• Location: United Kingdom
  • Favorite foods: Hakka cuisine, mei cai, abacus seeds, Singaporean food, laksa, zi char, nasi lemak, hokkien mee, beef burgers, pau, kopi roti, Taiwanese Shilin market food, matcha ice cream, pistachios, century egg, taramasalata, frijoles negros

what to do with frozen mussel meat?

Breaded and deep fried, like mussel poppers! Goes wonderfully with ranch sauce.

We Try Four Exclusive Peep Flavors for Easter

Skewered like rotisserie chicken, that's how I like them. Rotisserie peeps by the stove, because I'm creative like that.

Multicolored carrots - Easter recipe ideas?

having it sliced in a casserole dish like ratatouille would look fabulous!

What To Do With Leftover Pork Roast

I use cut strips to make fried glass noodles (japchae). Excellent with sesame seeds.

Cottage pie (or just pie), hash, nacho dip, dumplings, served in Chinese buns, shredded in a stew (I am thinking chorizo, smoked paprika, mixed peppers)

What's for breakfast these days?

3 poached eggs with hot sauce, two spoonfuls of baked beans.

Open Thread: White Chocolate, Yay or Nay?

Yay yay yay yay yay. I love the high cocoa butter content ones with Madagascan vanilla seeds scattered all throughout. M&S used to have one but recently they've taken it down from the shelves. Each wee piece in the bar looked peppered with vanilla. So good.

Cook the Book: Lonely Planet's 'The World's Best Spicy Food'

Slipping when adding some Encona hot pepper sauce to my poached eggs. That was more than 4 tablespoonfuls. It was electrifying.

What's your favorite way to prepare cauliflower?

Deep fried, after being cooked in salted water. Deep brown, nutty, fantastic. Goes so well with garlicky hummus.

Also, piccalilli.

Food-related deal breakers when dating?

I have a severe lactose intolerance problem myself, so it's a large food group / ingredient out of the question for me. (I just have to enjoy it myself, on my own, in my temporary gas chamber ... sorry.) It's frustrated foodie BFs, especially one who loves gelato. (But between discomfort and being excluded there isn't an easy choice.)

I hate to say this but the real dealbreaker is making food out to be purely technical equipment for bodybuilding. Previous BF's who only ate protein shakes and power bars and energy gels really spread their anxiety to me, and their regimented diets with no pleasure really killed the affection.

Taste Test: We Try Every Flavor of Cheez-It Crackers

@berroci - "I've had Cheezas; the first time I tried them (the blue cheese type) I was really impressed, but each time after that I became more and more disappointed. "

I know what you mean, the first 3 are crazy cheesy. The rest are cheesy crackers, as if your palate has surrendered to the onslaught.

Glad to hear your opinion on this, I've not considered the sugar before. You've definitely hit on something because Asian snacks bore me after a little graze, perhaps its the sugar hit!

Now you've made me all curious about Cheez-its. Nothing like that in the UK I reckon? :-(

Taste Test: We Try Every Flavor of Cheez-It Crackers

Niki, have you tried Cheeza from Japan? Those are SERIOUSLY cheesy - about 50% cheese! I've never tried Cheez-its so I can't comment, but I'd like to know if Cheez-its are stronger than Cheeza.

I *loved* the camemberu and blue cheese ones!!

Photo of the Day: 'Undead Gaffigan' from Zombie Burger in Des Moines, Iowa

"The burger is a collaboration with the comedian, who visited visited the restaurant in 2012."

Manner Matters: Playing the Dating Game

1. Ask about dietary requirements.
2. Ask about favoured flavours and cuisines.
3. Pick a time.
4. Check menus, wine list, etc. Have a little discussion about the food.
5. Agree on the price (give three potential candidates of different price, let her pick). Be aware you may be expected to pay.
6. Make reservation
7. Make food and conversation the focus.

Roti, Shark, and Buss-Up Shot: Get to Know the Trinidadian Food of NYC

"Both are essential to the flavor of Tini dishes."

