What's not worth the effort, for you?

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What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Kavey » April 18th, 2010, 11:20 am

On Friday a lovely chappy (setting up a new restaurant supply business) bought me a large live crab he'd collected at Billingsgate that morning (and which had been taken from the sea just the night before). He instructed me how to store it, live, in the fridge, how to kill it quickly before cooking, and how long to cook. And advised that there were videos on extracting the meat on youtube. I knew how to get most of it out, just from eating crab all my life, but some video sections were handy.

So on Saturday morning I took my sluggish but still live crab from the fridge, killed and cooked it and it then took me 1.5 - 2 hours to get out all the meat. It was a BIG crab and I hadn't done this before but still... my back was KILLING me by the time I'd finished.

Whilst the meat was wonderful I don't think I'll do this again - way too much time and pain for the gain in my opinion!

:chef: What about you? Which cooking procedures are just not worth the time or effort for you?
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby sueturnersmith » April 18th, 2010, 11:24 am

Preparing crabs are a pain in the neck, but IMO the effort is worth it - I adore crab :chops:

The only thing I won't do - it's not worth the hassle - is make puff pastry. The bought chilled stuff is fine.

I love your avatar, BTW!
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Prettykiwicrazy » April 18th, 2010, 12:23 pm

Puff pastry definitely.

Homemade pasta - to me pastas pasta.

Making my own baked beans from scratch - would rather add a few things to a tin of Heinz finest.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby foodlov » April 18th, 2010, 12:27 pm

Hi Kavey

I only did it once a couple of years ago and it was peeling an artichoke, to be left with just a little bit :twisted:

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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby karadekoolaid » April 18th, 2010, 12:37 pm

What won't I do?
Well the home-mde baked beans re definitely on my list. Somehow they never taste as good as the tinned ones :shock: :shock:
Peeling quail eggs is another. I once offered to do a quail egg starter for a New Year's Eve do - 35 people, so there were 100 + eggs to peel. It took me 3 hours, and I now buy them ready peeled!!!
Home made pasta is another one. We've got two pasta machines and they've never been used. :oops: :oops:
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby tezza » April 18th, 2010, 12:52 pm

I'm with Jacky on this - artichokes. Expensive (round here they are anyway), fiddly, you get left with a tiny bit of flesh to eat and it doesn't really taste of much anyway. I much prefer to buy the ones in a jar of oil. I could eat those til the cows come home. :D
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby karadekoolaid » April 18th, 2010, 1:06 pm

Interesting on the artichokes! I prepare loads of them, and whilst I agree there's not much left once you've finished (I estimate you get to eat about 50% of the original weight), I think it's just a question of practice. Mind you, they're relatively cheap over here, AND you can easily get hold of the baby ones, which do not require removing the choke.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby 4dogsagain » April 18th, 2010, 1:29 pm

Puffed pastry
Pasta
Baked Beans
Artichokes
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Bazzer » April 18th, 2010, 1:33 pm

Filleting Whitebait :lol:

Making small amounts of pastry. Even the Celeb. Chefs advise buying frozen.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby LeCreusetFiend » April 18th, 2010, 2:21 pm

For me it's definately making fresh pasta, unless I'm doing a ravioli.

When I got my first job, we were all given a £20 Argos voucher at Christmas (my boss' generosity knew no bounds! ;)). I went straight to Argos and got myself a pasta machine, convinced that I would become Antonio Carluccio overnight!

Well, several flour and egg-covered kitchen tables and numerous episodes of shameful blue language later, I realised that a good quality dried pasta is better than anything I can make at home. Unless, as I say, it's for fresh ravioli.

(Even then, I've sometimes been tempted to cheat with ready-made wonton wrappers from the Chinese supermarket...! :oops:)

*hangs head in shame* - I'll get my coat... :D
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby cyprusmoira » April 18th, 2010, 2:58 pm

I am with the "not worth peeling artichokes" brigade. There are lots of artichokes, of all sizes, available in Cyprus, I have tried to prepare them several times but it did not seem worth the effort. :( I buy an excellent local frozen brand when I need them, sometimes the vegetable shop has them ready trimmed.

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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby ianinfrance » April 18th, 2010, 4:51 pm

I wonder if there isn't some ambiguity of the artichokes. There are globe (unripe thistle fowers buds) and jerusalem (knobbly tuber). We buy jerusalem articokes to make soup from, but we're lucky in that ours are a LOT less knobbly than some one can buy and grow. they're a bit like this:-
Image

and they are not too bad to peel.
I do hesitate over the knobbly kind,
Image

Actually, if one is prepared to accept the waste, (they're pretty cheap) a knife can cut off the knobs pretty quickly and then they are peelable. As for globe artichokes,
Image
we don't eat them THAT often, and only eat them "whole", so peeling isn't really an issue.


