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sourcing home-cooked thanksgiving in london

thanks, guys, these are a huge help. will try to find something larger than my rinky-dink locals, and try frozen if i can't get fresh. borough market turkey sounds great as well.

Nov 15, 2006
co from tx in U.K./Ireland

sourcing home-cooked thanksgiving in london

hello hounds,

i'm planning to have a few folks over next week for turkey, etc. was wondering a couple of things:

1) can you get raw cranberries round these parts? haven't seen them in the tesco, the sainsbury's, or the local markets.

2) is there a particularly good source for turkeys? preferably in the central or eastern areas, but will travel.

thanks in advance!

Nov 15, 2006
co from tx in U.K./Ireland

my pavlova went poof!

i used cornstarch, but not cream of tartar. i also have a hard time resisting the temptation to open the door, because i don't have a window on this oven (hooray, student living).

is 'weeping' the term for when your sugar falls into a chewy patty? my grandma used to make old meringue pies topped with the soft variety, and i always thought 'weeping' was when you got gooey droplets on top of the soft meringues. oh, the mystiques of egg whites...

Jul 23, 2006
co from tx in Home Cooking

my pavlova went poof!

so i discovered this dessert at the beginning of the summer. the first one i made was nigella's chocolate pav, which turned out pretty well.

for the second i followed her plain pav recipe and baked it at a slightly lower temperature because i think my oven runs hot. let it cool in the oven, as per her instructions. it came out, well, not flat as a pancake, but only just shy of. it had nearly completely dried up in the center. did i cook it too long? overbeat the eggs pre- or post-sugar? anyone have insights as to what makes a fluffy, marshmallowy base of meringue for all that delicious whipped cream and fruit? (i think the chocolate one would be delicious with strawberries/balsamic, but now i'm a bit worried to try it for guests again!)

Jul 23, 2006
co from tx in Home Cooking

Boba Tea

there are a few boba offerings in harvard square. both tealuxe and dado tea offer pearls as an adjunct to their normal tea menus. it's been awhile since i've had these, but i remember the texture of the boba as not ideal (a bit dry in the middle), which is a shame. i would like to have pearls in actual tea.

if you're like me, and are also happy to drink the crazily sweet 'tea' at most boba shops, i think boston tea stop's boba are just the right squishiness. it's also too expensive, at around $3.50, but i still go when i'm missing the shops on sawtelle.

The Merits Of High Priced Sandwiches [Split from Boston board]

although i might've paid a buck or two more per campo's sammie if it meant they could've stayed in the harvard sq. area! sigh...

and i agree that some of the aforementioned sandwiches cause a bit of sticker shock, but if the constituent ingredients are expensive/labor intensive (same thing), i don't think it's surprising that they're double the cost of your typical grinder.

as for the hype surrounding a new schlesinger joint: i don't think it means people will hold back criticism if it's subpar when it does open. i can think of a couple of local chefs who seem to have lost favor with the chows for overextending themselves and letting quality suffer.

(aside to CH team: it strikes me as a weird bit of moderating to drag this sub-theme of the topic over to 'general chowhounding topics.' joanie's note might have been somewhat general in its wording, but most of these posts are still about boston. i would've thought it was odd to move the posts about toro, say, to a general thread called 'the merits of high-priced tapas.' just sayin'.)

Jul 18, 2006
co from tx in General Topics

new homestyle latin brunch in cambridge

thanks for this tip. we went last sunday and had a really good time, in spite of some homey service blips. very sweet people, relaxed pace, pretty tasty dishes--the perfect way to spend a lazy sunday morning. NB: we went maybe at 12:30 or 1 and they were starting to run out of stuff. get there towards the beginning if you want the full menu. let's see:

good, earthy iced coffee.

banana-pineapple pancakes seemed to have yellow cornmeal in the batter and were topped with dulce de leche. takes you about sixty percent of the way to type two diabetes, but it's a delicious trip.

