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Simple Things You Put Effort Into Making Perfectly


Gotters
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Carbonara.

I keep it simple with no garlic, parsley, onion, cream or milk.

Just Panchetta ( wife and son didn't like guanciale ) eggs, black pepper and parmigiano or pecorino.

So simple and quick, but needs to be judged just right when you mix it with the cooked spaghetti.

So satisfying when it comes out just right, beautiful and creamy.

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Next on my list, roast spuds. I think roast spuds are like sense of humour on dating sites, everybody thinks theirs are great.

 

The fussiness over this is from the off with choice of spud, you can make good roasts with just technique but great roasts need spud & technique in harmony

 

Current fave potatoes are Natoora Fontaine's on Ocado, like Yukon Gold's too.

 

Peel & chop into big pieces then place into cold seasoned water & bring to boil and simmer for about 12m til just soft on outsides, drain then steam dry over a low flame before shaking pan to rough them up but not so much they collapse. 

 

I favour a mix of duck fat and olive oil and tend to find that additions like fresh herbs or garlic burn at heat needed for good roasts - fat needs to get hot in fan oven at about 200c and give the potatoes a good rolling in it all over. I give them a shuffle and turn every 15m or so and at about the half hour mark give them a light squish with a potato masher to increase the surface cragginess and give even more crunch. 

 

In all they'll take about 1h-1h 15m to brown and crunch beautifully but varies from potato to potato down to sugar content I think, and your browning temp needed varies too often needed a final blast at a hotter 220c to finish off. 

 

The Fontaine's give an amazing textured crunchy surface that shatters and a soft almost melting inside. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Seems it's only me that obsesses over this stuff.

 

To back up my earlier claims on poached eggs here is one I made (and ate) just now - no swirling water, nothing in the water to contaminate it (vinegar, bicarb etc) just a nice free range egg sieved to get rid of the egg snot bit then very carefully put into barely simmering water for 3m30s. I know you can make the surface look super smooth and perfect in a boiling pouch or those egg simmering cups but for that perfect poached texture the egg needs direct contact with the water, otherwise it's more of a boiled egg and the white is tougher.

 

Screenshot_10_09_2021__12_35.jpg.ab06af5ada6a684fbf83c7bb9b8e026c.jpg

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I’m like this with Baked Beans. I can’t just warm them up like most people, I have to gently reduce the sauce and add both butter and a small amount of marmite. This makes them thick, rich, and luxurious, and they also stay put on the plate. I hate it when people just put barely warmed beans on your plate in a sea of pallid bean juice. 
 

I favour Branston as my bean brand of choice too. Heinz Schmeinz.

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I thought that was just me with beans, I do the blob of butter and add a good pinch of salt & sugar, to make them taste 'like they used to'

 

Microwaving is a last resort, the preference like you is to simmer on the hob and really thicken them up.

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If you microwave beans the day before, and then do it again on the day you end up eating them, they tend to be nice and thick and unctuous. I did not find this out by forgetting about some beans I microwaved whilst drunk, and then used up the next day, let me assure you...

 

 

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8 hours ago, MarkN said:

If you microwave beans the day before, and then do it again on the day you end up eating them, they tend to be nice and thick and unctuous. I did not find this out by forgetting about some beans I microwaved whilst drunk, and then used up the next day, let me assure you...

 

 

 

I was only looking up yesterday about how long you can leave warm food out for, and they said that after 2h it's in the 'danger zone' as a breeding ground for all sorts of nasties.

 

I'm sure drunken you chilled them quickly before reusing the next day of course.

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Just a very minor one, but I've just made a tomato sauce for a pizza base from tinned toms, and I always and only ever use whole plum tomatoes, and then smoosh them down as I'm cooking them, or blitz them at the end (same for every recipe that calls for tinned toms). Never cans of chopped tomatoes. They don't taste as nice. The extra effort in smooshing, or blitzing is worth it.

 

I don't trust my palette particularly much on many things, but on this I'm sure. (It helps that back when I first noticed, a guy who was trying to make the perfect pizza said exactly the same thing - possibly confirmation bias on my part, but I liked the cut of that guy's jib...)

