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Gul_Dekar

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Posts posted by Gul_Dekar

  1. I'll be heading to Paris for the first time this Christmas but since I'm kinda on a student budget, was wonderin' if anyone could give me some good recommendations about where to eat. Especially at night.

    So far I already plan to visit all the boulangeries and patisseries I've read so much about up until now. And I suppose bistros and brasseries would be my best bets for good and affordable meals. But I was also thinking of splurging on one meal while in Paris.

    I've read great reviews on Spring, but unfortunately i think they're full-booked till January (according to their blog anyway). 40 euros for 4 courses at such quality would've been great!

    Is there anything similar?

    Thanks!

  2. Hi my friend mentioned that her relatives often go back to India and buy these Indian milk sweets which are diamond in shape and come in various flavours like pistachio and so on. I was wondering if anyone has any idea what they are called and if possible where I could find a recipe to make my own? Are they difficult to make?

    I live in Malaysia and apparently they don't sell them here so I was just really curious about them.

    Would REALLY REALLY be grateful for any help!

  3. One thing that I can't seem to control is the burning of the bottom my loaves. They start burning on the bottom long before they are done. Sourdough, ciabatta, white bread, they all seem to get small (about 1/2 inch diameter) burn spots from the direct contact w/ the stone. Is this a common thing?

    To solve this I usually put the oven rack back in 1/2 way through and move them to the rack.

    For my stone I am using a 2ft.^2 peice of natural stone i picked up from my local home depot.

    Ed, is your stone quite wide? Where is the heat source in your oven? I'm wondering if it's blocking the circulation of heat in the oven...

    Actually I have the opposite problem even with a stone. The outside browns much quicker than the bottom. Can it be rectified by just lowering temperature and baking for longer or is there perhaps a better way?

  4. Thanks for the input. I'll try it out anyway and see how it goes. I was living in a 'milder' climate before and thought the mesophilic culture would be easier to use than the thermophilic one so I didn't get any of the latter. It's kinda ironic now that having some here would mak a lot of sense. Never mind, I guess.

    Just got some mason jars so hope to elaborate my culture soon. Hopefully things go well!

  5. Speaking of soursop (guyabano), I've only recently gotten acquainted with it and was wondering how does one approach one such a fruit? :biggrin: Is everything inside edible (aside from the seeds)? How do you know when it's ripe? Is it when the outside feels soft?

    Some guidance would be appreciated!

    So far some (western) herb seeds I planted have grown to become summer savoury & thyme (quite a few true leaves are out)! Hopefully they can adapt well to the local weather here in the longterm. :smile:

    Hoping to acquire one or two more fruit trees, like limau madu (honey citrus) and maybe a guava plant from a nursery.

  6. Is this possible at all? I happen to possess a packet of freeze-dried mesophilic culture and was thinking of propagating it by making a prepared culture following the instructions in Ricki Caroll's Home Cheese Making (so maybe I could keep it and use it for longer).

    All I could think in order to adapt to room temp here (which is about 88-89F) was placing it in a water bath and adding ice to the water bath to maintain the 72F asked for in the instructions during incubation (after all the previous steps which I think should be possible to manage). Either that, or reduce the incubation time. But I don't really know for how long exactly.

    Any ideas? Or maybe I'm just way over my head about this whole cheese-making experiment in hot & humid conditions... :wacko: but I was just thinking that maybe it's worth a shot since I brought the culture back halfway around the world and if I don't use it it'll go to waste anyway. Only other thing I can think of to do with it would be to add a bit to some flour & water to see if it works as a sourdough starter.

    So...any help or opinions would be much appreciated!

  7. I'm planning to convert part of the yard into a edible garden and will probably just give everything a go (leafy-veges, root veges, beans, different fruits trees...local stuff of course). See if it's possibly to successfully grow 'em at sea-level.

    So I was just wondering if anyone grows their own veges, fruit trees and herbs here in S.E. Asia? Certainly would seem like a good idea with the whole organic/non-pesticide fad going on here in Msia. :smile:

  8. I know this is a stupid question but I'll ask anyway...

    I assume your fridge is working.

    In Charcuterie, It is written that 'an unused refrigerator can be a perfect drying box', Later an 'unpluged refrigerator' is mentioned.  Would a fridge that is working, at it's lowest setting work? Even at the lowest setting it is probably much colder than the 60 F that is recommanded. 

