About me

According to Collins Dictionary, a gourmet is “a person who cultivates a discriminating palate for the enjoyment of good food and drink”. That’s quite a good description of me, although I do not only enjoy good food and wine, but also like to cook and select matching wines. I’m a guy (1974) from the Netherlands, living near Amsterdam. On this blog I intend to share my experiences with cooking, eating at restaurants, visiting wineries, and related topics. Other than you might think, all of this is just a hobby for me: I work in the financial industry as a program manager. When I’m not cooking or working, I also try to find some time to read (in Italian to keep up my Italian), play the piano, sing, and travel. (Of course food and wine are usually important factors in my travels.)

I’ve always enjoyed sharing my enthusiasm for cooking, good food and wine with others. It gives me a big thrill when my sharing leads to someone trying something new or developing an interest for wine or cooking. I’ve had a home page on the internet since 1995, where I’ve shared some of my recipes almost from the start. Back in those days the ‘easiest’ way to create a page was to write HTML code using Notepad, so it was quite laborious to share stuff and that is part of the reason why I did not post regular updates. The other reason was a lack of interaction. Posting recipes into a ‘void’ and not knowing if more than a few friends actually read and try them isn’t that much fun.

Nowadays interaction has been made easy thanks to Facebook and there is no more need to write HTML to post stuff on the web. I had been sharing some of my cooking and eating experiences and winery visits on Facebook, but there it’s mixed up with unrelated posts, only seen by my Facebook friends and moves out of sight quickly as new messages are posted. Kees suggested to me that I should really start a blog, since that would be a more suitable medium to keep an organized record of my experiences. One that in the future can be used by others (and myself) as a body of knowledge. And he was right, so here I am!

I strive to share every single interesting experience with respect to food and wine. I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do, and hopefully my blog will inspire you to try new things or develop new interests, as well as help you cook better and more easily!

I’ve been cooking for myself, my husband, as well as family and friends on a daily basis for 17 years now. As you may conclude from browsing the recipes published in this blog, I cook mostly Italian and ‘from scratch‘, and I often use a novel cooking technique called ‘sous-vide‘. My love for good wine is a more recent development, that started in 2004 when I had the first glass of wine that I really liked. It was a Pouilly-Fumé from Masson-Blondelet, and on the way back from a vacation in Portugal we visited the winery where it came from and bought some bottles. And some other Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé on the same trip as well. That was the start of our wine collection, and it’s gotten slightly out of hand since then (now we have a collection of around 1000 bottles in 5 wine fridges).

Something else that you may regard as gotten out of hand is that I have learned Italian just to be able to communicate with Italians about food and wine, and read Italian recipes. I have even started a blog in Italian with a selection of the recipes found here, to practice my Italian and to hopefully get more feedback from Italians on my cooking.

If you have any questions about cooking (especially Italian or sous-vide) or about matching a wine to your dish or about anything you read on this blog, I would be happy to respond! I do not pretend to know everything, but if I do not know the answer already and find your question interesting, I may do some research for you. All questions and answers will be posted on the blog.

You can send me your question as a comment to a post or a comment on this page below.

153 thoughts on “About me

  1. Keurige beschrijvingen van het menu, complimenten!
    Groeten Jan Dirk Zonnenberg, je speciale vlees/en wild leverancier.

    Ps ik hoop je snel weer eens in onze kookstudio te mogen begroeten met je collega’s of vrienden.

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  2. Pingback: THE LIEBSTER AWARD | The Accidental Chef

    • Thanks! It’s the thought that counts and I haven’t received that many yet. The awards do multiply if everyone who receives one actually nominates 5 (or sometimes even more) others.

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  3. Pingback: THANK YOU THANK YOU | The Accidental Chef

  4. You are by far my favorite cooking blog to read. I nominated you for the versatile blogger award! The logo is on my most recent blog post for you to snag. Thank you for making me drool!

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  5. Pingback: Soba Noodle Soup | Campari and Sofa

  6. Hi Stefan – You’re probably too busy for these sorts of games, but I love your blog. So… I’m pleased to offer you the Sunshine Award for the stellar work you are doing. If you would like to display the award, you can copy it from my post and follow these steps.

    1 Thank the blogger who nominated you on your site and provide a link back to their blog.
    2 Answer some or all of the 10 questions listed below.
    3 Nominate up to 10 blogs for the award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them of the award.