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  • 1 month later...

I made a brisket today but we were struggling for a side (hadn’t planned ahead much) so thought we’d try our hand at roast potatoes. I can’t recall ever having made them before, but they came out really well, with a few of your tips above pinched, Gotters. I have no idea what potatoes we used, and we used butter and olive oil, but were very pleased with how they turned out. I feel like I’m opening myself up to critique by posting a pic given we did not Put Effort Into Making them Perfectly, but hey ho:

 

NGP3xQP.jpg

 

They are likely to be a staple over the winter, hopefully with some refinement along the way.

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The only critique would be they are a bit pale. I don't really like roasting potatos in a glass tray, they seem to get crispier in a steel sheet pan.

I actually went to the effort of making proper roast potatos this weekend, I dont' have a picture because they were munched down in seconds but they were par-boiled at breakfast time with a bit of bicarb to fluff up the outside, left to cool for the whole day and then cooked in a mix of ground nut oil and butter. They were perfectly golden and crispy all over and like mashed potato in the middle. 

 

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20 minutes ago, Gaz said:

The only critique would be they are a bit pale. I don't really like roasting potatos in a glass tray, they seem to get crispier in a steel sheet pan.

 

yup, one of the things you really get as a cook the more you do it is how the vessel/pan can impact the end result even if everything else is the same, all heat is not transferred equally.

 

the identical bacon cooked in a cast iron skillet will not have the same texture as if done on non-stick.

 

agree with your point here about glass for roasting - I do like the enamelled trays for things like roasting veggies, really get the heat into them on the underside, for roast spuds I like a metal tray and the cleanliness do line it with a bit of parchment or foil

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I've not quite perfected my potato technique but in the spirit of the thread what's working very well for me is sous vide first. Just a little bit of hot water to thin out butter and get it coated, bit of salt, maybe rosemary.

 

I did try without water and though in theory it's good not to 'wash out' all the potato flavour i think it actually didn't make them as soft as they could be.

 

They get a long amount of time like that to be not quite mashy but basically cooked, and then I finish them off in goose fat in my air fryer. We've got a Ninja Foodi Max thing so rather than a tiny area it's a decent baking tray size, and since it has roast and fry I roast them a bit, then change setting to fry at the last minute.

 

It's working pretty well but the other side of it is because it's no-where near the oven I've got more ability to coordinate the rest of the roast, yorkshires, etc. I bloody love the NFM. 

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need some pics please @cowfields curious to see the end result of the sous vide air fryer technique. I'm interested in the sous vide stage, can see how the lack of water in the spuds helps not wash out flavour but do the surfaces go fluffy to give the craggy bits ?

 

there was a good Sorted vid on roast spuds the other day, lots of technique points to pick up - I was most curious in the par-boiling stage being done with aromats and in stock, not water.

 

 

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I think that's why the sousvide thing can work is it spends a lot of time with aromatics and salt and it's time for things to be absorbed in. My Anova only goes to something like 92 degrees anyway so it's relatively gentle to do for a long time. 

 

As for fluffy, you can just ruffle them in a sieve or something. I wouldn't full air fryer them, just because they aren't chips so you don't want them to taste like fried food, it's just an extra little burst after roasting, while it's already in the device. But I'll definitely report back when I've had a chance to give them a go. 

 

Not really eating potatoes at the moment because we're on a bit of a keto diet trip until Christmas excess. But I will need to do a couple of trial runs before the big Christmas Dinner Day so, I have to do them at some point soon...

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/08/2021 at 09:05, Gotters said:

Next on my list, roast spuds. I think roast spuds are like sense of humour on dating sites, everybody thinks theirs are great.

 

The fussiness over this is from the off with choice of spud, you can make good roasts with just technique but great roasts need spud & technique in harmony

 

Current fave potatoes are Natoora Fontaine's on Ocado, like Yukon Gold's too.

 

Peel & chop into big pieces then place into cold seasoned water & bring to boil and simmer for about 12m til just soft on outsides, drain then steam dry over a low flame before shaking pan to rough them up but not so much they collapse. 

