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The Mandatory recipe Thread

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Anyone know a good pretzel recipe? Have a desire for good ropy thick chewy bastards. Any recipe referring to weisswurst and hefe gets bonus credibility.

Real pretzels are as difficult as bagels, more so, as they need to be boiled briefly in a lye solution before baking.

For very brave/stupid/experienced bakers.

I have not made the genuine pretzels (only el-fake-o ones, which were not particularly pretzel-y) myself but have read several recipes, and more importantly, talked to the (European) grandmother about what I was doing wrong.

If you want the dope on home-made pretzels try this thread.

I'm not personally very excited by the recipe, but the comments are worth a read.

Don't forget that an american 'soft pretzel' is basically a funny-shaped bread roll, which they use to soak up various dips and sauces. Quite OK, but not really a pretzel as such.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pretzels

Edited by Ruffian

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Real pretzels are as difficult as bagels, more so, as they need to be boiled briefly in a lye solution before baking.

For very brave/stupid/experienced bakers.

I have not made the genuine pretzels (only el-fake-o ones, which were not particularly pretzel-y) myself but have read several recipes, and more importantly, talked to the (European) grandmother about what I was doing wrong.

If you want the dope on home-made pretzels try this thread.

I'm not personally very excited by the recipe, but the comments are worth a read.

Don't forget that an american 'soft pretzel' is basically a funny-shaped bread roll, which they use to soak up various dips and sauces. Quite OK, but not really a pretzel as such.

http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pretzels

I'm pretty impressed by the whole chemical debate that goes along with pretzel making. Two camps. Pro and anti lye water. The pros say you can't get the true german flavour without the lye bath. (or the dark tan colour) The antis say that using NaOH (or KOH) is not worth the risk. Well I'm going to try the Heston Blumenthal route and go with the lye.

I bought a bottle ages ago (food grade - not drano) from a asian grocer. I had assumed it was used for tenderising meat but there is NOTHING about this technique mentioned anywhere on the web so I tried baking soda and paw paw for meat tenderisation. By tenderisation I mean the sort of predigested meat you get in some chinese takeaways? You know that slippery super tender stuff? I always wonder how they do it? I strongly suspect lye water but I've no real evidence. Until pretzels.

I actually like the predigested stuff. :schmoll: I saw lye water and thought that's it! Why else would it be in the shop? Soap making? Maybe?

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I'm pretty impressed by the whole chemical debate that goes along with pretzel making. Two camps. Pro and anti lye water. The pros say you can't get the true german flavour without the lye bath. (or the dark tan colour) The antis say that using NaOH (or KOH) is not worth the risk. Well I'm going to try the Heston Blumenthal route and go with the lye.

I bought a bottle ages ago (food grade - not drano) from a asian grocer. I had assumed it was used for tenderising meat but there is NOTHING about this technique mentioned anywhere on the web so I tried baking soda and paw paw for meat tenderisation. By tenderisation I mean the sort of predigested meat you get in some chinese takeaways? You know that slippery super tender stuff? I always wonder how they do it? I strongly suspect lye water but I've no real evidence. Until pretzels.

I actually like the predigested stuff. :schmoll: I saw lye water and thought that's it! Why else would it be in the shop? Soap making? Maybe?

You use lyewater for some types of noodles.

From what I experienced, it is likely lye that adds the 'pretzel' flavour - mine never had the right flavour and I did not use a lye bath.

Re pretzels, in the end I decided to leave them to the experts - too much work for an average return, and we have an excellent source of pretzels in SA anyway.

But bagels, that is another story. Oh for a proper, chewy NYC bagel...

BTW the pre-digested stir fry texture is pretty easy to get at home, coat your chopped (by hand, finely, against the grain) meat with a mix of egg white and cornflour. Not too much. Then stirfry quickly at high heat until just cooked. Sauce/season and serve. If you have veggies as well, stir fry them first, remove, cook the meat, and add veggies back to the pan at the last moment.

It is a huge improvement over the usual technique.

