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Fusion waffles: taiyaki 'Belgian' waffles?

OK, apologies to both Belgian and taiyaki masters here for the sacrilegious question: could one make a taiyaki (i.e. fish shaped) waffle with the texture of a Belgian waffle? I.e. crisp on the outside, custardy on the inside? I find taiyaki waffles tend to be quite pale and bready.

I assume the starting point would be a Belgian waffle recipe made in a cast iron, not aluminium, taiyaki pan, to get a crisper outside, but I'm not sure whether changing the ratio of crust to inside (fish=more inside, less crust, traditional Belgian waffle = lots of crust, less inside) would make it impossible to make a fish-shaped belgian waffle with the right texture?

So, before I go spend $ on a cast iron taiyaki pan... your thoughts???

Mar 06, 2013
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

The best food producer blogs?

I'm really interested in reading the blogs of other small artisanal food producers, but have been struggling to find more than a handful of interesting ones. Currently I follow Capogiro's Blog, and People's Pops, but would love to find more where other producers deal honestly with the issues of running small food businesses. Does anyone have any to recommend? Thanks!

Feb 19, 2012
Gooseberry in Food Media & News

Cape Town area eats -- Die Strandloper?

I had lunch there maybe six months ago? Nothing to report, it was a good meal. I more typically go to Live Bait, the floor below. Slightly more casual, still has the fabulous views.

Sep 17, 2011
Gooseberry in Middle East & Africa

Chewy choc chip cookies all turning out cakey!

The CI technique in that link is very interesting.

What's interesting me more is that the photos in all the links people have given in this thread are of really pale cookies. I wonder if this is a US-specific thing, because to me (and I don't want to offend all the helpful hounds who are contributing to this discussion!), all these cookies look pretty anaemic and unappetizing, sort of like I imagine a tollhouse cookie looking (confession: I've never eaten a tollhouse cookie, I'm basing this on references in movies and books). My ideal chocolate chip cookie would be dark golden in the middle and brown at the edges, and correspondingly caramelized in flavour, which is why perhaps I enjoyed the Jacques Torres cookie so much.

Or are all the photos I'm seeing stock images, and I'm way off base with this observation?

Sep 09, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

FINALLY... a real, honest-to-Hashem method for making real lower east side SALT FERMENTED KOSHER DILL PICKLES, as directed by Moe, a 90+ year old former pickle master

Thank you. Until I read this post, I had no idea that I needed to make salt fermented dill pickles. And I'm not even sure I've eaten one before. I've done a little half batch, sitting on my counter right now.

Sep 06, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Chewy choc chip cookies all turning out cakey!

Hi Rccola, does the allrecipes.com recipe make cookies like the picture next to them (I know they sometimes use stock photos)? Because those look a bit anaemic; I really want something more caramelized, like the Jacques Torres cookies I dream about!

Sep 05, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Chewy choc chip cookies all turning out cakey!

Hi Kelli

I mentioned the mixer (or rather, my NOT using a mixer) only because previous posters said it could be a factor.

I also said I will test them one change at a time, because as you point out, I won't know what's working if I try them out concurrently. My feeling is with some of the commenters above: 100% bread flour results in tough baked goods. Which is why I think I will try 50% AP, 50% bread flour.

You seem to have a specific consistency in mind; do you find you can predict the outcome of the cookie by the batter consistency? If so, please describe what you think the ideal consistency of the dough should be. Thanks!

Sep 05, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Chewy choc chip cookies all turning out cakey!

This is one of the few benefits to being in a significantly different time zone - I post a question before going to bed, and when I wake up, I have thirteen insightful replies waiting for me!

Two comments on my current techniques:
1. I am mixing the cookies by hand, not in a mixer (as several posters pointed out, it's easier to monitor the dough's progress, and less likely to beat in too much air or overwork the dough).
2. I always weight my ingredients like flour, because it is easier to replicate results that way.

