Alas, the best solar cooking days are nearly over for the year. I thought I'd do a last quick update of things I learned this summer.
1. When solar cooking meaty, casseroley dishes (bolognaise sauce etc.) - add way less water than you normally would.
For solar-cooked bolognaise sauce I use tomato paste completely undiluted. The only extra liquid I add is a little balsamic vinegar. The mince releases loads of liquid as it cooks and it doesn't steam away.
2. Osso buco is great solar-cooked. No risk of too much bubbling - therefore no risk of the marrow falling out or getting lost in the sauce! It stays perfectly in place as it cooks.
3. I still can't get the hang of solar cooking pasta. Not wheat pasta anyway. Even fresh, home-made wheat pasta. I think it's because I can't get the water quite hot enough to cook the flour properly
Nikki did some great rice noodles in her cooker though. I tried them at our solar cooking get-together, and they were perfect. Maybe the rice flour just cooks at a lower temperature than the wheat flour???
4. You have to make an effort to stay in the habit of solar cooking.
This is probably the most important lesson I learned. Although we had some great solar-cooked meals this summer, we could've had a lot more if I'd made more effort to get a routine going. For me, solar cooking is one of those things that the more I do, the more I do. But as soon as I stop for a few days, it's hard to get going again.
Wellington is a bit problematic that way, with its unpredictable weather. Just when you're on a roll, the weather packs up for a few days and it's easy to get out of the habit again.
Next summer, I won't let the weather beat me!
Meanwhile, we have to prepare for winter, and our next power-saving venture will be attempting to go fridgeless. Not sure we could manage it in summer, but winter should be possible.
I'll probably be picking Ruth's brain's alot, as she is an experienced fridgeless dweller ....
Ile des pins and a vegetarian in New Caledonia
4 weeks ago