Cooking Tips, Tricks, Recipes, & Advice

güero

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Pretty sure I saw an interview with that lady on the channel, her books look excellent.
 

Fwiffo

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^^. That's all great and mostly to be admired and I hope it wasn't coming across as a dig of sorts. Just mere curiosity. I cook regularly, even worked in a kitchen many many moons ago but I admit the rigmarole of life often gets in the way of putting out a spread regularly.

This lockdown too has introduced a few things: I baked more in 6 months than I ever did all of my life. I have always shunned pastry / sweet things in total bar the xmas pudding/ sticky toffee pudding and creme anglaise-combo I make during the yuletide season but I have baked and baked and baked some more.

Mostly given to the neighbours/ family etc of course.

I don't have children but I don't think it's hard to make something simple like aglio e olio or cacio e pepe even if you are pressed for time. That's why Italian food in the summer was appealing. It's really all about fresh ingredients and simple preparation.

The most I've ever baked was a wellington which didn't turn out well because it had too much meat mixture, and a toad in a hole. I'm more a savoury man since my weight loss days. Although one day I would like to make tortellini from scratch. I do know a graduate student whom I met making ceramic crafts at a market turned her Instagram into making very elaborate cakes this year.

I'm heartened you have people to pass on things to. I used to drop off portions for my brother, aunt, some key members of staff and other relations. I had a library of tupperware/containers going in/out but it's inconvenient now. My brother's building is restricted to visitors and food deliveries are queued up around a table in the lobby so he doesn't want the unnecessary exposure. My aunt stopped taking public transit so she only drives out once every three weeks to unload goods or pass on mail like I'm a Syrian refugee. My staff all work at home.

Judging from which food delivery couriers arrive at my Indian and Persian neighbours' doors I reckon they are more interested in fast food than anything I might cook. Lots of pizzas and empty calories.
 

fxh

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Most if not all of it is due to the pandemic.

Prior to the coronavirus I moved into a larger flat and started (or rather restarted) the tradition of weekend family dinner that began typically on Sunday late afternoon as my brother had a baby who slept early. Back then I was focused more on using a Dutch oven to braise something and then adding a salad or the odd canape to make a meal. Sometimes my aunt would drive in and I would have to turn it into a buffet for 8 people.

As a single person in the coronavirus era I could join one other household so I chose my parents simply because no one wanted to take the risk of being asymptomatic and potentially killing them. I have more time to make a primi, secondi and a soup or canape to go with it. I have enough time to start a two day recipe on Saturday and finish it Sunday.

I don't have a warming lamp or separate warming oven so it is tricky to plate quickly on hot plates taken out of the oven. Pasta I tend to make and serve right away as I find unless you slather it with olive oil it does not hold up well in the oven. Ditto fish or anything with egg. I once ruined a perfectly good hollandaise. It takes a bit of selection to pair the right dishes together with those limitations. I don't make desserts and I'm shite at baking.

Because of my ex lady friend I started off mimicking Persian recipes and then proceeded naturally to Arab and other Levantine cuisines. It's vastly different than what my family and I usually eat. Then I started getting interested in Italian cuisine mostly because my flat is a glass box with windows all around so it is unbearably hot in the summer.

I first started with your Bon Appetit, Serious Eats, Jaime Oliver and even Martha Stewart. Then I wanted to find the real recipes so I started watching videos and reading Google translated sites to get the ricetta tradizionali or recette traditionelle. Japanese fit in as something different. There were a lot of commonalities in how different culture cooks when you get down to the base of it. Oil or fat, seasoning, caramelizing, searing, basting, braising, etc.

During the past quarter or two I veered towards French just to increase the level of complexity. I typically start cooking after lunch around 1330 and plate and serve around 1830. I am slow at chopping and typically I do a mise en place for every recipe and if counter space permits all the recipes to be made that day.

