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Veal Brisket Stewed In Doppelbock

I make no secret of the fact that I love meat braised or stewed in beer. And my favourite beer style to do this is doppelbock because of its sweetness and richness in flavour.

In German cuisine veal brisket is almost only ever used for the classic “Stuffed Veal Brisket” dish that uses a bread based stuffing. But veal brisket is also a wonderful cut for braising and stewing as long as you don’t mind some fat and connective tissue on your meat. In this dish the sauce is enriched with cream and a dash of brandy.

veal_brisket_doppelbock

Ingredients (serves 3 to 4):

  • 1 kg veal brisket
  • 200 ml doppelbock (I used Andechser)
  • 100 ml cream (30% fat)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
  • 1 dash of brandy
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • Vegetable oil

Time needed:

  • Preparation: 10 minutes
  • Cooking: 2 1/2 hours

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 130 degrees. Cut the brisket into cubes of 2 to 3 cm and season it with salt and pepper. Cut the carrot and the parsnip into chunks and coarsely chop the onion and the garlic.

In an ovenproof brasing vessel heat some vegetable oil on medium to high heat. Sear the meat in several batches until golden brown and set aside. Lightly brown the vegetables until nicely fragrant. Deglaze with the beer, add meat, herbs and garlic and mix well. Cover and cook in the oven for 2 hours.

Turn down the oven to 80 degrees. Strain the gravy into a small saucepan and return the braising vessel to the oven. Reduce the gravy on low to medium heat to about 50%. Stir in the cream and reduce again by one third to 50%. Immediately before serving mix the brandy with the cornstarch and whisk it into the sauce to give it a bit of binding. Serve with potato or bread dumplings or pasta.

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Pork Loin Roast With Noilly Prat

Most of the times when I cook a pork roast I go for the traditional Bavarian “Krustenbraten”. This recipe has some similarties but it uses a liquid you would not normally associate with pork: dry vermouth.

For this low maintenance roast I just simply some potatoes and onions into the roast pan along with the meat to go with it.

pork_noillyprat1

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 kg pork loin, skin on
  • 1 kg waxy potatoes
  • 2 large onions
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 6 cloves
  • 150 ml Noilly Prat
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Clarified butter or vegetable oil

Time needed

  • Preparation: 10 minutes
  • Cooking: 90 minutes

Special Equipment

  • Large enough roast pan
  • Meat thermometer

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, preferrably with convection. Peel the potatoes and cut them into 3 cm chunks, chop the onions coarsely, cut 4 of the garlic cloves in halves and quarter the remaining one length-wise.

Season the meat with salt on all sides and pepper on all sides except the skin. Cut the pork skin with a sharp knife to indicate the slices of the final roast. The cut should go a bit into the fat layer but not into the meat.

Using a paring knife stab 5 small pockets into each side of the roast, right where the meat meets the fat. Fill them alternatingly with cloves and the garlic slivers.

Heat some vegetable oil or clarified butter in a large frying pan and brown the roast from all sides for a few minutes on high heat. Remove and deglaze with a splash of vermouth.

Place two thyme sprigs in the roat pan and put the meat on top. Arrange the potatoes, onions and garlic around or next to the meat, Sprinkle with salt, add the remainig thyme and pour both the deglazed liquid from the pan and half of the vermouth over the potatoes.

Stick the meat thermometer into the centre of the roast and place the pan in the oven. At about half time pour the rest of the vermout over the meat and the potatoes. Cook the roast until the internal temperature reads 60 degrees, then turn off the oven and wait until it has reached 68 degrees. This will give it the slightest hint of pink, and the meat will be tender and juicy.

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I do love a nice sauce but with roasts like this I prefer just to have the gravy right from the pan.

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Everybody knows mortadella, the famous Italian sausage from Bologna. Last year I even tried to make it myself. When I was in Bologna last year I discovered a sausage that is related to mortadella but almost unknown outside Italy: Salame rosa.

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While classic mortadella consists of a finely ground sausage paste sprinkled with fat cubes, salame rosa features chunks of meat and fat with only a very small amount of sausage paste to bind everything together. Both mortadella and salame rosa are cooked the same way: in an oven at a very low temperature for many hours.

I used:

  • 1000 g lean pork from the leg
  • 700 + 300 g marbled pork from the neck (the “coppa muscle”)
  • 250 + 50 g back fat
  • 20 g German nitrite curing salt with 0.5% nitrite content per kg
  • 2 g ground white pepper per kg
  • 1/2 garlic clove per kg
  • Beef bung as casing

The choice of meat is not too crucial. Traditionally, pork shoulder is used but these were the cuts I had at hand at the moment. Also the ratio of meat to fat can be varied.

