Those Not As We Are

The food abundant festivities are fast approaching, there is a lot to be thought of, dear reader, recipes to be gathered, gifts to be begged for, fat men in red to be appeased with baked offering, many more holidays are celebrated than my whiteness lets me remember. But there is a group, a large one though many would seem to be in doubt of the fact, those that need special consideration in regards their dietary choices. Now, fret not, fatigued reader, I’m not saying we need to be all-encompassing bastions of patience and kindness, no, no, just be mindful of these people I’m about to describe. They can’t help what they are. Though perhaps they could, I mean here we all are, trying to enjoy the festivities and up pipes a voice asking what it is they’re eating. Again and again they lament that it has to be a very specific type of food stuff to accommodate their needs, they can’t eat this, they can’t eat that. On and on it goes. I of course speak of that group of people who eat wheat.

I know, I know, cool your blood, riotous readership, blame not them for they know not what they do.You supply them with delicious baked goods, made from wholesome buckwheat, delicious almonds, perhaps even engineered from proprietary blends and they look at you in askance, the poor vacuous people, but don’t be cruel to them, be kind, or try to be. Explain patiently that it is indeed edible, why you’d be eating it if it isn’t is still a mystery, it tastes wonderful too, which they’d be able to ascertain if they’d just try rather than waste your time with all too numerous questions. Know that there will be a seemingly endless supply of them and prepare in advance, perhaps with a large bat or a trapdoor. Whatever you do know they eventually they will fade away and you an resume your normal routine in regards eatables, knowing that there are those who eat, I shudder to type it, wheat, but thankfully you aren’t one of those dreaded people. You’re, as I am, perfectly normal. So rest easy, when someone asks you for a wheat-based treat, smile indulgently, look at them with disguised pity and, gently mind, practice the noble art of defenestration, because let’s face it: Why can’t they just eat the same as the rest of us?

Turkey and Sweet Potato Burgers

 photo WP_20161205_021_e_zpsoxp7owql.jpgYeah, let’s start with the homogeneous pile of…pink muck?

Original here. Tweaked it a bit to suit. I’m scheduling this post just to save clogging up the blog, let’s hope I remember and don’t start posting other recipes in between and end up in  confusing muddle. I don’t usually make burgers, no reason really, I just never really felt like it. These seemed to be interesting and had a decent mix of ingredients that could yield a decent tasty burger, or patty if you’d rather, all flattened mounds of meat are burgers here, so I thought I might as well try. Turkey mince has been really plentiful this year, sweet potatoes are always in too so that was helpful. To cut a dull story short, they tasted pretty nice, they weren’t bland as a lot of home-made burgers can be, well mine at least, they might be better in a bun or with a sauce, ketchup or anything really, but they had a nice texture, held together well when fried, but don’t press them too much.

 photo WP_20161205_022_e_zpsyofhqxec.jpgThey’re surprisingly easy to form.

I’m a bit slow today, so forgive me dearest reader. Let’s see, I think I’d like the onions blended, but that’s a personal preference, maybe a little more seasoning might help too. I don’t have a bun recipe, but something like a Quinoa Microwave Cake made as a bread in a cylindrical container, a microwave safe one! Don’t go sticking a biscuit tin in there, blowing yourself up and blaming me! I’m onto you, you maniac! So, the sauce, What? No, you imagined the previous sentence, if you can eat nightshades then ketchup would be great, maybe something with tahini? I like tahini, raw garlic and something sweet as a spreadable sauce/condiment. I wonder if there’s a sweet potato ketchup? I might look into that. The lack of gardening is making me an edgy Jack, no, I don’t mean edgy in the sense of the internet’s usage, you’re being strange today, dear reader. My time will return again and I will venture forth to greener pastures, well, gardens, okay, garden singular. Until then you’re stuck with me and whatever odd recipes I try. Until we meet again.

 photo WP_20161205_025_e_zps7fy7xcak.jpgThis is a strangely lonely photo.