I pick up most if not all the ingredients from the market on Saturday morning and haven't skipped a weekend throughout all the quarantine and lockdown. Since there isn't much to do after work and I don't want to watch mindless television or spend more time on a computer I put together the menu on my iPad and transfer it to my mobile for the Saturday morning run.

When my life returns again I will probably make something simple for Saturday if I have a few social events and a lunch or dinner out, or if I'm alone I would do a high complexity experiment recipe. And then Sundays would go back to family style or if there are a lot of people then buffet.

I have a work hard play hard psyche. I find it no different than when I was golfing to practise endlessly at the range, chipping, putting and video record or tack a gadget on your club to chart swing path. And then on the course try to pursue the perfect round. Cooking 2 or 3 things simultaneously challenges my brain in logistics like I get at work.
Good on ya Fwiffs. I enjoy cooking - mainly for others - but I'm just as happy to fast for a day - often and eat lunch out of a small can of tuna 3 or 4 days a week, Breakfast is usually 2 x long macchiatos - made at home.
 

fxh

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Post Xmas day I've been enjoying most days lunch of leftover ham on the bone in squishy fresh white supermarket bread with some hot mustard.
 

fxh

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^^^ If you like that and like to read and go further, I find Fuchsia Dunlop (her land of plenty and other books on Sichuan cooking) is the Bible for westerners on 'Chinese' cooking - which is really too vast to be under the umbrella of 'Chinese' cooking .

Or continuing with the video/ youtube theme, Maangchi's Korean cooking channel/uploads is equally informative.
One of my DiLs is Taiwanese. I get a few lessons easily
 

Grand Potentate

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someone make this and tell me how it is.
 

Fwiffo

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Been making a lot of roasted chicken..this one was 3 1/2 hours at 135c with a butter/lemon zest/reduced beer sauce piped underneath the skin.
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My first cheese souffle. Had extra gruyere.
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Agedashi tofu
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Nori crusted steak. I blended the nori into powder then put a piece paper in the middle of the plate. Dusted the whole plate and removed the piece of paper in the middle.
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Torrette di melanzane
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Arctic char with a mornay sauce (should have run it through a sieve one more time), potato fondant and a zucchini weave
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Vaca frita
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Pasta primavera con zucchine, taleggio e zafferano
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Tahchin morgh - after watching Tara Grammy try to make tahdig on youtube
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Brasato al barolo
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Grand Potentate

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Been making a lot of roasted chicken..this one was 3 1/2 hours at 135c with a butter/lemon zest/reduced beer sauce piped underneath the skin.
View attachment 36406

My first cheese souffle. Had extra gruyere.
View attachment 36407

Agedashi tofu
View attachment 36408

Nori crusted steak. I blended the nori into powder then put a piece paper in the middle of the plate. Dusted the whole plate and removed the piece of paper in the middle.
View attachment 36409

Torrette di melanzane
View attachment 36410

Arctic char with a mornay sauce (should have run it through a sieve one more time), potato fondant and a zucchini weave
View attachment 36411

Vaca frita
View attachment 36412

Pasta primavera con zucchine, taleggio e zafferano
View attachment 36413

Tahchin morgh - after watching Tara Grammy try to make tahdig on youtube
View attachment 36414


Brasato al barolo
View attachment 36415
These are fucking incredible. Are blogging this or putting it on social media? You should be
 

QuandoDio

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Fwiffo Fwiffo , looks nice but re your chicken, this why cooking it as such low temps gives this pale-to-me somewhat unappetising look, no matter how juicy underneath. Crispy chicken skin is important for roast chicken, to me. And why the side/vegetable parsimony? Very French I suppose as they are notoriously stingy with garnishes.

The Vaca Frita needs more crust. I had it a few times in Cuba about ten years ago and all variations were more crispy.
 

Journeyman

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Looks fantastic, Fwiffo Fwiffo .

If I ever visit Toronto (or wherever you may be living in the future), I'm definitely coming to dinner!
 

güero

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Crispy chicken skin is important for roast chicken, to me.
I used to think this as well, but this is just a different style and it’s excellent. I know it with a lemon tart filling between the meat and the skin (and poussin instead of chicken), the skin is of course not as crispy but it’s neither soggy nor gummy and perfect to eat.
 
