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Cutting board and cross-contamination - Is it a real issue?

Could not agree more. If I may make a mere assertion (rant), not properly tested, it would be that my single end grain cutting board that I use for everything not only has not given me any illness over the 18 years Ive had it, if anything has made me healthier.

My work colleagues laugh right back at me with my derisive snorts as they decontaminate their work stations and compulsively wash their hands with anti-septic spray. And they all get sick with every bug that goes round the community and fill themselves with anti-biotics.

I'm not advocating being stupid, like preparing a salad on your board right after youve chopped raw chicken but this germ paranoia is actually counter-productive.

Flavour cross contamination is the only excuse for multiple boards and what's wrong with a wiping a board down?

Where can I buy a tin-lined copper saucepan?

I got my saucepan from Lara Copper, located in Launceston, Tasmania, of all places.

http://www.laracopper.com/

Aug 10, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Stoves

Worry not. Just check out Rachel Khoo and drool over what she does with her little two burner cooktop and tiny electric oven in her "Little Paris Kitchen"

My stove has two marks on the dial, "Min" & "Max" in between is up to me. My technique is to peer under pot and look at the size of the flame. Compared to Rachel's, it's a La Cornue Grand Chateaux.

Jun 18, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware
1

Le Creuset BUY

My golly. That's a pot. How good would it be to bring it to the table at a dinner party and say "Cassoulet anyone?". I mean that's $300 of joy right there.

Apr 02, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Must I trade my cast iron wok for carbon steel?

Hi Chem, I got it in the mid nineties in Australia. It's not enamel that is dark and roughish that's now on some modern LC pans. It's bare, with "Le Creuset" cast into the one of the D handles.

A friend worked for the distributors of LC here in Oz and I went to town on staff discounts. That's why I bought it, even then I was aware carbon steel was the traditional way to go but I figured this was a bargain (as bargain as LC ever gets) and cast iron "had to be better". It's sat in my cupboard under used because I never really got great food out of it, only okay food. I want to fix tht.

Feb 03, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Must I trade my cast iron wok for carbon steel?

This has been an interesting thread for me as I am in the same boat pretty much. Gas cooktop (but not wok burner). Taking the extra time to heat it up is not a problem at all for me. I crank it and continue my prep. It gets hot alright so no problem there. Nonetheless I am not happy with the bland flavours I'm getting with my bare cast iron Le Creuset wok.

Silly to blame the wok entirely, of course, it's mostly my technique with it. I have learned to cut down on the portion sizes going in and cook various groups of ingredients separately to be briefly re-united at the end.

Now I'm thinking I'm still over cooking and need to think more about the superior heat retention of the cast iron and how to cope with that.

I also need to be more subtle with the soy sauce. Too clumsy and ending with flavourless pile, I won't say mush or inedible, but it's not floating my boat.

I hope I can lift my game, it's a perfect healthy cooking style for a bachelor. Fun too, when you do it right.

Feb 02, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Heat Diffuser

Here is a prior discussion that may help

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/873951

Feb 01, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Survey: Preference for Materials of Kitchen Knife Handles.

Anything that can't go in a dishwasher.

Feb 01, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

More copper than I know what to do with

Keep them and use them if you can. You don't accidentally own a full set of tin lined copper pots. Nothing would give the previous owner a greater thrill than some pictures of you cooking with them, except perhaps having a meal cooked in them brought around.

A friend of mine got given a Landcruiser (big old 4WD) by his Godfather when he was too old to drive. We went camping on the beach down south near Esperance and had lots of photos. He took them round to show him and he was so thrilled and touched to see his car put doing what it was built to do.

Feb 01, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Aga ranges

Well, I want and Aga sooooooo bad. I live in Perth, Western Australia where the climate would mean that for I could run it from say May until 1 October and outside those dates the heat would be unbearable. I also live in a second floor apertment and I doubt the floor would stand the weight. So...it ain't going to happen.

Ive had to make do with the Aga enamelled cast iron, and tea towels.

Jan 22, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Looking to get panned! [moved from Manhattan board]

I reckon carbon steel pans are for you. You might not look after the seasoning as well as some seasoning purists might like but you won't hurt the pan.

For pots, I can't go past enamelled cast iron but whether they are for you is something I'm less sure of. They are very robust and easy to clean but you need to be just a bit gentle with them. Keep the heat a bit lower than you think, stay away from metal utensils, and don't be savage in the washing up and you'll be fine.

If you just want to abuse it, I think SS is best for your pots.

Jan 07, 2013
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Laguiole tableware advice needed

Hi. I think I heard or read that like "Sabatier", the name "Laguiole" is used by many different makers of varying levels of quality, from the highest to very low. Is this true? If it is can anyone direct me to where I might learn how to make my way through that maze?

