Cornflour (Cornstarch)

cornflourCornflour, also known as cornstarch is the starch from the endosperm section of the corn kernel. It is produced by steeping the kernals for 30 to 48 hours to allow it to ferment. The germ is separated from the endosperm and each is ground separately. The starch is removed by washing.

Its main uses are culinary, it is often used to thicken sauces. Unlike other flours it leaves sauces clear rather than opaque. The sauce will thin if cooked too long or stirred to vigourously.

Cornstarch is an example of a non-newtonian fluid when mixed with water. This means that if sudden pressure is applied to it it will behave like a solid, but if treated gently it will behave like a liquid.

blue-ray-discCornstarch can also be used in the manufacture of environmentally friendly products such as biodegradable plastics. In 2003 Pioneer created a biodegradable Blue-Ray disk using cornstarch.

The cornstarch plastic can be used in injection molding, extrusion and other processes making it a very versatile plastic.


November 20, 2008 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

Thoughts on Saffron

saffran_crocus_sativus_moist Saffron is a spice derived from the dried stigma of the saffron crocus. It is one of the worlds most expensive spices and has had a place in many cultures for more than 3,000 years.

The cultivated saffron crocus C. sativus is unknown in the wild. It was created by artificial selection by growers who wanted long stigmas. Because the saffron crocus is sterile they cannot reproduce without human assistance.

The bulb of the crocus, known as a corm must be dug up, broken apart and replanted. Each corm only survives one season, and reproduces by dividing into ten cormlets from which new plants arise.

Inside each flower is a three-pronged style. Each style ends with a crimson stigma 25–30 mm in length.

Saffron was first documented in the 7th century BC. It is used as a seasoning, fragrance, dye, and medicine. One part saffron to 150,000 parts water will turn the water bright yellow and still have its distinctive flavor.

Cultivation is all done by hand, which explains the cost of the spice. It is estimated to take 14,000 stigmas to produce one ounce of saffron threads. The cultivation of saffron needs an specific climate. The summer months should be hot and dry and the winter cold. The land must be flat and without trees.

The bulbs are sown in June/July and are placed in ridges 20cm deep. Each bulb is 10cm apart. Sowing is done by hand.

Harvesting saffron begins early in the morning by picking the flowers and separating the stigmas. The harvest period is from late September to late December.

Once the stigmas are collected they are placed in a warm, dry room for seven days. In some cases the stigmas are roasted. When the saffron is dry is it packaged and kept away from light and humidity.

November 18, 2008 at 5:09 pm Leave a comment

Mowing the Pond

With one of these your chores wont just include taking out the bins, sweeping up the leaves and mowing the lawn, it will also include mowing the pond!


This boat mounted cutter is designed to control weeds in lakes and ponds. The problem is – once you’ve mowed the pond, you have to rake the pond too!


via: [Source]

November 14, 2008 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

A thousand places to see before you die

Photo by Chaval Brasil

A Thousand places to see before you die. A list of all the best places in the world and the attractions to see while your there!

November 10, 2008 at 9:00 am Leave a comment

Strange foods from around the World

Going abroad brings all sorts of problems, where to go and where to stay, but what to eat? Surely nothing can go wrong there!


A Canadian dish, chips, fresh cheese curds and covered with gravy. It is regarded as a quintessential Canadian comfort food. It originated in Quebec, Canada. Poutine is a fast food staple in Canada andis sold by many fast food chains.

Canadian Poutine

Canadian Poutine


A regional food in Delaware, South Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. It is made from pig offal, the head, heart, liver, and other scraps are boiled with the bones, often the entire head, to make a broth.
The bones and fat are discarded and dry cornmeal is added to the broth to make a mush. Seasonings such as sage and thyme are added and the mixture is cooled in loaf tins until it solidifies



No strange food list could go without mentioning haggis, the traditional Scottish dish. There are many recipes but the common ingredients are sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), onion, oats, suet, spices and salt, stock. The mixture is boiled in the animals stomach for about three hours. It is usually served as a main course on Burns night.



Known as beondegi in Korea they are boiled and seasoned and eaten as a snack food. In China roasted silkworm pupae are sold by street vendors. They also come in tins.


November 7, 2008 at 11:20 am Leave a comment

Finally, a Great British tennis player

Any fans of tennis will know that Britain has failed to produce a truly-great tennis player for quite some time. Certainly not in my lifetime anyway. Well, now young Scot, Andy Murray, looks set to be the first Brit to win one of the Grand Slam titles as his form continues to improve and the trophy cabinet becomes full.

Ok, so he is British but he isn’t English so many Scots will probably claim him as their own rather than share him with us English underachievers. Henman and Rusedski were very good players but always fell just short at the vital moment. Let’s hope the same doesn’t happen to Andy. At least we know he isn’t lacking in confidence…

October 30, 2008 at 4:14 pm Leave a comment

Is Maradona the right man for the job?

It had been rumoured in the media that the great Diego Armando Maradona is to make a comeback, this time not as a player, but as coach for the Argentina national football team. Maradona was a technically-gifted, committed and exceptional footballer, possibly the best ever to play the game, but what sort of coach would he be?

Since the announcement that the little genius will be taking control of the likes of Crespo, Messi and Tevez – football fans all over the world will be keen to see what he has to offer. As a player and a captain, no-one can get near Maradona in Argentina’s history so he has a lot of work to do if he is to surpass his playing achievements as a manager.

Watch the best goal ever scored and wait for Maradona to work his magic as the coach of his beloved country. If he fails, then the secret to a great manager definitely isn’t football ability.

Good luck Diego, but fingers crossed we don’t meet in the World Cup 2010.

October 29, 2008 at 3:57 pm Leave a comment

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