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Jul 22, 2014
ultimatepotato in Food Media & News
2

I Wish I'd Kept…

When I was 14 our family moved house (in NZ), and we did a huge clear out of things that had been hidden away in the extensive storage we had.

Out went a fondue pot, a set of saucepans and a set of casserole dishes. All still in the boxes, all barely used since my parents received them as wedding presents in 1977 (and in the stunning 70's style of bright orange and random floral and geometric patterns).

It all went to charity shops. I was about 21 when I realised that I wanted it all back. However, even if I had known that I wanted to keep them at aged 14, we wouldn't have had the room to keep them around until I moved out.

I could rectify the situation by hunting things down on ebay, in charity shops and at vintage markets, but it wouldn't really be the same. And it's crazy expensive in London now to go to "thrift" shops.

Jul 21, 2014
ultimatepotato in Cookware

OK..SO I HAVE A BAGEL...WHAT DO YOU PUT ON YOURS?

I usually have cream cheese with either prosciutto, bresaola, salami (favourite at the moment is brianza) or coppa, with some rocket or little gem lettuce.

Jul 15, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics

What's your favorite way to cook?

I like to be alone in the kitchen with music playing and a big glass of wine. I like to start with clean surfaces (years of house sharing drove me up the wall) and clean as I go, also re-using things where I can (rinsed or washed inbetween uses) so I don't have 12 spoons and 7 small bowls and a glass jug to clean before I even get to the plates and main cooking dishes. After living on my own for 18 months, I've recently moved into a flat with a friend. She has quite the timing of wanting to get a glass of water just as I need to drain pasta, or wanting to get something from the cupboard I'm standing in front of while chopping things up. But I've known her for 12 years, and she's always done this, so it's quite easy to throw out a five minute check i.e. I'm going to need the sink in 5, so if you're thinking of water grab it now!

Much, much more manageable than some of my old flats, where people would decide that they needed to cook "right now" and just start crowding you. One old flat mate had a nasty habit of saying that my cooking was making him too hungry to wait, then he'd complain about the "meat juices" contaminating whatever he was trying to cook at the same time as me. I moved out before I snapped and took to him with a wooden spoon.

Jul 14, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food
2

Overcooked Chicken Breasts - Help

Simmering doesn't do much for already cooked boneless/skinless breasts, as they lack the fats and connective tissue that softens in other meats. Once it's dry, it's dry.

However I'd still chop it and have it in chicken salad sandwiches, because I don't mind a good dollop of mayonaise. Add it to a soup with rice and sweetcorn, or as a pie filling, or like you said a sloppy joe. Cut it fine and surround it with plenty of liquid and other (nicer) textures.

Jul 10, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking
3

bacon, avocados and cheese---oh my

Does it need to be hot? Is it part of a buffet spread? I'd think along the lines of small club sandwiches or mini bagels. Even pinwheels, although I know how much flak they can get on here thanks to gummy and/or dried out wraps. You can bake trays of bacon, use a soft cheese and either slice the avocado or mash with some citrus to stop the browning.

Also, just googled savoury avocado muffins, and this could be a good fit - http://www.food.com/recipe/avocado-an...

Jul 02, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking
1

Mastechef: The Professionals. Marcus takes over.

Oh yes. Chefs are the new rock stars, or something like that.

Jamie Oliver was my teenage dream, then I moved on to the moody bastards.

Jun 18, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

Mastechef: The Professionals. Marcus takes over.

I'll miss Michel Roux - he was kind, even when critical, and his working relationship with Monica appeared to be warm and genuine.

I don't think Wareing is right for the show in the format used previously, but who knows how it will be edited? He has been used before to make the contestants wobbly with the fear of disappointing him, and they've commented in post interviews that he literally just appeared for the judging, said a few words about their efforts and then vanished - perhaps he'll now be protrayed as more of a mentor.

Also, I have an irrational crush on grumpy, arsehole-ish celeb chefs. I only got over my shameful fancying of Ramsay when he started to do more and more of his formulaic American shows (nothing against Americans, it was the production company that stuck so doggedly to an awful 'concept' and Ramsay who signed a contract). So yes, I find Wareing attractive. Even though I know I shouldn't.

Jun 17, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

Why is making a good diet so hard?

I'm sorry - I was compiling my list based on a combination of panic items that hit the headlines.

And mildly extracting the urine.

Not meaning to propagate misinformation.