    1. Who is your favorite philosopher?
    2. What is your favorite number?
    3. What is your favorite animal?
    4. What are your Facebook and Twitter?
    5. What is your favorite time of the day?
    6. What was your favorite vacation?
    7. What is your favorite physical activity?
    8. What is your non-alcoholic drink?
    9. What is your favorite flower?
    10. What is your passion?

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  7. Great to find another sous vide fan! Got mine at Christmas and have hardly stopped using it! (currently using it as a water bath for ripening milk for making cheese )
    thanks lots for recipes and ideas
    Salilah

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  8. Stefan, what would you suggest for a 2 pound piece of beef tenderloin sous vide? I can’t find a consistent recipe. I like no more than medium rare… Thank you! Mimi

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    • Hi Mimi,
      Doneness of beef is a personal preference, which might explain the inconsistency in cooking temperatures that you may be seeing. 122F/50C is rare, 127F-131F/53C-55C is medium rare. For your first time I would recommend 127F as middle ground and then you can always go lower or higher next time.
      Since beef tenderloin is already tender, you only need to bring it up to temperature. The cooking time depends on the thickness (diameter) of the tenderloin. 2″ thick requires 80 minutes, 3″ thick 160 minutes, 4″ thick 4 hours. If it is thicker than that, it may be unsafe to cook to a temperature lower than 130F/54.5C because that is the lowest temperature that will pasteurize the meat. (Allowing the meat to come to room temperature first does not help, as that is slower than sous-vide and cuts into the maximum allowable 4 hours between 10F and 130F.) (If cooking to 130F you could even serve medium rare beef tenderloin to a pregnant woman as it will be pasteurized, but it may be more towards pink than you’d like depending on your preference.)
      If cooking time is an issue, you could cut into single portions and vacuum seal them individually. That will cut the cooking time back to 2 hours or even less.
      To finish the tenderloin after it’s cooked sous-vide, allow to cool for 5 minutes or so and then pat dry with paper towels and sear in very very hot clarified butter in a thick-bottomed skillet. (The cooling is to prevent overcooking the meat because it will heat up from the searing.)
      I would season the tenderloin with salt and pepper before vacuum sealing it, so the salt can penetrate into the meat.
      The juices that come out can be used to make a sauce, but you need to get rid of the scum (I have a post about that).
      Hope this helps!
      Stefan

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  9. Stefan, I might have done something pretty stupid. I received a brisket from D’Artagnon that I wanted to sous vide. The plastic on the brisket looked somewhat vacuum sealed, so I just put the whole thing in my sous vide. A little bit ago, I took it out of the sous vide and opened up the plastic, and the meat smells different. It’s a big “off,” although I can’t describe it. Do you think that the plastic wasn’t vacuum sealed ? thanks, mimi

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    • Hi Mimi, did it float when you put it in? If not, it was vacuum sealed enough to be cooked sv. I’ve never tried this way myself, because when I open raw meat that has been vacuum packed with a strong commercial vacuum sealer, the meat usually gives off an unpleasant smell that is caused by anaerobic bacteria. They can only grow in a place without oxigen, so they love it when 99.99% (I’m making up this number) of the oxygen has been removed rather than 99% (again made up for illustration purposes) with a household clamp style vacuum sealer. Have you ever noticed this smell when opening vacuum sealed meat? Before cooking the meat, I leave it on a plate in the fridge, uncovered, for an hour or so to allow the smell to disappear. You may have cooked the meat including that ‘smell’, and that could be what you’re smelling. I’d say it’s good to eat if after searing the outside, the smell is gone, also from the inside of the meat. Hope this helps!

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      • Thanks for commenting! No, it didn’t float, but I also put a can on top of it to keep it submerged because the brisket just barely fit in the sous vide. I read everything I could, including the book you recommended, on food safety, and I read about the aneurobic (sp?) bacteria, but no one has mentioned the smell. That has to be what I am smelling, because even if there was air in the package, the meat still cooked, right? And I subsequently smoked the brisket on the stove and the internal temperature got up to 200 degrees F, which actually surprised me that it got that high. I actually have a really good nose, which isn’t always a good thing! Well now I feel better about this and we’ll have it today. It’s not a huge amount of money for a brisket, although it’s from a grass-fed cow, but it’s hard to throw food away! But I also didn’t want to die!
        Thanks again for your help. You should write your own book!!

