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What's your absolute favorite/best apple dessert?

I'm a huge fan of http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/11/.... I mix it up by browning the butter sometimes.

May 15, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking
1

Making ground beef crunchy

Something else I've seen done is soaking the ground beef in water, and the fat floats to the top; scoop that off, then strain. Can't comment on how well it works myself, as I've never done that.
Personally, I buy lean beef mince and don't have any excess fat to remove. To get it crunchy, I dry fry it and just keep going until it's crispy, making sure to brown all well and keep stirring.

Apr 28, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking

Hit Me With Your Best RICE PUDDING RECIPE

My favourite to date has been a (I think) Danish rice pudding, where you make it the usual way and then fold whipped cream into it when cool. It's delicious, and not heavy in the way many rice puddings can be. Serving with a cherry compote is highly recommended.

Apr 13, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner #359 - the April Showers Edition [through April 15, 2015]

Roasted tomato tarte tartin topped with goat's cheese and homemade habanero sauce, served with salad (baby gem lettuce, cucumber, avocado in a lime & coriander mayo dressing).

What's for Dinner #352: the pre-Daylight Savings Time 2015 Edition [through Mar 8, 2015]

Made sushi last night. Always a bit labour intensive, from chopping up all the veg to rolling, but always delicious.
I also made a tofu-scallion spread which I'd read about online, and used that on the rice-free rolls. Delicious stuff.

What's for Dinner #351: the Wishing & Hoping Edition [through Mar 2, 2015]

Today was the hottest day in years. There's also raging fires in the mountains, which isn't too far from the office. So definitely not a day to spend in front of the stove. Opted to make quiche with all the little bits of cheese I had in the fridge (thanks for the inspiration, SeriousEats; also, first ever quiche!) and salad. It was delicious and not much work. I'll have to make it again sometime.

Mar 03, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking
1

Cape Town and around again

Which parts of Cape Town, and what kind of food are you interested in trying?

Feb 24, 2015
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Simon's Town, and Noordhoek?

Food Barn is quite nice. Whether it's worth going out of your way for... I'd probably say no.

Simon's Town:
If you walk along the harbour area, you'll see some options and can just pick whichever appeals. Or you can see listings here: https://www.zomato.com/capetown/simon.... I've been to some of those, but can't say that I've found any to be particularly memorable.
I've heard good things about the Tibetan Tea House, but haven't had the opportunity to check it out yet.
Black Marlin is usually quite nice for lunch. It's just outside of Simon's Town, though.

Simon's Town is close to Kalk Bay, and I would recommend heading out that way as well. There's a fair amount of restaurants and stores on the main road, and usually quite a good vibe too.

On transport, I'm going to recommend Uber over taxis. I've found them to be better priced, and quite efficient.

Feb 16, 2015
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Oscar party - suggestions

Love it. Going to try to watch as many of the movies as possible this weekend, and then will report back re your suggestions.

I have managed to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, and I think the Courtesan Au Chocolat is the way to go there.

Feb 13, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner? #348 -- The Valentine's Day Edition [through Feb 15, 2015]

What about using a food processor? I've read about it, but not quite convinced it'll work.

Feb 12, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking

Oscar party - suggestions

I've seen previous threads along these lines, but nothing yet this year. I've been talked into throwing an Oscar party, and trying to decide what to make. I was thinking of sticking with appetisers/finger foods, so we can graze throughout.

Previous threads showed movie-themed foods (best picture nominees?), which seemed like a cool idea. Unfortunately, I'm only going to start watching all of the movies this weekend, so no ideas yet.

Any suggestions would be appreciated :)

Feb 12, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner? #348 -- The Valentine's Day Edition [through Feb 15, 2015]

Last night was some pan seared salmon served with tri-colour quinoa (some roasted red chilli paste and caramelised onions went in with the water) and veggie nori (no rice).
Tonight: burgers!!

What's for Dinner? #348 -- The Valentine's Day Edition [through Feb 15, 2015]

Can you only use the florets for cauliflower rice? I've been meaning to try it, and just realised that that makes sense...
Thanks to you, I'll now have a use for the stems too.

Feb 12, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking

What's for Dinner? #348 -- The Valentine's Day Edition [through Feb 15, 2015]

Last night's dinner was a vegetarian/spice medley:
- cauliflower steaks, half served with chimichurri sauce and the other half topped with tapenade
- baby carrots roasted in a mix of harissa and honey
- halved tomatoes in the same roasting pan topped with some togarashi. I should have stuck with the standard salt and balsamic combo, which would have worked better
- sliced baby portabellos cooked until almost crisp, tossed with ras el hanout, a dash of honey and butter to soften

What's for Dinner? #346 - The Deep Freeze Edition! [through Feb 3, 2015]

Tried to make Thai corn fritters last night (shallow instead of deep frying, though). Came out fantastically well. Served it with a sweet chilli/harissa sauce. And stuffed mushrooms (stuffing with cream cheese, emmental cheese, sauteed mushroom and shallots, red chilli flakes, ground oats and a sprinking of parmesan on the top.

Cape Town, South Africa -- what's the most important thing to know?

I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who thinks so...

Jan 27, 2015
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

December 2014 & February 2011 Cookbook of the Month: THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOKBOOK Chapters 15-18

Made these too. I may have made them too large, as they took a long time to brown, and ended up crispy when I finally removed from the oven (or are they meant to be?). Still delicious.
Made half a recipe, as I didn't want that much temptation around.

Jan 02, 2015
haiku. in Home Cooking

Cookies, Cakes, and Breads with honey

I haven't made this yet, but I have it bookmarked for a special day - http://ladyandpups.com/2014/04/11/the...

