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Coco Pops

October 7, 2013

Welcome back Toastie Amigos!

Ever felt like the start to your day is missing something? Like your breakfast is lacking pizzazz? (or, indeed, any of the Misfits?)

Everyone knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But as avid followers of the Toastie Project, we know that Toasties are the most important of All The Foods – so it only makes sense to combine the two. Let’s make the Breakfast of Champions!

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Just like a chocolate milkshake, only it’s gonna be in a sandwich!

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I imagine this is how Saturday mornings looked to lots of kids in the 80s.

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A proto-toastie. Hm, what’s the toasting equivalent of being in utero? In toastero?

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Well, whatever the term is, this toastero made a really satisfyingly crunchy noise when the lid was put down.

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The cooking time for this Toastie was unusually long, about six minutes in total. However as we hadn’t added milk (maybe next time) there was no concern about leakage issues.

One coco pop did however try to escape its bready doom and make a run for it.

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AHAHA TINY COCO POP YOU WILL SUCCUMB TO THE TOASTING LIKE THE REST OF YOUR FRIENDS.

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The obligatory cross-section. Nothing major to report here. However did I mention how fantastically chocolatey the kitchen was smelling by now?

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Innards!

Hmm.

Well, in all honesty this just looks like something in between coffee beans and mice poo.

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And while we’re digesting that mental image, let’s review the outcome of this experiment:

OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING

Toastability:

2 / 5 – even though there were no leakage/mess issues with this Toastie, it scores low on toastability because six minutes is TOO DARN LONG to wait for any Toastie to cook. This is especially true for Toasties that are meant to be made in the mornings, when my levels of patience are virtually non-existent anyway.

Taste:

1 / 5 – Unfortunately this Toastie did not make for a pleasant eating experience. The moisture from the bread and coco pops had completely evaporated during cooking, making it chewy and tough. Worst of all, the chocolate flavouring had all but disappeared, resulting in a Toastie that had a truly disturbing similarity to cardboard.

Meh, I’m not impressed. This is not what we want in a Breakfast Toastie.  Back to the drawing board! Suggestions?

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Chocolate Fish

July 15, 2013

Greetings Toastiephiles! Thank you for joining me again for some toasted goodness.

Today from our secret lab on a remote island at the bottom of the South Pacific, we shall be attempting a quintessentially kiwiana sandwich – the Chocolate Fish Toastie.

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Fish-shaped, chocolate-covered, marshmallow-centred, true-blue Koiwoi delicacies.

Chocolate Fish are more than just tasty treats, however. They’re so highly-prized to New Zealanders that they’re frequently used as symbolic tokens of thanks or appreciation.

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Do someone a good turn and they’re more than likely to reward you with a chocolate fish.

In fact, Chocolate Fish have become so important to the system of exchange for goods and services in New Zealand, that they have now been recognised as official currency.  Deliciously legal tender.

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Mmmm. Just pay me my annual salary in these please.

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But how will they toast? These specimens are filleted, descaled, and ready for the toastie-maker.

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Actually, this in itself is an achievement. It’s a fish sandwich that is one hundred percent stink-free.

I believe what we have created here today is the first ever fish sandwich that could be eaten, without remorse, in a staffroom. Truly, we may have just witnessed a revolution in lunching practices.

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But of course, we must progress with the toasting.  Soon after the application of heat the chocolate fish begin to melt in quite a predictable fashion.

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However, about sixty seconds later, we have a volatile substance containment issue on our hands.

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Indeed, marshmallow is one of the most heat-sensitive and explosive elements known to Toastie Science. This is an excellent example of why it should always be used with caution and under controlled conditions, preferably with special protective gear.

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And a clean-up contingency plan can be useful too.

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Despite the mess, these innards are rather fabulous. Note how the chocolate coating has melted into the bread nicely, and there’s a bit of striation evident in the melted marshmallow. Magnificent!

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And the cross-section. Sticky, squidgy, and pastel-coloured. Everything you want in a sandwich, obviously.

OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING:

Toastability – 4/5: I’m giving this a high toastability score partly because of the rapid cooking time (which is important in busy staffrooms), but mostly because the resulting MARSHMALLOW EXPLOSION was really entertaining to witness and I have a perverse pleasure in those kinds of things. You’re not surprised, right?

Taste – 2.5/5: despite the enjoyment I had in making this toastie, unfortunately it didn’t taste quite as good as I had anticipated. It was satisfyingly sticky and sweet, but the toasting process seemed to compromise the flavour of the Chocolate Fish. Perhaps, like sushi, Chocolate Fish are best consumed raw. However I do think that this toastie deserves to catch on and become a staple of classic kiwi dishes, to be served alongside the pavlova and chips & dip on Waitangi day. That would be choice. Bro.

