My primitive way to cast aluminium.

My primitive way to cast aluminium or how I made a knife guard out of scrap aluminium. Part one.

One of my knife was fairly balanced and due to its design, it was beginning to be heavy. So I decided to make the guard out of aluminium. Yes of course I can take a flat piece of aluminium and use it for the guard but were is all the fan?

So, true to my recycle(ist) nature I set about to make the aluminium bar by myself.  I have all sort of scrap aluminium, I have a little NC two burners gas forge, I have a casting metal ladle and I have a few construction grade sand bags. Perfect.

Here is what you need to do (if you want to do it at all that is).

First you need to do the moulding plug. I used piece of wood the thickness of my finished guard plus 2mm. I traced marking line slight bigger than the finished guard size and screwed two screws to help me to take it out of the mould box.  I purposely left one side flat. More about it in the second post.

Aluminum casting

Then I build a wooden moulding box. You don’t have to build it but you need container big enough to allow two centimeters of sand around the plug.

Fill up the mould with sand all the way to the bream and tamp it to compact the sand (it is helping to dampened the sand a little bit, it help to bind it together. The finer the sand you can use the better.

Use a teaspoon t0 dig into the sand and bury (not berry) the plug all the way to the plug upper side. Pack the sand all around the plug. Now, very carefully draw out  the plug from the sand. If the hedge of the plug impression is ruined to some degrees  try and repair it with you teaspoon.

Aluminium casting   Aluminium casting

Stand the box near your forge and make sure its leveled to the universe.

Cut the aluminium pieces to the size that the ladle can take  snugly.

How much aluminium do you need, you may asked.  Archimedes asked himself the same question and he also found the answer. Anyway I won’t bore you with his principals, instead all you have to do is to weight  a guard that you got from previous knife and roughly estimate the weight. If you really want to be scientific about it, you can read on that web-site ‘http://www.schoolphysics.co.uk/age11-14/Matter/text/Archimedes_/index.html’.

The above technique by Archimedes is good if you don’t have like for like guard sample. You made one from other material like wood, clay or wax and you need to know the volume of the guard to assess its weight.

Load the ladle with the same weight plus thirty present more with the aluminium pieces. Fire up the forge (or any other heat source that is hot enough) put the ladle inside and melt the metal. Some people will say that you need to add borax to the metal to help with the cleaning and the flow of the metal  during the casting process. I didn’t. But  it worked fine however.

Aluminium casting

Cast it in to the sand mould and let it overflow, to make sure you have the proper width.

Aluminium casting

After it been cooled down you need to grind it to the wonted thickness, but more about it in the second part of that post.

 

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Pork belly with potatoes and fennel

I can call that title to the recipe, but then Google won’t recognise it as recipe that been cooked in Dutch oven, in wood burning stove. However this is yet another recipe for Dutch oven .

Dutch oven pork belly with vegetables.

The quantity is for 20cm (internally) Dutch oven.

Ingredients:

6 Good size pork belly strips.

2 Fennels, each sliced to half.

2 Potatoes, each sliced to half.

700ml Chicken stock.

10 Peeled garlic cloves.

¾ Cup of sauerkraut.

1/3 Cup pimento stuffed olives, each sliced to half.

1 Tablespoon paprika.

1 Teaspoon fennel seeds.

1 Teaspoon coriander seeds.

Salt & pepper.

Olive oil

 Preparation:

Light fire in the stove and let it burn out to smouldering ashes.

In the Dutch oven fry the belly strips until golden and set aside.

Add little more oil and under low heat add all the vegetables and the pickles. Mix it all to coat the vegetable in the fat.

Add the spices and seasoning, increase the heat and cook it (while mixing) for two minutes to intensify the flavour that the spices add to the dish.

Add the pork belly strips and mix, pour in the stock and bring to boil.

Cover it and into the stove. Cook it for two hours at least.

Every half an hour check if there is enough liquid in the pan. If not add more boiling water.

Don’t let the fire goes out completely, add some more kindling to it. you want to keep the stove hot enough.

