Archive for the ‘food’ Category


Ok, I have a thing for copper cookware, which I can blame on an ex-girlfriend.  Copper cookware is the ultimate.  The stuff is made to last (although older copper cookware requires retinning, which is worth the money).

“Copper pots are the most satisfactory of all to cook in, as they hold and spread the heat well and their tin lining does not discolor food….. To get the full benefit of cooking in copper, the metal must be 1/8 inch thick, and the handle should be of heavy iron.”

Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, 1961

The turbotière is the  most exclusive and sought after item in the copper cookware aficionado’s wish list.  ‘It is a venial extravagance to acquire a turbotiere, as I did even before I owned a frying pan’. — Alan Davidson, North Atlantic Seafood.  I think some cooks own the things even if they will never use one.


Turbotière front and centre of props at Hampton Court Kitchen.

I got the bug after watching “Duchess of Duke Street” where Louisa cooks her big meal using one. The suckers are BIG (as are turbots, who can grow up to a metre).  Turbot is the king of fish: Roman Emperors, Popes and the wealthy (makes sense since Lousia was cooking for the Prince of Wales) have all waxed lyrical on these mighty beasts.

They are expensive as heck new (around 2000 in most currencies).  But they can be found used for much less, but they aren’t cheap.  Turbot’s being a delicacy for the affluent is probably why turbotières are (1) coveted and (2) not cheap.  Although, a whole turbot isn’t that dear, around 60 in most currencies: making it less expensive than lobster.

They are also pretty big.  Someone pointed out he couldn’t get his in his oven (but one can use them on the stove).

Of course, the money needed to buy one makes sense if one owns a restaurant (or cooks a lot of seafood for wealthy people).  Again, these seem to be more status than utilitarian.

and one can dream.


Belgian Waffles (Brussels and Liege)

Most people are familiarWaffles with the Liege Waffle if they are familiar with something called a Belgian waffle.  The Liege waffle is the one that most people think of when they think of these since they are pretty much the most common.  I know that I have to admit that the Liege waffle is the one that I think of off the top of my head.  They are sold on street corners, and I did a post on them not too long ago.

There are actually a few different types of Belgian waffles with the Liege Waffle being the most common.  These are what are most often sold by street vendors such as Belgaufra.  The next most common one is the Brussels Waffle, but they are pretty much only found in Belgium, which is too bad.  Also, most of the Belgian Waffle recipes out there are for Liege Waffles, not Brussels Waffles.

Like Liege Waffles, Brussels waffles are also made with an egg-white-leavened or yeast-leavened batter, traditionally an ale yeast. Occasionally both types of leavening are used together. They result is that Brussels waffles are lighter, crisper and have larger pockets compared to other types of Belgian waffle. Unlike Liège Waffles, Brussels waffles have a rectangular shape and deeper holes. Brussels waffles are usually dusted with confectioner’s sugar.  Both types of waffles might be topped with whipped cream (“Chantilly”), fruit, or chocolate spread.

Most waffle irons sold make Liege Waffles.  Finding a Brussels Waffle Iron is (1) Expensive and (2) hard to do outside Belgium.  In my opinion, that is why the Brussels waffle is not as common as the Liege Waffle–although both are pretty good.  But, good luck coming up with  Brussels Waffle outside of Belgium!

BTW, most of what is called a Belgian Waffle in the US is nothing like a real Belgian Waffle. First off, these are made with yeast and much lighter than what is mostly passed off as a Belgian Waffle in the US.  Also, the Liege Waffle has pearl sugar.  In short, they are weak attempts at a real Belgian waffle.

Anyway, I will repost the links to the Waffle Recipes.

See also:

Promenade Frites/frietjes

I was curious as to whether what are called “Boardwalk Fries” in some parts of the US are the same thing as the Belgian Frite.  They are indeed.

What makes a frite (or Boardwalk Fry) a Frite is that they are cooked twice.  First, at a low temperature and then at a higher temperature.  This is how Ruth Van Waerebeek, the author of Everybody Eats Well in Belgium describes the process:

There is no fancy skill involved in making these crispy fries, but there is a trick. The potatoes are fried twice. The first time cooks them through and makes them tender. The second time, which can be done hours later just before serving, turns them golden brown and deliciously crisp.

Ms. Van Waerebeek also suggest that one use older potatoes for frites since young potatoes have not had enough time to develop sufficient starch.

Although, there are some differences in how they are served which makes a difference between Boardwalk Fries and Belgian Frites.  The Maryland version can have Old Bay and Apple Cider vinegar (not malt vinegar a la mode Anglais).  Also, Belgian frites are served with mayonnaise with some restaurants spicing up the mayonnaise with curry.

I do have to admit that having my suspicion confirmed that Boardwalk fries were prepared the same way that Belgian Frites were makes me think that Moules and Frites should also make it to the US Boardwalks.  Dat zou heel mooi zijn!

