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Saturday, 15 May 2021 Dereel Images for 15 May 2021
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More mice!
Topic: animals, opinion Link here

Lately we've seen a couple of mice round the garage and laundry. I moved the mouse trap there to catch them, but it didn't catch any.

Why not? Did they steal the bait and get out again? Or is it just too old? Time to drag out that tube of mouse bait paste, which they can't completely remove. Bingo! Next time I looked, there was a dead mouse in the trap. Took it out, turned it on again, and an hour or so later there was another one, still warm. Piccola and Pedro were respectively grateful.

And no more? Maybe that's all there was. The trap is waiting.


Processing chestnuts
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

I've been dragging my feet about the chestnuts that Lorraine Carranza brought us. But they need at least cooking, and I had also bought meat to make the chicken and chestnut balls recipe that I had identified.

Do I really need to roast them? A quick search brought this page from Chestnuts Australia, which told me that I could cook them too, 15 to 20 minutes from bringing the cold water to the boil. That sounded a whole lot better than roasting them, but first I needed to halve them, which must have taken 15 minutes.

After boiling and cooling down, the fun wasn't over. It seems that the exact nature of the cut makes a big difference. Some of the chestnuts just fell out of the shell, others took a lot of work and even scraping out:


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After 30 minutes I had processed about half of them. Did I do something wrong? Does it depend on the chestnuts? Comparing the photo on the web site, it seems that I should have cut the chestnuts horizontally, not vertically:

When boiling, cut the chestnuts in half across the width of the chestnut before cooking.

And they should just have fallen out of the shell:

https://www.chestnutsaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/boiled-chestnuts_605370.jpg

But even if I had done that, it would have taken the same 15 minutes at the beginning. I think that chestnuts, if I can persuade Yvonne to eat them, are best bought pre-processed.


Sunday, 16 May 2021 Dereel Images for 16 May 2021
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Chicken and chestnut balls
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Spent much of the afternoon preparing my planned chicken and chestnut balls. The first issue was finishing shelling the chestnuts. Had I maybe not cooked them enough? Put the rest back in the pot and boiled for another 13 minutes, after which, sure enough, more chestnuts fell out of the shells. But not all:


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On closer examination, there were two kinds of chestnut flesh:

 
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The yellow ones seem normal, and they fell out of the shell. The darker ones didn't. Are they too old? After all, I waited a couple of weeks before cooking them. That could explain a lot, including the fact that they didn't have much flavour.

Making the balls is a pain! First mince the meat and the chestnuts, then mix them in a mixer. What a lot to clean! Then make the balls, which were particularly sticky. And then, when it was too late, I realized that the recipe made no mention at all of salt!

The recipe wants the balls to be chilled for 20 minutes, presumably to make them easier to handle. But there's a simpler solution for that: warm them to 60°-70° in a microwave oven. For the balls in the second image, I used 5 minutes at 500 W.


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After that, they are firm and can be handled easily. For reasons I'm not sure about, I did them in a steel pan, and they stuck nicely:


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After that it was plain sailing, except that I forgot the spinach which, according to the recipe, I was to toss the dish through.

And the results? Not bad. But not much taste of chestnuts. Next time I will definitely use pre-prepared chestnuts. And what a mess!


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This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have a horror of reverse chronological documents, so all my diary entries are chronological. This page normally contains the last two days, but if I fall behind it may contain more. You can find older entries in the archive. Note that I often update a diary entry a day or two after I write it.     Do you have a comment about something I have written? This is a diary, not a “blog”, and there is deliberately no provision for directly adding comments. It's also not a vehicle for third-party content. But I welcome feedback and try to reply to all messages I receive. See the diary overview for more details. If you do send me a message relating to something I have written, please indicate whether you'd prefer me not to mention your name. Otherwise I'll assume that it's OK to do so.


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