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...BTW the pre-digested stir fry texture is pretty easy to get at home, coat your chopped (by hand, finely, against the grain) meat with a mix of egg white and cornflour. Not too much. Then stirfry quickly at high heat until just cooked. Sauce/season and serve. If you have veggies as well, stir fry them first, remove, cook the meat, and add veggies back to the pan at the last moment.

It is a huge improvement over the usual technique.

I freely admit I think I suck at stir fries and am not a huge fan except for beef with soft rice noodles which cost $10 so I usually just buy it made by people who know what they are doing. However in the instances I have tried to make it at home the one trick I learned was similar to yours:

  • Dunk meat slices in cornflour and water mix
  • Heat wok without oil until it smokes
  • add oil and meat in a single layer, no over laps
  • DO NOT STIR
  • When the reddish juice comes through the visible side of the meat pull it out chuck it in a bowl
  • repeat for the rest of the meat

The big thing I found was the "do not stir" aspect. Made the meat soft and tasty. When I stirred it was normally kind of tough.

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I freely admit I think I suck at stir fries and am not a huge fan except for beef with soft rice noodles which cost $10 so I usually just buy it made by people who know what they are doing. However in the instances I have tried to make it at home the one trick I learned was similar to yours:

  • Dunk meat slices in cornflour and water mix
  • Heat wok without oil until it smokes
  • add oil and meat in a single layer, no over laps
  • DO NOT STIR
  • When the reddish juice comes through the visible side of the meat pull it out chuck it in a bowl
  • repeat for the rest of the meat

The big thing I found was the "do not stir" aspect. Made the meat soft and tasty. When I stirred it was normally kind of tough.

You have a point, two actually. I don't think I actually 'stir' much when I stirfry (I never consciously thought about that aspect of it), and the under-cooking is essential.

I quite like stirfry, as it is the winter version of salad - a fairly palatable way of consuming miscellaneous chopped veggies.

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...I quite like stirfry, as it is the winter version of salad - a fairly palatable way of consuming miscellaneous chopped veggies.

Probably why I suck at them, I am crap at summer salads as well :)

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Apologies for the lack of any kind of pasta recipes. I married into an Italian family so my pasta confidence has taken a hit in recent years. Similarly all requests for recipes are expressed in quantities of "about that much, no, less than that". I will see what I can extort out of my wife though, and if all else fails try to convince her to make a lasagna so I can take detailed notes!

But seeing as we are on the topic of stir fries:

Completely inauthentic Stir Fry

Veggies - doesn't matter

would normally use capsicum, bok choi, mushrooms and a tin of stir fry veggies if you have them (water chestnuts are awesome, bean sprouts soak up sauce beautifully) but at the end of the day its really all about what you have on hand. Just make sure they have crunch (no tomatoes! never listen to your drunken flatmate on this) and you keep the size reasonable.

Meat - doesn't matter

Size is the really important part here - thin and bite sized. You need this to be able to cook quickly - thin is important otherwise the high heat will give you rubber.

Carbs - doesn't matter

Decide if you want rice or noodles. Put the rice on or soak the noodles if required. I like the dried egg noodles but the wet pack stuff works fine. Anything goes.

Sauce:

I always tend to whip something up, depends a bit on the meat/veggie choice, but the base is pretty much always:

1 part Hoi Sin sauce (about 4 - 5 heaped teaspoons ?)

1 Part sweet soy (ie. ABC kecap manis)

1 part sweet chilli (ie. mae ploy)

(go a little heavy on the soy and sweet chilli - I just didnt want to end up with fractions !)

Pre mix this in a cup/mug and then add:

5 - 10 drops sesame oil (basically essence of savoury)

same again of chilli oil if that suits

1/2 tsp sambal (basically minced chilli with some lemon/vinegar, dried peri peri works well too)

A splash of Mirrim (rice wine vinegar - don't worry if you don't have it, I have never had any luck trying to substitute so just leave it out)

A splash of regular soy if your tastes run towards the salty (maybe fish sauce if that floats your boat)

ground coriander

That should give you a nice base to start with. If you don't like chilli then add black pepper to it instead. If you do then the black pepper can be a good addition :-) Szechwan pepper is also a good addition if you like it hot. Fresh chillis plus all of the above if you do not fear death :furious:

You can swap out the Hoi Sin for some other things to give nice variety - Try Char Sui (the thick red stuff) for a nice pork dish, bonus points for a bit of plum sauce as well. Plum sauce can also give a really nice sweet lift for lamb. Blackbean makes a nice beef thing and this mellows it out so its not so salty.

