staringclown

Posh Nosh

52 posts in this topic

Now I was fumbling about looking for an appropriate thread but I couldn't find one. So I started this one.

Welcome to the Gourmand thread. A place to discuss the finer points of haute cuisine, fine wine and all things culinary. It is a completely bourgeois thread. We welcome the following opinions:

Food trends

Good restaurants and good/bad reviews

Advanced dining options

Advanced cooking tips

Anything to do with the good life.

Hedonism and your perfect day, should you choose to submit.

Food trends: I have followed food trends since the very first vogue entertaining magazine. The current trend is to reduce an ingredient down to it's essence then make a foam or something from the result. Use of chemicals such as liquid nitrogen etc are encouraged to achieve the perfect result. It's the school of "molecular gastronomy". I know a guy who paid $400+ for a cookbook that details how to achieve the effects. I love food but this is surely a bit much. Accidents are already happening. Check out El Bulli the best restaurant in the universe (better even than milliways)

Mind you the results for the brave are spectaclular :notworthy:

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Here's a review of El Bulli from whom I consider to be the best and most entertaining food critic in the world , A A Gill.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/eating_out/a_a_gill/article4825182.ece

Even if you aren't interested in restaurants/food the read is worth while.

A A Gill makes Matt Preston look like a try hard amateur IMO.

As for food trends, I'm still digging the art of using cheap cuts of meat and making them into something worthwhile to eat. It's been big in the European restaurant scene for a couple of years now. Perhaps profit margins and getting bums on seats has been a factor.

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Here's a review of El Bulli from whom I consider to be the best and most entertaining food critic in the world , A A Gill.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/food_and_drink/eating_out/a_a_gill/article4825182.ece

Even if you aren't interested in restaurants/food the read is worth while.

A A Gill makes Matt Preston look like a try hard amateur IMO.

As for food trends, I'm still digging the art of using cheap cuts of meat and making them into something worthwhile to eat. It's been big in the European restaurant scene for a couple of years now. Perhaps profit margins and getting bums on seats has been a factor.

LOL

It would undoubtedly be poncy. Poncy little bits of ponced-up ponce, served on poncy plates in a poncified room, by oleaginous ponces to unmitigated superponces. The whole thing would unquestionably be a poncimonious cluster-ponce. (Ponce, and its derivatives, is the most commonly used word in the letters you write to me. If anybody is foolishly thinking of opening a restaurant, you could call it Once a Ponce a Thyme.)

I had oyster blade from florentinos in a simple tomato reduction and it was amazing. I suspect we need a whole cooking forum and a thread per technique.

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1788 Cognac sells for $40,000 at Paris auction

It better be good to the last drop: A bottle of 1788 Vieux Cognac has gone at a Paris auction of wine and spirits for €25,000 ($40,630).

The cognac, which pre-dates the French Revolution by a year, was part of a sale of 18,000 bottles from Paris' Tour d'Argent. The restaurant has one of the best wine cellars in the world.

The restaurant donated the sum earned from the 1788 cognac to a French charity called Association Petits Princes, which grants the wishes of ailing children. It will keep most of the remaining auction proceeds, which may later help to pay for renovations.

The total sales figure is to be announced later on Tuesday, after the two-day sale by the Piasa auction house ends. Organisers expect it to top €1 million.

The 18,000 bottles sold during the two-day auction represent just four per cent of the restaurant cellar's total stock.

The restaurant, popular with celebrities like Woody Allen and Paulo Coelho, hopes to buy new wines to store in cellars now crammed with 430,000 bottles of wines and spirits up to 200 years old.

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Heston Blumenthals medieval feast

Entree: Meat fruits

1st course: lamprey ( a weird blood sucking eel)

Main course: 4 and 20 pie

Desert: The table decorations

The guy is an amazing cook. Only problem is you have to put up with Germaine Greer as one of the guests. :(

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Heston Blumenthals medieval feast

Entree: Meat fruits

1st course: lamprey ( a weird blood sucking eel)

Main course: 4 and 20 pie

Desert: The table decorations

The guy is an amazing cook. Only problem is you have to put up with Germaine Greer as one of the guests. :(

This show drove me nuts.

