About SJPONeill

Retired(ish) and living on the side of a mountain. I love reading and writing, pottering around with DIY in the garden and the kitchen, watching movies and building models from plastic and paper...I have two awesome daughters, two awesome grand-daughters and two awesome big dogs...lots of awesomeness around me...

Green Take 2

via WordPress Daily Prompt Jolly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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A second take on green, revisiting no-cheese cheesecake #4, Nadia Lim’s avacado, lime and coconut ‘cheese’cake

I’ve pretty perfected my no-bake cheesecake base, adapted from this blueberry and beetroot cheesecake:

1 1/2 cups of coconut almond meal leftover from homemade almond coconut ‘milk’ production. You could make the meal directly by blending a cup each of raw almond and coconut flakes.

3/4 of a cup of dates, chopped, optional to top up to a cup with raisins

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted to a liquid

A pinch of salt

Next:

Put the meal in the food processor and blend, slowly adding the dates until the mix turns a deeper brown as the oils mix with the meal.

Add the coconut oil and salt and blend.

Pour the base mix into a prepared (I use a baking paper base) springform baking pan.

The topping is dead easy. You’ll need:

5 medium firm ripe avocados

1 cup of lime juice (I use the bottled stuff as the limes up here are poor dry things with hardly any juice

a pinch of salt

1 cup of coconut cream (I skimped as I only had a 150ml can)

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1/2 a cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of vanilla sugar (I have this big jar of it that I Hardly use because it’s , like, y’know, sugar)

2 tablespoons of gelatin (actually used closed to 1 1/2 as the box wasn’t quite as full it it made out)

2 tablespoons of cold water

3 tablespoons of boiling water

Then:

Place all the ingredients, except the gelatin and water, in the food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Mix the gelatin powder with cold water and leave it to swell for a few minutes. Add the boiling water and mix well to completely dissolve the gelatin (make sure there are no little lumps!).

Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the food processor and blend with the avocado mixture until it’s all very smooth.

Without too much mussing around, pour the topping mix into the springform pan and spread into an even layer. If you muss around too much, the topping will strat to set in the food processor.

Place the pan in the fridge for a couple of hours until ready to serve.

Nadia Lim recommends a berry coulis to go withe ‘cheese’cake. I made one by blending a mix of strawberries (tis the season), blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I’m not particularly sold on this as it is a tart topping on an already quite tart ‘cheese’cake – I think cream, whipped or straight, and vanilla ice cream make for a better accompaniment for this…

This is a very simple and very fast ‘cheese’cake to knock up. Depending on the availability of avocados, it may be a bit pricey…not tested but the original recipe says it can be frozen so there is scope to knock a few up when ‘cados are cheaper and freeze them til later in the year…

Jolly Green

via WordPress Daily Prompt Jolly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Jolly, especially at this time of year invaribaly invokes themes of red, usually a large gentleman with a flowing beard, red suit and a predilection for exotic pets…

A long time ago, in a country far far away, jolly was green, the Jolly Green Giant that came from afar to rescue downed airman, often deep into bad guy territory…

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Evolving from the Jolly Grren Giant HH-3 to the Super Jolly Green Giant HH-53, and then into the SPECOPS MH-53 PAVE LOW

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Heavily armed, but lightly armoured, relying heavily other aircraft to suppress enemy fire, Jolly Greens would push into unfriendly skies to locate and recover downed airman, many who were seriously wounded.

These operations would often involves dozens of aircraft….rescue helicopters, fighters and attack aircraft, tanker, command and control aircraft…and it was not unusual for one rescue to turn into another…

Leave no one behind…

Serene | The Daily Post

This week, share a photo that represents your take on “serene.” From landscapes to portraits (sleepy cats, anyone?) to a pleasantly abstract wallpaper pattern, any and all interpretations are welcome…via Serene | The Daily Post

Purakanui 037-001

Purakanui

Te Waitere 055

Te Waitere

Mt Tongariro Summit Back Route April 2016-016

Mount Ngauruhoe

Tupapakurua Falls April 2016-023

Tupapakurua Falls

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Raurimu Chalet

Bush Walk 014

Stewart Island

Is almond milk a healthy option?

via Niki Bezzant: Is almond milk a healthy option? – NZ Herald

This article in the NZ Herald purports to challenge almond milk as a healthy food option but does it really?