Jun 03, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics

Why is making a good diet so hard?

rice - be careful with that arsenic
broccoli - GAS! GAS! GAS!
kidney beans - lectin poisoning. Make sure they are cooked for at least 2 hours at 1000 degrees or you will immediately develop a sense of humour
spinach - don't eat it raw - you're destroying your thyroid
cauliflower - you'll stop absorbing iodine!
egg whites - SALMONELLA, OMG.
salmon - Parasitic worms!
mackerel - Mercury! You might go the way of Jeremy Piven, and forget all your lines!
chicken - pumped full of growth-boosting hormones
beef - ye gads, is CJD still around? What about foot and mouth?
turkey - dear oh dear, that turkey has the stuff that makes you sleepy

There is no perfect diet that all people can follow for optimal health. Excpet maybe a combination of breast milk and Guiness. Work out what's right for you, what fits in with your lifestyle (that's physical activity and moral and ethical considerations) and try to stick with it.

Jun 03, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics
10

Easy apps that could be a meal?

Does the vegetarian eat cheese? Is anyone off the wheat?
Bruschetta - mozzarella, basil, olive oil, garlic, grilled eggplant, tapenade, mushroom 'pate', marinated artichokes - so pretty much your panini idea.

Mini filo tarts with spinach and ricotta filling. Mini quiches - make them in muffin tins.

Savoury scones.

Small skewers of chicken (fried tofu for the vege, or for everyone instead of chicken if you're going all vegetarian), either grilled in honey and seasame glaze or accompanied by a thick satay dipping sauce.

Summer rolls - rice paper wrappers around vermicelli, herbs and julienned vegetables.

Vegetarian sushi rolls.

Mini samosas and pakora.

Stuffed vine leaves.

Hmmm, I think I like finger food too much.

Jun 03, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking
3

Food porn as man bait

How does the old joke go? "Turn up naked. Bring beer."

I consider myself a fairly decent cook. The men in my life seem to agree. But I don't think I've ever lured one with food before dating them, and it certainly hasn't kept them in the relationship, although I do get calls from time to time asking for the recipe of something I'd made them in the past.

Maybe I should refocus my energy on making a decent pizza and the rest will take care of itself.

Jun 02, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

So, comfort food...

A bottle of prosecco and a delivery from a thai restaurant.

May 20, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics
1

how long did it take you to get used to your new kitchen?

The last time I had to learn in a brand new kitchen was in a house my parents bought off a plan when I was 16. Used to a plain old electric cooker with four coil elements, we got a gas twin wall oven with all the whistles and a 6 burner hob. I overcooked everything for about a week.

In terms of not new, but new to me - I moved into my current flat 18 months ago and was without a working oven for 11 months, just a four burner gas hob, a toaster and a kettle. The things I can do with pastas, soups and stirfrys. it took me quite a while to get used to having a working oven again, but it was certainly better to have more equipment to use and forgetting I could use it than the time the gas was swtiched off for 10 days. Then it was a single electrical hotplate, a toaster and a kettle. Oh, the things I can do with sandwiches.

May 15, 2014
ultimatepotato in Cookware

Grocery delivery/pick up services

As far as I know Ocado originally had the delivery contract for Waitrose, and the contract expired a couple of years ago. The two are now separate and Waitrose established their own service, although Ocado do still have access to a lot of Waitrose products. They do a lot of price matching, discounts and deals, but can come out more expensive. I'd say they're below Waitrose in terms of price, and higher than ASDA and Morrisons.

Apr 25, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

Grocery delivery/pick up services

I haven't yet had the chance to use them. Is Ocado available in their area? The number 1 reason I'd recommend Ocado for your in laws is the service on delivery - they don't dump the groceries at the door (unless you tell them that's what you want) - they will bring everything into the house to the specific room that you want. And 1 hour delivery slots are standard.

Apr 25, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

Grocery delivery/pick up services

I use a delivery service once every 6 - 8 weeks. I live in London, so there are multple options - Tesco, Sainsbury's, Waitrose, Ocado and most recently Morrison's, plus an ever-increasing list of smaller companies delivering boxes of fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy.

Because of the level of competition, I usually get free delivery. I use it to restock my basic (and heavy) items - tins, dry goods, bottled water, cases of diet coke, loo roll, cleaning products, freezer fillers.

The benefits for me: I'm single and without a car, and my neighbourhood has multiple mini supermarkets with no variety and the highest price version of everything. Delivery means I can stock up, stick to my list and my budget, take advantage of discounts and specials and not be tempted by actually having the food in front of me.

