Brown Teff Flour and Puree Scones

This dough forms with a literal splash of water. Avoid the temptation to add more.

Hmm? You thought I was done with teff, Dear Reader? Not until he bag ends, I just did exactly what I said I would. I took away the oil, I rationed the water to the bare minimum and used our friend Flaxseed to help with the stability. These are a rework of another recipe, linked below in the photo caption, that had all the properties I needed to make a test of my theory. Not to be insufferable, but I was right. I put a lot of thought into what I say here so I’m often right by dint of hard work, research and smart silence.

This works best with dry hands unlike the original.

So, these don’t take all that much work to come together, when I started to stir in the apple and egg mixture I was tempted to add more water, but I knew that’d cause issues when working the dough, now perhaps you could get away with it, but I saw no real benefit, the greatest strength of teff is that it is inherently a moist feeling flour, it seems to need very little added moisture to feel moist, I was going to say mouth moist, but thankfully resisted, when baked. The slow bake helps here and they do bake fast, but make sure they are fully baked before removing them, they can be hard to gauge as they harden quickly.

Low heat preserves the flavour of the flour.

I left these to cool as they were harder than their buckwheat counterparts. They cut without much crumbling, they they seem brittle at first they held just fine as you can see. They have a very crispy, crunchy exterior and a slightly chew, springy interior, thank the apple for that, I really loved the contrast and the flavour of the teff survives and isn’t overpowered by the sugar as there isn’t much used here, it can be omitted completely too. You need something like butter or a non-dairy fatty spread to really highlight the teff’s sweet, indistinctly nutty flavour. Teff seems to be best suited to savoury pairing, it doesn’t really work by itself and it certainly isn’t that suitable for desserts. Not to say you couldn’t, but I’m not going to try further on that line.

Lack of oil helps too.

So, I’m getting near the end of the bag of teff flour. I’m not getting a second as I have a press full of buckwheat, some bags of brown rice flour and a little quinoa still. I never like to waste anything and the dates on these will run out if I keep playing around with other flours. I’m glad I took the chance while I had it, I always say that we should all take any opportunity to learn about different preparations and ingredients. Oh, I was poking around in my freezer and realised I have way too many pounds of raspberries and didn’t want jelly again so I instead juiced them, the compost gets the pulp, have no fear, Dear Reader, no waste here, added grated garlic, salt, butter and diced apple and cooked it all down into a thick sauce for dinner. Tart, pungent and just slightly sweet. I forgot to take a photo…twice actually. I have a lot to eat in my freezer from last year’s garden and I’m already starting to get some seeds in. That’s another post though, I’ll be back with a few more teff recipes as the bag finishes, until then take care, Dear Reader.


Ingredients

170g Brown Teff Flour
125g Green Apple, Peeled and Cut into Chunks
1 Medium Egg (55-65g in Shell)
30g Ground Brown Flaxseed
15g Sugar
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Water As Needed

Can be frozen.

Method

1. Add Brown Teff Flour, Sugar and Baking Powder to a bowl and set aside.

2. Blend Apple and Egg in a food processor or blender it becomes pale and foamy.

4. Add the Apple mixture to the dry ingredients and mix using a fork. A soft, thick, slightly sticky Batter will form. If needed add a little Water, but don’t add any more than necessary to make the dough form. Rest for 5 minutes.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 200c (Fan) and line a baking tray with grease-proof paper. Scoop up a dessert spoon of the dough, it will be soft, slightly brittle and somewhat sticky, form into a ball, place onto the tray and press down gently. Repeat until dough is used up. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until Golden Brown, firm to the touch and hollow sounding when bottom is tapped. Transfer to a wire-rack and cool for 10 minutes.

Advertisements

What Is This? The Nineties

Depending on who you’re talking to I’m either that nice young man or…a pile of dust, but I do remember the absolute terror of visiting sites on a Dial-Up connection and waiting minutes for a single photo to load, if it loaded at all. So, as I haven’t had anything to photograph, consider these last few posts as a new style of retro-blogging. I’m a pioneer!

