Pasta

We have stocked the Italian-made Imperia pasta-rolling machines for many years now, and know them to be vastly superior in performance and reliability to the many similar machines now on the market which are made in Asia.

The Imperia is made in two sizes.

The small domestic machine enables the user to roll out a sheet of pasta 15cm wide which may be used for lasagna etc or fed back through either of the two supplied roller cutters for taglierini or fettuccine.

The commercial model, available in both manual and electric versions, has 22cm wide rollers. This machine operates in a similar fashion to the domestic model, but there is a choice of 6 different cutters of various widths.

Also, we had increasingly become aware that there was a certain lack locally of the various bits & pieces of equipment that serious pasta makers like to have in order to produce the best possible result. When in Italy earlier in the year, principally to visit our old friends at the Musso Icecream Machine factory, we sought out and found some manufacturers of traditional pasta-making aids & accessories. 

In short, we now have on our shelves a wide selection of ravioli cutters in various shapes and sizes, including spring loaded ones for easy release of the pasta.

PC0280

Our cappelletti cutters are beautifully made and are similarly spring loaded.

PC034    PC033

They are a most unusual device, used in the making of cappelletti , or “little hats”– a kind of tortellini. This is a traditional North Italian winter dish generally served in a delicious, rich broth.

We also have a whole lot of new pasta cutters and associated implements.

PC025                                              MP108

TG403                                                                                       PC020

We have 3 different types of ribbed pasta board.

PA256 (top)     PA5053

One of these is the old standard gnocchi board found in many Italian kitchens, and which can now be fairly readily located in good kitchen shops in this country. It is common practice simply to roll gnocchi with the fingers against a fork, but the ribbing on this board improves the ability of the pasta to hold its sauce. The malloreddus bat is a small, racquet-shaped board used for making the Sardinian variation on gnochhetti. Each of these three boards is made from beechwood, a timber whose many virtues we have outlined in a previous blog.

PA5051

The gnocchi board’s (slightly) bigger brother, the garganelli board is a little harder to find. Similar in appearance to penne, the garganelli is made by rolling the pasta into a tube up the ribs of the board, using a tiny rolling pin to do so. Whilst it’d be quite a challenge to handmake penne, garganelli-making is a breeze with this board!

Another useful beechwood item which arrived in the same shipment is a 700mm x 500mm board used for rolling out large sheets of pasta which can then be cut to suit.

BD424 (board)    PA374 (brush)

The board can be used on any suitably sized available surface in the kitchen, is easy to move if necessary, and means that valuable bench space is not congested or covered with pasta ingredients. Needless to say, we have a range of rolling pins (also beech) of various lengths, made specifically for rolling out pasta.

Also in the rolling pin department is a remarkable ravioli roller/cutter made entirely of – surprise! – beechwood, which is a work of art in itself.

PA4285

Our pasta “guitar” is used in the making of spaghetti alla chitarra, which is said to have originated in the Abruzzo region. A sheet of pasta is laid over the multi-strings of this “instrument”, then forced through the strings which cut the pasta into a type of square-sectioned spaghetti. This is usually served with the typically regional dish of mixed meat ragu.

PA4335

Pasta drying racks of different designs are now widely available. We’ve always found that a couple of broomsticks across the backs of 2 kitchen chairs were perfectly adequate & furthermore, easy to store. However, there has been a certain  demand to which we’ve succumbed, and that was for pasta drying trays. These are stackable frames with mesh stretched across the base, so that the pasta can be draped across the tray with the adequate ventilation allowing the pasta to dry evenly.

We have 2 types of tray.

One has a stainless steel frame with a stainless mesh.      ST960

The other has wooden frame and nylon mesh.    ST955

If you would like to pursue the art of pasta making, including wonderful explanations of the above equipment and  how best  to use your pasta, we suggest you get yourself a copy of Marcella Hazan’s  ‘The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking’.  It gives a complete description of how to make pasta using either a machine or rolling pin, along with a substantial chapter of sauce recipes to accompany your newly made pasta.

Should you wish to enquire about any of the above, please call us (you can find our details in the CONTACT page) and quote the product code you are interested in.

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Bannetons

More Bannetons have arrived!

There has been talk for some time now about our new shipment of bannetons.  Our first order sold out quickly, leading us to conclude that we had misjudged the popularity of this product.

We became intrigued by these pretty things years ago as it seemed to be the product of choice for the serious baker. When some of us dabbled in home baking, we discovered that these baskets made the job so easy, having used straw hats and tea-towels before. However we found them to be very expensive when purchased from our usual sources. In true Chefs’ Warehouse fashion we began the relentless task of tracking down a manufacturer in Europe to supply us directly. This took some time, but our efforts paid off and we now have direct contact with the craftsmen who have been making these baskets for generations.

We now have in stock a full complement of shapes and sizes.

Round bannetons come in 4 sizes.

MB5231   0.5kg     MB5232  1kg    MB5233  1.5kg   MB5234  2kg

Long oval bannetons come in 4 sizes

MB5200  0.3kg   MB5202  1kg  MB 5203  1.5kg  MB5204  2kg

Wider oval bennetons come in 2 sizes.

MB5201  0.5kg   MB5224  2kg

Rose Levy Beranbaum, sage of all things baking has this to say about them in her book ‘the bread bible’….

“Bannetons are round or oblong baskets or containers used for shaping bread doughs while they are rising. They may be beautiful willow baskets…..The unlined willow basket leaves an attractive design on the crust of the bread. It is important to have a porous container so that the dough can breathe: otherwise, the moisture of the dough may cause it to stick…and the dough will collapse and deflate when unmoulded.”

Cane bannetons, although porous, still require flouring to keep the dough from sticking initially.

