Category Archives: Food

Hard Water And Limescale

Water may contain trace elements. We are lucky in Sydney to have good quality drinking water. Most of Australia also has decent water, though some isolated areas are not so lucky. The rest of the world suffers considerable variation.

 

Hard water contains a particularity large quantity of minerals, particularity calcium and magnesium carbonates. This water does not harm anybody’s health when consumed; in fact small amounts of the minerals are necessary and beneficial for our biology. But machinery and pipes can suffer long term effects from hard water.

 

If your household has accumulating lime scale in kettles, or similar build-ups on faucets, this is evidence of hard water. Water that does not form a lather is also evidence of hard water; the minerals in the water cause the soap to form a white solid ‘scum’. This is only a minor inconvenience in most situations; simple fixtures can have the mineral deposits periodically scraped off. But is can be a far more serious problem for complex machinery.

 

A heat pump hydronic or Hydronic buffer tank, as well as some piping materials, can accumulate mineral deposits over time. Unlike simple taps or other fixtures these cannot be easily cleaned. Machines with working parts may eventually be compromised by steadily accumulating mineral deposits.

 

Water can be softened if, necessary, with the addition of sodium of potassium ion. This is often the case with washing machines of water heaters. The additional softening component are added to the water through the washing detergent, or and ion exchange device can be used. If the water is being continually recycled through a piping system it only needs only be softened when first installed.

 

Talk to the installers of your Hydronic underfloor heating if you have hard water. Most installers will already be aware of the type of water in your suburb. The solution will probably just entail a minor modification of the Hydronic controls and valves when first installed.

Custom Cakes

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Custom Cakes Sydney

Custom cakes differ mostly in the way they are decorated, though the flavour of the cake is always important too. The decorations are a mixture of several colourful ingredients, the most well-known being icing.

 

The simplest icing is just sugar mixed with water or milk, often with a form of colouring. It dates from at least the 16th century.

Royal Icing

Royal Icing adds egg white to the sugar, and sometimes some citrus lemon or lime. It is a bright white in colour, and popular for wedding cakes. Because it sets quite hard a cake decorated with royal icing is capable of holding up decorations or multiple tiers.

 

Fondant icing

This adds gelatine and Glycerol to the sugar and liquid, with the mixture being partly cooked. Like royal icing it sets quite hard and can be used to support multi-tier cakes or elaborate decorations. As is does not contain any nut ingredients is popular with individuals who suffer nut allergies.

 

Butter Cream

Buttercream is a mixture of cream and sugar, with about 2 parts sugar to 1 part cream by weight. It is often used as a filling. Cream can also be sweetened with smaller amounts of sugar and thickened by beating.

 

Marzipan

Marzipan mixes the sugar with almond meal, though some variations use honey. Though not really a form of icing it is used for making figurines and decorative shapes for cakes. Often marzipan figures are eatable decorations in their own right.

 

Special Occasion Cakes Sydney

Decorated cakes give a special occasion an extra boost. They certainly make for great photos. If you have allergies, talk to the bakery; there are always several good options.

Finding the Right Foreign Food

Seoul BBQ

Travelers often comment on the difference and similarities they experience in foreign lands. This applies as much to food as any aspect of culture. So while most of us won’t warm to French snails or Bird Nest soup we will probably find many meat sauces, condiments and local variations on wine and coffee that are surprisingly appealing.

 

Korean Buffet Sydney

A Buffet is probably the safest option for any foreign food. All the option s are in front of you, and there is bound to be something, probably a lot that you will find appealing. You don’t have to worry about speaking the language. Rather, the sigh and smell of the food will serve as a good guide. Korean Buffet Sydney wide will all have beef, pork and chicken dishes that will not be too unfamiliar. The same goes for a lot of the seafood. Start with the semi-familiar dishes and then push you limits.

 

Korean Barbecue Sydney

Korean BBQ consists of thinly sliced meat cooked at the dining table in front of the patrons. Often patrons cook the meat themselves. There are a huge number of variations. Meats include beef, chicken and pork, all cut and marinated in different ways. It’s a great way to sample a lot of different culinary ideas. With a  Korean Barbecue Sydney residents will find a lot of familiar and unusual ideas all in the one meal.

 

Korean BBQ Sydney

A few Korean restaurants offer both a buffet and an on table Barbecue. These manage to be different without pushing our regular limits too far. We can see what we’re getting at a buffet, and can go for very small portions till we find what we like. Korean BBQ Sydney wide will have several familiar meats. As you cook them yourself you can have the meat any way you like. The meat may be marinated differently, but the resulting dish fells like a new variation on a familiar line.

Dining Customs

Wait for the oldest person to be seated. And then wait for them to start by lifting their spoon or chopsticks.

 

It is considered polite to say ‘I will eat well’, before a meal. This basically says you have been anticipating the meal.

 

Don’t blow you nose at the table. Most Asian cultures have similar rules about this. It is understood that foreigners are different, but it help avoid the issue.

 

Unlike some other Asian cultures you are not supposed to hold the bowl or life it to your mouth. Keep it on the table.

 

When refilling glasses, offer to refill other people’s drinks first. This is especially important for those who are senior to you. When pouring for a senior, pour with one hand and place the other hand underneath the pouring hand, or underneath your elbow.

 

If a senior diner offer a drink, hold you glass with both hands and thank them. It is  considered impolite to refuse an alcoholic drink when offered by a senior diner.

 

Use chopsticks correctly. Never use them to stab food. Never use them to point to anything. If there is no other alternative you can use the back of the chopstick to pass food to other people. Leave chopstick on the right of the plate or bowl.

 

Never put chopsticks vertically upright into a bowl of rice. In both Korean and Japanese culture this is associated with a funeral rite.

