LMAshton's Profile

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Mistakes, I've made a few

Back in the early days of me living in Sri Lanka, we had a lady come over to do cooking and cleaning every now and then. This woman took one of my knives - granted, a cheap crap knife, but the best I could get there at the time - and went outside and sharpened it. On a random rock she found outside. The knife was... a bit beat up, but yeah, a bit sharper after that. So, yeah... :)

about 5 hours ago
LMAshton in Cookware

DIrty Family Secrets

If you like processed cheese, fine. Have it. I don't actually care. I don't like it and I don't understand why my preferences are such a problem for you. Nor do I understand why you seem to think I need to defend or explain my preferences.

Aug 24, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

DIrty Family Secrets

Processed cheese is readily available in Singapore.

Aug 24, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

Is there a reasonable subsitute for curry leaves?

No.

Cilantro leaves have a completely different flavour profile to curry leaves and would not work in many dishes where curry leaves are used. They are not a reasonable substitute even remotely.

There is no substitute for curry leaves. If you do not have them, then omit.

Aug 24, 2014
LMAshton in Home Cooking
1

DIrty Family Secrets

You sound pretty condemning yourself.

I didn't say I hadn't tried it. I said the taste and texture are offputting. I don't like it. Am I to be condemned for my preferences?

Aug 23, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

Recent cooking fails?

I love them, too. Haven't had one in over a decade. Doughnuts and doughnut holes in Asia just aren't... well... sometimes they're acceptable.

Aug 22, 2014
LMAshton in Home Cooking

What's the best way to introduce Lamb to someone who's never had it?

Mmm... gyros...

Aug 21, 2014
LMAshton in Home Cooking
1

What's the best way to introduce Lamb to someone who's never had it?

Oh, I believe you. I hope I come across it some day. I'd love to give it a try. :)

Aug 21, 2014
LMAshton in Home Cooking

What's the best way to introduce Lamb to someone who's never had it?

All of the lamb we eat is from New Zealand or Australia. This is the first I've heard of saltbush lamb. I've heard of the saltbush plant from Masterchef Australia (the only cooking show I watch), but not saltbush lamb. How interesting!

Aug 21, 2014
LMAshton in Home Cooking

2 Questions for induction converts

Just to add another comment to that...

When using pressure cookers on an induction cooker, it's necessary to add a minute or two to the cook time to compensate for the induction cooker heating up so fast.

Aug 21, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

Do you like induction cooktops? Details, please.

My single burner induction cooker is a 2000 watt unit which we paid less than USD30 for, the cheapest model we could find in Singapore. I've had it two years and I won't give it up even though I now have gas as well.

I only had a couple of pieces of cookware before I got the induction cooker (had moved to Singapore not long before I bought the induction cooker), and what I had was induction compatible, which is incredibly easy to find in Singapore since induction cookers are so prevalent here. I've since added more pieces.

The only reason I use the gas stove now is only for selective use cases. Like my wok is round bottom (given to me - if I'd bought one, it would be induction compatible), my kettle (not induction compatible), and for my 14" pan. My induction cooker only has an effective range of 8", so the outer rim of the pan remains cooler than the inner bit.

I love the induction cooker. Love. I use it every day for absolutely everything else. I can even use 3" pots on it. I use my pressure cooker on it. I use my cast iron on it.

The power range on mine is 150 watts to 2000 watts. I'm fairly certain that, if I had a flat-bottom induction-compatible wok, the 2000 watts would be fine for wok cooking. I could be wrong, but it's a guess. Except for boiling water/getting my pressure cooker up to pressure, I almost never use the power levels from 1000 and up. Everything is done at the lower settings.

