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AMA - with world-renowned chef, Ollie Dabbous. Ask all your cooking questions and get the insider tricks of the trade - only on Mumsnet, 07/12/2021
75

SaraMumsnet · 02/12/2021 13:23

Just in time for the festive season, we have Ollie Dabbous joining us for an “Ask Me Anything” special on Tuesday 7th December at 4pm for one hour.

After honing his craft in the world’s top kitchens, with top chefs including Raymond Blanc, Ollie is now Head Chef at famous restaurant Hide London. Ollie will be here to answer your most pressing cooking questions, impart some Chef secrets and perhaps give us a few clues about how to make the perfect roasts…

If you have a question for Ollie, please post them in this thread and he will be answering them (and more) at 4pm on Tuesday 7th December. If you are looking for a little inspiration this festive period, want to pick up some new recipes or are after a gift for the foodie in your life check out Ollie's book, “Essential” available now in hardback.

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1frenchfoodie · 11/12/2021 13:41

Was thinking exactly the same @XingMing - loved the offer of work experience and the shout out to various tips that posters had suggested. Hope your son enjoys the work experience @iklboodolphrednosedpaindear !

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XingMing · 09/12/2021 14:47

I missed this live, but what a lovely man Ollie Dabbous would seem to be! Great read, and good tips.

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boatyardblues · 08/12/2021 18:45

Thanks Ollie! I will give pan poached eggs another go. I think it might be the freshness of my eggs that is causing problems.

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iklboodolphrednosedpaindear · 08/12/2021 17:18

@OllieDabbous - thank you so much!! DS is thrilled with your very kind offer.

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TellMeItsNotTrue · 08/12/2021 16:28

Ooo that vegan option sounds delicious! Thankyou 😍

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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:41

Thanks so much for all the questions and interest. Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas. Don’t worry about Christmas dinner, it’s just another meal, enjoy the calories.

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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:39

[Prologue] When Raymond Blanc invested in my first restaurant, he said he would have liked to put more money in but multiple divorce settlements prevented him from doing so. Which struck me as quite galic.

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AdaColeman · 07/12/2021 17:38

Thank you, I'll certainly make that! Being Belgian I'm a great fan of endive, and who can resist CRUNCH! Wine Wine

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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:38

@MrsIglesias

What's your first ever memory of tasting/enjoying food?

@MrsIglesias. There were two epiphanies. The first thorntons fudge, aged about 5 years old, never having sweet before - sun maid raisins didn’t prepare me for how amazing that was. Then aged 18 and with the false confidence that most teenagers possess, I had dinner at Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons. I remember having the tomato essence and realising how much I had to learn. Two years to the day later, I started work there.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:34

@AdaColeman

Hello Ollie,
Do you have any ideas for a light first course course for Christmas Day please? Something cold to prepare beforehand, but not smoked salmon?

Merry Christmas to you! Wine Xmas Smile Xmas Smile

@AdaColeman Merry Christmas to you too! I’d do a crisp salad of endive, clementines, walnuts and mint. Crunch, acidic, fragrant - it'll get the juices going and it won’t fill you up. Feel free to add some salty cheese, pomegranate or anything that takes your fancy.

I hope you have a stress free day Grin
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:32

@bubbagumpSHRlMP

What can I do to turn a borning tub of passata into a flavoursome sauce? It always ends up tasting bland - but I'm time-limited in the kitchen so fresh isn't always an option...

@bubbagumpSHRlMP Simmer it with some cherry tomatoes, a couple of spoons of olive oil to enrich and a spoon of balsamic vinegar for acidity, a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. Then add a clove of crushed garlic towards the end of cooking and a pinch or oregano or fresh basil right at the end.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:30

@Sevashakti

Is it OK to cook food, freeze it and then microwave it for a weaning baby of 10 months? I need a 2nd opinion as I think its wrong. Baby is rejecting it and preferring to eat soil around house plants which he's prevented from doing by his mother, my relative.

@Sevashakti. I wouldn’t want to be the mouthpiece for this but I’ve got a 9 month old and I’m comfortable doing this. I’ll say what I do.

I make batches of purress and then freeze some for a rainy day. Food keeps more of its nutrients if you freeze it freshly made than after several days in the fridge.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:27

@allieverknew

Hi Ollie - just wanted to say that I used Hide at Home a couple of times during lockdown for special occasions and it was incredibly good. Thanks so much for providing such a brilliant service at a tough time!

My question is - I think I read when Hide opened that you have a car lift - has anyone ever used it, and if so, can you tell us who?

@allieverknew Thanks so much for ordering with us and keeping us going. The carlift came with the building as it used to be a car showroom, it’s mainly popular with stag parties and celebrities for novelty value and privacy. I think Ariana Grande used it once but it was a long time ago, most of the celebs that eat at Hide are quite happy to be seen.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:21

@samsays345

Hi Ollie - what's your view on the Salt Bae ridiculously-priced steak controversy? Would you go/have you been?