Ingredients

400g Turkey Mince, Lean
300g Mashed Sweet Potato
1/2 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
1 Tsp Poultry Seasoning
1/4 Tsp Salt

Method

1. Add Everything, but the Onion, to a bowl and set aside. Sauté Onions in Olive Oil until translucent and soft. Add to bowl and mix together with a fork until fully combined.

2. Scoop out an ice-cream scoop’s worth of the mixture and form into a patty, repeat until all the mixture is used up. If not using all the Burgers, place on a greaseproof lined tray and freeze, when fully frozen transfer to freezer bags.

3. Heat some Olive Oil in a pan and then add the Burgers, cook until golden brown then turn over to brown the other side, takes about 10-15 minutes. Make sure Burgers are cooked through.

After Six Years…

…I’m still here. Six years of what? Is everything an appropriate answer? No, oh, well, of my journey. The journey I started alone and kept at by myself. Of losing ten stone, or 140 pounds if you’d rather, of keeping it off and never slipping up. Of going head to head with three major food intolerances, diseases, whatever and starting my whole life from scratch. I’m not spilling my guts here, I’m one to keep a lot to myself, but you don’t need to know everything. I’ve talked about the pain, the, the suffering, no other word dear reader, but let’s look on the positive side here. I went from a mess to the me you see in these posts. The baker, the cook, the gardener, dearest Jack in other words, the DIY’er and more besides. The struggler, the striver, ever pushing towards being just a bit better. Never perfect, but never needing to be. I’m not sure what to say here, what do you say? I could be an utter terrible person and try to sell my life as a diet plan, I’d die before I did that, trust me on that. I’m just here, a simple person, I did more than I can often comprehend and as to how, well, I don’t know. A terrible answer, but the truth. I just looked at the alternative and then decide to fight.

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank you all for your continued support, it really means a lot and though I might be reticent at times, other times you can’t shut me up,  that’s me and I’m learning that that’s okay. I’m also learning I don’t have to be a bastion of any community, nor is there a need to be an advocate, saviour, take your pick. I’m just me, if I help people then great. I’m always careful to never be reckless or irresponsible, but I can stop, pull back whenever I want. That’s been a huge lesson for me. I guess what I’m saying is it’s never too late to change your life and that it doesn’t have to be this huge all encompassing thing. All I’ve done, as huge as some of it was never made me feel that different, better sure, but not a different person and none of it was a cure all, it just helped. Little pieces connecting, joining and making it easier to be happy were what comprised this journey. There’s more to do and I’m okay with that. I don’t know if this makes any sense, but well, that’s okay. I’m heading into my seventh year and I’m still willing to learn and share what I can. As I always say, it still holds ever true, if someone like me, a hugely obese mess, could fix his life then you can too, but don’t look to be perfect or to become anyone’s idea of the ideal you, just try to be a little happier, be prepared for a lot of pain and hardship, but know that that all goes towards the end goal. Grit your teeth, dig in your heels and stand firm, face towards your joy and start working towards it. There aren’t any short-cuts, but once you’re here you won’t mind the journey it took. Then repeat it all again and keep getting better. Dearest reader, thanks for stopping by. Dearest me, thanks for hanging in there. We’re doing okay.

Banana Flour Crumble

I would post a photo, but I ate it before I took one. Seriously, I was ravenous, which isn’t at all like me. I think the bug drained me more than I knew. Thankfully I’m back to normal. It’s really strange to think that only a few years ago, well nearly seven now, I spent all my time ill, always sick and miserable. It’s scary what becomes normal. I don’t have much to say here, this is just a very basic crumble, based on this, the sugar cuts out the banana flour flavour and it isn’t too dry. This is the last of my banana flour recipes. So, farewell to banana flour, you were mostly a gimmick, but I beat you! Hah! I’m in the process of tagging grain free recipes, I don’t follow a grain free diet, but did you know that most of the recipe on here are grain free? Me neither. Heh. I cover such a wide variety of diets and I like to list them when applicable. I’ve added a Freezer Friendly category too.

