Misc. questions


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Misc. questions

Abr 24, 2020, 6:54 pm

I'm looking to make some candy for a birthday gift and found several appealing recipes, gumdrops, glass candy, old fashioned mints and strawberry divinity... but the last two require corn syrup (light corn syrup), which I don't have, and as this is going to be a one-off effort, would prefer not to buy.

Any ideas on how important this ingredient is? Any replacements? Isn't it just a sweetener and does one really need it?

I have sugar, honey and molasses, if some combo of those would do whatever it is the corn syrup does.

Abr 24, 2020, 7:38 pm

You can make some pretty good toffee with butter, sugar, water some chocolate and pecans/almonds. Last two being optional

Abr 25, 2020, 1:17 am

Don't try to make recipes that call for corn syrup unless you have the corn syrup. There is more to sugars than 'just a sweetener'. Corn syrup is mostly glucose, regular sugar is mostly sucrose. The glucose helps prevent crystals from forming. If you leave it out your candy will probably end up grainy rather than smooth.

There are recipes online for making glucose syrup from sugar that will replace corn syrup, but that seems like more bother and waste than just buying the corn syrup. Since you have other recipes that appeal, why not just make one of those? That said, I really like grainy fudge.

Abr 25, 2020, 10:24 am

>2 mikevail:, >3 MarthaJeanne:

It's for a kid, so I want to go for colour, bunches of. I guess I'll check out the corn syrup situation tomorrow and if it comes in smallish doses will get it (the recipes combined would use one cup).

Maybe I need to look up some old-fashioned European candy, I'm sure those wouldn't go for corn syrup.

These recipes are all from one accordion brochure, Candy, ISBN 9781464706301

Abr 27, 2020, 9:46 pm

If you have rice syrup or golden syrup, they should be a direct 1:1 replacement for candy making. Both prevent crystallization.


Maio 1, 2020, 11:43 am

Nope on those ingredients either, but, eeh, gave up on candymaking, at least this time. The first grocery I went to didn't have the corn syrup and it's a bit of a trek checking out others (plus didn't feel easy shopping around for a single item... and there's only so much stuff I can carry around while looking for a single item). Went with candy plus toy from the drugstore. Thus do my enterprises, of great pith and moment, with this regard their currents turn awry and lose the name of action!

The baking section was almost entirely empty, just some sugar and trifles--decorations, extracts...

Editado: Set 12, 2020, 7:57 am

I've got a very different miscellaneous question; I'm going through my mum's old Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook from the 1980s and a lot of the pork recipes say you have to soak the pork (eg collar bacon for bacon burgers) overnight.

I probably will never cook those recipes but I'm curious as to why you have to soak the meat. When I Google it, the dashed algorithms give me results for brining (which is mainly for flavour) but this is just soaking in water. Does anyone know why?

ETA: no worries; I finally found it on BBC Good Foods:

'Modern curing methods mean you probably won’t need to soak the joint to remove excess salt, but check with your butcher – if in doubt, it’s better to soak it. To do this, place in a large container, cover with cold water and leave overnight in the fridge. Remove and rinse under cold water before cooking.'

Set 12, 2020, 8:11 am

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Editado: Set 12, 2020, 9:58 am

>7 humouress: So these are for cured pork, bacon, ham and such, not fresh pork?

Set 12, 2020, 10:28 am

>9 MarthaJeanne: The recipes don't specify, but it looks like it; cured or smoked.

Set 12, 2020, 1:20 pm

>7 humouress: I still find British bacon a bit too salty, after many years of eating it. British bacon after the less-salty Australian bacon was a bit of a shock.

Set 12, 2020, 1:45 pm

I have another miscellaneous question. Looking for a 'cookbook' someone recommended, possibly through this group. I read a few pages then never finished it - now I can't find it.

It was one of those cookbooks about appreciating food from the bottom up? I remember the author was really into simple boiled vegetables. Thought that modern dislike of a fully cooked boiled vegetable was unfounded.

Set 12, 2020, 3:08 pm

You could try the 'Name that book' group?

Set 12, 2020, 4:06 pm

Yeah, I could. Have had good results with them. Was hoping if it was someone from this group they might see the message.

