Hot summer days does not always mean BBQ…

After having Panzerotti with the kids for dinner last night I thought I should try and get a bit of health in me diet. One of my favourite salads is not one, not two, but yes seven layers of salad. There is something about the combination of flavours that just works.

Bring on the veg:
Vegetables for salad

So we have:
½ a cucumber
2 carrots
Some lettuce
Frozen peas

So how many frozen peas, or for that matter how much of anything to make the salad layers? The bowl I use has a lid and I use that as a measuring device. Enough peas, or anything else, to fill the lid will make a layer for the salad.

The other bits we will need are:
Other ingredients for salad
¼ cup mayonanaise
½ cup Salad Cream
A lid’s worth of Fusilli pasta
125g of Red Leicester Cheese

OK now we have all the ingredients together we need to start cooking. So put two pans of water on to boil and cook the peas and pasta per their cooking instructions. Meanwhile shred the lettuce and put it into the bottom of your serving dish.

Peel the carrots and grate them over the lettuce.
Press them down over the lettuce.

Remove the skin from the cucumber and then cut into ¼ inch cubes.

The peas and pasta should be done now so drain and rinse with cold water. Grate the cheese on top of the cucumber and press down.

Add the cooked and cooled pasta to the dish.

In a bowl combine the salad cream and mayonnaise. Then spread on top of the pasta like you were icing a cake.
Salad Cream and Mayo

Finally sprinkle the cooked peas on the top of the sauce.

This needs at least an hour in the fridge to get everything the same temperature and working together. Here is a side view.
7 Layer Salad

With some crackers this made me say yum all weekend, and somewhat healthy to boot!

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Sorry it has been…

way too long since I have written a blog. The last one was mid May. My defence is that starting with May it is supposed to be summer and BBQ season right? Well, in England we have been absolutely smashed up with rain. In some strange BBQ protest the Gulf Stream decide to go north for the beginning of the “English Summer”. Doesn’t it know that it is grim up North! It must have eaten a few too many pies and decided to come back down south for a bit of a trim up to look good on the beach, because we are finally getting some summer! What should I BBQ on this wonderful Saturday evening?

I had been accumulating some interesting smoking / BBQ devices that intrigued me. I got the Cedar ones for Christmas from The Roasting Plank Company.
Cedar Wood Papers

And the Cherry ones from my Weber Smoking Course goody bag.
Cherry Wood Papers

So about an hour before you want to cook put the papers and a couple of skewers
Paper and Skewers

into water to soak. It is best to put a weight on them so they do not float.
Soaking Paper and Skewers

When I was at the Weber Smoking Course I thought that the wood papers would be good for scallops. So I defrosted some king scallops without roe and then put them in a bag with some olive oil to marinate.
King Scallops

Scallops by themselves cooked in butter are a great starter (especially if you wrap them in some porky goodness that is bacon) but this was a main meal so I needed some accompaniments. I chose Jersey Royal new potatoes, courgette and a bed of fresh baby spinach.

I was using Jersey Royal new Potatoes because I love their creamy goodness and flavour. As the season progresses the “new” potatoes slowly turn into larger version of their predecessors so you may have to cut them down to the size of your scallops. Then steam them for 15 minutes.

I really like grilled courgette! So I thinly sliced some and put it into a bag with olive oil and lemon juice to marinate.
Courgette marinate

I had recently purchased a French tarragon plant for my herb garden and decided to grab a couple of the sprigs for the meal.
Fresh Tarragon

The dinner was prepped and ready for assembly. Here is the pre-rolled assembly.
Ready to roll

It will be kind of like a scallop and potato kebab, but in its own little smoky oven. Roll them up and close with a toothpick.
Rolled Wood Paper secured

Prep your grill for medium indirect heat. So if you have charcoal that means waiting until the stack is white and then splitting half to each side. For gas it means both burners to medium. Once you are up to temp put the papers in between the heat and set the alarm for 3 minutes. When the alarm fires then put the courgettes over the coals / burners in direct heat and restart the alarm for 3 minutes. When the alarm fires turn the courgettes (they should have grill marks if not leave them) and reset for another 3 minutes.
Food on the grill

This is when you need a Thermapen from ETI to check the internal temperature of the scallops without opening the package. The only thing worse than over cooked food is under cooked food. So if you know that a scallop is cooked when the internal temperature is 60 C then you know when it is done and you don’t have over cook it to make sure.
Is it done yet

Mine is 63.9C, and I have grill marks on the courgettes so lets check out the finished product.
I think you could do a really posh dinner plate with this as is. Imagine some special rice spooned into the background and some asparagus laid in the foreground of the paper. You could probably get at least £20 for this in a posh restaurant.