Instant Ramen Noodles

November 11, 2012

HOLLA Toastie-lovers!

Despite appearances, yes I am still here and still toasting. Please excuse my prolonged absence, to paraphrase Timbaland & Aaliyah – it’s been a long time, shouldn’t have left you without a dope toastie to step to, step to, step to, step to.

So here’s a toastie that will make your lunchtime the Dopest of the Dopes.  Not only because it is the epitome of time-management (two carbo-tastic lunches in one!), but also because of the endless fun you can have thinking up portmanteaus to describe it. It’s a Toodlestie! A Toadle! A Noastie! A Nastie! No, wait… ignore that last one.

Fun Fact! – Did you know that there was a limited edition UK release of watermelon-flavoured pot noodles in 2002?

Bonus Fun Fact! – If you guessed that the previous Fun Fact not only doesn’t weird me out, but makes me want to recreate it, you’d be correct! Suggestions welcome as to how exactly I can do this, as I don’t feel we have reached the pinnacle of human achievement without the creation of a WATERMELON NOODLE TOASTIE.

Pasta. Water. Getting hotter. A song about Noodletoasties?

Aaanyhoo, after an arduous three minute cooking process, the noodle filling is prepared, reconstituted vegetables bits and the weird flesh-coloured lumpy bits are GO!

Lastly, add to two slices of white bread. I also poured plenty of the soup on there too for good measure. The whole kit and noodle caboodle.

My toastie, it overfloweth with bountiful noodles of great beauty.

After a couple of minutes it started making a weird, whistling kind of noise. Hm. Not something I’ve ever encountered before while toasting, I must say, but I took it as a sign that the toastie was done cooking and ready to be examined.

Noodletoastie innards reveal some minor singeing of the contents. You may also observe that the outline of the bread is now slightly distended, caused by the bread’s absorption of the tasty noodle soup. I have coined the term ‘Negative Leakage’ to describe this phenomenon.

My forthcoming scientific paper ‘Negative Leakage And Its Application At Lunchtimes’ (currently under peer-review) examines the effect of Negative Leakage on the structural integrity of the toastie as a whole. In layman’s terms, this meant the bread went really soggy and the contents kept falling out. I also totally burnt my hand while taking this picture, but as a Professional Toaster I sucked it up and carried on regardless.

I’m hard as nails, y’all. HARD. AS. NAILS.

OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING:

Toastability – 3/5: while this toastie was simple both to prepare and clean up, the application of soup to the bread resulted in significant issues with form and structure.

Taste – 4/5: what this toastie lacked in internal rigidity it made up for in flavour. It really did make quite a delicious lunchtime experience, however it’s not really a hand-held toastie as the bread is too soggy. You’re gonna need a knife and fork.

Creme Eggs

April 6, 2012

In today’s Toastie Project, I would like to draw attention to the growing body of research in the field of Creme Egg experimentation. There have been some particularly significant studies done over the last few years, and I feel it is time we contributed to this vitally important body of knowledge.

I also have to admit, Creme Eggs were something of a childhood obsession of mine all thanks to a certain television commercial. For years all I ever really wanted in life was a hatful of Creme Eggs hidden in my school desk.

*le sigh

Now, several people of my acquaintance have mentioned that they find the original Creme Eggs too sweet, and prefer other flavour varieties of Creme Egg. But personally I don’t  hold with such nonsense. Round these here parts it’s original flavour or bust. I say toughen up, be a man, and if you can’t handle your Creme Eggs then go sit with the other wusses clutching their hollow chocolate bunnies and complaining about sugar headaches.

When toasting Creme Eggs, the thickness of the chocolate shell is an important consideration. Attempting to toast whole Creme Eggs would be problematic by being too thick to toast, and therefore taking too long for the melting goodness to occur. So for this experiment some significant bodily dissection was necessary.

Those of you with sensitive dispositions, please look away now.

Oh the humanity. I know it’s cruel to see them this way, but it had to be done.

Next step, distribute evenly on the bread.  And if you want, contemplate potential religious significance of cross-like design, and consider the underlying Easter metaphor of transformation from one state of existence (solid/earthly) to another (melty/heavenly).

Mmmm. Melty.

Because the Creme Eggs were dissected before hand, this promoted the spread of leakage during the toasting process. And as far as leakage goes, I think this is some of the most attractive leakage we’ve had so far on the Toastie Project. It looks soft and fluffy like a cloud, and it smells pretty darned awesome.

However post-toasting, the examination of the innards was slightly alarming. I was unprepared for the, erm, rather faecal resemblance of melted chocolate.

Hm.

However, we must strive to overlook such aesthetic concerns and continue on in our pursuit of knowledge. Tally ho!

