Basically im going to revive this site but with more “personal touch” and experiences.Cheers and i do hope everyone will like the unique content!
First step is making LYE WATER!
Soap making uses a caustic solution known as “Lye Water” which has high ph.
Lye Water is made out of wood ashes and water.
You will need to burn wood to recover the ashes to make the lye and most woods will do but hardwood is preferred. These preferred items are palm branches, dried banana peels, cocoa pod oak wood.
Your wood should be burned in a very hot fire to make very white ashes.After the fire is out and cold, gather only the finest of ash. Avoid any wood chips left. Place in a non metal container.
Step two is getting Soft Water
Water from a spring or from showers of rain is called “soft water” , because it does not have metallic or acidic chemicals in it.
Regular well or river water is not desired because because it might contain chemicals that will interfere with the soap making chemistry. This also means most water from the tap as they contain carbonates which will neutralize your lye.
STEP 3 MAKING “LYE WATER”
Fill your bucket or barrel with white ashes to within about four inches of the top.
Bring a half bucket of soft water to a boil and pour over the ashes. Now slowly add more soft water. Do not add so much water that the ashes swim/float around.
Let this sit over night or even longer. The liquid should be brown now. You will need to separate the ash from the lye water. via straining or sifting or however you can figure to separate the ash from the brown lye water.
Test your lye water if you want to know if you have it at the proper strength usually the color of bourbon is right. If an egg or a potato will float just below half way or if a feather starts to dissolve then your lye water is good. If however the egg sinks then boil some more water and pour that over some ash and add the lye water to the mix and again let it set over night.
Boiling down the lye water is another way of strengthening it but you obviously will not be able to make as much soap.
Be sure the egg doesn’t rise to high (less than half submerged) as this is an indication that the lye is to strong. Add soft water until the egg doesn’t float that high.
Next step is getting some Animal Fat.
The fat of most animals can be used in the making of soap but bird fat should only be used sparingly. Place the pure fat that is trimmed off in a cast iron frying pan or a big pot.
Melt the fat until it turns into a liquid over low heat.
Pour the melted grease through straining cloths, preferably cheese-cloth
Now add equal amounts of water and grease and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat source and add 1/4 as much water. Set aside and let the grease and water solution cool. When the fat has hardened remove the dirty stuff leaving only the clean. Repeat until the dirty looking fat is gone.
On the last “washing” add some salt. One spoon full should suffice.
Fats gathered from cooking can be used but you will need to do the washing process with the addition of vinegar or lemon juice. For each cup (.25 liters) of fat at a couple of spoonfuls of lemon juice and 1/2 cup (.12 liters) of water and boil.
If the smell can not be removed this way then discard and forget about making soap with this.
This hardened fat can be stored for later use for a couple of weeks.
The next step is where experience will make you better over time. You must get the right proportions of grease to lye. 12 parts of lye to 1 part of grease is about right.
Mix the lye and ten quarts (9.4 liters) of water, and bring to a boil. Add 3 pounds (1.36kg) grease and bring to a boil. Then add 4 quarts (3.78 liters) of water and continue cooking it down. When the mixture is the consistency of heavy syrup, pour it into a mold. Cut into bars when cold.
Obviously adjust amounts to fit what you have available.
Leave some extra lye and grease unused so that you can adjust the concentration of the soap to get it right if the first time the concentration is a bit off.
Leave the new soap undisturbed for two days before removing from mold/bucket. Now cut into bars and place in a well-ventilated area to cure and dry out. Cure like this for at least three weeks in a dark, dry place with ventilation. You now have soap to wash with.
When combining the lye and grease, keep heating the mixture. The liquid will become stringy and muddy-looking. Continue to add lye water until the mixture looks quite clear, and not so muddy.
If a thick scum of grease forms on top, more lye is needed. If the soap mixture does not thicken, and no scum appears, more grease is needed.
Shea butter and coconut oil can be added for moisturizing.Brewing herbs in water will make a herb tea which you can infuse your soap with!Olive oil is also commonly added.
Note:if you add extra stuff you will need to recalculate the water and lye needed as the ratio will be changed.
A good tool for calculating lye needed for soap making.
Umami has been variously translated from Japanese as yummy, deliciousness or a pleasant savoury taste, and was coined in 1908 by a chemist at Tokyo University called Kikunae Ikeda. He then learned how to produce it in industrial quantities and patented the notorious flavour enhancer MSG. It has been recognised as the fifth taste recently by western scientists.This taste is imparted by glutamate, a type of amino acid, and ribonucleotides, including inosinate and guanylate, which occur naturally in many foods including meat, fish, vegetables and dairy products.” Its all the rage now as many chefs try to infuse ‘umami’ flavour into their dishes-no MSG please!