Aug 20, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

Mistakes, I've made a few

A too-small counter-top oven. The apartment we moved into in Malaysia doesn't have an oven, which is common in these parts. So when we went to buy one - because I use an oven pretty much every day if for nothing else than to bake the husband his breakfast bread - I thought, well, it's only the two of us, so I'm going to buy the smallest one possible. Big mistake. I *do* occasionally have need of a larger oven, like if I want to roast a whole chicken, which I can't. And a larger oven heats more evenly. I made cream puffs yesterday and the bottoms burned in the first 20 minutes - the rack is too close to the element and the oven is too small to move it much further away. So, yeah. Bigger oven.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

DIrty Family Secrets

The taste and the texture are both quite off-putting for me. I don't hate emulsifiers on principle, but am not fond of overly processed food in general.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics
1

DIrty Family Secrets

Wow.

I don't like "cheese". I prefer cheese.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics
1

DIrty Family Secrets

Uh, no, I don't think so.

I have no problem with other people enjoying it. It's just not something I can see me ever liking. Processed cheese, to me, is completely and utterly gross.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics
1

2 Questions for induction converts

True about that consistency thing. I set it at 600 watts, and it's always the same. Set the gas stove at medium-ish, and... well, I'm sorta close but not the same. Induction is definitely far more predictable.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

Civility

Not customer service... In Singapore, whenever the husband and I were out and about and looked confused about which train to take or how to get to...., someone would walk up to us and ask if they could help us find our way. Every. Single. Time. A few times, we've had people walk us (a short distance, granted) to a particular shop we were looking for because it was too confusing to explain and just easier. One time, we needed to find our way to the bus stop across the street which was barricaded such that pedestrians could not jaywalk across it. Plus it was a major and busy street. An elderly Chinese lady, who spoke very very little English, figured out where we needed to go, then pantomimed to us, very effectively I might add, that we needed to go back to the subway entrance, cross under the street, and come out the other side. Incredibly polite and helpful people, the Singaporeans.

On a customer service note, when we go grocery shopping, it's pretty normal for me to look at unfamiliar items and try to figure out how it's used or think about buying it to experiment with. In Asia, it's pretty easy for me to find new-for-me items. Again in Singapore, there was one particular lady who worked the produce section. She'd approach me and tell me what the items were for and how they were used. Incredibly helpful. It may have helped that we went grocery shopping early morning during the week when the store wasn't busy, but still...

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in Not About Food

DIrty Family Secrets

I just learned a few months back that American cheese was processed cheese. I thought it was some local type of cheddar or something. I'm not American. And, sorry, but ew.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

What's the best basmati rice?

I know a lot of people (mostly Sri Lankans) who will eat about that much rice in one or two meals. It's not how I would eat rice, but my culture doesn't have a lot of rice in it. For people for whom rice is a staple, yeah, that's about right.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

2 Questions for induction converts

1. When we first moved to Singapore, the first place we lived had an induction cooker, so I bought a couple of pots specifically for use there. When I bought my own induction cooker months later (I have a single-burner cheapo one), I still didn't have much in the way of cookware, all of which was already induction-compatible. And in Singapore, most cookware is induction compatible, so there was no problem buying suitable cookware. I bought a couple of pans. I don't have much in the way of pots and pans anyway.

2. Um, no, can't say that it did. Nope. But it made cooking more pleasant. Induction cookers put out much less waste heat than gas, and given that I live in a tropical country, that makes a huge difference. Induction cookers mean I sweat far far less in the kitchen as opposed to when I use gas. Other than induction, I've used gas for most of the rest of the last decade, so I think in terms of gas vs. induction. I will *never* use radiant heat ever again if I have the choice.

Aug 19, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

Single Induction Burner--any recommendations?

I use mine for pressure cooking all the time. I bring it to pressure at 1800 watts, then after the first pressure release, turn it down to 300 watts. 300 watts cycle on and off on my unit and I've never had beans or anything else scorch. Simmering hasn't been any more of a problem than with gas stoves on low. Perhaps it's a difference between our induction cookers?

Aug 17, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

Single Induction Burner--any recommendations?

I have a cheapo single-burner PowerPac bought in Singapore for around USD30. I've had it two years and it's going strong. I originally bought it because we moved into an apartment with two radiant heat burners, neither of which was working. Turned out I love the induction cooker and hate the radiant heat burners so much that I never used the radiant heat burners again. Now we're in an apartment with a gas stove and I still use the induction cooker for as much as I possibly can, which is around 80% of what I cook.

