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Nov 1, 2008 04:37 AM

November 2008 COTM The Art of Simple Food: Pasta, Bread & Grains

November 2008 COTM:

Alice Waters - The Art of Simple Food

Please post your full-length reviews of recipes for pasta, bread and grains here, including those recipes that fit in these categories that are in the first section of the book. Please mention the name of the recipe you are reviewing and the page number, if possible, as well as any modifications you made to the recipe.

A reminder that the verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

Thanks for participating!

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  1. Fusilli with Greens ans Sausage, p266

    I liked this very much and Mr GG loved it - 10 out of 10 for him!!

    I made it pretty much as written, apart from i substituted rigatoni for fusilli and used a ricotta salata type cheese rather than parmesan. You take half a pound of spicy Italian sausage (I used toulouse sausages which were good and garlicky) and remove rhe skins. Roll into small balls and fry in EVOO until cooked through - this worked well and I'd do it again to make very easy meatballs. Remove from the pan and fry a sliced onion -I used a red one - until soft and slightly caramelised. Season with S&P and red chili flakes and then return the sausage to the pan with some cooked greens - I used chard from my veg box. Cook gently for a few minutes then combined with cooked pasta which you have dressed with a little EVOO and salt. Add parmesan or pecorino and drizzle with a little more oil.

    This really was very good indeed. I think it really is important to ube an Alice clone and use the best ingredients for such a simple dish. My chard was organic, my pasta artisan and my sausages were from the butcher and according to Mr GG "cost an arm and a leg"! I only needed two though. I will definitely make it again, especially now that it's winter and greens will be making a refular appearance in my box.

    3 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      Thanks for the report on this. I think my husband would love this too! I'll probably get chard every week in my csa box till the season is over...

      1. re: Carb Lover

        I made something similar using kale from my csa box. Glad it worked out for the same reason Carb Lover did - we'll be seeing lots and lots of greens in the next few months.

        1. re: oakjoan

          It looks to be a variation (The chard and spicy sausage) on a recipe I first saw in Julian Cooks With Master Chefs, Lidia Bastianich. She used broc. rabe, which is perfect...quite bitter and spicy hot. It's good with any kind of green.

    2. Herb Bread or Pizza Dough, p. 60

      Well, these were my first pizzas ever. I did substitute whole wheat flour for the rye flour, as I couldn't find the latter. Otherwise, I followed the dough making instructions. I did have some trouble making a nice round pizza, as you can see from the photos, and the disk was too thick on the first one.

      Pizza 1 - Brushed, with fruttato, then Batali tomato sauce, cooked down so that it was quite thick, thinly sliced red onions and mozzarella, added grated parmesan, basil and prosciutto when it came out of the oven, plus a drizzle of fruttato.

      Pizza 2 - Brushed, with fruttato, then thinly sliced red onions and fresh mozzarella, added grated parmesan, basil and prosciutto when it came out of the oven, plus a drizzle of fruttato.

      Thanks to a thread on the subject, I sliced my mozzarella ahead of time, and dried it on layers of paper towels, so I had no problems with the moisture issue. The toppings were wonderful, but we both though the crust didn't taste like pizza crust. When I asked my husband what he thought it tasted like, he said "focaccia". I preheated the oven to 550, rather than 500 as she says, but turned it down to 500 while cooking the first one, so it wouldn't get too dark. The crust was very nice and crisp on the bottom, but I think I'm going to keep looking for a pizza dough, now that I'm hooked!

      Edit: I forgot to mention, I don't think I put enough cheese on the first one, and created too much crust on both of them, by not spreading out the ingredients closer to the edge.