Cooking:

Hot and fast. As above preheat wok and coat with oil and add meat when its smoking. Get a high smoke point oil (I use Rice Bran oil) so you don't start fires and so it tastes crispy and not burnt!

Its hard to get the veggies / meat timing right. I try to get the meat mostly done and then throw in the veggies a bit at a time and start it moving. Don't toss the veggies in all at once or it will all cool down. This is where a wok burner helps to get you back up to temp fast.

My wife precooks the meat and sets it to the side while the veggies are getting done. I believe this is counter to the spirit of the thing, but she has been producing better stir fries than me lately so I am willing to sacrifice purity for a more edible meal :-)

If you are using noodles then lay them on top before you pour the sauce over - it helps get them coated and makes it easier to mix. Regardless - the sauce is the very last thing and it will only need about 30 secs after you have poured it over to mix it in. The rest of your stirfry will warm it and you don't want to let things get soggy.

Serve and enjoy.

Basically this is my all purpose backup. A few things of Lee Kum Kee sauce and the soy and sweet chilli and we can make a fast dinner with whatever is in the fridge. Size is probably easiest way to get this wrong as you need a pretty big wok if you want to feed more than 4 people. If you get too greedy and overfill then you can't keep it moving towards then end. That means you either burn stuff/get cold bits or turn the heat down and it gets soggy (but still tasty). If you are going for the family size its probably better to use rice to leave more room in the wok.

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"...and Dawbs gets off the mark with a lovely crisp drive through extra cover for four"

"Based on that opening shot we can expect big things from this young chap this innings". :thumbsup:

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Very quick recipe:

Tortellini primavera

- Get some Latina veal tortellini or similar -- plain or tricolor

- A brown onion, diced in big chunks

- Button squash and zucchini, chopped in big chunks

- some pesto

- a dash or two of olive oil

Boil the tortellini as usual. Lightly steam the onion, button squash and zucchini in a steamer, not a microwave (steaming onion seems to take the bitterness out and leaves it quite sweet). When it's lightly steamed, add all the ingredients together and mix them up. Serve with a sprinkle of grated parmesan. Quite a quick and healthy and tasty meal.

A variation on this is to leave out the vegies and fry some diced bacon, toast some pine nuts (shallow fry them for a couple of minutes in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil and add the nuts and oil to the mix together) and mix with the other ingredients. That's because you won't have any fresh vegies in the fridge.

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"...and the new batsman Sean gets of the mark with a deft clip of the toes through square leg for four, should be a cracker of an innings folks". :thumbsup:

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how many should we do? just 1? here's another quick one (side dish of sorts)

Rosti with the works

- 1 or 2 biggish potatoes per person

- diced bacon (again)

- fairly finely chopped onion

- sour cream

- some tablespoons of butter or margarine

- salt and pepper to taste

I think you can see where this is going.

Peel and parboil the spuds in a pan of water for a short while until they are a bit soft, but not mealy, still somewhat crunchy. While this is going on, fry up the bacon and onion together, using some of the butter/marg. Take the potatoes out, and grate them in a big pile (put a fork in the spud or a cloth so you don't burn your hands). Mix in a huge amount of butter to the potato pile (will melt into the parboiled spud), and add the bacon and onion. Add some freshly ground black pepper, salt is optional due to bacon already present and/or blood pressure considerations. Put the whole mix back into the frying pan like a big pancake, and fry on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, turning the rosti until it's golden or half-burnt on both sides, trying to keep it together. Cut it into a few bits when done and serve with the sour cream. Yum. Like an oven roasted potato only you didn't need to roast the potatoes. A new twist on an unhealthy German tradition. You can even keep a few parboiled spuds in the fridge for just such an occasion.

