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Simple Things You Put Effort Into Making Perfectly


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As per the title what are the things you like to put effort into to execute them as well as possible despite them being quite simple/humble dishes ?

 

There is a certain elegance in a perfectly executed poached egg on toast which elevates it way beyond some misshapen floaty white thing with a solid yolk on a bit of toaster sliced white, I got obsessed during lockdown with cooking the poachie itself as when done well they are amazing. 

 

I like Gails sourdough (you can get on Ocado or direct from their shops) for the toast cooked under a grill, a nice sea salted cornish butter (M&S) and a high quality fresh golden yolked egg. 

 

To cook the poachie I don't want vinegar or anything foreign in the water, not necessary and taints it. The key is to sieve the egg in tea strainer or small sieve to lose the runniest white, leaving just the firm bit, you then drop this very gently into a pan of lightly simmering water (no bubbles) for 3m 30s. A good fresh egg will see the white form round the yolk and swirling the water isn't really necessary. 

 

Next one for now is a bacon roll - my formula is sheldons muffin pan white rolls, sainsbury's taste the diff unsmoked streaky, M&S cornish butter again and Tiptree ketchup (not washed out & flavourless like Heinz has become). 

 

The bacon is cooked in a cast iron pan til all the fat crisped up and rendered and then drained on paper towel, and the final kicker to elevate the sandwich is to fry off half the roll in the residual bacon fat - adds loads of flavour and crunch to the dish. 

 

Bacon roll perfection.

 

Who else goes to lengths to source and deliver perfection for simple dishes/drinks ?

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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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