It’s not a poo sandwich at all.

And the taste? To my utter delight the creme filling had soaked into the bread, making it sweet and chewy and delicious. The chocolate had solidified and the texture reminded me of the chocolate used to make pain au chocolat. Which is a good way in which to conceptualise this toastie. It’s just, you know, a bit more white trash.

Le pain au chocolat du garbage blanc, n’est-ce pas?

OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING:

Toastability – 3/5: there was a bit of leakage but nothing too alarming and it wasn’t traumatic to clean up afterwards. Leakage trauma can have serious mental health effects and should never be taken lightly.

Taste – 4/5: DEEEEEELICIOUS. You should make this. For reals.

Happy Easter!

 

Cornetto

April 2, 2012

As summer draws to a close, our epic quest to find the Ultimate Summer Toastie continues. So, what else can we find in the freezers at the dairy?

Awww yeeeeah.

Ice cream.

Caramel sauce.

Hokey pokey pieces.

Chocolate.

AND a waffle cone.

This is going to be one mother of a toastie.

This is by far the pointiest thing I have ever had the desire to toast. I even briefly flirt with the idea of putting the ice cream end face down on the bread, and toasting it upright.

But I feel, scientifically, it’s important to preserve the original shape of the Cornetto, so I go with the classic horizontal toasting position instead.

Besides which, isn’t that sweet? It’s like it’s tucked up in its own little sleeping bag made of bread.

Yes. Good night Cornetto, and don’t forget to say your prayers.

*evil toasting laugh*

Toasting commences and, somewhat unsurprisingly, a leakage situation develops almost immediately.

Pro tip = at this point, it’s wise not to get distracted by shiny things and forget that you have a toastie bubbling away and slowly burning. Unless you enjoy hanging out in rooms that smell like burnt milk.

Whoops. Oh well.

Innard time!

So, this toastie really is a tale of two innards. The first half is full of crunchy wafer and melted chocolate. It’s tasty but looks almost puritan in comparison to the other half.

Squishy, chocolatey, creamy, and almost bacchanalian in its frothiness. It’s like the aftermath of an ice cream orgy where there were no survivors.

Somewhat disturbingly, this cross-section reminds me of Jabba the Hutt’s mouth.

While it didn’t exactly taste like Bantha fodder, it still wasn’t the greatest toastie I’ve ever tried. It was chocolatey, sure, however all that ice cream melting into the bread had made it just a bit too squishy for me to really enjoy eating it. And I know you’re probably thinking “WHATEVS TOASTIEMISTRESS, you’ve eaten a Mintie toastie before, how can a little bit of squishiness weird you out?!”. Well, what can I say, there’s no accounting for taste. (See also: THIS BLOG).

OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING:

Toastability – 2/5. Leakage leakage leakage. Ice cream is a tricky thing to toast, but I suspect that it might be a question of the ratio of bread to ice cream. Definitely an area for future research.

Taste – 2.5/5, it was warm, chocolatey, and kind of perversely tasty. Unfortunately however this was counteracted by an excess of squish, so ultimately this only gets a passing grade. Must try harder.

Fruju

March 18, 2012

It’s nearly the end of summer here in Toastieland, but there’s just enough of it left to experiment with seasonally-appropriate toasties. The days are warm, the beach beckons, and after a dip in the sea what would be the perfect snack? Something cool and refreshing…and encased in two pieces of bread.

Grab your jandals, nip down to the dairy and get yourself a Fruju. We’re going to make the ultimate Summer Toastie.

Ooh aah ooh, etc etc.

So, first things first, what to do about the stick? I could try breaking up the Fruju to get the stick out, but I hate to ruin the symmetry of it. Visual aesthetics are such an important factor in toastie-making. Instead, I’m just going to leave it in there and see what happens…and hope it doesn’t catch fire.

OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER: The Toastie Project does not endorse the application of small wooden objects or any material that resembles kindling to a concentrated source of heat. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS EXPERIMENT IN UNCONTROLLED CONDITIONS. And don’t worry about Toastie Labs Inc., we’re very well supplied with smoke alarms and building insurance.

I must also admit that, given that we are melting a block of frozen liquid, I am apprehensive about the potential for a major leakage situation. Combining this with electrical equipment is possibly not the smartest move…but that’s never stopped me before. Onwards and toastwards!

But to my surprise the liquid is almost entirely absorbed by the bread. Fascinating.

After a couple of minutes there is some minor leakage, but nothing a seasoned toastie-pro can’t handle. Pah. I laugh in the face of minor leakage.

Summer toastin’, had me a blast.

After about four minutes the leakage starts to burn and smells a bit weird, so I figure it’s time to take it out of the toastie maker and examine what new delicacy I have bestowed upon the world.

