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  2. Ken Gargett

    TV query??

    thanks all.
  3. couple of pieces on the macadamia nut. interesting as when we were kids, never heard the name 'macadamia'. they were simply called queensland nuts. most backyards i knew had a tree or two. loved the nuts but they were an absolute bastard to crack open. and many people got rid of them because they caused too much damage to mowers and the mowers would also fling them out like missiles and eyes were in danger, not to mention windows. Nut of note: 70% of world's macadamia can be traced back to single Australian tree New research shows a single 19th century tree in southern Queensland gave rise to the world’s dominant plant variety Sat 1 Jun 2019 The world’s dominant commercial macadamia cultivar – grown in Hawaii – originated from a single tree in southern Queensland. Photograph: Alamy The small Queensland town of Gympie has been identified as the origin of 70% of the world’s macadamia nuts. New research into the fatty seed has revealed the world’s dominant commercial cultivar – grown in Hawaii – originated from a single tree in southern Queensland from the 19th century. Native to Australia, macadamia trees are only found naturally in southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. The Hawaiian macadamia industry was grown from one cultivar from Australia that was repeatedly cloned. This means the commercial macadamia tree has an incredibly low genetic diversity, and researchers hope their findings will spur the discovery of wild trees and more “novel genes”. Genetic diversity would improve crop productivity, increase disease resistance and enable macadamia to be grown in new places, said one of the researchers, Dr Craig Hardner. By looking at genetic markers, Hardner, from the University of Queensland, and Dr Catherine Nock, from Southern Cross University, traced the origins of Hawaii’s whole industry back to Queensland. The Hawaiian cultivar had distinctive gene markers in common with a tiny crop of trees in the small locality of Mooloo, near Gympie, 160km north of the state capital Brisbane. Historical records showed that seeds from these trees were taken to Honolulu in 1896. Despite being found in a narrow band of subtropical rainforest, Australia’s native macadamia had a rich diversity compared with the commercial crops, Hardner said. This means there is hope for diverse genes to be discovered in Australian forests and even in backyards. “There is a really strong geographic pattern,” he said. “All the diversity that exists comes from south-east Queensland and northern NSW. Certainly the Hawaiian germplasm is very narrow, so it has only come from one locality.” The researchers found that some unique genetic markers in commercial trees could not be matched with known wild trees. Hardner said this meant either those diverse genes had been lost in the wild, through land clearing, or that they continued to exist in domestic cultivated plants. “We suggested maybe some of that diversity that has been lost is in cultivated plants, parks, gardens or people’s backyards,” he said. The oldest known cultivated macadamia tree is in Brisbane’s city botanic gardens, first planted in 1858. Hardner said the next step was to focus on forest conservation. “There’s climate change happening, there is clearing happening, and about 90% of the wild population is on private property,” he said. “It’s really important to identify where there are unique genes in the wild and prioritise those populations for conservation. “Macadamias are only a few generations from the wild. They have not gone through as many cycles of selection as, for example, apples. This means there is still a lot of opportunity to improve them.” Macadamias are a major export crop for Australia. In 2017, they made up 14% of the value of all horticultural exports. 70 Percent of the World’s Macadamia Nuts Came From One Tree in Australia Call it the Genghis Khan of macadamias. by Sabrina Imbler June 03, 2019 13,486 Behold the macadamia: delicious, fatty, and frequently cloned! Jessica Merz/CC by 2.0 Last week, a shocking discovery rattled the relatively stagnant field of commercial macadamia nut research. The vast majority of the world’s commercial macadamia crops originated from a single 19th-century tree in the tiny town of Gympie in Queensland, Australia, according to a new study in Frontiers in Plant Science. It’s basically the Genghis Khan of macadamia nut trees, progeny-wise. The researchers collected hundreds of DNA samples from macadamia trees in the trees’ native habitat in Queensland and compared them to samples of commercially grown trees from Hawaiʻi, which produces 70 percent of the world’s macadamia varieties. This comparison revealed that all of Hawaiʻi’s macadamias share distinctive markers with a tiny wild grouping of trees in Gympie, suggesting that all of the state’s modern crops were likely cloned out of a single Australian tree. In other words, 70 percent of the world’s macadamia varieties can be sourced back to a single tree or a couple of trees in Gympie, according to a statement from Craig Hardner, a horticulturalist at the University of Queensland and one of the researchers leading the study. “A small collection of seeds were taken to Hawaiʻi at the end of the 19th century and historical records suggest that there was maybe six trees grown from that sample of nuts that were taken by Robert Jordan and planted in his brothers’ backyard