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Category Archives: food

Reflections 2020 w04

Let’s start with some food, Chinese fish snacks to be precise.

One assumed that original flavour was just that, the original flavour of the snacks. But having two snacks in original flavour now – it is not. What it is, one cannot say, one can only say nah, not for me.

That was the lizard fish on stick snack, sticky as hell, and with the unusual original flavour. So I tried the other lizard fish snack, dehydrated fish strips.

This one tasted better, but for those in the UK, the flavour would compare to what we get as fish sticks in the fridge section, one has never been a fan of those. And once opened you need a fridge to store, no way could I eat a whole pack.

So a bust for trail snacks.

Then I went Indian…Bombay mix…Not a fan of this either.

East European next…Oshee musli bars…These I like.

On the plus side I have worked out the main meals for the Hadrians walk. One has just got to work on the dehydrating/rehydrating part of the meals to get them right though.

Some taste trials to come next month.

It appears I have ended with food as well. Oh well.

Now where’s my apple?

Reflections 2020 w03

Am I the only one that thinks of something, presses the internet search shortcut, and completely forgets what it was I was going to look for?

It’s happened multiple times today, each time one has only had to hold the thought for a few seconds, but no, it disappears. Not even a hint of what it was remains. One hopes it is not important, or useful, or even something one was supposed to do, this has happened numerous times in the past.

There is the train of thought one must not worry, it will come. But how do you know that that was in fact the original thought unless the recurring thought jogs a memory recall? And how do you truly not think about trying to remember as the hours tick on past?

I think I need to get the desk pad out again, which sucks as one has the habit of curling the edges which then annoy me as I type. Also random stuff gets written down on it – which has no context or explanation, leading to great confusion later, as one tries to decide if it needs saving when it is time to tear off the top sheet.

Also, it is a waste of paper in another respect as you can only practically use one side, often desperately trying to come up with a practical disposable use for the blank side. Because you do not want to save the original side.

Aggghhh, brain rabbit hole.

On an unrelated note…This week I discovered you can dehydrate sausage, completely. One would have thought it was far too fatty to even attempt but the hash brown, sausage, veg and dehydrated egg Spanish omelet/bubble and squeak looks interesting. Experimenting will commence next month.

One also has to start experimenting with bannock bread and ghee.

A decision also has to be made on some camping equipment – do I sell it? Or do I keep it? The pros and cons for the two pieces are about even, and in my current state of mind one can either not be bothered or be in clear out mode, damn the consequences. There is one piece of ‘luxury’ equipment one would be happy to trade for, but as yet the second run of production has not been done.

I call it luxury, but is it? The item is a 5v camping wind generator. An item that will power up battery banks whilst I sleep, which then in turn power my camera/video camera/charge AA batteries for my GPS (which, as an old model, second hand, eats them, 8 hours per set of Duracell)/watch/phone/headlamp, and that is just off the top of my head. The power bank works for about 4-5 days (without the GPS) but I always watch the power consumption. And I would like to take more video footage on future trips.

True one could take extra power packs, but all electrical power banks reduce life in cold weather, and then you have to have somewhere that, usually charges too much, to recharge the device.

Solar is out, even if one was not walking in the day, you have to turn the device to get the best benefit. And rain and wind are more common on my camp trips than sun. Wind power makes more sense in the uk, and the peace of mind of being able to make electricity in the middle of nowhere has a comforting aspect to it.

The generator is also not limited to camping, I could use it at the allotment or out sea fishing as well. It is not a camping only item.

Here is the conundrum though…Few wind generators for camping get past the prototype stage, and fewer still are practical in use. This one is not the smallest generator size packed away, weight wise there is little difference between close rivals. So carrying has its issues. And will a second batch be completed for this item??? Or was the first crowd funded batch the first and last to be made? Do I get one if I can/there is a second run, or do I risk them disappearing into the void of things that were a good idea but…?

I hate my depressed mind, one used to be more carefree, adaptive, and sure of my decisions, even the wrong ones. Now…Now it’s just bloody hard work.

Reflections 2020 w02

One entered the taste testing of the Chinese snacks this week, with an open mind and no expectations.

The pork floss was the first on the list; and it was the strangest thing ever to have crossed my tongue. The texture is like that of loft insulation, with a super absorbency of saliva. It overpowers the flavour completely, only after it has cleared the mouth do you get a subtly sweet hint of flavour.