Last edited:

QuandoDio

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I am not beholden to dogma and as I alluded , it is a preference thing. For me a roast in that sense, is that. I am sure it tasted fine.

PS What is a 'Christian Chicken?' I am not for those Frankenstein chickens we get nowadays. Chickens have got demonstrably gargantuan. Personally, I always get chicken not more than 3 pounds (preferably much less).
 

güero

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I think that was autocorrect, I edited that. The poussin (I think by law) has to be below 1 pound, but that‘s about the size. I agree with regard to the mutants they sell nowadays, where the breast alone is up to 1 kg. Disgusting.
 

Fwiffo

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These are fucking incredible. Are blogging this or putting it on social media? You should be

I post on Instagram. But I don't have a very big following. Nor do I really want to.
 

Fwiffo

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Fwiffo Fwiffo , looks nice but re your chicken, this why cooking it as such low temps gives this pale-to-me somewhat unappetising look, no matter how juicy underneath. Crispy chicken skin is important for roast chicken, to me. And why the side/vegetable parsimony? Very French I suppose as they are notoriously stingy with garnishes.

The Vaca Frita needs more crust. I had it a few times in Cuba about ten years ago and all variations were more crispy.

The story started because I showed up for lunch at my parents' place before making dinner for them. They bought supermarket rotisserie chicken. We're a dark meat people so that meant the two thighs and drumsticks went to my parents and I usually muddle along with the often dry breast. I said to my mother that they're retired so they ought to have time to prepare one from scratch. Whole chickens in the supermarket cost more than prepared ones. It takes a long time. Lots of excuses. My parents are seniors so for them it's about juicy chicken so they don't choke and cough up a lung.

I started experimenting with two recipes - rubbing olive oil, stuffing the chicken, then browning the thighs on the stove and then baking at high heat (220c or something). Basting with the juices that come off and sweated by the vegetables below every 15 minutes. Knob of butter and herbs on top in the last 15-20 minutes. 1 hour. Then rest. This wasn't the one in the photograph.

Then I did the reduced lager, butter, lemon zest, egg yolk piping into the breast. Low temperature. That's the one you see. I did add the knob of butter in the end and moved it higher up in the oven for the last 30 or so minutes. Same resting.

I wanted a different way to present vegetables so the zucchini and chive wrap was it. There was a second course to this - a potato leek soup. Hence the chives were reused for the presentation.

Vaca frita does need a crust. That day I was making 3 other things and the vaca frita was to show my brother I used the spices he gave me. He signed me up to a monthly spice subscription for Christmas. I made a mess slicing the plantain too thin. That's why it's not there. The primary cooking that day used the better cookware so the vaca frita won't get much of a crust in a non stick pan. Having never had anything from Cuba besides a cubano, I have no idea what it should taste like. This is the problem with trying to make things you don't know.
 

Fwiffo

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Looks fantastic, Fwiffo Fwiffo .

If I ever visit Toronto (or wherever you may be living in the future), I'm definitely coming to dinner!

Cheers mate.

However I would advise coming for the food and not the observation of cooking as I don't talk much when I cook. I'm not that exuberant celebrity chef on television.
 

Journeyman

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However I would advise coming for the food and not the observation of cooking as I don't talk much when I cook.

That's OK - I'm sure that there's be lots of wine on hand to make up for the lack of conversation! 😛
 

Fwiffo

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Because Rambo asked...

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Gaelic steak with a (northern Ireland) whiskey mushroom cream sauce on top of mashed potato/parsnip with carrots and microradish. HM the Queen's favourite according to Darren McGrady

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Sabzi Polo Mahi for Persian New Year or first day of spring. Beginner's luck frying the sea bass.

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Vatapa - afro Brazilian

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Torta pasqualina - I cheated and used store bought pie pastry but I did the egg yolk glaze and the lines.

