Saturday, May 12, 2012

Using our hands

It's funny how people regard nice penmanship as something extraordinary, considering that writing is one of the first things we are taught in school.

I wonder if that is how certain cultures think of the rest of us who gawk in amazement as they use their hands when dining and never lose a grain of rice between their fingers. Veshali Visvanaath, Marketing Director of Muthu's Curry once said to me, "It's amazing that people can use foreign objects to bring food to their mouths - knives, forks, chopsticks - but have such a hard time using their very own hands to eat."

I admittedly am guilty of not being able to scoop rice and curry into my hands with any real grace.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How to make the perfect scrambled eggs [video]

After a lengthy post describing how to make the perfect scrambled eggs for a crowd, I always meant to make a follow up video on making them.  My friend known as Yongfook, the dapper Brit-Singaporean, brilliant home cook got around to doing it recently.  I'll have to say, he (or his hands) have much more camera-suave than I do, and more importantly, he demonstrates it correctly.

Check it out.  And ladies, he's single.  You can tweet him here for a date.

Here are some tips from the last time I wrote about eggs.  Yongfook demonstrates a less fussy, but nonetheless delicious version in the video, so take and choose the tips that make what you think are the perfect eggs:
  • Use a heavy pan with a nonstick coating.  You want an even distribution of heat.
  • Use low heat.  Patience will pay off.
  • Warm the pan before adding a bit of oil, then the butter.  The oil will raise the temperature at which butter burns.  Using clarified butter will help immensely as well.  You don’t want your butter to burn.
  • Yes, there is a remarkable taste and texture difference between grade levels and between the standard eggs and free-range or organic eggs.  I'm not one of those organic health freaks, so I assure you there is an enormous difference when it comes to eggs.
  • Adding a tad of water to beaten eggs will already make your eggs come to life.  As they cook, the water turns to steam, causing them to puff.
  • If the eggs are cooking too fast, take the pan off the heat.  This seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how often this doesn’t occur to people.
  • Remove the eggs from the heat while still moist.  The hot pan will continue to cook the eggs and this will prevent overcooking.
  • Adding heavy cream or crème fraiche just as the eggs are almost finished cooking will turn your eggs into a delicious rich, creamy masterpiece.  Throw a bit of chopped chives over the top and look like a pro.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

[PRESS] Oriental Daily News, TASTE magazine, PCM, ImpulseFlyer

Some updates of the ones I know of so far.

On the Fly Video interview here.

TASTE magazine by Purple Sage
Find the full article here, it's also the article I referenced in this post last week, "Only a man of intelligence knows how to dine".   (Bio photo by Javad Namazie)

Oriental Daily News, Hong Kong

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

IKEA Meatballs not what they used to be

After the furniture, IKEA is best known for their meatballs.  I have friends who make an effort to drive out to IKEA (New York, New Jersey, Hong Kong, Singapore...) for the single purpose of eating two orders of 15 meatballs at a time.

Diehard IKEA meatball fans will be sad to know that the recipe has recently changed.  They've stated as such:

 Are these the same meatballs ?
"Well ... no actually they're not!"
Recently, the IKEA Food Services replaced the meatballs with ones that are made using better quality beef and pork mixed to a more traditional Swedish recipe.
The beef and pork are sourced from approved suppliers that operate to the highest quality export standards to ensure food is fresh & safe for consumption.
So if you’ve been wondering whether the meatballs look and taste different… you are right! They are different.
We hope to bring you a little bit closer to Sweden by serving you more authentic looking and tasting meatballs.
Smaklig måltid!

What the new meatballs look like:

The reformed meatballs are about 3/4 the size of the original and are slightly oblong - probably as a result of the softer density.  There is no longer a bouncy-texture to the bite and instead a mushier consistency, almost resembling meatloaf.

Usually, I ask the server to glop on an extra spoonful of lingonberry sauce.  This time around, I found the new meatball recipe less salty, less dry with less bite, resulting in not needing as much of the tart lingonberry sauce to balance it out.

 It's probably true that the ingredients are higher quality, and perhaps closer to what a real Swedish meatball might be in Sweden.  But if you're anything like me... let's just say I don't go to McDonald's because I think they have real burger standards, yet I get the McD's processed food cravings all the same.  If I want a real burger, I'll go to a proper restaurant or Shake Shack.

Verdict:  IKEA is not a nice restaurant, so they should just keep it cheap, keep it despicably delicious.  Maybe it's just my crave for the familiar, but I don't like this attempt at higher quality meatballs.  Give me my salty round balls.

(Thanks to Keith for alerting me to this meatball change - I see why he went on for 10 minutes straight about this preposterous "non-ball shaped meatBALLS!".)



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