Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 24th, 2019

Peter Cook & Dudley Moore – Jesus’ Life

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Written by LeisureGuy

24 July 2019 at 8:21 pm

Posted in Comedy, Video

What a game! by the Indian Tal

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Written by LeisureGuy

24 July 2019 at 7:58 pm

Posted in Chess, Games, Video

And speaking of Italian food: How to make the perfect cacio e pepe

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Felicity Cloake writes in the Guardian:

If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry – until about two months ago, neither had I. Then, suddenly, cacio e pepe was everywhere, virtually speaking at least, a million slick strands of cheesy spaghetti clogging up social media like a vast hipster hairball.

Those who claim a longer familiarity with the idea probably have some connection with Rome, where it’s an old favourite – its simplicity means that it’s rarely found in restaurants abroad, at least until recently. Then, suddenly, the once humble primi launched its quest for world domination – it pops up as the eternal city’s “trendiest pasta dish” in 2012, and by the beginning of this year, Time Out was already declaring it New York’s “trendiest dish of 2016”.

And where America leads, Britain follows. London restaurateur Russell Norman claims he first came across cacio e pepe on holiday in Tuscany last summer, put it on the menu as a special and then, he told Esquire: “I noticed something odd – it had simultaneously started to appear on other restaurant menus in London with alarming frequency. On a subsequent trip to New York, I saw it everywhere there, too. Cacio e pepe has fully entered the collective psyche of foodies. It is part of the restaurant zeitgeist. It has become a trend.”

Trendy for good reason: beautiful in its three-ingredient simplicity, cheap and quick to put together – but very easy to get wrong. As Rachel Roddy notes, there is a fine line between clump and cream, and making a smooth sauce from dry cheese and water is a skill that needs to be learned, as I realised on my first, second and seventh attempts. Once you’ve mastered it, however, cacio e pepe is a dish for life; one that can be knocked up in minutes with the most basic of store cupboard ingredients. So, don’t hate it because it’s hip, make it because it’s good.

The pasta

Norman says that in his experience, cacio e pepe is generally served with pici, “short, clumsily rolled, thick spaghetti”. Roddy reckons that tonnarelli, or square-cut spaghetti, is a favourite in Rome – indeed, Marco Baccanelli and Francesca Barreca, chefs of that city’s Mazzo restaurant, make their own. Caz Hildebrand and Jacob Kenedy recommend rigatoni in the Geometry of Pasta, and Christopher Boswell, the chef behind the Rome Sustainable Food project, prefers wholemeal paccheri or rigatoni in his book Pasta, on the basis that “the flavour of the whole grain is strong enough to stand up to the sharp and salty sheep’s milk cheese” (as I can find neither easily, I have to content myself with brown penne instead).

As with that other Roman favourite, carbonara, the principal pleasure of cacio e pepe is in the slurping up of slippery strands of saucy pasta, which, to my mind, rules out rigatoni or paccheri – long noodles are required. Tonnarelli is great if you can find it (spaghetti alla chitarra is similar, and slightly more widely available in the UK), but for the common or garden non-Roman, spaghetti will do just fine. Although the flavour works, I don’t find the wholemeal sort smooth enough for this particular dish, and testers agree they prefer the more robust texture of dry pasta with such strong flavours.

J Kenji López-Alt of the website Serious Eats breaks with ancient tradition by cooking the pasta in the bare minimum of water in order to concentrate the starch which, in this case, will help to thicken the sauce. Though I might be smitten by Jupiter himself for such heresy, the theory makes sense – and, as long as you stir the noodles occasionally during cooking, they don’t seem to suffer for lack of space.

The pepper

Again, as with carbonara, this should be added in quantity – Roddy toasts the peppercorns before crushing, which brings out their flavour beautifully. López-Alt fries them in oil, which he reckons helps to distribute their flavour more evenly throughout the dish, and Baccanelli and Barreca make a peppercorn broth to . . .

Continue reading. Photos at the link.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 July 2019 at 7:57 pm

A minor swerve: A Neapolitan pizza for lunch today

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For the first time since mid-May, when I began this whole-food plant-based diet, I have have had a meal with some cheese in it. I have for years longed to have a true Neapolitan pizza. Those are strictly regulated, but I have had to recognize that I won’t be going to Naples anytime soon. The article at that link has a good description of the special qualities of the Neapolitan pizza:

The official requirements of an authentic Neapolitan pizza begins with the crust. The dough must be made with highly refined Italian type 0 or 00 wheat flour, Neapolitan or fresh brewer’s yeast (not dry yeast), water, and salt. It must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer and formed by hand, without the help of a rolling pin.

The dough is topped with raw, pureed San Marzano tomatoes from Italy. It can use only two types of mozzarella cheese. One is fior di latte made from cow’s milk and the other is mozzarella di Bufala, made from water buffalo milk, typically raised in the Campania and Lazio marshlands in Italy. Finally, Neapolitan pizza is topped off with fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil. The ingredients must be all-natural and fresh.

The pizza is baked for 60 to 90 seconds (baking time cannot exceed 90 seconds) in a minimum 800 F stone oven with a wood fire.

But yesterday I found out about the Associazone Versace Pizza Napolitana, an organization that trains and certifies authentic Neapolitan pizzerias outside Italy. If you click the link, you can find whether there is an authentic pizzeria near you. I found that our fair city boasts two AVPN-certified pizzerias, both owned by the same person, and so today I went to the closer. The menu appears at the right.

I probably should have had the Margherita, and if they had had it with buffalo mozzarella, perhaps I would have. But instead I had the Funghi Supremo.

As described in the article:

One of its defining characteristics is that there is often more sauce than cheese. This leaves the middle of the pie wet or soggy and not conducive to being served by the slice. Because of this, Neapolitan pizzas are generally pretty small (about 10 to 12 inches), making them closer to the size of a personal pizza.

Emphasis added. There was cheese, but not a lot. The pizza was also a modest size (I would guess 9 inches), and it was extremely tasty. Photo above.

Update: See also the regulations from the AVPN site.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 July 2019 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Daily life, Food

Another reason to cut out added sugar: Without it, no cavities

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This 4-minute video is worth watching:

Written by LeisureGuy

24 July 2019 at 9:06 am

Mr Pomp, D.R. Harris, and the MJ-90A

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D.R. Harris shaving soap is a classic, and I just realized I am running a wooden-tub-shave-soap series, so Arlington is today’s entrant. Mr Pomp made and extremely nice lather—D.R. Harris lather, one might say. And RazoRock’s MJ-90A is a very fine razor, doing its job comfortably, efficiently, and swiftly. A splash of Arlington aftershave, and the day begins.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 July 2019 at 9:03 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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