bunsen_h: (Popperi)

It would not have occurred to me that one might create permanganate at home by dissolving steel wool in bleach.  Nevertheless: I've got that distinctive grape-juice colour that first-year chem students at Queen's used to ask me "is this a purple solution?" about.

I probably won't bother to try to save and purify it; it's likely to be much more fuss than it's worth, I don't need it, it's relatively chemically unstable and would probably decompose before I got to play with it.  My intended product is the rust, ferric oxide.  With which I will make ferric chloride, by dissolving it in hydrochloric acid.  With which I will make jelly.

I have also made some cupric (copper+2) chloride by dissolving fine copper wire in hydrochloric acid with hydrogen peroxide.  Combined with ascorbic acid extracted from vitamin C tablets, I'll be making copper nanoparticle jelly.  The two jellies combined can be used to copper-plate stainless steel so it can be soldered onto.

From there, I hope to be able to build a light-up propeller for my bike helmet.  I'm having some trouble sourcing some of the stainless steel bits, not to mention having to revise my designs as I discover that some items simply aren't available.  I've already gone through a fair bit of hassle getting some T-pins that were supposed to be stainless steel, only to discover (on prior testing, because I'm suspicious) that they were just ordinary nickel-plated regular steel and rusted rapidly when scratched.  (The seller tried to insist that their product was stainless and that I must have switched the pins.  Then that, well, yes, their stuff rusted, but it was still stainless, just really low-quality stainless.  "Of course if you scratch off the protective layer it rusts!")

bunsen_h: (Popperi)
Experiment: large-flake oats cooked by steam alone in a pressure cooker for about 25 minutes + cool-down time.

Result: the oats were dry, slightly darker than before, not much moisture seemed to have been absorbed.  When the oats were subsequently cooked with water as usual, they absorbed less water than usual and "fluffed up" noticeably.  Apparently the structure of the flakes was "loosened" by the steam, and/or more moisture had been absorbed than was apparent. This is more or less what the "modified" means in phrases such as "modified starch".

Conclusion: this does not appear to be a very useful way of cooking rolled oats.

Oh well, not all experiments are "successful", and my curiosity has been relieved.

Pi filling

Mar. 10th, 2014 09:27 pm
bunsen_h: (Popperi)
Friday is "Pi day", March 14th AKA 3/14.

I'm trying but failing to think of a way of baking a Klein pie.  I think one would need to find a way of supporting the empty crust/shell while it's being baked, remove the support, then add the filling.  The only real alternative would be to use a semi-solid filling and shape it with the crust for baking, which might actually be easier if an appropriate filling is available.
bunsen_h: (Popperi)
I've been playing around with a tortilla press I bought a few weeks ago,  [livejournal.com profile] mentisiterinvit had been missing the soft corn tortillas she had grown up with, and it wasn't until after I ordered it that I found a local store that sold the tortillas (La Tiendita, on Merivale just south of Carling).

My first couple of tries weren't very successful.  I didn't have the right materials — I had regular corn flour, instead of masa harina (which is made from corn that has been treated with lime) — and I was unsure of my techniques.  I didn't know the proper consistency for the dough, and I didn't know how to stop things from sticking together.  My first batch were too thick; I think that was partly because I was making the dough too rigid, in an attempt to get it to hold together.

My second batch of tortillas were done with chick pea flour... because tortillas can be made with many different kinds of flour, not just corn.  But again, the tortillas were coming out of the press thicker than they should have been.  They don't taste very nice, either — not cooked properly.  They're okay when eaten with lentil dishes.

But this evening, I was finally getting close.  I was following a recipe on a package of masa harina, so I was at least starting with the right consistency for the dough.  A few notes:

  • The dough should be rather soft, like cookie dough.

  • Use a ball of dough about the size of a golf ball, to make a 6" tortilla.

  • Press the dough between two sheets of heavy plastic film, such as an opened-up clear milk bag.

  • Peel the top sheet off the dough.  Flip the dough and remaining sheet over, onto one's "off" hand.  Then, using that hand to support the tortilla, peel the remaining sheet off it.  Then flip the tortilla onto the griddle.

I'm going to keep playing with this.  There are many other kinds of flour to try, now that I know better what I'm doing.
bunsen_h: (Popperi)
A little while ago, I posted about my experience with President's Choice soba noodles, which seemed to be of inferior quality and had wheat flour listed first in its ingredients, ahead of buckwheat.

Yesterday evening, we stopped at the T&T supermarket to stock up on more genuine soba noodles.  We were surprised to discover that all of the soba noodles on sale seemed to have wheat flour listed first.  We eventually bought packages of noodles that at least didn't have other things listed ahead of buckwheat, such as tapioca starch, and had a darker colour.
bunsen_h: (Popperi)
Muffin batter can be cooked in waffle irons.

You'd probably want to avoid recipes that have large lumps or solid bits.  For example, for something like carrot muffins with walnut pieces, the nuts should be well-chopped.

ETA: "Muffles"?  "Waffins"?
bunsen_h: (Popperi)
Höon der böon de bakin de babee

Hoon der boon de bakin de babee

The doll was sitting out in the car on a cold afternoon of Christmas eve, and needed to be wrapped. But water kept condensing on it, dampening the wrappings. Solution: a few minutes in a preheated warm oven.