Based on these great suggestions, I am going to do comparative tests, testing one change at a time. I will then combine the most successful elements together. I will obviously report back here! Going to try:

1. Replace half the flour with white bread flour
2. Replace the eggs with egg yolks
3.Use 100% brown sugar
4. Reduce flour slightly
5. Increase butter slightly

My limited experience with cakey (on purpose) cookies is they are more common in low fat cookie recipes. So increasing the fat ratio I'm hoping will help me move away from the cakey texture. But obviously, too much butter will result in a greasy cookie, so I need to find a balance.

Thanks guys!

Sep 05, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

FINALLY... a real, honest-to-Hashem method for making real lower east side SALT FERMENTED KOSHER DILL PICKLES, as directed by Moe, a 90+ year old former pickle master

Amen to that last line. Choked on my tea - but would much rather be choking on a pickle right now.

Sep 04, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

TAIWANESE SOUR PLUM ICE CREAM ... why isn't this more popular? More importantly, where has this been all my life?

Lol, it passes the classic ice cream potty mouth test - if it's good enough to get you swearing, you know it's a keeper.

For those of us without access to exotic things like haw chips and sour plums, we will have to enjoy vicariously through you. Although I have access to a plum orchard, and the first plums are often quite sour...

Sep 04, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

What are you baking these days? September 2011, part 1 [old]

How did the cookies come out? I'm in the market for a new PB cookies recipe, esp something that would make a good ice cream sandwich...

Sep 04, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Chewy choc chip cookies all turning out cakey!

I need some advice from fellow chowbakers, please.

The whole chewy cookies crusade started off with my desire to replicate Jacques Torres' chocolate chip cookies, which I tasted on a recent trip to New York, and was definitely the best of many cookies consumed on that trip. Fortuitously, the recipe is in the public domain, here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/091crex.html

To my disappointment, they turned out nothing like the cookies of memory: rather than having crisp, caramelized edges, chewy middle region and a meltingly tender centre, they were puffy and definitely cakey. I made the recipe three times: identical results.

So, I moved on. A week later I tried Pam Andersen's version of crispy-edges-chewy-centre choc chip cookie, recipe here:

http://www.travelerslunchbox.com/jour...

Exactly the same problem. They looked nothing like the glorious photos, but were puffy and cakey. Yuck. I made these babies three times, same story.

Today I made Alice Medrich's choc chip cookies from her new book, Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies. To paraphrase the recipe, since it doesn't seem to be available online:

MY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
p132.

10.125oz unbleached AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and still warm
5.25oz white sugar
5.25oz light or dark brown sugar
tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
12 oz chocolate chips or chunks
3.5oz chopped walnuts/pecans

She combines the soda and flour in a bowl, and in another bowl combines butter, sugars, salt, vanilla, then stirs in the eggs, then dry ingredients just until combined. Follwed by chocolate and nuts (I skipped the nuts). The dough must stand for 2-12 hours, and be softened again at room temp before use.

Scoop onto cookie sheets (ungreased and unlined), bake at 375F for 9-11 minutes, rotating trays halfway through. Sit for 2 min before removing to cooling racks.
Bake at 375 for 9-11 min (according to book intro, she bakes everything in a conventional oven without convection, so I left my convection setting off).

These were much better than the others, but STILL significantly cakey.

***

So clearly, I am either doing something wrong, or my ingredients in South Africa are not translating well from the US ingredients used to develop the recipes, which is a possibility but unlikely (surely I would have noticed this before in my long experience of baking US recipes here?).

Does anyone have any suggestions here? I've played around with oven settings, leaving the scoops of dough heaped vs squishing them a bit vs totally flattening them just before baking, and I'm just not sure what I'm missing here.

Sep 04, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Cape Town area eats -- Die Strandloper?

Hi Erly

We don't really use the term crawfish here. We have crayfish, which is like a small lobster, and then there are langoustines, which are like giant prawns in the shell.

You might have eaten at the Brass Bell, which is a traditional place people go to for seafood in the area. Haven't been in years, but they are the ones most likely to offer a seafood platter, etc.

