Monday, 13 May 2013

Update about recent experiences now the new kitchen is maturing

Now we've "bedded-in" the new kitchen, the disasters have been fewer. There are more surfaces in the kitchen, the ovens (now we've worked out the controls) is reliable, the induction hob heats the pans when I remember to use the right ones and the gadgets all work. Ok, the smoke alarm still tells me when the food is cooked, but that's just a cooking alarm.

Would you believe that Asda sell steel pans that aren't suitable for induction hobs? Me neither, but they do! There was I, frantically trying to make the hob work with a brand new steel pan, but it kept switching off! It wasn't until I replaced it with a different (and more expensive) steel pan that the hob accepted it!
The light in our microwave oven has failed. It makes checking on custard a bit tricky, and leads to me opening the microwave every few seconds to check on it, which seems to significantly increase the cooking time, well past what the instructions say microwaving times should be.
I had a slight adventure with the fan oven. I was cooking (heating frozen) pizzas for three of us, and I wanted the pizzas all to be ready at the same time. The pizzas all had different cooking times listed in the instructions, so I put the "11-13 minute" pizza at the top of the oven, just under the heating element, the "10-12 minute" pizza in the middle of the oven and the "8-10 minute" pizza on a pizza tray at the bottom of the oven. For once I had preheated the oven to 180 degrees C, so I was confident about serving the pizzas all at the same time, perfectly cooked.

When I returned to the oven, after 10 minutes, I noticed that there was a little smoke blowing out of the top corner, like a tiny steam engine funnel. On opening the oven, there was a billowing of smoke, setting off the smoke alarm, and the smell of burning cheese.

The top pizza was a very deep brown.
The middle pizza was ok.
The bottom pizza was still cold.

The top pizza was so bad that my daughter would only eat one slice. We had to throw the rest away. It was so bad that even the cats wouldn't eat it, and they are demons for cheese!

I have learned from this that I should leave more than an eighth of an inch between the heating element and the top pizza, even when the fan is supposed to be circulating the heat.
Pork steaks last weekend. I like to cook pork steaks, as I can prod them with a fork and pretend that I'm actually doing something impressive by smearing honey, mixed Italian herbs and maple syrup on them. However, these pork steaks were thinner than usual, with a recommended cooking time of 10-12 minutes instead of 16-18 minutes. I cooked one side for 5 minutes, flipped them over, completely forgot to marinade (is that what it's called when I spread & sprinkle stuff on them), and waited for the next 5 minutes. I gave it a minute extra, because you never know with pork.

I approached the oven and the smoke alarm went off. I hadn't even reached the oven! It must have been waiting for me!

On opening the oven, I realised that the pork steaks were brown and crispy, like thick strips of crispy bacon. I served them upside down, in the hope that my other half wouldn't notice the overcooking, but she commented immediately. Perhaps it was the tooth-loosening crunch as she bit into the pork steak that gave her the hint as to them being a bit overdone.
The kitchen window is one of those fancy tilt / side jobs, opening one way for a tilt and the other way for a wide aperture to be used as a fire escape. Ok, we can't use it as a fire escape because we forgot about the window when we bought new taps and so the window fouls against it and only opens about 18 inches, but if there was a fire I think we won't care if we damage the window and tap in our hurry to get out of the window.

Anyway, after the pork steaks, I tilted the window to let the smoke escape.

The following morning, my partner went into the kitchen to make coffee or something, and she found that her jars of muesli, oats, saltanas and raisins had all poured their contents into the sink. It appears that I had opened the window the wrong way, and the wind had caught it in the night, opening it hard against the tap and swiping all the jars off the windowsill.
That's it for now. Back soon with more disasters as they happen.

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