Register

Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

For all refugees from the old Beeb Food Boards :-)
Chill out and chat with the foodie community or swap top tips.
NOTE: CHATTERBOX IS IN THIS FORUM

Moderators: karadekoolaid, THE MOD TEAM, Stokey Sue, Gillthepainter

Posts: 487
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:38 pm

Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby ZeroCook » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:11 pm

A thread for newly tried recipes, recipe tweaks, stuff to try, questions or tips about trying the untried or wanting to try the untried.
What are you tryong out?


Last week I made Rukmini Iyer's Lime & Coconut dal from the Graun's best curry recipes. Looked great on the page - she said it's her hands down favourite dal, so after asking myself if it was worth a full tin of coconut milk and an oven bake, I decided to follow the recipe exactly - a bit against my better judgment on further reading the recipe but I wanted to see if the all time favourite recipe was up to it. Was it? No, it wasnt. TBH it really, seriously wasn't. Words that spring to mind : insipid, way over fatty and sweet and how many calories??? (859+ calories for one recipe serving) Ended up completely rejigging and adding ginger, more garlic, salt, etc and a tadka. I also couldn't see the point of baking it in an oven other than it's her signature "thing". But in the spirit of the quest, I did. And it even crossed my 'told you so' mind that the recipe almost might not have been tested before being published ....
https://www.theguardian.com/food/2021/j ... oconut-dal

Is it just me but I'm just not feeling the love from a lot of the recent plethora of 'upcoming' food writers recipes being promoted Out There?

Do you, or when do you tweak a recipe being for the first time?

.

Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:59 am

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Kacey » Sat Feb 13, 2021 8:37 pm

I'm so glad to read your review ZC, I bought some fresh coconut specifically for this recipe as I liked the sound of it, but now I think I'll use it for something else.

I often tweak new recipes, especially as there seems to be a trend at the moment for under seasoning and, in my opinion anyway, overly cautious use of spices.

We had my favourite dal recipe on sourdough toast for breakfast this morning:

1 cup masoor dal / red lentils
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 green chillis finely sliced
An inch of grated ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
Salt to taste

Everything in a large pan with boiling water, I use around 3 to 3.5 cups per cup of lentils.

Whilst the dal is cooking chop an onion, put a tsp oil in a frying pan, add a tsp of panch poran and a minute later the chopped onion. Fry till the onion is soft then stir through the dal.

Posts: 487
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby ZeroCook » Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:04 pm

That looks more like it, Kacey.
I also forgot to add that the coconut chunks were so wrong for the dish! And I also boight a coconut specifically for this - rated or none would have been better, but hey!

What to do with a bag of fresh coconut now frozen ...
Last edited by ZeroCook on Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Posts: 2169
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:52 pm
Location: North West London

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Pepper Pig » Sat Feb 13, 2021 9:07 pm

Always worth reading the Guardian comments after a couple of days.

Posts: 220
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:59 am

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Kacey » Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:14 pm

I should do that PP, they're not accessible on a Kindle which us where I ready my Guardian, but I must remember to look online.

My coconut will go in the freezer too, I don't use it fresh very often. OH isn't overly fond of coconut and in view of the number of calories in a tin of milk, I tend to use blocks of coconut cream or powdered coconut milk, its easier to use in small quantities.

User avatar
Posts: 2280
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:40 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby karadekoolaid » Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:21 am

James Beard:
" It´s always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. From there on, you´re on your own"
How absolutely right that is. A recipe is created by someone with a particular palate, with particular flavour profiles. Some recipes work for us and others hit the deck like a mud pie. Some like more salt, some like less sugar, more spice, longer cooking, lower temperatures: and I think that simply goes to show that we´re all different and have different tastes in food.
I once made a recipe for courgette fritters, by Hugh Fairly-Twittingshall. highly recommended, but to me they were bland, uninteresting and poorly seasoned. Delia´s piccalilli was way too wet to my liking; I modified it 6 times before I was happy with it. A top chef friend in Canada sent me "the best" recipe for naan bread. I´ve made it dozens of times and have only recently tweaked it to my taste. That´s not to say they´re wrong; on the contrary, they all made their recipes to THEIR specifications and should be congratulated for publishing them.
Everybody has their own opinion on what tastes good,so when trying a new recipe, I´d always follow the recipe to a T. The next time, I might tweak it a bit (or a lot) to suit me.
I keep a notebook (well actually, I´ve got 5) where all the recipes I try are written down. When I´ve finished cooking and have tasted the dish, I make more notes: "Perfect!" or " Needs more salt" or "Too oily", etc. so the next time, I know what adjustments to make.