Trini surely?

What's Your Biggest Gripe About New York Restaurants?

Overpriced healthy/healthier options. Pricing sometimes not remotely related to whether it will fill you up.

Hollendaise Sauce

I bet they just make a mayonnaise of sorts, add butter flavouring, some lemon essence and salt and pepper...

Let's vent, shall we?

I've only got beef with people who overcook udon noodles (they split) or rice (sludge), but the stories here are immense!

I laughed at the avocado peeler! Maybe he was on a low fat crusade too!

Watch Dennis Lee Dig Himself Into a Hole of Loneliness As He Eats By Himself at White Castle

Dennis, your smile cracks me up! Anyway, your name is spelt as "Dannis" at the end of the video, thought you might want to correct that.

Are Shooter's Sandwiches Really Worth a Damn?

@Werefrog - here's a veggie one on Reddit:

Are Shooter's Sandwiches Really Worth a Damn?

I think it's just like a massive unheated panini.

Lunchbox-Friendly Vegetarian Food

I'll try to work with the things you didn't confirm he'd reject. Tofu...kebabs? Anything on a stick usually works. Rice and olives, vegan-mayo potato salad. rice cakes? polenta and mushrooms?

I'm just asking to confirm this - does the "non-meat" kosher requirements extend to fish? I know fully that fish = animals = meat, but I'm not sure about the kosher bit.

Ramping up for the season. The countdown to ramp madness begins

Rampscallion pancakes!

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Love the cat pictures! All melty now.

The Food Lab Lite: The Best Spanish-Style Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo)

Garlic and shrimp! So much love. Kenji, is there a specific garlic type to use? I've found my garlic comes basically in an all-white variety and one with a pink inner skin (more moist?). The former is spicier while the latter has a ... greasier, sweeter smell. Which would go better with your tapas dish?

Taste Test: British Digestives

Have to report that Sainsbury's has repackaged and reformulated (the size is different now! Much larger and thinner) its digestive biscuits. I am understandably devastated.

Sous vide recipes?

Following Kenji's reviews on the immersion circulators, I've got one for my SO - a pity however that SE doesn't have more sous vide recipes!

Anybody here has ace recipes they've tried to share? There are so many different timings and amounts about the interwebs that I would really appreciate if there was a formula for calculating cooking time based on weight / protein content / temperature of water bath.

If you've done SV, do share your best recipe!

XLB technique in burgers?

Had a decent, but tad dry burger today. Came across XLB article on SE (chinese soup dumplings).

Has anybody tried applying the gelatinous soup stock mince from XLB onto burger patties to create moisture on top of fat?

Meat juices brown so well when seared, so I'm wondering if this could be an amazing idea...

The hit-or-miss nature of soft cheese

I've bought lots of brie and camembert, frequently for social functions where I prep a cheeseboard with a selection of crackers. However, some days the brie is nowhere as gooey as it ought to be, with a crumbly sour feta-like heart, other days it is amazing. Same goes for camembert - the Le Rustique wheel was almost damp to the touch and its core was utterly liquid. What gives? Why is it so inconsistent? Any way to ensure it's always soft?

Thanks :-)

Sauerkraut - live food?

Was making a sauerkraut broth when it occurred to me that the heat might have 'killed' all the goodness in it - doesn't sauerkraut have lactobacillus or something that is making the lactic acid?

Is it still nutritious? Ought I worry?

Thanks :-)

How sweet do you like your caramelised onions?

Had some jammy ones, so sweet they were onions in syrup. Is it me or are they getting sweeter? Maybe I received too large a dollop in a sandwich. I like mine less sweet and even more savoury, probably when contacting dijon mustard.

What about you? Do you reckon they're too sweet?

Missing the how-to posts

I don't know if you feel the same, but I really miss the how-to posts on SE! I love the beautiful food-porny pics, but I'm a little sad they're moving to the magazine ...

Do you feel the same?

Do you have any suggestions for how-to posts?