      15 Replies
      1. re: MMRuth

        I got some good tips here:

        .... on pizza making. I did not remove the pizza stone from the oven, but the pizza remained wonderfully crisp anyway.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Ah, pizza is so much fun and so good...I just looked at Alice's recipe and it does look a bit overly complicated and time-consuming. I use a very basic dough recipe that originally came from the back of a bag of King Arthur Flour. I have adapted it somewhat but it basically goes like this:

          Into a large bowl, put 2 cups of warm water. Add 1 tablespoon each:sugar and salt and stir to dissolve. Add 1 tablespoon dry yeast. Let sit for about 10 minutes.. Then add up to 1/4 cup olive oil and stir. Start adding flour one cup at a time, (in total it will take 5-6 cups of flour) stirring in until the dough pulls away from the sides. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 3-5 minutes until the dough is smoothe and starts to push back. Let it rest while you clean your bowl. Put some more oil into the bowl and spread around the sides. Plop the dough back in and turn some to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in the oven with just the light turned on. It only takes an hour to rise, as opposed to the 2 hours Alice calls for. Punch the dough down and divide into 2 balls. (I usually freeze one in a plastic bag.)

          Here's where I get weird....I roll the dough out on the counter. No second rise is needed, so you can do this just before baking. Meanwhile my pizza stone is warming in the pre-heating oven, and all the ingredients (cheese, sauce, toppings) are assembled. Here's where I get weirder: I pull the stone out of the oven, sprinkle with cornmeal and start assembling the pizza right on top of the stone. It can be difficult to transfer the dough to the stone but you can rearrange it somewhat and who cares if it's not perfect (it's "Pizza Rustica"). Working quickly, brush the crust with olive oil and then proceed with sauce, cheese, toppings and a little bit more cheese. Then dot the top with some more sauce. During this 3 to 5 minutes of assembly the crust is having its second little rise and pre-baking. Cook until the cheese starts to brown. Pull the stone out of the oven and if your cheese is too brown, slide the pizza onto a cutting board to set five minutes. Otherwise it can set on the stone....

          I spent several years experimenting with this and one hint I would suggest is to just switch around one thing at a time so you know what works best. The oven temperature comes to mind here, or say which rack, how much oil in the dough, etc. Happy playing!

          1. re: clamscasino

            Thanks so much for that - so helpful! Candy posted her dough recipe, and another friend mentioned using a very high gluten flour from King Arthur called Sir Lancelot, and yet another poster suggested trying the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day recipe, which I've been using to make bread, for pizza. So I have a lot of experimenting to do!

            1. re: MMRuth

              You're very welcome, and now let me tell you about...

              Cornbread. Page 274

              I had about given up on finding a cornbread recipe that worked for me (and Jiffy is so danged cheap and easy, I admit that it is really THE only mix I use for anything) and so I tried this. The recipe went together very easily and quickly. I choose to make muffins and instead of greasing the tins, used paper baking cups. I for some reason started with 1/4 cup of batter for each muffin, and surprise, surprise, I was right on. Exactly 12 quarter cups. So far, so good. Then into the oven....the recipe calls for baking muffins for 12 to 15 minutes. After that amount of time my muffins were not browning, so I cooked for longer....The result? Not enough corn presence (she says you can play with the mix of 3/4 cornmeal to 1 cup flour). Next time I would try 1 1/4 cups cornmeal and half a 1/2 cup flour. Also, I wasn't happy with the amount of rise, but this could easily be the age of my baking powder. And the muffins were quite small....and they stuck to the papers! Hate that. But I will give them another go before the month is out.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Although it takes quite a while to start the original starter, I rec. Nancy Silverton's grape starter which, after breeding in a jar for several weeks, growing ever stronger, turns into a starter that is fantastic for pizza dough AND focaccia.

                Although it's time-consuming, it is virtually work just sits there and every once in a while you add too it.

                I've tried the Artisan Bread dough for pizza and it worked out well, but not as spectacularly as Silverton's. Also BittLay bread dough is good for pizza.

                I haven't tried Waters' pizza recipe yet.

            2. re: MMRuth

              I use the pizza dough recipe from AOSF regularly. We make it on average once a week and it's been our favorite by far. Somethings that I always make sure to do with it are to use the rye flour(I order it from King Arthur) and I always make it at least a day ahead and let it rise in the fridge.

              I've recently started using 00 flour when making this and it's taken a good dough and really made it something we love. We make our pizzas on our Big Green Egg so we can get the cooking temps well above 500 as well.

              Good stuff.