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        • I’d recommend to always smoke the brisket before cooking it sv, because it will allow the smoky flavor to diffuse all the way to the center. Did you allow the brisket to cool off before smoking it? If it was 135 degrees in the center when you started smoking it, it’s not a big surprise it hit 200 degrees. That may mean though that it has been overcooked but that’s something you’ll find out soon enough.

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    • Hoi Danielle,

      Dank voor je leuke berichtje. Jahoor ik heb ook nog tijd om te zingen. Op 3 augustus sta ik op de boot te zingen op de Prinsengracht 🙂

      Groetjes,
      Stefan

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  10. “Perfection in progress…”

    Beautiful blog Stefan.
    My mouth is watering by just reading some of your recipes.
    I simply cannot wait… Grocery, here I come!

    Question/suggestion: I’m wondering if you can add some sort of an indicator in the “menu” in order to quickly separate ‘starters’ from ‘main dishes’ and ‘desserts’.

    Rgds, Jeroen

    Like

    • Hi Jeroen, thanks for your nice comments!
      I think you may find what you’re looking for under “Categories” on the right-hand side (scroll down a little).
      Have a nice weekend,
      Stefan

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  11. I love your “about” section – you have a clear, life-long passion for food. Have you ever considered working as a chef at some point in your life? You have vast knowledge and a true gift. Your husband, family and friends are quite lucky to eat your food – and well-paired wine, of course. 😉

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    • Thanks — enough already with all the nice words 🙂
      I’d like to work as a chef as soon as I’m financially independent — doing it for a living would take out all the fun and would mean working much harder than I do now.

      Like

  12. I have nominated you to the Versatile Blogger Award.
    The rules as per my understanding are;
    • Give thanks to the person providing your nomination.
    • Include a link to their blog
    • Nominate 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award
    • Finally, the hardest, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.
    All the best, Cheers

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  13. awesome stuff, stefan. i’ve been enjoying a few of your posts. while i think most of your recipes might be waaaay out of my league (i’m just a lowly cook in a crappy, tiny, one room apartment kitchen), i sure as heck love looking at your photos.

    maybe if i work up some confidence, i’ll see if i can find an easy one and give it a go…

    anyway, keep up the awesome work. you have a pretty cool backstory, and i am excited (as always) to find another interesting, gourmet-loving food blogger.

    Like

    • Hi Misha, thanks for visiting and taking the time to leave a message. There are lots of easy recipes on my blog that you should have no problem with. Please feel free to ask anything when in doubt.

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  14. Hi there

    A request: can you perhaps put up a recipe for malloredus? The sardinian small flour gnocchi. I’ve had them a few times in restaurants and they were great. I tried to make them myself but it didn’t come out so well. I thought it would fit your style and I am sure you can do better than I! I served it as i had it in a restaurant, with a pork and fennel light sauce, which really works spectacularly well.

    Cheers!

    Owen

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    • Hi Owen,

      I’ve never been to Sardinia, but I love requests so I’ll see what I can do. I’ve already found a lady from Sardinia who has been kind enough to share her recipe with me. I haven’t been able to find a recipe for the pork and fennel sauce yet. Are you interested in making the fresh pasta by hand, or is it the sauce that interests you?

      To be continued…
      Stefan

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  15. Actually I can do the sauce, it is the malloredus i need help with! 🙂 I managed to get eh sauce not far off right, by using some pork and fennel sausages from a local butcher as the meat (when I have used pork mince it dries out too much).

    Basically i sweated onions till they got sticky, added the meat from sausages and some very thinly sliced fresh fennel and cooked it for a few mins, then added white wine, a splash of stock and fennel seed and cooked till the meat was done and the wine reduced a bit and melded with the juice from the sausage meat. finished with a little lemon juice it tasted brilliant, but the malloredus I made let me down – I cooked them very briefly (barely a minute) but they were gungy rather than al dente. I did use 00 wheat flour though and some recipes for the malloredus used other flours. If you can get info from a Sardinian that would be amazing!

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    • I’ll prepare them after christmas and I’ll do a post on them, using your sauce. One thing I can tell you already: you should definitely use “semolina flour” (semola di grano duro rimacinato) instead of 00 grano tenero for these. All pasta from the south of Italy is made with durum wheat (i.e. semolina).

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    • P.S. You could also try the “gnocchetti sardi” by DeCecco. It’s not the same as fresh of course, but according to my Sardinian source it would be acceptable. They would certainly turn out al dente.