I’m actually here to talk about me, just me for a change, not a story reshaped to help facilitate understanding when read by many, just a story about Dearest Darling Jack, Dear Reader. You might have seen me mention that I struggle to find stockists of my gluten free cereals, there are a lot of limits on something that seems so simple and I have always struggled, never really ran out, but only by virtue of constant vigilance and research into new brands. It’s stressful to say the least. So, oh! There is one thing I want to mention first, stick with me, Dear Reader, it’ll make sense in the end.

I always say that any dietary changes I make, any food choices I prefer are all my own decision, they’re backed by reason, facts and logic, but I still stress the fact that they are my choices, my dietary needs, that no matter what they accomplish for me they may not have the same effect on you and you need to use them not as an absolute guide but as a rough template. I also never start something and then blog about it, I make sure of the effect it’s having and whether it’s something worth sharing, for my Dear Readers naturally, I could post about everything I eat and that’d get me traffic if nothing else.

I started adding chia seeds to my cereal, it is high fibre, but not as much as I once ate, and I found that I felt better even with this weather playing havoc with my histamine intolerance, my sinuses seem to have a direct line to the weather, air pressure and who knows what else, but I hit a huge snag. There was no cereal anywhere and I was running out. Now the cereal I eat does contain sugar, but it isn’t sweet, sounds contradictory until you realise how much sugar is necessary to make something sweet tasting, so I took a look through the cereal section and found something I knew and had hated before. Puffed seeds, quinoa to be specific, I hadn’t much choice and they are quinoa, a staple of my diet. They were much cheaper than the cereal too. So armed with puff and chia I embarked on a journey through my first bag of puffed seeds and just seeds. Exciting.

That was about two months ago, the last of the cereal was eaten every other day and that ran out recently, I found I didn’t need as much, a fair dose of chia atop the quinoa and some milk, I found early on added sweetness wasn’t working, it took a day I think, really not a place you want sweetness. It’s almost absolutely tasteless, the big issue I had was you can’t chew it as there isn’t any body, you can’t swallow it straight either, not without a lot of trouble. Now I muddled along, mushing it is the only verb that fits, and found that the chia was better after a short spell of soaking, that gave it a little body, which was better. What it took time to discover was that soaking the whole thing for five or ten minutes softened the quinoa and thickened the chia and then it was a breeze to gulp down a bowl of quick bland mush. It’s boring, but porridge, due to the hot milk, no idea why, makes me queasy, takes so long to eat! This is fast food. It’s now taken the place of my cereal and I’m finding that I feel better, I have had issues on and off with corn and as it’s the main ingredient in most cereals I might have been eating to much, it was never a obvious thing and it may just be the extra fibre, but I feel good in my guts.

As to why I’m sharing, well, I’m in my ninth year of whatever this is and only realised this as a viable replacement for cereal. I like food that can be eaten quickly without thought, no, don’t think this would work as a smoothie! I have terrible experience with that concoction, and I want food that fuels, fills and heals. The great thing is that the puffs come in various brands and there is always another seed or grain if this vanishes, even the cereal would do in a pinch, but cutting down sugar is always in the back of my mind, even when it’s unnoticeable. I still use natural sweeteners whenever I want, don’t mistake me there, I’m no hero, but in something bland like the cereal where it had no effect on taste it seems pointless to keep eating it. So, that’s me, Dear Reader, I’m eating my seeds and feeling good. I have no idea who this may help, but you never know. Take care, Dear Reader, I’ll be back again later.

Tough Teffy

Dear Reader, I tell you quite truthfully I am sitting here not wanting to type this, to not have to seem like the jaded and bitter person I may come across, I am at times both those things, but right now I’m an educator, not that I ever wanted to be such a thing, but as I so rarely see anyone speak like I am about to my sense of responsibility urges me on, it’s like a less useful Spider Sense, I might have to be responsible, but I will rarely be completely serious.