in the suburbs of Honolulu in 1896,” Hardner told ABC News. A grove of macadamia trees in Queensland, Australia. Jenny Brown/CC by 2.0 Like many tree crops, macadamias are reproduced via grafting. So commercial orchards often contain thousands of trees but just a few individuals, according to the study. This remarkable lack of genetic diversity places macadamia crops at a higher risk of succumbing to disease or changes in climate than trees with a more diverse population, according to a report in The Guardian. In comparison, wild Australian macadamias boast a rich diversity despite their narrow habitat of subtropical forest, the study found. Macadamias are no small affair for Queensland. In the 1860s, King Jacky, the Aboriginal elder of the Logan River Clan and the world’s first “macadamia nut entrepreneur,” was the first to commercially market the nut to settlers. The world’s oldest known cultivated macadamia nut tree, planted in 1858, still grows in Brisbane’s botanic gardens. In 2017, the nuts comprised 14 percent of the Australia’s horticultural exports, according to The Guardian. Queensland has paid fitting tribute to its nut-spreading legacy in the form of the Big Macadamia Nut. The nut, which stands 52 feet tall, is one of Australia’s 50 Big Things, which include other fruits such as a Big Bunch of Bananas and a Big Avocado. Of the four wild macadamia species living in Queensland today, three are threatened and one is endangered, the study notes. While collecting samples, the researchers stumbled upon one tree grown in Hawaiʻi that they were unable to trace back to the wild. So they’ve asked local, would-be nut-spotters to get involved in identifying old, wild macadamia nut trees that could hold this missing genetic diversity. So if you happen by Queensland anytime soon and spot the telltale strands of green nuts hanging from a tree, send a leaf sample here and you may help preserve Australia’s fattiest wild nuts.
  4. I’d say Gimeno too, last year I picked up some great aged boxes including a gorgeous 2009 box of ERDM Choix Supreme.
  5. This cigars have a wrapper color colorado-claro, because of what have a delicate taste. The cigar is rolled very tightly, full filling. Draw at cold a medium-hard. The wrapper is thin, matte, delicate and fragile. It has small cracks in the area of the foot, also cover a crack during Smoking, but the evenness of combustion is not affected - binder sheet holds the filling. Wrapper has many small bumps that when burning to explode is inclusions of minerals, which is rich in Cuban soil. The aroma of cold is very low, white bread loaf and milk caramel. 1/3: The beginning is quite rich: the taste of cedar wood, light milk caramel. Quite a bit of tannin and harsh, but disappear after the warm-up. Ash is tender and crumbles when breaking off. High aroma. Low body. Low strength. 2/3: Evolution is barely noticeable: wood begins to dominate, the taste becomes salty with a tart wood acidity. The opacity is unchanged. The caramel sweetness is gone. Flavor without changes. Towards the end of 2/3 is added to the tingling of the tongue. 3/3: the taste becomes a pleasant Cuban mixture, strenght is medium, medium-high body. Conclusion: I smoked this cigar on the street, so I decided to take a photo against the background of my wife's flower garden. Hot June broke the 1980 record for my region, so the plants gave flowers and berries earlier than usual. This cigar does not have the Cuban power that many of us love, but I often take it out of the box to get a delicate taste. I think this is a good option for a beginner who does not know how to deal with nicotine - only taste and aroma. Rating 4/5 stars
  6. Today
  7. i have a feeling i may have possibly posted this ages ago so apols if so, but worth another go. unfortunately the pics did not come with it. from the roads and kingdoms site. they have some wonky stuff but also some really good pieces - really like matt goulding's writing, as an example. One Dinner in Havana Apr 11 2016 Author: José Andrés Pioneering chef José Andrés went to Cuba with President Obama’s delegation. After Obama left, José stayed on for a home-cooked night of rum, salpicón and politics. He was smiling at me. My sunglasses were next to his book on the bar. I turned away and felt a hand on my back. As if he were coming back to life. I had just finished my sixth daiquiri in less than half an hour—bartenders kick them out quicker you can drink them—but even so, he was not coming back to life. It was just another tourist jostling to get a prized photo with him. A selfie trophy-hunter, stalking the Hemingway statue next to me at the corner bar inside La Floridita. La Floridita is an almost 200-year-old institution in the old part of La Habana. I felt more excited than usual in there. I could hear the music of anxiety in the air, my anxiety. That’s the music Steinbeck referred to in The Pearl to describe situations without words. Okay, so La Floridita is a tourist attraction now, but I love to get the same view Hemingway had 70, 80 years ago. Bar packed. Salsa music in the air, live. A few tourists with no rhythm in their veins, dreaming they could dance. Fools. Decadence. But what I really couldn’t understand were the people lining up along the bar drinking daiquiris through a straw. A straw? Did you imagine Papa “strawing” a daiquiri? No way. I raised my hand. Fidel, the bar director, was ready to please with a seventh daiquiri. I took the straw out and asked for a