Thermomix - & a test post via email

This is a Thermomix.

Think Hamilton Beach blender.

It's a pretty ancient model, there have been two models since way back then with more fun and features; and this particular one is not working very well; it stalls from time to time then starts up again after some thermocouple or other cools down. For the moment, despite its failings, it gets most jobs done. This, of course, is my set-up to justify buying a new one.

It sort of looks like a mixer but it also has the ability to heat stuff at the same time. The top dial is a timer, the middle one is temperature (in centigrade), the bottom one is speed.

I'll be using it today to make croquettes.

Catch you later on that project.

The Pizzería

edited 31 july 2006 to reinsert foto

This is the entrance to the pizzería. Deliberately fuzzy photo to protect the privacy (identity) of personnel (or, because it was sort of dark and I'm still learning the camera settings on this phone). Oddly, this entrance is not the front door, which is kept locked, but an auxiliary entrance around the side. The busier this place gets the harder we seem to make it for people to get in.

Later Today These Will Become Pizzas

massa-95-027, uploaded by willsong.

These are 140 gram balls of pizza dough [5oz]. Hundreds are done each week. Each of these eventually become a lovely Napoletana style pizza (or Roma style if it doesn't have raised borders).

Pic is of the pizza prep [preparation] table at work.

Alitas de Pollo: Chicken Wings: Oriental Sauce

This post is loaded with photos; while I try out my new phone/camera.

We all know how to do this one but here's mine anyway. This is a "what I actually did" post - with a few ruminations on what I should have done.

Weight analysis (I am, after all, sort of an engineer):

  • Packages: gross (actual weight with packaging): 1020 grams (2 packages)
  • As stated on labels: 991 g
  • Net (actual weighed weight): 981 g (evidently they're cheating a little on the weights)
  • Once trimmed (tips removed): 882 g (not bad, only 11% wastage)
  • 900 grams chicken wings (in pieces) [2#]
  • 4 T hoisin sauce
  • 1 T oyster sauce
  • 1 T Honey
  • 1 T rice wine vinegar
  • 1 T soy might be a good idea - but I didn't
  • ½ t salt
  • ½ t pepper
  • ¼ onion (scallions or green onion would be best) (I used none, 'cause I was out of it)
  • 1 t ginger powder (fresh would be better)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3 T H2O (on looking at the results I'll leave this out next time)
  • 1 red pepper
Procedure (with pictures)
Take some chicken. In this case, 2 packages

Which will look like this one unpacked

Chop off the pointy tip of the wings at the joint (save for making broth some day)

And you'll get this

Cut wings in two at the joint gets you two "wings" from each wing

Clean up any little pin feathers left over

Mix (stick mixer) the ingredients (except the chicken pieces) then
Marinate chicken 15 minutes or more (this is them marinating); stir around half way through

Oil a baking pan and bake wings for 30 minutes in a 190 C oven [395F]

Turn and baste halfway through (thanks Elizabeth for the silicon basting brush)

Broil for 5 minutes more to crisp them and you'll get this (before)


Procedure (in one block)
  1. Chop off the pointy tip of the wings at the joint (save for making broth some day)
  2. Cut wings in two at the joint
  3. Mix (stick mixer) the ingredients (except the chicken pieces)
  4. Marinate chicken 15 minutes
  5. Meanwhile: Preheat oven to 190C [375F]
    • Wash the dishes you got dirty
    • Empty the dishwasher
    • Crack a beer
      or even better
    • Crack a beer
    • Empty the dishwasher
    • Wash the dishes you got dirty
  6. Oil a baking pan and bake chicken wings for 30 minutes
  7. Turn once and baste with the marinade
  8. Broil for 5 minutes more to crisp them up
  1. Put them on a rack if you want to keep them out of their own fats
  2. Don't use the marinade as a dipping sauce. Make more if you want to but the mariande's been contaminated with chicken juice and you don't want to be eating that.

N+1 Post of the Day - New Layout

I figured it was time too for a new "look". So I've changed the fonts, colours, page size, made it so that the content stretches to the width of the window and a few other things that will probably break the view for innumerable readers. If it does, sorry about that (feel free to bitch and complain in the comments). I'm trying for a little wider presentation so that the text doesn't run on so long and there's room for slightly larger photos.

The Adsense module isn't working ("an internal error occurred") so there's a little block of black and white text still to be fixed on the right hand column.

Incessant Posting - Cutting the Cheese

Now, for the nth post of the day - the first picture in the blog using the new phone-camera.