I took my taste test in the kitchen, then I let my sister try it. She pulled the same face as me, whilst looking at me like one had tried to poison her. Dad on the other hand did not even notice, I swear his mouth sensors do not work, which is probably why he can eat tripe.

Second on the list was the honey barbecue cooked pork strips, the texture was a soft jerky/fruit leather affair, but alas the sweetness of the meat kept growing with each bite. It also is a no go for camping.

Thirdly was the original flavour crispy seaweed. This I was expecting to like as I regularly buy a brand of sea salt and soy sauce nori sheet snack. The texture of these however was more a cross of the sheets and rice crackers. Strange but not off putting. The original flavour however is too strange, there is something before the seaweed flavour that just does not do it for me, which is a shame as the Chinese version is cheaper than the other brand, and has less packaging.

So overall I’m striking three of the list.

It is the turn of the lizard fish snacks next…I have no idea of what that’s going to be like.

Allotment update…the mini greenhouse/cold frame/drying area has been glazed and two sides of the shed are painted twice. Cuprinol red Caesar is more orange than anything else. I will have the brightest shed on the plot.

I am sure I have photos of the plot in its original format. If I find them I will put up the comparison photos. One just needs to tidy up the construction site look first. And get the shed to match in colour. All whilst dodging the winter weather.

Reflections 2020 w01

One got to paint some of the shed today, the parts that were next to a fence in its old location, and boy did it soak it up. However, the preservative that is supposed to be red cedar – is definitely more… Orange.

The salad seedlings have sprouted and are looking good, nice and healthy in the greenhouse. Also the garlic and onions are looking well. The broad beans however have had something sitting in them – B’ cats.

I have to work out what I can do to keep them off the plot. If they are not pooping everywhere they are digging up and flattening. Somehow I think i would get into trouble if I located the owner and posted a photo of the cat and its poop through their door, but it is acceptable for their cat poop to get on my clothing, footwear and hands whilst I garden.

I don’t hate the cats, I hate the law that says it’s ok for them to do it, but if Spot was to wander around pooping in the neighbours yards, that would be illegal because she’s a dog.

And yes the dog owners that do do that are equally disgusting…To the point I would create a new crime called A Dirty B*****d, complete with a national newspaper mug shot when convicted. Just so the paper can print Mr/Mrs XYZ today was found to be A Dirty B*****d is such and such court. For every pet found fouling without the owners picking it up and; I would like to stress this, BINNING it.

You may have worked out I ‘found’ some more today.

On good news I have purchased some Pork Floss, it will be trialed next week with my sister, who also wants to taste it. She does not however want to try the other snacks. In fact she definitely pulled her face at the fish sticks. I am giggling as I remember her look right now. Just wait until I get the item they did not have.

Here is the haul, my impressions will be forthwith upon consumption.

 

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Reflections 2019 w49

The quest for backpacking food continues…

And I have found a new candidate – Pork floss. Although one much prefers the Chinese name of Rousong. Basically it is pork shoulder cooked in soy sauce and sugar until it shreds into a coarse wool texture, somewhere along the process it is also dried. This makes a shelf stable meat product I think has possibilities.

I cannot tell you how many hours of watching youtube videos it took to come across this little gem.

One quick facebook message later and I know my local Chinese supermarket has it in stock, this time next week one will have tried it.

Also found this week are a snack called veggie straws, a mixture of kale (no surprise there), tomato and spinach in potatoes starch tubes. They taste like a french fries knockoff (an english crisp snack) with way lower salt content.

Common on the trail is baby food – the pureed fruit in tubes. This makes sense as it is a useful way to get fruit on the hike. Just one problem – they taste like pureed fruit, watered down pureed fruit, so watered down one can ‘taste’ the water. Not an option.       I side with all babies that pull their face when having these pouches.

 

On a side note..Who has peanut butter and cheese on wraps??? Nasty, just nasty.

I cannot understand the hiking mantra of food is energy, so who cares what combo it is mixed in.

Ramen bomb seems common, for those that don’t know – Instant noodles and instant mash combined together with tuna, sausage or cheese, even a combo of all.

One is so glad one is a Trangia camper; even if it make meal planning more…Civilised.

 

Reflections 2019 w48

Another post a day late.  One did not feel like writing yesterday, my back has been , quite frankly, annoying the hell out of me.

Playing with the kids on Saturday pulled a muscle in my lower back which has irritated one of my disc bulges that I was just getting over again. Who would have thought hitting children with balloons, their game rules not mine, could cause such pain.