Set 13, 2020, 11:08 am

>12 Settings:
Jose Andres is big on boiled vegetables and has several cookbooks. If by "food from the bottom up" you're talking about farm to table then you might have to sort through quite a few cookbooks before you're done looking.

Set 13, 2020, 1:01 pm

>14 Settings: I thought as much - but whoever recommended it would have to read this thread.

Set 17, 2020, 8:18 pm

>12 Settings: Possibles:
Glorious Roots: Recipes for Healthy Tasty Vegetables
Way With Vegetables, Hazelton
Chez Panisse Vegetables

You can do a search in the group for "vegetables" -- there are a lot of hits.

Out 2, 2020, 5:33 am

Hi all. I'm looking for the recipe for a specific dish, in a particular book. I think I know the book—I think it was The Penguin Cookery Book by Bee Nilsen (an edition from, probably, early 1970s). I may have a copy of it somewhere but if I do I can't get at it at present.

The dish was a pudding, and the interesting bit was that it involved cherry juice (and I think bread) and the bit I remember was that the cherry juice apparently had some unusual virtue of cohesiveness "because you cannot successfully make the pudding with any other fruit". Quoted from memory, but pretty close, I think. It was not summer pudding in any of its manifold variations, or at least it was said to be a different dish.

Any ideas? Ideally, someone has a copy of the book.

Out 4, 2020, 11:26 am

>12 Settings: An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler talks about boiling lots of things like both vegetables and meat, and for Heaven's sake don't throw out the water! Use it for pasta, beans or rice. :)

Out 4, 2020, 11:45 am

Yep, that's the one. :D

Nov 7, 2020, 7:10 pm

What is everyone's experience with freezing spices? I accidentally bought 2 pounds of coriander seed, about ten times what I needed. Would freezing the excess help to keep it fresh?

Nov 7, 2020, 7:16 pm

I think spices last longer if you freeze them whole compared to grinding them. I love coriander, I think it's an underrated spice but two pounds...

Nov 7, 2020, 7:23 pm

>21 LolaWalser:

You probably should freeze it in small batches. I think that if you froze the whole 2 pounds (!!!), then the moisture from thawing/freezing/thawing/etc. might be bad for it.

Okay, found this: https://www.spiceography.com/how-to-store-coriander/

Nov 7, 2020, 7:41 pm

>22 mikevail:

Haha, yeah, I couldn't believe it when it came... I'm usually careful with checking the amounts but definitely slipped that time...

>23 lilithcat:

Thanks--good to be reminded to break the bulk up.

Nov 7, 2020, 8:37 pm

>24 LolaWalser:
For an amusing perspective, Belgian ales use about an ounce of coriander per 5 gallons. So you have enough for about 160 gallons of beer!

Nov 8, 2020, 4:46 am

>21 LolaWalser: I foresee numerous delicious curries and miles of homemade boerewors in your future.

Nov 8, 2020, 3:16 pm

>26 hfglen:

I had to look up "boerewors"--yummy--and came across "chakalaka"--what a great serendipitous discovery! I'm not sure what to do about "baked beans"... I think I'll just try regular cooked (boiled) beans...

>25 mikevail:

If only I drank beer!

I'm up for hearing about coriander-heavy recipes, if anyone has favourites.

Editado: Nov 8, 2020, 3:42 pm

I take about equal amounts of cumin and coriander and roast them in a dry frying pan until they start to smell good. Cool and grind to sprinkle over various Indian dishes - especially over raita, the yoghurt salads or a savoury lassi, drink of yoghurt beaten with about the same amount or water.

This is not going to use up much of your 2 pounds, though.

Nov 9, 2020, 10:42 am

>27 LolaWalser: Boerewors is best cooked on an open fire using Namibian hardwood charcoal (or second best, invasive Port Jackson willow or rooikrans from the Western Cape). That could be difficult in your neck of the woods, so one remembers that Better Half cooks it in a frying pan with a little water to start off.

Baked beans come in a can with tomato sauce here. MrsLee will probably be able to correct me, but AFAIK the New World equivalent is something like Boston baked beans. Personally, I consider them revolting.

Chakalaka is good news, has an elastic recipe, and may quite possibly also be a minor sink for excess coriander.

