Posts from 6th October 2003

Oct 03


Proven By SciencePost a comment • 1,152 views

ANNALS OF EXPERIMENTAL DOMESTIC SCIENCE: it is SO science, i cd have i. discovered marvels that brought me fame and wealth, ii. burnt and/or poisoned myself!!

cheese that’s good to fry

Pumpkin Publog2 comments • 7,156 views

cheese that’s good to fry

The experiment: finding which cheeses are good if you fry them. I used my big giant skillet because I like it best of all the pans in the world. The cheeses tested so far are:

i. red leicester
ii. mature cheddar
iii. stilton & shropshire blue
iv. cheshire
v. camembert
vi. jarlsberg
vii. edam
viii. parmesan

(haloumi got a bye bcz duh: also you have to fry haloumi in a griddle to get the nice stripeyness)

intended method: cut into thinnish slices (a quarter of an inch approx), place on hot surface of skillet, watch melt. see what happens: DOES CHEESE FRY IN ITS OWN OILS?

initial conclusions: at different speeds, all cheeses (except one) liquefy when put on quite high heat, then cook on a kind of omelette principle (temps were adjusted by eye somewhat, to ensure no burning: ie turned down after the initial melting, then back up again for a nice flash effect)… yes, cheese fries in its own oils: you see the shape disappearing, melting into the liquid of itself, then bubbles rising through the lovely white-yellow gunk, then a clear separation of frying oil and denser cheesy matter, the latter frying in the former

when the heat is turned off the results are malleable and semi-liquid still, though the base has browned: as they cool, they tend (with one exception, the same one) to go brittle and crunchy


variables: the early attempts were tested in salads, on the grounds that they were quite like bacon bits (i took them out of the pan with wooden tongs and snipped them into little pieces with kitchen scissors)

secondary discovery: i’m not that keen on caesar salad – my staple salad is:
fresh-leaf spinach + avocado + toasted pinenuts (+ olive oil&balsamic&demerara vinaigrette)


i. red leicester – with retrospect I think a good start, but actually i already knew this toasted well for toasted cheese, so no surprises. Whatever causes its slight rubberiness I think renders down well into oil to fry itself with
ii. mature cheddar – a bit of a disaster, since it is already strong tastewise. Concentrated it is pretty close to uneatable
iii. stilton & shropshire blue – melts and fries nicely, really DOES taste like crispy bacon
iv. cheshire – hmmm, don’t use cheeses that you can’t stop eating before the experiment starts. The lump that actually reached frying point rendered down too small to pass judgment.
v. camembert – the big surprise perhaps. Already semi-liquid, this goes totally runny but retains a definite upper and lower layer, so that the base crisps but the top stays camembert-ish, and the white rind retains its form, as a pleasant cool/bland contrast.
vi. jarlsberg – OK I tried to hurry things along here and attempted vi, vii and viii all in the same skillet, only to discover they have very difft melting points and frying times. Jarlsberg (a quiet cheese I like very much unfried) kind of lost its character – I think in a taste-test I wouldn’t know it from some of the others.
vii. edam – would not melt!! At least, its lower surface did and then formed a protective barrier keeping the upper part liquid but uncooked, giving the least attractive, most gluey consistency
viii. parmesan – somehow retains its granularity and taste even when completely melted and reconsituted!! surely it is the king of cheeses!!

Interim conclusion: frying somewhat reduce the variety of cheese, to be honest. Everything comes out with much the same texture (exception so far: Edam) and a lot of the specific flavour you may like is lost (exception so far: Parmesan). Firmer cheeses seem to produce more run-off oil (i-iv i pretty much had to tip it off into a jar). Normal cookery instinct stops this being “hard science” bcz I can’t stop myself adjusting the temperature the gas-flame is at, according to laws of camarelisation I have apparently internalised.

DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE! ‘Electroclash’

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 245 views

DANGER! HIGH VOLTAGE! ‘Electroclash’

“First, the system should contain three (3) electrodes. The head should be fitted with a tightly fitting cap containing an electrode with a saline moistened sponge. It is through this electrode that the current is introduced. Second, each ankle should be tightly fitted with an electrode, causing the current to divide and guaranteeing passage through the complete trunk of the subject’s body. Use of one (1) ankle electrode (instead of two [2]) will almost always ensure a longer and more difficult electrocution. These two (2) ankle electrodes are the return path of the current…”

“During electrocution there are two (2) factors that must be considered: the conscious and the autonomic nervous systems. Voltages in excess of 1500 volts ac are generally sufficient to destroy the conscious nervous system, that which controls pain and understanding. Generally, unconsciousness occurs in 4.16 milliseconds, which is 1/240 part of a second. This is twenty-four (24) times as fast as the subject’s conscious nervous system can record pain. The autonomic nervous system is a little more difficult, however, and generally requires in excess of 2000 volts ac to seize the pacemaker in the subject’s heart…On occasion, the subject’s heart will spasm instead of seizing, during the first application of current. This spasm is due to excessive chemical buildup (acetylcholine and sympathin) at the nerve junctions and the ten (10) second wait generally allows for dissipation of the chemicals. The second jolt will generally eliminate this problem.”