Therefore my insomnia has a new play pal for my attention, a constant distraction from sleep. I now have a lot of naps 1/2 an hour after pain medication.

Also, my mind is trying to work overtime on foodstuffs for a walking holiday next year. This may sound insignificant to most people, and to myself pre-breakdown it would also have been, but not now.

Now I have major depression and high to severe anxiety; this I know all too well. So in order to walk Hadrian’s wall next year one has to take several attacks into account. Overcoming these has taken the form of routines or patterns of familiarity. Food wise one has to have my entire menu for 14 days sorted bagged and labelled, so that eating is a routine and not something one can skip.

Not just labelled into meals…Breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner.

But by the day. Including teabags to be had, when to have them etc. It is the only way I will not become overwhelmed by simple decisions. Normal tea or Green tea can become an hour of indecision, not able to do anything else whilst my brain buffers the information.

But, another concept that is going to be new for me, is keeping the food weight down. No cooking fresh chicken on this trip. And with being in the UK, there is no real supply of dehydrated meat that I would want to trust, except the very expensive stuff, which would also be too much for one to have in a week, the usual time to consume once opened.

With that being said, one has researched online, and I have to admit there has been a few surprises. Mainly in the dehydrating meals wise. My dehydrator is a simple one, it has no temperature control, and although it does say it can do meat – I do not trust it for that. Therefore the cooked meals are going to be out for home dehydrating, and have you seen the cost for the camp meals already done? Wow, I would need a small loan just to eat, and a blood flush to get rid of the salt concentrating in my veins from eating them for a fortnight.

To be honest, like most people who carry a Trangia cook set, boiling water and then soaking for ten minutes to eat a warm meal, is just not that appealing. It is why they are called a cook set. We can cook with them, and I have had some nice meals in a tent before…Wild boar, Pheasant, Ostrich, Kangaroo, Bison, Venison and fillet steak.

Just because one is in a tent does not mean one cannot eat like a king.

Spoilt and over the top.

Admittedly one was working unto 70hrs a week when those meals were ate, and getting a discount for the meats due to the job one was in.

So this time around one is going to have to work out meals based around dehydrated veg, I cannot imagine meals without veg, tinned fish/meat and a new thing one has found called TVP, a soy product, I will not call it a meat alternative, because I have yet to taste a meat alternative that is either…An alternative to meat, or, just better to to call it vegetarian/vegan. My brain is not left feeling conned when the taste just does not match up to what they say it tastes like. Sometimes one wonders if the person has even ate the foodstuff being copied.

I started the idea of the walk in October, I started the meal research in November, now  one is looking for recipes to try to create from dehydrated veg in December.

When is the walk you may ask?

Next August, I just hope one can get things sorted by then.

Starting a new habit or routine, even a new thing to become familiar, takes time. These meals I have yet to create have got to become all of the above, so I do not have to think about them to do them.

It may be even harder to do if some of the ingredients have got to have a gradual introduction to my food chain. It took me 12months to introduce courgettes into my diet, to the point I can eat a whole one in my meal today.

Luckily the veg to be prepped are all staples in my current diet, but will they work dehydrated???

Reflections 2019 w 45

Well, the plan for the leaf collecting went out of the window, we have had that much rain i would have had a swamp on the back of my car after just the one trip.

On the plus side my initial findings with the thermal battery in the greenhouse looks promising.

For those that have not heard of thermal batteries – they are just a way to collect some of the warmth the sun provides and then releases it over night time. Basically a hot water bottle…A BIG hot water bottle.

I have used an old garden wheelie bin for my storage. Simply filled with water. It took about a week before any change was to be seen on the min/max temperature, Mainly the min temp has been the focus, as one cannot theorise as to how intense the sun has been, the time available, nor the temperature variation of the outside. But one has been able to do a simple test…

What was the minimum temperature inside the greenhouse when the outside froze.

Without the thermal bank it has dropped to 2degC, with a high of 26degc.  With the thermal bank running for a week the max temp was reduced, as is expected because it partially goes to warming the water, down to around the 18-19degC. However, the Min temperature inside as the outside has froze did not drop any lower than 6degC.

This may not sound that brilliant, or that useful, and for the main part it is not. I am not likely to be growing tomatoes in it over winter. However I plan to grow winter salads, the varieties that grow outdoors over winter, indoors. My theory being that they should benefit from the extra warmth and protection, giving me a higher yield.

Well that the hypothesis anyhow…

Time will tell.