You ever feel the need to talk, for no other reason then to kill time? That’s the one benefit of these posts, dearest reader, I have an imaginary captive audience. You could skip or skim all of this and I’d never have any idea, happy in my ignorance. So, your pal Jack, your forever friend, the man of many names, well, two, hasn’t been doing much. The Winter months are tiresome. I’m really glad I finally got into music, it’s funny how I spent years being assured that I should enjoy what others did and just couldn’t see the attraction. It takes finding our own preferences to really get into anything, doesn’t it? I’m of the school of thought that everyone should be let enjoy what they do, assuming no one gets hurt by it. I’m one of those people who’ll give anything a fair shake and don’t look down on anything. I’m currently repeatedly playing the newest Icon for Hire album. It’s independently released so you can support them directly. It’s something I wish I’d had growing up, a positive message without the usual banal generalised platitudes. From a place of experience. Of course it’s cut with the newest EP from Band Maid because I tend towards the non-mainstream and you can’t beat Kanami’s insane solos. I find music helps me to stop dwelling, whenever I’m doing something repetitive my brain refuses to stop thinking, so the headphones go on when preparing meals and it all become a better experience. Now, I’m not one of those people who insist that you’ll love this song, or band, or book, really I doubt if you will, but maybe you’ll surprise yourself. I don’t push things like that onto people. I spent the other night, feeling better for the first time in three days, reading the newest volume of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-Kun and laughing out loud. Which is a rarity, your friend is pretty quiet in the real world, shocking, eh? Manga, Japanese comics, have supplemented my reading for, what, fifteen years, probably more. It’s strange to read a series over a decade, volume by volume. Worst is when they get cancelled, which happened in the thirty-sixth volume of Negima after reading it for a decade. It was a painful experience I can tell you that. Why so much Japanese interest? No idea, it just resonated with me and I know there are those that take it too far and can’t accept that people don’t like it, like there are those that can’t accept when people do, but the way I look at it is this: I found something that’s continually made me happy for a long time now. Why should I worry what others think. It’s all to easy to start in on the sanctimonious, elitist, supercilious idea of what is “proper” to enjoy. Do what makes you happy, life is too short not to and made too long by people who can’t accept that. All this ramble for a crumble, well, the internet, am I right? See you soon.

Ingredients

100g Berries, or Other Fruit, of Choice
35g Sugar
35g Ground Almonds
35g Banana Flour
35g Butter, Cold and Chopped

Method

1. Pre-heat oven to 180c (Fan).

2. Place the Berries in an oven proof dish. Set aside.

3. In a bowl mix together the Ground Almonds, Banana Four, Butter and Sugar. Work together with fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs,

4. Sprinkle Crumb Mixture over the Berries and bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is golden brown.

Banana Flour Peanut Butter Pumpkin Bread

 photo WP_20161201_014_e_zpswifws8sv.jpgThe batter is thicker.

This might be a bit muddled as I’m still not feeling all that well. This recipe is basically this one redone. I’m just using up my banana flour, it’s edible. Fast too. It’s a springy, slightly dry loaf that is pretty much my last resort when using new flours. I know I shouldn’t run down a recipe, but it’s mine, I can do that and I wouldn’t sell you on a recipe that wasn’t worth much. You can eat it and you won’t die, that’s about it. I’m being a  bad blogger, but forgive me for I know exactly what I do, but I have the recipes. Bribery? Tut. I like to think of it as blackmail. Okay, yeah, rant below, recipe below that. Below all that is me passed out. Until later.

 photo WP_20161201_017_e_zps6hzph779.jpgI just popped it out of the tin and cut it. Don’t do that. Not that it matters.