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  16. Pingback: Malloreddus Pasta with Fennel and Sausage | Stefan's Gourmet Blog

  17. Hi Stefan! I have a question for you. I bought a venison short loin, supposedly also called backstrap, and I’d like to sous vide it. But I can’t find any directions for this cut, and I honestly don’t know if it fits more into the loin category or a flank steak category. If you could help that would be great!

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    • Hi Mimi! Venison backstrap is what is called tenderloin in beef and pork. It is the most tender cut of venison. I would personally prefer to eat it raw as carpaccio (I actually have a recipe for that on my blog, although that also uses regular loin). It doesn’t need sous vide to become tender. If you like the rare side of medium rare, sous vide it for an hour at 122 degrees and then sear briefly over high heat. If it is thicker than an inch, more than an hour would be needed. Go up to 130 degrees for less rare. If it is a thin piece and you sous vide it to 130 or even higher, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before searing, as otherwise the searing could overcook the center. Hope this helps. Let me know how it turns out.

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  18. Thanks Stefan! I googled backstrap and found out nothing, interestingly enough. I’m not surprised you know what this is!!! I won’t sous vide it at all. It sounds like it should turn out really well prepared like I do my filets. And speaking of sous vide, I can only purchase fresh salmon filets here, not steaks. I promised you that I’d sous vide salmon some time, but I get so many different directions online and from my one book, that I thought I’d just ask you what you recommend. Thanks again, as always!

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    • I did have to use Google as I had not heard the term backstrap before. Google does personalise search results, but it is still remarkable that unlike you, I got lots of hits googling venison backstrap. Since I have deboned venison a couple of times, I can confirm from the descriptions that I found that it is definitely the tenderloin.

      As for salmon sous-vide, steaks and fillets are basically the same, it is just a different way of cutting the salmon. The temperature for salmon is always the same: 109 degrees.
      The reason I asked you to try sous vide salmon is to try it at 109 degrees. The texture is out of this world, so buttery. You could eat it with a spoon. This is also why it is easiest if you can find salmon with the skin still on. Otherwise, it may be difficult to get it onto your plate in one piece.

      For that purpose it also helps to cook it for a shorter time if possible. Unlike meat, sous vide fish overcooks easily. It won’t become dry like fish overcooked in a frying pan, but it will become too soft.
      The time needed depends on the thickness. 32 minutes is sufficient for 1 inch of thickness. If your salmon fillet is thicker or thinner (measure it where it is thickest), you can calculate the time by taking the square of the thickness and multiplying by 32 minutes. For example for .8 inch thicknes: .8 * .8 * 32 = .64 * 32 = 20 minutes.

      If you try the salmon at 109 degrees and think it is TOO buttery, next time you could try it at 122 degrees for a more conventional texture.

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  19. Stephan, I read your blog on Thai Fish cakes. I thought yours looked good. I have tried to make these, from a Thai recipe book, but the texture never has that bouncy feel that you get from the ones you oder in the restaurant. The ones I made had more of the texture of a crab cake or ordinary fish cake.

    Are you familiar with the bouncy texture I am talking about? I love that chewy texture and mouth feel. Perhaps using the store bought fish paste you achieved the feel I am talking about.

    The thing is, I didn’t like the idea of using the store bought stuff because there has been so much talk about asian food products and the lack of regulations and level of corruption. Therefore, I decided to look for a way to make the paste at home.

    The best recipe I found, had two ingredients that I think gives the bounce. One was 1/2 cup arrow root, corn starch or tapioca starch, the other ingredient was 2 egg whites. I think this is what is missing in most recipes–I will have to try and make my own paste and see what i think.

    Your recipe for the dipping sauce, seemed perfect, so I will make it when I make the fish paste and cakes. If I get the bounce I’m looking for I’ll let you know.

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    • Thanks for visiting and taking the time to leave such a nice compliment. I’m going to check out your blog. If you like cooking, you should definitely get a sous-vide. There are now very affordable immersion circulators on the market.

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  20. Hoi Stefan,

    It’s great to finally find some more foodies that actually live in the Netherlands 🙂 I am French and after moving to Amsterdam I experience a big culture cooking chock 😉 I am really looking forward to read more from you!