The down-sides: I like to see and pick my own fruit, vegetables and meats. And I like to buy those in smaller quantities so I can keep it fresh, so it's not a one-stop shop for me and I do still need to go to the butcher and grocer every few days, but only for a quick trip.

Apr 25, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

I'm sorry you don't like what I ordered, but keep your thoughts to yourself

I used to cook for my ex-boyfriend's family (long story short - his Dad was having heart trouble and his Mother and I banded together to improve his diet) and I'd put "exotic" ingredients in things, like pumpkin and seasame seeds as a garnish on a green sald. BF's brother used to crowd me while I was cooking: "I don't like that, or this, or those....". I always cut him off quickly with "then isn't it great that I was making that for Dad? You can go get a cheeseburger."

He couldn't comprehend people liking things that he didn't like, or trying new things to improve their health, but he did understand "I don't care, it's not for you".

Apr 16, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food
1

What is your oldest cookbook?

There's a cookbook in NZ that I'd say 50% of houses have a copy of - The Edmonds Cookery Book. It's been put out by the company in some form or another since 1908. My current version is the 2008 centenary version, so the book itself is not that old, but it still has the same recipes in it as my Mother's 1955 version (plus updated 'modern' recipes).

I tend to wheel it out when I want to make treats for the office that I can say have a NZ influence (I live in London now), but I don't tend to use it as a daily reference.

So not that old in the grand scheme of things.

Apr 11, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

UK bakers - Bird's Custard powder as a sub for instant pudding mix in a cake?

Potentially, yes. However I'd be more likely to find a packet of Angel Delight.

Mar 07, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking

Shady business practice?

I automatically assume it's a tax dodge. Does it stop me eating somewhere? Not usually.

Mar 03, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food
1

Heart healthy brunch ideas?

I go to a fortnightly Sunday brunch at a Turkish restaurant. They have the bacon and egg standards on the menu, but on Sundays they put out a buffet of dips, dolma, stuffed peppers, tabbouleh, olives, salads and a lentil soup in the winter. Packed with vegetables, whole grains and good fats.

That's now brunch to me, and if I was hosting a brunch at home I'd be tempted to recreate some of the dishes.

Feb 20, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking
4

What Foods have You Eaten That Were Past The 'Best By' or 'Expired Date'

A lot of dairy products, because you can tell by smell if it's edible. Eggs too. Bread - because I only use it for toast, so it's kept in the fridge.

Red meat and chicken - they all tend to smell, look and feel different when they are off (in their raw state) - I'm far more cautious about eating cooked, reheated leftovers than I am about cooking "clean" smelling raw food that's over the magical date.

Fish - well, I don't like stuff that isn't fresh anyway, unless it's smoked/cured/pickled.

Pickles and condiments - once again, if nothing is growing in it, if it doesn't smell bad, I'm not throwing it away. I'll eat it eventually.

Case in point - a friend gave me a kilner jar of fancy 'artisnal' grain mustard with chilli and honey as a house warming present 14 months ago. It's been sitting on my kitchen bench ever since, with a bit used here and there - a bit in a sandwich, a spoonful in a cream sauce, a bit in a salad dressing. I like it, but it's just not the "every day" mustards that I would use.

It was this morning that I read the label - "once the seal is broken, use within a week". Oops. Oh well. Not sick.

Feb 19, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics

Do you remember what the first dish you prepared from a recipe was?

While I'd been in the kitchen with my mother for years, standing on my turtle (booster step), stirring things and stealing tastes of cake batter, the first few things I rememeber "making" myself were bircher muesli and one of those dried pasta and sauce packets - I think I'd seen an ad on the TV as we had never had that in the house - that I was obsessed with trying.

The muesli was edible, the pasta and sauce was disgusting. I was 7, so we're talking 1989.

The first really fancy cooking I did was when I was 10 and discovered pesto and bow tie pasta.

Feb 14, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking

Islington reco - dinner after 69 Colebrook Row [London]

House of Wolf is a dingy pub spread out over multiple levels. It's been re-named several times in the last few years, and this incarnation has only bothered to change the sign over the front door.

Last time I was there the staircases reeked of urine, I was hit in the face by a staff member pushing through a swing door at top speed (an accident for sure, but the muttered "sorry" as he went on his way, not stopping to help me out even though I bore the brunt of it with my nose and another member of staff was rude and condescendingly told me to "go back to my group and maybe have a glass of water" because I had trouble balancing afterwards (I hadn't had a single drink, and it took me a couple of minutes to realise he had assumed that I was drunk). Thankfully a bouncer and a rather more polite bartender were very helpfull, but I'll never voluntarily set foot in the dump again.