I’m running down a flour, you might wonder why that pains me so much. I’m not a negative person, I’m too nice on the whole, but having to complain doesn’t suit me and the idea that I might hurt someone utilising this flour is…well, silly, but I am silly. But it’d be worse to post a half-baked, terribly serious blogging here, recipe that would do nothing to inform, but do everything to make me look, at least marginally, better. It’s: This Is My Teff Pancake Recipe Vs…this post. So, what did teff do?

Teff in my last three recipes has failed in two regards: One when used with a fast, high heat, a microwave and frying pan both, it developed a slightly bitter taste, secondly when used with oil it tended to absorb water, but not the oil leaving an oily residue in the mouth. Now, both my Teff Bread and Waffle recipes fix or avoid these issues, see, this is where I could choose to say nothing and look better, but then you’d learn nothing. As to why, the fact these recipes work is due to the slow, low heat of the bread and the minimal oil, with again, a slower heat. (I have used both olive and rapeseed oil FYI.) A waffle iron takes longer than a hot pan, the pancakes, though edible, took only a minute a side and were even more unpleasant hot. The Tortillas I tried made dough that was too oily and unstable. Teff seems to absorb water and become jelly-like, but can’t be handled. The mug cake pointed out the issue teff has with sweetness: It doesn’t work with it, the sugar tastes way from the natural sweetness of the teff and the fast microwave left it dense and almost inedible.

These recipes have worked well over time and various flours, to varying degrees of course, and the reason I used them was to discover these flaws. Now I could fix them, but I don’t need to, but by giving you this advice if you find you can’t tolerate the flours I use more regularly, due to their better points, you can. Or you can take the recipes that do work and stick to those. Ultimately, I’m here to make recipes, but that’s a byproduct of my diet, lifestyle and weight-loss journey. I know a lot, as I say I could fix these recipes, but the work that would take, the toll of having to eat and test everything, not forgetting the cost of further bags of flour, wouldn’t make sense. I also know that none of my Dear Readers would ever ask me to go that far. I’m sure there are recipes out there using teff in the manner I have tried, but like most things I’d have to try it to be certain, not saying there are those who would pretend a recipe is better than it is, oh, yes I am.

It’s what happened to me so often I stopped looking up recipes and started doing the work myself. Why I document so extensively. There are flours that work so well you need no others, buckwheat is the best, quinoa a close second, rice flour for it’s cheap price point is the third and final necessary flour in my pantry (Cupboard). Everything else is curiosity. You can flick through the blog and there are very few flours I haven’t tried, very few ingredients in the limited range I have that I have not tried in various combinations. Sorghum and Teff are very similar in they have a few interesting points and you can do a fair bit with them, but they can’t be pushed, they have too tightly set limits for real experimentation. So, I still have flour left and I have recipes to try, but I’ll take in what I’ve learned so far in any future recipes. Okay, that’s it for me, take care, Dear Reader.

Lift With Your Knees, Ed-boys

As the day is snowy and slushy I thought I’d take a moment to talk weight-loss, Dear Reader, and if you’re a regular to these discussion you know when I talk weight-loss I’m giving you the hard view, the annoying well-informed anecdotes and focus more on sustaining healthy habits and weight. If you’re here for advice on losing weight in any gimmicky form or for shortcuts then trundle along, Jack is tired and there are so many conversation to be had. A quick one, today, Dear Reader, not very in-depth, just an interesting re-frame to an idea I’ve discussed often.

Since I’ve started the greater work of the garden the more labour intensive start, I’m still marvelling at the different the surgery and subsequent healing has made, still waiting for the next letter, but let’s not go there, I’m reminded of advise we all know: Life with your knees. Which in thinking on I realised I don’t actually understand it fully, so I went researching, I found the advise that the backside goes out while the knees stay put. The knees lower, but you don’t squat. Which really works well and saves the back. What, you’re thinking, Jack see all, Dear Reader, has this to do with weight-loss or healthy eating?Everything! Or nothing, depends on what you’re focusing on.