@samsays345 Haven’t been but would go if someone else paid Grin Contact MNHQ if you want to take me.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:20

@ApplesinmyPocket

Hi Ollie,

I have had many, many attempts to make caramel. I seem to have watched lots of videos and read loads of tips but STILL my caramel comes out grainy.

I'm thoroughly confused now after watching Bake-Off too - I thought stirring caramel was a sure way to encourage the dreaded crystallisation - but they were all beating their caramel like the clappers and THEIRS turned out ok?!

Any tips would be MOST welcome, thank you.

@ApplesinmyPocket. Start off by putting a tiny amount of water in your pan before adding the sugar, this will mean it dissolves evenly before the caramelisation process begins. Then cook over a medium to high heat, brush the edge of the pan lightly with water. Use a temperature probe to keep the temperature even.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:16

@SpindlesWinterWhorl

What's the best way to make a gluten-free cheese sauce in terms of the type of flour, do you think? I've developed a gluten intolerance on top of another illness, and I don't half miss macaroni cheese! (I've found a nice g-f pasta.)

Thanks.

@SpindlesWinterWhorl Taking a broader view than cheese sauce. Rather than looking at flour for a thickener, you can blend xanthan gum. It’s very strong so you only need 2g (half teaspoon) for half a litre. It also doesn’t need to be heated to be activated (unlike how you need to boil with flour). Also, cornflour is worth a try (as suggested @SilverHairedCat)
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:12

@OnPaper

Hi Ollie,

Should different cuts of pork be treated differently to make the perfect crackling?

Many thanks.

@OnPaper For belly, shoulder or leg that require long cooking, an initial blanch or steam for 10 minutes followed by air drying overnight will help massively. Also, scoring with fine cuts will increase the surface area and improve the end result.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:10

@Xiaoxiong

Why does the skin on roasted chicken thighs go crispy, but when I cook chicken drumsticks I can never get the skin as crispy. I have tried drying the skin, salting it, but they just don't crisp up like chicken thighs do. Is it because of the shape? Any ideas?

@Xiaoxiong That’s curious, try this fool-proof crispy chicken recipe from “Essential” (pg. 189). We double dip with butter milk and cornflour, then deep fry the whole thing.
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HaggisBurger · 07/12/2021 17:09

@cloudbedcat

Hiya, could you give any advice on consistently getting crispy roast potatoes? Mine either come out as lumps of char or dripping in oil/fat - I need help!

Yes this. Which oil please and what temp. Thx
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:06

@TellMeItsNotTrue

What would you suggest for a vegan replacement for the meat part of a Christmas dinner? Preferably without mushrooms due to a family allergy

@TellMeItsNotTrue I’d cook an open tart of root vegetables, chestnuts, pear and thyme. Oil and layer the about four sheets of filo pastry and place pre-roasted vegetables on top and scrunch the outside of the pastry around the filling. Brush with more oil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until crispy on the outside.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 17:01

@Letsrunabath

Hi, how do you make short ribs like you do

@Letsrunabath We cook our short ribs on the bone for 16 hours at 70C in a steam oven. Domestically, I’d look to achieve a similar result by wrapping them in tin foil and baking at 100C. That increase in temperature is to allow for the lower efficiency of a conventional oven - never try to put your hand in a steam oven!
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 16:58

@kittenkipper

Hi Ollie, I'm curious as to what your favourite convenience / dirty food is? The food you love to eat that you aren't exactly proud if- you know like super noodle sandwiches, turkey dinosaurs , or McNuggets dipped in milkshake etc?

@kittenkipper. You know me too well, very partial to Percy picks (a textual satisfaction from the gumminess) and a scotch straight from the fridge - best served with ketchup in a dimly lit kitchen after a 16 hour shift.
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 16:56

@iklboodolphrednosedpaindear

Hi Olllie. Our 16 year old son is acing Food Tech at school. What would be your top tips for him after school to carry on in the food trade?

@iklboodolphrednosedpaindear so top tips - keep cooking at home, try new dishes and eat out as much as possible. I gladly invite him to spend a few days in the kitchen doing work experience at Hide.

My first assignment in a professional kitchen crystalised my decision to pursue it as a career. Mumsnet HQ will get in touch with you to sort out the logistics.

I promise we are more civilised than most :)
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OllieDabbous · 07/12/2021 16:52

@boatyardblues

What’s the secret to poaching eggs straight into boiling water? I just end up with water full of stringy whites and waterlogged yolks. I’m a good cook but this one method defeats me every time.

@boatyardblues Star with the freshest eggs. If you crack a fresh egg onto a plate, the white will be really tight around the yolk. If your egg is older the white will be watery and less elastic. So, have a deep pan of water, this will give the egg longer “drop time” to form the teardrop shape as it goes into the pan. A good glug of white wine vinegar in the water will also help accelerate the coagulation.

When you crack the eggs into the water, have the water as hot as possible without being a rapid boil; this would create turbulence which will impede the white enveloping the yolk.

These we learnt over many breakfast shifts at Le Manoir (Ray White’s greasy spoon Grin).
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MrsIglesias · 07/12/2021 16:46

What's your first ever memory of tasting/enjoying food?

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