Khorason bread…

Last Wednesday I made my weekly bread with 50% wholemeal Khorason flour instead of the normal 50% wholemeal, and it was a seriously strange experience.

Khorason, by the way, is an ancient strain of wheat that has remained unchanged for thousands of years – its origins are unknown, but it seems certain that it predates the Pharaohs. It is though to be a variant of Emmer which, itself, has been dated back to 7,000 years BC. The grain for my flour comes from the Khorason region of Iran, from which it takes it’s name (not Iraq as I might have said  in an earlier post or Tweet).

Khorason is grown commercially in the US under the Continue reading

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Countering drug-induced constipation – linseeds update…

In my previous post I mentioned the problems of taking crushed linseeds, with water, to counter the constipation caused by opioid analgesics and enforced inactivity. As there was also a risk, given my respiratory problems, of at some point inhaling these, I needed to find a alternative delivery system. I have. (NB: Some people add them to food whole, but that does nothing for me.)

Today, as an experiment, I mixed 40g of Smash (any other instant mash mix will do just as well), with Continue reading

Flu vaccine far less effective than claimed…

As regular readers may know, although I’m in a very high risk group, I have no fondness for the flu vaccine, as most years it causes more problems than would having the sodding flu (ME/CFS and the flu vaccine are a very bad mix), nor have I ever been entirely convinced of its usefulness. This year, with my heart problems ramping up the risk to even higher levels, I was seriously considering having the flu vaccine.

Then, in Pulse Today (log-in or sign-up may be required), this appeared this morning:- Continue reading

Countering drug-induced constipation…

I realise that for many people this is a distasteful subject. If that’s you, then spare a thought for those of us for whom this problem is purgatorial!

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As regular readers may be aware, a side effect of my array of chronic illnesses is drug-induced constipation, the worst offenders being opioid analgesics, though others contribute to the problem, as does enforced inactivity.

The only solution to that problem, for many years, all else having failed,  has been beer, in sizeable quantities – a gallon or so is needed to break the log-jam, so to speak. Needless to say, that’s not doing me any good, especially as, now my heart is so comprehensively screwed, the sheer volume of fluid is a health hazard, causing Continue reading

E-petition rejected for blatantly dishonest reasons…

Yesterday I submitted an e-petition request which said:-

We call upon the government to compel Atos Healthcare to replace its current tick-box disability assessment system with one in which disabled claimants are properly assessed by qualified doctors as, indeed, was the case before Atos were appointed. The current system is demonstrably unfair and arbitrary.

Today I got a reply saying:- Continue reading

Reduce the cost of disability – end pointless reassessments…

Someone on Twitter asks, when PiP is introduced, will the blind be left alone and not repeatedly reassessed. However, it affects very many more people than those who are registered blind.

These days amputees are routinely reassessed, presumably in case limbs have magically grown back, as is pretty much anybody with an incurable and progressive illness, including Continue reading

E-petitions – use them effectively…

Government e-petitions are, I strongly suspect, mainly giving a voice to rabid right-wingers and cretinous Daily Mail/Torygraph readers – almost a quarter of a million voting in favour of stripping convicted London rioters of their benefits being a classic example (and why only London?). Just how, exactly, will that do anything but render people homeless and/or drive more people into a life of crime? Many far more worthy causes are being promoted via a wide range of “unofficial” petitions, and I’m at a loss to know exactly what this will accomplish.

Government e-petitions are less than perfect, but Continue reading

Making vegetarian sausages…

This is the final, revised version of the recipe.

It’s been my ambition, for a long time, to make a veggie sausage that is actually worth eating. As regular readers will know, I was a veggie for  the better part of 20 years, lapsing gradually over a period between the turn of the century and 2005 (though my diet remained veggie to a substantial degree), and veggie sausages were then, and still are, dog food. I’m damn sure I can do better.

Having said that, I’ve just bought some soya-based sausages from Sainsbury’s which look as if they should be pretty decent – I’ll have some tonight with the pease pudding I made yesterday.

What follows, then, is my starting point. It’s based on a very successful beanburger recipe that I made for many years and, indeed, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t treat it as such if you wish – I’ll probably make a few burgers too.

Dried basil is nothing like fresh, by the way, and I use it to impart a generic herbiness. However, I’ve obtained some from a new source** which is alleged to retain much of its flavour. If it tastes as good as it smell***s then that will certainly be the case. If you use supermarket-sourced basil, use a tablespoon.