splash of the best rum they had on top. A beautiful dark brown, with the aroma of molasses, on top of the pale, frozen citric daiquiri. I sipped it, bringing the glass carefully to the lips. That’s the way to have a daiquiri at La Floridita. Finally the chef of La Floridita came with a plastic bag. I had asked him to sell me some Brie and blue cheese. And a bottle of virgin olive oil. These are not easy ingredients to find on the streets of La Habana, so the best thing is to ask a chef. This one had brought me something else as well: I looked in the bag. Lobster tails. I puffed my cigar, a Cohiba Behike, once again. My fourth of the day and it was only 6 o’clock. I had three more at the beisbol game. Cuba and America becoming better friends through a sporting event. Historic. Legendary. Maybe life changing for many. Happiness thick enough to grab out of the air. I looked at the lobsters again. I sipped my daiquiri. Yoani, my partner in crime, my hostess for that evening’s dinner, had told me not to bring anything. “It’s better that way.” What did she mean? For the last four days I had been trying to contact her. Wifi is erratic at best in La Habana. Communications slow when available. So two nights before I had ventured late at night to her apartment in a concrete mid-rise building in the not-at-all touristy Nuevo Vedado neighborhood. To try my luck. Eleven pm. Semi-dark street. Fourteen-story building. I couldn’t believe I was there. But no luck waiting for someone to open the door; after 30 minutes, nobody came in or out. And with no way to call her, I couldn’t access the elevator that would take me to her house, or office. I left. But today was different. I had an arrival time and an invitation. I grabbed the two plastic bags—cheese, oil, and lobster. I put them inside my black backpack. Sipped the last of the daiquiri and gave the cigar one last kiss. José with the life-size statue of Ernest Hemingway propping up the bar in La Floridita. Photo courtesy of José Andrés I jumped in a taxi. I thought it was better not to attract suspicion. I had with me the Cuban national team shirt. Beautiful blue. A baseball cap. Finally we arrived at Yoani’s street. It felt good, at least, to be already familiar with the area. Still daylight shining through. I told the driver to drop me at the beginning of the street. Voy a andar! I told him. I wanted to walk. To arrive on my own. I asked him to wait for me. How long… I don’t know. Thirty minutes or hours. I left him with a bag of shirts I had bought for my daughters. Trust: give it, and you get it back. The sidewalks were cracked from years of tree roots breaking through, showing who was in charge. I turned my ankle. Pain for a second. The excitement was a good antidote to pain. I guess the daiquiris helped too. Finally I was there. I saw a man walking towards the door. I came in with him. And into the elevator. Fourteenth floor. But there were only 13 numbers. I didn’t want to ask. I wanted to look like I belong. All the stories I had heard of police, informants, dissidents taken to jail. Yoani, my hostess, is an independent journalist. A famous one, because of the way she has used technology to tell the world what was happening in Cuba. Once on the thirteenth floor, I saw some narrow stairs leading to the fourteenth floor. Great. It existed. I arrived at a closed metal gate. I rang the bell. A man came from behind a door. He asked, Are you Joe? Was that code? I said yes. He opened the fence. And gave me a big hug, like you give an old friend you haven’t seen for a long time. Even though we didn’t know each other. Finally I came into the apartment. Yoani was there. Her entire team just started clapping. It was only a year ago that I met Yoani in Washington. Her stories of Cuba, its fight for freedom, liberty. The hardships that everyday Cubans had to endure to move on. All of that resonated in my head. I had promised to visit her. And finally I was there. I was not in an apartment. It was like a Press room. The clapping, still I don’t know why. I guess it was because of the few photos I had sent her from the backstages of President Obama’s trip, which I had been invited on as an official culinary ambassador. I had sent a photo of entrepreneurs and Obama. And others. Photos were never sent to her directly but to Miami, and they somehow made it back to La Habana. By coming to dinner here during a trip I was on with Obama, I was helping to tell the story of the visit through a different lens. In my mind, I was just seeing a friend. Yoani and her team came in and out. In the air was the smell of roast chicken and oregano from three small birds in the oven. Conversations were fluid. From family to paladares, to Obama, to beer, to ice… nonstop. I made a sopa de avena with brie, chicken juice, and chicken soup powder. Yoani told me how Cubans like big portions. They had been hungry and under stress. When they can, they want to eat big. Yoani just was finishing a waffle in a electric waffle-maker she has on top the microwave. Tiny kitchen, so creativity is a must. But a waffle at 8 pm? Why didn’t they have bread? “Well, no time,” they said. “We’ve been busy.” After all, she had just finished an interview with Obama’s security adviser, Ben Rhodes. Big day for her. From a dissident to standing with a man close to the president. She was telling me how she was brave enough to ask for a interview with the president. “If you don’t dream, it doesn’t happen,” she said. The team was hungry. They