    Like

    • Hoi Raphaelle,
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. I’m so glad you like my blog.
      You should be glad you didn’t arrive here 20 years ago, as by now the foodie scene is so much more evolved in the Netherlands.
      I’m looking forward to ‘see’ you again!
      Stefan

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Hi Stefan,

    I was delighted to stumble across your blog yesterday. Thoughtful, clear, informative, inspiring……..fantastic! While I am an experienced amateur cook, I am facing a perplexing problem. We raise chickens at home (think small farm), primarily for eggs, but eventually all of them end up in the oven or stewpot. Our last seven hens are five years old and have stopped laying eggs, so they are now destined for the kitchen. Attempts in the past to tenderize old hens through slow, moist cooking proved disappointing; the meat inevitably was tough and stringy. We ended up discarding the meat but saving the extraordinary broth for a variety of uses.

    Convinced there had to be a successful way to prepare and salvage the meat, I thought about sous vide after thoroughly enjoying a leg cut of venison prepared by a friend recently. It was amazingly tender. I found your recipe recreating your grandmothers slow cooked, farm raised chicken legs and realized this was the perfect answer. Thank you so much for taking the time to share it with others.

    Two questions remain and I would be most grateful to receive your thoughts.

    First, because our chickens are five years old, I expect them to be even tougher than the stewing hands and Asian chickens you found. So I’m expecting an increased cooking time, perhaps 72 hours at 144°F. Second, your recipe is for the legs, But I saw no mention of the breasts. Our prior experience suggests that they will also be very tough. You and others recommend one hour at 135° to 140° for conventional boneless chicken breasts. I’m certain ours will take more than one hour but there’s a huge range of times between one hour and 72 hours! Do you have suggestions for time and temperature?

    Many thanks.

    Like

    • Hi Matt,
      You’ve just made my day! This is exactly why I started blogging in the first place — just to think that without reading about my grandmother’s chicken you may have discarded all that wonderful flavorful meat! I can imagine how extraordinary the broth was.
      I don’t have experience with 5-year old chickens, but I can make some educated guesses for you. I agree with you that the legs at 144ºF for 72 hours is the best guess. Try it with one leg first. If it is too tender (which I doubt), decrease the cooking time to 48 hours for the next leg. If it is still tough, increase the temperature to 148ºF. You could also increase the cooking time to even longer, but then you would be venturing into uncharted territory for most sous-vide cooks.
      As for the breast, my best guest is 48 hours at 135ºF. If that is too tender, decrease the cooking time to 24 hours. If it is still a little tough, increase the cooking time to 72 hours. If it is still very tough, try 48 hours at 140ºF instead (and then 72 hours if needed).
      Wings can be treated the same as the legs.
      I guess I don’t have to tell you to turn the carcasses into broth!
      I’m curious what will work best, so please report back here with your findings! 🙂
      Good luck and enjoy the hopefully tender and certainly flavorful chickens!
      Stefan

      Like

  22. Sorry, first sentence of last paragraph should read: “First, because our chickens are five years old, I expect them to be even tougher than the stewing hens and Asian chickens you found.”

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Okay I have a culinary mystery for you that’s been puzzling me for three years. In 2011, we dined at a Hostellerie de Plaisance in Saint-Emilion. The meal was fantastic, but one of the courses was a pasta dish. I’m still flummoxed on how they managed to get this to work. Basically, it was bucatini pasta that they somehow fused together into sheets. Then the sheets were formed into a cube and they stuffed the inside of the cube with beef and lobster. It was a really spectacular-looking dish, and I’d love to be able to reproduce it for dinner parties, but when I tried, it completely fell apart. I wonder if some food glue might work?

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    • Hi Grant,

      Never having seen the dish makes it difficult for me to help out. Just fusing the bucatini pasta into sheets (especially sheets that have a pleasant texture to eat and at the same time hold a shape of a cube) seems very difficult to me.
      Was the stuffing of beef and lobster itself also a cube, or was it loose? Transglutaminase could have been used to glue the beef and lobster together, but I don’t see how that would make the cube hold its shape.

      I’ve tried to look for this dish online, but no such luck. I did find out that the chef who was there when you visted is no longer the chef, and made them lose both stars.

      Liked by 1 person

      • If I could post a picture I would. It was very odd. The filling inside was definitely loose, but the sides were almost like panels of a bamboo fence. But somehow all the bucatini were fused together.

        I did notice that the chef is no longer there.

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      • Here’s a link to the photo I took of it. It’s not very good quality as I had forgotten my real camera and had to use my iPhone camera (and the camera on the phone three years ago wasn’t very good). I made the album public, so hopefully you can see it. If not, let me know and I’ll try again, or I’ll try to post it on G+.

