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6 posts from November 2007

26 November 2007

Wall Street Journal on kosher turkeys

For those as interested as me in the new wave of kosher movements in the US, here is an article from the Wall Street Journal.

The coughing and spluttering from the entrenched interests is quite amusing, but I imagine we'd hear the same from the likes of the United Synagogue or London Beth Din if there was an attempt to replicate the ethical kosher movement over here.

18 November 2007

Guardian guide to baking

If you are into your baking and live in the UK, scurry off to the newsagent and reserve a copy of next Saturday's Guardian. There will be a free supplement, The Guide to Baking, from their baking correspondent and my first podcast guinea-pig, Dan Lepard.

From the previews that Dan has posted on his forum, it looks like it will be one to keep - a rare treat for the weekend food sections, which at the moment are overflowing with bloody Christmas recipes.

15 November 2007

Ducasse is disappointing

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester opened its doors this week and so far there has been nothing but bad, bad reviews.

On the positive side, if you're the type to ignore what you read, you'll have no problems getting a table, as it seems that everyone is cancelling at the moment, waiting to see if things improve.

06 November 2007

Mushroom consomme

I recently wrote about a really enjoyable meal Silverbrowess and I had at The Goose. I was particularly taken by the mushroom consomme.

Chef patron of The Goose, Matthew Tomkinson emailed me introducing himself after I wrote my article. He has very kindly offered the recipe for the consomme which I have copied below. I understand from him that the recipe is very loosely based on Nico Ladenis' clarified wild mushroom stock.

One addendum to the recipe is that Matthew is contemplating using a different method for clarifying the stock. In the recipe below he uses the traditional method of egg whites. However, in his email to me he said that they are considering ditching the egg whites and using the ice filtration technique, as demonstrated by Heston Blumenthal when he was trying to make the perfect Peking duck in a recent episode of In Search of Perfection.

Supposedly the egg whites dull the flavour slightly. The beauty of Heston's suggested method is that the resulting liquid is pure and unsullied. To explain it quickly: you cook the stock, you then freeze it. Then you place the frozen stock in muslin or similar, over a bowl and allow it to melt in the fridge and drip through the muslin. The result is that all the fat, bits of veg etc is caught in the muslin, whilst the liquid drips into the bowl. It is important to defrost in the fridge, because if it defrosts too quickly, you risk the fat emulsifying with the liquid and slipping through the muslin, into your otherwise pure liquid. For a far more technical explanation read this.

Before you go head long into making this, I should say that I haven't yet tried it out. I'm sure it works - he is a chef afterall - but this is the first recipe I've ever posted that I haven't first cooked myself.

Many thanks to Matthew for agreeing to me posting his recipe.

Mushroom stock

  • 2 large shallots finely sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium bunch thyme
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1kg wild mushroom trimmings or sliced button mushrooms
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 250ml dried mushroom soaking liquor or veg stock if not available
  • 750 ml water


  • 3 egg whites
  • salt and sugar
  • madiera

To make the stock firstly sweat the shallots and garlic in butter until lightly caramelised, add the mushroom trimmings and cook slowly until dry. Next add the tomato puree and cook out until starting to catch on the bottom of the pan, deglaze with the white wine and reduce until syrupy. Add the mushroom soaking liquor and reduce by half then cover with the water, add the herbs and bring to the boil. Skim well, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 30 mins. Remove the pan from the heat, season and allow to cool. Next pass the liquid through double muslin and chill.

To clarify the stock lightly whip the egg whites and season well, whisk these into the cold stock and place over a medium heat. Bring the liquid up to near boiling making sure the bottom doesn't burn by occasionally stirring. As the proteins coagulate a 'raft' will appear on the surface made of the cooked egg. As this starts to happen, stop stirring and leave to simmer very gently for about 20 mins breaking the surface of the raft as necessary to allow some of the pressure to escape. Do not allow to boil at this stage.

Using a ladle, pass the clear liquid off through muslin again and season well with salt and a pinch of sugar if necessary (wild mushrooms can be a little bitter) finally finish with a good glug of madeira to taste.

It works well with the gnocchi or a raviolo and particularly with coriander or chervil in it.

04 November 2007


Ignorance isn't always bliss.

01 November 2007

Ooh look, there goes the tumbleweed

Well, my article on kosher food had absolutely no impact on the JC's letter page. I can't say I am surprised as I have some form. Nonetheless, I am a bit disappointed. However, I should be heartened by some of the interesting debate on a couple of the food forums on this subject - even if I did have to start the discussions myself.

This is something I feel strongly about and intend to take a more active stance on, beyond simply putting finger to keyboard. Maybe it is time to sharpen my knives and buy a cow.