              1. re: ziggylu

                Thanks for your report, MMR! Glad to hear that you're hooked on homemade pizza experimentation even though this dough was not your ideal. I agree w/ ziggylu that it's best to let the dough rise in the fridge overnight. I've always done it this way, and my dough looks different from yours. Mine usually is very pliable and smooth on the surface; yours looks much more pillowy and shaggy. I don't have a recent photo of my pizza, but next time I make this, I'll be sure to fully document!

                I recently made one of my favorite white pizza combos. Crust. EVOO. Grated fontina. Sauteed criminis and shiitakes. Sauteed greens. Sauteed cipolline onions. Amazing!

              2. re: MMRuth

                Herb Bread or Pizza Dough, p. 60

                I've been raving on other threads about this pizza dough after I discovered it a few months ago so I made pizza again the other night. I normally let the dough rest overnight in the fridge, but this time I made it early in the morning and let it proof in a warm place all day until I came home to make dinner. So it proofed for about 12 hrs. instead of the usual 22-24 hrs.

                I pretty much follow Alice's recipe; however, I've been using whole wheat flour instead of rye flour since I want to use it up. I'm going to go back to using rye flour though since I like the subtle yeasty taste and texture of it better. The wheat seems to give it more nuttiness, while the rye lends the yeasty sourness that I prefer. Alice calls for 1 tsp. of salt, and I've been using 2 tsp. kosher salt.

                Generally speaking, my husband thinks pizza is not pizza without tomato sauce while I'm a white pizza kind of gal. He grew up on the east coast while I grew up on the west coast, but that probably has no relevance. I personally find tomato sauce to overpower the toppings as well as the crust. Because Alice's recipe makes 2 14" pizzas for us, then we can both be happy. I usually make one pizza on the first night and the second one the next.

                My favorite pizza that I make w/ tomato sauce is spicy Italian sausage, sauteed greens, grated mozz, and fresh mozz. My favorite non-sauce pizza has been w/ sauteed mushrooms, sauteed greens, caramelized cipollini onions, and grated fontina. I'm also a big fan of the classic margherita, but I can't seem to make it at home as well as what I've had in good restaurants.

                That said, I often don't have a specific combo in mind but rather rummage through my fridge to see what odds and ends need to be used. This last time, it was red peppers (not bells), shiitake and crimini mushrooms, cipollini onion, spicy sausage, regular mozzarella, and parmesan. I would have normally lightly sauced this type of pizza since the toppings could stand up, but I didn't have any available.

                The dough had risen beautifully, although I noticed that it was not as easy to work with as when I allow it to rest overnight. It kept contracting when I stretched it, and I just had to coax it a bit more. I always put some good EVOO on the bare crust before layering the cheese and toppings. The key is to sautee and season each component separately before assembling. I believe the sequencing of toppings is important, although my strategy is kind of arbitrary and not based on any research or methodology per se.

                So my latest pizza turned out pretty good, although it was definitely not my best showing. I thought it could have used some lubrication from a little sauce. The crust was cracker like on the bottom and had a flatbread/focaccia quality around the edges. The flavor wasn't as well-developed as when it rests overnight, and it didn't have the suppleness that I'm accustomed to. Don't get me wrong, it was still pretty darn tasty and much better than anything I could get delivered.

                I will definitely be returning to the rye flour. I want to do a bacon and sauteed spinach pizza w/ a cracked egg in the middle next!

                Photo slideshow here:

                A couple nights later, I made the herb bread to go w/ a "clean out the fridge" soup. (mirepoix, garlic, red cabbage, fresh tomato, garbanzo beans, thyme & dill). The bottom and top of the bread were generously slathered w/ good, fruity EVOO. I sprinkled w/ Maldon sea salt and coarsely chopped rosemary. Baked for about 20 min. A little hard on the outside, but the inside parts were soft and chewy and the flavor was quite nice. Definitely not as soft or pillowy as focaccia. Still a great accompaniment to a hearty, rustic soup for a complete and restorative supper. The riesling we drank was lovely too...

                1. re: Carb Lover

                  Great, great slide show, Carb Lover. And the pizza looks glorious.