Edited by Sean

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I like that Sean. Might give it a crack.

I'm a big fan of mass pre boiling like you suggested. As in I need two boiled eggs for a Caesar salad but I'll boil six and use the rest in whatever dishes pop up (eg Chicken Biryani, Potato salad etc). Par boiling a mass of potatoes to use in the coming week is cool as well.

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Roast meat of my usual variations I have many things to do with.

Except pork.

For some reason I have never much beyond negi miso ramen and I am not as good at that as I wish, plus it only uses one or two slices of pork and I usually have a kilo left over.

I have tried a bunch of things but none of them have made me want to roast pork in the way that beef, chicken, corned beef and lamb have leftover recipes which make cooking the big old chunk of meat even more worthwhile.

I have finally come up with something which is worth eating, not quite an incentive to choose pork over one of the other chunks of meat but still quite acceptable and removes the wastage which has occurred in the past with leftover pork.

I present "Half Arsed Lazy Mans Sort of Southern Barbecued Pork"

Roast some pork and have a roast dinner.

Leftover pork in fridge.

Chop pork roughly, you don't want slices, you want shreds as if it had been barbecued really well.

Pork in bowl

Sprinkle with some cayenne, paprika and pepper (this is trying to emulate the spicy bark of a good spicy barbecue)

Make some piedmont sauce (well you should have this already in the freezer to make this truly half arsed and lazy)

Put piedmont sauce on pork and reheat (aim to dry it out a bit so oven is best)

Eat on cheap white bread rolls, soft and nasty. Have some KFC knockoff coleslaw beside it (recipe earlier in thread I think).

Piedmont Sauce (stolen from Elder on the egg forums)

1 cup tomato sauce

1 cup water

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 onion sliced fine

3 cloves garlic crushed

2 TBSP brown sugar

2 TBSP Molasses

2 TBSP Mustard powder

1 tsp Cayenne powder

Put all in pot and simmer for at least half an hour.

Freezes really well. Excellent barbecue sauce even for plain old grilled barbecue stuff. This sauce makes up for many mistake in the flames I reckon.

For my next experiment in left over pork I am going to try and adapt my Katsu Curry to use left over pork, doubt it will work.

Does anyone else have a good leftover pork recipe?

Something that makes you want to cook pork _because_ of the left overs (think corned beef with corned beef hash leftover, roast beef with thai beef salad etc, meals made of left overs you actually really want to eat).

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Does anyone else have a good leftover pork recipe?

I like this recipe for left over pork. Because it's fried crispy it doesn't matter that it's already been cooked before.

The original is made with beef but chicken and pork work fine. I stole this one from Fushia Dunlops "Sichuan cookery" (Great book)

Dry-fried pork slivers

1 kg pork beef, cut into fine slivers

6 celery stalks, cut into strips that match the size and shape of the meat - important in sichuan cooking apparently.

salt to taste (add last)

3 inches fresh ginger- grated or shredded

4 spring onions, white parts only is recommended but I use all bits and add the green bits last. (cut same as other bits)

1/2 cup peanut oil

1 Tbsp shaoxing (or dry sherry)

3 Tbsp sichuan chile bean paste

2 tsp light soy sauce

1 tsp sesame oil

1/2 tsp ground toasted Sichuan pepper

Optional to add more fresh or deep fried chillies

Fry the pork slivers (under a cm in diameter) in a wok in hot oil (Not smoking but close - cool it with a touch more oil if necessary) You don't have to fry crisp but if you do it comes out like chilli pork jerke. At least give it a bit of colour in parts. Do it in small batches so it's not greasy. Drain

The oil should still be pretty clean so drain most of it leaving a couple of Tbsp in the wok.

Fry the ginger, celery briefly then add the wine, Chilli bean paste, Soy. Add the meat back in and stir to coat with the sauce. Add the green onion bits and turn of the heat. Add the ground sichuan pepper and the sesame oil. Stir and serve with rice.