Oh, and the food is shit. Microwave, boil-in-the-bag nasty, and not even in spitting distance of the same league as the other two you're considering.

I'd pick Pig and Butcher over Prawn on the Lawn today, because I'm in the mood for something robust, relaxed and comfortably seated. Prawn on the lawn is very cool. And very, very busy on Saturdays.

There's an Ottolenghi on Upper St that fits the fresh, seasonal and casual brief, but is not as "cool" as the other two. I love their food, but I do think of it as a kind of N1, push chairs, 4 x 4s, take the mother-in-law out for lunch kind of place. But like I said, I love the food.

And a plus 1 for the Trurro recommendation - but you will need to book.

Feb 12, 2014
ultimatepotato in U.K./Ireland

What, if any, scraps do you put outside for the local wildlife?

I threw a crust out for a squirrel the other day - unusual to see them so much at this time of year, but the London winter has been mild (temp wise) so far - no settled snow, just lots and lots of rain and wind. And more rain. So the poor little guy looked wet, cold and skinny. I know I shouldn't care about them anymore than rats and pigeons, but I love suqirrels.

I don't throw food out routinely - I live in a flat above a restaurant, and it's bad enough that the foxes come sniffing around the bins at night - I'd be grossed out if the rats were comfortable enough to be seen as well.

I occassionally feed 2 of the restaurant cats - they are ratters, so while they are somewhat looked after, they seem to be out in the cold a lot. And because I don't have things like canned tuna at home, they usually end up having little bits of roast chicken, or (to a friends horror when she saw me!) the last slice of prosciutto.

I only feed them directly though. I don't leave food out.

Jan 29, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food

What's on your grocery list today?

Grocery list today: Nothing - I'm trying to reduce my pantry stockpile at the moment, cooking with what I have instead of buying and cooking what I feel like. So no food purchases today.

How many times a week do you go grocery shopping? Maybe 4 times a week if you count each time I pop into a shop for something fresh

How many stores do you hit in one trip, or in one week?
1 - 3. if I only need a single item, 1. If I'm cooking for a meal I might go to the vegetable shop, the butcher and the wine shop.

Do you plan meticulously and stick to your list, or head in with just a general idea and grab whatever catches your eye?

Cooking for myself, it's what catches my eye. Cooking for other people, stick to a list.

What is your grocery budget, how many people are you feeding, and where do you live?

£100 a month for most food, laundry, cleaning and bathroom supplies, maybe another £10 a week for additional fresh items. So £150 a month, including wines for the house. I shop at a variety of places, including an asian supermarket, a butcher, a fishmonger and specialist wine shops, but will restock tins/pantry items and bulk supplies by shopping online and having it delivered.

I live alone, in London, and cook for addiditional people on average twice a week.

Jan 29, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics

Do Chowhounds Tend To Be Creative/Artistic?

I'm an IT Business Analyst. Cooking is my main creative outlet, although I used to do a bit of photography and dabble in writing.

I know some very creative people who don't give a fig about food, and some very linear people who love cooking and food - and a lot of IT engineers that fancy themselves as Heston Blumenthal! The science aspect really appeals to them.

Jan 29, 2014
ultimatepotato in Not About Food
1

Omnivores: do you feel you want meat every day?

I'm an omnivore and I probably eat meat (for the purposes of this discussion, that includes fish, shellfish and poultry) 4 - 5 times a week. That would include one breakfast with bacon on the weekend and 3 or 4 dinners. I don't need to have meat with every meal, or every day.

I eat this way for several reasons - I like meat to be sustainable and free range, so it's more expensive. I enjoy vegan and vegetarian cooking. And, I cook just for myself for much of the week - when I cook single servings of meat I tend to fall into boring patterns, rather than the effort I make when I'm cooking meat for a group.

Jan 27, 2014
ultimatepotato in General Topics

Ideas for a tasty hot dish using leftover chicken?

Another one for you, which is quicker and gets you away from pie - red curry lettuce wraps. Chop/shred leftover chicken, add coconut milk and red curry paste and heat through. Serve on steamed vermicelli noodles (super fast if you get pre-cooked from the supermarket heat up) and lettuce leaves, garnish with coriander, spring onions, lime and chopped nuts.

Jan 27, 2014
ultimatepotato in Home Cooking