Posts Categorized: Kitchenhacks

Fix corked wine

We’ve all been there before. Crack open the only bottle we have and it smells of wet cardboard. In other words the wine is corked which means it is contaminated with 2,4,6 trichloranisole or TCA. This time it was the turn of my wine group finishing off an evening drinking tasting Dominique Laurent Burgundy (another post). We finished with a bottle of port and the room is packed with some of Melbourne’s top sommeliers. The port was  corked and somebody suggests that Gladwrap – Clingfilm – can solve the problem. Sure enough a giant role comes up from the kitchen. We all rip handfuls of the stuff and shove it in our glasses already charged with port. One bright spark keeps a glass without the film so we have a control. Initially the results seem good and a discussion ensues. We all agree that the film has  removed some of the corking from the port. Is it a chemical on the wrap? My own suggestion was that it is the electrical charge on the wrap does something. Home to Google where I find, via Winecast which experiments with Gladwrap, this from the LA Times (registration required) “In a glass pitcher, wad up roughly a square foot of Saran Wrap or other polyethylene plastic wrap. Pour the tainted wine over the plastic wrap in the pitcher. Expose all of the wine to the plastic wrap by gently swirling the wine in the pitcher for five or 10 minutes. The more pronounced the taint, the longer the wine should be exposed to the plastic wrap. For stubborn cases, repeat the plastic soak with a fresh wad of wrap.” Apparently, polyethylene “absorbs TCA like a sponge”. One company is even developing Polyethylene filters to help remove TCA from wine. I also discover, via Chowhound, that TCA disappears when wine is cooked. I can’t find anything that describes the chemistry of the process. Any ideas?

Kitchen hack: unload the dishwasher first

My personal choice is the Jack Russell test: If he gets inside the dishwasher it’s probably dirty. If he doesn’t it is definitely clean. He was the one who spotted the cat meat-covered fork  and a couple of dirty dishes mixed in with the clean. Of course, the mixing of the dirty with clean is all my fault. You see what I should empty the machine before I start cooking in the evening because the person feeding the cat can’t tell a dirty machine from a clean one. The same thing goes for breakfast time. The person, who is not at fault, flings open the door, slips a yoghurty spoon and jammy knife and the yoghurty bowl and jammy plate with their clean cousins. On occasions I have pointed this out. The response: Oh shudup. You always have to pick.” That’s right, I have to pick the dirty from the clean. So remember this very important kitchenhack. To stop people mixing dirty utensils and plates with the clean simply empty the dishwasher as soon a humanly possible. This will mean that nobody ever has to open the door to the dishwasher, see it is full, and ask the question: “Is it clean or dirty?” Or use the Jack Russell test.