Sunday, November 02, 2008

In which we upload a lot of photos......

Hello! And welcome to today's report on: Do I still have any eyebrows (or a place to live)?

The good news is, yes! To both questions! I have cooked a meal, I have not blown up my house trying to light methylated spirits, I have not burnt myself or anything and I have neither poisoned myself with meths or in general (well, insofar as I can tell so far.)

Here we have the story in full:
Here is my trangia set up - and because I'm a cheatery-mccheater-pants it's set up on my kitchen counter. Well, it's cold and dark outside.....and I didn't want my neighbours to call the police and report some strange figure setting fire to things at the back of my flats. Being arrested by the police wasn't high on my list of aims for the evening. In this picture you have the bonus views of my toaster and the pan I used for porridge this morning, in the sink, You're welcome!

Oooh looky! Here I have filled my fuel vessel with my meths and water mixture and lit it - with a looong match coz I'm a wuss. This vessel took nearly 100ml of meths plus 20ml of water. Diluting your meths at a ratio of 15-20% water to meths will prevent your pans and the burner holes on your fuel vessel getting all sooty. A saving on washing up and non-sooty fuel vessel holes makes for a more efficient burn - yay!
I opened my kitchen window once I had lit my trangia - it smelt a bit funny.
Oh look, here I forgot to take a picture of my water in the pan beneath these onions - well, that would be a dull picture; so, probably just as well.
Here are very finely chopped onions in some olive oil - coz I'm posh like that. I'm also a mean chopper, so I can chop my onions this small.....go me! My onions sat on top of my water the entire time I was waiting for my water to boil.....35 minutes!!!! Which is extreme - especially as the water never actually came to a rolling boil......tsk. After 35 minutes my onions were faintly warm and the oil was *just* beginning to sizzle a tiny bit.
Now, my water has finally come damn-near close to boiling so I got bored and put my pasta (fresh spinach pasta - did I mention the posh?) in and took it off the heat, and put it to one side with a lid on it. I figured that the heat in the water would be enough to soften and heat the pasta through and I was worried that if I didn't do something I'd be having pasta with raw onion for dinner. As soon as I removed the water pot and put the frying pan directly over the heat my onions started sizzling - see them sizzle? They're all in the middle because that's where the hot bit is.....
Well now, my onions are cooking so well that I've added the (fairly finely) chopped mushrooms and they're well on their way to getting nice and soft. In fact, any minute now I'm going to get carried away and add my salt and pepper and oregano. Always add your herbs before your liquids - then you get the nice smell of the herbs in your kitchen. Couldn't tell you if it makes it *taste* any better, but it doesn't make it taste any worse.......

Here we have further evidence of my mccheatery posh ways - instead of bog standard chopped tomatoes (which I do use frequently!) I've added some fancy Bertolli Pecorino cheese and garlic sauce - verrry fancy dinners here folks! It's bubbling away quite quickly now, so once it's heated through I'll put the pot of water and pasta back on the burner and put the frying pan back on top of that to keep it don't need a picture of that, do you?

This here, this is what you do while you wait for 35 minutes for your water to drink diet coke with lime (never buying *that* again - ick.) Sit next to an open box of chocolate chip cookies (huh, how did that come to be open.....?) And read your book - Elizabeth Moon in my case. And keep peeking to see if it's boiling yet. Which of course slows down the process because you've let the heat out from under the lid. Damn my impatience!

Gosh, but I'm bored of waiting pasta is looking pretty wibbly and steamy, even if it isn't boiling. A sample is taken and approved - in fact, it's a little mushy. Tut. So, off the heat it comes and the sauce is whipped back on to make sure it's nice and warm while the pasta is drained. Pasta is manouvered to plate and sauce applied - the end result is as follows:

Ta dah!
The finished product - I still have not died from eating it and it did not taste of meths. It tasted of pecorino cheese and garlic, and spinach pasta.
I cannot currently say I'm as good as a bronze DofE group since I didn't actually cook it outside - but I'm now one step ahead of the girls I'll be supervising at Saturday's cooking competition! Bonus!
And, no, noone ever called me a tidy cook - hence the stuff all over the counter-top.

The amount of meths lasted for an hour and 10 minutes. This is a *lot* longer than I was anticipating - however I *was* indoors in a fairly warm room. Quite frankly, I *dread* to think how long I would have waited for the water to heat up if I'd been outdoors.....

So, tune in tomorrow to see if I can be bothered to cook something else on the trangia - maybe I'll even take it outside! Maybe my neighbours will have a fit! Maybe I'll have to fight off London drunks desperate for my meths (unlikely) (I hope) You know you can't wait!


Ciorstaidh said...

EDIBLE food on a trangia? Who'da thunk it?

Usually I only eat what's been cooked on a trangia because I'm bloody ravenous :P

Water heats up a lot faster on a trangia if you use the frying pan as a lid over the pot. Which of course you knew...

Sepha said...

@Ciorstaidh - would you believe the 35 mins *included* frying pan on top as lid; as you're quite correct, I guessed.....;) I think I have a duff trangia. (when in doubt, blame your equipment)

Sarah M Dillon said...

35 MINS for a water boil, indoors in a warm room??!!! Whew, that's a lllooooooong wait when you're gagging for a cuppa ;)

Our best last weekend on our 1 - 2 person trangia was 12 mins under a shelter outdoors on a sort-of windy evening, and at worst just under 20 mins under a shelter outdoors on a super-windy, semi-cyclone evening (cue much adjusting of windbreaker thing).... but it did vary a lot in between!

Hmmm, maybe make it a camp activity to paint the bottom of the pots black??! :)

Sweet Camden Lass said...

Perhaps it's diluting the meths what does it.

Incidentally, have found shop with HUGE bottles of the stuff near work.


Ciorstaidh said...

@ Sepha - oh goodness. Do you think the Senior Section should be on standby with edible food for the Guides (and Guiders), then? I will borrow Cath Layne's primus for the purpose :P (if you show up early enough on Saturday there will be eggy bread and bacon...!)

Sepha said...

@Ciorstaidh - if 9am is early enough then make enough eggy bread and bacon for the Dear Other and myself!! ;)
The guides are getting fed the usual lunch - no worries if it all goes to pot!