So lets plate it up and eat…

The scallops were perfectly cooked. Texture was perfect and they cut with a fork (not rubbery). They were moist and melted in the mouth. The only thing that I was missing was the smoke I was looking forward to. My experience so far with wood papers is that you need to select the strong woods like Oak, Hickory or Mesquite because the time with the food is generally less than 20 minutes it needs a good punch of flavour.

Thinking back on this dinner I think the tarragon was kind of a mistake, since my goal was to tell which wood was the best for scallops on the grill. Tarragon is a strong aniseed flavour and therefore permeated the food with a nice flavour but covered the subtle smoke flavour – especially the really mild cherry. I could get a hint of cedar when eating a scallop by itself which was nice, but in the background was always tarragon. What I really like was that the Jersey Royals really absorbed the tarragon and they were great.

Let us hope we have more nice weather for more testing with these new BBQ products.

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Low and way too slow…

I bought over 2kg of pork shoulder at Costco for less than £5, but that piece of meat is going to need some “good lovin” to make me go yuuuummmmm.
Pork Shoulder

I was using Jamie Purviance’s recipe from Weber’s Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill to make the “Quintessential Pulled Pork Sandwiches”. I kind of used it as guide for temperatures and times, but made up my own twists.

On Friday I checked the weather for the weekend and Saturday was nice, but Sunday was better. This “good lovin” to your pork (I am sure there is a joke there somewhere) takes a long time and plenty of planning in advance. Per Jamie this recipe will take 8 to 10 hours to complete, so mine was about 11 hours. I guess it takes 8 hours if you know what you are doing?

I bought the joint at Costco on Saturday and needed to do some prep work on it. I used the Jaccard to make some small holes Jaccard
in the flesh for the brine to infuse. My brine was unsweetened apple juice and two tablespoons each of sea salt and brown sugar.
Apple Juice Brine

Then into a Sous Vide bag for a lovely night in the fridge.
Apple Juice Brine and Pork in bag

I was supposed to get up early the next day to get the fire stoked and smokin!!! Ya so at about 10:00 in the morning I rolled out of bed and thought I have about 11 hours of work before it gets dark, this is going to be tight.

I got the pork shoulder out f the fridge and decanted the brine, rinsed in cold water and set to the side to get to room temperature. Load the starter with lump wood charcoal and dump it into the smoker.
Lump Wood

I made 4 knots of newspaper by taking two sheets of newspaper and rolling them up in a tight tube then tying and overhand knot in them. Two of them go into the Weber charcoal starter and two underneath sitting on top of my Weber Smokey Joe. Light the paper underneath and in no time you have hot coals.

Preparing the coals

While the coals are getting ready, I created the Basic Barbeque Rub (but toned it down a little per my kids critique of my ribs.
¼ cup coarse sea salt
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup paprika
1 tablespoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes (I used onion powder)
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon celery seeds

I rubbed the rub (hmmmmm) all over the joint.
Pork Shoulder with rub

Coals were ready and meat was ready so lets….. smoke it baby!!!! That is how you are at the beginning of the day all full of whoo haaaaa lets go, it was 11:00am. It was a good smoke up until about 3:30 when I decided to go some more Mt. Dew from Sainsbury’s (come on I am American). When I got back there was lots of smoke but the temperature had plummeted, so it was smouldering (damn you road works). Quick pile up of coals and a little bellows action and another can of lit briquettes took care of that issue. At about 5:00 I had a look; it had been 6 hours with not even a sneaky peek. The temperature was close but not quite to the required 160F per Jamie’s recipe and I did not think another can of coal was going to get where I needed to be anytime soon.
Pork Shoulder smoked

So I wrapped it foil and tossed it into the oven on gas mark 1. At about 8:00pm I checked the temperature and it had reached 190F and I took it out for the one hour rest.