Foods that are high in umami
Tomatoes can often stand in for meats because they appeal to our desire for the protein. French fries lacking without ketchup? Umami could be the reason.
Levels of naturally occurring glutamate (mg/100g): 246
Mushrooms can substitute for meat because they appeal to our taste for protein thanks to levels of umami-related compounds.
Dried shiitake mushrooms: Levels of naturally occurring guanylate (mg/100g): 150
Japanese and Chinese food is often enhanced by the versatile soy bean. The flavor of fermented soy beans was what sparked the search for umami.
Levels of naturally occurring glutamate (mg/100g): 66
Who can deny the appeal of the French fry? Potato chips are another claim to glutamate fame.
Levels of naturally occurring glutamate (mg/100g): 102
Carrots are a low-calorie and delicious way to appeal to your umami desire.
Levels of naturally occurring glutamate (mg/100g): 33
All cheese has the umami taste, but Parmesan cheese can be off the charts.
Levels of naturally occurring glutamate (mg/100g): 1200
10. Green tea
This healthy source of umami is becoming more prevalent thanks to the increase in the number of people cooking with green tea.
Levels of naturally occurring glutamate (mg/100g): 668
Vegetarian umami recipes
Asparagus and Shiitake Sauté
Served with rice, this asparagus and Shiitake mushroom sauté is a 10-minute vegetarian dinner
Ginger, peeled, chopped
Asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces
Sauté chopped scallions, garlic, and peeled ginger in vegetable oil. Add shiitake caps, 1-inch pieces raw asparagus, and sliced chiles and sauté until tender. Toss with oyster sauce; cook about 1 minute more.
Makes two cups
2 cups dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 whole star anise
1 small bay leaf
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons miso
Combine apricots, cherries, sake or wine, orange juice, lemon juice, and 1 cup water in a large saucepan; let soak for 2 hours.
Place star anise, bay leaf, cinnamon, and ginger in the center of a layer of cheesecloth. Gather up edges; tie with kitchen twine to form a bundle. Add to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and cook, stirring often, for 30 minutes.
Stir in miso. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened, 5–10 minutes. Let cool.
6 to 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 min
This Japanese eggplant recipe is all about that umami-rich miso glaze. Can’t find long, skinny, Japanese eggplants? The glaze is good on all varieties of eggplant (and hey, carrots, too).
6 Japanese eggplants (1 1/2 lb. total), cut on a diagonal into 1-inch-thick slices
1 tablespoon grapeseed or vegetable oil
1/3 cup white miso (fermented soybean paste)
4 teaspoons finely grated peeled ginger
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 teaspoons sesame seeds, divided
3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, divided
Preheat oven to 425°. Brush both sides of eggplant slices with oil and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Roast eggplant, flipping once, until very tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Arrange a rack in upper third of oven and heat to broil.
Meanwhile, whisk white miso and next 5 ingredients with 1 Tbsp. water in a small bowl. Stir in 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 2 Tbsp. scallions. Smear top of eggplant slices with miso sauce. Broil until golden and charred in places, 4–5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tsp. sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp. scallions.
Miso tofu ranch dip
4 oz. drained soft (silken) tofu
3 tablespoons white miso (fermented soybean paste)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Sherry vinegar or white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives plus more
Raw vegetables (for serving)
Purée tofu, miso, lemon juice, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper in a blender. Transfer to a medium bowl; mix in sour cream, parsley, and 2 Tbsp. chives. Top dip with more chives and serve with raw vegetables for dipping.
DO AHEAD: Dip can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.
Soy glazed shiitake mushrooms
easy to make and tasty!
Bring 3 cups dried shiitake mushrooms (about 3 ounces), 1/3 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon raw or brown sugar, and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover pan; reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are softened and all liquid is absorbed, 12-15 minutes.
Let mushrooms cool slightly, then thinly slice. Transfer to a small bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds, and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Oil poached tomatoes
Chop up these tangy, meaty tomatoes and use them as an all-purpose summer condiment on sautéed vegetables, salads, pasta, or cooked grains.