                  I don't know why, but I practically never make pizza for myself. For me it's always been a when-kids-visit, lets-all-have-fun-together-in-the-kitchen, kind of thing. But all this talk about pizza is inspiring me. Heading right now into the kitchen to whip up some dough.

                  1. re: JoanN

                    Thanks, JoanN. I love pizza for weeknight meals because it's generally quick as long as I've got pizza dough prepped and I preheat my pizza stone right when I get home. I can sautee any toppings while the stone preheats and then put together a leaf salad while it's baking. Great reward for minimal effort!

                  2. re: Carb Lover

                    Looks good, Carb Lover.

                    I'm not much into red sauce on my pizza either. Fortunately my husband likes white pizza so unless we're having people over we only make one pizza(I find the Water's dough freezes quite well and usually freeze half to use the next week).

                    I made a batch yesterday and we're having a pizza tonight with some fig tapenade, carmelized onions, black forest bacon and a bit of cambozola on it.

                    When you go back to the rye flour...also try to find some 00 flour and use that. Makes a really really nice dough!

                    1. re: ziggylu

                      Your fig tapenade pizza sounds heavenly. Sliced pears would be a nice alternative to the tapenade. Yeah, I think it's time I kick up my pizza making a notch by seeking out 00 flour and maybe this Fibrament stone.

                      1. re: Carb Lover

                        Here’s a wonderful source for all things pizza, Carb Lover. I use King Arthur Sir Lancelot high gluten flour for my pizza and am very happy with it. But the Caputo Tipo ‘00’ listed here is the choice of many aficionados. I know you said you’re not much for white pizza, but for your husband you might want to try the 6 in 1 Ground Tomatoes by Escalon. Great stuff right out of the can. Just add some herbs and garlic and it’s good to go. The Ezzo pepperoni is outstanding; meaty with very little fat. It’s better than anything else I’ve found here in Manhattan. I even love their Grande cheeses. I would never ordinarily buy already-grated cheese, but when the grandkids are coming to visit and I know we’ll be doing some serious pizzamaking, I get the 5-pound bag of shredded mozzarella/provolone mix. It arrives fresh, freezes and thaws beautifully, and tastes even better to me than my own Polly-O/provo mix.


                        1. re: Carb Lover

                          Yes, we were originally going to pick up some pears for the pizza but remembered we had a bottle of the fig stuff in the fridge so went with that in lieu of a trip to the store for pears. It was deelish. No pics since that's way beyond my tech abilities though. Sorry!

                          I've been buying the 00 flour from Sur La Table as they are the closest place to my house that carries it. Probably should start searching out an online supplier since I don't know how long they'll be carrying it...

                          I have to admit my stone is nothing fancy. A 15 year old Pampered Chef stone that I bought way back when a roommate was selling that stuff. So far it's even held up to the heat of our Big Green Egg however so I figure I won't bother replacing it until it finally does crack someday.

                    2. re: MMRuth

                      I made the herb bread or pizza dough, p. 60 _ not as a pizza, just as bread. I made it with the small amount of rye flour, and I sprinkled chopped rosemary and Maldon salt on it. It was good. Maybe I'll get a pizza stone and try it as a pizza.

                    3. Spinach Lasagna, p. 269

                      Was asked to make lasagna for a potluck, so decided to try Alice's. Pretty straightforward - layer bechamel, fresh pasta, tomato sauce and ricotta mixed with spinach. In her variations she mentioned subbing pesto for the spinach, and I had just made some so I did, plus she suggested subbing bolognese for the tomato sauce, and I just got a new order of grass-fed beef, so I did that as well. I really liked the pesto in the ricotta, I'll defintiely do that from now on. What I didn't like...her bolognese calls for 5 fresh sage leaves, which made for a pretty sage-y ragu. I think I prefer sticking with thyme and oregano per my usual. Altogether pretty standard version, but solid.

                      1. Farro Salad with Shallots and Parsley, page 278

                        Again, super simple. I liked this a lot, but my husband just thought it was okay. We tried the variation with sherry vinegar instead of regular red wine vinegar, which he really objected to on the basis that it seemed too fruity.