Editado: Nov 9, 2020, 11:13 am

>29 hfglen: Proper Boston Baked Beans do not have tomato in them. The Boston bit is the molasses from the rum and sugar trade with the Caribbean.

Nov 9, 2020, 4:23 pm

>21 LolaWalser: coincidentally, I’m dipping into Ian Hemphill’s Spice Notes, and he says that it’s “almost impossible to use too much coriander”, and that North African recipes have been known to use it in cupfuls.

Nov 10, 2020, 1:32 pm

>29 hfglen: I will correct you. Boston baked beans, not from a can, are ambrosia, not revolting. :)

Here we have what is called canned pork and beans, which are revolting, although I adored them when I was a child.

Nov 10, 2020, 5:21 pm

>27 LolaWalser:
I've made a rub that's equal parts salt, sugar, crushed or ground coriander and ancho chile powder. Smoked paprika also works. It's great with poultry or beef.

Nov 10, 2020, 11:00 pm

On coriander: so far I can report it goes along just as well with beef stew as with a haricot/mushroom/garlic salad. Didn't harm the omelette aux fines herbes either. A few grains ended up in my coffee and what do you know, even that was OK.

>31 haydninvienna:

Aha! I like the sound of that. I was planning to make a chickpea soup--bet I could find something coriandery.

>29 hfglen:, >30 MarthaJeanne:, >32 MrsLee:

I've never had baked beans and not sure how one goes about making them--you soak them, then you stick them in the oven, I suppose? Nevertheless, as chakalaka seems to have the base of veg salad, I'm hoping the beans don't matter so much? I realise I wouldn't be getting the original dish, but it's that combo of spices and peppers that calls to me...

>33 mikevail:

Good tip. I've actually used coriander (freshly ground) with some other spices with fish and fish soup. It has that slightly lemony touch.

Editado: Nov 11, 2020, 3:14 am

You soak them, boil them in fresh water until soft, then put them in the bean pot with the flavourings, and then leave (covered) in the oven for hours. If you add sugar or salt before they have been boiled they will never get soft.

Or you buy them in a can and heat them up. This is if you can find a brand you like.

When I was growing up there was a box with the pre-cooked and baked beans that you could make a really good Boston baked beans from in very little time.

Both my father and my husband get really bad flatulence from the beans, and my husband is diabetic. I haven't had proper baked beans in a long time. I just saw a recipe that calls for using the same water for soaking and boiling and adding some of it to the pot. I wouldn't. Fresh water every time reduces the flatulence.

Beans, beans, the musical fruit.
The more you eat the more you toot.
The more you toot the better you feel.
Let's have beans at every meal.

Nov 11, 2020, 4:48 am

It occurred to me in the middle of the night that a singularly delicious use for coriander (whole seeds) would be in making biltong, though I must admit I can see problems trying to do this in Toronto at this time of year. Traditionally, one hung the meat in the shade of a thorn tree, and let a warm, dry wind (day temperature 30--40°C) do its work for a week or three. If you have a net to keep the flies off, so much the better. What the linked recipe doesn't tell you is that if you have or know a teething baby, a chunk of biltong that fits in baby's hand is an absolute godsend! With the possible downside that the results are messy, and may result in an adult who won't give you the time of day for a vegan meal.

Nov 11, 2020, 4:47 pm

>35 MarthaJeanne:

There must be a couple millennia worth of puns on beans, music, and Pythagoras, so I won't even bother trying to come up with my own... :)

I'll have to investigate these baked beans more. Apparently they are buyable tinned--depending on additives I might get one just to try to prepare a more authentic chakalaka, at least once.

>36 hfglen:

Looks delish. Waaaay above my cook class, although I'd be tempted if I had a balcony. But I glean from that that coriander oil has anti-bacterial properties! Good to know.

Nov 12, 2020, 1:46 am

>36 hfglen: Sadly I don't have an available thorn tree and any winds in Singapore, while warm, are usually 110% humidity. But then, neither do I have any chunks of meat to cure.

