Sunday, 19 July 2009

To eat or not to eat, that is the question....

Recent mentions round the traps bought up the subject of the lamb shanks which can be bought commercially by restaurants and cafes, marinated and pre-cooked and all ready to rock and roll!

Yesterday I discovered another of those little aids to commercial viability – a Nestlé Professional product called Jus Lié – a beef flavoured sauce mix, which, according to the explanatory notes accompanying it, contains “beef, beef juices and marrow along with a hint of red wine flavours complemented by tomato, garlic and onion notes”.

The product features listed include:
Bain-marie stable; ready in 2-3 minutes; 12 months shelf life; pre-portioned 2L finished product; whisk straight into hot water; very cost effective versus making your own jus; store with dry goods; use it as is or create your own signature jus.

I can also, if I purchase 3 cases of this product in one transaction, get a FREE stainless steel 2L sauce canister, lid and 30ml ladle.

I’m all for taking shortcuts in cooking, but would a waitperson when asked a question about the menu contents by someone with a particular, specific intolerance, be able to answer appropriately, correctly and accurately as to exactly what the diner may well be eating if they order something off the menu which may well be potentially life-threatening? As this sauce contains, for instance, wheat proteins, would someone who avoids products containing these ingredients, order a steak, veg and jus specifically because they can see no earthly reason why wheat would have gone anywhere near their food?


Christina said...

Have to say Rita, how uncanny that you should choose this topic today.
I usualy avoid stuff like this and I shocked Phil today when I bought home a pre prepared jus today.
I knew he was cooking me a beaut steak for lunch and I thought I'd give it a shot.
What I purchased was
Select Woolworths Balsamic and Rosemary Jus, {I can hear you laughing Sir G}. It is described as a delicate balsamic vinegar finished with a dash? of rosemary.
I must say it was pretty damn nice. I'd already caramelised some onions so served with this on the perfectly cooked rump, it was great. If I was served this with a steak countery I would have enjoyed it heaps!
Just checked the ingredients and it does contain wheat flour and yeast extract. There is also allergy advice saying the product is manufactured on equipment that also uses peanuts,tree nuts,sesame seeds, fish , crustacea and milk!
Thank god I have no allergies!
I'd never thought about it before.
I'm going to a dinner next week that I've been invited to by one of our suppliers at work.
A 3 course meal and drinks, with tastings by various companies that I purchase from.
I wonder what incentives I'll be offered?
Not that I'm against all places using shortcuts but I'm sure incentives at least will convince people to give it a try. I know I get offered heaps and I have a limited need for such things.
While we're on the subject of pre packaged Rita, the prawn cigars at the Bay Hotel look a little familiar. I could be wrong though.

Rita said...

Hi Christina - thanks for your comment. I must be in your head today with the jus post!
Interesting what you say about the Prawn Cigars. I'll have to follow that up.
Anyway - have a great dinner later this week - 3 courses, drinks and tastings eh?
I've got an interesting meal coming up this week, but won't reveal too much at this stage. Naturally it will go straight onto the blog!!

steve said...

Hi Rita-I dont beleive the waitperson could answer your querie any better than the clods in the kitchen who cut the top of the packet, nor the owners who 'look the other way' when their employees use thes so called 'convienience' foods.
I too had some of that jus lie given to me despite my protestations & my dogged determination not to ever use these kind of products. Out of politeness I took the satchel & we experimented with it in the kitchen.
To my utter surprise & morbid facination, it transformed with heat & water, from an ashen coloured powder to a luxurious, velvety brown sauce. It looked I have to admit, quite the real deal.
Upon tasting it though my prejudices asserted themselves.
Though very smooth & without the usual 'graininess' of the prepared sauces I have tasted remained that unmistakable Bonoxy type fake beef extract that reminds me of OXO cubes. Sneaky effort Maggi but still no cigar!

sir grumpy said...

I even hate the word JUS, Christina. Bloody gravy. But I have set aside my prejudices zillions of times (well a few then) and investigated packets and jars.
In 99 per cent of cases they are shit. waste of money and a disappointing waste of time. They usually flog them saying they'll save you time...not when you ditch them and have to start your own from scratch.
I'm sure there are one or two products out there that can cut the mustard but you hve to wade through hundreds, so chances are you never score.
I end up trying to save the jars and packets of this and that, to use them as a base to improvise on. That usually ends up crap.
So, I have a mass clean-out of half-full jars, packets and potions, thus clearing space in the fridge, cupboard and drawers.
It's very therapeutic. Out they go, yes!

