So my not so well behaved dinner this evening contained potato cakes (and a beautifully fried egg). Potato cake are very very easy to make, the hard part is ensuring you dont eat the mash before you cake them. For tonights dinner, I used leftover cheese and onion mash (I specifically made a double batch for that dinner), but if you like to mash other things in (I can highly recommend ham) then go for it!
Inspired by a very tasty lemon curd muffin I got in the Kinsealy garden centre last week, I decided to make lemon buns and curd to go on top of them.
For the buns I used the recipe for lemon drizzle cake and spooned it into 15 bun cases and baked for about 20 minutes until set.
So today I got to do some Proper Lab Work, ie, mixing chemicals to make liquidy chemicals (a buffer today) for putting delicate proteins in. Buffers are solutions that provide the optimum environment for the little cells or proteins or nucleic acids that you work with, so they dont change conformation or otherwise break.
I was given the list of ingredients, and being a happy little chemist for the morning set about making the buffer. As always, I got all the tubs of powders and worked out what weight I needed of each to get the right molarity (that's a measure of concentration). Then I proceded to add each of the powders to my glass bottle and poured most of the water I would need into it (If you're going to be pH'ing something, don't put in all the liquid, you might change the volume when you're adjusting the pH with your acid or base). And then, I was utterly confused, the nice solution I was expecting to be clear was a muddy brown… sort of like when the water is turned off for a few hours and turned back on.
So, I'm back in a lab, doing the first rotation of this structured PhD programme. The people are lovely, and the subject seems pretty fascinating, but I've been stumped searching through the literature.
I tend to underestimate the value of text books, but for the basic beginning of looking into a subject they're fantastic. Naturally the most relevant books in the library have been checked out (and thanks to the clear website of the library, I dont realise this until I'm over there and the books not on the shelf). So I start looking for review papers, and here's the problem, noone writes textbook level introductions to topics. There's wonderful review pieces on small topics within the whole, but no crash course on families of molecules or the mechanism of glycosylation. The primary research is great, but in order to understand something in a slightly new field (or a field that you didnt study so well as an undergrad), you just can't beat the simple introduction. The wikipedia is great for the super-superficial look at things (the science pages can be surprisingly detailed, though nowhere as impressive as the pages discussing comicbooks).
I have another lemon drizzle cake cooling in the kitchen right now. Very very tasty and filled with the goodness of two lemons! (it's not my fault if vitamin C is a delicate compound that doesnt like being heated…)