        Like

        • Thanks for the photo, which is helpful. From the photo I get the sense that the box was open on top, is that correct? Was it also open underneath? So more like a square ‘wall’ of bucatini pasta than a box?

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          • I’m glad the photo worked. Actually it wasn’t open on top. And I don’t believe it was open on the bottom either. It was pretty much a self-contained box.There were a few pieces of food on top, but if you look at the left corner, you can see the sauce sitting on top of it. I don’t remember the bucatini being any more firm than normal pasta, I imagine somehow the bamboo-like features of the bucatini gave it some strength to hold up. Although maybe there wasn’t any on the bottom. I imagine it would be easier to do it that way. A friend suggested maybe some sort of thin gel, but I don’t remember there being one, but I imagine that it would be one way to do it.

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          • Okay I’ve refined my googling, given the chef’s name and the pasta and I came up with this: http://www.m6.fr/emission-top_chef/photos-bar_en_croute_de_feuilletage_legumes_et_creme_de_langoustine_par_philippe_etchebest-72012/photo-1020958#diaporama

            I guess we was in Top Chef in France recently and he did something similar with bucatini pasta on there. He uses something which google translate calls “stuffing Pike” to bind the pasta together before cooking it in a steam oven it looks like. If I can figure out what stuffing Pike is, it might be doable.

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  24. I just checked out your this ‘about’ page for the second time. I love that you learned Italian so that you could further your culinary skills! Brilliant, I think that made my day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hoi Stefan, vanavond je blog voor het eerst tegen gekomen. Al wat interessante ideeen tegen gekomen die ik, als gepassioneerd hobby kok, zeker ga uitproberen. Ook ik ben dagelijks bezig met het plannen, koken en het uitproberen van restaurants 🙂 Sinds kort aan het experimenteren met moleculair koken.

    Misschien heb je nog een suggestie voor het volgende:
    wil een ‘potato foam’ in een siphon maken en warm serveren. Als ik het 1 dag van tevoren maak en in de koelkast bewaar, kan ik het de volgende dag dan opwarmen in een warm water bad of is dat niet aan te raden?
    Tips / suggesties zijn welkom.
    Bedankt, Eric.

    Like

  26. I have two Emu eggs I was thinking of cooking them sous vide perhaps a giant deviled egg. Do you have any suggestions for a great way cook and present to company?

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  27. I’ve just found at a San Francisco farmers’ market a vendor who sells sustainably raised pork. Very expensive, but delicious. So when i saw the pork belly, i flashed on my great pleasure in eating babi pangang at the New King in Amsterdam on numerous occasions, googled for a recipe, found your blog, and just spent two hours wallowing in it. Many thanks.

    Like

  28. Hi, nice blog, i found it through Google Image search. Man, i thought you were a professional cook because your meals are so goddamn professional looking better than from a 5 stars restaurant. It’s unbelievable for me.

    Thanks for the amazing Inspiration. I will browse the site now and look for more.

    I have one question. I hope it is not to personal: How do you keep so skinny?! What’s your secret and please don’t tell me you have no secret.

    Thanks

    Like

    • Hi Roj, thanks for visiting and your nice compliments.

      My secret for not gaining weight is portion control. I do not limit WHAT I eat (I eat everything including high-calorie stuff) but HOW MUCH I eat. For instance, I eat chocolate almost every day, but only 1 little square per day! You can eat as much low-calorie vegetables as you like, but I use scales and prepare exact portions of pasta, rice, potatoes, meat, fish, etc. There are never second helpings or left overs, which would lead you to eating too much.

      I do not believe in dieting at all. Diets are impossible to stick to and lead to jo-jo effects. What works is to lower the amount you eat PERMANENTLY and stick to it. You don’t need to lower it by much, even if you only lower how much you eat by 10% or 20% you will slowly start to see the results.

      Like

  29. Hi Stefan!!
    I just wanted you to know I really enjoy reading your blog and I feel like I have learned so many great things from you. I would also like to nominate you for two awards… The Very Inspiring Blogger Award and The Versatile Blogger Award. Here is the link http://mealswithmel.com/2015/03/09/versatile-blogger-award-very-inspiring-blogger-award/
    There is no pressure at all to participate as I’m sure you have been nominated for these awards many times before. This is just my way of saying thank you for all the great recipes you share 🙂
    Happy Cooking!!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Hi Stefan,

    Because you love sous vide so much I thought you’d be interested in hearing about our new product which let’s you do not just sous vide but you can also precision fry, simmer and even make candy. You can check it out on Kickstarter now:

    Matt

    Like

    • Hi Matt,
      Thanks for letting me know of your product. It looks interesting and innovative. Unfortunately, it won’t attach to my induction stovetop with touch control (no knobs at all!).