Anonymous said...

I agree Christina, the Woolies Balsamic Jus is really OK for a pre mix...
Spag Blog

lemon curd said...

would never usually stoop to that level, but have to say the duck breast in a bag is kinda OK! Haven't tried the Jus mixes, do they come in a concentrated liquid form or powdered?

Rita said...


lemon curd said...

I just winced...! I will buy a packet on my way home tonight and experiment...

Anonymous said...

Like Steve said the rep popped in unanounced and dropped off the sample packet, little bearded hobbit of a guy.

I mean how can I look an apprentice in the eye and say this is the product we are going to use, I just can't.

Sure, making a Demi, mirapoix, etc is time consuming, arguably its costly, but this is one of the fundamental processes involved in creating the basis for our stocks & sauces, and from this basis I expect them to springboard with their immagination and creativity the sauces and tastes of the future.
What kind of future can we expect if our new talent takes the pre-made route.

Nah, not going there.


Christina said...

The Woolies one I got was liquid in a pouch. There were other brands available too. In the pre packaged casserole mix and gravy aisle.
I had the remainder on roast lamb the next night
Honestly if your pushed for time it really was okay.
Never thought I'd say that!

Sami said...

Just to change the subject...
We went to the Plum/Smolt dinner last week, hosted by James Squires with beers to match each course and beer education between courses. It was a lively, educational and very tastey evening. We enjoyed ourselves immensley and look forward to other innovative evenings like this.

Visited the Cuties Cake cupcake shop in the mall. Mmmm... not impressed. The cakes were dry and tasteless and the icing obviously a premix was grainy with an awful aftertaste of chemicals and preservatives. A friend also tried a selection of cakes at a later date and agreed. I hope these are just teething problems because after a novelty first visit, people wont return for a poor product.

Rita said...

Hey Sami - thanks for the feedback. Reminds me to take the blurb about the Smolt/Plum dinner off my News column! Also interesting what you say about the cupcakes at Cutie Cups. I did taste them a few weeks ago when I met Shanna at Hotel & Club (as described on this blog), and loved them, but then again, they probably weren't made under the hectic circumstances that they currently appear to be operating under!
Great to see Cartouche is still popping in too!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hey Rita - the first time I understood the word "Jus" is from reading Steve's post in his blog, by comparing "Jus" with the old fashion word "Gravy". I have never bought "Jus" or use in my cooking. I usually create the gravy from the different spices and sauces in the pan and add some flour. But since I watched Masterchef, I realise there is a big distinction between western and eastern cooking in that lots of cream and butter are used in western cooking to flavour the dish. No wonder it taste good and rich.

Btw not sure if Cutie Cups is the same as Creative Cupcake in Deep Bay. She does it from home and by order only. The cupcakes are delightful, creative, creamy and very good. She has differnt theme and minimum order.

Rita said...

Hi and welcome Tassiemate. I don't know of Creative Cupcakes in Deep Bay - but it sounds like I SHOULD know her!!! (I love cupcakes!)

Anonymous said...

Rita - I don't have sweet tooth and not into cupcake, but I can tell you that her cupcake is divine and almost heavenly. I am not sure if she has a website, but her name is Jessica, phone 0419114366 and email I think a box comes with 12 cupcakes and price varies between each theme.

QW said...

FYI Creative Cupcakes have a facebook page.

ut si said...

Am so grateful to Don & Fee for Ju's training Rita. However, I can see that his name will forever more be 'Gravy'.

Rita said...

Yep - you're spot-on there Colette! He is forever to be known henceforth as Gravy - not unlike poor little junior Jackson who seems to be universally referred to in the media as 'Blanket'! Who the hell knows what his real name is? (Mind you, it wouldn't surprise me if Michael actually named him Blanket anyway, but then again, that's such a relatively ordinary name for the offspring of a star!)

lemon curd said...

Someone (lets call them Anonymous) once said it's either the extremely rich or the extremely poor who give their children strange names...

nutsdeb said...

I must admit I cheat with stock but I recently bought one of those duck leg packs already to go and it sat in my fridge for ages as I just couldn't do it... I much prefer fresh.