In particular I'm looking for some table cutlery and I have found Laguiole "Debutante" range that falls suspiciously in my price range. It says made in France, so that's something, but...

PS It was always my ambition when I had a couple of hundred spare to get a top of the range corkscrew and Laguiole made the one I wanted. I was waiting for that moment when I could indulge in paying a ridiculous price for something I could get for $2 that did the same job . Since then stelvin screw caps have taken over here in Australia, even in the upper echelons of wine producers. Glad I never got round to buying that corkscrew. I got a $5 one that I use a few times a year.

Dec 30, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

What's your favorite cutting/chopping board?

I have a 2 1/2" thick end grain beech chopping board from Germany. It's a ripper and has served me for 15 years and is still going strong.

Here's my take on maintenance. I oil it once in a blue moon, I cut vegies and protein on it and wipe it down between swapping between the two. I spray it with a mixture of vinegar and water. There are no splits or warpings in the board and all is going well for another 15 years (knock on wood!)

My style of cooking is such that everything I chop on it ends up in the pot or the pan, so greeblies will be killed during cooking. On the rare occasions when I would serve straight from the board to the plate, then yes, I would be more attentive to the hygeine (see I can't even spell it) issues everyone seems to go on about.

I'm not going to diss science facts but I'm here and very much in sound health and my very casual regime has not harmed me or anyone else or the board yet. You can be non-paranoid and still survive.

I search the Asian supermarkets in the hope that one day in a dark corner I will find the grail board, which is a round chinese chopping block, like the one Chemicalkinetics and my parents have.

I love wooden chopping boards and won't touch anything else.

Dec 30, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Australian Cookbooks

They sure do. Mine's an 87 edition, green jacket like your Mum's. I can only think the latest edition is even better.

Australian Cookbooks

Charmaine Solomon's "The Complete Asian Cookbook" is a must, alongside Stephanie Alexander's "The Cooks Companion"

http://www.charmainesolomon.com/

New Le Creuset, out of the box with pinholes??

I believe that a product with the price and reputation of LC should be immaculate from new.There is a statement if I recall in the LC paperwork that due to the nature of production there may be irregularities but I agree a pin hole fault in the enamelling is not an irregularity, it's a fault. I'd say if you were not completely satisfied then the item must go back.

Now I say this with utmost respect and I am not trolling but I feel that the fact that you live three hours away from the store is your issue not the store's or LC's. The business was transacted in person at the store and that is where you have a right to be satisfied. I am the only person who has expressed anything like this opinion so it's probably me that is out of whack here but that's my take on it. I think "If you are unhappy, then please return the item for us to look at and then let's talk about it" is a perfectly satisfactory response.

Please note I am an Australian, and may have been exposed to consumer law that is different to yours, but who knows, there may be other Australians who totally agree with you.

Nov 16, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Le Creuset Repair - Any Experiences?

Whoops, apologies everyone.

Nov 16, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Le Creuset Repair - Any Experiences?

wrong thread.

Nov 16, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Questions about Nespresso machines and Frothers

I am sitting here having a morning Nespresso as I type. I am a recovering coffee snob, I have been a purist in the past but have simply given up. Here is my take on the Nespresso machines:

1. Where the best espresso you've ever had down cobbled laneway in Italy served by a barrista who looks like a young Gina Lollabrigida is a ten then a Nespresso shot is a reliable 6-7. You can get better coffees served from a traditional machine used by a skilled maker. nevertheless the coffee from the Nespresso machine is "good". I also make the point that frequently I taste coffee from the traditional machines that is worse than Nespresso. I have never, ever, had a coffee from a domestic traditional espresso machine at somebody's house that is better than Nespresso. Admittedly my friends aren't full on purists but they like their coffee

2. People look at pods as expensive but I know from personal experience that it is a very cheap option for espresso type coffee compared to any machine other than the basic Italian stove top (which are great, btw). I used to buy coffees, two a day and pay $3 each for them. I have a Pixie at home. Since taking a pod machine to work, Ive saved a bundle of money. A noticable bundle.

3 There is no machine to match it for simplicity of use. Purists don't care, bless them, and in fact it might even be a negative for a purist, but there it is. They are the ultimate machine for ease of use. Ditto the aerochino

4. Mess. What mess? A pod sits in the basket in the machine and gets put in the bin when the basket is full. No other coffee system apart from instant is less messy.

To answer your question, there are two types of pod the standard size produces a 40ml shot (sorry I'm from Australia and can only think in metric) the Lungo pod produces 110ml. When making a coffee do not over extract. If you want to add hot water then do so from the kettle but it is better to get used to smaller coffee. I find the lungo to give me a good mug in the morning.

Summary not the best coffee in taste but better than most and plenty good enough for me. Factoring in cost and convenience, they win hands down. I'm a happy camper.