We also sell couche cloth which is another useful tool in bread proofing.  

Couche (French for bed) is coarse woven linen that is folded to make a bed for the rising dough. This is useful for making longer bread shapes such as baguettes.  Similar to the bannetons,  it requires  flouring before use and can be used to line bannetons if desired.  This results in losing some of the pretty patterns created by the bannetons, though it does eliminate any chance of the dough sticking to the cane.

If you would like any further information on the above products, or would like to enquire about pricing, please call us and quote the product number you are interested in. Our contact details can be found in ‘CONTACT’.

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RENAULT

RENAULT EARTHENWARE

This product is made by Potieries Renault in Berry, established in 1847.  We can recall meeting  Monsieur  Renault in the mid seventies, wearing the traditional plus-four like breeches of his region, striding though his paddocks, checking the kilns, the ‘green’ pottery within and the wood fuel prior to firing. They are more than 30-year-old suppliers of ours.

Our particular favourites are the gratin dishes, terrines and casseroles.

Large oval gratin CH255  Rectangular terrine CH254    Small oval gratin CH287

                                            

 Oval casseroles CH262 CH268 CH272

These are wonderfully versatile and can be used as both cookware and serving ware, as can all the earthenware products.

6 HOLE SNAIL PLATE    SC285     12 HOLE SNAIL PLATE   SC286

We are quite probably the only ones to carry snail dishes in Sydney!

Mixing bowls come in sizes  12/18/24/30/36/39cms

Confit pots are available in 2 sizes. 7.5L – CH282 and 10L – CH283.

Traditionally confit was stored in these pots as they have the depth required to immerse the meat entirely and do not let any light come in contact with the contents.  They do not come with lids as the seal was created using fat.  Here is an extract from Larousse Gastronomique about confit…

“Goose is most commonly used for making confit as its meat is often too tough to roast…The confit is stored in stoneware pots (called toupins), which are preferable to glass jars as no light can get in. Either goose fat or dripping is used to make a hermetic seal.”

Of course they can be utilised for many other things, such as storing our lovely beechwood utensils!

A LITTLE BIT OF INFORMATION ABOUT SALT GLAZING.

The huge bowls and confit pots are fired in brick kilns, standing like small haystacks in open fields.  They are generally salt glazed in the ancient tradition. Salt is thrown directly into the wood fuelled kilns at the hot end of the process and miraculously forms the lovely dark-honey glaze.

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Beechwood

We believe this material to be the ultimate one for wooden utensils.

We have consistently stocked  wooden spoons, spatulas and rolling pins from our French manufacturers from whom we have been importing from for years.

We have just received mountains of new stock.

The flat, round end spatulas are preferred as they can be scraped clean on the edge of the pan, without any danger of little unstirred lumps escaping the mix.

These smaller spatulas are perfect for use in non-stick pans.

Wooden spoons are available in sizes from 30cm up to 45cm.

A LITTLE BIT OF INFORMATION ABOUT BEECHWOOD

Beech trees are carefully harvested, one by one, from the huge beech forests 100km north of Paris. No clear-felling allowed or contemplated here, thereby keeping that true European deep forest and reaping its wonderful resource. Beechwood does not easily splinter and we believe the spoons and spatulas will withstand a normal domestic dishwasher .  And they come out so clean!

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Mauviel Copper

As many of our existing customers may know, we have been importing Mauviel copperware since the early 1970s. Because we import the goods ourselves we are able to offer the products to you at reasonable prices. We have a substantial range of the Mauviel heavy duty stovetop work pans which are favoured by professional cooks the world over. In our latest shipment we received a good cross-section of products including copper egg white bowls, braising pans, saucepans and lids, sugar and jam pans, plus of course the wonderful frypans and sauteuses.

A selection of our copper egg white bowls.

Copper Braising Pans

                  SC127   24cm                                                           SC128   28cm

Copper Saucepans

     SC403-20cm                 SC402-18cm           SC401-16cm         SC400-14cm

Copper Sugar pans

        SC496-20cm              SC495-16cm               SC494-14cm            SC493-12cm

Copper Jam Pan

                                                                  SC411  40cm

Please call to find out what we have available and prices. Please quote the product code that is attached to the image.

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY ABOUT COPPER.

The Mauviel factory is in Villedieu-les-Poêles in Normandy, north-western France, where working with copper began in the 14th century using techniques learned from Arabian artisans. Until relatively recently, coppersmithing required that the copper sheeting be annealed, softened so it could be shaped, then once formed, hardened by hammering. Villedieu’s inhabitants are known as sourdins from the French sourd meaning deaf, as many of the people involved in the manufacturing of copper pans would lose their hearing due to the din caused by the repeated hammering of the metal.

Some examples of our hand beaten copper….

This process has largely given way to more modern techniques, but the nickname remains. We were told years ago that the workers preferred to endure that noise rather than suffer the loneliness of working in a sound-proof booth. Sounds like a bit of management justification! Now modern presses and hydraulic mandrels do all the hard work, but the salmon & turbot kettles and braising pans are still hand formed before being hand wiped with pure tin. It is truly amazing to watch this magical wiping process. The tin lining can eventually wear off, and the pan must then be retinned. Fortunately, Sydney has a true craftsman working in this field – Louis Berczi, (phone 02- 9316 7645).

Most copper work pans today have a stainless steel lining and are therefore very hard wearing. Interestingly, this heavy duty copper/stainless steel laminate only became available after being developed for the manufacture of power station switchgear.

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Happy New Year!

Welcome to the first post of the new year. It has come a little later than anticipated due mainly to the mountains of new stock that we have been dealing with.  So far this year we have received three overseas shipments and are awaiting more! We will post each shipment and its details as they are available in the….

FIRST POST

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