Monday, 3 September 2012

Our new oven might be too complicated

A crossposting from Facebook

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Service Will Soon Be Resumed

I haven't posted anything for a while. This is not because I have suddenly discovered how to cook, rather it's that our kitchen has been completely gutted and replaced.

It has taken a couple of months, and has gone through quite a transformation.

The first photo is a view of the room when we purchased the house. It doesn't show limitations of the room, such as the fact that the peninsular legs were loose, the work top varnish was chipped and partially missing, the boiler was embedded a few inches lower than the tiled floor partially in the gap where the fireplace used to be, the hot water cylinder was in the cupboard to the right and the fronts for all of the cabinets was cracked and perishing.

The kitchen has gone from this:
through this:
to this:

Now that we have a working kitchen again, which has more work space and more cabinets, I can recommence cookistry. The kitchen now has an induction hob and the new oven has many controls that I don't understand, both of which increase the possibility of future cookery disasters.

Although I haven't yet cooked in the new kitchen, my partner Doris has already had a couple of disasters ...

Yesterday, she baked bread. Hers was the disaster a few months ago when she forgot to add water to the bread mix. She didn't forget that, this time. However, the bread machine has been in storage while the kitchen has been replaced, and she neglected to check that the paddle insert was still inside the machine. After 5 hours of baking, she went to extract the freshly-baked bread and discovered that there had been no kneading, so the bread was a mass of unmixed (but cooked) ingredients.

This is what the paddle is supposed to look like:
We are now searching for where the paddle has disappeared to. We shall continue to hunt for it until we give up and buy a new one, on which day we will find it and then have a spare, which we shall store "somewhere safe" and never see again.

This evening, she made smoothies. She hasn't been able to make smoothies since I've known her, due to lack of workable space. With the kitchen replacement, she is now able to easily retrieve all of her gadgets. This is a photo of the model of smoothie maker that she has.

The smoothie-making went perfectly, and she poured mine out. She wanted to fill my glass to the brim, but the tap on the smoothie maker is slightly too low for the pint glass that she had selected for me. Therefore, she lifted the perspex jug from the motorised base in order to position it over my glass and pour out more smoothie.

The perspex jug is semi-permanently affixed to a plastic housing that contains the blending blades. The fixing utilises an extremely tight-fitting grommet. The smoothie maker hasn't been used in years, and the grommet had, unbeknownst to Doris, become slightly dislodged. In regular operation, this was not a problem, but when the grommet had to take the entire weight of the smoothie, the joint failed.

Or, as Doris herself explained "The bottom fell off!"

At her shouted request that I collect my smoothie while she cleaned up the kitchen, I went to the kitchen to find the new peninsular work top covered in purple smoothie. The base of the smoothie maker was also covered in purple smoothie, as was the cabinet door, the whole of the new marmoleum kitchen floor, Doris's shoes, Doris's legs and Doris's dress. It was a mess!

At least I had most of a pint of smoothie. Doris was wearing and standing in hers.

When I start cooking again, I will continue to post my disasters. I have successfully got out of the habit of cooking, though, and we have found some lovely restaurants near to us while we've had no kitchen, so it might be a while until I'm persuaded to get back in the kitchen and try to remember everything that I've learned about not making silly mistakes.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Is it ok to ignore heating instructions?

New - with photographs!

I have said before how much I like Uncle Ben's Microwave Risotto Rice. It cooks a lovely risotto in 2 minutes and 40 seconds, which is far more my style than stirring rice in a pan constantly for 45 minutes, carefully adding a couple of drops of stock every few seconds.

The last time I zapped a microwave risotto, I had a bit of an accident. Our microwave has a removable grill tray which I usually remove before cooking anything. This time, I neglected to remove it, and the packet of rice got caught in the element at the top of the microwave, tipping it over. When it had finished, I found the base of the microwave covered in nicely-cooked risotto, which I had to bin.

This time, I opened the microwave, took out the grill tray, closed the microwave, opened a cupboard, took a measuring jug from the cupboard, filled the measuring jug with 100ml of water, opened the risotto sachet, poured the water into the sachet, put the sachet into the opened cupboard, tried to work out why I couldn't find the controls to cook it.

After I told Doris what I had done, and she laughed, I decided that a photograph was in order, so I had to set it again to take a photo:
and where the microwave is in relation to this cupboard. I didn't miss by much!

I put the rice in the microwave and started cooking. In the meantime, I wondered whether to have any protein with it. After a quick search of the fridge, I found some frankfurters. Looking at the back of the pack, I saw that the instructions claimed 30 seconds in a 850W microwave for 2 frankfurters, or 1:30 for 4 frankfurters. I did not believe this, but I cooked 4 frankfurters for 1:30 anyway. At 1 minute, they started to pop and explode, so I decided that they were cooked and that the instructions must have been wrong.

To get proof of the wrongness of the instructions, I took a photo. Hey - I have a camera in my phone, so I might as well use it!
Hmmm ... if you look at the full-sized photo, you'll see that it actually says 1:10 at 850W. I must have been misreading the instructions. I wonder if this goes some way towards explaining my lack of cooking skills?

EDIT: In the future, I must remember to take the sachet out of the cupboard and throw it away after I've set up a photograph!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Expert Bread Baking

This instalment is just reported by me, not caused by me.

I was napping this afternoon, and Doris, my partner, made herself a sandwich for her tea. She used the last of the loaf that I baked yesterday, and so she did me a favour by baking a new loaf of wholemeal bread.

I was in the kitchen when the timer indicated that the loaf was done, and the kitchen had started to smell a little like bread, so I went to take the loaf out of the breadmaker to let it air.

It looked AWFUL! There was a small lump of dough in the middle of the breadmaker and a scraping of bread around the edge of the tin. A disaster worthy of this blog.

I went to get Doris, so that she could identify what had gone wrong. I asked her if she'd forgotten to add any yeast, but she confirmed that yeast had been added.

After looking at it, she tipped the whole lot into the bin, declaring "I know what I did wrong. I didn't add any water. I am a twonk"

EDIT: it's now 30 minutes later, and it is smelling more and more like bread. Ok, it's in the bin, but it's starting to smell good. I would be tempted to try it, if it hadn't already been thrown away!