Think first of the advice we all know, much like lifting with the knees, eating well has it many examples, plenty of fibre, water, five fruit and vegetables day etc, but when it comes to the execution of those practices we falter because don’t have the full picture, much like lifting we hear, but don’t understand and again, like the knee advice, when it finally comes to a point we need it we can feel that we should know this and don’t start the important task of researching and learning. Partly it’s conceit, we’re all prone to varying degrees of vanity and asking for help or even admitting a lack of knowledge can be embarrassing. It isn’t helpful where many promoters of healthy eating are crafting an all-knowing, easy-to-do image, Jack isn’t bitter, I just know that’s not, nor has it ever been, never will either, my space. So, we, metaphorically, strain our backs instead of bowing our heads and admitting we know less than we thought. I’ve always said hat I know I know very little, but I can, and have, learned. I took a lack of confidence and turned it to a strength.

So, the first hurtle is admitting we don’t know, you pass that by simple truth, I don’t know, but I can learn, the second is putting the work in, in both researching the real answers, not the easy ones and then applying them, which can be extremely difficult as you will meet resistance in yourself and, worse still, others. I always say my journey was a solo one, that is probably part of the reason, I don’t ever advice doing everything secretly, but oversharing can be detrimental too.

From an unrelated piece of advice, which I will be endeavouring to follow, I’m extremely tall and have no intention of doing any further damage to my back, I’m free from back pain for the first time in twenty years and I’m not undoing that, Dear Reader, mark my words, we find an anecdote for sustained weight-loss and healthy eating, both sides of the same coin. It’s always simple sounding advice, isn’t it, Dear Reader? That in itself is telling of its worth. The humble acorn becomes a tree, I saw that in a cartoon, I’m very cultured. Until later, Dear Reader, I’m off to haul stupidly heavy pots in the best posture possible…to the wheelbarrow because I’m learning. Until later, take care.

Fossilised Time

Our Collared Dove Pair.

The bird spot, honestly I don’t know what to call the assortment of feeders and what has become the sprouting feeder aka the planter below the seeds. The birds seem to enjoy rooting around in it, Dear Reader, who am I to ruffle any feathers? We have ground feeders and smaller birds that seen to favour the potentilla as as a perch, the more bold enjoy the two large bottles of seeds and peanuts. You lose a great deal of time bird-watching, I can’t tell you how often I’ve stood there trying to deduce whether a bird is new or just at a new angle. I’m always careful in the garden whenever I’m putting up netting or putting down slug pellets, I don’t want any birds getting hurt or killed. They seem to tend the rose garden and will happily consume anything that eats the scattered oats, great for strawberries as a slug prevention measure, not yet as the weather is so wet they’d only make soaked oats and in the garden that isn’t as useful.

The end of an era.

You wouldn’t think to look at the spot that it had ever been otherwise. I had to scramble around the garden with a bucket, gathering whatever stones were piled high enough to scoop a handful without balding. This planter was smaller, three thirty six litres pots and three forty three and a little for the potato pot and vegetable bed. Which has turned the cotton sheets to tissue paper, microbes in action, Dear Reader. When I took it off the base, I had forgotten how many blocks had raised it up and why, and noticed the side had split, I was in time again, I then noticed why it was raised. A stump, my garden is so many ill-cut stumps concealed. I was almost going to leave it and stack again, but I decided not to, I kicked a spade into it and it just popped right through, time had taken its toll, Dear Reader and the stump was vanquished. A block was tossed into the hole, to level the ground, the matting was arranged and pinned roughly with screws and stones, it will have pots above it so rough like this is acceptable. So ends another raised bed, the last is a sturdy crate and that will stay.

This set up is better, in time I’ll acquire more pots with handles.

It’s strange coming back to a section of the garden I haven’t laid eyes on in two or more years. That section is older than my belly button, which is how I measure so much, Dear Reader, I have a terrible sense of humour. I dug it, matted it and the Jack that did that is still there, in the careful matting, in the spot where there was once a grow-house, now I have made my mark over this again. Two years isn’t the shortest amount of time, but when you think I have asparagus older than that that I have yet to harvest. How much more will it change? Will it ever really stop? These are questions that I need no answers to, Dear Reader, I’m just happy to go with the flow. To take whatever can be used in the garden, look above in the photograph, the buckets, two of the composters, that long bed, those stones, the trellis, the bulbs, the chives, all gifts and someone else’s trash. When I say I have no idea where this is going I mean it. Every year I’m reminded of what the Jack that came before had done. The one who dug a garden while dealing with chronic pain, the one who filled those squash pots as his heart broke over surgery cancellations, the one who put down these stones while wondering when I’ll see an end to this interminable waiting. The garden holds so many pieces of time, sections of life and work carefully preserved and free from mingling. As I have a lot of posts I’ll leave this and add to it again before publishing.

