Posts by Ben Chapman

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  • Hard News: Unscripted Drama,

    I found the game too tense on the last day. I had to stop following it with India 150/2 as I knew there would be hours of anxiety ahead.

    Got a text later in the day after the match finished from a friend asking "Are you breathing?"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Tooled Up for Food,

    Back at the beginning of the millennium, Deirdre and I were living in rural Japan while I was on the JET Programme as an assistant English teacher. Every year, each of the town's assistant English teachers could request one thing for their apartment. For reasons I can't remember, my request for my year was a cushion. My predecessor was far more ambitious. Tired of his little griller that was useless for anything other than supermarket pizza, he requested a new cooker. He was given a top of the range multipurpose oven, the size of a microwave but able to bake, microwave, grill, defrost, etc. However, the instructions were all in Japanese, so the only thing he ever worked out to do with it was grill supermarket pizza.

    It was a great challenge working that oven out using my little electronic Japanese–English dictionary and some experimentation. We lived on the output of that oven for a year. The high-point was producing a braided challah for our local gaijin Christmas pot-luck.

    Actually, the challah wasn't the thing that gave us the most difficulty that Christmas. We managed to make a pavlova, that ended up all of 2cm high. We had difficulty finding a beater or even a whisk in our town. Well, we did find one that ran on AA batteries, which proved insufficient to the demanding task of beating egg whites. We were reduced to whipping eggs with a fork. Despite all that, the pav was a hit.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don’t know either, whether it’s linear or something else. But I do know that the steam temperature will probably follow some variant of PV=nRT.

    I think for the liquid, the boiling point is defined by the Clausius–Clapeyron equation.

    Even assuming that the ideal gas law applies to confined steam above boiling water, the temperature of the steam won't necessarily be the same as the temperature of the liquid (except at the interface presumably). Am I right? The temperature of the steam is determined by the pressure of its environment, though collisions with other steam molecules. So I don't think we can infer the boiling point of the water from the temperature of the steam.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Many a suit for false advertising was filed in vain.

    Though in NZ, marinara usually contains seafood. Am I right? Isn't a tomato sauce called 'neopolitan' in NZ pizzerias?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to BenWilson,

    This is true, but the pots are venting so I don’t think the pressure can rise much. The upper limit is presumably the pressure exerted downwards by the lid divided by its surface area. For a 400g lid with area of 255cm^2, I get a rise in 154Pa is enough to lift it, which is around 1.5% of one atmosphere. So maybe it can get to 101.5C if you crank it up full bore to the point that the column of steam coming out the vent is screaming and the lid begins to lift? At that point, for around a 5 fold increase in the wattage I’m pouring into it, I get a 1.5% temperature increase. So it’s cooking the food maybe a tiny, tiny bit faster, and making a very large volume of steam.

    Is my reasoning wrong there?

    I was being facetious when I made my point about pressure and temperature.

    However, having a quick scan of your working, I think the increase in boiling temperature is going to be much less than 1.5°C. Firstly, your figure of 154 Pa is actually more like 0.15% of atmospheric pressure (101 kPa). And I don’t think that %-age of pressure above atmospheric is going to convert directly into boiling point temperature. You have to use a vapour pressure chart. According to this calculator, you would need to increase the pressure to 104 kPa or so to increase the boiling point by 1°C.

    Not quite sure where you get your 5× wattage figure. Assuming a perfect seal between your lid and pot, you’ll reach the higher pressure using the lowest setting on your hob, when the lid starts rattling.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks,

    My life is bedevilled by two modern dilemmas:

    1. I often find myself not having a 1/2 cup of cooking wine on hand when wanting to make risotto or bolognese.
    2. When D and I have a glass of wine with dinner, there's typically about 1/2 a cup left in the bottle that often goes undrunk.

    My solution to this problem has given rise to a third dilemma: how to distinguish between cubes of frozen chicken stock and frozen white wine.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to BenWilson,

    To avoid the shame of being caught out by physicists, I actually mean you can turn the element right down, whilst maintaining the same high temperature. Boiling water is boiling water. It’s going to be 100C as long as there’s any liquid water in there.

    Well, with the lid on, the pressure in the pot should increase, which will increase the boiling point above 100°C...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to Carolyn Judd,

    Ok, not a hack but a blog. You should check out the awesomely named www.kitchenfuckery.com . Beware of strong language! and delicious food, just sayin’

    Similar:Thug Kitchen

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to Joanna,

    Strain out the rinds and freeze them – they are AMAZING in baking or pasta.

    When I made limoncello, the rinds that came out of the liquor felt like they were made of wax. All of the goodness had leached out.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Kitchen Hacks, in reply to John Armstrong,

    Pizza is supposed to be flat, isn’t it?

    Yes, but a long rise time allows for more fermentation, which does good stuff for your dough.

    If you leave your pizza dough overnight, it develops sugars, which brown when cooked, making for a crispier base. You need to inhibit the yeast activity though, or it'll eat up the sugar, so you need less yeast and should keep the dough in the fridge.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 131 posts Report Reply

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