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Archive for the ‘Misc’ Category

55. Where I Shop

All the white powders are only one part of the ingredients needed for the recipes of this book (see here where I got them). There is also the more traditional food fare: meat, fish, fruit, vegetables and many more. Regarding these type of food I feel really lucky with the stores in close proximity to me. You have a number of wholesalers in southeast Amsterdam with great produce. Walking these wholesalers I feel like a kid in a sweet shop. Quality cheeses, poultry, game, meat, fish, shellfish, vegetables, dried products, oils, vinegars, chocolate, it’s all there. On the top of my list is the chain Hanos, reminiscent of quality indoor markets in France. It sells lobsters, hand-dived scallops, Bresse chickens, Anjou pigeons, Livar pork, Iberico pork, baby vegetables, Valrhona chocolate, the products from Texturas and Sosa and all the stuff you’re not yet aware you’re going to need. Countless times I was in need of something, often sold solely in upscale specialty stores, and ended up scooping it up at Hanos. In the end it saved me a whole lot of trouble hunting down ingredients in places all over Amsterdam.

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51. Parsnip Cereal

Parsnip Cereal
Specialty Equipment: mandolin, dehydrator
Specialty Ingredients: none
Days: 1
Dish as in The Fat Duck:

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For some reason the parsnip cereal dish, a veteran of the tasting menu, is not included in the book. I thought it would be fun to try and recreate the dish without a recipe by my side and see what I would end up with. I was sure of two things. The cereal is made of pieces of dehydrated parsnip and the liquid is infused with parsnips.

For part one of the dish, the cereal, I flipped through the book and reread the dehydrated food items of a number of recipes, to guess which technique would be suitable for the parsnips. First I figured it would be best to use the technique of the beetroot discs of the Grapefruit Lolly recipe, because the boiled sugar could form a protective layer, keeping the cereal crunchy in a liquid. The problem is that last time it didn’t really work out, so I put aside the technique and settled on a good soak in a 50:50 sugar syrup.

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48. (Possible) Discrepancies

Working through the book I, and others who made recipes and commented, encountered some small discrepancies in the recipes. I thought it would be handy to list them in a post as a reference point. My intention is not at all to gleefully point at small errors, I freaking love the book, but it to be a help if you attempt a recipe. So, here they are. If you’ve encountered an error that’s not listed here or I’ve had my head up my ass and seen something wrong let me know and I’ll add it or change it.

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33. Dominic Davies

When I first flipped through the book I was blown away by the photography of Dominic Davies (and still am by the way). Where are the plates? Photoshop must have been used intensively I figured. The photos (the website houses a small selection) remained a mystery to me until I started a photography course a while back and read tons of information on taking pictures. By accident I came across an article of the magazine DigitalSLR Photography and it solved the biggest photo mystery of the book: the radish ravioli.

The article shows how to create a striking still life with a few props: a sheet of paper, a piece of tinted glass and LED lights. That’s all. The result of the article had a close resemblance to the photos of the cookbook. A while later I got an e-mail from Alan Spedding (see his Flickr account for Fat Duck style food photos) and he mentioned his meet with Dominic and revealed how the book was shot. Guess what? A dusty garage, 4 spotlights, a piece of mirror tile and some white board. The spotlights are awesome dedo lights on a stand, but never the less, how cool is that. I can already picture someone plating (uhm, there were no plates in sight, but you know what I mean) the food in a garage and Dominic rearranging boxes full of old crap from the owner of the garage.

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30. Foie Gras & Sous Vide

Some time ago I made the Crab Biscuit recipe and had problems with the foie gras in that it almost completely disintegrated during cooking. The liver came from my freezer, so I figured the freezing process messed it up and using fresh foie would solve the problem. However, I’m making foie gras again and the same thing happened. All I did was shape the liver with clingfilm to give it an uniform look, cut it up in 100 gram portions and cooked it at 60°C as specified in the book. What could cause the foie gras to break down? A reason could be applying full pressure in the vacuum machine. The liver is compressed, crushing the cell structure. Other thoughts what could be the cause?

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I was shopping for the Roast Turbot dish and was thinking how expensive it can be to cook with a non-negotiable shopping list in your hand. Normally I look around what looks good and check if there are any good deals. With a list there really isn’t any room to go for the sole instead of the turbot or tiger prawns instead of langoustines. You could of course consider the recipes as a template, and make your own version of a recipe, but I’d like to stay as true as possible to the book as possible, so I put aside all my own ideas.

What adds to this situation is the diversity of ingredients. The Roast Turbot requires lots of herbs, expensive fish and shellfish, all kinds of vegetables, and many more. In a restaurant it really isn’t a problem with the ability to stretch ingredients across dozens of plates. I cook at most 4 to 5 plates and sometimes less, and often have excess ingredients. An example of another dish is the liqourice for the salmon, of which I only used 1/10.

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Whisk(e)y Gums
Specialty Equipment: water bath, bottle-shaped moulds, thermometer
Specialty Ingredients: powdered gelatine 200-225 Bloom, tartaric acid, glucose
Days: 1
Dish as in The Fat Duck:

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The last two weekends have all been about food, but not The Fat Duck. Last Saturday I cooked a meal for my niece plus invites and it took quite a chunk of my time. Yesterday, I went with the same niece, her boyfriend and my brother to Restaurant Ivy in Rotterdam (more on that later) and next week I will probably have to make lunch for Eastern. The result: a quick and simple dish for now. I’m itching to cook a proper dish again, but I mostly cook on the weekends, so I could not fit it in lately.

In the restaurant the gums are served as a tasting of various brands of the liquor: Glenlivet, Oban, Highland Park, Laphroiag and Jack Daniels. I usually have a decent whiskey at hand, but it magically disappeared some time ago (how could this happen?) and all I had was a bottle of The Famous Grouse. I like my whiskey once in a while, but not so much to hunt down five bottles for a few gums. The Famous Grouse had to make due.

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