    I have a second fridge but I use it to store a few things and while it would give me room to cure some sausages, I just could not turn it off.  Could I use the suggestion of water and salt in a working fridge to increase the humidity??

    Yup, it's working. I think it would go up to 80F if it were turned off (average room temp is about 88F here :raz:). I've managed to get it to stay about 60F but it can actually go a bit warmer if need be. Maybe I'll try the water & salt trick too and see if I can get the humidity up.

    p.s. what's the use of salt for though?

  9. Just jumping onto the bandwagon and about to attempt my first project - bacon or...pancetta. I just have a question. How important is the humidity factor if I plan to cure stuff in a refrigerator? I stuck a thermometer that has a humidity reading and it's about 15C and 20% humidity in the fridge I'm 'dedicating' to curing stuff if it's possible. Also use the fridge to store flours and other dried stuff which doesnt carry any funky flavours (since one has to refrigerate most things in the tropics!) so it's not too crowded. So, any ideas?

  10. You're right that the dough never touched the sides of the tins.  Reinhart suggests letting them proof until they reach the sides of the tin. Perhaps that was me being very tired at 12:30 am and just wanting to get them in the oven. I used 9" pie tins. I guess if I had used 8", they would've touched the side. I will say this, I compared the proved loaves to a whole wheat boule (the same amount of dough) I had made on Sunday and the sizes were about the same. I didn't expect there to be any ovenspring, but after the first 10 minutes I took a peek and there was a little bit.

    Hi, I made this bread a couple of times too and it's been a hit every time! I noticed you separated the dough into 3 loaves so maybe that's why they dont reach the side of the pie pan? I usually just make them into 2 and they do reach the sides and even bake up with the imprints of the sides of the pie pan on the bottom edge of the loaves. Then again, if you already increased the amount of dough so you could have 3 loaves I'm probably completely off-base. :raz:

  11. Since I just recently learned this slang term a while ago, here's the definition of emo.

    Anyway, watched the show a couple of times. The concept's not too bad, although I can't get over the stoner dude personas they project and how they seem to want to show people that they really are 'COOL' with the camera angles and various stuff that they do. Besides, the DIY ice cream machine with the freezer bit was just a bit silly considering you could probably spend less for an ACTUAL ice cream machine instead of wrecking a perfectly good fridge. Doesn't it ruin the insulation some bit and make the motor work more thus increasing your electricity bill? I guess sometimes I just don't get stuff like this...

    Although in the end, it's just TV. If you don't like a show, just don't watch it. :wink: The main guy, Nobu Adilman, plays a privates-exposing drug dealer on Trailer Park Boys btw, which weirds me out a bit personally considering he's dealing with food now! :biggrin:

  12. I think Bobby Flay's dishes are safe and traditional with more interesting sauces.  Susur's dishes are more creative with weird combinations and more Chinese but at the same time may not please every judge (hence riskier).

    Overall I think Bobby Flay executes very well to tie the match :) (he has much more experience in that kitchen and format afterall). But I would go for the Susur iron chef dinner (if he has one) any evening..

    - M

    a tie.  better than losing to bobby flay but I  thought susur would have smashed him.

    ns

    I think you're right and it shows from the scoring since susur got more points for originality while Bobby Flay got more points on plating/presentation. Still wished Susur could've beat kicked Flay's ass though.

  13. In Malaysia, one of my favourite beverages is air sirap, which means 'syrup water' which is basically rosewater syrup diluted with water. Add condensed milk and you have a whole other drink - 'bandung' which tastes just as great. :biggrin: Sorta like the pop on the other side of the world. Wonder why they never made fizzy versions of it though...

  14. Besides the pizza stones one can buy from kitchen stores, what other materials make good baking stones? I've been trying to find unglazed quarry tiles but so far haven't had much luck. I've noticed places that sell untreated slate tiles. Are these usable for said purpose? Only info I could find about slate is here. It says its thermally stable and chemically inert. So is it a good alternative to quarry tiles?

  15. Group of us students are planning our own CNY dinner:

    4 Seasons: Salad prawns, stir-fried (fake..students lah! :biggrin:) sharks fin with egg, deep fried wantons and deep fried spring rolls

    Veg: Stewed mushrooms with fatt choy and broccoli

    Fish: Clear steamed bass

    Chicken: Roasted...havent decided how to do it though

    Dessert: Almond jelly and wuo bang (filled with red bean paste)

    This thread reminded me to say thanks for the replies on the yu sang thread I posted last CNY, and here's a picture of last year's dinner:

    DSC_0374.jpg

    We had to hand-julienne all the veges for it cuz the 10 dollar mandoline we bought didn't work too well, which is why this year no one wants to do it again! :biggrin:

  16. Well I guess I'm one of those people mentioned who only patronize such restaurants during winterlicious/summerlicious and almost never try them any other time. It's mostly because I'm a student, and this is one of the rare opportunities when I can dine at places that are simply out of my reach $$$-wise normally....

