Thursday, 22 March 2012

How to poach eggs

On the other blog not so long ago I posted a TED talk about how to tie your shoelaces. That did have a transportation aspect to it, but this doesn't.

You can buy egg poachers, of course - including ones that are supposed to work in a microwave. I cannot recommend the expense of either a specialized stove pan or the microwave kits. A saucepan with a lid is all you need. I happen to have a Le Creuset cast iron one, that does not have a pouring lip. The lid doubles as a small skillet. Because it is cast iron it retains heat - and the lid holds in the steam.

The key is to have the eggs at room temperature before you start. This advice is all over the place, but like nearly everyone I know, I keep the eggs in the fridge. If you know you want poached eggs, take them out of the fridge long enough before you start so that they are not chilled. Overnight works well. This greatly reduces the frothing of the white.

Secondly put a small splash of ordinary white vinegar in the water. This stops the eggs spreading around.

My foolproof technique is to heat the water until it is boiling, and then take it off the heat. Add the eggs to the, by now, gently simmering water, put the lid on and then leave it alone. I like my eggs on toasted english muffins, and the length of time it takes to toast the muffins and then butter them is about right for perfect poached eggs. The white is cooked but the yolk is liquid. When you lift the egg out of the water with a slotted spoon you need to gently shake it to allow all the water to drain. This will confirm that the egg is cooked properly. There is no photo to go with this post. That is because once I have cooked my poached eggs I eat them straight away. As with nearly every other egg dish, they continue to cook, so while I fiddle around with a camera, the yolks would harden. Not gonna do that.

I do not understand the local obsession with Eggs Benedict. Free range fresh poached eggs on buttered whole wheat English muffins do not need any sauce. A short twist of the salt and pepper grinders is, in my view, the only condiment needed.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

TED talks on Netflix

I am a recent convert to Netflix. Initially I was not sure that I would want to watch movies on a MacBookPro. I do not have the sort of TV that can be connected to the internet, though I am aware of people who manage to watch netflix on their theirs using BlueRay players. They have much more modern TVs than I do.

I had been using who sent me DVDs in the mail from a zip list, that I had increasing difficulty topping up after a while. It was impossible to tell when the movies I had asked to see would arrive, and every so often when they did I had already seen them by other means. So far Netflix has been pretty good at finding me the movies I want to see, when I want to see them. They do not always have some of the older pictures I have been looking for.

But I must say that the ease and convenience of getting a movie has more than overcome the small disadvantages of a relatively small screen (15") and tiny speakers.

When using services like Stumbleupon or Very Short List, I have been impressed by TED talks, and I have even embedded one into my other blog. So you can count me a fan of TED. Of course, there is no way I would ever be able to get to see a TED talk live. But today I got a Press Release, which I am copying below, which says that as a Netflix member I get access to TED talks. Quite how this is an advantage over simply going to the TED web page and getting the talk from there it does not say.

Beverly Hills, Calif., March 15, 2012 – Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) today announced the availability of the first group of fourteen themed TEDTalks Shows for Netflix streaming members in the US, Canada, Latin America, UK and Ireland.

TED is a nonprofit organization that showcases “ideas worth spreading” in technology, entertainment and design. The world-renowned TED brings together remarkable minds – leading thinkers, adventurers, artists, performers, icons and educators – to give riveting talks on various topics – all in 18 minutes or less. Each year, the TED Conference in Long Beach, CA and TEDGlobal Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland invites a who’s who of the world to deliver signature “TEDTalks” – lectures on a single idea to help grow awareness around amazing ideas or concepts. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende, James Cameron and former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Over 1,000 talks have occurred.

Each TEDTalks Show on Netflix is uniquely packaged with curated talks that introduce Netflix members to powerful ideas that can help make the world a better place.

“We are excited to be bringing this initial TEDTalks offering to our global streaming member community and look forward to a continued relationship with TED,” said Lisa Nishimura, Vice President of Independent Film Content Acquisition.

"TED is delighted to offer Netflix subscribers these jumping-off points for exploring the world of ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to stir the imagination,” said June Cohen, Executive Producer of TED Media.

The initial offering of TEDTalks Shows on Netflix are grouped around these areas of interest:

· Beasts, Bugs & Bio-wilderment

· Beauty & Fashion: Beneath the Skin Deep

· Building Wonder

· Chew On This

· Crime & Punishment

· Cyber Awe

Restaurant Review: The Crab King, Steveston

Crab King Premises.

There was a sudden outbreak of sunshine this morning, which convinced me that I should get out of the house, and have lunch outside somewhere. A couple of weeks ago we had been walking in Steveston and saw that there was a new float moored between the fish sales dock and Pajos, and it was open, selling crabs. This is a meal of which I am inordinately fond. One of the highlights of our trip to San Francisco was the availability of crab meals almost everywhere, but especially at fisherman's wharf, where the competition between restaurants selling crab is intense. It has since struck me as curious that we do not seem to be as keen on eating crab as they are. The Crab King is the first venture of its kind here.

Fortunately the sunshine had also persuaded the owners to open for lunch. However not many people were as interested as I was in eating outside. The cafe had sustained some damage in the week's windstorm, losing much of its weather protection. So sitting there today in a stiff breeze was quite chilly. By the time I had finished my half crab the small bowl of melted butter was solid.

Small stock today

As a weather dependent business they have to get good at predicting demand, I was their only customer between 12 and 1 today - though quite a few people came to look around. They will have many more crabs at the weekend, they said. At present these crabs come from the Island: once the season opens, they will come from Howe Sound or the Straight.

The half steamed crab I had was very tasty


This link takes you to their menu, which differs considerably from what was on offer today.

I had half a steamed crab which came to $12.95 with GST $14.50. They take cash or interac - no credit cards.