                        We tried this with the steamed halibut with salsa verde and the cauliflower salad with radishes and olives, and I have to say, I found the overwhelming presence of olive oil and parsley in every single dish to be too much. Maybe one or two of these dishes would be a good choice, but, all together, it was too much of the same. Now, I suppose that's my poor menu planning, but, there you go.

                        Also, while a lot of the more seasoned cooks object to this book on the basis that it's too basic, I continue to be surprised by the number of things she just expects you to know. In the cauliflower salad she tells you to cook it "until just done." I know how to tell when cauliflower is just done. No biggie, but I did have to look it up elsewhere, just so I could make sure all the dishes would be done in the proper order...


                        14 Replies
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          Yeah, I agree that her recipes in this book are kind of vague. Medium cauliflower, cook till done, etc. I do seem to use my prior knowledge and experience to fill in the gaps or make modifications that I know will improve the result for my tastes. The cream biscuits are a must-make for this weekend!

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            I really enjoyed this too and can see myself making it regularly. It made a nice side dish to a phenomenal chicken with sumac and lemon recipe from the Ottlenghi Cookbook. (Off-topic, but if you're visiting the UK be sure to pick up a copy of this book - it's amazing.)

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              Sell me on the Ottlenghi book ... I'll be there in two weeks. What do you love about it?

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                It uses a lot of ingredients that I love - pomegranate seeds or molasses, labneh, Israeli couscous, fresh herbs, feta, greek yoghurt, preserved lemons and the recipes are creative and delicious. A lot of the recipes have a middle Eastern twist, as both the founders of Ottolenghi are from Israel (one is Jewish, the other Palestinian).

                                Everything I've made so far has been delicious, and pretty simple. The salads are particularly amazing, and the rosewater and pistachio meringues are to die for! There are quite a few recipes online as Mr Ottolenghi has a column in a national newspaper, and there's a website too. I know oakjoan is also a fan.

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  Yes I certainly am. LulusMom, you should check out his recipes which are online at the UK Guardian website. I think if you search for Ottolenghi and UK Guardian vegetarian recipes, you'll get to it.

                                  I've fallen in love with his chard fritters and leek fritters as well as a great guinoa and red rice salad.

                                  I just remembered another very delicious and quite elegant recipe - a variation on a tarte tatin with potatoes, onion and goat cheese . It's cooked with a crust on top and then turned out ala tart tat. Very rich, elegant and good.

                                  You gotta get this book!

                                  1. re: oakjoan

                                    Thanks to both of you for the replies. I think you've sold me (potatoes, onion and goat cheese? put it on a shoe and I'll eat it!). Sounds right up my alley.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      This I gotta see! Give me your address, LLM, and I'll be right over with the potato tatin and the shoe.

                                    2. re: oakjoan

                                      I came across the recipe for the quinoa and red rice salad on 101 Cookbooks and I have to say that it was outstanding. Very fresh tasting with interesting flavors. In fact, I need to restock my quinoa and make this again!

                                      1. re: newfoodie

                                        I recently discovered red rice. I really love it! Must check out that recipe on Heidi's site...


                                        1. re: newfoodie

                                          That salad was the first thing I made from Ottolenghi. What a fantastic salad. So many flavors and textures. It was, as I reported several months ago, a huge hit at a party we had for a crowd.

                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                    Greedygirl - thank you SO much for theOttlenghi recommendation. I picked it up while over in the UK, and while I haven't had too much time to look at it, I did fall in love immediately when I read in the opening intro paragraph "if you don't like lemon and garlic, turn to the last page." Perfect! What I've been able to see all looks incredible. Thanks again.

                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                      Haha - my plan to have Ottolenghi as cookbook of the month one day continues apace! Oakjoan has just ordered it too....

                                      Glad you like it - everything I've made from there has been delicious. If I'd thought about it, I would have recommended you pick up a copy of the Leon Cookbook too. It's full of hearty, healthy recipes that I think you'd love.

                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                        Hmmm, perhaps I can make this work with my plan to get back to the UK soon ... "must buy Leon Cookbook, must buy Leon Cookbook...".