      Like

        • The digital settings of an induction cooktop are also accurate enough for simmering and deep frying (not for sous-vide though). Many home cooks here have gas though because they think it reacts quicker and provides higher heat than induction (which is not true, except perhaps for huge gas wok burners). What I’m saying is, I do believe there could be a market for your product in Europe.

          Like

  31. Hi Stefan, I’ve been following for a long time, and I have a question/challenge. Tonight I tried alton brown’s duck method. Steaming, followed by a hot cast iron pan in a very hot oven. It worked great at rendering the fat so that it crisped up very quickly in the oven. But the breast was overcooked. Not tough or rubbery, but definitely not medium rare like I like it. How can I get the skin crispy, yet the breast medium rare? I’ve tried sous vide for the breast, but it just doesn’t render the fat the way that steaming does. So it still comes out with too much fat between the skin and the meat. Any thoughts?

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  32. It does. Funny, I remember reading that, but thought it had come from somewhere else. I am a big fan of sous vide, and it does the breast up nicely, but just doesn’t render the fat. I’ve also tried putting the breast skin side down in a cold pan and putting on very low heat, periodically pouring off the fat. Still not good enough. My wife suggested trying same, but with partially frozen breast.

    I will try transglutaminase next time I have some duck breasts. By the way, the steaming method was great for the legs. Not as good as confit, but quite tasty.

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Hi Stefan

    I meant to ask, have you visited Il Pacciocne in the city centre? I was taken there by Italian colleagues who work in Amsterdam, and while tiny and cramped, and pretty warm in summer, it is pretty great food I think. See http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g188590-d4548131-Reviews-IL_Pacioccone-Amsterdam_North_Holland_Province.html – also most times I visit at least half the customers seem to be Italian.

    The menu is tiny and changes day by day. It is not cheap, and they do have a tendency too push the more expensive wine (always check wine prices before agreeing) but the food I’ve had has been great. It all comes out of a wood oven int he back. The Pizza is sourdough crust and pretty chewy but with a great tang. Pasta dishes have been great, the Lasagne al forno is certainly to my taste. Starters are always interesting, and last time I was there we had pork shank slow cooked in the oven, which was quite incredible.

    I think ti is worth a visit if you have not been.

    Like

    • Hi Owen, I’ve not been there yet, but I’ll go check it out. Thanks for the tip.

      I just posted a review of Eatmosfera, which is very good and in the city centre too. Definitely recommended.

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  34. Good afternoon! I have been asked to prepare an Italian meal for 15 people. I am going with a layered cheese ravioli dish (kind of like a lasagna) and will serve with salad and bread. I have no idea how many pounds of ravioli should be used to feed this many. Can u give me any idea on portion sizes? Also what’s a good dessert for this type of thing. I am being paid to cater so obviously I don’t want to spend a crazy amount of money on the food and then do all the work for pennies. Thank you for any advise!

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    • About 7-8 lbs of ravioli should do it, but of course that depends on the group. A group of quarterbacks eats more than a group of models. The people paying for this may expect you to serve meat. If you want the food Italian as in ‘like in Italy’, you should be aware that serving ravioli as lasagna is not common in Italy. As for dessert, something light would be nice. How about strawberries macerated with balsamic? Recipe is on this blog. Good luck!

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  35. Hi Stefan, thank you for all of the great information on making lieveto madre. One question please – I started my first batch of lieveto madre and all is going well. At day nine of the 14 day cycle I may be unable to repeat the process of 200 grams flour, 200 grams starter, 100 ml water – for roughly four days – unplanned challenge. Will I need to simply start over at a later date, or is nine days sufficient for a good base? I appreciate your feedback. Thank you.

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    • I have not tried this myself yet, but I think it is best to store the lievito madre in the refrigerator while you are away for four days. When you come back, continue with the 14-day cycle. Please let me know if this actually worked.