Preparation:

The day before cut the meat into small pieces (1 to 2 cm) but reserve a small amount for the sausage paste. In this case I cut 1700 g and reserved 300 g. Weigh the meat and season it with curing salt and pepper. Mix well and leave in the fridge for 24 hours to pre-cure.

The next day, preheat the oven to 75 degrees using a thermometer. Soak the sausage casing in warm water for at least an hour. Cut most of the back fat into cubes of slightly smaller size than the meat pieces. Again, reserve a small amount for the sausage paste. Bring water to a boil in a small pot and blanche the fat cubes for a few minutes, then strain them.

Grind the remaining meat and fat with 2 mm plate of your meat grinder. Combine pre-cured meat, sausage paste and fat cubes in a large bowl and weigh again. Top up curing salt and pepper according to the total weight and add the pressed garlic.

Make sure everything is very cold, then mix thoroughly for several minutes until the mixture is very sticky. Stuff the casing as tightly as possible and tie off at the end. Stick a meat thermometer into the centre of the sausage and bake in the oven until the internal temperature is 70 degrees. This can last six hours or even longer, so make sure you have enough time. Let the sausage come to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight.

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My sausage looked very nice in the cross section but was not perfectly sliceable. Probably I did not mix long enough, so make sure you do this really thoroughly.

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Pork Hock With Chocolate Sauce

About 20 years ago during a short stay in Paris I went to the famous Table d’Anvers restaurant. The menu featured a very strange dish that caught my attention: veal head with chocolate sauce. I took the risk to order it and was richly rewarded. It was a fantastic expecrience, the dark chocolate harmonised excellently with the gelatinous meat.

I have always wanted to make something similar, so here is a creation using pork hock. To get the meat as tender as possible I used the steaming method described in Fuchsia Dunlop’s “Steamed pork knuckle with ginger sauce” recipe from her book Land of Plenty on Sichuan cuisine. The pork hock has first its skin crisped over a flame, then it is simmered and finally steamed.

But don’t worry, I have no intention to make this dish even weirder by introducing Asian aromas. The seasoning is strictly Western. There is thyme to flavour the meat and red wine as well as mild ancho chile to add some depth to the sauce.

pork_hock_chocolate

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 1 pork hock of ca. 1.2 kg
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 cloves
  • A good handful of fresh thyme sprigs (rosemary should work as well)

For the sauce:

  • 150 ml low acid red wine (Merlot or Austrian Zweigelt work well)
  • 50 to 100 g dark chocolate with 70% or more cocoa in small pieces
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ancho chile
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 15 g butter
  • Either 1/2 rack of baby back ribs or 150 ml veal stock

Special equipment:

  • Gas stove or blowtorch
  • Steamer

Time needed:

  • Preparation: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3 hours

Preparation:

Brown the skin of the pork hock over a gas burner or with a blowtorch. This may smell of burnt hair, but don’t bother. Be careful because there can be small flare-ups from fat dripping into the flames. Scrape off any black bits afterwards.

If you want to cook from scratch you can use the stock from simmering the pork hock as a sauce base. In this case it is advisable to also use some additional ribs to get a richer stock. But pork stock normally is not particularily flavourful, so you can also use prepared veal (or beef) stock.

In a large stockpot with water heat the hock with the vegetables and spices except the thyme. Also add the ribs, if you plan on creating the sauce from scratch. Simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes on low heat, skim off any scum that appears on the surface.

Carefully remove the bones from the hock. Cut the meat into several chunks that all have their fair share of skin. Season with salt and pepper. Place the thyme sprigs on a deep plate and cover them with the pork chunks. Make sure each chunk is in contact with the herbs. Put the plate into your steamer and steam for 2 hours.

For making the sauce from scratch, put the bones back into the pot and turn up the heat. We want the stock to concentrate as much as possible but the bones should stay inside because the 45 minutes so far were not a long time for extracting their goodness. This process may last for another hour or so.

For the sauce, sautee the shallot in butter in a saucepan until translucent, then deglaze with 150 ml wine and add the same amount of stock. Also add the ancho chile and the two time sprigs, then reduce to 50%. Shortly before serving, strain to remove the shallot and the thyme, then gradually add the chocolate. The perfect amount is very much a matter of taste. Finally season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste.

I recommend a potato-based side dish, for example a leek and potato mash.

