Pumpkin Publog

Aug 05

Food Science Day 4: The Culinary Art of the Bad Pun 1

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AIM: To establish whether a bad pun can lead you to inventing a delicious new dish. In this case: LYCHEES ON TOAST

APPARATUS: Pestle & mortar; grill

INGREDIENTS: 1 middle-sized tin lychees; 3 slices of bread; 1 slice’s worth of butter for spreading

METHOD: To maximise our chances of making something tasty from a bad pun, three separate forms of lychees on toast are to be attempted.

1. The marmalade method: pulp a number of lychees to a consistency similar to marmalade by crushing in the pestle and mortar, disposing of any excess fluid emerging from the crushed fruit. Squeezing the pulp by hand proves more effective in removing more juice.
Toast one slice of bread, butter it and spread the lychee pulp on it like marmalade, or perhaps jam.

2. The grilled sliced lychee. Toast a piece of bread on one side. Slice some lychees and place them on a single layer on the untoasted side of the slice. Grill the lychee side until the bread around it is toasted.

3. The rarebit. Pulp lychees as per the marmalade method. Toast a piece of bread on one side. Spread the lychee pulp on the untoasted side and grill the lychee side until the bread around it is toasted.

RESULTS: Lychees are mostly juice: when pulping lychees, adding additional lychees to the pulp makes little difference to the total volume of the pulp. In reproducing the experiment, care should be taken not to add too many lychees to the pulping stage, or insufficient fruit will remain for the slicing method.

Taste test were largely positive: the researchers found themselves rather keen on each of the three samples. Least impressive was the slicing method, though that was perhaps due to the lower-than-desirable coverage of the toast with fruity flesh. On the other two samples, opinion was divided.
The marmalade method was helped by buttery yumminess (Use of avocado for this purpose was rejected on the grounds of obvious foulness). The rarebit method had the advantage of slight caramelisation, also leading to an increase in the tasty. None of the three samples lasted long before being wolfed down by greedy scientists. Some researchers suggested that the popularity of the samples was a result of these being the closest thing to real food served thus far in the day, and that people were hungry.

The control group of people who did not like lychees wanted nothing to do with this experiment, but who cares what they think, the lychee-hating freaks?

CONCLUSION: there is not yet enough data to prove that a bad pun will necessarily lead to deliciosity, but the state of delicious can be inspired by poor quality wordplay.

FOOD SCIENCE DAY 3: The Experiment We Did Not Do

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AIM: To see if the BabyBel advert is correct and that BabyBels break the laws of conservation of energy by being able to bounce higher than where they were dropped from.

APPARATUS: A third floor balcony. A BabyBel (like this one, but not this one because we did not do the experiment).

METHOD: This is a thought experiment because Tim thought it might be anti-social to his neighbours to drop cheese off of his balcony. And they might think he is a menk (which he clearly is as he has no salt in the house). However if we had done it, we would have stationed someone three storeys down to make sure the coast was clear of all neighbours, and then got Rob to drop the BabyBel.

RESULTS: It is difficult to say what the results would be of this thought experiment, nevertheless a close look at a BabyBel suggests no super-elastic qualities to the wax surrounding it. One would imagine when dropped the BabyBel, rather than bouncing to a greater height than whence dropped from, would probably bounce about two inches at most. And the wax would deform a bit. It would be unlikely that the wax would break though, and therefore the BabyBel would remain intact and edible. Here is one we mocked up to look like what we think would happen.

CONCLUSION: If we had done this experiment (which we did not do) it would probably tell us that adverts LIE.

Aug 05

FOOD SCIENCE DAY: An Introduction and Dedication

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Over the next week a varied bunch of reprobates will be posting on the Publog, Proven By Science, TMFD and even The Brown Wedge, the results of the 1st Liz Daplyn Food Science Day. Please be patient with these results, remember the writing up is half of the science, and we should never rush science (or bad puns). Also photos will need to be collated, and hosted for your reading pleasure. But you will find out what fruit can be thrown the furthest.

