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  #21  
Old 2010-12-09, 13:28
Paddy Paddy is offline
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Fuck, updated the URLs.

I've always wanted to try making my own curry powder/sauce/whatever, but the tubs of powder you can get in supermarkets are pretty good. They're certainly good enough for a Top Ramen muncher like your good self
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  #22  
Old 2010-12-09, 13:52
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I looked into and it isn't hard at all, it just requires a lot of awesome ingredients.
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  #23  
Old 2010-12-09, 15:46
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I can make my own curry/sauce

*ba-dum tish*
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  #24  
Old 2010-12-10, 06:45
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Does anyone have any suggestions for how to make a basic yet tasty soup? I make chicken and sweetcorn soup a lot, but it usually tastes like there's something missing; like it's "hollow". Chicken stock cubes and soy sauce can only achieve so much!

I'm thinking maybe a little garlic, but I don't know if it'd work and I'm not made of chicken fillets. I don't have any fresh herbs or other leafy stuff, save for scallions which I snip with scissors into the bowl for each serving (fucking yummy). When I make the soup here's what I do:

Fry up the onions and carrots with a little sugar, add chopped chicken breasts, then add peppers, peas, broad beans, and basically anything that happens to be laying around. I add a stock cube and melt it in and mix it up, then add some salt. When the onions look like they're browning up I add a can of sweetcorn, including the sugar water they're packaged in. Then I add boiling water from the kettle. I leave it to cook on a medium-ish heat until...well, whenever it's edible.

I made this soup a couple of months back and it was fucking delicious, but I haven't been able to nail it since. I think I let the first batch cook gently on a low heat for the better part of two hours, which might have something to do with it, but I'm not sure.
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  #25  
Old 2010-12-10, 07:13
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Don't allow the Onions to get brown, just sorta warm them up to leave a fresh tasting flavor. With the chicken, Put it in a pan, Add Butter, And pepper(Try to get heavy with it). Cook until done. Leave out the sugar. Change your soup around 100%. Garlics cool, but it seems when you cook with it you have to cut so much of it up for the flavor.
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  #26  
Old 2010-12-10, 07:22
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I generally like to make sure the onions are cooked a little before adding the water, because boiled onions (which is what they'd be if you just chucked 'em into the soup raw) taste horrid to me. I'll try doing as you suggested and just cook them a wee bit instead.

I would rather not use butter if I can help it; I hate the taste and the fact that it's squeezed out of a shit-kicking animal's guts. Is there anything I could replace it with?

I have garlic purée which I was gonna use; I can't remember the last time I actually bought a clove of garlic! Seems like a lot of unnecessary hard work.

Cheers for the tips!
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  #27  
Old 2010-12-10, 08:12
PST 88 PST 88 is offline
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What you're doing is sweating the onions: cooking them over low heat in some fat until they become soft and translucent. The thing about sweating is that you either want to do it very moderately, as Pr0lapse suggested, or you want to do it for a very long time to allow them to develop a stronger and deeper flavor. As noted, you don't want to allow them to caramelize, but in this case caramelization doesn't have to do with how cooked the thing is, but rather the level of heat you have on under it.

I would recommend the following procedure:

1. Sweat diced onion and sliced garlic together until soft. Season them with salt early on to aid in the releasing of liquid, and not with sugar at all. Deglaze with white wine and reduce until the alcohol's gone but not the acidity, usually around 2/3rds.

2. Add whatever other veg you think will cook at around the same rate as per your usual procedure, and your stock cube and whatever else. Don't let the onions brown. Make sure to season with salt and pepper, keeping in mind that if you let the liquid reduce much at all it's going to become saltier as it does.

3. Cook the chicken separately from the rest of the soup as suggested. You don't have to cook with butter if you don't want to, though if I lived in Ireland I would take liberal advantage of the fresh dairy, which is seriously among the world's best. Do you not drink milk?

Anyway, searing your chicken will help it develop deeper flavors than simmering it, and it helps you control the degree of doneness. In general, when I make a soup with a lot of individual components I think it's best to cook them separately and put them together at the end, but in this case just separating the meat and veg should do you fine. Just season it on both sides with salt and pepper, lay it in whatever cooking fat you choose that's been heated up in a saute pan (if you don't have a hot pan and hot fat, the chicken will stick to the pan), and flip it about halfway through, when the white, 'cooked' color has creeped up around the sides. After the initial heating of the pan you can let it go on medium. If you don't object to adding butter, add it at this point and use a spoon to baste your chicken with it once it melts; this will also speed up the cooking process. Adding it too soon causes it to brown and introduce bitter flavors. In this particular case, though, I might go with your initial instinct and omit the butter altogether.