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Old-Fashioned Cocktail Tartlets

A bit of baking for a change.

The Old-Fashioned is one of my favourite cocktails. Its simplicity makes is very easy to transfer the concept to baking. It only containes bourbon, sugar and cocktail bitters.

old_fashioned_tartlets3

Ingredients (for four 12 cm tartlet moulds):

old_fashioned_tartlets4Dough:

  • 250 g flour
  • 125 g butter at room temperature
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 egg

Filling:

  • 100 g butter
  • 150 g powdered sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • Freshly grated zest of 2 untreated oranges
  • 80 ml bourbon
  • A few dashes of cocktail bitters (for example Angostura)

Time needed:

  • Preparation: 20 minutes
  • Baking: 30 to 35 minutes

Preparation:

Whisk the butter, sugar and the egg for the dough until creamy. Sift the flour on top and mix. Knead just until the dough becomes homogenous, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees. Divide the dough into four ball-shaped parts. Pat down each ball until the size is large enough for a tartlet mould. Line the moulds with the dough. Pre-bake the lined moulds for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 150 degrees.

In a small saucepan heat butter and powdered sugar for the filling on low heat, stirring constantly with a whisk until it forms a creamy paste. It should not become very hot. Remove from the stove and mix in eggs, orange zest, bourbon and bitters. Make sure the butter an sugar paste is completely dissolved.

Pour the filling into the pre-baked moulds and continue to bake for 10 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool down before serving. The filling will be fairly soft but noticeably boozy.

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Osso Bocko – Veal Shank In Doppelbock

Lent in Bavaria means doppelbock, the strong dark beer originally brewed by the monks to alleviate the meatless period between Carnival and Easter. I am not religious but I do thank the Bavarian monks for coming up with this exquisite beer type that apart from being delicious is also excellently suited for cooking.

Here I used doppelbock for a strictly Bavarian version of the famous Italian osso bucco. The side dishes are typically Bavarian too, pretzel dumplings and Speckkrautsalat, a kind of coleslaw with bacon.

osso_bocko

Ingredients (serves 3):

  • 3 slices of veal shank
  • 500 ml of Bavarian doppelbock.
  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • Marjoram
  • Vegetable oil or clarified butter
  • Flour

Speckkrautsalat:

  • 500 g white cabbage (about half of a small head)
  • 100 g diced bacon, pancetta or bauchspeck
  • 50 ml stock or broth, preferrably veal or beef
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar
  • 50 ml vegetable oil

For the pretzel dumplings please refer here.

Time needed:

  • Preparation: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 3 hours

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees. Cut onion, carrot and pasnip in chunks, seaon the meat with salt and black pepper. Heat some vegetable oil or clarified butter in an ovenproof brainsing pot and brown the veal from both sides on high heat, slice by slice. Remove and brown the vegetables. Deglaze with a good splash of the beer. Add garlic and marjoram, mix, put the meat on top and pour the rest of the beer into the pot. Cover and let simmer in the oven for  2 1/2 hours.

Remove the stem and the outer leaves from the cabbage and cut it into fine strips using a slicer. Brown the bacon without additional fat in a skillet on medium heat. Shortly before it is done add the sugar and caramelise it lightly. Deglaze with the broth and remove the skillet from the stove. Pour everything over the cabbage, add vinegar and oil, season with salt and pepper, and mix well, Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least two hours.

Strain the sauce from the pot into a saucepan and reduce to 1/3 on high heat. Mix a little flour with water and whisk it into the sauce to get a binding. Season to taste.

There are several possibilities to prepare the pretzel dumplings. You can use the classic method of simmering them in hot water or you can fill the batter into an ovenproof mould and bake it. Baking at high temperature for about 1 hour gives a firm sliceable texture, but this would interfere with the low temperature braising of the meat. For this meal I simply pot the mould with the dumpling batter in the oven next to the braising pot for one hour. This way you get pretty much the same texture as a simmered dumpling but you can serve it with a spoon.

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Because I was so delighted by the flavour combination of rosemary and orange zest in the ventricina teramana I made recently I thought I might give this a try in a proper meal. It turns out that it works well.

pork_ragout_orange_rosemary1

I have no idea if this could be considered authentic Italian cooking, probably not. But the flavours are definitely Italian, so this is filed under Italian cuisine.

