How long do you boil noodles for?

Check the packet and then set the timer. For al  dente noodles reduce the time by two minutes for pasta. But what about homemade noodles? It depends on thickness and what the ingredients are. I decided to set the stop watch and taste test after 2 minutes with a pot of 4 noodles.
The noodles I made were chewy at 2min, 4 min, 6 min, 8min, 10min, and ready at 12 minutes. Chopsticks are very handy for this. I feel almost embarrassed that they took so long to cook. They were thick but they tasted great. 12 minutes. It took longer to cook than over cooked pasta and yet still chewy in a good way.

Below: Readiness Test with four noodles and a stopwatch
Below: Timer set for 12 minutes and watched them boil away in a pot of water.
Below: Pour the noodles into a strainer and rinse immediately in COLD water
Below: The finished bowl of udon noodles with chicken, egg and asparagus
Results: Passed the taste test with flying colours.

Dough rested in a warm spot wrapped in plastic bag covered with a towel for about 3 hours, then rerolled by hand. Cut into pieces to then use with the pasta maker.
Dough rolled out twice on fattest mode, notch 1
Rolled at notch 3
Noodles cut in Fettuccine shape
(Machine used is a Titania Pasta Maker)

For Udon Noodle Making Part 1 check out here.

Ginger beer update 1

Bubble bubble toil and trouble, ….

Fermentation is affirmative! Look at that gorgeous activity in the jar. Only five more sleeps and then I can bottle the ginger beer! Then fourteen more sleeps till I crack open the bottle for the taste test trials! These may take place earlier depending on the bubbles. Isn’t this exciting! Who knew I would be so excited by gross looking foam on the top of liquid. Alexander Fleming would be so proud!

I think I have some competition. Someone else I know is getting the ginger beer bug too. This is contagious! That means that we may have an endless supply of undrinkable rocket fuel or a secret stash of liquid gold that now you all know about; that is hardly a well kept secret.

In New Zealand it is legal to brew your own beer. It has always been the case. As long as I don’t sell it I can brew as much as I like for personal consumption. Good to know. In the United States you are limited to brew up to100 gallons per year for an individual or 200 gallons per year per household. Which sounds like a lot of beer! In Iran and Malaysia it is illegal to brew your own beer.

Udon noodles homemade try outs

I was going to share the recipe but then I thought I should trial some recipes with various flour quantities and resting times and such so for now just pretty pictures. I just want to share in my excitement. I did enjoy the part where I jumped on the dough! Yes it was as instructed and yes it was hygienic, the dough was safely in a plastic bag. Dig those heels in ladies. I wasn’t wearing stiletto heels, just socks. It must be spring time because I feel very active all of a sudden. Hibernation is over! I’m hungry!
It may appear that I faithfully rolled out the dough by hand. Do not be fooled! That was a pose shot. Although, I did roll the dough briefly at the beginning before the dough was rested. I let the pasta maker do the hard grunt of the work. Fettuccine mode made the perfect udon noodles. The noodles are drying, I think they like showing off, hanging about the kitchen, look at me, look at me. I think they can be used straight away but I will dry them a little as they do look nice. They look nice so they must taste nice too, right? I cannot wait to try them.
Udon noodles come in various thicknesses and I ONLY like the wide flat ones. So making them myself is a real treat because mostly they come in packets of thick giant fat round noodles that I really don’t like the look of. That’s just me. The flavour is the same but the look puts me off. The style of udon noodle that I like is called “kishimen”. It is eaten in the Nagoya area of Japan.
But it looks like pasta! It may look like pasta but it doesn’t contain egg and there is no semolina. Other than that I completely agree. Some areas of Italy make pasta without egg so perhaps it is pasta?
With the soup I am thinking of putting a boiled egg, asparagus and chicken in the soup. Still deciding.  Taste test results coming soon!
Above: Rolling out the dough before restingudon2
Above: Drying the udon noodles

Talking about stilettos, well, this song just pops into my head.
Annah Mac from New Zealand – Girl in Stilettos
(I didn’t add the youtube video as video takes priority over photographs for some unknown reason in reader.)

I’ve got the ginger beer bug

I bought a case of six stoppered bottles last month with the idea of ginger beer in my mind. I had thought about Christmas gifts but then realised that bringing liquids on a plane wasn’t such a good idea, plus they are heavy and the weight limits are quite restrictive to carting large volumes of 750ml bottles around of homemade ginger beer. And what if they decided that the air pressure was a sign to open suddenly. I would not be a popular seating companion. Someone could lose an eye! I could be black listed from flight schedules!