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Roast duck, anyone?

Am thinking of giving duck a go this weekend, never made it before. Any experienced duck roasters out there, your advice would be appreciated. heaps of recipes out there but what is usually missing are the techniques, key points when it comes to making a good roast duck.

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Roast duck, anyone?

Am thinking of giving duck a go this weekend, never made it before. Any experienced duck roasters out there, your advice would be appreciated. heaps of recipes out there but what is usually missing are the techniques, key points when it comes to making a good roast duck.

I've only done a couple but I can verify the prick the skin technique. There is a serious amount of fat in a roast duck. It should be rendered out. If you can hang it in the oven its better. The good news is you end up with a whole bunch of duck fat which if you don't plan on a long life you can then use for confit. The other tip is that the skin must be dry to be cooked crispy. Peking duck is pumped up with air to separate the skin from the flesh to achieve crispiness.

Apart from that I've either done l'orange sauce and stuffed the duck with fresh herbs or rubbed it with salt and five spice to simulate peking duck. Both are good. There was a restaurant in Melbourne called ironically "Peking duck" where you get the duck and pancakes, A duck stirfry with the meat and a soup with the bones. Hmmm. I've had rare cooked duck when using a breast but I think roast duck is generally well done. The meat stays well moist due to the fat.

Good luck.

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Might do a series of recipes for new mortgagors. They need all the culinary help they can get, even (especially) after the FHOB money has been exhausted and they now have massive interest payments and looming foreclosure 3 months after purchase. To start with, a nice easy lunch option:

Devon sandwiches

- white bread, just like mum used to get -- back in the good ol' days when you could buy an average family home on a single average salary. mum always knew best, and white bread was best for you -- probably best bought on sale at 2 loaves for $6, you can freeze them to keep them fresh, day after relentless day

- devon slices

- margarine -- home brand -- in keeping with the dual theme of poverty and the home

butter one piece of bread. put devon on it and put another slice of bread on top. cut diagonally. take it to your low paid job that cannot in any stretch of the imagination cover the mortgage payments. if the low paid job is in the public service, join the PS union, and agitate for those 10% a year pay rises to cover the mortgage -- only the PS has the power to do this. even better, don't join the union and pay expensive dues each week, and you still get the payrise!

Proudly brought to you by the Big 4 banks and Australian Property Monitors.

Next week: delicious dinner -- rissoles and fruity lexia -- brought to you by Harry Triguboff and Lend Lease.

Edited by Sean

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Might do a series of recipes for new mortgagors. They need all the culinary help they can get, even (especially) after the FHOB money has been exhausted and they now have massive interest payments and looming foreclosure 3 months after purchase. To start with, a nice easy lunch option:

Devon sandwiches

- white bread, just like mum used to get -- back in the good ol' days when you could buy an average family home on a single average salary. mum always knew best, and white bread was best for you -- probably best bought on sale at 2 loaves for $6, you can freeze them to keep them fresh, day after relentless day

- devon slices

- margarine -- home brand -- in keeping with the dual theme of poverty and the home

butter one piece of bread. put devon on it and put another slice of bread on top. cut diagonally. take it to your low paid job that cannot in any stretch of the imagination cover the mortgage payments. if the low paid job is in the public service, join the PS union, and agitate for those 10% a year pay rises to cover the mortgage -- only the PS has the power to do this. even better, don't join the union and pay expensive dues each week, and you still get the payrise!

Proudly brought to you by the Big 4 banks and Australian Property Monitors.

Next week: delicious dinner -- rissoles and fruity lexia -- brought to you by Harry Triguboff and Lend Lease.

LOL

I remember these suckers. Only we had them with tomato sauce. An extravagance I know. As a serving suggestion I recommend leaving them in a lunchbox to warm gently in the queensland sun for several hours. By this time all of your books will smell of garlic sausage and none of your class mates will be 10 ft of you, buon appetite! :)

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Roast duck, anyone?

