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Thread: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

  1. #17
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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    ....

    Which one has the greater successes?

    ....
    Deoends how you measure it. I mean, it's a bit like discussing "average" without specifying mean, median or mode.

    Her way is certainly more repeatable. She very rarely has failures, but also never really improves or varies.

    I rarely have utter disasters, at least, not for some decades. But while some 'variations' are certainly not strong candidates for a second go, most are.

    For instance, spag bol. When I first did it, it was a typical 70s British version of tomato-mince and spag. Now, I do a version (sometimes with a slight variation) of a recipe I got from a venerable old Nonna in Bologna, and she'd beat the living daylights outta me if I used spagetti in it.

    So, MrsS's version would still be that 70s tomato-flavoured mince, and mine uses home-made rich pasta, cooked in heavily salted water, with a ragu that takes hours of blipping away in a pan (not the SC) and hasn't ever seen a whole tomato.

    I'm of the opinion that the ONLY resl way to learn is to try things. Sometimes what you learn is to not try that agsin.

    Also, IMHO, no true cook can cok without tasting, tasting tasting. Critical to a good meal is correct seasoning, and you can't season properly without tasting, and without understanding balancing flavours.

    i mean, it took nagging from me to get pasta cooked with a decent amount of salt. And without it, it's bland.
    Noli nothis permittere te terere.


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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Deoends how you measure it.
    Simply. As in, it's edible and you like it enough to do it like that again.
    Stunning success means you'd cook it for guests as well!

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    a venerable old Nonna in Bologna, and she'd beat the living daylights outta me if I used spagetti in it.
    I understand there's a thousand different recipes for spag bol, each of them traditional and authentic (as far as each originator is concerned)... But how is it still spag bol without any spag?

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Also, IMHO, no true cook can cok without tasting, tasting tasting.
    IMO, once you start doing that to any great extent, you're no longer a Cook and are crossing into the realms of Chef.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    i mean, it took nagging from me to get pasta cooked with a decent amount of salt. And without it, it's bland.
    Oh GOD, can I please come live at your house??!!
    Wifey hates me using salt...

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    Anthropomorphic Personification shaithis's Avatar
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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    Oh GOD, can I please come live at your house??!!
    Wifey hates me using salt...
    Cut out processed/packaged foods and then you need to add salt to get your RDA.
    When I went low carb, I was getting lots of leg cramps until I released I needed more salt in my diet.
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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    Cut out processed/packaged foods and then you need to add salt to get your RDA.
    When I went low carb, I was getting lots of leg cramps until I released I needed more salt in my diet.
    That's an issue with salts in general, rather than necessarily just what we generally call salt, i.e. table salt, sodium chloride. Another common one is potassium, in my case confirmed by blood test, and for which my doctor prescribed two bananas a day. Apparently, that's not covered under NHS prescribing rules. Dammit.

    In fact, of course, there's a whole range of things high in potassium, like spinach, but one of the easiest to use as a dietary supplement is bananas.

    Turns out our bodies, clever little beggars that they are, normally draw all the necessary nutrients, salts, minerals, etc from our diet. But if it gets out of whack, well, suffice it to say severe deficiencies in any number of things can cause extremely unpleasant, and dangerous, symptoms.
    Noli nothis permittere te terere.


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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    ...

    I understand there's a thousand different recipes for spag bol, each of them traditional and authentic (as far as each originator is concerned)... But how is it still spag bol without any spag?

    ....

    Wifey hates me using salt...
    On the first point, you use pasta but not spag. I generally use taglietelle.The extra size of width gives getter surface area for the ssuce to stick to. Any fairly broad pasta strips will do, and as I cut by hand, it's kinda Saracenatelle .... i.e. it varies according to how much of a hurry I'm in.

    As for recipes, spagetti bolognese is an Anglicised, bastardised version of a true Italiamn classic that risks getting you run out of Bologna ahead of an angry mob.

    Are there regional variations? Sure. Not least in the meat used. With some it'll be beef, some pork, many 50/50 pork and beef, and in the mountain areas, wild boar. Basically, historically, whatever was locally available. But the method is generally pretty similar, with the ... what's it called ... suffito?? .... onion, carrot, celery, pretty finely chopped, meat, tomato puree, stock, seasoning and lots and lots of time, simmering away. The idea is to break the whole lot down into a dark, really rich SAUCE that coats, and sticks to the pasta.

    But it emphatically is a SAUCE, not a blob of tomata flavoured mince, plonked onto spag. What seems to work best is to remove the cooked pasta, still a little wet, from cookjng water strsight into hot pan with sauce, and coat thoroughly.



    As for salt, I get where your wife's ckming from, but consider this.

    I prefer cooking rice using absorbtion technique. That is, for whatever quantity of rice, doubke that of water, plus salt to taste. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cover andwait until all water absorbed. About 9 or 10 mins for basmati. Doing that, ALL the salt is absorbed into the rice. Oversalt that and it's horrible.