Taking an entire round of Manchego Cheese, cut it in half (using a really big heavy knife), then cut a 5 cm [2½"] triangular wedge from one half. Trim off the cheese-skin then lay the wedge on it's side. Take the knife and cut thin vertical slices (each of them now a thin triangle) of identical sizes - about ¼cm [1/8"] thick. Serve with green peppercorn mustard on the side (as you can see I use Maille's French Dijon Mustard).

Happy snacking.

This pic uses the close-up function and the flash and all sorts of fancy technology stuff to get it into Blogger (e.g. Bluetooth).

The Rain in Spain Falls Mainly on the Plain

We've been having what I like to call "Seattle" weather the last few days here in Spain. In Alcázar de San Juan in the last 24 hours they have enjoyed (?) as much rain as they had in all of last year.

Of course, this started the day after we bought a new barbecue - which we have, as a result, not yet been able to try out. It's charcoal fired - not one of those new-fangled propane things. I'll post a photo of it once we dry out.

poached from

Deer - Two Ways: Way 2: Cold: Ciervo

This is not as much a recipe as a technique. The meat is roasted exactly the same as the other day but presented differently.

Properly done deer is quite a treat cold. In this case it's just the deer and the raspberry sauce although I considered making it into a Deer Salad.


  1. Roast the deer. Perhaps even less well done than before (max internal temp of 55C [130F]
  2. Slice very thinly. Maybe a ½cm [¼"]. Thin is the trick to being able to enjoy bunch of the sauce with each slice. We need lots of surface area to coat with sauce.
    • For a salad cut the roast in half horizontally first so you make thin, narrow slices; a size like duck breast.
  3. Arrange on a plate
    • For a salad put the meat on top - don't mix it in with the greens
  4. Puddle the raspberry sauce next to the meat
    • For a salad thin the raspberry sauce with red wine vinegar and virgin olive oil (equal parts of each of the 3) to make a raspberry dressing

Really, this is a sort of "what to do with leftovers" post

Deer - Two Ways: Way One: Roasted: Ciervo

This is Oven Roasted Deer with Raspberry Sauce

(PDA camera {an iPaq by the way})

The deer is farm raised, sort of like cows are, but more open pasture style; it's sweet, tender and not "gamey" like one might anticipate if it was wild/forest hunted deer.

Using the raspberry sauce that I made the other day I quick roasted the thingy. This same procedure can be used on pretty much any thick chuck of tender meat.

Oven Roasted Deer with Raspberry Sauce

Time: 30 minutes total
  • 400 gr ciervo [1# deer], in this case a sort of "loin"-like piece - long and roundish
  • salt, kosher-type
  • olive oil, to anti-stick the pans
  • white wine, several splashes worth
  • 125 ml raspberry sauce [4,5 oz]
  1. It's best if you get the meat out of the fridge an hour or two before cooking so that it can reach room temperature - it roasts more easily, more evenly, this way. If you can't, or forget, as I often do, and the meat is very cold, set the oven 10-15 degrees lower to roast slower.
  2. Set oven to Hot, 195 C [380F]
  3. Clean up the deer meat, removing any silver-skin, sinewy strips from the outside of the meat; cut off the straggly parts so that it's got a nice consistent shape
    • Don't throw away any of the residual meat from doing this, save it for making the sauce
    • You can do this hours or a day in advance
  4. Salt the meat (no pepper today)
    1. Wait a minute before cooking to allow the salt to absorb into the meat - or wait a hour or two - no problem
  5. A little (very little) oil into a large, hot, frying pan and we sear the meat
    • Not too too much oil; we're not deep frying this
    • Deer meat is quite pink and does not "brown" the same as cow. We're out to develop a crust on the surface - which theoretically seals in the juices - and positively adds loads of flavour [flavor] due to some kind of caramelizing effect (the maillard reaction [in which, as we know, the reactive carbonyls of certain sugars interact with the nucleophilic amino groups of the products amino acids])
    • Put the meat in the pan and don't move it. Let the heat do it's work. Avoid turning the meat around and around in the pan. Like the professionals - just leave it alone.
    • Listen for a change in the sound of the frying after a minute - that's the moment when it's "seared"enough. Or, failing that, wait a minute and take a peek, lifting one end with a spatula
  6. Once seared, transfer to an oiled roasting pan and stick it in the preheated oven
  7. Add a generous splash of white wine to cover the bottom of the roasting pan very shallowly. Not too much because we aren't poaching the meat. Only enough to add humidity to the air in the oven and to keep the meat's juices from burning in the bottom of the pan
  8. Back to the frying pan -hot - sauté the little meat bits left over from cleaning up the meat
    • Deglaze a little, if needed, to avoid burning the remains of the searing process
  9. Deglazing is the process of using a splash of white wine; make that two, to clean the pan
    • Scape off the meat that's stuck to the bottom (there's a lot of flavour in there)
    • Once cleaned up transfer this to a smaller frying/sauce pan. The one used for searing the meat is quite big and controlling the sauce-making process in a smaller pan is somewhat easier.
  10. Add the raspberry sauce to this pan
    • Reduce - bubbling away slowly while the deer is in the oven roasting
    • You'll see "steam" rising from the pan; which is the water evaporating
    • Later, the liquids from the roasting pan are going to go in here so you can let it get fairly thick
  11. The "roast" is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 60 C [140F]
    • Check it after 10 minutes of roasting
    • Or poke it with your thumb to feel whether it seems "firm"and not squishy/raw
    • In fact, for practice, test the temperature and poke it too so you learn what "medium rare" feels like
  12. Set aside on a warm plate an put a tent of aluminum foil over it
  13. Splash white wine into the roasting pan and deglaze
  14. Pour this into the sauce
    • Reduce - until it's sauce-like and coats the back of a spoon
  15. Un-tent the meat, pour the residual juices (if any) into the sauce and slice the deer into 1 cm [½"] slices
    • Arrange decoratively on a warm plate
  16. Strain the sauce into a puddle next to the meat
    • We prefer not to pour sauces over meat that's been cut; so that we don't hide the beauty of the interior of the meat. It's a Cordon Bleu thing.
  1. I notice now that I've included the notes in the stream of consciousness writing of the recipe's procedure. I won't re-edit this post to move it all to here.