Sep 03, 2011
Gooseberry in Middle East & Africa

If you only eat out once in Cape Town... 95 on Keerom

Hi MdeSilva, within that group, I totally agree, 95 on Keerom would be the best!

We generally avoid the waterfront, with the exception of Willoughby's, which serves sushi, western seafood and asian seafood (and doesn't take reservations). Sevruga and Beluga: the former serves a mainly tourist crowd, based on my experiences the two times I've been, and Beluga is known for its green pepper steak, sushi specials (not its quality sushi, please note!) and sometimes rude staff. Wakame I have never been to, and heard mixed reviews.

I am sorry you had such a mediocre experience in Cape Town; I would list places I recommend, but have listed them elsewhere on this board. There's a lot of hidden joys, like Manna, which offer more casual but inventive and fresh cuisine - if you know where to look.

Sep 03, 2011
Gooseberry in Middle East & Africa

home made chocolate bars with filled centres

Thanks for all the replies. Ipsedixit, I think you're thinking of candy bars, not slabs of chocolate.

I was thinking that perhaps rather than trying to fill the individual squares of a chocolate bar with a piping bag or other method, what if I could find a polycarbonate mold that is pretty flat, with the squares/lines just etched on the surface (i.e. scored to help you break pieces off, but not actually ridged squares/lines)? Then I could coat it in a layer of chocolate, chill to set, cover the set layer with a layer of semi-liquid filling (caramel, etc), chill to set, and then top with another layer of chocolate? I could actually practice this with a silicone sheet mold, since it's really just a layered chocolate slab with filling in the middle. Hmmm. Chocolate for thought!

Aug 01, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

home made chocolate bars with filled centres

I want to make my own chocolate bars (flat 3.5oz slabs) at home, using a couple of polycarbonate bar molds. But I want to give them soft filled centres.

From research online I see that commercial chocolatiers use automated machines to inject filling into each square, but I haven't found any suggested techniques for doing this by hand at home.

I guess I could either, for a soft filling, brush the mold 1/3 full with chocolate, let it partially set then use a piping bag to pipe small amounts of caramel and other soft fillings into each square, let it set then cover with more melted chocolate.

Or for harder fillings (nougat, etc) try to chop them into tiny squares and repeat as above, putting in the squares instead of piping the filling in.

But not sure whether there's a better way to get a standardized amount of filling into each square in the slab of chocolate? Any suggestions?

Already know how to temper, etc. just not sure about the filling/soft centred part.

Thanks!

Jul 31, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Good online food shops in germany?

Hi Behemoth, thanks for jumping in. I don't speak German, but I can understand most of it written, thanks to Afrikaans. I'll give those websites a try.

Jul 31, 2011
Gooseberry in Europe

Cape Town area eats -- Die Strandloper?

seriously out of date here, I know, but I'd like to point out to visitors that Die Strandloper is in Langebaan, up the west coast, and just over an hour's drive out of Cape Town. So not something you'd pop down to with a taxi.

Other fish options are the Post Office Tree in Kalkbay, and Live Bait (they usually have three local fish options), also in Kalkbay.

Jul 22, 2011
Gooseberry in Middle East & Africa

South Africa: Cape Winelands update

Considering how much other international boards on Chowhound have helped me in my travels, I always feel a bit guilty that the South African comments here are usually quite out of date, and a lot of queries never are answered in time. So in the interests of assisting fellow travelling hounds, who I know usually visit the winelands, a couple of relatively new updates:

Breakfast/brunch at La Motte Estate, just outside Franschhoek:
Really beautifully positioned spot, with great attention to detail. Eat outside under the oak trees in fine weather. Small but ever changing breakfast menu; the warthog smoor (a local version of a tomato sauce) and the omelettes are particularly outstanding. There's a little stream and a giant chess set for kids to play with. Make sure you peek in their cellar (you can walk around the barrels, as well as taste), and there's also their pierneef art museum and the gift shop. Lovely way to spend a morning.

