Tag: good

The Great Parmesan (Parmigiano-Reggiano) Experiment! – Penny Wise, Parm Foolish

I’ve wanted to do this little demonstration for a long time now, and it has nothing to do with proving people wrong. Okay, that has a little bit to do with it, but mostly I really want people who could be enjoying “the good stuff,” but don’t because they think it’s too expensive, to finally realize that’s not the case.


As you’ll see, a little bit of real, imported Parmigiano-Reggiano only costs about 20 cents per serving. Basically, for the price of a large gumball, you could be enjoying this world-class cheese. Of course, some people still won’t buy Parmigiano-Reggiano, even after seeing this.

For them, cost really has nothing to do with it. This is a convenient excuse they use because they secretly enjoy that stuff in the green canister. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. To each his own, but at least be honest, and don’t claim frugality as your motivation.

By the way, I edited this video while in New York visiting family, and somehow lost a small portion of the audio. So, in the middle of the clip you’ll hear a change in the quality, from the usual mediocre sound, to something much worse. I didn’t want to wait until I got back into the studio to re-record, so I’m posting as is.


Nevertheless, I hope I’ve persuaded some of you to switch over to what you should have been using all along. As a wise man once probably said, “Life’s too short for fake cheese.” Enjoy!

Fruity crunchy biscuit layer

This is a great pudding to rustle up at the very last minute for the two of you. We used amaretti biscuits but digestives will do just as well. Ring the changes with the fruit, too. We’ve used raspberries and strawberries but blackberries and blueberries taste just as good, too. Amaretto is a sweet, almond-based, Italian liqueur but you can use kirsch (German fruit brandy) instead.

Sushi for obsessives

This is why you need to wipe your knife between roll cuts. Notice how I have focused on the only clean one

Up until very recently I laughed at people who made their own sushi. There are some things that are best left to the experts, is my view – and sushi is one of them.

Then my raging pregnancy craving for sushi got quite out of control. It’s all I want to eat, ever. It’s all I can really stomach eating. I don’t really mean actual raw fish, although that will do, I really mean cut rolls, maki rolls – California rolls, spicy tuna rolls – even vegetarian rolls. I don’t care. I’m not fussy. I just want fucking sushi. I am an addict.

Even my Japanophile husband is getting a bit alarmed by it all, especially when we went out to a robata (a Japanese grill, where they cook tiny things on skewers – really delicious) and refused to eat anything except sushi.

But I can only squeeze a trip out for sushi out of him about once a fortnight or he starts getting bored with it, so I’ve had to come up with ways of filling in the gaps between my professional sushi hits. I stopped short at the Japanese sundries section of Waitrose the other day, dithered for a moment, then held out my arms, and swept the whole lot off the shelves and into my trolley: sushi mat, nori paper, wasabi, sushi rice, sushi rice seasoning. Then I wheeled back to the vegetable aisle and bought a cucumber, then I wheeled over to the fish section and bought some cooked, peeled prawns.

And I will say this: homemade sushi is actually pretty good. It’s not that hard to do and doesn’t make much of a mess – all you need to cook is the rice and everything else is just an assembly job – I can see if you did it reasonably often you’d get very good at all that rolling.

My problem is with the rice – although I’ve never been good at cooking rice, I’m hoping that results will come with practice. The two times I’ve cooked it now it comes out a bit overcooked and means a slight mushiness in the resultant roll. I now wonder if this might not be because of actual overcooking but allowing the rice to soak for more than the advised 30 minutes prior to boiling.

If you are going to make homemade sushi, then obviously the thing to do is look up a tutorial on YouTube, that is the only way to see properly how to do it, but I also offer the following additional notes:

1 When you cover your sushi mat with cling film, tuck the ends of the film in under the mat, to stop the film ending up getting rolled up inside the sushi, which is not the idea at all.

2 Sushi rice is like fucking concrete. Do not allow it, as I did, to sit in sieves, pots, on knives or sushi mats for more than a few minutes because it wil lliterally superglue itself to any unguarded thing – it’s mental.

3 Do wipe your knife on a wet cloth inbetween cuts of your sushi roll as it will make it all look so nice; if you don’t, little bastard grains of rice will stick to the knife and then stick to the next roll of sushi and look all messy (see photo above).

4 Be generous with your sushi rice seasoning. Plain old rice is awfully boring and I have found that the directions on the back of the seasoning bottle don’t allow for enough.

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