It was a wonderful day, and out host Tim was a genial and pleasant as a man can be: only banning one piece of science on the grounds that dropping cheese off of his balcony would be a anti-social thing to do to his neighbours. The sun was shining, and whilst the large selection of food could have possibly been to to greater use, what we learnt will be passed down from generation to generation, hopefully aiding our understanding of the mysteries of food and bouze. In a war where the only ballistic missiles are the fruit aisle of Tesco’s, you want us on your side. Special note of thanks to Sarah for photos, Mark C for his throwing arm, Sinkah for comprehensive (if illegible) notes and Robster for complex notes on the fruit – and not dropping the cheese of the balcony BECAUSE WE DID NOT DO THAT.

In particular it was nice to have Rob there because, as mentioned before, the genesis of Food Science Day was a drunken conversation with Liz two months ago. Perhaps it is a strange way to remember someone, exploding eggs and making food just because its name is a silly pun, but I hope this event will become a regular one and will help us commemorate her life. I think we all felt her loss on Sunday; this was exactly the kind of inquisitive, silly yet serious event she would have loved and I hope that in doing this again we can continue to celebrate some of the passions of our friend. We certainly have more that enough experiments to do next year, including the Instant Atomic Buckminster Fuller Egg/Cheeseo-desic Dome.

So let the science begin.


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on the whole i sleep lightly – waking at the slightest hackney gunshot or police helicopter flyover – and, esp. if too hot, find it v.hard to drift off in the first place

for a long time – ie when i wz in my twenties – this is possibly bcz i drank 8-10 cups of coffee a day and SCOFFED at the idea it had powers over me!! possibly caffeine affects you puny earth-worlder mortals but i am IMMUNE! i sleep as twitichingly alert as a CAT and as a child was kept awake by BATS SQUEAKING* ect ect!!

anyway one day i got laryngitis and a side-effect of the antibiotics was i stopped liking or wanting coffee and after three weeks cold turkey i discovered SLUMBER AS DEEP AS I HAD NEVER KNOWN (and now rarely have coffee after mid-day)

however i continued inwardly to scoff at the unscientific notion that a HOT MILK DRINK would send me off quicker — until this last 18 months or so, when various real-life stresses really were keeping me awake… now i have taught myself, if i am still wide-eyed and hotly grumpy at 3, to get up, make a pan of milk, froth it up w.my little ELECTRIC WHISK, drink it not so quickly i burn my tongue, and mmmm WHUPFF** zzzzzzz!

*this bit is true
**sound of head hitting pillow

Aug 05

Food Science Day Warm Up: Beer Science

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An experiment to see what a “Grey Beer” would taste like.

Reagents: 50% Budvar Dark (a traditional Czech Black Beer with strong molasses taste and equally strong alcohol content)
50% Kronenberg Blanc (a remarkably citrusy White beer which is also remarkably strong)

Place: The Lord John Russell (it being the only place in Britain you can get Budvar Dark on tap).

Results: After the white beer was added to the black beer, a swift slosh to mix took place. The beer got slightly cloudier but remained on the black side of grey. The aroma was described to be that of Turkish toilets. It was however pointed out that this aroma is not uncommon for many ales. On first tasting much of the bitterness of the burnt molasses tasting Dark beer had been removed and the citrus notes remained strong. After a few moments the taste coalesced into something which tasted surprisingly of a Seville orange.

Conclusion: “Grey beer” is

  1. not actually grey
  2. palatable, if smelly
  3. tastes of Seville oranges.

Aug 05

Food Science prequel: Pork Tatin

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In which two different types of food are rammed together in one. It came to me that pork is good with apples, and that there must be a fancy, schmancy way of presenting this that just a gloop of baby food on the side. Thus the idea of Pork Tatin was born. Its a tart tatin without the tart, and pork instead of pastry.

So slit and flatten a pork fillet and season. Fry for two minutes both sides in a very big frying pan. In the meantime caramelise some sugar in a baking tray (on the hob) and then cover with thinly sliced Bramley cooking apple. Place the pork on top of the apple and slam in the oven for 8 minutes (Gas 5-ish worked). Then up-end the tray on to you big serving plate and you have a wonderfully presented dish with nice half moons of caramelised apple on top.

At least that was the idea. What the prof of food forgot was that caramelised sugar = sticky and the method used for turning out a tortilla would not work. What actually happened was the pork fell on the plate, the apple stuck. And the apple was not coming off without serious scraping. Reducing the apple to a sticky gloop not unlike apple sauce. It tasted great, but lacked the presentational finesse I had hoped for.