1 head of garlic, cloves separated
2 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
1 cup olive oil
1 pound plum tomatoes (about 6), halved, cored
1 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 300°. Toss tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and thyme sprigs, oil, and salt in a large baking dish.
Bake tomatoes until they are soft and skins begin to shrivel, 35–45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then slip off skins. Discard herbs.
DO AHEAD: Tomatoes can be made 5 days ahead. Cover tomatoes and oil and chill.
Recipes courtesy of bon appetit blog
Like fish, seaweed can’t just be lumped into groups like salty or sweet. Each has a different taste and texture, and since seaweed is packed with glutamates—the building blocks of umami—it accentuates the flavor of anything it accompanies. It’s basically (healthy, totally legal) steroids for your food. You’ll see it dried and packaged.
Ruddy-colored dulse is usually ground up and sold in flake form, which means it hydrates on contact when stirred into a vinaigrette or showered directly on top of seafood stew to add a punch of salt and minerality.
When dried, hijiki looks like tiny black twigs that resemble tea leaves. But once it hydrates, it grows to three times that size, ready to add an oceanic burst to everything from a stir-fry to a salad.
Arame is a dark brown Japanese kelp that is characterized by its long fine strands. It has a sweet, mild flavor, making it one of the more versatile seaweeds. After it’s been soaked, try sautéing it with hearty greens in a bit of oil or butter.
Pleasantly slippery and lightly vegetal, this is the seaweed you’re most likely to find floating in your miso soup. It’s delicate and wants to be added to hot dishes at the last minute, or drained and tossed with crunchy cukes and a soy–rice vinegar dressing.
Snapper Sashimi with Seaweed and Fennel
The type of fish you use is less important than its quality. Black bass, striped bass, and fluke all translate well; ask your fish guy for what’s freshest.
2 teaspoons dried cut wakame seaweed
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled horseradish
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Small pinch of sugar
¼ small fennel bulb, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
2 small radishes, trimmed, very thinly sliced on a mandoline
½ pound skinless, boneless red snapper fillet, sliced ¼ inch thick
½ cup chervil leaves
1 teaspoon fennel pollen (optional)
Flaky sea salt
Soak wakame in 1 Tbsp. cold water in a small bowl to rehydrate, 5–8 minutes; drain. Combine lime juice, oil, horseradish, soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sugar in a medium bowl; season with kosher salt. Add fennel, radishes, and seaweed to dressing; toss to combine.
Arrange snapper on a platter. Spoon dressing and vegetables over and top with chervil and fennel pollen, if using; season with sea salt. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.
Optional:Garnish of Wasabi on the top(beware its
Tip: Practise proper food hygiene!Wash your hands before preparing dishes-especially sashimi. You dont want to get food poisioning do you? And for this very reason purchase fresh fish(or sashimi grade fish from japanese supermarkets).
Swordfish with Seaweed Salsa Verde
Chef Kenney says that combining the herbs for the salsa verde with seaweed really gives this dish that “fresh-from-the-sea flavor.” In oahu, he uses just-harvested lime, but hijiki, which is widely available, works well, too.
3 tablespoons dried hijiki (seaweed)
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1 anchovy packed in oil, drained, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons drained capers, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
8 6-ounce swordfish steaks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Place hijiki in a small bowl, add boiling water to cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Drain. (You should have about 1/2 cup.)
Combine hijiki, shallot, anchovy, parsley, olive oil, capers, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl; season with salt and pepper. Set salsa verde aside.
Prepare a grill for medium heat. Rub fish all over with vegetable oil; season with salt and pepper. Grill, turning occasionally, until firm to the touch and opaque through- out, 8–12 minutes. Serve fish with salsa verde.
DO AHEAD: Salsa verde can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and chill.
2 4×3-inch pieces dashi-kombu (about 1/5 ounce)
4 cups water
1 cup dashi
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons mirin
1 teaspoon bonito flakes
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes mushrooms (such as king oyster or stemmed shiitakes)
1 12-ounce package tofu, cut into 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped mizuna
1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
Place dashi-kombu in medium saucepan. Add 4 cups water and let soak 2 hours. Remove dashi-kombu; reserve dashi-kombu broth.
Mix dashi, soy sauce, and mirin in small saucepan. Bring to simmer. Add 1 teaspoon bonito flakes. Strain sauce into medium microwave-safe bowl. DO AHEAD Dashi-kombu broth and dashi dipping sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately and chill.