I'd love for a kind of classification for posts that distinguish basic skills, intermediate, and advanced skills. I'm an amateur cook that can follow recipes, but my groundwork isn't all that good - at the same time I love reading about advanced skills too.

If a sort of timeline bar graph can be made for recipes showing what prep times overlap, with the "active task" highlighted in green colour or something it would be AMAZING. For example, if something is simmering while you're prepping the garnish or cooking the pasta it would be great help. (Sorry, I'm kind of stupid.)

If recipes could also be sorted by what tools are required, it would be great too! In Japan for example, while there are lots of interesting tools (e.g. takoyaki pan, fish grill) in a usual house, there just isn't an oven... Sorry to digress

Unconventional preferences

Don't get me wrong, I love a juicy burger.

But once, after my friend did the cooking, they were totally dark-brown, Maillard-to-the-extreme discs of beef, smashed and cobbled at the side, totally well done (she pressed the edges to "make it bigger").

I loved it. Thin, salty and beefy, it was probably a third of an inch and completely crusted. She's better with woks.

I know, it goes against all the juicy burger press... some might not even call it a burger!

Anything you prefer against convention?

Your menu ordering style?

When I order from a menu, I'm nearly almost always an optimiser. It's as if there's a multiple-axis scale I want to fulfil: Craving, Healthy, Tasty, Value, Variety... etc. This means I take forever to figure out what I want at a restaurant.

I frequently go for anything slow-cooked (I may not have the time) or something cooked with specific equipment, or exotic ingredients I wouldn't be able to get or prepare on the same scale.

I tend to analyse the menu to figure out the kitchen inventory and what's special about the Specials.

Talk about analysis paralysis!

My boyfriend is the 'tried and tested', or 'utterly uncharted territory'. That's his value proposition.

What's your menu ordering style?

Do you enjoy strategising or analysing when ordering food?

Whiter than white bread in Japan

One of the interesting things I spotted in Japan was their propensity for refining food products from all over the world (and thus making it 'Japanese')

The classic sliced Wonderbread of Japan is shokupan, which comes in 6 or 8 slices without the crusted ends.

However, what really piqued my interest was a completely white loaf of shokupan - baked at a temperature without the classic brown ring!

And this wasn't all - dinner rolls, completely white too. Impossibly soft Japanese bread :-)

These buns are really popular and form a good base for other sorts of Japanese bread pastries

What's wrong with cheap spaghetti?

A flatmate tasked me to buy him some spaghetti, and being college students on a shoestring budget I naturally purchased the supermarket basics brand at 19p per pack. Now, I know not all wheat or spaghetti brands are made the same, but is there any particular glaring defects with cheap spaghetti?

He remarked, "This is very cheap spaghetti," while poking it about in the pot. Seemed to slurp down the spaghetti alla carbonara without any ill-effects and even remarked that sometimes he even surprises himself.

Is there anything wrong with cheap spaghetti? On the other hand, what are the appreciable differences with more expensive brands?

Describe the smell of natto

It's almost summer. Hot day, and I left a parcel of natto out to defrost. Forgot about it and left the house. As I was entering the flat, my elderly lady neighbour told me there was a horrible smell coming from the open kitchen window.

"I think you have a dead rat," she confided. I invited her in and lo and behold, it was the natto. She was not impressed I can tell you!

What does natto smell like to you? It smells like sweaty feet and deliciousness to me :-)

Frozen skinless salmon fillets

I bought a bag of these things and immediately regretted it after taking one out to bake. I was looking for a cheaper alternative to those lovely fat fillets with skin on ... yes, I've learnt a hard lesson about price and quality.

These turn out so dry and nasty!

Any recipes on how to make them even mildly palatable? Should I defrost them? Put them in a wellington or pot pie? I'd hate to waste the lot :( I'm on a college student budget.

P.S. I am lactose/allium/cruciferous veg intolerant.

Looking forward to your suggestions! Thanks :-)

Lactose intolerance, how to deal with it?