Posts: 487
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby ZeroCook » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:44 am

Trudat, KDKA, though I must confess I sometimes tweak a recipe I'm trying for the first time if it's really similar to something I've done.
I keep recipe notes in digital files/c+p recipes and on cards, usually in brackets or handwritten with arrows and asterisks- including quantity tweaks.


BTW, do you ever use pure annatto/achiote powder - as opposed to the sabor mixtures? I just got some and thought it might make a good saffron or turmeric sub for various yellow rice recipes flavour permitting.


Hugh Fairly-Twittingshall.
:lol: :lol: :lol:

PP - The comments on that link were hugely distant from cooking in general and those recipes in particular - no use at all.

User avatar
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:53 am
Location: near some lakes

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Gillthepainter » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:25 am

Cripes, that is a lot of coconut.
My alarm bells would be ringing too, but I'd have tried it without the fresh. Even on the first run, I do tweak if I know it's gonna have to change.

I don't mind "a bit plain", if it's part of a meal plan, often publications will have a set of recipes for one table meal at the end.
I made a boring sauce for a mackerel that was pretty much cornflour, turmeric water and something else.
But together with the spices on the fish, it was wonderful.

If I don't know the cuisine, I'll be true to the recipe.
Where I know what I like, I'll tweak it with confidence.

An example is treacle. I can taste an unpleasantness to it, and would use honey.
No matter how sticky and dark a recipe is supposed to be.

Best 20 recipes gets me twitchy anyway. You are starting from a false expectation anyway.

User avatar
Posts: 3340
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:53 am
Location: near some lakes

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Gillthepainter » Sun Feb 14, 2021 9:27 am

What are you going to do with the fresh coconut?
I've got one in the kitchen veg rack, that has been relegated to the bottom tier now.

User avatar
Posts: 2169
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:52 pm
Location: North West London

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Pepper Pig » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:26 am

Back in the day when everyone was writing cookbooks there were some howlers. I seem to remember the River Cafe books came in for a lot of stick over one of their chocolate creations.

And yes, I did try it. And yes, it was a mess.

User avatar
Posts: 2622
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 11:58 am
Location: Wiltshire

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Earthmaiden » Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:19 am

Whilst the James Beard adage is good, I'll happily tweak spices, flavourings and even measurements to my liking if I've an idea what the end result will be. I agree that with an unknown cuisine and method it's best to stick to the original initially. Like most people, I have had some complete failures.

User avatar
Posts: 1152
Joined: Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:38 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby PatsyMFagan » Sun Feb 14, 2021 11:42 am

karadekoolaid wrote:James Beard:
" It´s always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. From there on, you´re on your own"
How absolutely right that is. A recipe is created by someone with a particular palate, with particular flavour profiles. Some recipes work for us and others hit the deck like a mud pie. Some like more salt, some like less sugar, more spice, longer cooking, lower temperatures: and I think that simply goes to show that we´re all different and have different tastes in food.
Everybody has their own opinion on what tastes good,so when trying a new recipe, I´d always follow the recipe to a T. The next time, I might tweak it a bit (or a lot) to suit me.
I keep a notebook (well actually, I´ve got 5) where all the recipes I try are written down. When I´ve finished cooking and have tasted the dish, I make more notes: "Perfect!" or " Needs more salt" or "Too oily", etc. so the next time, I know what adjustments to make.


Yes, I so agree. I am still experimenting with the White Rye Flour that I added to a perfectly good recipe for bread (á la Nigella) resulting in a disappointment. So, I found a couple of recipes for bread using Rye flour; wrote them down side by side to compare any major differences (there was nothing much), created my version and the result was a very tasty loaf that was lighter than my original effort, especially with the addition of caraway seeds. :yum

User avatar
Posts: 933
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2012 3:19 pm
Location: Essex

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Binky » Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:34 pm

On the subject of recipes being used for the first time, I don't cook from scratch any more, but when I did I was always wary of the BBC Good Food ones. For instance, I looked up a waffle recipe on that website and it got very mixed reviews. Polar opposites in fact, so who to trust? I went with the basic Jamie Oliver one and it was perfect.

My mistrust of BBC recipes is that a nephew, who house shares in London, had a Good Food journalist as a house mate. Nephew stayed with us one weekend and said he had been asked to try out a recipe. He had to buy the ingredients and keep the receipts for reimbursement by the magazine. I can't remember what he cooked for us, but I know that we had to intervene in some stages as he was such an inexperienced cook. If the testers are all co-opted students, friends and other sundry persons, then how can we trust the results? Mary Berry, Nigella, and Jamie put their names to recipes so cannot afford for any mistakes to sneak through.