I am a competent cook and a reasonable food historian, even did some time in academia on a food related topic. I have a very large library of books on food, as well as a fair number of cook books (these are different subjects). This guy skimmed over all the good bits of history, didn't give his recipes and show-boated with the most ghastly table of guests you could imagine, none of them with a palate worth a damn.

I wanted this show to be good, really I did. But Heston is a twat. The show is too theatrical for the few who are serious about food, and too esoteric for those hanging out for the next Masterchef. ARGH!

I would happily debate every last dish he did, except I think I'd bore you all to death...

His pigeon pie, in particular, got my goat. Pigeon pie is relatively easy to make and one of the most delicious things imaginable. We bred pigeons when I was a kid and I spent many Saturday afternoons plucking pigeons, I was very amused to note that they seemed to have pre-gutted the pigeons on the show, taken out the more revolting intestine-y bits and replaced the more picturesque liver, heart etc for him to 'remove' on camera.

The lampreys were all babies, hardly big enough to leave home, and he did not acknowledge that he cooked them using a contemporary japanese technique.

Don't get me started on the meat fruits...

The edible candles, however, I quite liked, even if the serving size was a bit... extravagant...

And yet, and yet, despite all that - I suspect I will be watching him again next week!

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This show drove me nuts.

I am a competent cook and a reasonable food historian, even did some time in academia on a food related topic. I have a very large library of books on food, as well as a fair number of cook books (these are different subjects). This guy skimmed over all the good bits of history, didn't give his recipes and show-boated with the most ghastly table of guests you could imagine, none of them with a palate worth a damn.

I wanted this show to be good, really I did. But Heston is a twat. The show is too theatrical for the few who are serious about food, and too esoteric for those hanging out for the next Masterchef. ARGH!

I would happily debate every last dish he did, except I think I'd bore you all to death...

His pigeon pie, in particular, got my goat. Pigeon pie is relatively easy to make and one of the most delicious things imaginable. We bred pigeons when I was a kid and I spent many Saturday afternoons plucking pigeons, I was very amused to note that they seemed to have pre-gutted the pigeons on the show, taken out the more revolting intestine-y bits and replaced the more picturesque liver, heart etc for him to 'remove' on camera.

The lampreys were all babies, hardly big enough to leave home, and he did not acknowledge that he cooked them using a contemporary japanese technique.

Don't get me started on the meat fruits...

The edible candles, however, I quite liked, even if the serving size was a bit... extravagant...

And yet, and yet, despite all that - I suspect I will be watching him again next week!

Yeah I'll be watching... It's mesmeric despite it's utter wankiness. :blush:

Even had the liquid nitrogen... ^_^

I was interested because a had the pleasure of visiting Glastonbury cathedral (or what's left of it) a few years back and one of the few remaining buildings was the monks kitchen, complete with a medieval "fyggy pudding" recipe. Started me off on period cooking. It's true that they did like mischievous food back in the day, like early follies.

And I can confirm the pathological aversion to veges. Unclean apparently.

Never had access to pidgeons. But have tried bronze wings on a bbq in Mildura once, had to pick the pellets from the carcass and spit em out. Would be interested in any recipes though and anything medieval/historical in theme. Or any at all really. I have at least couple hundred recipe books but always need more. Asian is definitely superseding french, italian european at the moment though.

I was bought a book about "a day in the life" of El Bulli - it has not one recipe, just photo's a one day from start to washing up. It cost $180 on special. :shocking:

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Yeah I'll be watching... It's mesmeric despite it's utter wankiness. :blush:

Even had the liquid nitrogen... ^_^

I was interested because a had the pleasure of visiting Glastonbury cathedral (or what's left of it) a few years back and one of the few remaining buildings was the monks kitchen, complete with a medieval "fyggy pudding" recipe. Started me off on period cooking. It's true that they did like mischievous food back in the day, like early follies.

And I can confirm the pathological aversion to veges. Unclean apparently.

Never had access to pidgeons. But have tried bronze wings on a bbq in Mildura once, had to pick the pellets from the carcass and spit em out. Would be interested in any recipes though and anything medieval/historical in theme. Or any at all really. I have at least couple hundred recipe books but always need more. Asian is definitely superseding french, italian european at the moment though.