had already devoured the Brie and the Stilton lookalike I put on the table. There were only two waffles. I topped them with margarine, the blue cheese I had left, olive oil, salt and pepper. The salt she had brought with her from her last trip to D.C. She was proud of how many spices she had. Not every Cuban household was so lucky. Cooks are a bit like Jesus. We can multiply anything The waffle pizza was too small. We had no more flour or eggs to make more mix. But the team seemed to like it. In Cuba we like big portions, José. There’s not much I could do. There was only one Jesus. The chicken was ready. I cut it into small portions, sprinkled with oregano and some of the chicken drippings. I brought it to the table. All around the room: smoking, drinking beer and rum, one-on-one conversations. Just after that I served a salpicón de langosta, with the lobster that I brought. Pieces of the lobster tail closest to the head, barely poached with olive oil, chopped lettuce, and vinegar. I was lucky. They thought they had nothing to cook with. But I am a kitchen survivor. I knew how to manage in a small navy ship kitchen, in gasless ones, in ingredientless ones… cooks are a bit like Jesus. We can multiply anything. They were ready to put the roasting pan with the drippings into the sink. But the juices and the caramelized skin attached to the pan were more ingredients to salvage. I turned the heat back on, added a glass of rum, and scraped the bottom. I added tomato paste they had like it was a precious sacrament. I added water and let it boil. I had some chicken stock. I added the water left over from boiling the lobster ceviche. Some garlic. The pasta was ready. Half an hour before, I had been pan frying the spaghetti. Often you burn it if you are not careful. But the fire in that home seemed to be alive, in control, and well behaved. Soft. Like a whisper. As I was toasting the pasta, Yoani was telling me about an article. About Obama arriving. How on a rainy day he came out on his own, carrying his own umbrella. How he opened it and covered Michelle as she was leaving Air Force One. A sharp contrast to the Cuban officials, who had others carrying the umbrellas for them. A sign of what freedom means. My culinary ego was saved My broth was ready, I thought. Probably the worst one I’ve ever cooked, I thought. Toasted pasta went in. Small lobster medallions went in. And I put it in the oven to crisp up the top. If anybody saw that in Catalunya or Valencia, I would be doomed. But the dish was finished. On the long table, chaotic with plates of chicken, glasses of rum and cans of beer, we made space for the tray. It was well received. The conversation turned to how you could go jail if you were a Cuban caught with lobsters. No boats allowed, so that nobody can escape the island. Too much temptation. The diners wiped their plates clean. My culinary ego saved. No one mocked me with Cubans like big portions José this time. The night was not yet finished. Yoani liked a drink I made for her the month before in DC. A cremat. A burning rum drink with coffee beans and cinnamon and lemon peel. But there was no lemon or lime available. Strange this, in this perfect citrus climate. I felt a shot of guilt, thinking of how much juice they used to make my daiquiris. I told them the story of Catalan sailors returning home after the Spanish-American war in Cuba and elsewhere. Spain lost, but drinks and traditions were created. I sang a habanera, “El meu avi se’n va anar a Cuba…” Under the light of the burning rum, all sang along.
  8. Wilzc

    FOH: A Week In Pictures.

    Fatherception... It’s Father’s Day here in this part of the world Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. there are scores of brilliant photos here. so many faves.
  10. Wilzc

    FOH: A Week In Pictures.

    That’s for me to know... for you to find out Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  11. nKostyan

    TV query??

    I have an allergy to Smart TV - it's frequent glitches and brakes. I prefer TV without Smart + external TV box, besides it is cheaper. Sony has been using Samsung matrices for a long time, so it competes only thanks to the brand and design.
  12. GP


    They’re a good little cigar that flies under the radar. Love the 10 box of HDMEE & Mag 50 too! Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  13. GP

    Hello from Auburn CA USA!

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  17. GP

    New from Chicago

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  18. GP

    Hello from Chicago

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  19. GP

    Hello From Canada

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  20. nKostyan

    Greetings from Montreal

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  21. GP

    Hello from London

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  22. GP

    Greetings from Montreal

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  23. GP

    Hello from Reno NV

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  24. GP

    Hello from California!

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  25. GP

    Hello from Louisiana

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  26. GP

    Hello all,

    Welcome! There’s a Q&A section for newbies. Check it out and post any queries there Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  27. GP

    Monte No 5

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