Nov 14, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

what cookware are you looking forward to inheriting?

I've booked with them (both still with us 96 & 83, both excellent cooks) the Michael Lax designed Nacco CI casserole and the round tamarind chopping board. They got both items in '66/7 when we lived in Penang. They get kick out of my interest in their cookware and think my obsession with cookware is funny coz they could both out cook me with one hand tied behind their back.

It's strange about posessions, I have to say they've always meant a lot to me. I have an emotional attachment to all sorts of things, not just a fancy knife or pot but to an old shirt or tee shirt, or somesuch. I get annoyed when I misplace my pen at work and have to get a new one from the cupboard. Silly, I know but there you go.

Nov 09, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Peppermill

Thanks, yes you understood me correctly. I was concerned about users comments about the Atlas making only a fine grind and being able to adjest to a course enough grind..

Oct 19, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Heat Diffusers?

I second that recommendation for SimmerMat.

Oct 19, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Peppermill

Hi K,

What's your experience with respect to the the alleged lack of variability in the coarseness of the grind? I don't use a fine powder grind in cooking (maybe I should start) but like grittiness.

cheers JH from W Australia

Oct 16, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

pots and pans that will last a life time

Those Copco/Nacco CI casseroles are great looking too, the Michael Lax designed ones are, anyway.

My folks have a dark blue Nacco which hey bought in the late sixties still in excellent condition. Aga bought the designs for their cookware range, they make LC look quite cheap!

Oct 03, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Why Cast Iron? Another reason .....

I love CI for its relative permanence. I'm no wonder cook and there are many many cooks making dishes I'd be delighted to eat and experience with non-stick light weight cookware. I daresay they are using it and replacing as necessary. For me though it takes the joy out of or greatly diminishes cooking and preparing food.

Ditto, cutting boards and knives, mixing bowls, tea-towels, grinders, the whole lot.

I just get a big kick out of collecting and learning to use my cookware and I hate to throw it out or wear it out.

Sep 11, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Is that Mould on Jamie Oliver's Wooden Cutting Boards?

What a lovely old board! Nothing unhygienic going on there. It looks like it might be made from recycled wood.

My folks have a tamarind (?) chopping block that they got when living in Penang in the mid 1960s. It's coming up for 50 years old and Dad is still chopping on it.

I have an end grain beach board that has been a bit stained by this and that, it's only 15 years old but it's a keeper.

Hygienic versus Unhygienic, it's a one sided argument but the (stupid generalisation coming alert) paranoia about bacteria etc I read here from US citizens kinda makes me feel really guilty and bemused at the same time. First 12 years of my board's life it was rinsed under the sink and dried off, end of story. By reading Chowhound Ive been shamed into spraying it with diluted vinegar after chopping protein and rinsing, but it's a waste of time really. Never had food poisoning from my kitchen.

Jul 31, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

buying a wok

I know what you mean, I have an LC bare cast iron wok, not like the one in the photo, and while it is morally dubious it suits me. Perhaps because it's morally dubious it suits me.

And on your PS, reading this site down in Australia when people talk of quarts etc for LC and other dutch ovens really confuses me. All the pots we have down here have the circumference on them and no mention of volume. I'm old enough to be able to immediately convert inches to cm but volume eludes me, especially when I have no idea of the volume in any unit.

Jul 12, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

What is more useful for you? Saute pan or Frying pan?

I have to vote for frying pan, I don't have a saute (straight sided) pan.

When I cook something like a curry or a sauce based dish, I cook in in too large a quantity for the saute pan to work for me. I use a dutch oven, and freeze portions.

When I use a pan it's to brown or grill something. Now it might be that I brown up some Italian sausage of some sort in one of my skillets and then I might add to the pan a portion of some pasta sauce Ive made up in the dutch oven previously, at that point a saute pan might do the job better but I'm only reheating. When Im doing most of the work with the pan I'm preferring the sloped sides. Hope I'm making sense.

Jul 04, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Le Crust cast iron crepe pan

I have an LC cast iron wok and it is not enameled but bare cast iron (it's evert ten years old). I know this is not the traditional material for woks but I find it works very well for me if I give my stove top the chance to heat it up. The ability of CI to hold heat is an advantage if you don't have powerful burners to bring it back up to very hot when you put food in it.

Ive googled LC crepe pans and woks and they don't look enameled to me, do they have that rough dark enamel? That is indeed an odd thing.

Apr 30, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware

Advantages, Disadvantages and Uses of a cast Iron skillet

No, I'm sorry I'm still not getting it. I just don't see what is wrong with "heavy". My CI pan isn't big or that heavy really. I like the way the weight sits it firmly on the stove top.

The way the handle gets hot is a disadvantage, I concede that. It's a very small disadvantage sorted by using a cloth.

Apr 27, 2012
jhamiltonwa in Cookware