More Accurate Way to Measure Rice Water

As I learnt from my parents and later from books. The amount of water should be in proportion with volume of rice. For example, one cup water should go with one cup rice before putting it over the flaming stove.
Note: Some need less while others need more. A bit adjustment maybe necessary with every rice batch purchased.
Specifically, this is how my parents thought me how to cook rice. Get rice using the improvised measuring container. Usually an empty medium can of evaporated milk or other thin can of comparable size.
Wash several times with generous water until the last washing is clear and no visible floating dirt.
Then here is how to add the right water volume.
Discard the last washing. Make the washed rice as flat as possible. Measure the depth with straightened palm. Finally, add water equivalent to that depth.
This method is fine for expert cook but too crude for newbie. It is a hit or miss technique that often misses. Before, mine would end up too wet, too dry, raw and rarely nicely done. I often chose the frying jobs to avoid mother’s anger.
The rice flatness when adding water is disturbed. The water measurement will be wrong when the palm is placed in shallow or deeper area.
The cauldron wall is not straight from bottom to rim. Obviously, equal thickness of rice and water above does not mean they are of equal volume.
Here are some tips that I like to share.
If you feel the rice at hand is clean enough. Measuring equal volume rice and water will do the trick.
If washing is necessary. Do the method mentioned above. Stir well. Drain water to separate container. Measure it. Get equivalent amount to be added back. Repeat until satisfied. This way, we have avoided the measurement guess work.  We have measured the right volumes and just replacing the loss water with every washing.
Use electric rice cooker whenever possible. I have never missed once with it. It is fast and energy saving. Contrary to what you have in mind. Yes, it gonna raise electric bill a bit but will save on gas and firewood. In addition, as soon as cooking is started, you can leave it and do other important tasks. Even watching TV and falling asleep is allowable.
If using firewood or LPG. Bear in mind that it should go into running boil as quickly as possible. Set the flame to high at the beginning and lowering gradually toward the end. Easier to do with lpg stove and a lot harder with wood fire. it is kind of erratic. Flame is hard to start. It will become to strong and suddenly to weak and extinguished.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Food Safe Wood Surface With Polyurethane Varnish

This is an update of the previous article, “Making the Wood Surface Food Safe with Polyurethane Varnish“.
The cooling tunnel prototype is ready to get a dab of durable coating. This is the first version ever. Normally, I would test it first but this is different. I had a very good feeling it would work above my expectations. Also, I never wanted installing the cooling unit on bare wood. Moisture might absorbed around it and damage the wood eventually. Besides, installation takes time and doing it repeatedly is tiresome.
First day, I applied wood stain to give it a beautiful classic look. I sealed the imperfection first before wood stain application.
Second day, I applied the first coating of polyurethane varnish. Recommended number of coats is at least two and each re-coat should be done a day after to prevent blobs and bubbles. There should be light sanding in between.
After an hour, the varnish is dry to touch so I did the second and third coatings within the day. I was quite happy with the result. Smooth and shiny surface and could have been better if I followed the manufacturer’s instruction.
wood surface coated with polyurethane
The third day, I installed the cooling unit, cooling racks and thick plastic strips as easy-to-open door cover.
Fourth day and time for initial testing. I molded a batch of bar chocolates. Prepared all, down to last drop atop cooling cabinet without protective covering. Placing the heavy container on it, pulling, pushing and rotating as I progressed.
After. I wiped it dry and clean easily. No dents and no scratches. The same satisfactory outcome with subsequent trials.
What if scratch intentionally with sharp objects such as knife and broken glass? It will incur damage of course. Even the most praised stainless steel do.
Our purpose here is making the wood easy to clean and resistant to water absorption, chemicals and food debris. We want it to stand against scratches and chipping due to light regular use.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Do Not Ship Perishable Goods on Weekends

Date today is July 17, Sunday. Maybe LBC and other courier services never do delivery on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Or, just maybe, this one is an isolated case.
I have the habit of tracking delivery status whenever I ordered thing online. Whether it is local or abroad. It is not like I doubt the seller or something. All I want is anticipate the exact delivery day. So I can make myself available or ask someone to receive it in my behalf.
Here are the order specifics.
I ordered an air conditioner on Lazada, July 8. It is intended for my cooling tunnel project. According to forum, DIY is far more efficient and way cheaper than commercial brands. Adding the fact, the specific product I need is hard to find and procure.
The item I ordered is not sold directly by Lazada. It was posted and being fulfilled by a concessionaire. It was shipped via LBC on July 12. It took them four days. The duration varies depending on concessionaire. Some are prompt that they are able to ship a day after.
Then from seller tracking page, I switched to courier monitoring site.
July 12, the package was in Solutions Crossdock Alabang. Accepted at Lazada on July 13. Then forwarded to and received at Cavite South Delivery Hub on July 14, Sunday.
July 14 was Thursday and I was expecting delivery the next day, July 15. I have ordered couple of items from Lazada already. This is the trend I’ve observed. When my package is in Cavite Delivery Hub, I am receiving it the very next day. Mostly late in the afternoon.
lbc tracking page snapshot
This one is a different case. It got stocked in their warehouse for three days already.
When I was searching for chocolate shipping tips, one guy in forum said do to ship on weekend. There is a very high chance of it getting stock in courier warehouse. The longer it is in transit, the more its chance to melt.
So what the guy in the forum said was true. Goods stay in courier warehouses on weekend. I am pretty sure perishables have special storage and delivery mode than regular items. However, item condition is not in our control once handed to cargo service.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

The Cheap But Break Resistant LED Bulb

I searched for locally available unbreakable led bulb with no success. There is in local online store but I have never bought yet. For the mean time, I inclined my attention to public market where my friend told me of a cheesy story. Vendors were throwing led bulb on cemented floor with no breakage.
So I asked my wife to find the vendor for me and buy a sample. Ensure what she will get is really unbreakable. Tell the guy to throw it or whatever action that may render it destroyed.
She did. She handed me a box containing the so called unbreakable led bulb. She got it for almost half the price of popular brands. The vendor slammed the light cover part to hard surface and it never broke. Then removed the protective cover and showed her what’s inside.
break resistant led bulb
The packaging looks cheap. The whole bulb is so light weight. I can barely feel it in my hands. The assembly is a bit loose. I can hear the knocking sound by slightly shaking the base. I pulled the covering off with ease. I saw led components came off a little. The manufacturer did not bother fixing it with screws to cut down on cost. It is loosely held together in between cap and base. It was made for affordability, not for quality.
opened led bulb
The bulb cover is plastic and is indeed resistant to breakage when dropped. However, the parts are likely to separate exposing the electronic components.
What I mean. Electronic components are joined together with solder which contain lead. It is harmful and may contaminate food. In addition, small parts may came off and fall to foods.


update as of July 2016
I tried the Shock and Vibration Resistant LED bulb of Omni. It works pretty well!
 

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

Skinless Longganisa Cooking Trick..

They call it skinless longanisa and yet it has inedible plastic covering. I am not enraged about the name but the tedious cooking routine. Anyone needs to peel the plastic off before frying. Often, it results to deformations and breaking apart. The problem is the product itself sticking to covering like a wet Elmers glue.
Here is a litte trick to make your life easier.
Bring water to boil. Then dip the longanissa briefly or until you see the binders start to harden. Take off, cool and remove the plastic covering with very little effort.
Fry.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.