I'm 22 and in the span of the last 3 years, my tolerance for dairy has dramatically reduced to the point my belly gurgles and hurts (gas) about 2 hours after eating anything made with milk.

This includes:
Flat white
Creamed soups
Quiche (???)
Whey shakes
Any pastry creams

Of course, I can handle 4 squares of chocolate, but anything beyond that is giving me daily trouble! Eating out is fraught with difficulties as I believe the lactose amounts accumulates.

Does anyone suffer from lactose intolerance or have good ideas how to manage it, or look up lactose data? The effects vary in severity greatly so it is really difficult to predict the response and it's preventing me from going to social gatherings for fear I will get that dreaded gas. :(

Supermarket seafood and the meaning of Fresh

*I live in the UK, so this may not be the same as in the US*

I've been wondering lately if the 'fresh' seafood and prawns I get, (deshelled) are actually 'fresh'. I wonder that about the salmon fillets they sell in pairs in the package too. What does "fresh" mean if these produce have been frozen for transport? When does something stop being fresh by virtue of being frozen for a bit longer, and why does seafood sold in this form cost a lot more than its cousins in the freezer section?

In the UK we've got lots of ready meals - chicken tikka masala, spag bol, etc. The ready meals that are being sold 'fresh', I suspect, are no different from the ones in the freezer, albeit having been defrosted.

Are we paying a premium for the illusion of freshness? SE'ers who work in supermarkets, do you know?

What's your favourite/disliked fat?

Asking this question because I was offered a taste of my flatmate's goose-fat roasted potatoes and I had a strong response ... YUCK. Overwhelming smelly rancid sesame-oil bird poo smell for me. I had to spit it out.

I know that as humans we're all wired to enjoy fatty foods and that fat is an important contributor to mouthfeel and the solubility of complex flavour compounds. But fats aren't made equal, and our favourites differ... here's mine:

My favourite animal fats: Bacon, butter, bone marrow
My favourite vegetable fats: Coconut cream, sesame oil
Processed fats: Aioli, Kewpie mayo, chili in oil, hollandaise

Most disliked: Rancid nut oils, goose fat, 'normal' white mayonnaise, olive oil 'creamed' spinach eugh, lard cakes

What's yours? Do you reckon there's a reason for our preferences?

Melted fudge sweets -> Brandy snaps?

I cut up some cornish dairy fudge (they look like toffees but don't stick to teeth) and put them as a topping to my pudding in hopes it would melt and glaze it. It did, but on the edges of the tin it turned to a sticky flat brandy snap-like candy.

Does anybody know if this is a shortcut to making brandy snaps?

Fizzy salsa?

A pot of salsa I made and left in the fridge for a week turned fizzy. Is it still edible? Has anybody tried salsa like this? Is it by any chance a rural Mexican delicacy?

Hamburgers. Top or bottom bun?

Do you fancy the mouthfeel of a glazed, smooth top bun with teeth sinking into it, or the bottom bun that soaks juice?

I personally really fancy the top bun, especially when melted cheese and slippery burger sauce and lettuce insulate it from disintegration. I like the mouthfeel rather than the sog. The sesame seeds are awesome too. Now if I could have two top buns ...

Novice question about puff pastry

I have some trouble with puff pastry - sometimes it's crispy and flaky (usually so when made into cheese twists), other times it is doughy and somewhat like a flat croissant. Once I tried to make coconut-jam puff-pastry easy buns they completely collapsed into a flat cookie-like creation.

Why is it so inconsistent?

(I've always used storebought supermarket own-brand puff pastry)

Comments System Upgrade?

I recently quad-posted (or perhaps quintuple) on a thread and I'm really sorry about that! I just can't actually delete them. I don't want to spam and all but it'd be great if I could correct the error there. The message-posted cgi page never loaded so I refreshed a few times...

While we're on that topic, could we have nested comments so people can reply directly to a thread? It'd make all the @soandso easier to catch up on.