I was bought a book about "a day in the life" of El Bulli - it has not one recipe, just photo's a one day from start to washing up. It cost $180 on special. :shocking:

If you are serious about medieval cooking but don't know where to start, try the Society for Creative Anachronism. They recreate period life, including the food. Their recipes range from realistic to rubbish, so you'll have to use a bit of judgment. They have put out a couple of book(let)s of adapted recipes.

Cooking pigeon is easy - either quick hot dry cooking (best for squab), or long wet cooking (good for any age). They go particularly well with red wine, bacon and mushrooms. Boned out and cooked in a pie with butter puff pastry they are one of the very best things I have ever eaten. Don't bother with anything other than the big fleshy breast fillet meat - the backbones and legs are all small bones and no meat to speak of.

And there is no shot in a pigeon that's had it's neck wrung.

I'm not big on the molecular gastronomy - it removes the diner from the food even further than is usual these days. But I will try and hunt out a copy of the book on El Bulli and have a flick through, as I respect those who are willing to put some intellectual effort into food. No chance of buying it tho - given the chance, I'd rather spend the money at a farmers market!

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If you are serious about medieval cooking but don't know where to start, try the Society for Creative Anachronism. They recreate period life, including the food. Their recipes range from realistic to rubbish, so you'll have to use a bit of judgment. They have put out a couple of book(let)s of adapted recipes.

Absolutely serious. ^_^ We used to do theme dinner parties back in melb. All very decadent. Explains why I don't have a house yet. :huh: Thanks for the recommendation - I will definitely check it out

Cooking pigeon is easy - either quick hot dry cooking (best for squab), or long wet cooking (good for any age). They go particularly well with red wine, bacon and mushrooms. Boned out and cooked in a pie with butter puff pastry they are one of the very best things I have ever eaten. Don't bother with anything other than the big fleshy breast fillet meat - the backbones and legs are all small bones and no meat to speak of.

And there is no shot in a pigeon that's had it's neck wrung.

I don't know that I can source pidgeon. Will certainly have a look. Probably try the Fyshwick markets poultry guys - they may do some under the counter :ph34r:

Might substitute quail?

I'm not big on the molecular gastronomy - it removes the diner from the food even further than is usual these days. But I will try and hunt out a copy of the book on El Bulli and have a flick through, as I respect those who are willing to put some intellectual effort into food. No chance of buying it tho - given the chance, I'd rather spend the money at a farmers market!

Yeah I know it's a bit of a wank, (Emperors new clothes style) but I have tried some of the results and what you get is the essence of something/anything that they cook. I know a guy who has a sideline in gourmet icecream. (You should see his shed) He uses the technology to make some pretty damn good icecream. :) Man the vodka and pistachio! Amazingly amazing.

But you're right though I'd happily spend the cash on good produce. Maketh the dish

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now that I can source pidgeon. Will certainly have a look. Probably try the Fyshwick markets poultry guys - they may do some under the counter :ph34r:

Might substitute quail?

Off topic, but I caught a pigeon a few weeks ago. They nest in the massive gumtrees around the creek here and this one was a fledgeling that could barely fly - looked like a miniature adult. Took a small amount of effort to catch cos the bloody thing has wings and I don't.

Not being a gastronomic nerd, I brought it home and gave it to my cat, who was most appreciative.

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I'm a big fan of a good/expensive scotch.

Spent way too much to remember on litres of Johnnie Walker Blue Label

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I'm a big fan of a good/expensive scotch.

Spent way too much to remember on litres of Johnnie Walker Blue Label

Malt fan myself. Anything peaty with that acrid, ozone flavour of seaweed smoked barley. I'm sure smoking over seaweed produces some very nice complex organics that have delightful effects on the mind. Strictest moderation though else the consequences are dire. :wallbash: Perhaps only at hogmannay, a wee dram with shortbread and fruit mince tarts.

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Hosting a lunch tomorrow for a friends birthday. It has been requested that I make fresh salmon. I was thinking of salmon with either a hollandaise sauce or a salsa verde. Anyone have any other ideas or suggestions? I'm ok with cooking the fish itself and strictly speaking I don't have to serve a steak but I know it's what they are expecting.

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Hosting a lunch tomorrow for a friends birthday. It has been requested that I make fresh salmon. I was thinking of salmon with either a hollandaise sauce or a salsa verde. Anyone have any other ideas or suggestions? I'm ok with cooking the fish itself and strictly speaking I don't have to serve a steak but I know it's what they are expecting.

