Just as aside and since I mentioned preservatives, I recently went to see King Tut's mummy with dear friend Peter Eaton
The British Museum has all these halls - each named chronologically - 10 000 years ago, 9000 years ago and so forth.
And as I watched parents and children hurrying into the 3000 years ago hall, trying not to look like they were rushing, then cringe and giggle as they stared into the glass case wherein lay the mummied remains of some poor royal soul who once walked and breathed upon the earth, I thought perhaps that this was a little inadvertently macabre. And perhaps not without a little dash of underlying colonialism, for as far as I could see there were no British mummies on display, say for instance and with all due respect - Queen Victoria, who would now have been shamefully pulled out of a desecrated tomb and put in a glass case for all to see.
It seems there are some double standards when it comes to treating the remains of royalty from different regions of the world in the museum's efforts to educate the general public and preserve ancient history. It was with some trepidation that I looked round and thankfully did not find a 'couple decades ago' similar display.
Anyway, anyway my tip today was going to be about the following. Read the instructions and stick to them.
Last night I attempted to surprise my household with a fabulous (well it looked scrumptious on the packaging -ish) low fat, and even lower preservative (again according to the packaging) Tesco Vegetable Lasagne which can serve 4.
Rather than take the easy and quick microwave preparation route - I decided to follow the far more complicated and somewhat tedious 'Oven' alternative.
This is quite tricky as it entails switching on the oven, trying to work out which of the stove dials symbols means 'bake' and then also having to turn another dial to 190 C or 375 F or gas mark 5.
As our stove is electric I cleverly ignored the gas mark, and as I am from the metric generation so have no real understanding of the imperial system - I went with the 190 centigrade.
And here's where I made my error. To my inexperienced head I thought, 'Okay if one has to cook it for 25 minutes at 190 C ...' (Note: the oven must be pre-heated, then only does the countdown start) I thought, 'why not turn it up to 220 C then one would only need to wait, say 15 minutes before I proudly present my and Tesco's creation to my hungry and tired long suffering diners.'
This shortcut does not work!
It has to be 190 C or else as I discovered, if you push the oven higher, and although it cooks the dish quicker - it also makes the top of the lasagne go all black and start smoking. That I could have lived with as I have always enjoyed the parts which are crispy, but and here is the core of my tip.... if you set the temperature even just a mere 20 degrees higher in your efforts to save time and energy - the plastic container melts and becomes part of the ingredients. This to many minds is unacceptable.
Okay that was going to be my tip, but I feel another coming on, one more important as I have made myself a little queasy in writing this. My tip today should rather be - Don't discuss Mummies and preservation processes in cooking columns nor at the dinner table. It is enough to put anyone off their supper!
As always, use it, don't lose it!
We're not just family - WeZaTribe!™ All rights reserved © 2011 De Villiers Hilton Partnership