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Deryn

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  1. Hopefully you are OK, noticed you hadn't posted in a while!

  2. It is hard to photograph .. will see what I can do about that though. Stand by a day or two, please.
  3. Yes, there can be a difference. Some are beautifully deep, smoky and almost thick and some are thin and I may as well use another kind of vinegar because those are not very distinctive. It all reminds me of the differences between cheap and expensive balsamics - and most of the time, there is a good reason the expensive stuff is expensive. I believe some are still being made by old methods and others are being quickly prepared in large factories. But further there are many regional variations on black vinegar as well - from Chinkiang to Mature (from the Shanxi area I think) and then also lighter ones from other areas and even from Japan. I can't read Chinese either unfortunately but when things are imported they often have an extra label affixed that tells the ingredients in English. Some appear to be pure rice vinegar, some list sorghum, bran, and/or barley among other recognizable grains, others seem to have additives - like sugar, salt, caramel colouring (if I see that last one listed or anything other than the basics, I put it down) ... at least in brands that I have seen side by side in some Asian groceries. Unfortunately the bottles often make it difficult to really 'see' the viscosity or sometimes even the colour so one buys on faith or eenie meenie minny moe. Sometimes though there is only one brand of black vinegar beside other vinegars like brown rice vinegar which look almost identical in the bottle and since I can't read the writing, I have no clue if they are the same thing. Actually I would love to go to a black vinegar 'tasting'. Perhaps I will have to make this a quest. I love the stuff. But, the ones I like most are the thicker, smoky, rich ones not the watery versions. Side by side they just are not the same animal. I am, most of the year, a long way from any source for same and never seem to find the same brand twice even when I return to the same store I bought at last time. I have begun saving the bottles of the ones I have liked .. may try to soak off the labels so I can carry them around easily with me when I travel.
  4. mmm black vinegar and roasted chilis Those are the main ingredients I use to replace soy sauce for everything I cook lately that is remotely Asian (since I am not supposed to eat soy any more). An admirable choice, Kenneth. Did you bring any ingredients back with you - like some of that black vinegar perhaps? If so, and it is a good one, I would love to know the brand - just in case I should ever see it in Canada or stateside. Thank you again so very much for taking the time to let us all see your trip in pictures with your excellent commentary.
  5. Thank you very much, Dave. Sounds like a good plan (the one in that Serious Eats recipe). Much appreciated, especially since you have already tried that recipe and apparently been happy with the results. It really doesn't feel like ice cream weather here right now but I will dive into this tomorrow anyway.
  6. Porthos ... I live at the top northeastern corner of Nova Scotia ... probably about 5000 miles from you as the crow flies. Quite a hike - but what an adventure the trip would be. It is very close to Cape Breton Island but on the mainland and further east. It is a rare day that I have to protect things from the heat here, especially this summer. This afternoon though I drove 30 miles to the next nearest good sized town (probably about 2 k residents in that area) and it was 10 degrees warmer than here today. You would still think it was cold though I am sure (at 70F). I had heat on till 2 weeks ago (and some days lately when it is humid, one is still tempted to turn it back on) but I don't need air conditioning either.
  7. This afternoon I found some being sold in cones at a small canteen in a town about 5 miles from me so I bought the smallest one I could and tried it. I can tell that no matter what I do I expect whatever I produce will have more flavour and is likely to be much 'richer' than the commercial one - and definitely won't be 'authentic' but I am getting more and more ok with that as time passes. The taste was more olfactory than anything else I think: it smelled like pineapple, not much of orange. The smell was semi-ethereal and I could not really identify it through taste. There was a back end taste of milk (not cream). First lick was semi-creamy but the 2nd lick was less so for some reason. It was orange but I can't say I tasted much orange. It had red bits in it that I think were pineapple (but I am guessing the red colour isn't exactly 'natural'). They had that consistency though they were a bit chewy. It wasn't awful but I wouldn't order it again either. So here is how I think I will proceed. I will make a rich custard (using a fair bit of cream) and cool it. I will simmer some crushed pineapple and maybe some orange zest in a bit of OJ with added sugar - and freeze the resultant solids. I will make the frozen custard and add (as you suggested, sweettreateater) the frozen bits near the end. I am not sure I will get a lot of colour but I do hope I get a fair bit of taste and an ice cream that doesn't turn too icy once stored. Thanks all for your help. I will report back when I have made whatever this turns out to be.
