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John Levon

Rigatoni with Mushroom Ragu, Fresh Mozzarella, and Truffle

Lamb Sausage with Pea Purée and Pea Sprouts

This tastes great, but in our house, one sausage would not be considered "dinner". A light lunch perhaps :)

Spicy Orecchiette With Tuna, Peas, and Lemon

Sounds deliciously simple!

Cilantro Fritters (Kothimbir Wadi)

Good flavours but I found these a bit dry...

Melissa Clark's Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes

Found this a bit too sweet ...

Perfect Pan Seared Pork Chops

"High heat" - my shallots just burned right up. Not sure how this could work?

Essentials: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Jamaican Beef Stew with Rice

Very nice. Steak sauce doesn't exist in the UK, so replaced with a mix of Worcester sauce and a bit of ketchup...

Dinner Tonight: Sweet Potato Salad with Caramelized Onions and Guajillo Chile Dressing

I don't know if there are typos, but this was pretty unpleasant. That's a LOT of oil (2.5 tbsp per portion) and you end up with really greasy, partially deep-fried, potato. Also, there's no way it was going to cook through in 10 minutes.

Flavour combo makes sense though...

Chinese Pepper Steak (Stir-Fried Beef with Onions, Peppers, and Black Pepper Sauce)

Far, far, too much sauce in this recipe. Washes away all the flavour of the tasty ingredients. Would halve or even third :/

Pork Tenderloin Cordon Bleu with Mushroom-Mustard Cream Sauce

Really tasty. I missed the 'meat mallet' bit, so was a bit confused about how to shape it, so ended up just rolling the tenderloin over once. Still worked fine. A bit of a shame that the crust gets damaged when removing the string, but never mind.

Also halved the recipe, so the oven part was only around 20 mins before hitting 62C.

Slow Cooker Pork Paprikash

Tasty, but there's no way this would feed 6 people round our way. We finished a 2lb joint (inc fat layer) between the two of us no problem.

Would maybe add more paprika next time.

The Food Lab Turbo: Creamy Brussels Sprouts Lasagna

This looks amazing. Want to make now.

Fennel Sausage with Wrinkled Grapes and Grape Extract

Really simple but very effective. Will definitely make again.

The Food Lab: Sautéed Green Beans With Mushrooms and Caramelized Cipollini Onions

Made this tonight, really good, but even halving the recipe, seemed like a crazy amount of green beans, so I ended up using a 1/4...

Naomi Duguid's Kachin Pounded Beef with Herbs

Seconded, we didn't find this recipe particularly tasty, and I'm not sure I'd make it again. An interesting technique though...

The Food Lab: Sautéed Green Beans With Mushrooms and Caramelized Cipollini Onions

Thanks! This sounds delicious already...

The Food Lab: Sautéed Green Beans With Mushrooms and Caramelized Cipollini Onions

Stupid question, what's the best way to re-heat it all if I'm doing it ahead of time?

Coffee-Rubbed Beef Brisket With Parsley Couscous

Nice flavours but temperature seems a bit high, our brisket dried out...

How to Carve Any Photograph Into a Pumpkin

That's amazing, but I'm 100% sure if I tried that, it'd just look like a big pile of pumpkin gook.

Tagliatelle with Basil and Egg Yolk

A bit disappointing, I would at least double the amount of basil - all of a large bunch at least.

Video: Kenji Tests Consumer Reports' Top-Rated Knives

Thanks YBBS, I'll try your suggestions... not sure who's good for sharpening in the UK :)

Video: Kenji Tests Consumer Reports' Top-Rated Knives

@YBBS - I have in the past, yes. Maybe I should try that again. Part of my problem is I can't figure out what angle I should be using for it:

http://www.kinknives.com/kinchef/kinchef-gyuto-knife-240mm-35.aspx

or what I should do on the other side (which isn't bevelled the same, so I think it's a one-sided knife).

or the global utility knife. I've seen anything from 10° to 30° ...

Video: Kenji Tests Consumer Reports' Top-Rated Knives

Knives are the bane of my life. I have what should be a couple of decent knives: a Kin chef's knife, and a global utility knife. Whilst I can get them reasonably sharp (nowhere near sharp enough to cut arm hair...), they both lose their edge incredibly quickly. I take care of them (storage, hand-clean, etc.), so I'm sure it's my knife sharpening technique... no matter how many videos I watch I can't get them really sharp, or get them to keep that edge. Bah.

Sesame Chicken and Eggplant

Nice. Why can't the eggplant brown in the microwave? Mine did (halved the amount as serving for 2) but it didn't seem to harm the final result.

can't rate recipes

Every time I try to rate a recipe (e.g. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/08/seared-cod-with-peas-pancetta-and-wilted-lettuce-petits-pois-a-la-francaise-recipe.html) it never appears in the posted comment.

Firefox 17.0.1 on Linux - any ideas?

Reducing sauces

When I follow a recipe for a sauce it often talks about reducing by half (or whatever) to "thicken". But that *never* happens to me - it simply doesn't change in consistency at all until I have about only a tablespoon left in the pan.

For a while I'd just presumed it was me lazily using supermarket liquid stock (e.g. http://www.waitrose.com/shop/ProductView-10317-10001-13303-Waitrose+Cooks%27+ingredients+chicken+stock)

but I recently made my own chicken stock, and that is pretty much the same (made from a roast chicken carcass).

Is there just a missing assumption here that the stock to use is heavy in gelatin? Or what?

Why don't supermarket stocks like the above thicken? Same goes for their beef.

I can always use a cornstarch slurry, but I'd like to understand why my experience doesn't match up with any of these recipes...

Thickening wine/stock sauces

Yet again I've followed a simple sauce reduction recipe (juniper berries, stock, wine, butter) and ended up with something that basically hasn't thickened at all. All these recipes read like the reducing step also thickens, but when it's just wine and stock, all that happens is I get less liquid - it stays the same consistency. The butter was supposed to thicken it, I suppose, but it didn't really seem to.

What can I be doing wrong?

The Food Lab: Homemade Mayo In 2 Minutes Or Less (Video)

If you've only ever known mayonnaise in the form of the quivering jellyish stuff that comes in the jars with the blue lid, you're doing yourself a disservice. Like switching from briefs to boxers or walking to Mordor, trying homemade mayonnaise is the kind of thing that will forever change your life (or at the very least, your sandwiches). Today, we do it in 2 minutes or less, with a 100% success rate. More