I would like info on the snap of a hot dog in reviews

All the dressings and capers, chiles, bacon-bits and what-not are fine and dandy, but what really does it for me is the snap. Say no more, snap's the word. Tell me about the snap.

Having grown up in Asia my exposure to hot dogs and sausages are meagre at best. British bangers this side of the pond are crusty and juicy with a coarse grind but just not 'bouncy' in the snap like a kielbasa, but rather crunchy-crisp and rippy.

On a scale of 1-10, 1 being biting cleanly through a flaccid cold supermarket 10cent frankfurter, and 10 being ... a hot pork intestine casing cheese-filled kielbasa (apologies if I don't know how snappy things can get), I'd like a snap-o-meter rating for all the hot dog reviews.

I'm saying this because I bought a Swiss-cervelat hot dog in and it ruined my day. That was a very fat supermarket frankfurter wrapped in a bread roll.

What do you think? Is a snap-o-meter useful?

How does slow-cooked beef get so brown?

The only times I've made slow-cooked beef, they came out light greyish brown, not unlike some corned beef. Sometimes they turn a bit browner, but not by much.

I had been eating into a steak and ale shortcrust pie here (Brit!) and I realised I have no idea how to make beef that deep and brown. Think a brown between the hue of dark chocolate and milk chocolate. I've loved slow cooked beef all my life in various forms - steak pie, beef brisket rice, ribs, rendang, but somehow have no idea how it's done.

How does it get so brown? Does anyone know? The brown isn't just on the outside but through the entire chunk of meat ...

Should we just allow some foods to die out?

I get it. Food means different things to everyone. There's subjective pleasure and favourites to be derived from the vast world of culinary wonders. But have you ever wondered if some things ... don't (really) have a place (any more) in our diets?

I'm not trying to be utilitarian, don't get me wrong. I'm just wondering if there should be a focus on quality, not quantity (or variety for the sake of variety).

Seared Short Rib Wraps from 'Family Table'

Today I'd like to present an argument in favor of lettuce wraps. Sure, they have a reputation for being a vehicle for ho-hum, low-carb and bland diet food, but there's no reason they need to stay in such a category. Once filled with rich and spicy short ribs, soft and sticky white rice, and potent kimchi as they are in Michael Romano and Karen Stabiner's Family Table, the humble Bibb lettuce leaf transforms into the best sort of wrap. They're strong enough to contain its filling, yet supple and mild enough to not overpower their contents. It's the best excuse to eat with your hands. These particular short rib wraps are super easy to throw together: blend up a potent marinade and let the boneless rib meat drink up its flavor for a couple of hours (or more if need be), heat a heavy pan, and sear away. More

The Food Lab Lite: Pasta with Crab, Tomato, and Chilies

It's still snowing on and off in New York, but we're on the cusp of crabbing season, which probably explains why I've got crabs on the mind. It also helps that it's my wife's favorite seafood and she's about to embark on a six month west-coast sabbatical so I'm trying to squeeze in all the brownie points I can before she takes off for the sunnier climes. This dish, based on the spaghetti with crab and sea urchin at Marea fits the bill. More

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

It'd be a shame to pass over a described as a "masterpiece." Full stop. In Secrets of the Best Chefs, Adam Roberts is totally enamored of Melissa Clark's recipe development process. And his adoration is most evident in his headnote to Clark's recipe for Seared Duck Breast with Garam Masala and Grapes. It's a relatively simple recipe (duck breast gets an hour-long rest with garam masala and salt before being seared, finished in the oven, and topped with a pan sauce of grapes, cinnamon, and balsamic vinegar) with show-stopping results. More

Dinner Tonight: Spiced Butternut Squash, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad

Main dish salads are tricky to pull off, especially around this time of year when you can't just dump a butch of ripe tomatoes into a bowl with lettuce and call it a dinner. With autumn here, a little extra effort is required. But it also means the results can be even more soulful and satisfying. That's especially true for this salad from Bon Appétit, which mixes roasted butternut squash with French green lentils. More