      Like

  36. Hi Stefan,
    I discovered your site when i was looking for sous vide information as i had just purchased a machine and had no idea how to use it. You were most helpful.
    So I subscribed to your blog.
    The first recipe I received was for duck with tagliatelli. I used pappardelle pasta, as i couldnt buy tagliatelli.
    Absolute winner!
    As we are comming into summer here and i have a couple of fig trees, i am looking forward to trying the rabbit and fig dish i found on your site.
    I live in the country, and there are plenty of bunnies to be had, and at this time of the year they are in great condition. Your suggestion of sous vide is the answer, as the feral ones can be a bit stringy. Rabbits are introduced in Australia, and classed as vermin. They are a bit stronger flavoured than the farmed variety, but all the better i reckon.

    Finally, thank you for taking the time to set up a very interesting and informative blog.
    I am looking forward to more.
    More power to you.

    Cheers

    Tim
    Margaret River
    Western Australia

    Like

    • Hi Tim,
      Thanks for your very nice message. Great to hear you like my blog.
      The stronger flavor of the feral rabbits may come through a bit more than you like when cooked sous-vide. I haven’t tried feral rabbit sous-vide yet, so would love to hear about your results.
      Let me know if you have any questions, as I’d be happy to answer them.
      Best regards,
      Stefan

      Like

  37. Stefan, While looking for a recipe that would duplicate the pappardelle/porcini that I had in a small restaurant on a medieval borgo in Northern Tuscany (La Lunigiana is the region) I happened on your blog. Astounding that this your blog produced as a hobby. As a vegetarian I was searching for a rich sauce but unobtrusive sauce to let the porcini flavor dominate. Your recipe fits the bill, and I will try it this week. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Hi Stefan,

    Thank you for the pannenkoeken recipe. We are gluten free and I wanted to make these for my wife who grew up in Tilburg. Her mother made them all the time. She wasn’t feeling well today so I wanted to give her some comfort food. I replaced the flour with GF flour and she said that they were just like what she had as a child.

    Steve

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Hi Stefan,

    I just came across your blog as I was searching for ravioli recipes and making them from scratch, which I have never done before. Your blog is absolutely amazing! There are so many recipes I love to try. I appreciate your clear detailed step by step picture instructions. I never had Italian food growing up in an Asian household but after I met my husband who loves Italian food, I started trying and cooking more Italian dishes. We are going to Venice/Rome in a few weeks. I was wondering if you can suggest any local food or brands that are unique to Italy that I can buy and bring back to the US? Something that is rarely found outside of Italy. I would like to use for future cooking. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jen,

      Thanks for the nice words. If you have any questions about Italian cooking in general or making ravioli from scratch in particular, please feel free to ask. Have you already found this post?
      https://stefangourmet.com/2014/12/20/top-10-secrets-to-make-the-best-homemade-ravioli-from-scratch/

      Depending on where you live in the US, you may already be able to buy a lot of Italian supplies locally like Italian 00 flour (to make the ravioli dough). Unfortunately you can’t bring any fresh produce to the US, because those would be the hardest to find in the US (like guanciale).

      Food that I usually bring from Italy includes several types of flour (including manitoba flour for making ciabatta), pasta, amarena cherries, olive oil, balsamic, saffron. I can get those at home too, but at 2-3 times the Italian price.

      To find good restaurants and avoid tourist traps (which are rare in Italy, except for Rome and Venice) I can recommend the Gambero Rosso restaurant guide. They also have an app. I am not sure if it is available in English, but even in the Italian version you should be able to figure out the address and the rating (1, 2, or 3 shrimp for the best trattorie and 1, 2, or 3 forks for the best restaurants).

      Enjoy Italy and hope to ‘see’ you around on the blog more often!

      Stefan

      Like

    • Thanks, I’ll go check it out.
      I’m not sure if I’m going to post Selena’s recipe for cornbread, as it was impossible to keep track of how much of each ingredient she used.

      Like

  40. Hello 🙂 i would like to know where you can buy the white “clip” on the scallop that you took a picture of..? on the edge of the shell before taking it out if you know what i mean. 🙂 i can’t find them anywhere online.. Hope that you can help me with this 🙂
    Thank you 🙂

    Like

  41. Thanks for stopping by and joining my blog. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy sharing my recipes and travels with you and as much as I enjoy your blog. Welcome aboard. Do t forget you will need to come visit next time you come to the area.

    Nadia

    Maisontravers.wordpress.com

    Like

  42. Hello Stefan,
    I will receive a Thermomix in a couple of weeks. Do you have any experience with this machine?
    So many top restaurants are using them now, so I just had to give it a try. I am looking for things that it does better than the regular kitchen machines.
    Best regards, Happy New Year and thank you for this great blog,
    Leif

    Like

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