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Category Archives: Experiment

souse vide tri-tip


Continuing experiments in sous vide: I asked myself whether a roast can be divided and cooked to two precise levels of doneness in one hot water bath? Yes you can. Here’s how …  Read More »

chicken sous vide - lemon pepper chicken

This post asks the question: How best to brown fish and chicken after poaching them sous vide? Then follows an experiment with chicken.  Read More »

atmospheric pressure 2Caption: ALPs students at East Woods experience the “weight” of the atmosphere …

Good friend, photographer and videographer, Michael Fairchild invited me to assist him recently in making a video of the ALPs program students at East Woods learning about atmospheric pressure. In addition to using an up cycled fridge compressor to do basic experiments in a vacuum chamber we opened with a simple demonstration using a large garbage bag and a domestic canister vacuum cleaner — the aim being to let the student crouched inside the bag feel the full weight of atmospheric pressure, something we do not ordinarily experience. Read More »

yoghurt 4 with fruitPerfect steaks and juicy ribs are my favourite outcomes dabbling in sous vide. Shrimp, fish, chicken, turkey and eggs are not much improved by my palette when cooked this way. So what to try next? Yoghurt!

I’m lactose intolerant so a well cultured yoghurt will digest most of the lactose and leave me with something I can dollop onto my All Bran Flakes or a fruit salad for breakfast in the morning.

Using the same starter, organic milk, culturing temperature and times yields surprisingly different results, from a pouring yoghurt to a thick cream cheese. Read More »

souse vide steak 3.4 banner

Flank steak is a tough cut, sold locally by the name London Broil. It’s tenderised, marinated and broiled and then cut into thin slices across the grain — all in an effort to deal with a sinewy slab of meat.

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sous vide steak 3.3

Juicy and tasty! Read More »

Sous Vide 2.5 Nearly ideal: Aiming for a medium rare steak, evenly pink between the surface crusts. This steak was cooked in a hot water bath ala sous vide: The intention is to cook the item evenly, not to overcook the outside, keeping the inside at an even doneness … resulting in a steak that is tender and juicy. Read More »

sous vide water bath prototypeI’m trying to cook the perfect steak, evenly pink throughout with a thin brown crust — and almost no grey in between. I think the way to get there is via sous vide: To poach a steak medium rare and then to sear on a tasty crust using a propane torch.

My experiments in sous vide starts with a prototype hot water bath in the workshop. I replaced a non-working thermostat in this piece of old lab equipment with the temperature controller for a tropical aquarium. More on the build in a later post, when I’ve worked out all the kinks and housed all the pieces safely. Read More »

So by now you may be aware that Apple only supports Time Machine on internal, directly connected or volumes shared wirelessly via AirPort, right? Why not regular Network Attached Storage (NAS) volumes? Because they’re unsupported at this time. So let’s run with that risk here and experiment with using an unsupported NAS volume. Read More »

This is a quick DIY procedure for Apple Mac users who want to create, store and stream movies (converted from DVD, downloaded online or from TiVo etc.) to their Macs — or at some very nominal cost, to iPod Touch, iPhone and/or iPads too. I do this to time-shift videos in a format that works for me, so I can watch them on demand — whenever, wherever and however I find the time to enjoy them.

When streaming a movie from server to client the movie is not downloaded — it plays on demand. No need to take time out to copy videos to the client device before watching them — using up valuable disk or RAM space in the process. The videos are stored in one location, the server, and are available for playback on one or more remote clients — on demand (just wait a few seconds for the initial buffer to set up). In lieu of the video being locally stored, you need to have a good network connection to your server. Read More »

UPDATE: Finally, with some successful experimentation under my belt (and some tasty food as well), I torched a steak …

Caption: The Steak, destined to become medium rare: Slow roasted in the BBQ with hood down around 300˚F (148˚C) for about 25 minutes until the internal temperature reached 140˚F (60˚C) — turned once — then turbo blasted for a few seconds to improve caramalisation. Then rested and carved. Moist and tender, less grey layer than usual for me, but I’d like to reduce that even more — by cooking slower at a lower temperature I think. More experiments are welcome required. Read More »

A friend writes me “We’ve been working on the sugar crystal experiment, but we haven’t been able to get a single sugar crystal to grow. The science fair is a week away and I’m feeling like we need a back-up experiment.”

“Who knew first grade science could be so stressful!” Read More »

Find a location on Google maps using coordinates: Typically people use Google maps by entering addresses. You can also enter coordinates. If you were trying to geocache without a GPS, for example, you could enter the coordinates given — and thereby locate the hide on a map before you even leave home. This works well in an urban setting with many landmarks — not so well out in the wild unless you’re very good at orienteering — in which case you should print both the satellite and the terrain views.

Let’s demo an example: GC1Y8D0 is one of my caches called “An American Hero” where the coordinates are given as N 40° 53.040 W 073° 25.158. Copy-paste that into and you’ll immediate know where to look for the cache. Not as much fun as approaching the hide with a GPS; certainly more efficient! Read More »

Using a compressor we sucked all the air out of a chamber containing fruit steeped in two different glasses of fruit juice and another in vermouth — and then let the air back in to force the liquids into the spaces where the air was vacated in the fruit.

Results: Pomegranate juice not so good, vermouth very interesting, cherry cider was best.

In previous experiments I grew Red Lion amaryllis bulbs in 7:1 ratio of water to vodka 80˚ (40% alcohol by volume) and achieved a pretty stout, self-standing, amaryllis bulb growing indoors on liquid. The control on plain water grew tall, spiked well but — as is typical — the foliage fell over and needed support (see suggested reading links below).

My aim now is to see how much larger and taller I can sprout an amaryllis bulb on a dilution of alcohol before the foliage gets leggy and the leaves topple over: I want to determine the minimum dilution of alcohol to use for maximum results.

The original ratio of 7:1 vodka 80˚ (40% alcohol by volume) to water is 1/8th of 40% or just 5% alcohol. This year I’m trying (a) weaker dilutions of alcohol to put less stress on the growth — 4.1% and 3% respectively — and (b) I’m using less expensive and more easily obtained isopropyl alcohol rather than the ethanol or grain alcohol I used in all my previous experiments. Read More »