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Posts posted by Syrah

  1. I'm lucky to be able to buy pretty good tea in the supermarket. Dilmah is my favourite brand. Although occasionally I do like Twinings English Breakfast or the even stronger Irish Breakfast, but it is hard to find in leaf form and I don't do bags anymore.

    I do like Dilmah's Extra Strong black tea, but mostly I just get the Premium Black which has tasting notes as below.

    Pure Ceylon Broken Orange Pekoe produces a pleasing brew. Medium strength with body and structure. This is a wonderful embodiment of Ceylon Tea, with a fine balance strength, aroma and brightness. Recommended straight, possibly with a hint of lemon for its very pleasing brew. If milk is desired, brew for a minute longer than normal and add a dash of milk. 

    They do seem to have a wide distribution. http://www.dilmahtea.com/

  2. I feel something coming on, so we're having chicken noodle soup that I'm doing a quick version with chicken thighs. I've got some pasta I made and dried that I'll use in it.

    All that with some no knead focaccia and I think we'll call it done. :biggrin:

  3. I'm using the BBQ a lot (it's in a confined backyard and gas which makes it okay during total fire ban according to the NSW Fire service).

    Tonight we had felafel and meatballs with zucchini and eggplant - all cooked on the BBQ in pita wraps with salad and tzatziki. Very nice and filling too,

    Uncooked tomato pasta sauces have been pretty popular too. Fresh tomatoes chopped with basil and olive oil left at room temperature for the day. Really incredible taste of summer.

    Also, since the good corn has finally started coming in DH is eating a lot of that.

    Tomorrow, we're having a tomato tart and green salad.

  4. Of course it's worth it. That being said, if you do feel burned out there is nothing wrong with defrosting soup, made with love on another day.

    If your BF really doesn't want to help, you can still do it.

    Menu planning is going to be key, as is a well stocked pantry and freezer. Have a few staple meals that can be whipped up quickly with no real need for special ingredients. The simple pasta thread would be a great place to start. Shalmanese changed my life with his peas and pasta "recipe". Sometimes it's all I have the energy to make. Or Carbonara? Or Marcella's onion tomato sauce thingie. Or whatever else you have.

    Something you might want to do is roast trays of veggies on the weekend. These can be added to couscous for a salad, or served alongside a quick protein, or added to am omelette or quiche or frittata.

    Sometimes an egg on toast can be dinner! Or radishes with a baguette.

  5. It's a texture thing. I know someone who refers to tofu as Wettex (brand of kitchen sponge). I can't speak for whether you grow into it, because my parents had no clue what tofu was when I was a child - but I can say that tastes are evolving. I don't like all the things I liked as a child and now I like a few of the things I didn't .

  6. Having read quite a few  responses from CTers  about the new issue I think the best thing for the new editor might be to either get rid of CT folk or completely ignore them.  She should come up with a magazine for people who actually  love to cook.

    I'm going to ask again. Can you point me to where anyone on CT said they don't love to cook?

  7. As a manufactured food they're not so bad though. Potatoes, oil and salt. They are an excellent PMS remedy with mayonnaise.

    Mayo! Awww crap! Now I might actually have to go out and buy some tater tots! Tater tots with mayo...why didn't I ever think of that? I'm out of mayo, too, though, so I'll have to pick up some of that, too.

    Sorry! If it makes you feel any better, I think I'll have to buy some too. The mayo I have - Thomy is my favourite brand. :laugh:

  8. As of late, I've developed a jones for Tater Tots.

    Ooooohhhhh! Tater Tots! They weren't something we ever bought in my family (or very rarely), but I did love them when I was young. And I must admit, I still do. Whenever I'm at a breakfast buffet, and there are tater tots, I always have some (though I still never buy them myself). Sprinkled with salt and dabbed with a bit of ketchup, they're perfect!

    As a manufactured food they're not so bad though. Potatoes, oil and salt. They are an excellent PMS remedy with mayonnaise.

  9.   ...  The only things I buy in the supermarket are milk, eggs, flour, cheddar cheese, frozen peas, dried pasta and other staples (mainly cleaning products).
    During the summer we have a farmer's market here - don't know if such a thing is available in Oz, but local farmers sell direct to the public in the middle of town one day a week. Good veggies. Good people.

    Oh yes, there is one in my showground one Saturday a month, and another one 20 minutes away on a different Saturday.

  10. My goodness... your vents make me feel that I should be truly grateful for what I have.

    Firstly, I never buy fruit, vegetables, fish, meat at the supermarket.

    I have a good butcher in my local shopping centre, and another good, but a bit cheaper one 20 minutes drive away.

    I have two fruit and vegetable shops in my local area that are both excellent and another one 10 minutes ago that also sells reasonable meat.

    I have a fishmonger in my local shopping centre that does not smell like fish at all, and it has a second 'branch" in the smaller local shopping centre.

    The only things I buy in the supermarket are milk, eggs, flour, cheddar cheese, frozen peas, dried pasta and other staples (mainly cleaning products).

  11. I bought a bunch of red radishes for .99AUD.

    Tonight, I sauteed half of the greens in a little oil. My resident sweet freak thought they were way too bitter and asked if the "spinach" was off. I thought it was pretty good.

    The radishes themselves we will enjoy raw, but I also wanted to try pickling them. Any suggestions for how I should do that? Also, any ideas for the greens that might appease Mr. Sweet?

    I also bought a whole cauliflower for 2AUD. I made some puree tonight, and plan to roast it. I also thought I might try an Indian style stirfry as well.

  12. I just keep it all in an excel worksheet.  There are four tabs: Refrigerator, Freezer, Pantry, and Wine (I use this more as a way to track wines we've tried and take notes on what we like, very useful for finding modestly priced wines that taste fine).  Each tab is further divided into subcategories, e.g. Refrigerator has Dairy, Protein, Vegetable, Fruit, Condiments, Beverages, Ready-to-Eat.  Each item has three columns: description, unit size, quantity.  So if I buy chicken thighs at Costco and freeze 3 of the individual packs, that line would read "chicken thighs, whole" then "4 each" then "3 (for quantity of packages)." 

    The initial inventory was the most time-consuming part.  Now every time I go to the store I just take a couple minutes after putting away the groceries to update my spreadsheet using the receipt, and then at the end of each day I update the sheet taking into account what we cooked/used up that day.  I also apply a reasonableness test, e.g. it is useful to keep track of exactly how many random packages of chicken I have in the freezer, but I'm not going to keep track of how much cereal is left in the box at the end of every day.

    That's amazing. I wish I wasn't too lazy and disorganized to do something like that.

    I had some success with a magnetic whiteboard attached to the freezer, but after a while it got too messy. That was only for the freezer though.

  13. I guess I should've posted this a few weeks ago, but I recently had the WORST meal ever at a family friend's house. 

    I cooked Christmas dinner this year for these family friends, so they thought they would return the favor by cooking a delicious New Year's Day meal.  Of course I was expecting only the best, because the wife cooks the most amazing Korean food.  This lady sends fresh kimchi down to me all the time and the best Nakji Bokkeum I have ever had.  Also her husband "apparently" loves to cook.  He gets regular subscriptions to various food magazines and has an extensive cookbook collection.  He has even given me some great cookbooks as well and back issues of Gourmet magazine.

    Assuming these friends were Korean, this looks like their attempt to cook non-Korean food and they were totally unfamiliar with European food, both as consumers and producers. Always a bad idea, stick to what you know best ! Maybe next time they invite you, try dropping hints that you would like Korean food.

    I think they probably thought they would be really impressing you by cooking western food, not realising that you really like Korean food. If I were you, I'd find some Korean dish to discuss with them saying that you'd love to taste it.. and see how that goes.

  14. What's made the biggest difference for my grocery budget is inventory and planning.  I keep a detailed inventory of everything in my fridge, freezer, and pantry.  This allows me to plan menus around what I have and it also keeps me from forgetting what I've already bought.  Since I've started doing it almost nothing gets thrown out, which of course wastes less money.  I also end up going to the grocery store fewer times, and that cuts down on impulse purchases.  And, I noticed that sometimes even when my fridge looked pretty bare, I still had a pretty long inventory list, so I was able to pull together some meals when previously I probably would have thought there was nothing and just gone out to eat.

    I think this is key. I found everything a lot less overwhelming when I had a record of what I already have available.

    How do you keep inventory? What system do you use?

  15. I've been looking more at the dried beans available at my grocery store since pasta is getting more expensive (the cheapest was $1.55 for a bag of macaroni [i don't know why the same weight of pastas cost so much more - 12 oz bags go for anywhere between $1.55 to 2.69 depending on the shape, but that's another story]). I noticed they started carrying dried chickpeas. I've never cooked them before; what would be the best way to do them? I'm looking for a good side dish or base for braise-y meat dishes we seem to cook most in the winter.

    Soft polenta works really well in those applications.

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