    I think that you are taking part in exactly the way that benefits restaurants. You may go back one day or at least you may tell others that you had a great time and good food and would go back but for your lack o cash and that helps the restaurants. :wink: Its all about word of mouth. I on the other hand go back for business and many other reasons on days where I am one of a few tables there on Mon. Tues. or Wed. night. During WL many places are packed every night, when it is not WL many places are very dead during the Sun-Weds so I think many restaurants win. If they did not why participate?

    Exactly! :biggrin:

  17. I think in your position, instead of spending less at good restaurants with temporarily mediocre food, I would either a) look for places with better value (you can certainly get really really good food in Toronto without spending a ton), or b) skip Winter/Summerlicious and save up those expenses for one big full-menu meal somewhere.  Yes I know it hurts to see a few hundred dollars disappear in one shot, but I think a good meal is totally worth saving for and spending on just like any other big-ticket item.  And you can have a lot of fun with it if you make an event of it.

    I guess what it comes down to is that I feel Winterlicious doesn't fit well _anywhere_ on the price-quality ("value") spectrum.  It _sounds_ cheap, but the loss in quality of the food is more than the discount you get; and you have better value at either the high end (costs way more but the food is way better) or the low (food isn't quite as good but at least it doesn't cost $30+).

    I guess as a college student, it's pretty difficult to justify blowing a really big wad of cash on an expensive meal regardless of how much I save beforehand. While admittedly the food during winter/summerlicious at certain restaurants might not be of the same standard compared to normally, it does give me an opportunity to check out places which are usually not within my reach. I guess it's sorta one way I can 'educate' myself about 'fine food' (like how I'm going to Pangaea for dinner cuz they have a foie gras torchon starter and 'hey, I've never tasted foie gras before!') . At the end of the day, a 'so-so' summerlicious meal at Canoe for someone would still be damned fine one to me.

  18. That's interesting but I would say that, for me, the decision to order wine really depends on what I'm eating.  For example, you can pair some wines with curries if you really want, but I wouldn't normally get wine cravings with that sort of food.  Beer, sure, but not wine unless I was feeling experimental and probably at home.  On the other hand, if you have a steak with frites it'll seem pretty plain without vino.  A dish like that is basically designed to go with wine, and vice versa.

    That's exactly my point. I've gone out with friends who don't care for wine even with a dish crying out for some like steak frites, mostly because in their culture (and I suppose in the one I've been brought up with), wine never figured into the equation. It was just about the food, and ONLY the food. The beverage never had to match any food or vice versa. In such an instance drinking ice water, iced tea or pop would be perfectly acceptable with any meal regardless of cuisine (Chinese herbal tea with lamb chops? Bring it on!).

    'Cheapskates' - I don't think GordonCooks was saying that people who don't order wine are cheapos.  I think the implication was that I am, or that others like me who complain about tipping are.

    Actually I wasn't trying to make a point about what GordonCooks said about tipping (just happened to use the same word he used, thus creating some confusion). I was directing my point to the general sentiment among waitstaff/other diners who seem to think a lot of winter/summerlicious diners who don't order drinks are cheap/not versed in fine dining culture, blah, blah, blah (which I guess some really are but not all). The whole point of bringing up the wine with dim sum issue is just to provide an example about how a particular culture would view another as weird because their dining practices are so different from one's own. My not wanting to judge is merely due to the fact that I understand that in some dining cultures, food & drink is closely-linked while in others it's not very important at all.

    Such issues are immensely interesting to me partly due to the fact that I'm an anthropology major, and partly due to the fact that I come from a 'non-drinking' dining culture and have been influenced by the 'drinking' dining culture here to a certain degree. So it's quite fascinating to see how each side views the other and be able observe (somewhat) objectively how each group reacts to the others' practices. Maybe this is all slightly off-topic, but I do think this whole phenomenon really becomes more prominent during W/Slicious periods particularly because many people who normally don't drink with meals often go out to dine at places where they're expected to.

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