• Location: Cambridge, UK

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White Sauce Can't Clump: How to Make Smooth, Silky B├ęchamel

Can someone help me debug my bechamel? Sometimes when I make it it comes out absolutely fine, and other times no matter how much I simmer and stir at the end, the texture looks nice but the flavour is very "raw flour"y, as if undercooked. No amount of whisking, simmering and seasoning can take the slight raw, powdery flavour out of it and I have to settle for a slightly disappointing sauce... Any ideas?

Cook the Book: 'Hiroko's American Kitchen'

Marinating meats and fish in soy, sugar, and ginger for something teriyaki inspired.

Also tempura. A light batter improves most of the things I'm usually tempted to batter!

Video: The Food Lab's Foolproof Hollandaise in 2 Minutes

This is pretty much how I've always done Hollandaise! (but with a food processor because I don't own a hand blender.) I consulted the Delia Smith recipe when I first looked for one and basically haven't deviated far since.

I always heated the lemon juice as well, but I guess it's not really necessary. :)

Cook the Book: 'Vegetable Literacy' by Deborah Madison

Broccoli and bell peppers, sizzle until charred on the griddle pan, splash of water in the pan to allow the insides to steam through, then drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil. Mmm...

How to Make Perfect Easter Eggs

The egg shell might be itself basic enough to dye the egg blue?

What went wrong with my chocolate mousse?

Thanks. I'll try whipping the whites more next time!

What went wrong with my chocolate mousse?

I'd left it in the fridge for 4-5 hours by that point, so it should have been cool, I think. The chocolate was thoroughly melted. I think I was scared of over-whipping and the egg whites might have been a bit under, but I'm not sure if that would have made it *sticky*...

The chocolate was thoroughly melted. If anything it was probably too hot. Could stickiness have happened if the egg yolks started cooking from the very warm chocolate?

Chichi's Chinese: Pearly Meatballs

Any chance we could get a cooked photo? I'd love to pin these :)

Chichi's Chinese: Twice-Cooked Pork

Love this meal. One of my absolute favourite dishes. You'll find that different regions of the country have slightly different takes on the dish (though of course the Sichuan is the most authentic), so it doesn't really matter precisely what sauce or what veg you use - as long as it's sweet, complex and/or spicy, it's probably ok. My favourite version uses more vegetables (Chinese cabbage and peppers) which turn delicious with the fat. My family are less good with spice and they make a fantastic garlic-black bean version.

It's the technique that counts :)

Dear Hosts/Hostesses, Please Learn This Simple Rule.

This phenomenon applies not only to restaurants and not only to wait times, it's called the "Planning Fallacy" and literally everyone commits it. It's really hard to accurately predict when you can get /anything/ done, and everyone always makes the estimate for "all things going well" even when things are more likely than not to go wrong.

An easy example is saying "it will take me 15 minutes to get to this place, so I will leave 15 minutes." If 15 minutes is the best-possible estimate then you will always be late. Even if 15 minutes is the average amount of time it takes, you'll still be late half the time.

This is the reason that I always add at least 25% to my initial estimate for how long things take.

Chichi's Chinese: An Ode to Chinese Cold Noodles

*sigh* I miss nutty noodles. My OH has a nut and peanut allergy, and Sichuanese food kind of gets screwed over by that. Is there any way of using seedy replacements for the nuts and peanuts? (I'm thinking chopped pine kernels with extra sesame seeds?) Might more creative options like toasted chickpea bits work?

Chain Reaction: Pizza Hut Cheesy Bites Pizza

The accessibility issue with crown pizzas disappears if you actually sit down and eat it with a knife and fork. (I think about 50% of Brits do this?)

That doesn't solve the flavour problem though...

We Try 25 Kinds of Oreo

When I was in China on holiday I came across the most amazing wafer stick oreos: layers of chocolate wafer cookies with standard and chocolate Oreo fillings, covered with a thick layer of chocolate. Standard Oreos were too sickly for the searing summer heat, but these were perfect and fluffy and light and amazing.

Also, strawberry Oreos. So good. Do they seriously not do them where you are?!

The Chinese have Oreos sorted...


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