Finished off in the oven

At about 9:00pm it was time to pull and eat…
Pulled Pork

I pulled some of the corner of the pork with my hands, it just fell apart. Into a saucepan with some Cattleman’s BBQ Sauce and a little stir up. Onto some buns and here it is plated up.
Pulled pork sandwich with BBQ Sauce

Oh ya I am the smokin Daddy this weekend!!!!! It is also 9:30pm and I absolutely smashed up tired, beer and bed me thinks.

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I stink (again)….

I have been trying to get to grips with my WSM, so today I went to the UK Weber Grill Academy, “Weber’s purpose built cooking school – open all year!” for a course on Smoking Methods. Once out of Reading, I had a lovely drive in the Oxford country side, through blue bells and rape seed fields to a house just outside of Oxford. Upon entering the car park I saw the amazing site of the Weber Experience BBQ Roadshow Airstream Caravan.
Weber Experience BBQ Roadshow Airstream Caravan

We were greeted by Clare who orchestrated the day excellently.
Oh and a lovely freshly smoked bacon sandwich… nice.

Jamie was our chef, who played mainly the indoors role where he explained/showed the prep to us (at their new table…, your welcome Clare)
Jamie and prep

Jamie is also a dab hand at bread making as he made this Focaccia which was cooked on the grill

The Focaccia (still warm) was used to host our smoked cheese and also some mackerel pate (which I really liked)
Smoked Mackerel

It was interesting to cold smoke the cheese, which I have never done but always wanted to. We used two briquettes in a metal ring and then put soaked wood chips on top of them with the cheese on the other side of the BBQ. Then when the lid is on you put the vents of the lid over the cheese to pull the smoke over the cheese. You have to let the cheese mature in the fridge for 3 days before eating, so we tried some that they had done earlier.

After prep’ing the food course we would head out to the covered grill area to cook and smoke the food
Grill Area

Clare would explain everything about the fire prep, cooking and determining when the food was cooked (every BBQ chef’s dilemma do I cremate it or give them food poisoning).

We used just about every method of grilling and smoking on just about every product Weber catalogues:
Charcoal – direct / indirect / 50-50 / Cold smoking
Weber Smokey Mountain
Weber Q
Planking (some did not make it through the day – vbg) and Wood Papers
Gas with their new smoking boxes that fit over the flavour bars – (nice bought one of those in the accessories store)
Accessories Store

We also used lots of different wood chips to smoke with:

Each wood has its own smoking time and permeation into the food which then determines the depth of smoky flavour. We spent quite a bit of time with Clare discussing this with us, and also used all of the wood types to their best food partner.

This process would continue for rest of the day, prep then cook until about 1:00 when we got a sit down in the dinning room (aaahhhhh my poor feet, not used to standing all day)
Dinning Room

In the first course we tucked into smoked shallots dipped in smoked sea salt and smoke peanuts. I really need to have diced smoked shallots on one of my burgers soon, so good. Then the foccacia turned up and with it smoked mackerel pate and some sliced smoke cheese. Too bad I was driving because at that time a large glass of crisp house white would have really hit the spot… another diet Coke please 🙁

While we relaxing and eating our aperitifs, Jamie was making our smoked peppers/tomatoes/garlic into a lovely soup by liquidising and straining then reheating and finally adding some mascarpone cheese. This was brought to the table and I had a great time dunking the foccaci into my tea cup of soup (dunking is not “the done thing” in proper British Society but who cares it rocks!!!).

Jamie had been up early to get the Weber Smokey Mountain smoking some ribs and pork shoulder
Weber Smokey Mountain
And I have to admit that this pork shoulder was the best food of the day, thanks Jamie! I am going to do this soon, but with longer days I need to brine on Friday and then cook on Saturday for about 8 hours to get the pulled pork that I am destined to be famous for… or not.

All in all a great day out and learned lots!! The staff at the Weber Grill Academy are top notch, and the venue was first class. Get in there and learn to BBQ properly and not serve burnt bangers; this is the place to learn it! Now all we need is… some BBQ weather!

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I stink…

of glorious hickory wood smoke. I had purchased some new charcoal and bought a book to improve my smoking technique. Yesterday I went to Costco and bought some ribs to smoke today.
Ribs from Costco

I prepared them by taking off the membrane on the back and then rubbing them with brown sugar.
Ribs coated in brown sugar
The juice from the meat combines with the brown sugar to make syrup. Off they go to have a nice nights sleep in the fridge. You can let them sit over night because there is no salt on them which would start curing the meat. You can watch the technique here.

