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Where have all the recipes gone?

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    I put my hand up and say I'm as guilty as anyone for starting and contributing to threads more recently, about aspects of food, that whilst important and should be discussed here, haven't made any recent contributions of recipes or techniques.
    We have to remain on course and keep an even balance of all things cooking, the food we buy, where it comes from, what we choose to eat, what we can afford to eat... but above all, how you actually go about cooking it well.
    Among the things I can tell you I've experimented with lately with some success, is taking apple sauce to a higher level. Prior to this, I would peel and chop the apple and simmer it the least water I thought I'd get away with. Although it wasn't dissimilar to other apple sauces I've eaten, I've always felt it a bit bland. Applely and OK with pork but nothing special to write home about, whereas if I replaced it with something like prunes, figs or an apricot sauce there's a different story to be told.
    I've tried cooking it less to add a bit of texture to it, but it's still bland. I felt a radically new approach was required. So I chopped up a Bramley without peeling it, added as much ginger as I though my wife would put up with, plus a little more and baked it in the oven along with the slow-roasting pork. It's so simple, yet, by far, the best attempt to date. Do try it and let's know what you think.
    I had intentended to tell you about my beef stew and the techniques I employed to create but a friend unexpectedly turned up to prevent it, so it shall have to wait till later, as some ale, discussion and humour are our immediate fucus.
     
  2. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    I put my hand up and say I'm as guilty as anyone for starting and contributing to threads more recently, about aspects of food, that whilst important and should be discussed here, haven't made any recent contributions of recipes or techniques.
    We have to remain on course and keep an even balance of all things cooking, the food we buy, where it comes from, what we choose to eat, what we can afford to eat... but above all, how you actually go about cooking it well.
    Among the things I can tell you I've experimented with lately with some success, is taking apple sauce to a higher level. Prior to this, I would peel and chop the apple and simmer it the least water I thought I'd get away with. Although it wasn't dissimilar to other apple sauces I've eaten, I've always felt it a bit bland. Applely and OK with pork but nothing special to write home about, whereas if I replaced it with something like prunes, figs or an apricot sauce there's a different story to be told.
    I've tried cooking it less to add a bit of texture to it, but it's still bland. I felt a radically new approach was required. So I chopped up a Bramley without peeling it, added as much ginger as I though my wife would put up with, plus a little more and baked it in the oven along with the slow-roasting pork. It's so simple, yet, by far, the best attempt to date. Do try it and let's know what you think.
    I had intentended to tell you about my beef stew and the techniques I employed to create but a friend unexpectedly turned up to prevent it, so it shall have to wait till later, as some ale, discussion and humour are our immediate fucus.
     
  3. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Bloody hell, make your mind up, MM [​IMG]
     
  4. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    Does it matter? People want to talk about different aspects of foods, this thread is called Cookery, not Recipes.
     
  5. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Apple sauce - peel and chop Bramley apple. Put in bowl. Cover with clingfilm. Microwave until soft (no need to add water). amsh to desired consistency then add sugar to taste. Simple. No need for anything else.
     
  6. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Quite agree. Apple sauce need be appley, nothing else.
     
  7. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Agree. I don't necessarily post recipes, for the following reasons:
    1. I'd assume most people won't be that interested in reading them. I don't take much interest in reading 'recipes' per se; ideas and general food discussion is more interesting. I'd think it arrogant to assume that my recipe would make good reading for everybody on the forum.
    2. If anyone wants a recipe relating to someone's post, for example on the the 'tonight's dinner' thread, they tend ask for it. Likewise, there are threads in which people request recipes or there are ingredient or method-specific threads in which recipes or ideas are often posted, such as the slow-cooker thread or the recent rabbit thread.
    3. The forum is jam-packed full of highly experienced and knowledgeable cooks. If we read on someone's post, something such as "beef stew", then we'll all have a good idea on how to make one and a pretty damn good one at that. Obviously, we're open to suggestions on adjustments, and will read them with interest but we won't necessarily all rush to make a slightly different beef stew or add ginger to our apple sauce just because someone's posted a recipe on here. Although, if someone posts something that's lesser known or that someone's not tried before, they'll ask for the recipe.