                                        I feel like I've got an embarrassment of riches - the Ottolenghi, Sunday Suppers and Zuni cookbooks all sit waiting for me.

                                  3. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Farro salad with shallots and parsley, p. 278. I think I agree with TDQ's husband. Just OK. I made it with red wine vinegar.

                                  4. I've raved about her biscuit recipe on other threads. Tonight tried the CORNBREAD recipe, page 274. This was super-simple, and very good. I switched the amounts of cornmeal and flour, preheated a cast-iron skillet with a tablespoon of lard. This produced an excellent crust, and the crumb was perfect. This is a good "compromise" cornbread for those of us who don't like the fluffy, sweet cornbread of the north, nor the dry, dense cornbread of the south.

                                    47 Replies
                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      Cream Biscuits, p. 275

                                      Thanks for recommending this recipe, pikawicca. It was super easy to put together, and the aroma of biscuits baking in the oven was fitting for a Sunday evening.

                                      I couldn't find the recipe online, so here's the gist: Combine 1.5 c. AP flour, 1/4 tsp. salt (I used 1/2 tsp. kosher salt), 4 tsp. sugar (optional; I used 2 tsp.), 2 tsp. baking powder. Cut 6 TB cold butter into small pieces and incorporate into dry ingredients w/ fingertips till butter is size of small peas. Measure 3/4 c. heavy cream and reserve 1 TB for glazing. Pour rest into batter and lightly stir w/ fork till just comes together. Gently knead dough a couple of times in bowl, turn out onto floured board, and roll to about 3/4 in. thickness. Cut into 1.5 in. circles or squares and reroll scraps if necessary. Makes about 8. Brush tops w/ reserved cream. Bake at 400F for about 17 min.

                                      These were indeed delicious...buttery, tender, flakey. Mine didn't rise as much as I hoped. I checked my nearly-empty Calumet baking powder afterwards which indicated best use before Sept '08. Oops, I will be buying a fresh one. I wasn't sure if I should add any sugar since I was going for savory biscuits, but 2 tsp. gave them a rounded flavor w/o making them too sweet. Next time, I'm going to omit the sugar and add lots of black pepper. I'd add sugar for sweet applications like strawberry shortcake.

                                      While these were very good, I can't say that they were my ideal biscuit. They were more of what I think of as really good scones, and I think they'd be great w/ sugar and currants mixed in. My ideal savory biscuit would have a little more flour to fat ratio, I think. I was comparing other recipes online, and many of them bake at a higher temp. like 425-450F. I think I'm going to try this Cook's Illustrated recipe based on a James Beard recipe next:

                                      I served these Sunday biscuits w/ our stick-to-your-ribs dinner of pan-fried pork chops (no, didn't really follow Alice's recipe) w/ pan gravy and braised cabbage w/ apples.

                                      1. re: Carb Lover

                                        We've done a lot of experimenting with biscuits and the Alice Waters biscuits were wonderful in their way, but you're right, Carb Lover. Scone-like. And even with active baking powder, they didn't rise. They were like lovely little cookies.

                                        1. re: Carb Lover

                                          OK - so can you explain this kind of biscuit to a Brit? Biscuits to me are sweet things you eat with a cup of tea. I think I was offered a biscuit once at a diner with breakfast, and it was a bit like a sweet (English) muffin. I don't really get what they're for.


                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                            Right, I think that in England biscuits are what we in the US know as scones. Scones are buttery and sweet (but not overly sweet) and typically eaten for breakfast or brunch w/ coffee or tea.

                                            Diners usually serve a type of biscuit that is savory, floury, and a little bland. It usually doesn't consist of real butter and may be dry enough to stick to the roof of your mouth. Hence, it usually tastes best slathered w/ lots of butter or gravy. Biscutis and gravy is a Southern thing.

                                            Alice Waters cream biscuits are basically scones in my mind. Does my photo look like what you Brits consider a biscuit?

                                            1. re: Carb Lover

                                              In Britain, a biscuit is what we call a cookie. Scones are similar to the flaky sort of American biscuit that I prefer. I've never encountered anything in England remotely like the typical Southern fluffy biscuit. An American English muffin is similar to a British crumpet.