  8. Thanks, Jim. I am fairly sure I had some of this too when I was young but that was eons ago so imagining ingredients that are more 'natural' than might be included in a commercial preparation to produce a similar delight at home is more difficult than I thought it would be before I began looking up recipes. I don't remember hating what I tasted back then but when I do eat ice cream these days my preferences are to go with simple premium ice creams in coffee or caramel flavours. Do you think that the 'orange' part tasted more like real orange juice or orange soda?
  9. I had no intention of diverting from Porthos's initial post ... but I thank you all for your contributions towards helping me resolve my kitchen dilemmas. Final note: As an interim solution I have been seriously contemplating using 2 72" long cedar Veg Trugs I have never managed to get set up in my back yard. They are still brand new in the boxes so not 'dirty' yet. I don't have quite enough room to put them end to end along the empty wall next to the kitchen (due to a cabinet that opens onto that space at one end and a radiator too close to the wall at the other) however so I may set them one up along the wall and use the other as an 'island' (which will. for now, have to be positioned under the huge ugly metal 'chandelier' which I bump my head on every time I go to that part of the room if something is not under it to remind me - that is not where I want my dining area but I have to keep a table there for now to prevent permanent concussion). Electricians are scarce around these parts. I cut some birch plywood to fit the top of the trugs a while back as makeshift 'countertops', just in case. I am pretty sure this idea will do the trick for me but it certainly will look a bit eclectic (or is that eccentric?). The good thing about that solution though is that if I go to sell and move some day, the room will essentially be as it was when I bought it - and won't have to be redone too much for the average consumer's taste (other than I will have to repaint because right now I have a very large 'test patch' of deep teal paint on the otherwise blah sage green wall and fully intend to repaint the entire room in that colour soon) .. and I am sure that colour will be a shock to some people's more traditional sense of aesthetics. You are all invited up to help me wrestle the pieces of the trugs out of the boxes and assemble them ... and then we will celebrate with a glass or three and an equally interesting dinner. Bring your winter jackets.
  10. If I lived in Phoenix, perhaps I would do just that. We have winter here 10 months of the year and the back yard is where the wind howls to gale force 6 days out of 7 year round, even in summer (which is more like a bad winter day for you down there). I have to tie my chairs down as it is .. but perhaps if I put my appliances on them I could dispense with that task. Would be a fun place to have people over for dinner in the middle of a snow storm too. This is not unsolvable though .. given enough time, planning and $. I don't have a 'dining room' per se (it was turned into the master bedroom by the previous owner) - my kitchen, main living area and dining area are all in a single room (about 20 x 20). Doors, windows and radiators however take up a lot of wall space and the previous owner designed this 'open' kitchen as a square with an island that is positioned way too far into the room. Hard to describe but I have been contemplating this issue since I bought the place ... and am now just trying to decide if I wall off a bit to create a walk in pantry with a long counter I can leave all these in out of sight (with loads of plugs) which would make the room less 'square' (not a bad thing I think) or if I will pull out half the kitchen (including the peninsula and island, extend the counter the full length of the room and create a new longer island better positioned closer to the wall making it more of a large galley kitchen. Some days I prefer one option .. the next I think the other would work best. In the meantime, I just go along merrily acquiring more and more small appliances ... it truly is a disease.