I served this with a green salad and Cardo as the vegetable. Cardo is a sort of thistle. We eat the stem parts, not the thistle itself.

Raspberry Sauce: Salsa de Frambuesa

The ciervo [deer] will be with done with salsa de frambuesa (raspberry sauce). With fresh raspberries running 13 € per kilo [$10 a pound] it's looking pricy. Using frozen rasps or a jam would have been alternatives but I didn't want all that sugar from the jam and the frozen ones leave me with ¾ of a bag of leftovers.
So fresh it would be.

Time required: took me all of 10 minutes (including cleaning up the equipment)

Raspberry Sauce : Salsa de Frambuesa

  • 2 T honey
  • 3 T Jack Daniels
  • 1 t red wine vinegar
  • 200 g raspberries [7 oz]
  • stick mixer
  • very small saucepan
  • small wooden spoon
  • chinois (sieve / strainer)
  • bowl
  • funnel
  • plastic squeeze bottle
  • spatula ( to scrape remnants of sauce from the saucepan &/or bowl)
  1. Put honey, Jack and vinegar into the saucepan
  2. Boil vigorously (to remove alcohol kick from the JD)
    • Stirring with the little wooden spoon
  3. Meanwhile, stick mix [crush / mush] the raspberries
  4. Add raspberries to honey-Jack mixture
  5. Bring to a boil, stirring
  6. Taste, carefully, for sweet / tart balance (adding either honey or vinegar to adjust it)
    • You want the tartness and flavour [flavor] of the raspberries to come register but with a sweet aftertaste
  7. Strain through your chinoise into a bowl
  8. Funnel into the squeeze bottle
  1. If you've drunk up all the Jack Daniels you can try Canadian Club or some other smooth whiskey / bourbon
Later, when I fry the deer steaks I'll deglaze the pan with white wine (as per always) and add some of this raspberry sauce to mix the meat and sauce flavours and serve it with the meat. Drizzled over the meat a little and somewhat more to one side. Hmm, maybe red wine deglaze would be better for venison.

Looking at Red Deer: Ciervo

Today I'm looking for recipes to prepare some deer steaks. (apparently I'm on some kind of kick about meats other than, pigs, cows and chickens).

Photo: wikipedia: GNU Free Documentation License.

I know the family on The Island is bound to have lots of experience with this since some of them actually go out and hunt for their own food and/or get loads of venison from others who do. I seem to recall having some bear sausage last time I visited - and looking forward to trying some variants again when I'm over there in August.

I'm thinking of marinating them and then just frying 'em up and making some kind of fruit sauce to go with it.

Coquelet: Little Rooster: Baby Cockerel

Fuzzy after shot due to using the PDA's camera since the batteries on the old digital were dead.

This is the first "real" meal I've cooked in a couple of weeks. It was nice to be back flinging pans around again.

This is a baby rooster, very young, and only weighs a pound. They don't actually have a lot of their own flavour but are quite tender - and cute (dead or alive).

