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Sunday, 21 October 2018 Dereel Images for 21 October 2018
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The revenge of Malcolm Turnbull?
Topic: politics, opinion Link here

Two months ago the Liberal Party of Australia chose a new leader, ousting Malcolm Turnbull, who had ousted the previous leader, Tony Abbott, three years ago. I've already expressed my opinion of his faceless successor.

Turnbull did what I can absolutely understand: at the age of nearly 64, he decided to retire, leaving his seat vacant and the government without a majority in parliament. Yesterday a by-election was held, in which the Liberal candidate lost to an independent candidate, and leaving the government still without a majority.

Why? Wentworth was one of the safest Liberal seats in the country, having never been won a candidate from another party. I'd like to think that it was Morrison's boundless stupidity in suggesting moving the Australian Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. But that's not the sort of thing that causes a 20% swing away from the Liberals. The ghost of (still very much alive) Turnbull overshadowing the elections?


Time to document spice pastes
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

A few days ago I made a “Rendang” with a paste from Teans Gourmet, a brand with which I have had good experience. But the quantities!


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1.3 kg of meat! That's far too much! So I put in 600 g.

Wrong! This really does need that much meat, and even then it's very pedas. Yvonne couldn't eat it.

More to the point, though, it's time to start a spice pastes page with comments on my experience and on quantities.


Monday, 22 October 2018 Dereel Images for 22 October 2018
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New masa
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

On Mondays we normally have huevos rancheros for breakfast, and finally I have new masa harina:


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I had thought that it was the same kind of masa that I bought at Casa iberica five years ago and a couple of times since. But no, it's different again, and requires even more water, probably a rate of 1.6:1. And, sadly, it doesn't taste as good. Time for a web page on the subject.


Garden flowers
Topic: gardening Link here

As the weather gets warmer, more and more flowers are coming out. In particular, the Carpobrotus are looking very happy this year:


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Sadly, not all plants look that good. The box elder that we planted a couple of years ago looked relatively happy until a couple of weeks ago, but now it looks as if it will die if I don't do something soon:


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Acid soil? Possibly, though at 5.0 it's not nearly as acid as the pH 4.0 nearby. High time to get some soil treatment if I want it to survive.


Frying digital air
Topic: food and drink, opinion Link here

Wiener Schnitzel for dinner tonight, a good opportunity to try out the “digital air fryer” that Yvonne bought on special last week.

The idea seems to be that this thing can replace a friteuse. I never believed that for a minute: deep frying involves a sudden change of temperature that can only be caused by hot fat or oil. Hot air just doesn't have the thermal capacity. Still, modern potato chips are pre-cooked and somewhat oily, so maybe it would work with them. In addition, of course, the Schnitzel themselves are deep-fried, though again I had the same reservation.

The device is strange, and the controls even stranger.


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Where's the on-off button? Bottom centre, the one that looks like a lock. Hold it down for Three Whole Seconds to turn it on. Adjust temperature with the arrows at the left, and time with the symbols at the right (why different icons?), start with the button in the middle. The ram's head at the top centre loads different presets, or, as it says on page 10 of the relatively copious instructions, “function settings”, of which there are 6. Don't like that term? Look on the opposite page (12), where they're called “preset functions”, described all over again with non-overlapping details. Apart from displaying a hard-to-recognize symbol on the display, they don't seem to do anything that the time and temperature buttons don't.

OK, cook chips. Our standard weight is 170 g. Sorry, no can do. Weights must be between 200 g and 500 g. OK, ignore that. How long? In a friteuse it would take about 3 to 4 minutes at 180°. In this thing it takes (they say) 16 minutes! Elsewhere they say that the time depends on the quantity, a clear indication of the low thermal capacity of the system, so I decided to go for 12 minutes. At the end of that time, I had:


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That would never have been that uneven out of a friteuse. And though the chips were edible, they weren't as good as out of a friteuse.

But wait, there's more! I then put a piece of raw Wiener Schnitzel into the device for 8 minutes at 180°. When it came out it looked correspondingly pale (on the left):


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OK, brown it in the friteuse, which I had left running for that eventuality. And how about that, it actually tasted better than the one that had just come out of the friteuse! The device is clearly no substitute for a friteuse, as I had expected, but potentially it has some benefits. If I can make ikan bilis in the thing without it stinking for ever after, it might be worth keeping. Otherwise I can always return it, stinking or not.


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. 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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