The first point it makes is not health-related at all. Ok, so almond, soy, coconut etc etc etc milks are not really milks in the strictest biologic sense…even though we tend to use them in much the same way and these not-milks are probably healthy that the lightest of lite milks that have had most of the goodness scrubbed out of them. That bastion of common sense, the EU,  has said that “…plant-based products can no longer be sold…using terms such as milk, butter and cheese…” Think about that as you spread ETA peanut no-longer-really-butter on your toast in the morning, or as you explain to your kids that the PC Police require to now ask for peanut not-butter and jelly sandwiches…

calcium.JPG“…we could be misled into believing almond milk is as good as cow’s milk, from a nutrition point of view..” Or we might not be…the only concern really raised here is the low hanging fruit of calcium content, or more correctly, the red herring of calcium content. A balanced diet will include other sources of calcium like:

1) Raw Milk
1 cup: 300 mg (30% DV)

2) Kale (cooked)
1 cup: 245 mg (24% DV)

3) Sardines (with bones)
2 ounces: 217 mg (21% DV)

4) Yogurt or Kefir
6 oz: 300 mg (30% DV)

5) Broccoli
1 ½ cup cooked: 93 mg (9% DV)

6) Watercress
1 cup: 41 mg (4% DV)

7) Cheese
1 oz: 224 mg (22% DV)

8) Bok Choy
1 cup:74 mg (7% DV)

9) Okra
1 cup: 82 mg (8% DV)

10) Almonds
1 oz: 76 mg (8% DV)

The Herald, and the Healthy Food Guide staff writing for it, might be more concerned about the low health value of commercial almond milk and promoting homemade almond milk as a simple alternative. It is so easy to make, with far higher almond content, that healthy shoppers should be avoiding the commercial tetrapaks and stampeding the nuts shelves. I usually buy my raw almonds from Bin Inn in Taupo as they often have them on special or, for bulk, check to see if Penelope @ Happy and Healthy has any deals on…

The other advantage of DIY almond (or other nut-based) milk is that you have all the leftover meal with which you can do wondrous things including bliss balls, cheesecake bases, cookies etc. I toss a cup into my muesli when I’m making a fresh batch and also use it in lieu of bran flakes for wholemeal bread.

The environmental concerns raised in the ‘article’ are also not health-related. Water (mis)management issues in California are related to far more complex matters than the growth of almonds. Again another, red herring under the guise of a health issue. If this really concerns you, then buy Aussie almonds but – not mentioned in the article – parts of Australia also experience similar water management challenges so the PC brigade may wish to check first so that they can purchase conscience-free.

The ‘article is also quite biased in that it does not discuss any of the potentially unhealthy aspects of dairy food – one might wonder who paid for this ‘article’? In a society apparently so concerned about national levels of obesity, it doesn’t hurt to cut back on dairy intake. That was a tip I was given was back in the 90s but only tried a couple of years ago at the beginning of my green journey . Dropping my dairy consumption right back was the biggest factor allowing me to lose 20kg in 3 months without any great effort. Reducing ‘whites’ (white sugar, rice, bread, etc) and reducing the number of processing stages between the raw material and the final product were just supporting acts…

I’m not entirely ‘off’ dairy. I’ll occasionally have an ice cream or make a milk-based coffee at work and am happy to use cream in recipes where there is no practical green alternative. But everything in its place. Now, if I have dairy products too often, I just feel bloated and yuk…I have a balanced diet and so am not lacking any of the good things that come with dairy…

It annoys me that the NZ Herald and Healthy Food Guide continue to punt out this one-sided propaganda under the guise of health news. The facts are that if you don’t want milk/dairy and you have a balanced diet, then give the cow a miss…

Chocolate, beetroot and raspberry cake thing

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This didn’t turn out that well at all but went down well with the target audience…not sure what went wrong but it may be that I didn’t bake it long enough and there was not enough flour for the old skewer trick to determine whether it was done or not…I also used real cocoa powder which really upped the chocolate ante possibly past that intended by the author who only wrote cocoa powder into the original recipe from Healthy Food Guide.

