Apr 19 2012

Agreeing With Happy Events

Category: Friends,PersonalChrisM @ 11:41 pm

On Saturday we are having a few friends over to our flat for a birthday celebration. Here in Kazakhstan, people tend not to celebrate such events prior to the actual date, and as on the 20th itself I’m going to be checking out the American Bar & Grill restaurant (located where TGI Friday was on Respublika Avenue (they are apparently both owned by the same parent company/franchise co-ordinator)) with Irina, Tim, Anna and Ira’s parents, the 21st was the next closest date when people would likely be free.
Friends who have visited on such occasions before can probably guess what will be served when we all sit down to eat – various deep fried meat products, chips (there is a real shortage of other potato based deep fried garnishes in local supermarkets right now) and baked beans. Irina was concerned that on a person’s birthday celebration, they shouldn’t be doing the cooking, but we reached an agreement where things I don’t normally cook or enjoy would be handled by her, like salad or cups of tea, where as alcohol, unhealthy but tasty food and audio/video entertainment would be sorted by me. This way, I am happy to be cooking things that I see as a treat, Irina is happy that guests won’t be floating on a sea of sunflower oil all night, and we will both be happy that the compromise reached is one agreeable to all involved.
Long Island Iced Tea
I have scoured local shops for the required ingredients to make a good few litres of Long Island Iced Tea (just need to add the lemon juice and coke (many thanks to Justin, for the heads up on a possible location for an orange liqueur)), stockpiled various chicken-themed main courses, discovered that chips are, for some reason, the only potato-based garnish that are currently stocked locally & ensured the music and video collection are up to scratch. The friends coming are a mix of ex-pats and locals, people younger than me, and a little bit older, so I’ll try and cook up a playlist that mixes up the genres enough to be to everyone’s agreement. I suspect a little Happy Hardcore & Scouse House will still slip through though. If people don’t think it is enough of a compromise, I’ll play the birthday boy card 😉

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Jun 21 2010

Irina’s First Time Posting

Category: PersonalIrinaM @ 8:49 pm

My name is Irina. For those who do not know me yet, I am Chris’ wife. Chris has been asking me to write a post for his blog for many, many months. All this time I was either not ready, too busy, worried about my writing skills or simply too lazy. Last week, after we bought and tested the new deep fat fryer, Chris asked me AGAIN if I would like to write a post, and maybe review it on his blog. FINALLY, I decide to give it a go, so please try to contain your excitement, dear readers!!!

Let me start by explaining that both of us are not particularly healthy eaters. Being aware of potential health risks we still allow ourselves to enjoy some naughty food, like chips (or “kartoffel free”, as they are known in this part of the world). Our old deep fat fryer has already had it’s fair share of use and we decided to send it into retirement (as it happens, my Mum decided that it can retire at their house with an occasional use), and buy a new one.

When we finally managed to get to the shop (“Sulpack” in Kenesary St.), despite the hit and miss poor customer service, we were faced, to my surprise, with quite a wide selection of deep fat fryers. As usual, Chris and I had completely different selection criteria in mind and again, as usual, we did not agree on them before we were presented with a choice. I was interested in a compact, easy to clean, good-make fryer. As far as I could tell, Chris was purely interested in the capacity – the bigger, the better! After some typical arguments (I guess all couples go though that, when buying household appliances) about which one to choose, Chris spotted a Tefal Family Oleoclean 1.3Kg fryer. So, we decided to investigate exactly what that model had to offer.

Tefal Family Oleoclean Deep Fat Fryer

It turned out that this particular deep fat fryer comes in two separate major parts: the base (which includes all the electric parts) and a “saucepan” part for the oil and chips. The principle is very close to a cordless kettle. The beauty of this configuration, as we already discovered, is that the “saucepan” part can be thoroughly cleaned without the worry that the electric elements will get wet. It can even be cleaned in a dishwasher if you are lucky enough to have one (we do not have enough space in our kitchen for it 🙁 ). This deep fat fryer also comes with a separate lidded bowl for storing the oil in between uses. I know that many fryers come with some sort of container, but this particular one, although quite big and bulky, has the advantage that the “saucepan” part of the fryer is placed directly on top of it (without the need to turn the fryer upside down, to pour the oil out and subsequently make lots of mess on the kitchen surfaces). The filtered oil slowly drains though a cleverly designed valve, leaving all the impurities in the pan, so they can be easily removed later and the pan can be cleaned thoroughly and frequently without the fear that it will take half of your life to scrub off (especially without the ability to use a metal scrubber or any chemicals) all the dried up oil inside and out. That made me very HAPPY! Now I do not have to be embarrassed and annoyed by the oily and smelly monster that used to sit in the corner of our kitchen. I have to say that, apart from being very easy to clean and operate, the deep fat fryer that we purchased does actually make nice and tasty chips (especially when Chris cooks them!)

So, if you were planning to buy a deep fat fryer and indulge yourself in unhealthy, but tasty food with out the hassle of having to intensively look after your fryer, I can highly recommend the Tefal Family Oleoclean deep fat fryer. Here is a short summery of its pros and cons:

Pros: EASY to clean , easy to operate, filters and drains the oil without creating a mess, hopefully not very smelly (though this one still needs to be confirmed), good capacity.
Cons: a little bit bulky, looks a bit cheap and plastic.

I hope you (the reader) will find this post a little bit useful, if not out right interesting and you (Chris) will be a bit happier that I have written something on your blog 🙂

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