This isn’t a clever, intricate recipe. If anything it’s the most basic kind of free-from recipe, it’s comprised of ingredients that can be interchanged without altering the end result, which might sound impressive until you realise the end result is just, well, being edible. So it means that the ingredients aren’t being used to their utmost. It’s a matter of utilitarian baking, use what you have and end up with the same end product. It’s similar to recipes you see from companies trying to push their product. They’ll use one ingredient, whether a combination, or another ingredient would be better, to the detriment of the recipe just to sell you on the product. That’s their choice, but you see then we have the assumption that nothing better can be made, I mean, if you’re new and your first exposure to free-from baking is company’s recipes, and will likely be, then that means you’re starting from an erroneous position and will need to learn from scratch to get better. I’m not being arrogant here, it’s not that I’m some kind of expert, perish forbid, but I know what I’m doing and I started the same way. It’s just now I can look at these recipes and go: Oh, yeah, no that’s just not good enough. Serviceable is fine, but that shouldn’t be where we stay. You can eat better, much better, with the same amount of work, you just need a better understanding of the ingredients and anyone selling you on a product or service might not be able or willing to help with that. I’m dizzy, I’ll hope this isn’t taken as offensive. Just my point of view. If someone like me can do as I’ve done and continue to do then you can do it too, dearest reader.

Ingredients

Wet

125g Natural Peanut Butter/Almond Butter
100g Hokkaido Pumpkin Purée or Other Sweet Fleshed Squash
1 Medium Egg (60g-65g in Shell)
1 Tbsp Honey or Maple Syrup
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Dry

1 Tbsp Banana Flour
1/2 Tsp Pumpkin Spice
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder

Can be frozen.

Method

1. Preheat oven to 175c (Fan). Grease and line the bottom of a baking tin.

2. Mix together all the dry ingredients and set aside.

3. Add all the wet ingredients to a bowl and beat together, using an electric mixer, until smooth. Then add the dry and beat until mixed completely. Scoop into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway if necessary, or until a knife comes out clean. Loaf should be golden brown and firm.

4. Let cool in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Poultry Seasoning

I might often be facetious, dear reader, but in this I am in earnest. I’m not big on holidays, I just let them go past and try to avoid getting aggravated by them. But I do remember that that isn’t the case for everyone so I do my bit collecting and creating recipes that are suitable and pop them on the above page. It’ll probably be found above recipes and posts for the month to gain it some exposure. I gain nothing from it, but perhaps it’ll help someone. Okay back to the usual.

 photo WP_20161201_001_e_zpssju1g7he.jpgI will always be that blog with the wonky photos.

I’m afraid your forever friend is under the weather, a bad bug hit me hard, but being the awkward soul that I am, and always will be, I don’t lie down and rest. I end up doing the opposite out of stubborn spite. Who am I spiting? Why, the virus! I always feel better having eaten, even with nausea, so I went for a fun mix of mild and sweet food today. The Sweet Potatoes can be found here. I’ve heard of poultry seasoning before, perhaps whispered from dark alleys, screamed from rooftops or, most probably, on cooking blogs.The original can be found here. The only alteration is subbing oregano for the marjoram as I don’t have any marjoram, despite my best efforts at growing it. There’s always next year. I kept it simple as I wanted to taste the seasoning and truthfully because I’m only cooking for myself and going to great lengths to make something more impressive would just be vanity and tiresome. It actually tasted really great, I was surprised as there wasn’t much aroma when the herbs were mixed. What I did was flatten the chicken, with a rolling-pin between greaseproof paper, don’t say I don’t teach you anything, then I seasoned it on both sides and flattened it again. After a gentle frying in a pan it was wrapped and rested. Simple, but moist. I do have to remind you of the wonders of Cashew Butter Amaranth. There is no greater joy than tooting one’s own horn and when it’s this good you just have to give in. A savoury amaranth option, created partly by accident, that makes a thick, almost potato like, side to accompany anything you like, but one I love with herbed or spiced chicken. I also tried cranberry sauce today because it was there. As I say I’m in no way fancy or sophisticated. I cook every day and at this point I know what I like and just go with it. Warning: There’s a Jack post after the recipe so run away if you’d rather.