cheese/refritos pupusas came with potatoes and well-seasoned, quaintly un-PC-titled moros y cristianos (black beans n' rice). starchy starchy. this was also supposed to come with encurtido and fried plantains, but both didn't quite make it onto the plate. after some inquiries, someone i assume was soledad surfaced and said she wasn't serving the plantains today because they'd turned out to be flavorless and nicely offered to substitute another fruit salad. we skipped it, but gladly accepted the missing encurtido and a spicy salsa verde, which were needed moisteners on the pupusas.

anyway, i'd go back.

questions re: ten tables and oleana's patio

we showed up around 8, maybe 8:15, and waited about 20 minutes to sit out on the patio.

questions re: ten tables and oleana's patio

quick followup report; we didn't make it to ten tables, but had a lovely meal of apps and desserts on oleana's patio last night. whipped feta with sweet and hot peppers reminded me of an upscale (and yummy) version of the pimento cheese i hated as a kid. creamy, salty deviled eggs deserve their high praise.

one app special - flatbread with sesame seeds and other herbs and pomegranate molasses, topped with fresh mozzarella and some sort of lemony greens (nasturtium?).

on to my favorite, the sultan's delight. great combo of stringy beef with a sweet-sour tamarind tang, eggplant with pine nuts, and a basil leaf to nibble on.

the lamb kebab also belnded well with its accompanying tomato jam, yogurt sauce, and walnuts.

i was generally impressed by the balance of flavors in each dish--nothing overwhelmed, but each flavor was present. my SO commented that restaurants with puffed-up descriptions on their menus often disappoint, but these actually exceeded his expectations. he was also pretty pleased when they brought out the baked alaska at the end.

Zuni cookbook

we made the shrimp with romesco over wilted spinach last night and it was a huge hit (well, made the base on sunday and finished the dish last night). romesco is a bit time-consuming, but the resulting sauce was maybe the most flavorful i've made. consider making a double batch--we couldn't resist the temptation to spread some of the base straight onto bread.

Jul 12, 2006
co from tx in Home Cooking

another tasty din at xinh xinh

we'd enjoyed lunch there last week and decided to stop over last night around 6:30. the people here are incredibly nice--we were treated like family and ate like kings.

started with the banh xeo, a big ol' crispy crepe filled with beansprouts, shrimp, and maybe a little chicken? anyway, we eventually figured out we were meant to wrap chunks of this in lettuce with the accompanying basil/cilantro and dip the lot in nuoc cham. mmm.

moved on to brisket/steak pho: the broth was well-seasoned, with a generous amount of meat. i've never been to the dorchester places, but this beat the pants off the other boston pho i've had (i.e. harvard sq. pho pasteur and a different place in chinatown whose name i've forgotten).

the star of the meal, though, was the steamed whole fish. it came out bubbling on a platter w/ burners, topped with a heap of scallion, cilantro, and shredded ginger and, best of all, swimming in a fabulous, oily, sweet, fish-saucy sauce. we picked this sucker clean--i think our waitress said it was some sort of bass--and my DC dumped rice onto the platter at the end so as not to miss a teaspoon of the saucy goodness left on it. this turned out to be more expensive than their other offerings at $18-19, but was worth every penny.

washed it all down with good VN iced coffee (not cloyingly sweet) and lychee juice. under forty before tip, and the amount of food we ate would easily have fed 3. vietnamese is one of my favorite summertime cuisines, and these folks really deserve some business.

questions re: ten tables and oleana's patio

my SO is leaving the country in about a week and i want to have one or two nice, romantic dinners with him before he goes. i've been to oleana once before in colder weather; i enjoyed it, but thought the first courses (and the dessert) outshone the mains. was thinking it'd be nice just to share some small plates/apps out on the patio as some people say they do at the bar, but am a little worried about feeling uncomfortable ordering just a few things out there. is this likely to be an issue?

i'd also like to check out ten tables before he goes. any opinions on whether it'd be better to place ourselves in their hands for the tuesday wine dinner, or to go and pick three on wednesday?

thanks in advance,