**NB: These guys don’t process orders for 6 days. Why, I have no idea, they couldn’t be bothered telling me, so be warned.

***It does.

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Vegetarian Sausage.

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1 can of each of the following, drained and rinsed:-

Chick peas, Cannellini beans, Red kidney beans, Haricot beans (total yield, drained, is a little under 1kg). I use Napolina brand as the quality is excellent (Sainsbury’s o-b beans, while much cheaper, tend to be a tad crunchy).

2 teaspoons dried basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

100g Breadcrumbs, from my own bread (which, this week, is organic wholemeal and a white flour produced from Swedish spring wheat)

3 oz Carmargue red rice, cooked in water flavoured with

1 Knorr vegetable stock cube

1 Kallo organic vegetable stock cube

1 tablespoon tomato purée

3 teaspoons Branston fruity sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 small free-range/organic eggs

1 scant teaspoon Fine sea salt – take care not to over-salt as there’s salt in the stock cubes

¾ teaspoon black pepper (I use Schwartz; McCormick’s is better if you can find it

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NB: For a vegan recipe, omit the eggs and make burgers – less prone to fall apart than the sausage shape – and fry in very little oil. Both stock cubes are vegan, as is the Branston sauce.

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Spoons are, of course, measuring spoons, as cutlery spoons can be pretty random.

For this recipe I use a hand mincer, as a food processor would too easily reduce the beans to a puree – I want to retain some texture so I’ll use a very coarse plate with 10mm holes which will chop the beans coarsely, while leaving some whole or almost whole.

Method:-

Put the beans in a suitably sized pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, remove from heat and set aside for a few minutes – you just want them to heat through. Drain the beans well, then tip onto a clean tray to dry off for 10 minutes. While still warm, tip into a bowl, stir though the herbs, seasoning and olive oil, cover with clingfilm and leave until next day (refrigerate once cold).

While the beans are warming, or afterwards, it matters not which, cook the rice, in enough water to cover by an inch, along with the Knorr stock cube. Add a more boiling water is necessary.

When the rice is cooked, tip into a sieve over another pan, and allow to drain thoroughly. Then set aside. Return the rice water to the pan, and reduce until you have just about half an inch depth, dissolve the Kallo cube, sauce, and tomato purée. Return the rice, and add the crumbs, mixing well with the rice until all the liquid is absorbed. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the absorption to be completed, then add to the beans and mix well.

Cover and return to the fridge until thoroughly cold – as with making normal sausages, there is scope for food poisoning, though admittedly the risk is much lower, but still, keep everything scrupulously clean and cold from here on in.

Once chilled (or the next day if you wish), remove from the fridge, beat the eggs and stir them in, and mince on the coarsest plate or pulse-process until you have a coarse texture, if a food processor is what you have. If neither, tip into a pan and mash with a potato masher.

Now then, this is where I part company with most of you, as I have a sausage-stuffing machine.

This will enable me to produce cylindrical sausages of an even size (I haven’t yet decided whether or not to use artificial sausage casings, which are made from collagen but are micro-thin and can be removed before cooking**. Alternatively, I could partially freeze them then coat them in egg and cornmeal. Decisions, decisions…

**I went with the collagen casings and left them on. A mere 7g of casings gave me almost 1.5kg of sausages, which probably makes them a lot more veggie than most chocolate (if you knew the animal and insect contaminants permitted in chocolate, you’d never touch the stuff).

So, while I press on with the machine, you can hand-form them, maybe rolling them in buckwheat flour to make them easier to handle or, using a burger press, make burgers – they’ll be just as good either way, and burgers will yield a more uniform result. Amazon or Lakeland sell more or less identical burger presses, based on the original Bel design but not nearly as good (I foolishly gave my Bel press away!).

Once finished – sausages or burgers, put on a tray that will fit your freezer, ensuring they’re not touching each other and with a layer of clingfilm between layers, and bag when solid. No more than 2 layers for sausages, or those on the bottom may get squashed. For burgers it doesn’t matter.

And here we have the finished product. Not elegant – I’m having a seriously bad day – but before freezing they’ll be smoothed and straightened. And yes, I know I’m crap at linking but, guess what? I don’t care!

Click to view full size, Back to return. The filling machine inevitably retains some of the mix, In this case there was enough to make 2  4oz-ish burgers. Really got to find a way to make sausages with this – maybe run it through my mincer.

And this is the finished product, in the pan.