    It seems you're increasingly dissatisfied with what the forum and its users offer MM. I'd suggest you worry a little less about it all though, as everyone else seems perfectly happy.
     
  8. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    That's what I do as well, although if feeling very indulgent I may pop a **** of unsalted butter in it!! I always 'amsh' mine as well, lovely word Belle!!
     
  9. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Yes, nick, as I said, we've gotta talk about all aspects of food, keep it vibrant. Entice people to want to cook, but at the same time, have them consider what it is they are cooking and how they obtain it and so on. Too much of any single aspect and it becomes dull.
    Celtic accused me on another forum of wanting to make Cookery like Opinion. I can see why she said this, but I can't see how we can avoid discussing all the other issues as well. The intention of this particular thread is to remind us, and me in particular, that without recipes and techniques as well, we can't cook.
    In recent weeks, the number of recipes being posted has fallen significantly. We have to be mindful that this forum attracts new participants all the time. Some will obviously be people that buy the ever-growing variety of prepared foods, and whilst we are justified in criticising the growth of this market, if they visit and don't find inspiration to try the alternatives on the front page, they will gain the impression we are just a bunch of head up our arrse food critics.
    By all means, express your opinions that my latest version of apple sauce over-eggs the omelette. It's all part of the fun of enjoying real food.
    Having said all of this, here's the recipe I did yesterday for the very basic and simple beef stew that was absolutely gorgeous. Nothing at all special in it, other than the simplicity of the cooking. The dog spent the night dreaming about the leftovers and when I went downstairs this morning to make some coffee, immediately pointed to the pot she was hoping her breakfast would be in.
    I love beef stew. I've tried the myriad variants, occasionally being disappointed that the chef had lost the plot along the way. I can't say I've ever eaten a particularly good stew on my travels though. The meat, in my opinion should melt in the mouth and of course, the gravy is what makes it. It isn't so much about ingredients as it is about the slow cooking and development of flavour.
    The beef needs to be browned, but before doing this, it needs to be coated in flour which will help caramelise the meat juices and thicken the gravy. I've watched the celebrity chefs and my friends dredge meat in a bowl of flour, making a mess as they do so. I just get a plastic bag, chuck in some flour and the meat, close the top and give it a good shake. Empty it into a colandar over the sink which I then toss to remove the excess flour.
    Once the meat is browned, remove it from the pan, lower the heat and add some sliced onion. How much, depends on how much meat you have, but as the onion will be a major contrubutor to the flavour you need in physical volume terms, about 2/3 onion to meat. Give it a good stir to gather up any debris in the pan, cover it and let it sweat down for ten minutes or so. Add some carrots a stick or two of celery, a couple of chopped field mushrooms and return the meat as well. Leave it all slowly cooking for half an hour with just an occasional stir. Add some herbs, I used thyme, seasoning and cover with stock then leave it to stew. The only thing you need to do now is check the liquid level from time to time and make some dumplings in between checking if there's any life on TES, walking the dog, having a pint etc. The dumplings go in 20 minutes before you intend to eat.
    I know you will all have suggestions for variants on the above and personal preferences, but I defy anyone not to clean their plate and tell me they would rather eat a packet meal. And really, how difficult to do was it?
     
  10. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Yes, very good MM. A standard beef stew, but sounds perfect. I prefer a little booze in mine, such as a malty ale or a stout or a red wine, or I may add some chunks of fat bacon cut from the piece rather than rashers, but yes, that's pretty much how a decent beef stew is made.
     
