Monday, 25 February 2008

The world's easiest home-made shortbread?

Take 6oz of plain flower, 4oz of butter and 2oz of (preferably) golden unrefined granulated sugar. Mix the whole lot in a bowl until it all starts to cling together, roll out on a board to whatever thickness you fancy, cut into squares or whatever and sprinkle some of the sugar on top of them.

Bake in a medium oven for about 15 minutes or so, less if they are very thin, more if they are very thick and allow to cool completely before eating. No preservatives needed, they will not last long enough for them to be needed!

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Sooo VERY easy to bake rapid bread receipe

This was mainly by accident, but it works!

I had just read an article about the price of bread, which is going up non-stop as the price of grain increases, and one part of the article stated that "you still cannot make bread cheaper than you can buy it". This sounded like a challenge and so I thought, as my ever tolerant wife was out at a meeting, that I would show they were wrong. Looking at he way bread was made, with injections of steam etc I thought this would be no problem, a little ingenuity would suffice. However as I got into the baking process, I remembered that 1. I was supposed to get some shopping and 2. when Pam returned the kitchen would still be upside down, so I rushed through the process thinking that the birds would at least approve (again) of my failed efforts. But far from fail it all worked, so here is the receipe and the pictures to confirm it all.

Take one and a half mugs of warm water, pour them into a bowl and mix in one half a teaspoon of fresh dry yeast (yes I know its a lot) and a few pinches of salt. Pour in three mugs of plain flour and mix the whole lot together, (forget all that kneeding business) cover with cling film (I know I should have used a cloth, but I like to observe what is going on) and leave somewhere warm for an hour and a half (yes, I know its not long.) By then the whole mass, which has the consistency of the slime in Ghost Busters, will be covered in bubbles.

Give the whole lot a very quick stir and leave for a few minutes (possibly thinking 'this is never going to work') while you heat up the oven to around 220c/425f and as you do this put in the oven whatever container you are going to use to bake the bread in.

When the oven is at working temperature pour the dough into the now greased container, (but be careful, its hot, I 'found' out the hard way) cover it up with aluminum foil or whatever and put it in the oven for half an hour. My thought was that this would keep the moisture in for the first stage of cooking, After the thirty minutes take the cover off and leave it in the oven for ten more minutes to allow the top to brown.

Take out and allow to cool... really was that easy!

The top photo shows the dish and 'cover' before I put it in the oven, the next after half an hour and the next after ten minutes with the cover off. The result can be seen in the bottom photo. I must point out that our oven is rather old and about as reliable as a high mileage Trabant so you may have to experiment with the temperatures. Quantity wise, three of any sort of container should work for the flour/water ratios.

PS. It tastes as good as it looks!!

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Make your own vitamin C, AMAZINGLY easy.

Many foods have vitamin C in them, including Potato, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Red Cabbage etc, but an easy way to make additional vitamin C which will also include rutin, hesperidin, bioflavonoids, monoterpenes and limonene essential oils is from the pulp and peel of organic citrus fruits.

When you have washed and peeled your organic (it must be organic as you don't know what has been sprayed onto the fruit otherwise) grapefruit, tangerines, oranges, lemons or limes, cut up the peel into small pieces and put it on a plate on a window ledge in the sunlight, or into a cooling down oven to dry.

When the bits are fully dry and shriveled zap them in a coffee grinder, or whatever you can use, to a powder and there you have it, vitaminc C with essential oils! Store it in a screw top jar, or any other air tight container and use it when required for health reasons/cooking etc.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

A shed 'light' for less than £2

Our outside shed is small, and only used for storage of garden equipment. A light would be a good thing as at the end of the day, when it is dark, is is difficult to put items away. I noticed just how bright the LED's on the solar garden lights were so I decided to convert one of these as the shed light. If you want to do the same conversion then this is how I did it.

1. Cut off (hacksaw) from the lampshade the spigot that locates in the plastic tube that you push into the ground. 2. Take apart the section that has the solar panel, remove the electrical panel from inside and cut the LED off from this, midway between the LCD and the panel. 3. Solder whatever length of cable you need for the purpose intended to the four ends and tape over any exposed wire. 4. Glue a CD, shiny side down, to the lampshade and after fitting all the parts back on the solar panel section, glue a CD onto this taking a small nick from the outer of the CD so it can, if required drain away any water that may get in. 5. Stick a piece of 'Duck Tape' over the hole in the lampshade CD, make a small hole in this, put the LED through and tape the cable to the CD. Hang the light end inside where required and place the solar panel end where best suited, in my case it is hooked into the tiles on the shed roof.

Note, an LED will only work when connected up the right way. A diode is simply a one way street for electricity, so before you solder it onto the cable, touch them both, wire and LED, to a battery to make sure it will work. This is because if the negative side of the diode is connected to the positive supply of the battery, and vice-versa then it will block the power. If you need to it is simple to fit an on-off or a pull switch to one of the cables, but as the only time I intend to make use of the light provided is when it first gets dark I won't worry about this and the light can shine on. Like the light of many such like solar lights, a constant reminder of the inexhaustable energy the creator has provided for us, all we need is the (commercial) will to tap it.

PS. If you are wondering what that dark photo with the light at the top end is, this is a non-flash photo of the lamp, now in the shed, taken from the garden.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Do you have problems replacing rubber washers?

I used to find these things a problem. In order to get one of the right size, or at least close to it, the only option was to buy a pack with a dozen in it, eleven of which I would never use. There is however an easy way out of this.

Take one old cycle tyre inner tube or one old car inner tube, (next time you have new tyres fitted ask the garage if they have one)lay the old washer on it and draw around it, or use a compass and draw the circle size you need, and then cut the washer out with a pair of scissors. If you need a thick washer the car tyre inner tube is usually perfect and the cycle tyre inner tube for the thinner ones, but it is quite simple to cut up several to make up the required dimension.