LUNCH AT BABYLONSTOREN, outside Franschhoek:
OK, I haven't actually gone here, but I really want to. Check out their website, amazing attention to detail, farm to fork approach. Menu might seem a bit precious for those who are over the whole vegetable-sustainable trend. Veg gardeners should definitely check out their vegetable garden.

EIGHT, Spier Estate, outside Stellenbosch:
Another farm-to-fork dining experience. The chicken, eggs, and most of the veg come from their small biodynamic farm on the estate. Lovely setting, in a garden and a beautifully renovated barn. Fresh juices are superb, and the menu is pleasingly South African influenced but approachable.

Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek:
This one's been around for ages, a restaurant in a subterranean cellar. However I have eaten supper there twice recently, and someone in the kitchen is doing something right - traditional South African nouvelle cuisine is usually not my thing (even if it's de facto fine dining fare in this country), but there is a lightness of touch here. Very good food.

DIE OUDE BANK BAKKERIJ, Stellenbosch
Artisanal bakery in the middle of town. Wonderful breads, bakery lunches and breakfasts.

THE GRILL ROOM, Franschhoek
Straight forward steak house with a handful of fish, salad and other bistro dishes. Reasonable prices by Franschhoek standards, popular with the locals, great steak. Perhaps a good choice if you're out-wined and tasting menu'd after a couple days in the Winelands!

Previously reviewed on Chowhound, I still love Bread and Wine at Moreson, and Fyndraai at Solms Delta, both on the road into Franschhoek.

Jul 22, 2011
Gooseberry in Middle East & Africa

If you only eat out once in Cape Town... 95 on Keerom

Hi MdeSilva
I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience in Cape Town. But I'm curious - what other restaurants did you eat in, since you mention them in contrast to 95 Keerom?

Jul 22, 2011
Gooseberry in Middle East & Africa

Good online food shops in germany?

A friend has just moved to Germany, and it's her birthday soon. Normally when she's in the States, I get an American-based online food shop to send her something delicious, like chocolates or wonderful dried fruit, or kilos of trailmix, on her special day.

But I know nothing about online food shops in Germany. Any suggestions would be appreciated, both specific websites/shops, and food items which are delicious. Thanks!

Jul 22, 2011
Gooseberry in Europe

Unusual or Funky Ice Cream Flavours

reporting back, a couple years late, on the jasmine ice cream. Jasmine Polyanthum is the correct one to use (other types may be poisonous) and you are supposed to remove all the green stem, and use just the flowers/buds. Flavour is best if you infuse the flowers in some of the cream overnight in the fridge, then mix that into your other ingredients rather than infusing on the stove. Lovely, floral flavour, subtle but aromatic. I think it probably is best as a sorbet, given its delicacy, but the ice cream was pretty good too!

May 29, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Unusual or Funky Ice Cream Flavours

they had cheddar cheese ice cream two weeks ago; ashamed to admit I didn't try it. Their basil was epic, though! And suprisingly green.

May 29, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Unusual or Funky Ice Cream Flavours

Oh, I tried the lobster ice cream. To be honest, it just was like chunks of something bland in a sweet ice cream base. Not sure if that's because it was old ice cream?

May 29, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Unusual or Funky Ice Cream Flavours

Oooh, can you share how much fennel pollen you put in? I'm guessing this is just before churning? I do honey and rosemary (rosemary infused into the milk) and I'd love to try fennel pollen in the spring!

May 29, 2011
Gooseberry in Home Cooking

Info on Spanish Type of Broccoli: Broquil LLucat

I've been told this is a very special type of heritage broccoli, grown in Spain. I am unable to find any information online explaining what makes it special (flavour? shape?Specific dishes?) in English, and I don't speak Spanish. Any assistance appreciated!