  11. JoNorvelleWalker - I agree with you about it sounding more appetizing as a sherbet but, this is a very small town and I noticed a box of what I think is the very ice cream she craves at the tiny grocery the other day. I have never even seen sherbet in the store and this woman hasn't been more than a couple of hundred miles from here since the day she was born so I am pretty sure she has never tried sherbet in her life either. They probably ordered a couple just for her but I would bet that she is not the only local who likes this stuff. It is definitely NOT a premium brand of ice cream though. And she is definitely not a 'gourmet eater' I can tell you. I read the label and could not bring myself to buy that last box to taste it for myself so I would know better what I am aiming for. I think though that I may have had something like it when I was a child so I am drawing a bit from taste/texture memory to imagine what it tastes like. If I had to guess ... the orange part really does taste more like Orange Crush than fresh or concentrated OJ but I can't bring myself to use that stuff. She is 89 and I don't think she has ever made ice cream in her life - and I doubt she would know whether a custard base is what she wants. I would like to have her experience something a little more posh and creamy (hopefully with more taste from real ingredients not 'artificial flavourings') but I don't want to venture too far from what she knows either or she may not even try it. Yes, I may try the ISI infusion thing but I definitely would like to include some pineapple bits as well. I will have to squeeze them out really well though I think - I am sure you are right about the icy result if I don't. Hopefully she will love it and eat it all at one go (or invite friends or her great-grandkids over) so it won't linger long in the freezer. And, I think I will use canned crushed, not fresh, horrible as that may sound, because it is a more familiar taste to her and I also don't know whether the enzymes in fresh pineapple would be another issue - I would probably have to cook it down anyway. This is really all my fault. I was with her when she was talking with a friend who mentioned dropping round to her place for some ice cream so after that conversation ended I asked her what her favorite ice cream flavour was, never imagining that what she answered would be it .. I thought it would be more along the lines of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. Before I could really think about what making this particular combo might involve, I opened my mouth to offer to make her some. She lit right up so I don't want to reneg now. Poor woman has just found out she has breast cancer and she has just lost one of her sons to cancer as well. It is probably my fault in the first place if the local store has just brought some in too - got her thinking about it I am sure. I should have just said I would make 'some ice cream' and then gone simple. Oh well .. I will just do my best and if it is palatable but not to her particular liking, I would bet her great-grandkids WILL eat it eventually. They weren't too keen on my astronaut ice cream (from the freeze dryer - they had never heard of the stuff and wondered why anyone would ever dry out ice cream) but they have gobbled down all sorts of other horrid, overly sweet concoctions I have sent over.
  12. Those are great ideas, Lisa. Thanks. My real problem though goes beyond aesthetics .. it is (lack of) open counter space. I already do have a fitted cover for each of my KA mixers .. but they sit on the floor most of the time. Since they are heavy it is such a nuisance to hoist them up to counter height to use them. Same issue with my ice cream maker (which I lifted up yesterday in preparation to make some Orange Pineapple machine). Whoa is that thing heavy and awkward to get out of its almost floor level cubbyhole - and you have to keep it level because it has a compressor in it. My Thermomix is on the counter but due to its height, I can't keep even the lid on it (so I have to store that and the Varoma piece elsewhere) if it is pushed back to the wall .. and my Vitamix doesn't fit under the top cabinets at all. The wok is on the counter but it takes up almost all of the only really good space I have for cutting things up (so no room left to prep for what needs to go into it). I had to haul in another table to put the IP on .. and now that is also where the toaster and waffle iron sit since I use all of those most often. And there are more .. many more unfortunately that I need to house but also want to use - and will use more frequently if they are already out. I suspect I need a complete kitchen overhaul .. pull down the top cabinets and just extend the countertop run at least 20 feet unobstructed. I was joking when I said I should 'hang' my appliances from the wall though if there were strong enough magnets I might try! ... but perhaps (alternatively to a full kitchen renovation) I need to devise some kind of 'hanging shelf' system with a remote control that would raise and lower individual appliances down to counter height but store them neatly in a line or several lines near the ceiling. Kind of like a parking garage in some cities where they stack the cars and use elevators to bring them up and down.
  13. I could put my IP in a cupboard I suppose ... but I have found a use for it almost every single day since I bought it so I would be constantly hauling it out and putting it back in. Can't say that for most of my other small appliances.
  14. Since Smithy's comment, I have been thinking about this (obviously 1st world) problem with the Orange Pineapple ice cream I want to make and I have a further question for the ice cream experts ... If I make a standard custard base and then I mix up the 'flavourings' element it will essentially be quite liquid-y and add that to the cooled custard base, will it dilute the custard too much and affect the ability of the custard to freeze smoothly? The flavourings part may include some pineapple solids but even if I reduce a juice mix for the rest there will be some liquid I imagine. If that is going to be the case, should I pick a custard that includes some cornstarch maybe?
  15. Please take notes and pictures. Wish I could be there but LA is a long hop-skip-jump from here unfortunately.
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