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Beetroot party snacks?!

What's a napoleon? I love the look of dyed eggs but really want to showcase the amazing flavour of the beets :)

Sep 26, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

Beetroot party snacks?!

That's an awesome idea! I think I would probably crisp them up in the oven rather than frying them - I bet they'd be good dusted with a bit of wasabi powder...

Sep 25, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

Beetroot party snacks?!

I'm having my birthday party this weekend, but I'm also (secretly) celebrating the fact that this is the first time ever in my life that I've had a vegetable garden! I haven't been able to harvest much, sadly due to theft, but I have lots of beetroot and I'd love to be able to make my home-grown beetroot into finger-food snacks for the party. But I'm not really sure of any good ideas. Suggestions?

Sep 25, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

Ditching the mircowave?

There are so many things a microwave does better than any other kitchen technique or device:

- most vegetables steam better and with less loss of nutrients in the microwave
- if you put a potato in the microwave for two minutes it only takes half an hour to become a perfect jacket potato in the oven
- a pita bread in the microwave for 30 seconds steams itself open into a perfect pocket ready to be filled, whereas I used to find I they would always stick together and tear otherwise
- kills bacteria and other lifeforms that might otherwise pose a risk in less-than-fresh foods
- makes amazing, super-quick fat-free popcorn
- warms any sauce or side dish in the bowl or jug they are going to be served in to cut down on washing up
- makes delicious, super-easy steamed desserts that would otherwise need an hour in the oven (i.e. make a standard cake mix with 2 eggs, 4oz sugar, 4oz butter, 2oz flour, 2oz ground almonds, 3tsp baking powder, zest of one lemon, and pour into a microwaveable bowl with a layer of lemon curd at the bottom. Place a disc of parchment on the top of the cake mix and microwave for 10 minutes in 2-minute bursts with 30 mins resting time in between, then turn upside down for a steamed lemon pudding)
- softens up apples for a baked dessert without turning them into puree

I could go on...

-

Feb 17, 2014
Elster in Cookware

Salad dressing that keeps

I really like to make a dressing loosely based on the Greek recipe for Tzatziki dip: I just spoon out a generous amount of Greek yoghurt into my mixing bowl (about a cup), add a handful of mint leaves, finely chopped, one minced garlic clove, 1 heaped tsp dried oregano, a big pinch of celery salt and then equal quantities of lemon juice and red wine vinegar, added teaspoon by teaspoon until it is the tanginess and consistency that I am going for (i.e. pouring consistency). If you reach a level of acidity you're happy with but it seems too thick to be a dressing, add a splash of milk to loosen it up. This is so tasty on robust salads or stirred up with shredded veggies as a slaw :) Keeps for at least two weeks in the fridge but needs a shake before pouring!

Jan 12, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

Bad names

Near where I live in Berlin, there is a place called 'Angry Korean Chicken'.

Jan 12, 2014
Elster in Not About Food

No parmesan rinds...?

It IS so delicious though! Best tomato soup ever!! :P

Jan 10, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

No parmesan rinds...?

I know, I think it's a great idea! But for every large wedge of parmesan, that might last me for up to 30 bowls of pasta or so, there is only one rind that I can use to flavour a broth, whereas I make broths much more than I eat pasta :S

It's like with stock - I'm sure you use chicken stock/broth far more often than you roast a chicken, right? But you can buy good chicken stock or bouillon these days. You wouldn't roast a whole goose specifically to have goose fat - but goose fat is so useful and delicious that you can buy it.

Problem is, where I live there aren't any stores I know of that openly sell cheese rinds, although I'd never thought to ask. The only thing that stops me having too much hope for this idea is that I've tried to buy fish offcuts from fishmongers before and been turned away... :(

Jan 09, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

No parmesan rinds...?

Well...give me an example of how much you use!! :D

Jan 09, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

No parmesan rinds...?

Thanks for all the shopping recommendations, guys - I'm based in Germany though :P

Will cheese shops really sell me rinds? Surely all the parmesan rind gets sold when people buy...well, wedges of parmesan?

Jan 09, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

Cakes rises when baking and falls when cooling?