Dec 30, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Christmas lunch in Cape Town

2 friends recently had year end functions at the Mount Nelson, and both reported that it was terrible. I'm not sure if the standards are slipping or if they can't cater well for groups, but just thought to post their thoughts in case it helped you make up your mind. One of those friends is a foodie too, and I trust his opinion on this.

Dec 21, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Need easy showstopper dessert

There's a recipe on Smitten Kitchen that I have taken to calling a cheesecake tart and making when I need something that looks impressive with minimal effort. http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/0.... The bowl you've posted would work for this too.

For the biscuit base, I use a toffee oat biscuit that I favour for such tarts.

For the tart filling, I use the full tub of sour cream too, and squeeze in the lemon juice too. You can increase the sugar a bit if you prefer.

For the topping, I usually just chop up whatever fruit I have in the fridge, and arrange artfully on the top. I've not done this with nectarines, but have used (generally a combination of) strawberries, blueberries, kiwi fruit, grapes...

Definitely brush the fruit with jam to glaze them. I usually heat a neutral jam (apricot, or even orange marmalade) in the microwave till it starts bubbling, then brush the fruit with that.

Dec 14, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Thanksgiving with Ottolenghi sides?

Yes, agreed on upping the spices in the mix. I had added chilli, cumin, and probably some other stuff (can't remember right now). I did also increase the flour in the original recipe, as I wanted it to be more of a cake than a frittata. It was quite good.

Nov 25, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Best chocolate shop in all of Ireland / Northern Ireland?

I bought some Butler's chocolate to distribute back home. I liked it well enough, and I'm a bit of a chocolate snob.

Nov 25, 2014
haiku. in U.K./Ireland

November 2014 Cookbook of the Month, "The Soul of a New Cuisine", reporting thread for: Salads; Soups; Breads; and Vegetables

I made the Lentil Stew based on the online recipe at http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes.... In Africa, I would have to wait a month for the book to be imported from the US, so I have just been following your discussions and looking online for likely options :)

I used brown instead of red lentils, as that's what I had on hand. I ended up increasing the amount of spice in the recipe, as it wasn't to my taste as written. I also felt it needed a bit of acid to round out the flavour.
When cooked through, the lentils were still very firm and the dish didn't resemble the lentil dishes I've had at a local Ethiopian restaurant or the photo. So I opted to use the immersion blender on 3/4 of the cooked dish, and reduced it a bit thereafter.

I was happy with this dish following my changes to it. I can't recall having seen red lentils in stores, so not sure how that would affect the outcome as I've never cooked with it.

Nov 11, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking
1

QUICK BREADS! Home Cooking Dish of the Month (October 2014)

Late to the party, but always good and worth posting about. I made a half recipe of Dorie Greenspan's Cheese&Chive Bread last night. Recipe also at http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20.... Changes last night: a mix of cheeses (whatever odds and ends I had, which included small amounts of gouda, edam, mature cheddar, feta, and parmesan) just cubed instead of grated; addition of some spices; addition of chopped chili; some fresh herbs from the garden found their way in along with the chives; some frozen corn kernels tossed in.
If you haven't made this yet, I highly recommend it. Also works well as muffins.

Nov 11, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking
1

Quick Ireland Report

I only managed to fit in the Winding Stair, and we quite enjoyed it. The food was very good, and we were well placed to look into the kitchen, which was very well organised and a treat to watch.

Nov 04, 2014
haiku. in U.K./Ireland

Christmas lunch in Cape Town

I suspect that Test Kitchen would be closed on Christmas, or fully booked if not. Speaking of, I took photos of the meal I had there last month if anyone is interested in seeing it.

OP, any of the options would be good. I've not had the buffet at Reuben's, but I think they do it every Sunday so it should be fine.

Nov 03, 2014
haiku. in Middle East & Africa

Does anyone have an amazing vegetarian chili recipe?

I've made Madhur Jaffrey's Chili a few times, and it's been amazing. Recipe at this link looks accurate/close enough - http://wegottaeat.com/wegottaeat/reci...

Oct 31, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Black Pearl Layer Cake

I was thinking of the cooked flour frosting, but have never tried it before. Thanks all for the recommendation; I will go with this.

Sep 28, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

Black Pearl Layer Cake

Referring to recipe at http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

I've decided to make this for my birthday next week. I did a search and see some threads on this from 2005, so hoping that those posters or other experienced bakers can comment.

I'd be looking to change this up to make mini-cakes (for my actual birthday at home) and cupcakes for the celebration with friends happening 2 days later. I'm comfortable enough with baking to be able to do this.

My concern is with the whipped cream. The cupcakes will be served at a picnic, and I doubt the whipped cream will make it till we get around to it (or should I be looking to stabalise it with gelatine/something? I don't use whipped cream much). Would it work without the whipped cream? Or should I replace it with something else, and would that work with the flavour profile? Or should I just make it for home and figure out something more hardy for the picnic?

Any other suggestions/comments on the cake welcomed.

Sep 25, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking

September 2014 COTM 'Avec Eric' Chapters 7-9 (Artisanal, Perfect Pairings, Oil and Wine) Reporting Thread

My turn to report back on this one. I made it following the directions given (thanks, Goblin). Had some friends over yesterday, and they were all intrigued by this and wanted a taste before leaving. It comes across as a rich, not too sweet light caramel ice cream, with an unexpected but pleasant tart note.
The other half and I also shared a bowl of ice cream last night with the macerated strawberry pairing, and we didn't think it works like that - the almost delicate flavour of the ice cream is overtaken by the strawberries.
That being said, it does feel like it needs to be paired with something to bring out the flavour a bit more. I suggested a dark chocolate (possibly flourless) cake, which he thought might work too. So I shall have to try that when I next have a moment. Any other suggestions welcome.

Sep 25, 2014
haiku. in Home Cooking