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Xantha's Profile

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Teacher lunches

I'm not a teacher but I do pack my own lunch and I stick to bento which is eaten at room temperature. On rare occasions I simply bring a sandwich and fruit.

Aug 27, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

Seasoning cast iron with wooden handle?

Keep me posted - as I was actually at their factory outlet when I bought it it would have been clever to ask wouldn't it...

Aug 25, 2011
Xantha in Cookware

Seasoning cast iron with wooden handle?

Will this stop the handle from turning black? A friend and I once started preheating her oven with a frying pan with a wooden handle still in it (they apparently used to store it in there). handle was black by the time we opened the oven to put our cake in...

Aug 25, 2011
Xantha in Cookware

Seasoning cast iron with wooden handle?

The handle does not appear to be removable sadly, it's cast iron all the way out to the end but encased by wood - not really sure how they did it but it won't budge =(.

Aug 25, 2011
Xantha in Cookware

Seasoning cast iron with wooden handle?

Hello,
I just picked up a very nice little cast iron skillet with a wooden handle (like this: http://www.skeppshult.com/en/product/...) and while it came pre-seasoned I can see light grey spots in it where this has already worn off during transportation and at any rate it is very dull to the eyes (it's grey rather than black), doesn't look well seasoned to me. Obviously I cannot place this in the oven or in a fire place.

I know it's possible to season carbon steel on the cooktop, can I do the same for cast iron? I'm familiar with the techniques for seasoning in ovens described in previous threads.

Aug 25, 2011
Xantha in Cookware

What is this tool used for?

I think it's an artisan bread "whisk" to be used when combining ingredients for sourdough bread. I have no idea how useful they are but it seems like the design might discourage sticking.

Aug 22, 2011
Xantha in Cookware

can anyone give me the secret of browning?

Personally I alos prefer browning in butter, or even better a sort of blend of butter and vegetable oil I can get at the supermarket in Europe. I highly recommend cast iron for browning but I know that not everyone is keen on it. Still, if you haven't tried it and you get the chance to pick up something cheap at a charity shop, give it a go!

Aug 20, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Food/dish you are surprised hasn't caught on

Living in Edinburgh I have never (knowingly) met a Jew here, but then I'm in the student community and I only know the religion of close friends. I do think there is some sort of society/community at the uni - most major faiths have one.

Aug 20, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

can anyone give me the secret of browning?

Yes this is key I think - can anyone else hear Julia Child "If you don't dry meat it won't brown properly"?

Overcrowding can also be a problem for many I think - just because it can fit that doesn't mean it should.

Aug 20, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Fish and Chips - the best?

You can try the diner on Nicolson Street near the corner of Bernard Terrace. My personal favourite is found in Moffat - in a pub which serves about 8 different kinds (cod/haddock/breaded/battered) of it.

Aug 20, 2011
Xantha in U.K./Ireland

can anyone give me the secret of browning?

Don't use non-stick. If your oil has a "depth" to speak of there is probably way too much of it.

Aug 20, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Food/dish you are surprised hasn't caught on

When it comes to "ethnic" food I think immigration patterns play a major part. The UK is big on Indian food and mediocre (but ever improving) on thai and chinese. It's not surprising as India was part of the commonwealth.

I'm not overly familiar with American immigration after the early 20th century but I'm given to understand that many emigrated from east asia (China, Vietnam) during the latter half of the last century which might account for their cuisines being more present? And Mexico as a bordering state is a given to have culinary exhanges with. Is there a large Indian population in the US?

Aug 19, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

Food/dish you are surprised hasn't caught on

You put gelatin in your whipped cream? Whipped cream for me is always 40% fat, hand whisked with some regular sugar and some vanilla until it forms soft peaks.

Aug 19, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

Salting water - A poll - why or why not?

I was always told by my mother that salt in the water will decrease the loss of vitamins/nutrients from the veg boiled, relevant for us as we always had boiled carrots, brussel sprouts and what not and never used the left over water for soup. I should probably follow this recommendation but I usually steam my veg anyway.

I don't salt the water for boiling grains etc most of the time but then I'm extremely sensitive to salt so I prefer it this way for taste. I will salt the water for rice as it is otherwise quite bland, at least the cheap stuff from the supermarket. I do put olive oil in the pasta water which I believe is mainly to decrease stickiness?? I don't remember why I was brought up to do it...

Aug 18, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Am I the only one who didn't know...

I did not know that - will go search ebay.co.uk and see if they have similarly good opportunitites. My main ebay obsession has up until now been le creuset focused but would love to branch out =)

Aug 17, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

Please revisit waffle makers.

Is it an option to get a cast iron one that you just place on the regular stove (and then flip)? They are better weapons than frying pans too...