It's normal for cakes to even out (or sink) when you take them out of the oven because you have created a sponge full of little pockets of air. When the air cools, it contracts, and the bubbles are sucked inwards slightly by the lowering of the air pressure, so the whole cake essentially slightly 'implodes'. This is natural and doesn't mean you've done anything wrong (although as others have said, if it rises to an extreme, i.e. so that the top cracks) then you may be using too much raising agent. There's a little trick to reduce the amount it sinks by the lowering air pressure though: drop the cake (just from a few inches above the countertop onto the countertop!!). This will break the air pockets open so that when the air pressure decreases, more air gets sucked in and the bubbles can stay the same rounded shape rather than the cake collapsing in on itself.

Jan 09, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking
1

No parmesan rinds...?

I've always wanted to give my tomato soups, pasta sauces, stews etc that unbelievable umami kick that comes from adding a parmesan rind or two to the stock.

The problem is, I just don't use parmesan enough to ever have any rinds lying around, and I'm hardly going to buy a big block of expensive cheese just to cut off and use what ought to be the 'leftover waste'! :D I wondered whether it would have the same effect if I grated parmesan directly into a stock or stuck in a block of non-rindy parmesan (i.e. the actual cheese) to simmer with the other ingredients, or would it melt and curdle and stick to everything and create a horrible dairy scum on the surface as I suspect it would?

Please, no suggestions to just 'use more parmesan' ;P

Jan 09, 2014
Elster in Home Cooking

What To Do With A Already Roasted Acorn Squash BESIDES Soup

Let me know how it comes out! :)

Nov 30, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

What To Do With A Already Roasted Acorn Squash BESIDES Soup

Mash it till smooth, then add cumin, chili flakes, paprika, ground ginger (1 tsp of each except for the chili flakes, just a pinch of those), 1 clove minces garlic, salt and pepper and a splash of cream and stir vigorously until it gets a whipped texture. Best dip ever - amazing with pita chips.

Nov 29, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

Any foods you just like cooked to death ?

If you soften thinly-sliced zucchini in a little butter...then soften it a little more...then keep on cooking it until it's so overcooked it practically melts apart, and stir in a really generous grind of black pepper, that is the absolute best side dish to every meal in the entire world. In my view.

Oct 20, 2013
Elster in General Topics
1

Cooking with soft cheeses?

If you do have something with a very strong flavour, it's delicious to blend it with some cream cheese and a splash of milk or cream to loosen up the texture and then toss it with hot pasta and green vegetables (i.e. asparagus, broad beans, broccoli, fresh peas) plus toasted walnuts.

If you have one of those herby garlicky cheeses like a French Roulé, you can make incredible baked salmon by dolloping a scoop on top of each fillet and spreading it over the fish, then baking uncovered for 25mins - sounds weird but it's incredible!

One final thing you might try is mixing a soft cheese with sliced leeks, salt, pepper and garlic, and stuffing the mixture into the middle of small hollowed-out squashes such as baby acorn squashes. Roast for 45 minutes and they make a beautiful starter!

Sep 28, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

I'm a picky eater but would like some tips on how to start eating healthier.

If you're making your own tzaziki, try grating the cucumbers and then squeezing the grated cucumber over the sink to get rid of a lot of the excess water - it intensifies the flavours in the final recipe and makes the texture much more substantial :)

Jun 30, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

Most useless cooking instruction

I'm seeing lots of 'cook until done' but for my money the worst of all is 'cook until thickened'.

What? Cook for how long? Cornflour takes five minutes to thicken, but a reduction can take forever! And 'cook' how, should you simmer it or boil it or pour it into the toaster...? And thickened like a syrup or thickened like day-old porridge? This instruction always annoys me especially because thickening things can be such a precise and easy-to-ruin step; things like creme patissiere, bechamel sauce, asian sauces, balsamic syrup...

Jun 30, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

I'm a picky eater but would like some tips on how to start eating healthier.

Aren't they one of those protein sources that are completed when combined with a nut protein such as tahini/sesame seeds? Because a pea hummus is delicious and healthy, veg-heavy dips are a great way to get healthy food in a not-obvious delivery system!