Place green onion in small bowl. Add enough water to cover. Let stand 5 minutes, then drain well. Bring dashi-kombu broth to simmer in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and simmer until almost tender, about 3 minutes. Add tofu and simmer until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add mizuna and simmer until just wilted, about 1 minute. Rewarm dashi dipping sauce in microwave. Divide between 2 shallow soup bowls. Using slotted spoon, divide tofu, mushrooms, and mizuna between bowls. Sprinkle green onion and ginger over and serve.
2 toasted nori sheets, torn
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Pulse nori in a spice mill to a powder. Mix with salt in a small prep bowl until well combined.
Use as an alternative to salt to give an umami flavour!
Adapted from bon appetit blog
One of the most fascinating things about bamboo is the exuberant growth of the new shoots each spring. For the bamboo grower, this is the equivalent of a colorful spring flower. Some bamboos can only be identified by the color and shape of their new shoots. Each year we hope for larger and more numerous shoots. Some types are edible as well, and large enough to provide a reliable vegetable crop each spring.Most bamboos are happiest in a moderately acidic loamy soil. If your soil is very heavy you can add organic material. It can be dug into the soil where the bamboo is to be planted, but you can also mulch very heavily and let the earthworms do the work, building a berm of nutritious soil (this also helps with bamboo control). Spread two or more inches of mulch in the area around the bamboo, and where you want the bamboo to grow. Bamboo is a forest plant and does best if a mulch is kept over the roots and rhizomes. It is best not to rake or sweep up the bamboo leaves from under the plant, as they keep the soil soft, and moist, and recycle silica and other natural chemicals necessary to the bamboo. Almost any organic material is a good mulch. Grass is one of the best, as it is high in nitrogen and silica. Home made or commercial compost is great. Hay is a good mulch too but hay and manure are often a source of weed seeds, so that can be a problem.
Timing and winter protection
Bamboos can be planted at any time of the year in areas with mild climates such as we have in the maritime Pacific Northwest. In colder parts of the world they should be planted outdoors early enough to become established and to harden off sufficiently to survive their first winter. If the bamboo is planted late in the year, one should mulch the plant heavily and provide extra protection from any cold and drying winds. In colder climates where bamboos may be marginal, successful growers usually protect their bamboos through the winter with a heavy mulch. Even in very cold climates in an established bamboo grove with a heavy layer of bamboo leaves covering the ground, the soil will be soft and friable during periods when the surrounding soils are frozen hard and deep. In very hot climates, where summers routinely get over 100 degrees, it is best to wait until Fall or Spring to plant bamboo, unless it can be given a shady area or some kind of protection from the sun.
Many different types of fertilizer work well for bamboo. In general, apply a high nitrogen grass or lawn fertilizer once in early spring and again in the summer, to match the two main growth seasons of bamboo. If using more mild, organic fertilizers (which we recommend), apply at a higher rate, so that the bamboo gets enough nitrogen. Follow application directions specific to the type of fertilizer you use to determine how much to apply. This can be usually be found on the fertilizer label. If you want a healthy, attractive, and vigorous bamboo, you should fertilize 2 to 3 times per year.
Growing bamboo in containers
Many people ask us if bamboo can be grown in containers. The short answer is yes. However, there are a few key points to consider. Every two to five years they will need to be repotted or divided.
The Black Bamboo on the right, has burst through the thin plastic nursery container
Repotting or dividing is best done in the springtime. If over grown and root bound, most bamboos can escape or even break their confinement. The larger the space, the larger bamboo will grow. Bamboo in containers require more care because they are much more susceptible to environmental stress. Strong winds tip them over, and the restricted root space causes them to dehydrate quickly. A well established bamboo in a container should be watered 3 to 5 times per week during the summer, ensuring that the pot drains well. In containers bamboos, especially those that are not well adapted to hot sun, require more care in placement as they can be damaged if the pot overheats. During winter, container bamboos are susceptible to freezing and if not protected may die. Bamboo in containers is not nearly as hardy as the same bamboo would be in the ground. Bamboo can be a fine container plant if its needs are met.Wood planters or containers that have some insulation for the root mass.
Yellowing and falling leaves
In the spring there is considerable yellowing of the leaves, followed by leaf drop. Some species do this more than others (Phyllostachys aurea, P. eduis Moso, see image on right, Fargesia murielae in the fall) This is natural and should not cause concern, as bamboos are evergreen and naturally renew their leaves in the spring. They should loose their leaves gradually as they are replaced by fresh new ones. In the spring on a healthy bamboo there should be a mixture of green leaves, yellow leaves and newly unfurling leaves.