Aug 16, 2011
Xantha in Cookware

Host gift for son's first birthday and baptism

I think it's perfectly acceptable to only bring a gift for the child but I know that opinions on that differ. For the child I second the idea of giving a book, I would prefer something with pictures but not a "picture book". Front runner for me would be a well illustrated Narnia book which granted would not be enjoyed until some years later but on the other hand can be treasured for far longer.

Aug 14, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

Potato Salad Tact

Could you split it in two bowls and dress one up with just some black pepper and chives (this would not be to noticeable perhaps and could be perceived as "garnish") and in the other bowl do something more elaborate with a bit of bell pepper and onions? I think it would be a mistake to be to elaborate with all of it but this way you can also argue that you thought added peppers would go so well with xyz so you thought you'd just add that into a bit if anyone fancied it.

Another thing that I do (since I can't stand too much mush) is to slice or dice down extra boiled potatoes into the storebought salads which also hugely improves them in my opinion. That's not very noticeable either.

Aug 12, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Name of flatware used on 30-Minute Meals and Iron Chef America?

I realise this is really late but for some reason this thread is current again - did a google and found them here http://www.bodum.com/gb/en-us/shop/de... !

Aug 10, 2011
Xantha in Cookware

Dinner vs Supper (moved from Quebec)

In Britain I've often come across "Sunday Roast" simply. If pressed further i would say that the mid-day meal would still be referred to as "Sunday lunch" but then I know a lot of people who would have a sunday roast in the evening anyway so perhaps their lunch is nothing special. To be honest I think it's less to do with that it's a Sunday and more a description of how the meal is cooked and serves. I've not heard of a sunday lunch/dinner so called without a Sunday roast.

Aug 10, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

Dinner vs Supper (moved from Quebec)

In Britain the more commonly used term for supper would be "tea" or in writing often simply "T", especially when it is an informal sort of thing with the family for example. In fact Tea seems to denote any meal taken roughly around tea-time, so from 4pm to 7pm or so. People definitly have lunch too but I hear very few people apart from foreigners like myself ever talk about dinner unless it's more or less a black-tie event.

I do think people would take dinner to mean an evening meal though but mainly because that's the only cooked meal eaten here (not counting scrambled eggs and bacon sandwiches), and I for one always think of dinner implying "cooked".

(I refuse to call my dinner/supper "tea" as I don't drink tea.)

Aug 10, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

Dinner vs Supper (moved from Quebec)

Quoting Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory "dinner refers to the largest meal of the day" whether that would be at mid-day or in the evening.

The same speech pattern can be observed in several other languages such as the Scandinavian ones - "supper" translates to "kvällsmat" (lit. evening-meal) in Swedish for example but is a term that is generally only used to refer to a light meal. "supper" also translates as "supé" meaning "a party/gathering/event" generally starting after 9pm at which food is served, supé corresponding to the French words dîner and souper.

I can see why a class distinction might appear in usage however - in many countries working class eats a hearty meal mid-day to sustain them during hours, a habit that has to some extent transgressed physical labour, whereas in the upper class might be more common to eat a larger meal in the evening. Climate can be a factor as well - in the mediterranian area in Europe it would be very common to have a light meal at noon and a larger one late in the evening, especially in the summer due to the heat.

I do however ultimately disagree with the OP in saying that dinner is a low-class name for an evening meal.

Aug 10, 2011
Xantha in General Topics

How do I cook really tender green beans?

Bring water to a boil in pot with some salt. Add beans. Bring back to boil and remove from heat. Add some cold water and let stand 5 minutes before draining.

This is how we cook most our veg and we're currently harvesting 3 kinds of beans from the garden!

Aug 08, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Best technique cookbook?

I'm considering Jacquies Pepin as well - I hear the newer editions have combined the two book technique and method into one? If anyone has any experience with this book I'd be interested to hear.
I already own a "basic cookbook" which tells you things like how to boil rice or scramble eggs as well as having diagrams of meats and pastas etc but alas it does not tell you how to bone a duck (or anything for that matter).

Aug 07, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Bananas and... 1st birthday cake

If he's only 1 maybe make a simpler smash cake for him (i.e. banana with a plain-ish frosting and fruit decorations) and something more elaborate for the grown-ups?

Aug 06, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Green bean overload from CSA. Need ideas (no freezing, please!)

Do you have a recipe for that? A quick google yields nothing involving green beans for me... And peanuts and coconut being 2 of my favourite things as well as loving thai food I feel this is something I need to try!

Aug 05, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking

Green bean overload from CSA. Need ideas (no freezing, please!)

I make a vegetarian korma with green beans as the main ingredient, it roughly follows the recipe by Manju Malhi on the BBC's website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/veg... .

The only other way I make beans apart from boiling for a quick side is cooking in a pyrex in the microwave with about a T of butter, a couple of roughly chopped garlic cloves and lots of black pepper. Nom.

Aug 05, 2011
Xantha in Home Cooking