The next day they come out of the fridge and get a coating of basic rub all over.
Ribs coated rubs

Rubs are kind of like magic tricks you can never tell anyone how they are done. Some pit masters have super secret ingredients that they have tried and tested over years and years. Me I got mine out of a book, Barbecue!: Sauces, Rubs and Marinades and it is not even an exciting one:

From the section on American Rubs (I think there might be a joke there somewhere).
Basic Barbeque Rub.
¼ cup coarse sea salt
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup paprika
3 tablespoons ground pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes (I used onion powder)
½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon celery seeds

It is going to take about 6-7 hours for the whole process. One hour to setup and get the smoker up to heat ready for the ribs. Five to six hours of smoking time and then an hour with the BBQ sauce on the meat to finish. To get a long burn out of the smoker I have followed my new mentor’s book, Weber’s Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill written by Jamie (the Weber Daddy) Purviance.

Weber's Smoke

Lay down a chimney starter worth of lump wood charcoal.

Charcoal stoke

Then load another ½ chimney with lump wood charcoal and light it up.

Lit charcoal stoke

And when it is white on the edges distribute it around the unlit charcoal. Now you need to boil some water for the water pan. When the smoker gets to heat then add two lumps of hickory to the charcoal and go get the ribs.

Ribs in the smoker

For the next six hours – worry and fret that all this work will not be in vain. The thing with smoking is that you are never supposed to take the lid off and have a sneaky peak, because you let all the heat and smoke out. They have been in the smoker for almost five hours and I have been out there every hour making sure we have enough heat and water, but I cannot see the ribs grrrrrrr! Be right back; have to make sure we are up to heat….

Taking the smokers temperature

Finally they are done, well smoking anyway. They look burnt, but in pit masters terms that is a really good bark. When the smoke mixes with the brown sugar syrup and spicy rub they produce a kind of spicy candy like coating, but the meat inside is moist and delicious.

Smoke bark on ribs

I then brought them inside and sauced them on the bone side with my favourite BBQ sauce, Cattlemen’s Kansas City Classic BBQ Sauce. then into a oven at gas mark 5 for 20 minutes. BTW Costco has this in stock, but hurry cause I am going to buy it ALL! Then the same treatment for the top side and here they are finally done.

Sauced ribs

The smoke flavour was immense and the combination of the sauce and the bark made them really sticky. The rub gave them a nice little after burner in the back of your mouth. All in all a result.

Just Ribs

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Low and Slow…

The trees are flowering, daffodils are out and aubrietia is emerging from the nooks and crannies so it is time to get it together for some cooking low and slow with SMOKE!!!!

My previous adventure into smoking was good at best. After a little time on The British BBQ Society forums I had a plan to make it GREAT!!!

First thing that needed improvement was the fuel. I was always a briquette fan before I went to the dark side and started using gas. I guess that I did not know any better and being a bit OCD, I liked the uniformity of it all. Nothing like a nice pyramid of briquette’s turning white hot with a couple of beers on a sunny afternoon to make you hungry. But now it is time to bring on the lump dude. This is not your ordinary lumpwood with little bits and dust this is graded to be ready for prime time smoking.

Big K

If your smoker has to last over 4 hours on a single stoking you need some big chunks of coal.

Next thing that needed improvement was my technique. I have signed up for a course at the Weber Grill Academy but that is not until May. We have prime smokin weather here in the UK now and I need to get out of my chair and do some smokin (especially with my new teeth :-). So I purchased Weber’s Smoke: A Guide to Smoke Cooking for Everyone and Any Grill written by Jamie (the Weber Daddy) Purviance.

Weber's Smoke

Both lump and book have arrived today, now all I have to do now is figure out what animals back side I am going to smoke this weekend booooo yaaaaaa!

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Smoke and BBQ a marriage made in heaven…

As I always say, “sometimes left overs are better than the original meal”! I had smoked a turkey breast on the weekend. This was going to be the third consecutive meal of smoked turkey; smoked turkey hot, smoked turkey sandwich, smoked turkey with hmmmmmmm.

Here is what I had to work with.

Oh yah we are talking open faced smoked turkey breast in BBQ sauce covered with shallots for that certain “Je ne sais qua” or some kick butt fire if you are from Iowa.