How many times have I done this now? It must be three times each at least. I get about two bins a year, that’s at least two wheelbarrow’s worth.

The compost puck has become something of a tradition, you might be aghast at my sharing this, but all it is rotted plant matter and paper, it’s important to understand the medium our food grows in, not just the food’s growth cycle, this will rot into the soil, the displaced soil, a very handy side-effect as it nets me me more soil that is vastly better than the bagged stuff, which this was once admittedly, and one day it will be a recipe, a meal or a flower to admire in its transience. It came from the food I prepared, the paper I shredded and the harvests remains that grew from it’s predecessor’s output, it’s all a continuous cycle, Dear Reader, I’m glad to be a part of it. As you can see I kept the area as clean as possible, the surround for the composters worked as expected, a grand name for stained broom handles, and I took my time wheeling away and shoveling to avoid spillage. It’s not the greatest compost, the tall bin tends to compress too much, but after being tossed into the pots, the beds and the front garden, pots and garden alike, it’ll have time to melt and mingle and will make great soil for this year’s growing. I amended the squash pots that hadn’t been changed and will add that soil to handled troughs as I get them, if not I’ll just re-mix the soil like last year. It takes some planning, but it works out well. I even took some of the soil at the very bottom of the compost bin for filling another squash pot. I’ll never have enough squash, Dear Reader! Until later, take care.

The potato leaves will be kept upright, I’ve seen it said they grow better that way. They’ll take up less room this way if nothing else.

Same Old, Same New: Cinnamon Chicken Rub

I’m on a fried onion kick. I’ll get bored eventually.

This style of post has proved useful, Dear Reader, I play around with various recipes in the usual course of weekly meal preparation and being able to share old recipes like this is useful. The Cinnamon Chicken Rub is about four years old, according to the creation date of the text file, yes, I really keep them all in the most basic way possible, which in terms of recipes is ancient. I honestly forgot about this, I generally use the Sweet Sweet Potato Seasoning whenever I want a “sweet” cinnamon flavour. I often think that my recipes are a fine line between stew and smoothie. You can play with the balance of sweetness in savoury recipes and dance long the knife’s edge between a caramel sauce and a rich, but sweet sauce, I have eaten chicken in an accidental caramel sauce and that is not recommended, here the onions cut the cloying sweetness and searing the honey slathered chicken adds a slight burnt taste. I really sat there last night scribbling at a crossword thinking this up, knowing it’d be worth a try if nothing else, I was prepared to sit down to a caramel chicken again, but thankfully it worked out. As lax as I may seem, Dear Reader, I never put you onto a bad thing.

This really takes a while to reduce.

So, I love the loose format of these, it’s freeing, you need the rub, as is, with about a tablespoon of honey, mix all that in a bowl and slash some chicken breasts, then smush everything together, it might take a little bit of mixing to make it adhere, but you’re adding the marinade anyways so don’t worry too much. I fried the onions, add a pinch of salt too, I think it draws out the moisture, in olive oil rather than butter, I like either, but it changes the taste, while you’re doing that cut rounds of sweet potato and toss them in extra virgin olive oil and the aforementioned sweet sweet seasoning, in the oven, at 175c Fan, for about forty five minutes, turning occasionally,  None of this is exact, Dear Reader, just me ad libbing, so, onions until they’re starting to brown, rice is Whole Grain Basmati, a great recipe I have had from the start, fluffy rice with no draining, add the chicken at a high heat, pouring over whatever is left in the bowl, cook both sides for two minutes, then reduce the heat, let the pan cool a little, and add the coconut milk and just gently simmer until it reduces and darkens. Flip the chicken now and then.