    Pasta, any pasta, is different. It wants to be cooked in a LARGE pan, plenty of space to move about. And that water wants to be VERY generously salted, because the pasta, especislly fresh but it still applues to dried (and a good quality egg pasta is still perfectly good) absorbs a tiny bit of the water. Unlike rice.

    Then, once cooked, what do you do? Drain the rice, ditch the water, right? So, about 99.9% of the salt in the water goes straight down the drain, and a tiny, TINY bit is absorbed into the pasta. To get enough to taste, you NEED to heavily salt it, because you pour almost all of it away.

    Put it this way. The late, great Antinio Carluccio used to say your pasta water wants to be salted to the point of sea water.

    Try explaining that 99.9% bit to the wife. It might ease her quite justified concerns. It's not like salting, oh, a stew, where you eat what you add. With pasta, you eat a tiny bit of what you add. And if she's still worried, use Lo-Salt, which is principally potassium chloride, not the health-risking sodium chloride.




    Note: I said ditch the pasta water. A good idea is to reserve z bit, maybe a cupful. As many pasta sauces continue to final bit of cooking after they're added to the sauce, the sauce csn go a bit dry. If do, loosen it up with a bit of pasta water.
    Noli nothis permittere te terere.


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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Try explaining that 99.9% bit to the wife. It might ease her quite justified concerns.
    Her concerns come from being around fancy TV chefs who slap in handfuls of the stuff, and eating in places like The Pot Kiln (where we went over the weekend) and getting horrendously rich sauces that really do have too much salt in.
    The rest is just a personal taste thing, but she'll have already prepared several arguments to defeat any challenges I might have. I just salt my own afterward, really.

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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    Her concerns come from being around fancy TV chefs who slap in handfuls of the stuff, and eating in places like The Pot Kiln (where we went over the weekend) and getting horrendously rich sauces that really do have too much salt in.
    The rest is just a personal taste thing, but she'll have already prepared several arguments to defeat any challenges I might have. I just salt my own afterward, really.
    Agreed (with Mrs Ttask) on sauces generally, and also on personal taste. The saltier you have your food, the saltier you find yourself wantng it. Most things I salt either lightly, or not at all. But (for me) pasta is the exception, not least because to get the proper taste of pasta, you (IMHO) have to salt it in cooking.

    Do it then and it brings out the pasta flavour. Add it afterwards and you end up with bland, tasteless pasta, and salt. Not the same, at all. But I guess you know that.

    It sounds like a choice of bland pasta or divorce.

    I know a good lawyer???

    Noli nothis permittere te terere.


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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    At the risk of taking this further off topic.

    Pasta water. Lovely stuff.

    Assuming you are making fresh pasta, because why wouldn't you be, there are two good reasons to salt the water heavily besides flavour.

    Firstly it's not temperature, my bag of fag pack maths suggests I'd be using way more than the generous pinches.

    One thing it does is adds a little buoyancy, but the main reason is the whole gelatinisation of the pasta. If you want to see an extreme version of pasta cooked badly, simply start with cold water, put the pasta in and turn the heat on. By the time it's cooked it will be mush, fit not even for Little Chef.

    The salt in the water helps this because the starch doesn't suck up the water. If you remember the osmosis experiments in school, salty water will always "draw out" the less salty water. This has an effect of not letting the pasta "suck up" so much of your cooking water.

    If like me you live in London you might have water that has a ph of 8.5, I know mine is often that high from my fishkeeping days. As a result a little squeeze of lemon can also be a good thing.
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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    It sounds like a choice of bland pasta or divorce.
    I know a good lawyer???
    Actually, at the moment it's more like NO pasta, as she's on a Paleo-like diet craze....

    And yes, a lawyer would be good, but a decent Italian chef would be better!!

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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    No pasta?

    NO PASTA?


    Is "cruel and unusual punishment" still grounds for divorce? Also, I seem to remember pasta-deprivation being an offence under human rights legislation, same paragraph as torture.
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    Re: One Pot Cooking - under a tenner

    Quote Originally Posted by Saracen View Post
    Is "cruel and unusual punishment" still grounds for divorce? Also, I seem to remember pasta-deprivation being an offence under human rights legislation, same paragraph as torture.
    I'm sure she has similar grounds... She's already a gaming widow, and now that I'm getting into woodworking and spending more time out in the workshop, she's suffering there as well... although the main reason I'm doing that is to make stuff for her, but that's probably inadmissible as a defence in court.

    Also, it's only her that's on this diet anyway. I'm only doing it with her to guilt-trip her into staying on it. I can have bread, pasta, rice and noodles any time I like.... However, pasta for one... indeed any meal cooked for one... is physically impossible for me to achieve. Food doesn't come small enough for me to cater to any less than three persons, unless it's a 24hr Ration Pack!!

    Upside of this is that even my one-pot meals work for surprise guests!

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