4. Chunk up your chicken and add it at the very end of the simmering process, or just place it in the bottom of your bowl and pour your soup on over it.

If you use garlic puree instead of fresh garlic, add it towards the end of the simmering process, as that garlic has already been blanched and simmered to remove its fresh flavor and will not flavor the soup much at all if you put it in at the beginning. Make sure to stir it in very thoroughly.

This is not, by the way, how I would go about making a chicken soup, but it should work to modify your current practices to end up with a better result.
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  #28  
Old 2010-12-10, 08:56
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PST, I truly appreciate this. I'll definitely try the things you've suggested. I might do it tonight actually, I'm in the mood all of a sudden.

I don't drink milk, although I do eat things which contain milk and butter, such as yummy cakes. As long as I'm not aware of its taste while I'm eating it I'm alright, but if I was to drink a glass of milk I'd probably feel queasy. I'm sure if I used butter in my soup in the way you and Pr0az suggested I probably wouldn't taste it all that much, if at all, but I'll wait and see how I feel when I have the yellow gunk staring me in the face later.

My thinking (if you could call it that) in making the soup the way I have been making it is that everything is in one place, and none of it is going anywhere, so all of the flavours are bound to be floating around in there somewhere haha. It never occurred to me to cook things separately or indeed to leave the chicken out of the equation until the very last minute.

I didn't know Ireland's dairy produce was so well regarded. I guess vigorously fucking the livestock must do something for the flavour; the butter comes out pre-churned and salted.
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  #29  
Old 2010-12-10, 12:04
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Paddy, lots of times when I make soup I'll use some leftover chicken that I've oven baked. If you have some with a little skin or fat on it it makes more chickeny flavor, too. Sometimes after I've baked it, I'll add some water to the browned stuff in empty pan, and scrap those bits off. It makes a nice rich, browned base for soup or to use some cornstarch or arrowroot for gravy. Those don't need to cook down like flour and they don't really change the color too much either.
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  #30  
Old 2010-12-10, 12:58
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Well, my soup was a success (compared to my previous soups, anyway). That hollowness I mentioned seems to have been nicely plugged. I followed your steps, PST, and I even felt like a real chef when I poured white wine into a pan. It made me consider taking a course, until I remembered that I can't go outside because that's when they'll get me.

Massive props to my main homies PST and Pr0az. I think this was the first time I used black pepper without baked beans and sausages being involved.

Oh yeah, thanks for not being mean about my shitty skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by L,B'XXX
Paddy, lots of times when I make soup I'll use some leftover chicken that I've oven baked. If you have some with a little skin or fat on it it makes more chickeny flavor, too. Sometimes after I've baked it, I'll add some water to the browned stuff in empty pan, and scrap those bits off. It makes a nice rich, browned base for soup or to use some cornstarch or arrowroot for gravy. Those don't need to cook down like flour and they don't really change the color too much either.
I think my mum does stuff like this when she's making homemade soup (basically vegetable soup, but for some reason the term "homemade soup" refers specifically to this sort of soup over here, or maybe it's just a local thing).

As nice as tonight's soup was it seems like just a little bit more effort than I'm willing to make when I'm just feeding myself. I'll probably save the "proper" soup for times when I'm extremely bored and full of agitated sugar-energy. I'd quite happily chow down on a raw dog if it was spicy enough, but I've learnt a new skill by consulting YouTube (deglazing), I've overcome my fear of using more than one pan/pot at the same time and I've learnt how to safely and effectively wrestle a wine bottle from the clutches of my insane mother, so I'm quite pleased with tonight's venture.
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  #31  
Old 2010-12-10, 16:10
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PST, when are you gonna quit your gig at the restaurant and come be my live-in chef?!

Making baked asparagus tonight with garlic, s&p, olive oil and lemon. And french onion potatoes with herbes de kraft.
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  #32  
Old 2010-12-10, 22:07
PST 88 PST 88 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L,B'XXX
Paddy, lots of times when I make soup I'll use some leftover chicken that I've oven baked. If you have some with a little skin or fat on it it makes more chickeny flavor, too. Sometimes after I've baked it, I'll add some water to the browned stuff in empty pan, and scrap those bits off. It makes a nice rich, browned base for soup or to use some cornstarch or arrowroot for gravy. Those don't need to cook down like flour and they don't really change the color too much either.