I made four of them and will vacuum bag 3 for freezing and later consumption. I figured since I was making a mess in the kitchen anyway I might as well make it worth my while.

This all happens in one pan - quite easy really

  • 4 coquelets, 500 gr [1#], split in half (vertically)
  • 2 onions, medium, julienned
  • 100 gr pimientos de padron [3 oz], little spanish green peppers, chopped
  • ½ carrot, regular sized, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, smushed
  • olive oil, for sautéing the veggies
  • ½ liter dry white wine [½ quart], box
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 200 ml [1 C] fond blanc de volaille (see notes)
  1. Toss the onions, peppers, garlic and carrots into a pan with some oil and sauté slowly until at least the onions are softened - but not brown. Might take 10 or 15 minutes
  2. Meanwhile, cut the coquelets in half, vertically
  3. I also chop off the wing tips and the end of the leg bones just to bring a little "style"to the presentation
    • Make sure any pin feathers are removed from the skin
    • Sprinkle a little salt on the insides, and a very little bit of pepper
    • By now the sautéing is done
  4. Remove the veggies from the pan, throw in some more oil and brown the coquelet halves a little; nothing too drastic
    • I had to do mine in two batches of 4-half birds each; don't crowd the pan
  5. Remove the birds from the pan and deglaze with a little of the white wine
    • This gets the "good bits" from browning the coquelets loose and into what eventually becomes the sauce
  6. Return the veggies to the pan
    • and the coquelets (now you can crowd them if you like - but just one layer please)
    • Meaty side down (skin side down)
  7. Dump in your cup of chicken stock (either home made or gourmet selection)
  8. Add white wine to half way up the birds
  9. Bring to a wild simmer
  10. Cover, reduce heat, and tip the lid about a quarter loose
  11. Continue to simmer, mediumly, for 30 minutes (the first phase)
  12. After 30 minutes, turn them over, sideways, so that the leg is in the broth (we want to make sure the "dark" meat is cooked enough
  13. Simmer another 10 minutes
  14. Set aside the meat, cover them with a little tinfoil tent to keep some warmth in
  15. Strain the sauce (or run through a vegetable mill or use a stick-mixer) to eliminate lumps of anything
    • While you did that the coquelets released some natural juices, add this to the sauce
  16. Reduce the sauce like crazy (as usual: until it coats the back of a spoon); probably by about a third. It'll go from being "liquidy" to being "saucy". There's one of those magical cooking moments when it "just changes" from one to the other.
  17. Pick out the two nicest looking bird pieces, plate them and pour a little sauce over - not too much
  1. fond blanc de volaille is chicken stock; but very very nice chicken stock. French/Alsatian recipe. I use a canned one (!) from Albert Menes. Reduced and concentrated; and I have to buy it in Paris whenever I'm there. Le Cordon Bleu would be ashamed of me if they knew because we cheffy types are supposed to make our own. So don't tell.
  2. pimientos de padron are, as I said, little Spanish green peppers - which I just happened to have lying around; any old green pepper would do just as well

It's May and Spring's Not Arrived Yet

Although the roses are trying to bloom intermittently. A few pop out every day and then the rain quickly destroys them.

After the fiesta in the garden things have been hectic here. The s.o. headed off to New York and so, again, there's been nothing cooking in the house. The pizzeria's been busy though. It was the May Day (extra) long weekend; which, in Madrid, gets May 2 added - to celebrate when they rose up against the French occupation and Joseph Bonaparte (the "king" of Spain), Napoleon's brother, in 1808. The uprising failed on that particular day but the French left by 1814 (after the six years War of Independence).

Also occupying my time this week is something which happens to us chef types with some regularity. I've had someone propose opening a restaurant with me. This occurs about 2 or 3 times a year. The difference in this case being that the guy actually knows how to run a restaurant, there is a bank that actively wants to finance the project, and a pretty good spot that's available. The financing part is usually the main thing that these ideas (dreams) lack and typically the spot available is far from ideal. Not to mention that the person who's idea it is normally has _zip_ experience in the hospitality industry. So there's been a fair bit of chatting going around here on that topic.

I'll see if I can work up the energy to post an entry with actual food in it.

Good news about the ADSL; after 3+ months of wrangling with the phone company they finally went to the effort to actually, visually, check the lines and found a whole mess of corroded/oxidized connections. Having those reworked seems to have fixed the endless problems we've been suffering through. So now I can stream video of the New York Yankees baseball games from the site.

Lastly, but not leastly, Happy Birthday to my niece. Belatedly.