Dutch oven recipe

Enjoy.

P.S  To my friends in Israel, see if you can identify the wine glass.

 

 

 

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How to roast pecan nuts to perfection

Today post is in honour of Yafke Aviezer from kibbutz Nirim that was the inspiration for the recipe.

Yes, I do like nuts. Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachio, Brazil nuts, Peanuts, also (not nuts, but nice to eat) sunflower and pumpkin seed.

Those who know me, realise that I will roast my own nuts whenever I can get hold of commercial quantity of it.

It is sound silly but until recently I was struggling to get satisfying result when I roast nuts. It was kind of hit and miss process.  I used to take out the nuts from the oven every so often, mix it and check if ready.

It was nuisance to say the list, and the result wasn’t that good. I mean, time to time I nailed it but not always.

The brake through came recently, while watching the program ‘how do they do it’ on the Quest TV channel. It was about how they roast peanuts on the shell (monkey nuts).

The big secret is……….. you have to roast it for half an hour for 149 degrees Celsius, no more no less.  I did tried it on Pecan nuts and pumpkin seed  and it worked like a treat.  I am sure it will work on other types of nuts and seeds.

And for the recipe.

Ingredients:

Pecan tree. (one)

How to roast pecans

Salt.

Flour .

Water.

Hammer.

Preparation:

Pick  some nuts, as much as you can roast  in your oven. Bear in mind that you want to roast it spread on the baking tin in on layer, more or less.

With the hammer, gently crack (break without coming fully apart) open the pecans and put it in the baking tin. Try to take out the loos shells as much as you can .

Now, mix one spoon flour and two spoon salt in 2/5 cupful of lukewarm water (for normal size oven) and spread all over the pecans. Mix thoroughly. Don’t over load the baking try (see comment above).

As you understood, bake in pre heated oven at (you guessed it ) 149 degrees Celsius exactly for thirty minutes. You don’t have to mix it every five minutes. Just wait the thirty minutes.

It can be store for a long time if you put it in air tight container (glass is nice), just make sure that the pecans are cold before put them in the jar.

How to roast pecans

Disclosure:

Stick to the temp’ and time that I been given, it is important. But, if by the end of the roasting time the pecan are still wet, then next time put less water. I can’t remember exactly how much water I been using. It is like my grandmother use to do, no numbers just pure experience.

 

 

 

 

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Cod fish in spicy tomatoes sauce.

Like in the old testimony story about Sodom and Gomorrah*. God told Lot that he will spare the cities if Lot will point out if only for one righteous man.

So if the day will come and they will ask me,  I will spare the UK if only for the inventing of fish & chips.

Problem is: my wife don’t like fish and chips and for that matter she don’t like cod.

But, the other day she make a mistake and bought cod fish instead of bass. I had to improvised some recipe that is not deep frying.

Now, I do like fish and tomatoes, and I do like middle east spices.  So I give you the recipe for cod fish in spicy tomatoes sauce.

  Ingredients:

6 6od filets.

Recipe for cod fish in spicy tomatoes sauce

400ml Tined  chopped tomatoes (the best you can buy).

10 sliced garlic cloves.

3 red and yellow bell pepper cut into big cuts.

cayenne pepper.

Cumin.

Fish sauce.

Olive oil.

270x200x55mm baking tin.

The quantity of the spices is according to personal taste.

Preparation:

Fry the pepper until started to burn. Reduce the heat and sauté the garlic. When the garlic is done add the chopped tomatoes and bring to boil.

Lower the heat, add the spices and fish sauce and adjust seasoning. Mix well and cook for fifteen minutes. Add some water if too thick. After fifteen minutes turn off the fire and let it cool a bit.

Arrange the filets in the tin in one layer and pour the sauce on top. Make sure the sauce cover the fish to some degree and it goes under the fish.

Bake it in pre heated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for twenty-five minutes.

Good to serve with French beans, fry aubergine,  ciabatta bread and white wine (obviously).

*.  Due to bad (or good) education, i may be wrong about the Lot story. So correct me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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