The process you're referring to here is called 'deglazing,' and it's a pretty essential step for developing flavor in a sauce or soup; depending on the sauce or soup, you may want to use a more flavorful liquid than plain water.

When it comes to thickening a sauce like you're describing, it's better to use a 1:1 mixture of cornstarch and warm water ('slurry') than plain cornstarch. While you have to cook out the flour in a roux if you want to use it to thicken a sauce, you can knead equal parts flour and butter together ('beurre manie') to thicken a sauce with flour without having to cook it down.

Glad the soup experiment went well for you, Pads. Sorry to hear that your mother had to give up some of her precious wine, but I suppose sacrifices had to be made.
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  #33  
Old 2010-12-11, 02:56
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She begged me not to, and even offered to simply spit into the pan which would have been just as effective, but a swift knee to the uterus sealed the deal.

When we need to thicken sauces or soups I sometimes see my mama use cornflower. She puts a teaspoonful or so into a cup, dribbles a little cold water in from the tap and mixes it into a sort of paste, then stirs it into whatever needs thickened. Are those other methods mentioned above better (or "more necessary")?

Let's talk cakes, buns and biscuits! Who here bakes? Besides making bitchin' chocolate cakes when I was a kid I haven't done much of it myself, but I've got a load of awesome recipes. I'll post a shortbread one later, it makes for some kick-ass bickies.
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  #34  
Old 2010-12-11, 12:10
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PST, yes, deglaze was the word I was trying to think of, and I saw it in a previous post so didn't bother correcting it. I did leave out mixing the cornstarch with water prior to adding. Don't want those type of dumplings! I don't cook with wine because none of us like the bite it gives so I either use homemade broth or water.

I didn't know that about the beurre manie. Good to know! Thanks!
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  #35  
Old 2011-01-18, 18:32
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There's this floating fish shop on a bay I live maybe 20ish minutes from that's family owned and has fresh daily catches for great prices. Me and 5 other people bought 2 pounds of clams, 6 fillets of sole, lobster, and 2 pounds of scallops for around $100ish. The only local things we had this weekend though were the clams and lobster, but its still a great deal. I cooked up the sole with a Parmesan glaze (is it a glaze? I don't know. I mix some shit in a bowl and then brush it on half way through its broiling session) and my friends girlfriend seared the scallops in this fucking awesome wine broth. The clams were just grilled until opened and the lobster boiled. I also boiled the lobster but felt like a dick when I realized that I forgot to put it in head first. I then remembered a fish monger once told me that lobsters don't have nervous systems so I felt less bad. Please don't disprove that, Chris.
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  #36  
Old 2011-01-20, 00:01
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That may be a glaze, but honestly a Parmesan glaze sounds weird. It's normally a reduction involving sugar, but it anything you brush onto a roasting bit of protein is technically a glaze, if it sticks and caramelizes. If not you may have just wasted whatever you mixed into your sauce.

Don't feel like a dick about killing lobsters, since you did it like a pussy anyway.
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  #37  
Old 2011-01-20, 01:33
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Is deglazing necessary or possible if you use non-stick pans? From what YouTube says it seems to be a technique for getting the "stuck" bits off the pan and using them to form the basis of sauces and soups, but if you use non-stick pans surely there's obviously nothing to be unstuck. Or have I missed the point completely?
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  #38  
Old 2011-01-20, 05:04
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It's not as effective if you use a non-stick, since a non-stick doesn't build up as much fond (i.e. stuck on bits of the protein you were just searing), but don't let the name 'non-stick' fool you. It doesn't mean that things literally will not stick; if you don't have an adequate amount of fat (oil, butter, rendered bacon fat, whatever) in your pan, or don't get the pan and the fat properly hot, then things will stick in a non-stick just like in any other pan. You just don't need to get it as hot as a steel pan, or treat it as fussily as a cast iron one, but it's not magical.

Now, because it doesn't really build up a nice fond like you might want to, a non-stick pan is a specialized tool, good for egg cookery and searing certain fragile types of fish, and not for everyday use.
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  #39  
Old 2011-01-20, 07:44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PST 88

Now, because it doesn't really build up a nice fond like you might want to, a non-stick pan is a specialized tool, good for egg cookery and searing certain fragile types of fish, and not for everyday use.


I agree. Used a non stick pan to warm some stuff up, it didn't turn out well. It didn't help that they were steaks.
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  #40  
Old 2011-01-20, 12:29
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Well, you guyses may have tastier sauces (oo er!), but you'll be washing up for twice as long, all the while I'll be eating yummy cakes and enjoying the smell of my own curry burps
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