Nov 12, 2020, 9:40 am

>37 LolaWalser: "Delish" is definitely the right word. I grew up in a city so never had the need or opportunity to make my own. But every proper butcher in a small town in this country, has or should have a structure that looks like a clothes drier festooned with hunks of meat, suspended from the ceiling behind the counter. When you come in and ask for biltong you are (should be) invited to choose your piece, and the butcher will slice it for you.

Some (desperate?) people make a cage of chicken-wire on a wooden frame with wires for hanging hooks from in the top and one or more small incandescent light bulbs in the floor to supply the heat. If like me you are owned by a cat, you will soon find out why you need the chicken wire. A lining of mosquito-mesh might also be a good idea (to keep the flies out).

>38 humouress: I shall have to speak severely to Chris Dalzell next time I see him -- he was involved in designing and sourcing plants for the Gardens By The Bay! The humid winds are a problem -- you need lots of dry air.

Nov 13, 2020, 2:38 pm

>37 LolaWalser: I was on a kick of reading some of the early Greek writers for awhile. I can't remember which writer it was, but I came across a beans by the campfire joke. An apparently eternal source of mirth.

Jan 16, 2021, 7:24 pm

>40 MrsLee:


Happy new year, cookbookers! Any wokkers in the house?

I received a gift of a nice large wok but looking around it seems open flame and high temperatures are crucial. My stove's electric--is there any use for a wok with it?

Anyone tried, anything that worked for you? Any chance of using it like a sauté pan?

I'd rather ask than experiment first because it's still unopened and I could give it to someone if there's no point with the electric...

Editado: Jan 16, 2021, 10:20 pm

>41 LolaWalser: I'm not a wok expert (although we do have one, or at least a wok-like pan). A couple of questions; does your wok have a flat bottom or a round bottom? If it's flat, I'm sure you can use it and if it's round, I believe you can get a ring thingy for it to sit in so it doesn't wobble.

As for open flame, I suspect that you can get a high enough temperature with your electric hob to cook in the wok. Even on our double ring flame I don't get those super-high searing temperatures you see the professional chefs on TV working with; it still makes cooks a decent dish.

Jan 16, 2021, 10:00 pm

>41 LolaWalser: >42 humouress: I would guess the same thing. My mother used to have an electric wok. It never got scorching hot like you might see in restaurants; but I'd guess it would reach the same temps as an electric stove.

Jan 16, 2021, 10:44 pm

>41 LolaWalser: I recently read a cookbook by Martin Yan, Yan Can Cook. He swears electric will work fine with a wok. The wok shouldn't be nonstick, nor should it be an electric wok (they do not get hot enough). Also, you need a ring if it has a rounded bottom, and on an electric stove top, the ring should be placed with the wide part up so that the wok is closer to the burner.

I have used my wok for years on my electric stove without knowing that one trick about the ring! It isn't ideal, but it gets the job done.

Jan 17, 2021, 11:19 am

>42 humouress:, >43 lesmel:, >44 MrsLee:

Thanks so much!--I just checked and it does have a flat bottom--with grooves and ridges too, not sure what that's about, but no slipping for sure.

Now to season it, apparently...

Jan 17, 2021, 11:37 pm

>45 LolaWalser: Happy wokking!

Mar 19, 2022, 3:58 pm

On the subject of beans: 1. To avoid indigestion, keep to one serving of beans per day (1/2 cup); it's also safest to not eat fruit at the same meals where beans will be consumed, at least not until you determine whether your digestion is sensitive to that combination. 2. I store all dry food items like beans and grains in glass containers; that strategy avoids micro-plastic contamination in stored foods. Independent natural foods stores (Berkeley Bowl in Berkeley, CA; Mariposa Market in Willits, CA; Ukiah Co-op in Ukiah, CA) sell high quality glass storage jars.

Mar 20, 2022, 2:46 am

>24 LolaWalser: If you've still got that coriander around, it can be used in masala chai (though it's not one of the standard ingredients).

Abr 27, 2022, 3:16 pm

>48 humouress:

Hi! That's good to know; I buy a commercial chai masala but I'll happily add to it.

Oh yeah, won't be coriandered-out for a while yet...

Abr 27, 2022, 6:33 pm

>49 LolaWalser: I made some rhubarb ketchup today which calls for a teaspoon of coriander seed. I used a generous one.