As for the rest. There are very few things we don't feel are worth it. We're entirely "with" Sue T-S on crabs. We find that with practice, we can strip a big one in about 30 minutes, and so adore the flavour - and find it SO much better than tinned or frozen, that we would never consider buying other than fresh.

Pasta. Definitely in the "make it" camp. Again, we find that with practice it's pretty quick, and we can definitely tell the difference. However, we don't have much access to good dried pasta. For Lasagne, we make our own because we feel the "no need to cook" stuff, which is all we can get here, is utterly inedible. Goes from "cardboard" to "glue", without passing through "edible". We would/do buy dry spaghetti/tagliatelli.

Baked beans. Although tinned Heinz beans are quite a good form of food, which we eat with pleasure from time to time it's not baked beans, If ever you feel like trying this recipe http://pagesperso-orange.fr/souvigne/recipes/side100.htm you'll see that they have little in common.

However... although Jacquie has made puff pastry, and although it was noticeably better (rose higher, lighter, tasted better) it is a right faff around and so we now buy it ready made. It's really not bad.
What else? Hmm.

Vegetable stock. We find Swiss marigold is fine
Tomato ketchup (I do make my own, and prefer it, but it uses a lot of tomatoes and so we often run out).

There are loads of other things we wouldn't consider making, many of which are Asian. If we can buy them ready made, then that's fine, if we can't - then we do without.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby frenchcheesequeen » April 18th, 2010, 5:32 pm

I obviously need to get a life because one of my most loved tasks is making puff pastry. I am dieting at the moment and having withdrawal symptoms from all that rolling and chilling. I have never tasted a bought pastry which is as good as my home made and if I am eating that much fat then it has to taste sublime.

Crab is easy - it is one of nature's foods for lovers. One crab, two sets of picking and breaking implements, some crusty bread and a bowl of home made mayo. A very large bowl for debris, finger bowls and extra napkins or kitchen roll. Sorted. A happy hour or two with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Muscadet sur Lies.

Artichokes? I am in the Ian camp here - globes get simmered for twenty minutes and then a bowl of melted butter or mayo is all that is necessary. Girasole or topinambours get turned into soup and we are happy to live with the consequences. Not done for company though.

Onslow is not keen on pasta so I have never even attempted to make it. I suspect I would enjoy it if I tried though.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Dena » April 18th, 2010, 6:32 pm

Puff pastry - if bought is good enough for top chef's (I think it was Raymond Blanc) it's good enough for me.

Globe artichokes - love them but don't really prepare them, just boil and eat the leaves dipped in either melted butter or vinaigrette, the choke is quite easy to get out at the end of the procedure. If I need them for something else I buy them already prepared. At one time Ocado had them frozen - not now though :(
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby ianinfrance » April 18th, 2010, 8:06 pm

Hi Carol.
frenchcheesequeen wrote:I obviously need to get a life because one of my most loved tasks is making puff pastry.
Not at all!! If you like making it, and can take the time to do so that's super!! I do agree that it's better, as I said.

Dena, can you imagine any top chef feeling that they can get away with saying "you really ought to make your own puff pastry"? I am prepared to bet that in nearly every 2 or 3 star restaurant, they make their own puff pastry all the same.

But to be honest, I have never felt that one should refer to what they do in top restaurant kitchens to illuminate what we do at home. To some extent, in my job I had to, but just because I used to have to be able to produce french haute cuisine food in my home kitchens, it doesn't make it a necessary part of the skills of a domestic cook.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Kavey » April 18th, 2010, 9:06 pm

I'd never buy frozen or tinned crab either, but this makes me waaay more appreciative of fresh dressed crab!

Have made boston baked beans with belly pork once, they were delicious, will definitely make them again!

Haven't yet made pasta but want to make my own, not least to be able to add flavours into the pasta dough such as herbs etc.

Happy to buy puff pastry!

Dislike J artichokes and don't particularly love globe artichokes so that's not an issue.

Did take forever to peel just 12 quail's eggs not long ago but would do it again, in similar small quantities. Wouldn't do 100+ though!
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby efcliz » April 19th, 2010, 8:06 am

Sometimes something might be worth the effort for one meal but not for another. I' have made vegetable stock, for certain meals, but am usually happy with marigold. I have made pasta plenty of times but often eat bought (though if I want fresh now I have to make it as I can't get it without eggs) I prefer my own Thai curry pastes but keep a good quality one in the fridge for speedy midweek meals. I have never made puff pastry but would.