And the stick just slides on out. The good news is it didn’t catch fire and burn down the building. The bad news is the oil needs changing.

A rather lacklustre cross-section. Some issues with structural integrity here I think.

Oooh but it’s pretty. Like a golden wave on a bright blue shore.

The innards aren’t quite as attractive however. It’s pretty much a sandwich of yellow mush, and I’m not sure any sandwich should be that squishy.

The taste was remarkably similar to marmalade. Intriguing. And not unpleasant. However the main problem was the texture. It reminded me of the uncooked bits you sometimes get inside French toast. They always make me feel uncomfortable, and I found myself wincing slightly when I ate it.

Mushy, marmalade French toast. Onna stick. To be frank, I’d expected something much worse but I think perhaps the Summer Toastie concept could be improved on.

OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING

Toastability – 4/5, easy to toast and surprisingly little mess afterwards. All in all, a very low-maintenance toastie operation to perform at the beach. Which is where of course everyone will be taking their toastie makers next summer.

Taste – 2/5, technically the taste is not bad especially if you’re a marmalade fan. However the texture is its downfall – too mushy to be tasty as it makes for a profoundly awkward toastie eating experience. And no one likes an awkward toastie.

Minties

October 10, 2011
tags:
Welcome back, fellow Toastiephiles!  I know, I know, it’s been ages since our last toastie experiment. But the toastie maker is switched on, warming up, and ready to do some SERIOUS TOASTING.
The subject of today’s Toastie Project is an Australasian classic and a confectionery icon round these here parts – Minties.

For Toastie Project readers who are not of the Australasian-persuasion, Minties have three definitive characteristics:

i) a mild mint flavour

ii) an extremely chewy consistency, well-known for its filling-removal properties

iii) being potentially lethal in a lolly scramble. These are the sweets you really have to avoid getting hit by, they’re hard little suckers and can definitely take an eye out if you aren’t nimble enough.

Another part of the Minties legend were the adverts that went on for decades, showing misfalls, mishaps and bloopers, with the gist being: when everything has turned to crap, eat Minties. Or, as Pascalls puts it: “Embarrassed? Mortified? Shame-faced? Stop Blushing and do the only thing you can in such sticky situations! It’s moments like these you need Minites.™”

I’ve never really understood why it would be considered a good idea to construct a whole ad campaign around humiliation and/or misfortune however. Surely it actually suggests that Minties are the last resort of the luckless? The customary confectionery for calamity? If you only eat Minties when something bad has happened, well, that just makes me want to avoid them as much as possible. Much like in a lolly scramble. Whoa. Is a lolly scramble an apt metaphor for life, I wonder?

But perhaps I’m overthinking this. Perhaps I should stop philosophising and start toasting.

Yes. That’s a much better plan.

So to begin with, here are 15 naked Minties for your viewing pleasure.

From this angle they kind of look like teeth. It’s like the toastie is smiling back at me, in a wide, bready grin.

A couple of minutes of toasting later though that smile is all gone, and it’s been replaced with some intriguingly transparent leakage.

It also has this kind of weird smell. It’s oddly familiar.

After another minute the toasting was done, and I started to cut into it. As soon as I removed it from the heat the Mintie-goo solidified very quickly and became hard and plasticky, and really tricky to remove from the knife.

As I opened it up to see what it looked like inside, I realised what it reminded me of.

Toothpaste.

I have made a warm toothpaste sandwich.

Oh dear lord. What have I done?

A cross-section of FEAR. I know this is not going to end well, but I have to try some. The first rule of The Toastie Project is that all experiments must be sampled in order to contribute to the scientific body of knowledge in the field of toastie research. That is why toastie-making is only for the brave of heart, the steady of hand, and the iron of stomach. It is a dangerous calling, but a noble one and true.

BLEEERGHGH BUT THIS TASTES LIKE WARM TOOTHPASTE ON TOAST.

And yet, I think to myself while chucking the toastie in the rubbish and searching around the staffroom for something to take the minty taste away, there is a certain inevitability about this moment. I have just reached the lowest point in my toastie experiments, I have never tasted anything quite so disgusting and am consequently having a terrible lunchtime…and I find myself eating Minties.

Apparently Pascalls were right all along. THE PROPHECY HAS BEEN FULFILLED.

OFFICIAL TOASTIE PROJECT RATING

Toastability – 3.5/5, for something that tasted so bad it sure wasn’t a hassle to toast, though it wasn’t fun getting bits of hardened Minties off everything afterwards.

Taste – 0/5, I think it’s pretty evident from my comments above that this is not an experiment I would care to repeat. In fact it’s not even an experiment I care to remember, so I would appreciate if we can never speak of this again, okay?