A couple of pet peeves:

Cycling for all the lower settings - 800 watts and below. Everything from 1000 to 2000 is constant. Lower settings include 150, 300, 600, 800 watts. There are times, although rare, where I need something in between. Like 450 watts would be perfect for cooking my naan. 600 is too hot, 300 takes too long.

The effective range. It works only for a circular area with a diameter of around 8". So if I have a pan larger than that, then the area outside of that circle won't heat up directly like the inner circle will. Which means that my 14" pan has to be used on my gas stove if I want it to heat up evenly.

I have only one. There are times I really need a second one. Not very often, though, so probably not worth it. But yeah, if this is my third complaint, then I don't have any serious complaints really, do I?

The thing was cheap. We bought the cheapest unit we saw. We could have spent several hundred, but most were in the under-$50 range, and I didn't see the point in spending extra money then, so I didn't. I don't know if the more expensive ones would take care of my first two complaints or not - I haven't looked and, to be honest, they don't bother me enough for me to have to go look. And if this one dies, I'll probably just get another el cheapo induction cooker.

You couldn't pry my el cheapo induction cooker out of my cold dead hands.

Edited to add: Induction cookers are common here (we're currently in Malaysia). They're available everywhere. And because they're so common, it's really easy to find induction-compatible cookware here - everything is labelled. SO easy.

Aug 17, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

Single Induction Burner--any recommendations?

On my cheapo PowerPac (bought in Singapore for USD30), it cycles on 150, 300, 600, 800 watts. It doesn't cycle for 1000 to 2000 watts.

Aug 17, 2014
LMAshton in Cookware

Mayonnaise safety: A question about salmonella on the shell of the egg (from a skeptic)

I believe most/all eggs sold commercially in the US and Canada are washed, which is also why they're stored in the fridge. Washing eggs removes chicken shit, feathers, hay, but it also removes the cuticle. The cuticle protects the egg and, when the cuticle isn't there, eggs go bad faster. Eggs in most of the rest of the world are not washed before being sold and eggs in those countries are not always stored in the fridge in the store or by people purchasing the eggs.

The eggs I bought in Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Malaysia were all at room temperature in the store. Visible bits of chicken shit, feathers, and hay were on the eggs every now and then when the eggs were sold at grocery stores, regardless of brand. When I got eggs from the neighborhood shop in Sri Lanka, they were *always* covered in chicken shit, feathers, and hay to varying degrees.

If the recipe writer was from somewhere other than the US or Canada, that would explain why the instructions to wash the eggs were there.

Aug 17, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

What food do you wash that you're sure no one else does?

Then I would *never* be able to use onions. All the red onions - and, for that matter, shallots - here grow black mold under the skin.

Aug 13, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

What food do you wash that you're sure no one else does?

Yeah, but freezers in Asia tend to not be large enough to fit 5 or 10 or 20kg bags of rice.

Aug 13, 2014
LMAshton in General Topics

Possible Double Standard Regarding Dietary Needs/Preferences

Halal doesn't work that way for Muslims, either. The ones I know go without meat rather than eating anything that is not Halal.

Aug 13, 2014
LMAshton in Not About Food

Possible Double Standard Regarding Dietary Needs/Preferences

Sure, and I'm surprised you know observant Muslims who consider Kosher meat acceptable.

Aug 13, 2014
LMAshton in Not About Food

Why coconut oil?

Coconut oil is delicious in certain types of dishes. I cook a lot of Sri Lankan and other curries (my husband is Sri Lankan and my mother in law taught me how to cook her dishes), so I use coconut oil a LOT. It adds a lovely subtle flavour to curries.

I even use it for deep frying when I have easy access to it. Chicken fried in coconut oil? So. Delicious.

Aug 12, 2014
LMAshton in Special Diets

Why coconut oil?

Coconut oil would be great in granola. I'd absolutely sub in coconut oil.

Aug 12, 2014
LMAshton in Special Diets