Miserable Failure

Failed Jello AquariumI thought preparing Clare Crespo's Jell-O Aquarium recipe for after-nap treat time would make me the coolest Papa in the Penguin room (and, it seemed irresistably neat). I bought a 1-gallon polycarbonate cylinder for it and gummy eels because an aquarium of eels just seemed more apropriate for a gang of toddlers. I was totally psyched when I got the time to put it together.

Save your precious time and file this away as a miserable failure.

1. Berry Blue Jello is pretty cloudy and dark, both big problems for visualizing floating items.
2. Berry Blue Jello is pretty expensive and no generics exist because of the apparent challenge finding blue-hued food.
3. Fruit cocktail, drained, DOES NOT SINK!

Clare, you're creative but you gotta test your recipes instead of having an expensive photographer shoot what the creation should look like. That's why food blogs are so valuable, they're essentially tested recipes. I should've known this looked a bit too good to be true.

At least we have jello for a few nights for dessert.


Palm (soap)

Palm SoapAlright, I'm just not cooking anything interesting but I have a quick 10 minutes to whip together a soap recipe here and there, so I did:

palm oil, 340 g
coconut oil, 136 g
olive oil, 68 g
water, 288 g
NaOH, 75 g
lemongrass oil, 8 mL

Aqueous base prepared and allowed to cool. Then, the fats were melted and everything mixed around 120F. Mixed with an immersion blender and when the mixture thickened, I poured into two disc-shaped molds lined with plastic wrap and covered the surface with additional plastic wrap. I intend to slice these into 4 semi-circle bars.

The critical factor to this soap is according to the recipe, I should have only added 68 g NaOH, but according to the MMS calculator, it should be 75 grams for a superfatted soap. We'll see how it turns out. It traced kind of quick. This recipe size was perfect to fill 2 x 400 mL molds (enough for 4 good sized bars).

Soap was popped out of their molds after about 12 hours, very firm and cut to shape and allowed to cure in air. No visible carbonate on the surface. I think the MMS Calculator is pretty good in getting the right amount of NaOH in the mixture.

Update 13-Sep-2005
One day after unmolding, and cutting into bars there's no trace of carbonate formation. Years ago, when I made soap, I had problems with carbonate formation on the exterior surface of the bars. These are really clean and already very firm. I suspect they'll be ready to use within a couple weeks. So, get ready readers, some of you just might be reading about the development of your xmas gift. Sorry to ruin the surprise.