Ingredients (serves 2 to 3):

Ragout:

  • 750 g well-marbled pork, preferrably from the neck
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Freshly grated zest of 1 untreated orange
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary or the dried equivalent
  • Hot pepper flakes (optional)
  • 200 ml red wine (I used Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)
  • Flour
  • White pepper
  • Olive oil

Polenta:

  • 100 g polenta
  • 300 ml water
  • Butter

Broccoli:

  • 1 broccoli
  • 30 g grated parmesan cheese

Time needed:

  • Preparation: 15 minutes
  • Cooking: 90 minutes

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees. Cut the pork into 2 cm cubes, season them with salt and white pepper and dust them with flour. In an ovenproof braising vessel heat some olive oil on moderate heat. Brown the meat in batches. Return all meat to the pot, add garlic, rosemary and orange zest and mix well. If you like a little heat you can also add some hot pepper flakes. Deglaze with the wine, mix again, cover and let simmer in the oven for an hour.

In the mean time blanch the broccoli in small pieces for a few minutes in boiling lightly salted water, strain and set aside. To prepare the polenta bring 300 ml water to a boil in a small saucepan, salt lightly, stir in the polenta and turn down the heat to low. Stir often for 10 minutes as the polenta continues to thicken. Spread 5 to 8 mm thick on a wooden board or a sheet of coated baking paper and let cool down.

Remove the meat from the oven and turn up the heat to 200 degrees. Transfer the pot to the stove and check the consistency of the sauce. You might want to reduce and/or thicken the sauce with a little flour whisked into some red wine. Once the consistency is right you can let the ragout simmer covered on lowest heat until the sides are ready.

Place the broccoli pieces on an ovenproof dish and sprinkle with parmesan. Gratinate in the oven until nicely browned.

Cut the cooled polenta into squares. Heat some butter in a skillet and fry the polenta squares on low to moderate heat until golden brown, turning occasionally.

Arrange everything on plates and serve with the remaing red wine.

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Ventricina Teramana – almost original

When I asked my sausage making Facebook friends what kind of salumi other than guanciale or ‘nduja to make from a pork jowl, someone proposed vetricina teramana. I had heard of that sausage before but never tried it before, so I set off to make it.

In Italy there are two disinctly different types of ventricina: Vastese is a very coarse sausage seasoned with fennel seeds, hot and mild peppers. Teramana is very fatty and spreadable, and it is seasoned with orange zest, rosemary and peppers. Both have in common that they are traditionally stuffed into a pig’s stomach. I did not fancy a spicy sausage, though, so I decided to leave out the peppers. And because I only used one jowl an enitre stomach would have been too large, so I used hog middles as casing.

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I used:

  • 1 pork jowl, skin off (1.2 kg)
  • 25 g salt per kg
  • 1 g saltpeter (KNO3) per kg
  • 0.2 g ascorbic acid per kg
  • 0.5 g Bactoferment 61 starter culture
  • 3 g white pepper per kg
  • Dried rosemary, crushed in a mortar
  • Orange zest, freshly grated
  • 60 mm hog middle casings

I did not weigh the rosemary and the orange zest but seasoned to taste. Freshly grated orange zest is very intensive, so be careful. I did not add very much but the aroma was already quite strong so I feared that I overdid it. But it mellowed out over time and turned out just fine.

Method:

Preparation is absolutely straightforward. The jowl is ground with the 2 mm plate of the meat grinder mixed thoroughly with the other ingredients and then stuffed into the soaked casings. Because of the small amount I was making I didn’t even bother to use my sausage stuffer. I simply used its widest nozzle as a funnel. The paste is soft enough that any trapped air can be easily “massaged” out without risking to tear the casing. I made one long and one short sausage.

Since I don’t have a curing chamber with climate control I fermented the sausages at room temperature for two days in a plastic box with the lid slightly open to create a high humidity environment. After that they were hung in the basement at 12 degrees and 70%-ish relative humidity. When the surface felt dry to the touch I cold smoked the sausages for 10 hours with beechwood.

I cut the smaller sausage after one month, and what can I say? It is absolutely fantastic! The combination of orange zest and roesemary is simply divine, and I don’t miss the peppers a bit. Beause of the high fat content ventricina teramana can be aged much longer, and I will keep the second sausage hanging for another few months. It will only improve.

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After the New Year’s Eve luxury food let’s return to more modest but not necessarily less tasty fare. Earlier this year I made cholent, a traditional Jewish dish that is braised overnight to avoid kitchen work on shabbat. Now low-temperature braised beef is a wonderful thing, and so I decided to take this concept and use it for a more generic approach that does require some work the next day.  Cooking time is of course highly uncritical. But I do recommend to cook it for at least 12 hours.

