better!

Please have look at my photos on Picasa for illustrations.

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Incredible meal, Prawn! I really enjoy Cradle of Flavour rendang. Need to get it going again now that the snow has arrived.

The ong choi looks so good. How do you cook yours? Mine always ends up with the leaves too soft.

One restaurant called them "empty heart" greens!

Dejah

www.hillmanweb.com

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