– The source of this information has been unfortunately discredited as a crony of ‘Holocaust revisionist’ Robert Faurisson. The author’s denial of mass gas-chamber executions were made on grounds of ‘efficiency’, distasteful yet perhaps unsurprising for an electric-chair manufacturer and supplier who would go to any lengths to prevent the spread of gas- and needle-induced asphyxiation from encroaching on his hotplate franchise. A more visually spectacular presentation was once ‘conducted’ in Florida where the convict’s “body did not just stiffen upright when the electricity was applied at 7:06 AM, it seemed to reel backward.”

“Smoke rose from the inmate’s head, not his leg. Within seconds, small sparks or flames appeared from the right side of the shroud that hid his face…there was humming again, and [convict’s] body reeled backward again. The clock on the wall showed 7:08 AM. This time, 3-inch flames shot from the left side of the facial shroud, and there was more smoke. Quickly, the current ended, perhaps in about 20 seconds this time. Again the body slowly came to rest. After the pause, there was the heartbeat again. Another deep inhale and then an exhale, again and inhale and exhale…the left hand was clenched into a fist except for the little finger, which was straight…” [Extending the pinky, like that. Pretty reckless behavior in the Big House.]

“There was the hum again, and the body reeled again. Five-inch flames quickly burned from the left side of the shroud, and smaller ones to the right. It was 7:10 AM. The hum was gone again, perhaps in 30 seconds. But the body did not relax this time. The little finger on the left hand was now part of the fist.” Another way to tell when it’s been fucked up is if the bowels don’t immediately open upon electrocution as clenching the buttocks is a function of the still-functioning autonomic nervous system. So unless you’re pretty confident of your engineering skills or want to store the crapples in the freezer or something, consider giving the subject a colonic irrigation first, catheterisation is good too. Then again in films where somebody’s electrocuted in the bath you never see them crap themselves and turn the water black, although I know somebody who did this when they passed out drunk and also left the tap running so when the guy’s gf burst in there was raw sewage all over the floor and I think when the guy woke up he vomited too. General rule is, if you can tell what their last meal was, then start over!

To boil or bake – that is the question with ham.

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 2,457 views

To boil or bake – that is the question with ham. The correct answer is probably to do a bit of both. The point of boiling a ham it seems to me is not so much that it is the optimal cooking method (though it does leave a nicely moist joint if done properly) but that the resulting stock is so damn lovely. Buying a joint of ham means you can, in theory, eat pea nad ham soup for the rest of the week. Which is exactly what I will be doing.

The most basic recipe is literally to bung some split peas into the stock and the simmer for about an hour. You can add a few veggies to add to the flavour, celery as always boils to nothing but gives it a good bit of extra volume. And watch the saltiness, this is a soup which does not need salting whilst cooking, and if it is over-salty reach for the potato. But in the end there is no better smell than home made pea’n’ham soup filling the house as it bubbles away. And since peanam is supposed to be thick and lumpy, you don’t even need a blender for it.

Derren Brown plays Russian Roulette

Do You See7 comments • 1,320 views

Derren Brown plays Russian Roulette was a little overblown. Unsurprisingly really, considering the act of playing Russian Roulette is a pretty quick one. Instead we got an hour of Mr Brown trying to find the the weakest willed man in the country. If the program has one lasting effect, it is that the nervous kid who looked the dead spit of Iain Lee will now be preyed upon by conmen and anyone else with the barest smidgeon of psycho-linguistic programming under their belt to fleece him of his savings.

As for Derren himself, he panicked and guessed the wrong bullet. Or was that just for effect? Magic, when there is nothing magical about it, is just tiresome.

Hey you, SUV driver!

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 215 views

Hey you, SUV driver! Fed up with being persecuted because your gas-gobbling family tank is causing ice caps to melt every time you drive the kids to school? Maybe you’re a frequent flyer worried about the millions of tonnes of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere by increasingly common air travel? Do you feel a twinge of guilt every time you leave a light on or boil a full kettle to make one cup of tea? Well stop worrying and start driving – while you still can.

According to a new study by the IPCC, the much feared climate change through global warming will never come about simply because there isn’t enough oil to burn. Of course, this will mean goodbye cars, planes, plastic etc. But until then, you can drive your Hummer H2 safe in the knowledge that it’ll be useless heap of scrap before it raises the sea level.

Oh and don’t worry about the energy shortfall. There’s still plenty of coal.

So, OK, why does Freaky Trigger suddenly have a science blog?

Proven By Science1 comment • 1,543 views

So, OK, why does Freaky Trigger suddenly have a science blog? If you’re looking for enlightenment, read It’s Science, Geeta’s excellent introductory piece and the first article for FT’s October issue to go up. (Others will follow as I code them – I’m in a bit of a time squeeze – but they’ll all be up by Wednesday.)