                                              1. re: pikawicca

                                                Thanks for clarifying all that! I always get confused w/ these translations...

                                                Sadly, I have never been to England but am considering a potential stop on our way to Barcelona in Jan. if we do go...

                                                1. re: pikawicca

                                                  A crumpet isn't the same as an English muffin - it has holes in it which makes it an ideal vehicle for butter!

                                                  Scones are generally a teatime thing, sweet, buttered and ideally slathered with jam and clotted cream. Unless it's my favourite, a cheese scone, which is savoury.

                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    Our english muffins do sort of have holes in them (or "nooks and crankies" as they advertize). The butter melts into them very nicely.

                                                    Bisquits are more crumbly than most scones, but along the same lines as a savory one. Not an exact match, but about the closest you'l find.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      This is a crumpet - I'm under the impression that they don't really have them in the US. They are delicious. (It's also slang for a comely young woman - a nice bit of crumpet! See also "Thinking Woman's Crumpet")


                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                        I can find them in NYC - love them!

                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                          Yep, after an English mother-in-law and now Scottish in-laws, I am familiar with crumpets (in all their meanings!). That is pretty much what an american "english muffin" looks like.

                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                              For some reason I'm not able to open that link. Admittedly our english muffins are not as dense or thick as crumpets, but there is a definite similarity. I forced one on my husband this morning just so I could take a photo. He was happy, but thinks I'm starting to lose my mind ...

                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                That's definitely a muffin not a crumpet. Crumpets have a very different texture - more spongy than bready, ifyswim. And to complicate matters further, you also have pikelets, which are thin versions of crumpets!

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  OK, I stand corrected. But ... what on earth is a pikelet?

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    It depends on where you live. To me, a pikelet is a thin crumpet (if you're really interested, pop into Marks & Spencer when you're in the UK and you'll find them there). But if you live in Scotland or Wales, they're a kind of scotch pancake, I think.

                                                                    Confused yet?!

                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                      Majorly! I'll have to ask my husband what a scotch pancake is ... (aren't you up awfully late??).

                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                        A Scotch pancake is similar to an American pancake. You can buy them in M&S as well when you go there on your research trip. ;-)

                                                                        I'm working a night shift tonight. With a cold. I just had a cupcake (apple and cinnamon - delicious) to cheer me up. :-(

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          We've all got colds too. Its bringing out a side in me that wants to bake bake bake, but every time I look up what I want to bake I seem to be missing *one* ingredient.

                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                        The commercial pikelets I had (bought from M&S foodhall) were like small American pancakes, and not good. The pikelets I had in private homes were wonderful -- little morsels of airy, chewy goodness. You put a dab of butter and some good jam on these things and you have a transformative experience.

                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                          Yes! Crumpets are covered with holes. They are wonderful, especially because of their ability to SOAK UP BUTTER.

                                                          Cheese scones are fabulous. A local bakery here in Oakland makes Cheddar Cheese Scones every Wednesday. They have some chopped up chives in them. The line is out the door.

                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                            I didn't say they were the same; I said they are similar. They both have holes to catch melting butter.

                                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                                              Pikawicca, do you have a really good recipe for fluffy Southern biscuits?

                                                              1. re: Carb Lover


                                                                Personally, I don't believe that "really good" and "fluffy biscuit" are words that belong in the same sentence. (Strong personal prejudice here.) Candy, on the other hand, makes an authentic Southern version using White Lily flour.

                                                              2. re: pikawicca

                                                                We have muffins too and I think of them as being very different vehicles for butter! ;-)

                                                            2. re: pikawicca

                                                              Yes, biscuits are cookies and pudding is dessert....correct, GG?

                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                Biscuits are cookies, although some particular kinds of biscuit are actually called cookies (usually American-style ones such as chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter cookies).

                                                                Pudding is one word for dessert, although some (older) people like my parents say sweet. Puddings are also a kind of dessert, eg steamed syrup pudding (there's one in Nigella's book that I'm dying to try), Christmas pudding, Sussex Pond pudding. You can also have a savoury pudding made with suet pastry - usually steak and kidney. Confusing, hey?