But then I thought, Pork Strudle…

Aug 05

Tunnock’s Dark Wafers

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A Nice Cup Of Tea And A Sit Down report that Tesco’s dahn sarf are going to start stocking Tunnock’s Dark Chocolate Wafers. Now as we know about four million Tunnock’s wafers are eaten every day, but it shocked me when I went north of the border to discover that the wafers also came in lovely dark chocolate form. Suddenly the four million mark started to seem conservative. Why we south of said border were denied this obvious treat was beyond me. Good work (evil) Tesco’s.

(For choco spotters, it is dressed like a Tunnock’s Wafer, but wears a distinctive blue wrapper.)

Aug 05


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Went to Lambert’s on Sunday for lunch. I’d been meaning to check it out for a while, passing it on the way home from work quite often, and Al’s visit seemed a good opportunity. I’m keen on there being a good “modern British” restaurant near our gaff, partly because it’s tasty, and partly because a lot of my relatives are quite “un-modern British” of palate and the multiply amazing curry houses of Tooting are not for them.

Does Lambert’s fit the bill? At first I felt a little intimidated – it has a very plain front, and you can’t actually see whether anyone’s inside, so it always looks like it might be shut. Then when you get in it’s all very smart – cream and brown decor, local modern art, staff in fashionable black togs. But the staff are very friendly and crucially they love talking about the food, their enthusiasm becomes infectious and you get the feeling you’re definitely in good hands.

Any lingering doubts vanished when I started tucking in. I had a foie gras parfait on lovely hot toast – the gras was particularly light and melty and still rich. Then delicious tender roast beef with roasted vegetables – by this point I was so keen on Lambert’s that I ate a courgette for the first time in about ten years (the answer is still no, though). The service was quick and I got the feeling we could have lingered without being bothered, instead I had a pub to go to so didn’t try a dessert.

All in all, a definite and solid hit, and Isabel and I are pencilling in another visit soon.

Aug 05


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Its been a while during which various arrangements were made, but finally the basic details of FOOD SCIENCE DAY can be outlined. An idea patched together on the night of Rob Bolton’s leaving party, you could not stop some of our foodie friends to think of food based “experiments” which needed doing. Like, what fruit can be thrown the furthest. The Omelet of 1000 Eggs. That thing when you cook loads of bird inside each other, only with fish. And lots of other great ideas.

So Sunday 28th August in Peckham Rye will be the site of the first annual Food Science Day. We will have a nearby kitchen to use too, but obviously the throwing events will take place in the park. The plan is to meet in the Clock House off Peckham Rye at about 2pm, and then to split into science style project groups. The Clock House is here. Any suggestions for other science can be done in the comments box, or on this ILx Thread.

A special note, one of the people who though up Food Science Day was Liz Daplyn, who readers will be aware was sadly killed in the 7/7 bombing. We will be dedicating this day of food based frivolity to her and hope that it will reflect her dedication to always doing interesting things with food – and having fun.

Aug 05


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And we drank…

… in alphabetical order

  • Lee GB Mild (tasting note [TN] == “num)
  • Wells Banana Bread Beer (TN = “tastes like banana antibiotics!!”)
  • York Bitter (“from the North East, TN = “refreshing”)
  • Alcazar (TN = “citrusy” by Steve, “has no middle eight but still good”, by Pete)
  • Ale Fresco (Greene Kinga, now available on draught in the Mayflower @ Rotherhithe, VERY nice)
  • Iceni Raspberry beer (tasting notes now abandoned due to being drunkz0r3d)
  • Robbie’s Unicorn
  • Buffy Mild
  • Bartram’s Stingo
  • Reepham Rapier Pale
  • Fyne Vital Spark
  • Exe Valley Barron’s Dark
  • Mighty Oak Oscar Wilde Mild
  • Arundel Summer Daze
  • Edwyn Taylor’s Extra Stout
  • Bargee
  • First Light
  • Rhuuhmmm Mumuus (by now the 2nd last drink of the evening – Pete?)
  • … and finally… Hop Devil (although the writing first led me to think “Mop Devil”)

YOUR TASK: which of these have I MADE UP???