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Shaved beet and radish salad with elderflower vinaigrette, mint and a piece of buffalo mozzarella. Rory O'Connell recipe.

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Chicken cordon bleu with a quick white cheese sauce on top of pureed peas and shaved carrots

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Gulai ayam - wasn't sure whether to cut up the chicken or leave it whole

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Pasta funghi e salsiccia - the leeks and layering of sage really bring it a distinct flavour

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Minestra di ceci alla Marchigiana

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Polpette al sugo on diced zucchini
 

Fwiffo

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Cheers gents.

The crazy winter like spring means I can use the oven a lot but once we hit 30c it'll have to be more salads and things that don't need hours of stovetop or oven time.

This will be a bit of a problem for my audience - aka my senior citizen parents who now have issues with anything that isn't soft, puree and generally baby food consistency.
 

Journeyman

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The crazy winter like spring means I can use the oven a lot but once we hit 30c it'll have to be more salads and things that don't need hours of stovetop or oven time.

I'm really impressed by your presentation/plating.

The stuff that I cook tends to taste nice, but I just can't be bothered with the presentation side of it, with plating it up nicely with a garnish or artful drizzle. In contrast, your stuff looks like it's out of a cookbook in terms of presentation, Fwiffs!
 

Fwiffo

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It looks all fucking great. I‘m stunned by how variegated your repertoire is.

I tend to stay with Italian, French and Persian with a bit of Japanese here and there. To be honest my brother signed me up to a monthly spice subscription so the Indonesian and Brazilian stuff came from that.

I'm really impressed by your presentation/plating.

The stuff that I cook tends to taste nice, but I just can't be bothered with the presentation side of it, with plating it up nicely with a garnish or artful drizzle. In contrast, your stuff looks like it's out of a cookbook in terms of presentation, Fwiffs!

I'm getting a bit smarter. I do the plating for one and take the photograph. Before that I was juggling trying to keep everything warm, presentable, do the plating and the photograph which was a nightmare without warming ovens or lamps.

A lot of the presentation is a copy of other things I find on the Internet. I literally will read or watch a recipe and then look on Google Images for the recipe + plating and it shows me how different people present it. Sometimes I search for creative plating just to get some inspiration. I don't have any tweezers, molds, rings, agar agar, or squirt bottles so it's all done by hand, knife or mandolin.

You eat with your eyes they say, but if it's not tasty then there is no point. That said if I am cooking for more than my parents, I would serve it all family style. If I can't even fit everyone around the table which in my flat is maximum six then I'd just do a buffet.
 

Fwiffo

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I realised I never posted the roasted chicken videos. Of course I am following recipes from Italian people for what is classically a French thing.



 

Fwiffo

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I warm the plates on the top rack. For soups and sauces I found it more effective to keep it warm on the stove. The heat stays longer.

I usually make 2 courses so there can be a lot of things competing for the oven. That and I am an amateur so it's not an assembly line when the plate leaves the oven. I saw a documentary recently where they tested plating a shaved beet/radish dish for 6 hours and then tasting it since they wanted to prep before service.
 

Fwiffo

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Bourride with my own homemade aioli
IMG_20210509_1801440~2.jpg

Mary Berry chicken and avocado salad
IMG_20210516_190222_265.jpg


Spaghetti con scampi e zest di limone candito - Max Mariola recipe.
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Polpettone di tonno - with caper/anchovy mayonnaise
IMG_20210620_1840576~2.jpg

Caprese salad - different presentation
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Kari Koko...chicken curry from the Seychelles
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Hiyayakko - Japanese chilled tofu
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Pan fried cod with bagna cauda sauce on top pureed roasted onions and saffron, blanched snap peas and my experiment with edible flowers
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Beet caprese salad...also had to use my edible flowers
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Tagliatelle al salmone affumicato - Stefano Barbato recipe
IMG_20210522_1729021~2.jpg