Ingredients

(All herbs are dried)

2 Tsp Sage
1 1/2 Tsp Thyme
3/4 Tsp Oregano or 1 Tsp Marjoram
3/4 Tsp Rosemary
1/2 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Tsp Finely Ground Black Pepper.

Method

1. Mix it all together.

 photo WP_20161201_002_e_zpsdlfmrhic.jpgA Winter Wonderland. As in: Wondering when I’ll be able to get back to gardening.

Hmmm? You doubted Jack was that much or an idiot? Of course I am. I’d never let you down. I was wandering around in the frost and have been every day, well I missed one once, shameful I know, but I’ll do better. It’s pretty miserable outside, mild enough that some of the flowers are starting as if it were Spring. But there are deadly cold days too. I’m covering what I can to protect it. I have the compost resting on the soil, under the sheets or Naru might eat it, which will be dug out in New Years, probably a few times to really aerate it. I’ll have a greenhouse next year, I still can’t believe that. I won’t have to run from grow-house to grow-house, zipping, unzipping, stabilizing. I have even more shelf room too. What fun! Let’s pop in and look around, shall we?

 photo WP_20161201_004_e_zpshybtetzd.jpgAs soon as the heads die I’m re-potting these.

 photo WP_20161201_003_e_zpsuhdu1han.jpgIt’s surreal feeling as if you’re being enclosed in ice. It’ll melt as the day progresses.

 photo WP_20161201_005_e_zpsmy3iuupo.jpgRose cutting know nothing but to grow. Keep at it. Whatever colour you are.

 photo WP_20161201_007_e_zpseqbxxx20.jpgThe thyme thrives tremendously. I tremble at it’s tenacity. This sentence was truly terrible.

 photo WP_20161201_006_e_zpshecwga5d.jpgNo roots yet, but I hold out hope.

 photo WP_20161201_008_e_zps1lebdczl.jpgCuttings because I have nothing else to do. There’s also another tier on both of the long staging.

 photo WP_20161201_009_e_zpsd9wt36m2.jpgExcuse gloves. The anemone is still alive. Way too soon to start.

 photo WP_20161201_011_e_zpsgwdzf9lt.jpgBlurry Blueberry Bush still alive. Jack pleased. News at ten.

 photo WP_20161201_010_e_zpsosqsuebl.jpgSeriously, anemone? You and the crocuses need to stop.

 photo WP_20161201_012_e_zpsyndj7k2z.jpgAt least the lupins…Oh! Come on! I put the seed pods in for a joke.

Festive Recipe Round Up 2016: May Contain Tinsel

Dear reader, it’s been, what a day? You need to be more self sufficient. I won’t be here forever, it’ll just seem that way. It seems those in charge don’t want me to reblog something I’ve already reblogged Why? No idea, but here I am with a link. This link to be specific. I wish I were artistic so that I could create an appropriate image to lead you to the page. But I’m not. Hmmmm. Here:

Follow Naru to the page.

Lazy? How very dare you. I’ll have you know that was very lab-our intensive. Hah! Terrible puns. Yeah, oh, that link leads to the collection for recipes suitable for the holidays, Christmas, December whatever you want to think of it as. I’ve updated it since last year, no idea if it’s really all that much help, but I tried and that’s something, right? The recipes cover a lot of diets, as do most of my recipes every other time of the year. If you could share it it’d be appreciated. It took a bit of work putting it together, but sadly didn’t see much interest, the blog is bigger now so maybe it’ll spread about. If you have any tips please do share them in the comment. Be it how to cope, recipes, fun activities. or how to escape. I’ll probably plug that page occasionally as the month progresses. It’s early, but as I said it didn’t get many views so I may as well give it its best chance. Okay, see you later.