Cut the turkey in to squares and dice the shallots. Put BBQ sauce with turkey and heat over medium until just about boiling. Pour over buns and then sprinkle with shallots.
Open Faced BBQ Smoked Turkey Sanis

This made me go yuuuummmmm tonight, and I still have a sting in my cheeks, Je ne sais heat!!

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Drew Bob’s Open Pit Smoke House…

On Wednesday I took delivery of:

Qty Desc Weight
1 17004 Weber Apple Chips – 1.36kg
1 1009 Heat Beads – 4kg
1 16012 Weber Premium Briquettes – 7kg
1 6456 Weber Style Gloves

On Saturday I went to Costco and purchase a ½ turkey breast crown.
Turkey Breast

I removed the bag and nappy, rinsed and dried it was ready for the brine.
Turkey Breast Packaging removed

I do not have a big enough fridge to hold a 5 gallon bucket so I used my little 6 pack cooler. The brine is:

1/3 cup Maldon Sea Salt
1/3 cup Smoked Maldon Sea Salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp garlic granules

Brine Ingredients

Add enough cold water to fill the cooler half way up. Since the cooling method is ice, leave some extra room. Stir until all salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the turkey breast and cover with ice. Top up the ice when the temperature gets above 4° C. It is important to make sure the water does not get warm because this can be a health hazard, so lots more ice before bed and up at 4:00 AM to top up, then back to bed.

The next day remove the breast from the brine, rinse then dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack over a pan to come to room temperature for an hour. Meanwhile try and like the charcoal….grrrr. Now I remember why I went to the dark side and started using a gas BBQ. I was using a new piece of kit from Weber which is a quick start chimney for briquettes (basically a large can with a handle). I was going to use the minion method of smoking, which consists of putting a stoking hot chimney of charcoal in the middle of the smoker and then surrounding them with more unlit briquettes. To smoke the breast it will take at least 4 hours so low and slow is the way forward and the heat should work from the centre to the edge and light the briquettes over time. But you have to get started first 🙁 and I was using newspaper that comes free through the door. Unfortunately it stays out in the rain and then gets delivered through my door and then put in to the recycling in the damp garage, so the best I got out of this was a disgusting smoulder. I was trying to light the Heat Beads which are compressed charcoal so they are even more difficult to light. In desperation after an hour I rammed the chimney with lint from my tumble dryer, and one match we were off. Next time the newspaper is stored in the airing cupboard not the garage.

After about half an hour I had red hot briquettes which were put into the bottom of the smoker. I then put some more briquettes around the outside and put two handfuls of apple wood chips and two chunks of oak in between the lit briquettes and the unlit briquettes. I filled the water bowl with three woks of hot water from the sink and added the smoking rack and turkey breast. Now were smokin…

I started with all the vents open half way (3 on the bottom, 1 on the top) but it failed to get to temperature. So I opened them all up and we were away up to the proper temperature.
Taking Temperature

This was on about 11:00 A.M. after the hour delay getting the coals to heat. So a 7 pound breast should be done in 210 minutes if you cook it at 225° F. At about 4:00 P.M. I tested the temp and it was too low so I decided to finish the turkey in the oven as it was getting dark and I needed to clean up so I pulled the turkey from the smoker.
Finished Smoking

I think this affected the finished product as my oven is a fan oven a we lost quite a bit of moisture to the pan during the last bit of cooking.

Here is the finished product from the top.

Here is the finished product from the bottom.

But the question on everyone’s lips is… What about my ring?
Smoke Ring

Smoke ring that is.

“A smoke ring is a pink discoloration of meat just under the surface crust (called bark). It can be just a thin line of pink or a rather thick layer. A good smoke ring is around 1/4 inch in thickness. The smoke rings are caused by nitric acid building up in the surface of meat, absorbed from the surface. This nitric acid is formed when nitrogen dioxide from wood combustion in smoke mixes with water in the meat. Basically it is a chemical reaction between the smoke and the meat. ”

And mine is well over ¼ of an inch – boooo yaaaahhhh

Meat smells like apple smoke.
Meat tastes sweet and smoky.
Meat has a great bark and ring.
Meat is a bit dry due to finish in fan oven, but what do you expect when you are smokin in January.