Silly presentation are my milieu.

So you end with with a sweet, salty dish that really is a mixture of various kinds of sweet, the scorched honey, softened by the coconut milk’s fattiness, the sweet potatoes natural sweetness enhanced by the sweet seasoning and the natural sweetness of slightly caramelised onions. None of it cloying or too sickly, just a lovely duality of sweet and salt fighting it out on your taste-buds, with tender, moist chicken and fluffy, light rice. Now, I don’t put this up often, but if you ever want to say thank you by buying Dearest Darling Jack a virtual Coffee, you can do so here or via Paypal directly here, if you already have then thank you, I’m extremely grateful. Don’t ever feel the need to do more than you can, Dear Reader, I just put it out there because in-spite of the light tone I do put a lot of effort and work into the site. I’m not here to make money, I probably couldn’t even if I tried, though it may be possible if I were to restrict access to recipes and I swear I will never do that. Just remember that a like, share, comment, anything that promotes the site or engages with it helps these recipes spread, which in turn gets them to more Dear Readers who may need them. See? By putting up with me you help people, no need to thank me. Heh. Until later, Dear Reader.

What Idiot Marked These Plants?

I…I have no idea. The marker fell off.

That is a Tulip LL and CL or something…I forget. Oh, Lasting Love and Virichic.

Not that I remember buying this much.

Dear Reader I often joke about forgetting parts of the garden, but you see, I’m not joking! I get so many bits and pieces and have so many small jobs throughout the year I tend to forget a lot of what has been done, extensive notes help mitigate this a tad, but still you walk through my garden for a few minutes and after a few more minutes hours have passed. It might not be the biggest, but it is varied to the extreme. You can’t step anywhere without finding something strange, intriguing or interesting. Flowers taken from all over the town, bulbs of all colours, hues and types, bit of recycled rubbish made beautiful…ish. This is just the year’s beginning, I’m be much more muddled before its end, Dear Reader, you can bank on that.

What are those? They were mixed up bulbs.

Trusty anemone.

Hirsute Houses for Feathered Friends.

No, I have not lost my mind, nor has there been a spate of toupee thefts. Someone, not me thankfully, painted the birdhouse black for some reason and that isn’t ideal for attracting birds, keeping them away yes, so I thought I’d try a more natural look for them, we’re getting near the mating season after all. It’s just an old liner from a hanging basket, almost everything here is an old something, nothing is wasted, stapled to the outside of the houses. They may just rip it off, but it’s worth a trial. It’d be nice to have nesting birds, they keep he pests down.

I…I-I have no idea, I think I spread seeds from mixed Stock.

We had one Tit nest but that was all.

Well, it’s growing and budding whatever it is.

I have said this repeatedly, each time some freak occurrence happened in Naru’s designated garden, but I say again I have no illusions about Naru’s spirit, because it’s messing with me constantly! Seriously, I have seen flowers re-bloom, bloom for much too long, even when others had long since died, I have watched a rose establish itself in a pot at an alarming rate. You could argue I had a hand in that, over-feeding etc, but this tray, planted elsewhere, with no feed, little tiny anemone corms, nothing special, with no special treatment, which I placed on Naru’s garden and yeah, three days after they appear one is flowering. I’m not complaining, but it is strange, still, that Labrador started this garden with me, it seems fitting her space should be something different.

Naru’s Inexplicable Early Flowering persists.

Why I marked this Tup is anyone’s guess.

They’ll use the liner if nothing else.

I have to empty the second raised bed, rather I feel I ought, they’ve both had their time and the soil was made perfect by being left in them and turned and amended over the years so it’s now suitable for pots, which I can empty and amend too. That’ll require better weather than we’ve had. I have started remarking plants with plastic markers and I’m engraving, slow,. loud, tedious work, Dear Reader, the names on them so neither rain nor sun will wash or bleach them away completely. It should be a lifetime job. I’m making progress, Dear Reader, towards what? No idea, stick around for the ride. Take care.

That’s the last of the iron works…probably.