                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                  We're two nations separated by a common language. ;-)


                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                    One that used to totally confuse me was my first M-i-Ls excitement over digestives. I thought "gee, is her stomach really that bad?" My former husband explained to me that they aren't stomach pills, but cookies.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                      I have bought those digestives in orange and raspberry flavour, covored with chocolate and felt really healthy eating them. Darn it, they are just cookies!

                                                                      1. re: cpw

                                                                        Are you sure they were digestives? I've only seen plain ones, or ones covered with plain or milk chocolate. Mind you, I don't spend much time in the biscuit aisle....

                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                          Sounds like a food blog idea - translating food terms, viewpoints and recipes between the UK and US, with lots of photos and recipes of course. Can someone get on that, please, I know there are a million food bloggers looking for the next big idea:)

                                                                          1. re: yamalam

                                                                            There actually is a very nice little pamphlet put out by Kitchen Arts & Letters on this subject, though I think we 'hounds may have a lot to add to it.

                                                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                                                              I feel a thread coming on! What with all these American cookbooks I'm acquiring, sometimes I get a bit confused. I'm not sure what a lima bean is, for example. And how much is a stick of butter (and why does butter come in sticks)?

                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                I'm equally confused by Nigella's references to "2 punnets raspberries"(p. 153 Lemon Raspberry Plate Trifle) um punnet???

                                                                                A "stick" of butter is 1/2 cup(125ml) butter, 4 sticks in a box. The foil wrapper on each stick (usually) has markings for tablespoons,1/2cup, 1/4cup...which if you don't want to be accurate to the gram is an nice(albeit not 100% accurate) shortcut.

                                                                                1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                  A punnet is a small plastic/wooden box that berries are sold in. Everyone here knows what she means.

                                                                                  I don't understand the American way of measuring solid ingredients in tablespoons - I saw a recipe which required 14tbsp of butter the other day. So it's interesting that you say there are markings on the packet which makes life easier I guess.

                                                                                  Another question: how many strawberries or whatever in a pint?

                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    It would depend on the size of the strawberries, but a pint is 2 cups.

                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                      Thanks for clearing that up. So it would seem 1 punnet = 1 pint = 2 learn something new every day. The author of the recipe who referenced 14Tbsp probably did so because of the 8Tbsp. sticks...s/he could have also said 1 cup less 2Tbsp...neither of which is as convenient as a weight measure I agree. It's only in the last couple of years that I've started using a scale - the majority of home bakers I know still don't.

                                                                                    2. re: maplesugar

                                                                                      A punnet is one of those little plastic or cardboard baskets that hold about a pint of fruit.

                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                        Well, I have a question about the description of "punnet" as a pint after reading GG's description. Here on the Left Coast of the US raspberries are almost always sold in smaller than a pint baskets, perhaps because they bruise more easily. Strawberries are usually sold in cartons that are double the size of rasp. cartons. If you needed to become more confused, blueberries are sold in both sizes.

                                                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                          The punnet is larger than the tiny raspberry containers found in American grocery stores. Think cherry tomato baskets.

                                                                                          1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                            I'm pretty sure those teeny raspberry baskets are 1/2 least if they're like the ones I've come across. I wonder if there's a 1/2 punnet? :)

                                                                                            1. re: maplesugar

                                                                                              The plastic "clamshells" of berries are half-pints. The green plastic baskets that strawberries come in are punnets.

                                                                                    3. re: MMRuth

                                                                                      Skating on the edge of relevance to this thread.....Patricia Wells has a great, free, downloadable list of French food terms and their translations. It's hugely long and really great to have around.

                                                                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                    Principally the same as you describe, except these have a layer of jam on one side and then the whole thing is covered by milk chocolate.

                                                                                    1. re: cpw

                                                                                      They sound like jaffa cakes - which are yummy in the extreme. Not the same as digestives, though.

                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                        American biscuits are something like scones, but usually smaller and less sweet. They are served with things like fried chicken.