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The Smokey Mountains have come to the UK…

I took delivery of my Weber Smokey Mountain today.
Weber Smokey Mountain

Some assembly was required as there a few parts. But all the bolts and nuts were the same size, nice design. It is heavy, the box weighed 15kg. All steel construction and well made as you would expect from Weber.
Weber Smokey Mountain parts

About 45 minutes later it was done.
Weber Smokey Mountain

The reason I bought this smoker is that for most large pieces of meat you need to have 6-18 hours of smoke and you cannot really get that out of a small smoker box in your BBQ, which lasts 2 hours at most. This smoker has several air vents to control the burn of the charcoal. It also has a water pan between the heat and the meat to keep things moist and a low temperature.

Now I need to procure some fruit or nut wood and some clean charcoal, by Christmas. I want to try some smoked turkey. I also want to try the House-Cured bacon recipe (3-182) from the Modernist Cuisine which needs 7 hours of smoking to finish the dry cured belly pork; it is supposed to be to die for.

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Interviewed by my niece…

My niece is a talented writer (in English and Spanish) at University.

Currently, I am taking a feature writing class, and we have to write a food related feature. I was wondering if I could interview you about your blog and your experiences with “Modernist Cuisine.”

And here it is my responses.

-What is “Modernist Cuisine?”
Modernist Cuisine is the “The Art and Science of Cooking”. It is created by modern chefs and scientists using tools and ingredients that were normally not thought of to be in the kitchen. The goal is to make the “perfect” recipe for what ever you are working on, and make it repeatable so it is perfect every time. The name was created to entitle a set of cookbooks:

Modernist Cuisine

This has been a real interest of mine over the last year or so.

-How did you discover it?
One of the authors is Nathan Myhrvold who was the Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, where I work.


He came to the Redmond campus to give a talk about his books and I saw his net show recording. I was also sent a link to the books by several friends.

-Why did you decide to work through it? When did you decide to do it?
I was posting my cooking exploits on Facebook and a friend at work said “you need a blog” so I decided to start writing my cookbook by writing a blog, which was March 2011. In April I decided to purchase the books as it seemed like the ultimate set of books for cooking. I had to order them in the USA because there was no stock in the UK, and in fact it was not until about September there was stock in the UK.

-What are some of the positives of this experience? Negatives?
Well the positive things are the food. The taste and quality of the food is fantastic. I also think it is fun, and provides new ideas for my blog. The books are not just cookbooks, but delve into the “why” of cooking using thermodynamics, cryogenics, chemicals and laboratory equipment in a scientific manor.

The negatives are that it costs quite a bit of money to “tool up” to do this type of cuisine. It is also difficult to get some of the ingredients that the Modernist recipes call for, liquid nitrogen for example. This is starting to change though as some chemical companies are starting to put together Modernist starter packs, although they are also quite expensive.

For example, a kit I just purchased this week which would be about $75:
Molecular Gastronomy

-What is your favorite recipe? Why?
My favourite so far has to be sirloin steak in the Sous Vide, with home made chips. The reason I like it so much is the flavour and texture is consistent throughout the steak. I like mine medium rare so instead of just the middle of the steak being pink and juicy, the whole steak is the same and so tender. A little béarnaise sauce on the side is also very nice.

-What do you do with the food once you cook it?
Eat it and share it with friends. As I say on my blog, cooking is the way I can make things that makes other happy.

-Why did you decided to start the blog? When did you start it?
See above 🙂

-What is your following like?
I use Google Analytics, and I get about 10 hits a day. Although some of them are probably WordPress comments spam.

WordPress Spam

-How do you like writing compared to cooking?
I really like to both as much as the other. I really like writing, but it is time consuming since I also include photography with the text. Planning the meal and then picking the moments to take pictures is good fun. I think that editing photos and editing my writing take the most time, as I am not very good at grammar and spelling (I just had to go back and correct grammer, thanks Word).

-What would you like to do after you complete “Modernist Cuisine?
I have a stack of new books that I have purchased and are waiting in the wings:
Heston Bumenthal at home
The Hairy Bikers Perfect Pies (the pie-ble)
Tagines and CousCous
River Cottage Veg, everyday (I eat too much meat)

-Any advice for novice chefs and/or bloggers?
With the blog – keep it simple.
For chefs – save up for a Sous Vide.

-Is there anything else you think I should include?
If you have hard water in your area then steam your vegetables using bottled/filtered water, the difference is significant!

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