Hollandaise always goes well with salmon although I have never really understood why as they are both so damn rich. It is like putting cream on chocolate mud cake to 'cut the richness' - it sounds daft but it works.

I make hollandaise with a food processor as I find it much quicker, the consistency is good and the chance of failure negligible (which is not true of the stove-top version, at least not for me).

Then all you need is a few shreds of red onion, a handful of capers, or caper berries (caper bushes grow quite well in SA, BTW), a green salad, good bread and you're done.

I love salmon and I am glad it has become so widely available and approximately reasonably priced (atho all fish is expensive apart from a couple of very dubiously produced varieties from Africa and Vietnam), even though we are all supposed to feel guilty over eating farmed fish.

But then, we are supposed to feel guilty about eating wild stocks of fish, too, as most of them are not being sustainably managed, so I guess it is just a matter of picking your poison, environmentally speaking.

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...I make hollandaise with a food processor as I find it much quicker, the consistency is good and the chance of failure negligible (which is not true of the stove-top version, at least not for me)...

I have never had a problem with hollandaise on the stove top and am thinking of graduating to trying to do it over an open flame. I have actually been a bit confused about this as it normally takes me ages to learn a new technique and I have yet to bugger up hollandaise.

Where does it go wrong for you?

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I have never had a problem with hollandaise on the stove top and am thinking of graduating to trying to do it over an open flame. I have actually been a bit confused about this as it normally takes me ages to learn a new technique and I have yet to bugger up hollandaise.

Where does it go wrong for you?

It has a tendency to turn to oily scrambled eggs as I am forced to divide my attention between the hollandaise and the unreasonable and demanding people I live with. I had no problem with it up until just prior to the arrival of the first off-spring...

Since then I make it with a food processor - much quicker and virtually bomb-proof. Not a classic approach but a pragmatic one.

Generally speaking I really, really prefer cooking over an open flame. So much more control of the process. Gas is ideal as it requires no work from me, but wood is also excellent, once you have the hang of the specific oven/hob/BBQ concerned.

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It has a tendency to turn to oily scrambled eggs as I am forced to divide my attention between the hollandaise and the unreasonable and demanding people I live with. I had no problem with it up until just prior to the arrival of the first off-spring...

Since then I make it with a food processor - much quicker and virtually bomb-proof. Not a classic approach but a pragmatic one.

Generally speaking I really, really prefer cooking over an open flame. So much more control of the process. Gas is ideal as it requires no work from me, but wood is also excellent, once you have the hang of the specific oven/hob/BBQ concerned.

Ahh yes people with opinions / things to be witnessed and general other diversions would cause issues.

I have always done mine in a water bath. The chef types I know say that trying to do it over open flame is a good way of testing if you actually know what you are doing (plus it is a million times faster which is what they care about, less food poisoning chances).

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I use the "bowl over boiling water" method. I have heard of various methods of fixing a split hollandaise. Add an extra egg yoke, add more lemon juice etc none of which have actually ever worked.

The food processor method sounds interesting. Does it turn out more like a mayo? I suppose that if the melted butter is still reasonably warm this would cook the eggs slightly.

I went with the salsa verde in the end. delicious. (but my head, she hurts)

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I use the "bowl over boiling water" method. I have heard of various methods of fixing a split hollandaise. Add an extra egg yoke, add more lemon juice etc none of which have actually ever worked.

The food processor method sounds interesting. Does it turn out more like a mayo? I suppose that if the melted butter is still reasonably warm this would cook the eggs slightly.

I went with the salsa verde in the end. delicious. (but my head, she hurts)

Split is easy to fix, put a teaspoon of cold water in a bowl sitting in another bowl of cold water and whisk the split sauce into it, goes back together pretty easy. Just make sure you get it off the heat as quick as possible if it splits as it could be about to curdle. If that happens I am told you are screwed and the only thing to do is add more egg and have scrambled eggs instead. This is the backup plan I have in my mind but hve never had to use. I think having a backup plan makes you less nervous and so less likely to screw up in the first place.

If it splits you are probably going too fast with the butter.This is why I never warm the butter, I just use it cold from the fridge. That way you can see if you are going too fast as the previous addition hasn't melted yet. Takes a bit longer obviously.