Jun 23, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

Fresh Tarragon Revelation

I make this Poulet au Vinaigre a la Delia Smith over and over again for dinner parties or cold Sunday nights - it is a completely perfect recipe, aromatic, comforting and so delicious!!! http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/cu...

Jun 23, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

Butlers Blacksticks Blue.....

It's really good! Very intense and creamy I find, and terrific with a good plummy chutney. Although I think it is dyed, which is a shame...

Jun 16, 2013
Elster in Cheese

Compared to your family, what new thing are you doing?

2 and 3 are definitely true for me. I eat meat maybe two or three times a week now, whereas it was a daily thing with my family and if there was a day when we ate vegetarian the guys in my family would spend the rest of the evening roaming angrily around the place eating cake to fill the hole in their stomachs! And yes, eating at an earlier time so you don't have to attack the Doritos in desperation at 7pm waiting for things to be cooked... :P

Jun 01, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

Cringeworthy dishes by people who think they are terrific cooks...

Generally I think you're right, people who cook terrible things for others just have very individual tastes and don't seem to realise their friends do not share those idiosyncratic preferences.

However, I do think it's lack of skill that makes my grandmother think the right way to cook cabbage is to leave it on a high boil for an hour before serving. Oh god.

Jun 01, 2013
Elster in General Topics

non dairy dessert

Banana 'instant ice-cream'? Lemon sorbet is a classic. Or watermelon sorbet? Or mango? If you're using berries any of these would be great - if apple, I would do the banana one and mix in grated crystallised ginger, or the lemon one.

May 31, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

non dairy dessert

Apple would be good and more traditional, I just thought a berry strudel might be a bit more barbeque-worthy! This recipe from Epicurious looks great. At any rate, all you need is a pack of phyllo pastry and your oil of choice for the strudel wrapping, layered up with oil between each layer (6-7 layers). Then mix a selection of fresh berries, about a pound (or frozen, though this will be a lot wetter) with 1 tbsp cornstarch and 1 tbsp lemon juice and the zest of the lemon and spread out in the middle of the pastry. Then roll the pastry up in a big sausage and tuck the ends under, and bake as the recipe you found suggests. And serve it with sorbet!

I really recommend slashing the top of the strudel with a breadknife, before baking, in the places you are likely to slice it later, by the way, as this makes it way easier to portion up once baked without the pastry disintegrating :)
I hope it works out!

May 30, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

Cringeworthy dishes by people who think they are terrific cooks...

Haha, this sounds like my dad. He thinks he is a gourmet wunderkind. Everyone finds his cooking very impressive. But that's only because he uses about fifteen tablespoons of turmeric in everything, which makes it such a vivid colour that everyone is completely blown away by how it looks - it all tastes, however, uniformally greasy and awful.

May 30, 2013
Elster in General Topics

Cringeworthy dishes by people who think they are terrific cooks...

Thanks C-k, that's exactly what I was getting at. I don't want to be mean to or about anyone here, but I was referring to people who are arrogantly proud of their cooking skill and yet serve up truly scary food! It was just for fun - lord knows I'm not a perfect cook myself, but I have nonetheless been given some eye-watering meals by other self-professed kitchen geniuses...

May 30, 2013
Elster in General Topics

how to use quark?

It makes good salad dressings - if you mix it with grated carrots, chopped parsley, 1 tbsp of white wine vinegar and S&P, for example :)

May 30, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking

Ickky Party Dishes

I hope you enjoy it if you do! It makes a good main course if you toss in feta and walnuts, if you have them :)

May 30, 2013
Elster in General Topics

non dairy dessert

It's very easy to make carrot cake with just plain sunflower oil, or olive oil for an interesting flavour note - if that sounds like something he'd enjoy?

I think you'll have a hard time finding a chocolate dessert you can make for him given his dietary restrictions. But perhaps you could make a summer berry strudel and use oil brushed between phyllo pastry layers to keep the sheets light and separated.

If either of those sound like possibilities, let me know and I'll post recipes for you!

May 30, 2013
Elster in Home Cooking