Am thinking of giving duck a go this weekend, never made it before. Any experienced duck roasters out there, your advice would be appreciated. heaps of recipes out there but what is usually missing are the techniques, key points when it comes to making a good roast duck.

There are two approaches to duck, either short cooking time and high heat (good for younger ducks, as per supermarket purchases etc) or long and slow, like a braise or confit, for older chewier types.

If you are roasting and like crisp skin, pour boiling water over the duck so the skin firms, season it and pierce the skin with a fork or similar to allow some of the fat to be released during roasting. Dry the skin with a paper towel at a minimum, leave to air dry for a day or more if you have time. Roast from room temperature, not out of the fridge. I have successfully air dried ducks by hanging them from the shower-rail by a butchers hook (makes cleaning up drips v. easy).

Cook at a high temp (200C+) for about half an hour or a little more per kilo, or until the skin looks tasty, and make sure you let it stand before carving. It will be rare but tender. If you cook it for too long it will toughen up. There isn't too much meat on a duck (mostly bones and fat) so be generous when you calculate the rations.

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There are two approaches to duck, either short cooking time and high heat (good for younger ducks, as per supermarket purchases etc) or long and slow, like a braise or confit, for older chewier types.

If you are roasting and like crisp skin, pour boiling water over the duck so the skin firms, season it and pierce the skin with a fork or similar to allow some of the fat to be released during roasting. Dry the skin with a paper towel at a minimum, leave to air dry for a day or more if you have time. Roast from room temperature, not out of the fridge. I have successfully air dried ducks by hanging them from the shower-rail by a butchers hook (makes cleaning up drips v. easy).

Cook at a high temp (200C+) for about half an hour or a little more per kilo, or until the skin looks tasty, and make sure you let it stand before carving. It will be rare but tender. If you cook it for too long it will toughen up. There isn't too much meat on a duck (mostly bones and fat) so be generous when you calculate the rations.

Thanks Ruffian & SC - some excellent tips, much appreciated. will let you know how it turns out, though i don't think the wife would appreciate a duck hanging from the shower... (would be an interesting experiment, actually, but it doesn't do to piss off the wife unnecessarily...)

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Thanks Ruffian & SC - some excellent tips, much appreciated. will let you know how it turns out, though i don't think the wife would appreciate a duck hanging from the shower... (would be an interesting experiment, actually, but it doesn't do to piss off the wife unnecessarily...)

Add to your checklist of requirements for purchasing a house[1]:

  • Extra Bathroom for science.

[1] I assume you have a list of requirements to make sure your initial inspection doesn't miss anything and you can give a copy to RE's so they know what things will absoolutely be a waste of timeto show you.

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Add to your checklist of requirements for purchasing a house[1]:

  • Extra Bathroom for science.

[1] I assume you have a list of requirements to make sure your initial inspection doesn't miss anything and you can give a copy to RE's so they know what things will absoolutely be a waste of timeto show you.

Having looked at almost 250 houses I can tell you with great sincerity that REs don't give a flying f@ck about what is, or is not, a waste of time for the would-be purchaser. Why bother when some fool someone will be along clamoring to buy in two minutes anyway?

(But naturally keeping a checklist for your own use is worthwhile.)

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Having looked at almost 250 houses I can tell you with great sincerity that REs don't give a flying f@ck about what is, or is not, a waste of time for the would-be purchaser. Why bother when some fool someone will be along clamoring to buy in two minutes anyway?

(But naturally keeping a checklist for your own use is worthwhile.)

I never had a problem with it, never got asked to come look at a place that broke any of the rules, renting or buying. The rules wer pretty basic though and not open to interpretation.

  • Gas Cooking
  • Toilet seperate to bathroom
  • 2 showers
  • Good water pressure for hot water by itself

and so on. Maybe I just come across as a vindictive bastard from day one and people decide to be nice to me :)

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There isn't too much meat on a duck (mostly bones and fat) so be generous when you calculate the rations.

that's probably why i don't eat them, and why there's no chains of duck shops.

quiz: who was better, daffy or donald? WB v Disney...

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