I’m not normally that much of a chocolatey person and found it totally overpowering on its own but quite a pleasant treat once tempered with cream and creamy vanilla ice cream. Probably because it didn’t fully bake properly this one had a very interesting texture from the grated strands of pear and beetroot…

Next time I will back off on the cocoa content and possible add a little coconut flour for body. It would be so good to be able to get colourless cocoa so we get the flavour and the deep rich red colouring of the beetroot…

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

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The lowly cauliflower strikes again into the hallowed territory of binge TV snack food…I’ve been unable to source the original recipe and there are lots of variations on this theme out there in the culinary googleverse…

Two hours before starting this, I put a chunk of venison steak into the sous vide.

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower chopped into florets

1/2 cup of milk (any unsweetened kind or a not-milk will do)

1/2 cup of water

3/4 cup of flour

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

2 teaspoons of onion powder

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 230 Celcius.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, water, milk, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Add the cauliflower florets and mix until well-coated – make sure you get the mix well into the florets themselves .

Spread evenly onto the cookie sheets so the florets are not touching .

Bake for 15- 20 minutes , flipping once.

Remove from the oven and set aside.

 Wing sauce

2 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of vinegar

1 tablespoons of water

A pinch of salt

1/2 cup of your favourite hot sauce (I used some old chili sauce that had been in the fridge a long time)

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, hot sauce, vinegar, water, and salt.

Add the baked cauliflower and toss to coat with the sauce, again making sauce the mix gets rights into the florets.

Spread the florets evenly onto the cookie sheets and pop back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until crispy (flipping once).

Don’t get some engrossed in The Punisher that you forget about them and they come out slightly scorched.

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

I took the venison out of the sous vide and sliced it into chunks. If I had thought about it at the time, I could have crumbed them and give them a quick sizzle in a hot skillet…of even foregone the crumbs and gone straight to the skillet. This would have added a nice golden tinge to the meat…

I served them together as finger food on the same plate – see fuzzy pic above – very filling and very spicy in a good way…one head of cauli would make a decent snack serving for two people…

Another way of tricking your kids into veges…

 

Foggy | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate?

via Foggy | The Daily Post

P71116-201332.jpgIt felt quite strange, finishing work with daylight to spare…just not that many people out and about this evening…but worth it for a view like this…

…the fog fills the valley and you can imagine a great lake extending from Raurimu north past Owhango towards the great flat top of Hikurangi…

Orange | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. Not sure how to participate? Here are the steps to get started.

Source: Orange | The Daily Post

A quick lazy response…easy to trawl Picasa for images in the key of orange…

Early Ruapehu firefighters

Back in the day when daily juice was the ‘thing’…

Flight test orange @ Eglin

Scale | The Daily Post

Experiment with placement and scale to show how big (or small) you can feel in a photo.

Source: Scale | The Daily Post

USS New Jersey 09.JPG

I’ve spent a bit of time at sea on small warships, frigates and the like, and been on board baby carriers like Ark Royal and Jeanne d’Arc…

…I visited the New Jersey on a liaison visit to Philadelphia in 2011…the sheer size of everything just blew me away. Ive driven past the Wisconsin at Norfolk a few times but that’s not the same as standing under these massive barrels…knowing that each turret weighs more than each of our old (pre-ANZAC) frigates…

…easy to feel small…

This class of ship represents a pinnacle in naval design that we may never see again…sheer brute force in offensive and defensive capability…built to dish it out and take it too…