24hr_shortrib1

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 decently sized pieces of beef shortrib
  • 200 ml robust red wine (Bordeaux or Burgundy is fine)
  • 250 g pearl onions or small regular onions
  • 2 large starchy potatoes
  • 2 marrow bones
  • 100 ml heavy cream
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 parsnip
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Vegetable oil or clarified butter

Cooking time:

  • Preparation: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 24 hours unattended + 1 hour the next day

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 90 degrees. Peel the onions but thave them intact. Cut the carrot and the parsnip in small chunks. Season the shortribs with salt and pepper.

Heat some vegetable oil or clarified butter in an ovenproof braising vessel and brown the ribs on all sides. Remove and lightly brown brown the vegetables, adding a little salt. Deglaze with a splash of wine and add the meat, then add the rest of the wine as well as the cloves and the bay leaves.

Cover and put the vessel into the oven. Make sure the temperature is low enough so the liquid is not boiling. Turn the meat two or three times during cooking since the liquid will not cover everyting.

The next day, cook the potatoes unpeeled until soft. While the potatoes are cooking remove the marrow from the bones using a sharp paring knife. Break up the marrow in several pieces and render them on low heat in a small saucepan or skillet. Strain the fat though a metal sieve (a plastic sieve will melt) and set aside.

Remove the braising pot from the oven and strain the liquid into a saucepan, then teturn the pot to the oven. There will likely be quite a bit of fat that would be too much for a proper sauce. The surplus can be easily removed with a few strips of kitchen paper carefully dropped horizontally onto the surface and pulled up again, but you should not remove all fat.

Reduce the sauce on low heat. You may want to add a little starch or flour dissolved in a splash of wine to improve the texture. But be careful no to use to much, the sauce is not supposed to become gloopy. To finish the sauce you can also add a little fruit jelly or a splash of sweet sherry.

When the potatoes are soft peel them and mash them in a saucepan. Stir for a minutes on low heat to evaporate excess water. Incorporate the marrow fat and adjust the texture with cream to your preference. Season with salt, white pepper and nutmeg.

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Chicken With Morel Mushrooms And Vin Jaune

Normally I am all for using simple ingredients and turning them into delicious dishes. You really don’t need expensive ingedients to make your food taste good. But there’s no rule without exceptions, and every once in a while I do treat myself for something special.

This is a classic dish from Jura region in France. It is quite simple to make but the ingredients will set you back quite a bit, especially if you decide to use a Bresse chicken for complete Jurassic authenticity. The combination of vin jaune and morels is simply divine and there is no need whatsoever to become creative and try to “improve” this dish that has stood the test of time. Vin jaune is a little bit like unfortified sherry and its taste reminds of it. But replacing vin jaune with sherry would destroy the delicate balance of flavours, just as replacing the morels with other mushrooms would do.

chicken_vinjaune2

Ingredients (serves 2 or 3):

  • 1 chicken, the best quality you can afford
  • 2oo ml vin jaune
  • 400 + 100 ml light cream (15%)
  • 400 + 100 ml chicken stock or broth
  • 25 grams dried morel mushrooms.
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • Butter
  • Flour

Time needed:

  • Preparation: 15 minutes
  • Cooking: 60 minutes (or a bit longer for bigger birds)

Preparation:

Soak the dried morels for at least one hour. Divide the chicken into 8 pieces. Season with salt and pepper. Put some flour onto a plate and turn the chicken pieces in it so their surface is covered.

Heat some butter in a large saucepan and lightly brown the chicken pieces for a few minutes, in batches if necessary. Deglaze with 400 ml chicken stock, add 400 ml cream and the vin jaune. Cook uncovered on medium heat for about 40 minutes until the sauce has reduced somewhat.

In the mean time, preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Strain the morels and rinse them with water in case there is sand sticking to them. You can save the steeping water and reduce it in a small saucpan until it has almost completely evaporated. This essence can be used to give additional flavour to the sauce later.

Heat butter in a small saucepan and sautee the shallots until translucent. Add the morels and sautee for a few more minutes. Then add 100 ml cream and 100 ml chicken stock and let reduce on low heat for 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and set aside.

Arrange the chicken pieces on an ovenproof dish and place it in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the sauce further medium heat. It it is too thin you can whisk in a little flour that has been delayed with a bit of vin jaune.  Here you can also add some of the morel essence, if you chose to make it.

Remove the chicken from the oven, spoon over the mushrooms and cover with sauce. Serve with rice or noodles. The recommended drink should be self-evident.

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