Guinea Pigs

March 13, 2009
Sorry, people, I wanted a nice Youtube video at the top of this post, but couldn’t remember how to insert it. Since the “Easy Bread” video is on Jim Mortenson’s blog, however, I figgered promoting a fellow blogger’s blog was the proper thing to do.

Today I’d like to tell you about three recent experiments. The first two are in the spirit of using up pantry ingredients, and the third is a preparation for getting the furchildren to Saint John.

1. Easy Bread

What intrigued me with the “Easy Bread” recipe was the puny amount of yeast it requires: only a quarter-teaspoon! In order to make a little yeast go a long way, however, the dough needs to rise overnight (a similar video suggests 12 hours) .

I followed the recipe exactly, except for the part where you’re to put a pan of water in the bottom of the oven. Because Jim’s oven is gas and mine is electric, I wondered how well the instructions of 10 minutes each at 500, 450 and 350 degrees would work. I wondered even more that the bread dough was lower than the rim of the pie plate when it went into the oven.

In ten minutes, however, the round loaf had puffed up like a package of Jiffy Pop. The bread came out properly cooked after the allotted time.

The crust would have been nicer had the pan of water been in the oven. And the inside looked like an English muffin, with cells the size of my thumb; not sure why. It tasted fine, though.

2. Fudge

“Fudge” should have been a sweet, but it turned out to be an oath. I followed the recipe, used the candy thermometer, and strictly adhered to the commandment NOT to beat the fudge until it had cooled to room temperature. When I took the wooden spoon to it, it fell apart into cocoa powder and dry marble-sized lumps — which is pretty strange, considering I used baker’s chocolate and not cocoa. Am considering using it to make hot chocolate; not yet sure how to sell E.g. on the drink’s added-value raisins.

3. Rehydrated Guinea Pigs

When E.g. and I were working out the logistics of our long-distance move, I suggested that she should drive down with the breakables and Cuca, while I would take the train with the dogs. That way, we’d be assured of the least damage to the most important things. She agreed.

This week, I contacted the train station for more information regarding Fergus and Cai. One of the things the baggage people recommended was that I take a couple of plastic margarine tubs, fill them with water, and freeze them overnight. That way the dogs wouldn’t spill their water, and it would last for hours. Great idea! I immediately set two small food containers in the freezer, eager to test the procedure.

The next morning, I presented the Cardis with the frozen water dishes. Well! This turned out to be the greatest treat they’d had in ages. In five minutes, Fergus had his ice flipped outside its container; in ten minutes, all the plastic tabs had been chewed off; and in twenty minutes, half of the ice in each of the two-cup containers was licked away.


Out I went to the pet store, and returned with a twelve-ounce rodent bottle-feeder. Sitting on a stool, I licked the tube, and then invited the boys to try. It was a hit! The feeder is made of indestructible glass and metal, and fits perfectly on the inside of a crate door. So out I went to buy a second one for the other crate.

Just glad I didn’t have to show them how to eat liver biscuits.