See also:

EU ban on refillable olive oil bottles and dipping bowls

This has to be a joke–right?  Except it’s not April Fools.

From next year olive oil “presented at a restaurant table” must be in pre-packaged, factory bottles with a tamper-proof dispensing nozzle and labelling in line with EU industrial standards.

The use of classic, refillable glass jugs or glazed terracotta dipping bowls and the choice of a restaurateur to buy olive oil from a small artisan producer or family business will be outlawed.

Sam Clark, the food writer, chef and proprietor of the award winning Moro restaurant in London, told The Daily Telegraph that the ban would stop him serving his customers specially selected Spanish olive oil in dipping bowls with bread when they are seated at their table.

The reason for this is supposedly food fraud, but this seems a bit absurd after the horsemeat scandal.

Saint Andrew’s Day is on its way!

The radio is telling me that it is  Friday week until St. Andrew’s Day.  I’ve been planning for a while, but it looks as if the menu is going to be the same as last year:

Salad:Lanark Blue and Walnut Salad

Soup: Cullen Skink

Main Course:

* the Medley of Roasted Roots
* Venison Medallions in Cumberland Sauce,

* Orkney Fudge Cheesecake

The English Breakfast

OK, Williams-Sonoma came out with a “recipe” for an English Breakfast in one of their catalogues last year, which is now on their website:

This hearty breakfast is the vestige of the traditional morning meals that were served in grand English country houses during the Edwardian era. Here, the main course fry-up features bacon, sausage, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes paired with buttered toast. Accompany with a pot of freshly brewed tea.


  • 8 oz. small button mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for cooking
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 15 to 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 slices sweet batard, cut diagonally, each about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick
  • Unsalted butter as needed
  • 8 eggs
  • 12 bacon slices, cooked, drained and kept warm
  • 12 pork breakfast sausage links, cooked, drained and kept warm
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Preheat an oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, stir together the mushrooms, the 2 Tbs. olive oil, salt and pepper. Place the mushrooms in a single layer on one side of the prepared baking sheet. Set the cherry tomatoes, stem end up, on the opposite side of the sheet. Lightly drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the tomatoes just start to burst, about 20 minutes. Transfer the tomatoes to a plate. Continue roasting the mushrooms until golden and tender, 10 to 15 minutes more. Transfer to the plate.

Lightly toast the bread and spread with butter. Warm a griddle over medium heat and generously brush with olive oil. Working in batches, break the eggs onto the griddle and fry until the whites are set and the edges of the yolks just begin to set, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place 1 slice toast on each of 4 plates and top each with 2 fried eggs. Place the bacon and sausage on the plates. Stir together the mushrooms and tomatoes and spoon on top of the eggs. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately. Serves 4.

It’s pretty good, but I’ve made my own tweaks to it.

First off, I hate tomatoes, but would cook them if someone really, really, really insisted on them.

Next, Substitute a mix of forest mushrooms for those boring old button jobbies: By forest mushrooms I mean chanterelles, porcini, maitake, black trumpet mushrooms, oysters mushrooms, etcetera. Have fun and come up with a mix to your own taste! Somewhat of a Gallic twist to this grande petite dejuner!

Also, make it heart smart by substituting turkey for pork. I can come up with some really nice turkey sage sausages (can’t call them Cumberland though!). The pork can be saved for very special occassions. Amusingly, Williams-Sonoma sells English style bacon (of course, this recipe is to boost sales of that stuff!).

Add coffee and orange juice.

Any really nice bread from a bakery will also go well with this.

Parsley? Forget it!

Irish oatmeal is also a pretty good addition to this as well. Get the McCann’s steel cut stuff in the tin and cook it in a mini-crock pot for about 4 hours (overnight). The proper mix is 1/3 cup to 2 cups water.

“Cumberland” Sauce

O.K., The name “Cumberland” has some pretty bad connotations in the Highlands, but…

This is a variation on the Cumberland Sauce from Delia Smith

•    1 jar red currant jelly (rougly 340 /12 0z.
•    1  chopped shallot
•     zest from 1 orange
•    zest from 1 lemon
•    1 tablespoon grated ginger
•    1 teaspoon English mustard
•    1/2 cup port wine  or  Scotch whisky
•   1/2  orange juice
•    Juice from the lemon
•    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


Place all the ingredients, except the citrus zest into a saucepan and simmer.  Sort of do what Chef John Mitzewich does, but use my ingredients.

Trust me, it’s easier than writing it down!

Also, I am going to put it on the venison warm rather than let it cool, the way Chef John suggests.

I’m hoping this should be pretty tasty on Haggis. Edinburgh Preserves made something called Gardener’s Sauce for Haggis.  I reckon that is a varient of Cumberland Sauce from reading the ingredients.  I’ve used Cumberland Sauce as a substitute, which is how this recipe came about.

Oh, yeah don’t use daddy’s vintage port, claret, or expensive single malt for this recipe–buy the cheap stuff.