May 29, 2011
Gooseberry in Spain/Portugal

REVIEW OF SICILY ROADTRIP MEALS -LONG

Just back from a seven day driving tour of Sicily. We broke a couple chowhounding rules due to running out of time. For example, ate no street food in Palermo, and only had one meal in Trapani, which I know are both key things recommended on this board. Oh, well – next trip!

We were supposed to be on holiday in Japan and with the very last minute change in destination, were woefully underprepared. We just sort of arrived, got in the rental car and started calling accommodation from stuff I’d printed out from Trip Advisor. So food also was very last minute, but the best thing I did was buy Osterie D’Italia, Slow Food’s guide to traditional eating in Italy by province, and scoured the Sicily section while driving along for nearby stops. It even has a map with little snails marking the relevant towns. Every meal we had out of the guide was wonderful, some verging on superb. I really recommend picking up a copy even if you do not speak Italian – this isn’t rocket science, all you need to be able to make out is the days any given place open, and stick the address in your GPS (seriously, if you are driving in Italy, get a GPS, it is SO less stressful than mapreading).

We ate at:

I Rizzari
Brucoli (on the East Coast, between Taormina and Siracusa)
One of my favourite meals of the trip.
No frills seafood eatery right on the water, with both indoor and outdoor seating. The spaghetti ai ricci (raw sea urchins – never tried this before!) was superb, and the fennel and blood orange salad with which we finished the meal was a brilliant ending. Also recommend the whole grilled fish. If you’re driving from Taormina to Siracusa, stop here for lunch. Seriously.

La Rustica
Via Gagliano Castelferrato, Enna
There’s a major highway crossing the island; this is a good halfway point for lunch, even if you’re not planning to tour Enna.
Another no-frills, cosy place, full of locals having Saturday lunch. Ditalini con favette e piselli was actually a brothy soup with pasta, fava beans and peas. Wonderful meaty flavour, I’ve not seen fresh fava beans braised in their skins (I’ve always peeled them), but these were both meaty and tender. We wanted to also get the lasagne, but unfortunately they were out, so we got a tagliatelle with prosciutoo and mushrooms in a tomato sauce which was also wonderful.

CIBUS
Via Emerico Amari, 64
Palermo
We were a bit fooded out by the end of the trip, and this place was a perfect respite. It’s a food emporium/deli/gelateria/wine shop/restaurant. For lunch, we picked various things from the deli counter, which they heated up for us and we ate at the deli tables. We came back for a supper, when they put tables and chairs in the wine section, and had lati di Palermo con gamberi rossi e bottarga (a shoelace-shaped local pasta with prawns and preserved tuna roe), and a pizza from their pizza oven with radicchio, mushrooms, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and arugula. Between lunch and supper we tried their hazelnut, pistachio and dark chocolate gelati, which were all very good. Good location for food stuffs to take home.

La Gazza Ladra
Via Cavour, 8

I recommend booking for this place, otherwise there’s a half-hour wait. Very cosy and casual little hole in the wall with a small daily menu. Definitely get the antipasto platter, either small or large, which when we were there consisted of grilled eggplant and zucchini, a wedge of frittata, caponata, marinated raw pumpkin (very interesting texture!), olives and broccoli vinaigrette. It’s also lovely seeing the owner methodically selecting titbits out of various mismatched dishes on the counter for the antipasti; clearly a labour of love. We had spaghetti with a mixed herb and pistachio pesto to share, followed by biancomangiare (blancmange) di mandorle for dessert. They also offered carob jelly, which sounded interesting!

Anzalone
Piazza Crispi, 3
San Cataldo

A bit in the middle of nowhere, this town, but well placed for us as we meandered from Piazza Armerina (mosaics) through to Agrigento (Valley of the Temples). This was the only modern style restaurant we ate at the whole trip. But despite the vaguely anonymous, modern décor, the waiter recited the menu to us (it sort of felt like, “This is what we can rustle up in the kitchen for you today!”) and a couple of motherly looking women were bustling around in the kitchen. We had the antipasto platter again (ricotta, caponata, grilled eggplant, deepfried cauliflower, olives, pecorino, pickled mushrooms) and some of the freshest buffalo mozzarella I’ve had in ages. We had a broccoli pasta, which was massive, and a baked whole fish with mixed salad. Interestingly, they did not take the meat off the fish for you as most Italian places seem to. The chocolate and hazelnut mousse torte we had for dessert is one of the best I’ve had, and probably the most deceptively simple, sophisticated dessert I’ve had in Italy. Good coffee.