 

Don’t waste food. It is better to take less, and have more later.

 

Thank your hosts by saying you ate well.

 

Koreans often ask ‘have you eaten’. This is a polite way of asking how you are, rather like saying ‘how are you doing’ or ‘how are you feeling’. It is not an invitation to a meal, though that might come later.

Considering Wedding Cakes Sydney

I like the fact we can spend time thinking about the wedding cake and its design. It’s too easy to get stuck in the details of planning a wedding, and forget about all the positive emotions we are supposed to feel. People will remember the wedding dress and the cake and the comical speech, not the amount of time you spent organizing chairs and stressing about other arrangements. Presuming you haven’t already been designing wedding dresses and cakes since your childhood, consider the cake design you want in those photos that last for year to come.

Choosing Wedding Cakes Sydney

  • Bring all the ideas you find in books, magazines and on websites. Digital photos of ideas are useful. You may think you have decided on what you want, but often find the cake shop can take your ideas up a notch.
  • Consider flavours – It is true that we are more concerned with how the cake looks than how it tastes, but this is one situation where we can usually have it both ways. Sometimes we might need a solid cake to hold up the multiple layers and decorations, but even then there are usually several options available.
  • The cake is a decoration, and you will do well to consider it fitting in with the surroundings. Your venue will have a certain look, as will all the tables and everything else at the reception. At the very least choose the cake and decoration so that they do not clash.
  • Budget is always a factor. If the budget is tight you can opt for a smaller display cake; the guests will be served the undecorated cake kept in the kitchen.
  • Be a little self-centred about the cake, or at least centre it around the wedding couple. No one flavour or design will please everybody. It is pleases the happy couple, and make for some good photos, it has achieved its goal.
  • There is a tradition where couples freeze the smallest layer of a tiered cake and eat in on their first anniversary. Consider this and make arrangements if you find the tradition appealing.
  • Some couples don’t like cake, or traditions. Towers of profiteroles, macaroons, decorated ice cream desserts and many other things are all options. The bakery that makes cakes will have done this once or twice.

KITCHEN N HOME – FRYING CONCERNS

Is fried food unhealthy?

People confuse a few terms here, and frying covers a lot of different foods. If you are talking about fried junk food it is almost certainly unhealthy. But is you are taking about a stir-fry you make yourself, it is probably one of the more health options this side of a salad.

 

Meat and vegetables fired in a pan tend to be quite good for us. There is nothing artificial added to the food, and the flavour and nutrients get sealed in. Keep cooking times to a minimum and never exceed the smoke point of the oil.

 

What is Smoke Point?

Cooks often use oil for frying, though it depends on the frying pan and just what they are cooking. Different frying oils will start to break down when they reach a certain temperature, known as the smoke point.  Even the healthiest oils start to alter and produce nasty compounds that are bad for our health when we exceed the smoke point temperature.

 

Oils should always be used below the smoke point temperature. Good quality olive oil will work up to about 200 degree centigrade (400 F), though some extra virgin olive oil (not designed for cooking) smokes at about 165 degrees. Avocado and good canola have high smoke points, at 270 centigrade and 240 respectively. Rice bran oil is a good option at 254 degrees.

 

What is the problem with commercial fried food?

Junk food and the frozen food you find at the supermarket have preservatives, and usually a lot of batter and fats. This is what causes most of the health concerns. A fresh piece of fried chicken breast is very different to battered chicken. Stick to food that is close to the way it appears in nature.

 

Does the type of frying pan make a difference?

Yes. Non-stick pan are more convenient, but there are concerns that Teflon non-stick pans cause health problems, especially if overheated. Stonewell & Flavorstone Cookware is non-stick, and appears to cause no health issues. It is also very neutral in the sense that it doesn’t affect the flavour of the food.

Seoul City Tour

Seoul City Tours

Tourism should do more than catch the tourist traps and sites. Not that museums and souvenir shops aren’t great, but we want to capture something of how the locals live. Local food is one factor here that should not, perhaps cannot, be missed. You will encounter street food on all parts of any Seoul city tour, at all times of day in all sorts of places.

SAVOURY STREET FOOD

Tteokbokki: Rice cakes are common enough, but this type comes in spicy sauce. Koreans like their food chemically hot; they seem to get used to it as children. Westerners might find this a little extreme.

Fish Cakes: Cheap at 50cents per stick these are rather good; it looks like bread, but the smell and taste is genuine fish. Add a little soy sauce.

Fried Foods: Everything edible seems to be fired at some point – sweet potatoes, dumplings, eggs, various meats; fish cakes can be fired too. Close enough to some western foods for those just trying Korean food for the first time.

Mayakgimbap: Think of Japanese sushi roles, and you’re quite close.

Sundae: Not a dessert, but a blood sausage. A few Europeans might find this familiar; others might find it a little too extreme.

CROSS CULTURE FOODS

Had Domino’s pizza before, try different toppings and red bean filled pastry in Korea. Good for a first man when you are getting used to the local food.

Fried chicken a cup. Just as it sounds, but local sauces are different.

Corndogs: Like the western variety but with the fires attached by deep frying.

Toast: really a toasted sandwich, with egg, vegetables and the kind of thing you might have for breakfast.

SWEET TOOTH FOODS

Fish Bread: Like a donut on a stick, with sweet sticky red filling. They just happen to be shaped like little fish.

Walnut cakes: Rather like a muffin but with sticky red filling walnuts.

Waffles: thinner than the western counterpart, but worth trying; often with whipped cream and chocolate.

ICE CREAMS

Not really a street food, and definitely cross cultural, many corner shop offer countless variations on ice blocks and ice cream, often with things only found in Asia, like red bean paste filling. As you’re getting exercise on your Seoul city tour you can afford a few extra calories; indulge on your holiday.