Insalata di arance e finocchi
IMG_20210522_1702337~2.jpg
 

Grand Potentate

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Bourride with my own homemade aioli
View attachment 40123

Mary Berry chicken and avocado salad
View attachment 40124


Spaghetti con scampi e zest di limone candito - Max Mariola recipe.
View attachment 40125

Polpettone di tonno - with caper/anchovy mayonnaise
View attachment 40126

Caprese salad - different presentation
View attachment 40127

Kari Koko...chicken curry from the Seychelles
View attachment 40128

Hiyayakko - Japanese chilled tofu
View attachment 40129

Pan fried cod with bagna cauda sauce on top pureed roasted onions and saffron, blanched snap peas and my experiment with edible flowers
View attachment 40134

Beet caprese salad...also had to use my edible flowers
View attachment 40135

Tagliatelle al salmone affumicato - Stefano Barbato recipe
View attachment 40136

Insalata di arance e finocchi
View attachment 40137
Some really amazing plating work there fwiffs
 

Pimpernel Smith

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Bourride with my own homemade aioli
View attachment 40123

Mary Berry chicken and avocado salad
View attachment 40124


Spaghetti con scampi e zest di limone candito - Max Mariola recipe.
View attachment 40125

Polpettone di tonno - with caper/anchovy mayonnaise
View attachment 40126

Caprese salad - different presentation
View attachment 40127

Kari Koko...chicken curry from the Seychelles
View attachment 40128

Hiyayakko - Japanese chilled tofu
View attachment 40129

Pan fried cod with bagna cauda sauce on top pureed roasted onions and saffron, blanched snap peas and my experiment with edible flowers
View attachment 40134

Beet caprese salad...also had to use my edible flowers
View attachment 40135

Tagliatelle al salmone affumicato - Stefano Barbato recipe
View attachment 40136

Insalata di arance e finocchi
View attachment 40137
That is indeed very impressive, where did you order them in from again?
 

Fwiffo

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That is indeed very impressive, where did you order them in from again?

Sadly takeaway from restaurants is barely presentable these days unless you get the finish cooking at home and plate yourself package.
 

Fwiffo

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Very impressed, you can always become a head chef.

I am not, as my German colleagues say, industrialised when it comes to cooking. The thought of personal capital outlay and low profit margins makes the business case unappealing.
 

Dropbear

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Any gluten free recipe suggestions? My wife’s doc has suggested she try cutting out dairy and glutens to see if that helps with some health issues she has been having. Aside from meat and veggies, I have no idea what to cook.
 

Grand Potentate

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Any gluten free recipe suggestions? My wife’s doc has suggested she try cutting out dairy and glutens to see if that helps with some health issues she has been having. Aside from meat and veggies, I have no idea what to cook.
Anything with rice. No pasta no bread obviously. Watch out for sauces and dressings and check the ingredients. Honestly the easiest way is to just go keto.
 

Dropbear

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Anything with rice. No pasta no bread obviously. Watch out for sauces and dressings and check the ingredients. Honestly the easiest way is to just go keto.
Wait, keto is no carbs right? So cutting glutens, dairy AND carbs? Personally, I think I’d just give up on life … and I’m a skinny bugger who hardly eats!
 

Grand Potentate

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Dropbear

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right.


you can do dairy on keto. cheese and heavy cream are big with the calorie stuffers.


honestly its not that bad. you fill your life with high fat foods like meat and cheese and dairy and nuts.
Oh I’m ok with cutting carbs, but dairy and glutens sounds like a much bigger sacrifice.

She’s going to try this thing for a few weeks and see if it helps with her thyroid and other issues. We’re both skeptical, but it’s worth a shot.
 

Grand Potentate

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well gluten is carbs. bread, pasta, etc. what gluten item would you be missing if you cut carbs???

She’s going to try this thing for a few weeks and see if it helps with her thyroid and other issues. We’re both skeptical, but it’s worth a shot.
yeah they like to dump that shit on people. i don't think it works personally but its all anecdotal evidence.
 
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