 

I favour a mix of duck fat and olive oil and tend to find that additions like fresh herbs or garlic burn at heat needed for good roasts - fat needs to get hot in fan oven at about 200c and give the potatoes a good rolling in it all over. I give them a shuffle and turn every 15m or so and at about the half hour mark give them a light squish with a potato masher to increase the surface cragginess and give even more crunch. 

 

In all they'll take about 1h-1h 15m to brown and crunch beautifully but varies from potato to potato down to sugar content I think, and your browning temp needed varies too often needed a final blast at a hotter 220c to finish off. 

 

The Fontaine's give an amazing textured crunchy surface that shatters and a soft almost melting inside. 

 

After my wife got hooked on your food prepping thread, I promised I would give these a go.  And man, they were good!  Absolutely perfect crunch and fluffy as hell in the middle.  I only did them about 45 mins and they were spot on.

 

So now, I need you to hook me up with an equally excellent method for the accompanying roast chicken.  Pretty please?

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Glad you liked the roast spuds @criminal, they really are the thing that makes a roast dinner for me.

 

I'm not much use on roasting a whole chicken, rarely done it as for a chicken roast dinner I prefer the ease of the white breast meat, bones and taking things apart always been a weak spot in my cooking skills. I spatchcocked a couple of turkeys in the past on the bbq.

 

I do chicken breast fillets (just salt them or a nice tweak is something called Lawreys seasoned salt). It's a hot fast cook, higher heat than they advise on the packs for less time. A typical supermarket size fillet will cook lovely and juicy in only 20ish mins in a hot 210-220c fan oven - timings are approx with size and your own oven of course, use a temp probe to be sure. Hot & fast cooks it thru and doesn't dry it out at all, which with a lean cut is what you want. 

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  • 3 months later...

After a short 5 month break we had another go at the roast potatoes, and used Heston Blumenthal's YouTube vid, so boiled until they were nearly mush, let them harden up and then "20 minutes longer than when you think they're done" in the oven. The ones I posted above were really tasty but really pale. Today they were dark and had that glass like crunch he talks about in his video. We scoffed them all before I could take a pic, but they were amazing.

 

Neither I nor my wife grew up eating roast potatoes so feel like we've suddenly discovered what the fuss is all about.

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A good roast potato is a thing of absolute beauty.

 

But I think so many people haven't experienced it l. The number of people I hear raving about such and such a carvery or whatever and I see their photos of insipid pale toasties. I feel so so sorry for them.

 

It should be a cloud wrapped in a casing of crunchy ecstasy that should be dark golden brown and no less than a few mm thick. This isn't just a slightly browned skin it's a crunchy blanket that envelopes the fluffy almost mash in the middle. It must shatter as your teeth push into it.

 

And the funny thing... It's pretty trivial. Yes there are a few little tricks that make it so but it is more technique than boil then roast. It just takes a little care at the right points. After par boiling (I don't bother going beyond soft outers really) smash them a little in the pot by putting a lid on and shaking. Add oil (don't be stingy) to the pot and shake gently again. Poor onto a hot baking tray. Put in oven until done. God knows how long. It doesn't really matter (just not really low). Ballpark 30 mins but sometimes longer. The key about toast potatoes imo, and particularly cooking them as part of a roast is respect. They take as long as they take. A roast feels like it is about timing everything to come together at the end. But it's really about letting each thing be the best it can be. Find ways to keep things warm until everything is ready to create a much more relaxed end to the cooking experience.

 

It's too early to cook roast potatoes isn't it 😭

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I don't think I've ever had a 'good' roast potato out in a restaurant or pub, just degrees of disappointing. Only my mum ever home cooked a decent roast spud that I've been given also.

 

They aren't hard but do just need a little bit of care and respect to make them exceptional. I've got to the point where there are the 'over faff' methods, with bicarb, flavoured oil but my preferred method is low faff and I'm willing to do them for a mid-week dinner, not kept special for weekends.

 

Been using Harry & Percy roasting spuds from Ocado - they are a good company and sell spuds tailored to a use (roasters, mashers etc)

 

 

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