Cantina Siciliana
Via Giudecca, 32
Trapani

Trapani was dead on Easter Monday, but this place was pumping. Very cosy, a bit old fashioned. We had a really special cuscus con brood di pesce (the traditional Trapanese dish of couscous with fish broth), which came with chunks of different types of fish on the couscous. My husband’s favourite dish of the trip. Pasta palermitana (sardines, fennel, pine nuts, sultanas) was quite muddy and fishier than I was expecting, but I think that was the result of my incorrect expectations (Chez Panisse typically having a lighter hand with the classics than the classicists do!).

Two worthy meals not in the Slow Food guide were had as part of our accommodations.

Pensione Tranchina, Scopello
This is a charming, tiny town right by the Zingharo Nature Reserve, and this a charming guesthouse. Supper, for EUR20, consisted of an antipasto starter, casarecce (a local type of pasta) with swordfish in a tomato sauce, and then baked red prawns with garlic and a green salad. Dessert was strawberries, marinated in lemon juice and sugar.

Breakfast here, included in the price of the room, was one of my favourites: fresh fruit, raw fava beans to be dipped in local olive oil and sea salt, warm home made bread, pecorino and caciocavallo cheeses, freshly squeezed blood orange juice, home made jam (peach and apple on day one, apricot on day two) and home made pastries (orange crostata on day one, pear, grappa and honey muffins on day two), and of course, coffee.

Ciuci’s Land
Just outside Agrigento
A lovely agriturismo with wonderful hosts, who for EUR20 made us a home cooked meal in the evening. It was: a range of antipasti (carrot and pea frittata, spinach sformato, sheep’s cheese ricotta, ham croquettes, farm olives, caponata, cheese foccacia), casarecce with pistachio pesto and tomatoes, grilled sausage and lamb cutlets, cos salad (this, strangely enough, was amazing!). Dessert was chocolate dipped gelato from a local pastry shop, and liqueurs. Seriously lovely meal.

Breakfast here consisted of sweetened ricotta with cocoa, fruit, cheese and ham, cornetti, pistachio panettone and preserves, freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee. Mmm.

-----
Cantina Siciliana
Via Giudecca,32, Trapani, Sicily , IT

La Rustica di Messina Carmela
via Gagliano Castel Ferrato 1, Enna, Sicilia 94100, IT

La Gazza Ladra
Via Cavour,8, Siracusa, Sicilia 96100, IT

I Rizzari
Brucoli,Via Liberta,63, Augusta Siracusa, Sicilia 96011, IT

Anzalone
Piazza Crispi, 5, San Cataldo di Caltanissetta, Sicily 93017, IT

May 06, 2011
Gooseberry in Italy

International Restaurant Page inactivity - Please Lord

I want to put up a trip report on the Italy board, all restaurants in Sicily- should I rather put a different review up for each restaurant than one trip report? There's like 12 of them... Don't want to mess with board etiquette here!

May 06, 2011
Gooseberry in Site Talk

Food Recs for Central Sicily?

In four days!!! Getting v excited. Thanks!

Apr 15, 2011
Gooseberry in Italy

Seriously good artisan ice cream in Barcelona

hi there Barcelona Hounds
And can't miss ice cream shops in Barcelona? Not looking for weird flavors (foie gras,etc) just seriously good handmade seasonal stuff. Don't feel desperate for gelato since I'm going to Sicily in four days...
Thanks!

Apr 15, 2011
Gooseberry in Spain/Portugal