FoodScience! Do You Know Where That's Been?

Methylcellulose is an odd little chemical. You’ve most likely come across it in toothpaste or ice cream, where it’s used as a bulking agent, but it’s also used as a treatment for constipation, the main ingredient for gunge used in children’s television shows (and the effects for Ghostbusters), and ahem, also used as a substitute in certain ‘specialist’ films.

It helps not to think of the last one when cooking with it.

A few weeks ago, Stacie and I tried to use Methylcellulose to make 'hot ice cream'. Our results were not entirely spectacular. But I knew there were other applications for it in the kitchen, so I thought I'd get a batch at home and experiment.

To add to the madness, Bonnie and I took leave of our senses and ordered a Kitchen Aid stand mixer this Wednesday.

Kitchen Aid!

It is glorious. And it also allowed me to consider making eggless meringues. It's fairly simple: methylcellulose is not soluble in hot water, but it is in cold. This has the odd effect of making a solution turn solid when heated. To make an ersatz meringue, all you should have to do is add methylcellulose, whip it into a mixture, and then bake it in the oven!

I thought about it. And thought about it some more. I decided that the best use of this knowledge would be to make a Pimm's and lemonade meringue. Well, you would really, wouldn't you?

Anyone for Pimm's?

I added a touch of xanthan gum to thicken up the drink before adding in the methylcellulose. This is where things went wrong. Because I used carbonated lemonadem the combination of MC and the gum caused the bubbles in the liquid to stay instead of it going flat. Plus it had the rather unfortunate side effect of turning the drink light yellow/brown.

Still, after being mixed in the Kitchen Aid for just over 15 minutes, it had risen quite impressively. The texture is a bit like Angel Delight but much frothier.

Whipped Pimm's

It was at this point that I forgot I was supposed to put it in the oven. I blame a trying day at work.

After losing a can of Dr. Pepper to the curse of the brown bubbles, I got out my handy carton of orange juice and made up a smaller batch using that. This time, I did remember to put it in the oven (150°C for 5-10 minutes).

This is an orange meringue. If I had a blow torch, it'd probably look a bit more done. But if I had a blow torch, my sister would have set me on fire by now, so it's good that I don't.

Orange Meringue

The trouble with the technique is that methylcellulose doesn't hold its shape for very long; as soon as the temperature dips below the setting point, it begins to turn back into a liquid. You have to eat it fast, I guess.

The same technique can also be used to make vegan-friendly marshmallows. To test that, I used Diet Coke. They looked pretty good, but the taste is pretty vile. Next time, I think I'll try a batch using raspberry puree or a liquid mixed in with a sugar syrup.

Diet Coke Marshmallow

currently playing: Los Campesinos! – Drop It Doe Eyes

The Elephant In Your Living Room...The Fascist In Your Bed

Almost five years since the launch of the iTunes Music Store, it is now the biggest retailer of music in America.

We can pause here to laugh at the RIAA, who were so afraid of unrestricted music that they handed the keys to their kingdom to Apple Computer, Inc. Good show!

currently playing: R.E.M. – Living Well Is The Best Revenge

"THAT'S JUST YOUR HAND!"

Oh yes.

FreakazoidS1.jpg

currently playing: Beta Band – It’s Over

2008: Indie Sloganeering For The Masses

Also: iMac speakers are brilliant for holiday office work…

currently playing: The Chemical Brothers – Don’t Stop the Rock

We Never Had It So Good

Bubblegum Vodka

Milk choclate cups with a kick!

Dr. Pepper Agar Jelly

Strawberry Marshmallows!

Mmmmm YUM.

currently playing: The Indelicates – Julia, We Don’t Live In The 60s

Despite All The Fools And Liars

QUINCY!!!

currently playing: The Indelicates – Better To Know

This is Texas

We do things differently here.

Reactionary? Us?

Lord Scarman called for a new emphasis on community policing and said more people from ethnic minorities should be recruited to the force.

He also advised the government to end racial disadvantage and tackle the disproportionately high level of unemployment among young black men - as high as 50% in Brixton.

The report has been widely welcomed by senior policeman and government ministers.

Or we could just make fun of him by putting his fictional avatar in a cell with...HORROR...GAY PEOPLE! LAUGH AT TOM ROBINSON! VOTE TORY!

This Is Not A Test

I repeat…This Is Not A Test.

currently playing: She & Him – This Is Not A Test

It Was Carrboro...Once Again

Pictures now up on Flickr as usual. Perhaps not a lot to say this time, except that it was stuffed with woodsy walks, compressed shopping, surprise appearances, drinking, a bit more drinking, New Order at 3am in the morning, getting a round of applause at IP3 for turning up in costume, seeing Obamarama come to Chapel Hill, and the usual wonderment. Here’s to November!

currently playing: LCD Soundsystem – Great Release