I think it's just a case of how much time I've got on any given day and how much effort I want to put in for that particular meal. There's nothing I wouldn't consider but that doesn't mean I'd do it all the time.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby LeCreusetFiend » April 19th, 2010, 6:48 pm

I'm definately with you on making your own Thai curry pastes, Efcliz - the ones in the shops are just lacking so much in flavour.

A couple of minutes' pounding in a pestle and mortar = half an hour's pleasure in eating! :D
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby StokeySue » April 21st, 2010, 6:10 pm

I'll do crab - Steve Hatt (super star fishmonger)taught me how - takes him 5 minutes takes me about 20 now - Kavey, hate to tell you, the bigger they are the easier!

I thought making Thai curry paste might be one but I will have to make my own as all the bought ones are so salty - I don't remember food in Thailand being that salt, guess it's a preservative

Don't make puff pastry but then I don't much like it

In fact I tend to work on the principle that if I want to eat it I'll put the effort in.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Dena » April 21st, 2010, 9:07 pm

I'm adding Jerusalem artichokes to my list now - I spent over an hour this afternoon trying to peel some very, very knobbly ones. I even used Jane Grigson's tip of blanching first - didn't work :cry: The soup had better be worth it.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Luca » April 21st, 2010, 9:15 pm

Puff pastry is definitely on my not worth the effort list..... especially as we very rarely eat pastry.

Globe artichokes are well worth the effort IMO - as are crabs and spending a leisurely hour or two working through a seafood platter of distinction. I find it not only therapeutic but also incredibly tasty!
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Kavey » April 22nd, 2010, 8:18 am

Sue, this was an enormous crab!
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby ianinfrance » April 22nd, 2010, 1:53 pm

Kavey wrote:Sue, this was an enormous crab!
GRRRRRR :mrgreen: :mrgreen: We never get them like that here. :cry: But, you know.... the bigger they are, the quicker they take to bits.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Luca » April 22nd, 2010, 3:51 pm

ianinfrance wrote:
Kavey wrote:Sue, this was an enormous crab!
GRRRRRR :mrgreen: :mrgreen: We never get them like that here. :cry: But, you know.... the bigger they are, the quicker they take to bits.


and the quicker that happens.... the quicker I get to eat it!

I remember being in a French restaurant in Battersea with family and my SIL had taken quite some time to prepare her crab (maybe something to do with the fact that she was chatting a lot to her nephews)..... she put down her implements and took a sip of wine but before she was able to even swallow it the waiter tried to take her plate with the whole stripped crab away from her...... nephews nearly fell off their chairs at the horrified look on her face and the waiter was most embarassed! She's a little faster at dealing with it nowadays.. :D
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby ianinfrance » April 22nd, 2010, 4:44 pm

Ah... that reminds me of a meal Jacquie & I had in a Chinese place in Queensway. We had the steamed crab with (I think) ginger and spring rolls - the accompanniments rather fade into insignificance - as a starter.

Well, as usual, we attacked the beast with gusto, and took every care to get the last bit of meat from the furthest crevice. By the time we had finished, every other guest had left, and the waiters were looking distinctly worried (presumably wondering how long we'd take to eat the rest of the meal! )

Memories of a misspent youth.
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Kavey » April 22nd, 2010, 10:06 pm

Sue, this was not a small crab! It was enormous, couldn't believe how much meat I got out of it, if I'd have seen the pile of meat I'd have assumed 3 or more crabs!
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby Dena » April 22nd, 2010, 11:08 pm

Hi Ian,

sorry missed your reply earlier - you said

Dena, can you imagine any top chef feeling that they can get away with saying "you really ought to make your own puff pastry"? I am prepared to bet that in nearly every 2 or 3 star restaurant, they make their own puff pastry all the same.

I think it was Michel Roux - not sure though - that did just that, said it was so easy and was so much better than anything that could be bought and the way he made it on the programme was fantastic. Can't even remember the programme it was now :?

Haven't worked out yet how to do the quote properly!!
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Re: What's not worth the effort, for you?

Postby ianinfrance » April 22nd, 2010, 11:57 pm

Denadar wrote:Haven't worked out yet how to do the quote properly!!


Dena, it's so easy it isn't possible!! When you are looking at a post you want to reply to quoting, you highlight the text you want to include in the usual way (you DO know how to do that don't you?) then while it's still highlighted you press the "quote" button . That's it. You'll find the reply window now has the text framed correctly.
Denadar wrote:I think it was Michel Roux - not sure though - that did just that, said it was so easy and was so much better than anything that could be bought and the way he made it on the programme was fantastic. Can't even remember the programme it was now
Ah well... Roux is someone who hasn't compromised. That sort of attitude is why I would prefer to go to Le Gavroche than any other starred place in London.

I agree that it's better, and I don't think it's hard to make puff pastry - merely a lot of faffing about.

We'll have you quoting soon!!!
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