Hence my plan of moving to naked flame as that is the fastest way of doing it, just need excellent whisking muscles and good awareness of the look of the sauce as it is about to curdle I believe.

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Split is easy to fix, put a teaspoon of cold water in a bowl sitting in another bowl of cold water and whisk the split sauce into it, goes back together pretty easy. Just make sure you get it off the heat as quick as possible if it splits as it could be about to curdle. If that happens I am told you are screwed and the only thing to do is add more egg and have scrambled eggs instead. This is the backup plan I have in my mind but hve never had to use. I think having a backup plan makes you less nervous and so less likely to screw up in the first place.

If it splits you are probably going too fast with the butter.This is why I never warm the butter, I just use it cold from the fridge. That way you can see if you are going too fast as the previous addition hasn't melted yet. Takes a bit longer obviously.

Hence my plan of moving to naked flame as that is the fastest way of doing it, just need excellent whisking muscles and good awareness of the look of the sauce as it is about to curdle I believe.

I think my "split" is the same as your curdle. No coming back from that unfortunately.

The naked flame method would be challenging. Heavy based saucepan and super low burner? Or light weight saucepan moved over the heat and off again as required? (This would be the cooler option) I reckon I'd go through a lot of eggs by the time I had perfected the method. Good luck. :D

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I think my "split" is the same as your curdle. No coming back from that unfortunately.

The naked flame method would be challenging. Heavy based saucepan and super low burner? Or light weight saucepan moved over the heat and off again as required? (This would be the cooler option) I reckon I'd go through a lot of eggs by the time I had perfected the method. Good luck. :D

At the first sign of split just get off the heat and sit the pot in cold water and keep whisking to get the cool through the whole lot.

Otherwise make really buttery scrambled eggs! Although as I say I have never had to go down that path so don't really know how good they'd be, it's a lot of butter.

I think a light weight pot will be easier at first. A chef I used to work with seemed to be able to do it using pretty much anything though.

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I used to make mine over an open flame, with a flame mat under the pot. It was generally successful, but it does take dead reckoning and a lot of attention.

Now I melt butter to the point of boiling but not browning, and pour it into yolks whizzing in a processor. The boiling fat cooks the yolks and the texture is thick and velvety and the flavour good. Use your own preferences to dictate flavourings (lemon juice etc) which are added to the yolks as they whiz. Ratios are about 125gm butter per large egg yolk.

There is a slight change in texture - quick hollandaise is soft and velvety but distinctly 'cooked' and will thickly coat the back of spoon. Stove hollandaise is slightly firmer and has a flavour of cooked yolks. We have come to prefer the quick version.

One thing I hate is 'hollandaise' where the cook has wimped out and stopped cooking before it is actually done and it is still runny and raw-tasting - this is NOT like that!

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sigh... can't wait for my youngest to outgrow his egg allergy... it really limits what you can do - well, not really, but it does cut off a lot of the avenues i want to go in. another 4-5 years and he *should* (that "should" has such an ominous ring to it) be over it. alas we can't say as much for his peanut allergy.

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I used to make mine over an open flame, with a flame mat under the pot. It was generally successful, but it does take dead reckoning and a lot of attention.

Now I melt butter to the point of boiling but not browning, and pour it into yolks whizzing in a processor. The boiling fat cooks the yolks and the texture is thick and velvety and the flavour good. Use your own preferences to dictate flavourings (lemon juice etc) which are added to the yolks as they whiz. Ratios are about 125gm butter per large egg yolk.

There is a slight change in texture - quick hollandaise is soft and velvety but distinctly 'cooked' and will thickly coat the back of spoon. Stove hollandaise is slightly firmer and has a flavour of cooked yolks. We have come to prefer the quick version.

One thing I hate is 'hollandaise' where the cook has wimped out and stopped cooking before it is actually done and it is still runny and raw-tasting - this is NOT like that!

I have never tried the food processor version, cooking for me is often trying to do hard things I guess (okay maybe cooking is just all ego based for me hehehe). I probably should try it.

One advantage to the pot version is it is easier to taste as you you add salt and stuff. I apparently have an appalling sense of taste so this is usually done by the person that has excellent taste.

I think it was Stephanie Alexander who said that to learn to make creme brulee you really well you should deliberately over cook a few so you know just how far you can push it. Probably the same with this.

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