For now this batch is ear marked for household only consumption. We have to taste test the first batch. It could be horrible! It could be very potent! It could be heaven in a bottle.
Many recipes have ground ginger, but I decided to use grated fresh ginger to experiment. When we were growing up we used ground ginger. Come to think of it is is not really a children’s drink but I loved watching the “bug” grow and the exploding bottles in the garage. That was a very bubbly batch! I am reliving my childhood through bottles of ginger magic. Fingers crossed that this works spectacularly.

All ingredients for part 1, wet and dry ingredients separated

Ginger Beer Recipe

1 T yeast
1 t sugar
1 t freshly grate ginger
1 c cold filtered water

Sterilised jar
muslin cloth cover

Place all the ingredients into the jar and cover with the muslin cloth. Leave aside for a day in a warm spot in the house. Do not disturb. Do not stir.

After all the ingredients for part 1 are combined this is what your “bug”will look like.

1 t sugar
1 t freshly grated ginger, heaped

Add the ingredients to the bug every day for seven days. Do not stir.

2 c sugar
1 l boiling water
juice of 2 large lemons
4 l cold water
liquid part of the “bug”

Glass bottles with stoppers, sterilised

Dissolve the sugar in the boiling water in a pot.
Add the lemon juice and the cold water.
Strain off the liquid part of the bug and add it to the pot.
Do not throw out the dregs of the bug!!!
Stir the pot well.
Using the funnel, pour the liquid into the bottles and seal.
Store bottles in a cool place for two weeks. You may want to check on the bottles after a few days to see about the build up of gas. A lot will depend on the temperature where you live. Enjoy the process and let me know how your batch turned out. Or perhaps you have a different method?
Open the bottle in the kitchen sink just in case there is excessive fizz!

the bug dregs
2 c water, filtered

Place the water in the jar that has the bug leftovers, the solids, the dregs.
Half the mixture. Share half with someone else and repeat from Part 2 with feeding the bug. And make some more!

Happy ginger beer making!

Slow cooker excitement

Slow cookers are great for days such as this, cold, wet and rainy ones. One umbrella managed to escape it’s owner only to be trapped in a garage next to an orange cone. It would have been better off if it had stayed.

I bought a slow cooker. I thought I was going to buy a crockpot but realised that they are not the same thing.
A slow cooker sits on the bench and slowly cooks the food all day or all night, for many hours at a time. Stews and soups are ideal for this mode of cooking. Whereas a crockpot can go in the oven. So for me a crockpot is just another name for a casserole dish with a lid. I wanted something that I could walk away from and let it do the work.

My requirement were:
1. Oval shape, so legs of meat could be cooked.
2. Large pot, for the option of cooking for large crowds
3. At least three settings, Low, High and Auto(High for 2 hours then Low)
4. Removable bowl

I didn’t need a searing function nor the timer function. I wanted something simple. The more functions you have the less you really use. I wanted a slow cooker, simple. I picked up the floor model without a box and got a great price and it met all my requirements.

So far I have done soups, stews and lamb shanks. Perfect every time. It retains the liquid so they say to reduce the liquid portion. I like the ceramic bowl  and the clear lid, you can peek without disturbing the magic.

How to stop coughing at night

Coughs and colds seem to becoming harder to shake off and it can become difficult for the sick to get a peaceful night’s rest. The chest and throat are constantly under stress and blood pressure becomes higher. Rest is what is needed but how to get rid of the cough? Here are some ways to relieve the throat or cure the cough.


  1. Honey Lemon Hot Drink
  2. Gargling with Salt
  3. Black Pepper, Turmeric and Honey Hot Drink
  4. Warm Milk with Turmeric

Soothing a sore throat/cough

1. Honey, Lemon Hot Drink
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup boiled water
1/2 cup filtered room temperature water

Add lemon and honey to the boiled water.
Add the filtered water and stir some more.
(option) add a teabag
(option) add 1 teaspoon cinnamon/cinnamon stick to water in a pot and boil.
Keep making honey lemon drinks throughout the day to stay hydrated.

2. Gargle with Salt in Warm Water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

Combine salt with water and stir.
Repeat a few times a day.

3. Black Pepper, Turmeric and Honey Hot Drink
1 teaspoon black pepper powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup filtered room temperature water

Combine the ingredients with the boiling water.
Add the filtered water and stir some more.

4. Warm Milk with Turmeric
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup of milk

Heat the milk.
Add the turmeric.
(optional) add sugar to sweeten/hide the flavour of the turmeric

What works for you?
Have any of these worked for you?
Be happy and healthy!