Höon der böon der cöokin de cøøws

Hoon der boon der cookin de coows

Ginger snaps, shaped with a cookie cutter from "La Vache que Rit".

One of these cows is not like the others. Can you spot the difference?
bunsen_h: (Popperi)
The Japanese word "soba" means "buckwheat".  Most Westerners, if they know the word at all, know it in the context of "soba noodles".  Real soba noodles are made with buckwheat alone, or in some cases about up to about 20% wheat.

It appears that the folks at Loblaws product development are among those who don't know it.  President's Choice "soba noodles" have wheat flour first in their ingredients list, followed by buckwheat.

Food prep

Sep. 29th, 2012 05:24 pm
bunsen_h: (Beaker)
I've noticed that a lot of the ready-to-cook food items now carry warnings about how well-cooked the food has to be to be safe.

But how do I measure the internal temperature of, say, ravioli immersed in boiling water, to make sure that it's at least 74°C?  (Just 73° wouldn't be safe.  Or just waiting until it floats and has a reasonable texture for eating.)  Or the internal temperature of a pizza in the oven?  These would be tricky to measure even with the resources of a well-equipped lab.
bunsen_h: (Default)

All day, Jane had been wandering around in a gloom, ever since Mary Poppins had stopped her from making the cupcake full of solid nitroglycerine.  Not actually crying, but depressed, her mouth set in a bit of a frown.

Suddenly, an idea came to Michael.  He found Jane, who just looked at him — she was upset that he hadn't taken her side.

"D'you think..." he started.  "Do you think, if we put fins on it, it would fly?"

After a moment, she smiled, just a bit.

Sometimes the dreams are weird.  And sometimes they wake me up, because... hmm.

An ice-cream cone cup, classic truncated-cone shape.  Filled with meringue with a conical peak.  Three or four fins at the bottom, made of vanilla wafer, glued on with royal icing.  And a type-D model rocket engine inserted through a hole in the bottom.  It would work.  Probably.

"Cake Canaveral".

Edible rocketry.  This is definitely Muppet Labs material.

(Solid nitroglycerine is not very safe, if it's actually crystalline nitro.  When it's solid because it's adsorbed onto an inert material such as clay, that's dynamite, which is somewhat less unsafe; thank you, Mr. Nobel.  What my dream was calling "solid nitroglycerine" was actually some kind of black-powder substance.  It would burn quickly, but not detonate.)

bunsen_h: (Default)
I have a serious allergy to sesame.  (Mostly, it seems, to the seeds rather than to the oil; as with many allergies, it's the proteins that cause the problem.)  I'm careful to check ingredient lists for sesame, and also for tahini (which is just sesame paste).

A few weeks ago, I bought a stack of heat-and-serve Indian food packets.  At 300g apiece, one of them makes a decent meal when combined with pasta or rice.  They're convenient to bring along to places where I can't get a good meal at a reasonable price, such as visiting a friend in the hospital, and have good flavour and reasonable nutritional value.  They're not very expensive, usually between $1.50 and $2, and have an unrefrigerated shelf life of a year or two.  And though sesame doesn't seem to be used much in Indian cookery (according to staff at Indian restaurants I've been to), I did check the ingredients before I bought them.

This evening, I was heating up the contents of a packet of a pineapple sweet and sour curry in the microwave oven.  Sounded yummy; I'd been looking forward to trying that one.  While I was waiting for the food to finish heating, for lack of anything else to read (and needing to be reading something, as usual), I was looking over the food package again.  And the word "sesame" caught my eye in the French ingredients list... as in, "Graines de sesame hydrogenee", between "Piment rouge" and "Moutarde".  I went back to the English version: "Red chilli, Gingelly, Mustard".  Then the German version: "Cayennepfeffer, Til, Senf".

It never occurred to me that "gingelly" wasn't... well, just some kind of spice I'd never heard of.  I thought it might be a misspelling of "galingale".  If anything, it reminds me of Allan McFee and "Mom Nifkin's jellied gin".  Who knew that it meant sesame?  Apart from everyone who speaks... Hindi, I suppose.

That "hydrogenated sesame seeds" in French just sounds weird.  But I don't know if they mean the oil instead of the seed, or if there was some other kind of translating error.  I decided that it wasn't safe for me to eat that dish — sure, a hospital is the best place to be when you're having an anaphylactic attack, but really, it's better just not to go there.  Instead, I got an overpriced slice of wilted substandard vegetarian pizza from the cafeteria and picked out as much of the onion and olives as I could.

Now I think I need to find all the possible translations of "sesame" in current use, so I can be more careful to avoid them.  I learned two more this evening: "gingelly" (and several spelling variants) and "til".  (I note that my German dictionary translates "sesame" to "Indischer Sesam", i.e., "Indian sesame", which is doubly weird.)



May. 29th, 2010 07:43 pm
bunsen_h: (Default)
A weird dream this morning ended with my discovering that an unbroken puff pastry contained small custard-filled puff pastries, sort of like the miniature cream puffs that one can buy.

This leads me to wonder if it might actually be feasible?  Freeze the little custard-filled things solid, put them inside puff pastry dough, bake quickly?  As with Baked Alaska and deep-fried ice cream, rely on the freezing of the centre to keep it from change while the outside is cooked?

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