If you are interested in eating bamboo shoots,you might want to try planting edible bamboo.However not all bamboos taste the same and most species are from warmer climates like Guangxi, China, Thailand , Indonesia and new guinea.
More rainfall More water = sweeter shoots.
Harvesting before the shoots are sun exposed = sweeter shoots.
Based on Lewis Bamboo’s website, Phyllostachys nigra ‘Giant Gray’ is apparently the most tasty and productive edible bamboo.
Phyllostachys Nigra ‘Henon’ Giant Gray Bamboo is an impressive giant bamboo. This bamboo can form a great screen from about 6′-35′. Giant Gray is my favorite bamboo not only for its size and unique color, but also its ability to grow great in shaded sites with poor soil and watering. Known best for its drought tolerance once established.
From Guangdong Sichuan, China this cold hardy giant has very erect canes. The new olive green canes turn to a ghostly gray color with age. The culm sheath have wavy blades with prominent oral setae, auricles and ligules.’Giant Gray Bamboo’ grows well under a large varieties of conditions, even in heavy clay soil. This is the third most grown bamboo in Japan for timber.
Remember to cook them first to remove any cyanogenic glycosides present. Dont worry as cooking will cause the cyanogenic glycosides to degrade making it safe to eat.If you are not sure whether the bamboo you have at home is edible, you can do this test.
How to Detect Cyanide in Bamboo Shoots?
There are simple test kits to determine the presence of cyanide in bamboo shoots that can be used by an unskilled person for looking at cyanide levels in bamboo shoots, cassava roots and products, as well as other cyanogenic plant parts such as sorghum leaves, and flax seed meal.
The general principle is that a small sample of the plant or product is placed in a container with filter paper containing the required catalyst and a piece of picrate paper that reveals the amount of poison produced. The bottle is left overnight at room temperature. Next morning, when the breakdown to poisonous gas is completed, the color of the picrate paper indicates the level of toxicity.
What is climate change caused by?Certainly us humans as a byproduct of technology.Technology like electricity that requires fossil fuels in many countries, releasing carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere.Installing smokestack filters would certainly cut down a lot on greenhouse gas emissions-but it all boils down to money.Are consumers ready to pay more?Make the first step and switch to sustainable sources of energy and do your part!Companies will then realise they have to be eco friendly or not get business at all.So the change starts with you,with us.I know it sounds clique but it is the truth.Avoid beef as cows produce lots of methane gas(a potent greenhouse gas worse than carbon dioxide)If you dont,YAY we are all gonna die from cow farts.But jokes aside this is a serious matter.Make choices that help save our dying earth.Since we humans are so intelligent to cause climate change we should very well clean this mess up or who will?Hi there ant please address this issue of climate change.Like really.We should all stop shirking responsibility.(its not my fault!!)erhmm.Politicians too need to do more to address climate change as well and impose fines on companies that produce too much greenhouse gases.Yes you donald trump. Dont think you can get away cos you think it doesnt matter(cos ure gonna die before all hell breaks loose, or is it so?)
Technology.A friend or a foe?A tool or a weapon?
Technology depends on us humans to create and invent them.Humans also depend on technology-cars, computers, almost everything you can think of to make our lives easier.But are we the masters of technology or not?Apparently we now belong to the latter as a worrying trend emerges where more and more people are “addicted” to technology.Most of us find a day without a phone unthinkable.This must change.
Technology is just a tool.We must not become overly attached to it and we should limit our screen time.It is all up to us to use it appropriately-not to use it for unethical purposes like hacking or watching porn or excessive gaming.Desires of the mind must be reduced as they are defects that can eat away at us.Twisted love can easily turn into revenge.Into hate.Thus excessive love is also bad.I recommend the personality defect removal process-observing yourself or others observations about you.Are u shy?Messy?Easily irritated?Next rate how often this defect comes up-rarely,occassionally and often.Prioritize on defects that are more serious first that pop out more often.In order to get rid of it,do the exact opposite!If you are shy talk more to strangers!The anxiety will habituate after some time.If ure angry,take deep breaths and do not speak.Ignore the person if you have to but you must stay calm.At first it will be uncomfortable but the results will be worth it.You would become a better person indeed.
Thanks for reading.
Note:You can always choose to do good or to do bad.But actions have consequences.Being bad will certainly alienate you from others.
If you see someone doing wrong,tell them so but choice is ultimately theirs.