User avatar
Posts: 5450
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 2:02 pm
Location: Stoke Newington, London

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Stokey Sue » Sun Feb 14, 2021 12:56 pm

Some recipes just set off alarm bells

I’ve got a book that’s supposedly of family Indian recipes but I don’t trust it. An obvious example is the recipe for “Tamarind Shrimp”, (sic) which allegedly serves 6 but contains only a half teaspoon of tamarind paste. It may make a very nice dish of shrimp in sauce, but why the name?

User avatar
Posts: 850
Joined: Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:35 pm
Location: Penrith

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Seatallan » Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:37 pm

Way too much coconut I'd say. I do sometimes (not always) add coconut milk to dahl but never an entire tin and I also agree that the addition of chunked coconut seems so wrong.

In general, if I find a recipe I like, it tends to evolve over time with me tweaking it here & there, sometimes through choice and sometimes as a result of happy accidents.
Food, felines and fells (in no particular order)

User avatar
Posts: 428
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 10:17 pm
Location: East Anglia, UK

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby Suelle » Sun Feb 14, 2021 1:48 pm

The BBC Ready Steady Cook recipes were always something to be wary of, too. None of those I tried worked out very well. Even though they were published in Good Food magazine, I don't think they were tested after they were initially cooked on the TV programme.
Traditional home baking, and more:
http://mainlybaking.blogspot.co.uk/

User avatar
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:46 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby slimpersoninside » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:23 pm

I do usually follow a recipe as is first time. I really don't know why. I've lost count of the number of times I've uttered the words "I should have listened to myself" as I bin yet another t&t recipe that's a disaster.

User avatar
Posts: 2280
Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:40 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby karadekoolaid » Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:26 pm

I looked again at Iyer´s recipe and, apart from the voluminous amount of coconut milk, my opinion is that subbing the Chana Dal ( which are chickpeas) for masoor dal (red or pink lentils) is a huge error.. I love red lentils, but they turn to mush after cooking for more than 20 minutes, whereas the chana dal would keep its shape.
As for the coconut issue, I just wonder if what her mum made used tinned coconut milk, or home-made coconut milk? I often make homemade coconut milk here (because coconuts are cheap as chips) and the consistency is way, way more liquid than the tins, as well as being less fatty.
For those of you with excess fresh coconut in the freezer - that´s where I keep mine, grated, for easy use. Use it for Madhur Jaffrey´s Potatoes and Tomatoes with Coconut, or to make Baingan ka Salaan ( a Hyderabadi aubergine dish to die for) or mix it with green chiles, tamarind , salt and brown sugar as a stuffing for aubergines, OR just toast some and sprinkle on top of an Indonesian chicken curry.

User avatar
Posts: 2272
Joined: Fri Jul 06, 2012 6:33 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby scullion » Sun Feb 14, 2021 4:10 pm

Earthmaiden wrote:Whilst the James Beard adage is good, I'll happily tweak spices, flavourings and even measurements to my liking if I've an idea what the end result will be.

i agree. i read through a recipe and mentally weigh up the bulk/ flavouring or raising etc ratio and then adjust.
i usually add in more spices. i don't think mine have lost much flavour but maybe we have trained our tastebuds to need more after our bland childhoods...
the only recipe, after doing such, that i then reverted to the original was the bruce bogtrotter chocolate cake as i had added a little more flour when i first made it.
the second time, i made it by the book. there was little difference but why put in extra flour!

Posts: 487
Joined: Sun Apr 12, 2020 11:38 pm

Re: Test Kitchen Trials or How to T & T Curious

Postby ZeroCook » Wed Feb 17, 2021 5:57 pm

Gillthepainter wrote:What are you going to do with the fresh coconut?
I've got one in the kitchen veg rack, that has been relegated to the bottom tier now.

It's in the freezer ....
I quite fancy something Indonesian/Malaysian with toasted grated coconut on top. Or something from Kerala. Or a fresh chutney perhaps. Coconut recipes from coconut regions mainly use coconut for the milk and oil. Somewhere KDKA did a coconut post with suggestions for dessicated coconut as composting material :lol:

I looked around for fresh coconut recipes and this is one of the more interesting pages for coconut
http://www.nandyala.org/mahanandi/archi ... nut-fresh/

I do like coconut nut.

Next

Return to Food Chat & Chatterbox

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests