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Everything posted by Snadra

  1. That's actually a really good idea. Certainly better than the frozen battered fish! I can get frozen Norwegian salmon at the local Foodworks occasionally. I don't sous vide but it grills nicely. Woolies and Coles are 100k away. Of course for my next contemplated move the nearest store that sells more than overpriced basics will be over 200k away. Hopefully the river won't be full of carp!
  2. Carp - is that an anagram? The NZ experience (well, mine, anyway) is the possibly-obvious observation that the further you are from the sea, the more rubbish are the F&C. Sometimes this theory falls down; I think the second-worst I've ever had were from a shop in Foxton, which is not at all far from the sea. But getting something other than Chux out in the wops is probably unlikely. Should any of you fine people be visiting Wellington, the place to go is Supremo in Hataitai. The fish is, I'm convinced, still warehou and is good, meaty and crisp; the chips likewise (OK, not so much meaty). Give me a call; I'll pop down the hill and join you. Lol. They are European carp, and thus crap. I'm beyond the line again this weekend. Locals fish on the Darling. Will have to ask what the favourite catch is. Funnily enough I've had brilliant f&c in Bathurst of all places. If they can ship it fast enough... But if I'm ever in Enzed will be sure to try something decent and local.
  3. So these days I live within spitting distance of proper outback (in fact spent last weekend in proper outback where we felt quite justified in driving 150km out to to Broken Hill and back again for a meal). We can get fish and chips here, but the first and last time I tried it at the local club it tasted like a battered and fried kitchen sponge. The menu said flathead, but I think it was chux. Much easier just to have the chicken schnitzel than risk going through that again. And don't suggest I go fish for something fresher. Most fish are carp locally.
  4. I have natural granite countertops with a matte finish. There has been a bit of staining, but it comes out quite well with a light bicarbonate soda scrub. I use it to polish the stainless steel sink as well.
  5. Traditionally non-jam preserving in Australia is done with Fowlers Vacola, which I believe starts in cold water. Mason jars, as well as European jars are becoming more available, but are quite expensive compared to their cost in The US/Canada. When I first arrived here the only jars I saw were Quattro stagionni (one piece lid) and Fowlers. The US style of preserving fruits and vegetables is pretty niche here, although as someone mentioned above tomato sauce preserving is big amongst Italian migrants. Most people I know who bother stick to jams and a few pickles/relishes and seal them in recycled jars, sometimes with cellophane. In 'black kettle and full moon', Geoffrey Blainey says families used to cut down old bottles to turn into preserve jars, and if I recall correctly he says jam was a popular method of fruit preserving because sugar was relatively cheap. My father-in-law grew up in the thirties and all his contemporaries have strong memories of lemon and melon jam, because it could be made with cheap sugar and scrounged ingredients. http://www.abc.net.au/tasmania/stories/s1463201.htm http://fowlersvacola.com.au http://www.cwaofvic.asn.au/content.asp?pid=140780
  6. I don't know what a "jaffle" is, and I'm not a "Dude!" even without the exclamation point. I recall the cheese getting pretty hot, but then, so does most, if not all, cheese that's grilled. In which case apologies for the casual salutation of excitement. A jaffle is indeed a toasted sandwich made in a jaffle iron (known to you as a Toast Tite), which seals the edges in a square or round shape, and sometimes even divides the sandwich into two neat triangles. Jaffles can be made in a low-tech jaffle iron, over a fire or hot plate, or in an electric jaffle maker, Aussies being so fond of appliances. They were passe for quite a while but a making a comeback these days. In my staff room a jaffle maker and sandwich press sit next to each other and are used equally, country people being less inclined to throw out perfect good ideas just because they've gone out of fashion. Ham, cheese and tomato is pretty traditional. Possibly because its delicious http://www.dailylife.com.au/dl-food/food-features/hot-food-trend-jaffles-20130410-2hkoy.html
  7. Dude! That's a jaffle! Contents get nuclear hot though.
  8. Mayo on the outside makes a beautiful golden crust. Sliced white bread, medium cheddar (so-called "tasty cheese" here), a bit of fresh pepper. And sometimes it like to pry it open and put some butter lettuce inside afterwards. Love the contrast of the sweet freshness against the golden richness. Or Turkish bread, no need to butter the outside, sharp cheddar and a thinly sliced Granny Smith piled in afterwards. In the long-ago I used to like grilled cheese and peanut butter. They ooze (or should it be gooze now?) together beautifully. The tradition in Oz is the jaffle - I like them a lot, but the interiors can be deadly hot!
  9. Was always fascinated by the crosshatch grill marks on the steaks at Mr Mikes when I was a kid - and you could see the steaks lined up on the grill, so they definitely weren't painted on. I thought the cooks must be rather special to get those marks so perfect. Oh, the excitement of the self-serve salad bar, foil wrapped potatoes and grill-marked steaks! These days they strike me as sweetly retro.
  10. In my experience they don't require a lot of work. Fairly secure place to be locked up at night, yard to scratch about in. On a daily basis it was more about throwing down some feed, making sure the water is fresh and locking them up safe each night. I used to scrape out their roost area once a week or so, more in summer, less in winter. And as a bonus all those kitchens scraps have a good home. Here weather isn't an issue but you will obviously need to do more if you live in an area with properly cold winters. And foxes are wily things, and good at fence climbing. Learn from my scattered feathers...
  11. This looks incredible. And the words 'viciously delectable' are so perfectly descriptive!
  12. Snadra

    Potato Salad

    Floury potatoes, cooked until just done, then gently tossed with olive oil, lemon juice, fresh herbs and minced green onion. It's a quick salad, and can be eaten at any temperature, which makes it handy. I love the slight creamyness from the edges of the potato breaking down. My other method is the classic-style: mayo, sour cream, dijon, boiled eggs, dill and green onion. Still delicious!
  13. Snadra


    In my local bit of Aussieland the general consensus is a pav should be marshmallowy in the centre, and toppings must include banana and passion fruit. I don't make them often myself (too many locals do a far superior one to me) but I believe the cornflour stabilises the mixture and contributes to the interior softness. If your pav was slightly beige and only a little soft I think your temp was too high, and possibly too long in cooking. To make mine last longer in a small household, we usually cut a piece then decorate individually with cream and fruit. Less spectacular, though.
  14. We are already 1/4 of the way through the new school year and there has been little to report on the morning tea front so far this year. My faculty hosted two teas in term one - cocoa brownies and blondes with chocolate were my contributions. Yesterday we hosted our first for term 2 - there was a pumpkin soup, some party pies, mini quiches and individual cheesecakes amongst other things. My own contribution was a vaguely trashy warm bean dip with tortilla chips (a gluten free and vegetarian offering so it ticked two necessary boxes) and people went pretty mad for it. Given the cool weather, I'd like to try a few more warm dips next time - does anyone have any suggestions? Here is the 'recipe' for the bean dip: combine two tins of refried beans with about two cups of shredded cheese, 1/2 cup of crushed tinned tomatoes a bit of garlic powder and some chiles (I used Vietnamese pickled ground chiles because I had them) and just enough water to make it a little loose. Microwave until cheese is melted then top with chopped tomato, avocado, green onion and fresh coriander mixed with a bit of salt and lime and sour cream. Stupidly simple and it took me less than 10 minutes to put together at home that morning, and just needed heating and topping at school.
  15. I have a smaller version of this machine (also in Australia) and the instructions are pretty specific that the vacuum saver is not a substitute for refrigeration of perishable goods.
  16. The blueberry muffins from Stephanie Alexander are rather nice. They have a strong blueberry flavour and are fairly sweet - I would just cut the sugar a bit. Her recipe has you cut each berry in half which is time consuming but distributes them nicely and allows the flavour to go through the muffins. The halves stay reasonably intact.
  17. This must be the the problem. If you look at the original Lahey recipe, it calls for 345 g water and 430 g flour, which is a hydration just over 80%. Your ratio isn't quite 69%. No wonder you can't mix it with a spoon. I've worked with that hydration for a kneaded bread. I needed a machine. As for how much to mix, he says "Add water and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute." I'd call that a lot more than "the merest stir." Ditto. I mostly make the dough for pizza really, but 345g water:430g flour is the ratio I use. At that ratio it tends to hydrate any dryish bits easily. But if it continues to be an issue, you could always try mixing half the flour with the water until its smooth (which should only take a minute), then incorporate the remaining flour.
  18. This afternoon I had to rush out and buy a freezer for delivery tomorrow because somehow I have just agreed to buy half a pig from the folks three properties down from me. Good price for $60 (excluding the $$$ for the freezer...) but now I'm trying to work out what I'm to do with it all! The weather turns cooler here soon (I hope!), so I'm thinking of trying my hand at some kind of smokeless curing, and will no doubt host a large lunch or two as well. Sauerfleisch is probably on the menu too, because I love it so and haven't had it in years. At this point I'm not even sure how it will be broken down. I'm hoping they've gone through the local butcher who still breaks down carcasses so that at least I'll get manageable pieces. Anyone have any new ideas or successes since the last post here?
  19. In Sydney I sometimes used the brita jug for cooking water but didn't notice a massive difference. Where I am now everyone swears by rainwater to the point that many take jugs from home to fill the kettle at work with so I use rainwater for cooking (but still put it through the brita for fridge storage). I have noticed a taste improvement in the rice especially when using the rainwater - enough that I'm going out to take it directly from the tank at the moment because I broke the tap in the kitchen!
  20. I make a fair few bar type cookies for morning teas - so much quicker than individual ones! I use a fairly generic blondie recipe from an old 1950s Betty Crocker - add chunks of dark chocolate, pecans and dried sour cherries. The cherries aren't particularly soft, but they provide a nice counterpoint to the buterscotchy sweetness of the base. The real trick with these things is to not overbake - I find that's when they go hard. These might also work for you - sub dried cherries for the marshmallows. I've made them several times as written (baking the bottom layer for 10 minutes first). They are a bit sweet for my taste but very popular with the hordes and dried cherries or something relatively tart would be a nice swap. http://www.mommyskitchen.net/2011/04/mud-hen-bars-my-new-addiction.html
  21. I like to make a green cabbage, apple and walnut slaw for a crunchy side salad dressed with lemon juice and walnut oil. Hazelnuts and their oil work well too.
  22. I gave friends a doubled walled glass bodum for Christmas a few years ago. It was dropped and shattered on first use. (On the other hand my regular old one has survived 20 years and two continents with noting more than a scorched cork.) The next year we gave them a double walled stainless bodum (purchased on sale very reasonably) and no problems since. Similar to http://www.petersofkensington.com.au/Public/Bodum-Columbia-Double-Wall-Coffee-Press-Polished-3-Cup.aspx
  23. It's important to consider the country you're moving to - climate, cuisine, prevailing equipment.... I'm in very rural Australia and my cooking is very different to what it would be in, say, Northern Europe. For one thing, I have limited access to (different) ingredients and the nearest truly decent restaurant is well over two hours away, so this makes me cook more and makes me want more equipment so I can vary my diet and play around. If I lived in a more urban environment I might not be so bothered because I could get that variety easily out of the house and wouldn't want as much equipment. The climate influences too - what works here is not necessarily as comforting or enjoyable in a different climate. That said, when I first came out last year we only brought a bit of equipment, and I was very happy with some good knives, two pots, silicone spatulas (good for cooking and bowl scraping), plastic cutting boards and a small processor/stick blender/whisk set up, with a mixing bowl and measuring spoons and microplane. I only brought a cast iron pan and that got old quick because it was useles for a stir fry, and I was also desperate for a good grater. Now I've got most of my old kitchen set up here and am very happy for it. Also, surface shipping can be surprisingly cost-effective if you're already shipping other household goods. Get some costings before you do too much agonising - unless you're enjoying the process as much as I would!
  24. Snadra


    Is there an instruction to mellow the cookies with an apple slice or similar? All the versions I have had are a softer cookie, which I understand get that way after aging and mellowing. They should still have a chew to them, but should not be hard or crunchy.
  25. What about something in the middle? I have a Braun multiquick like this one: http://www.billyguyatts.com.au/braun-multiquick-5-hand-blender-mr530.html It's about 5 or 6 years old, maybe more. I use it for soups, sauces, etc as an immersion blender, but it is also useful as a mini processor and its the appliance we take when we go to a holiday rental. I don't really rate the whisk but it works when you've nothing else. The processor works very well. The more expensive versions have fancier attachments if that's of interest. It's sturdy and seems pretty powerful. That said, the bamix ought to last you a very long time, but at that price I'd be baulking too.
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