  11. At the risk of incurring the wrath of some of you, I would like see recipes posted please. I have been cooking for 40 years, I am a good cook but there is no denying that I, and I know I am not alone, sometimes fall into a culinary rut. I would love to be inspired to try different things especially middle eastern dishes.
    So please give me ideas and the recipe to go with them. Mr C would be most grateful!
     
  12. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Not in the least, nick. Just doing my bit, in my way, to keep it interesting, as you also do in your own way. If my posts don't interest people, they won't respond. If posters prefer to discuss one particular aspect of cooking there will be more threads about it. My view is that it's better to have a balance and encourage people to think about food in general. It's one view among many. Don't dismiss my experiments with apple sauce until you've tried it though. If people hadn't experimented in the past, there wouldn't have been such a diverse variety of foods available to be enjoyed.
     
  13. anon468

    anon468 New commenter

    For a lovely, velevety soup, which is very quick, very tasty and vegan (although you'd never know it), take 4 good sized sweet potatoes (750g~), peel and chop them. Chop two medium onions (or 1 large one) and smash 3 or 4 cloves of garlic.
    Slosh a bit of olive oil in a pan (about a tablespoon is about right) and soften the onion gently for about 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Bung in the sweet potatoes and add a few fresh rosemary leaves. Cover with about a litre of vegetable stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 mins (until the sweet potato is soft).
    Roughly blend with a hand blender and serve.
    Yum, yum!
     
  14. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    Personally, if I want a recipe I'll ask for it and there is no shame in doing that. I've posted recipes when I've been asked for them and am more than happy to continue doing so.
    @modelmaker - when making a beef stew I also like to coat my meat in seasoned flour and then brown it. I always deglaze it with red wine/beef stock (made with an oxo cube!) and scrape the bits of the bottom with a wooden spoon - these are what give the dish its wonderful savouriness and richness...and make washing up the pan easier!
     
  15. There are plenty of recipes hidden within threads - it is just that most of us don't start a thread with the title "here is a recipe".
    Only very rarely.
    Usually recipes are posted on request - I reckon that is fairly normal.
     
  16. nick909

    nick909 Lead commenter

    Yes, this is, I think, what I was trying to say, yet put far more succinctly!
    I've read my post back and it looks a little confrontational, which wasn't my intention. Apologies if it looks that way, MM
     
  17. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Thanks, nick. I re-read your post several times to make sure I didn't take it confrontationally and concentrated on the message within. I don't take offence anyway, even in the cut and thrust of Opinion.
    Yes, it's true, recipes get posted when people ask for them and occasionally they occur burried at some point in threads. There are fewer though, nowadays than there were.
    What was in my mind when I began this thread is that posters will frequently discuss dishes that may be unfamiliar to others but merely do so by giving the name of the dish. Sure, we can look it up on Google if need be, but the likelihood is we'll find 1,000 variants that don't engage us with each other in the same way as sharing our personal way of cooking it.
    Secondly, if, for example, someone said they discovered beef stifado when they were in Greece and now cook it regularly it isn't obvious to the novice, non-travelled cook that it's not a million miles away from my stew. A quick scan through the ingredients of a recipe is more likely to reveal you have the ingredients available and give it a go yourself, then go back to the thread and compare notes how you got on with it.
    These are only my observations and suggestions for enhancing the experience of visiting the forum. They are not demands for change.
     
  18. Maybe you do have a point, MM - I think many of us here are so used to cooking, we tend to forget to actually post a recipe, as we think (well I do) that we are teaching others to suck eggs.
    But we do have new posters and we do have posters who maybe have not been cooking for decades.
    Maybe we should start a thread called "recipes" and ask TES to make it a sticky at the top? That way we could all just add recipes to it as and when and it would mean others don't have to search the forum so much to find our little ditties?

     
  19. lapinrose

    lapinrose Lead commenter

    No probs, I'll sort out my recipes and post them for you.

    Lamb and chicken are the usual meats and cumin, coriander, cardamom the most common spices. North African food is similar but quite different, if that makes sense!!
     

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