Saturday, September 29, 2012

Allergy free apple and guava pie recipe

The hubby's photo was better than mine. Dear me, mine was terrible so I stealeth. 

  • 1 cup Orgran all purpose flour
  • ½ cup Orgran self-raising flour
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • ⅓ cup Orgran gluten free gluten
  • 125g Nuttlex
  • ¼ cup caster sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp Orgran No Egg whisked with 40mls water until thick
  • ¼ cup cold water
Apple and guava filling
  • 10 medium red apples, peeled, cored, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup hot guava nectar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • ¼ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Orgran No Egg whisked with 40mls water until thick
  • Vanilla sugar for dusting

  • Combine the flours, gluten free gluten, Nuttlex and ¼ cup sugar in a large bowl and rub the Nuttlex through until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the No egg mixture and ¼ cup cold water.
  • Combine until the pastry just comes together.
  • Roll and press the pastry together until smooth.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm.
  • Place the apples and 1 cup cold water in a baking classics saucepan.
  • Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to medium-low.
  • Simmer, covered, for 5-7 minutes or until the apples are tender.
  • Drain, return to the saucepan and set aside.
  • Pour 1 cup hot guava juice into a bowl.
  • Sprinkle over the cornflour.
  • Stir in sugar and lemon juice.
  • Whisk until the sauce thickens.
  • Combine the cooked apple and the sauce together and if needed cook on high until the sauce thickens to how you like it (this will only take a few seconds if you like a gluey sauce).
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Grease a 20cm round pie dish.
  • Place ⅔ of the pastry between 2 sheets of cling wrap or baking paper.
  • Roll out into a 30cm round.
  • Line base and sides of prepared dish with pastry.
  • Trim the edges.
  • Spoon in the filling so that there is a half to 1cm edge of pastry still showing.
  • Brush the edge with a little No Egg mixture.
  • Place remaining pastry between 2 sheets of cling wrap or baking paper.
  • Roll out until large enough to cover the dish plus a little bit.
  • Cover filling with pastry.
  • Press the edges together with a fork, allowing the pastry to curl in a little and take up the excess, which should overhang.
  • Trim excess.
  • Make 2 cuts in top for steam to escape.
  • Brush with remaining No Egg mixture.
  • Sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
  • Bake for 30 minutes if the filling is still hot or 40-45 minutes if the filling was cold.

Best fictional trees

The White Tree of GondorFangorn forest and the Ents tree herders from J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings

Magical Faraway Tree from Enid Blyton's The Magical Faraway Tree

Jade from Dr Who

Tree of Souls from Avatar

The Home Tree from Avatar

The Kite-Eating Tree from Peanuts

Fighting Trees from L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz

The Giving Tree from Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree

Great Deku Tree from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

The Menoa Tree from Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle

The Truff-u-la Tree from The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

The Whomping Willow from JK Rowling's Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Friday, September 28, 2012

Allergy free Kashmiri chicken and mushroom curry recipe

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 breast chicken, sliced or diced fine
  • 2 tsps ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded, finely chopped or ½ tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3cm piece ginger, peeled, grated
  • 800g chopped tomatoes
  • 500g button mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 1 tsp salt

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the coriander seeds and cook until sizzling.
  • Add the onion, chicken, ground coriander, cumin, peppercorns, cardamom, garam masala, turmeric, chilli, garlic and ginger.
  • Cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft and the spices are aromatic.
  • Add the tomatoes, mushrooms and salt.
  • Stir until well combined.
  • Add a quarter cup water if necessary.
  • Bring to the boil.
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: Quarantine by Greg Egan

Greg Egan

It causes riots and religions. It has people dancing in the streets and leaping off skyscrapers. And it's all because of the impenetrable gray shield that slid into place around the solar system on the night of November 15, 2034. Some see the bubble as the revenge of an insane God. Some see it as justice. Some even see it as protection. But one thing is for certain -- now there is the universe, and the earth. And never the twain shall meet.
Or so it seems. Until a bio-enhanced PI named Nick Stavrianos takes on a job for an anonymous client: find a girl named Laura who disappeared from a mental institution by the most direct possible method -- walking through the walls.

Harper Voyager


Rosy's scrawlings on Quarantine
I have to say, I was very annoyed when I lost my copy of this book years ago. It drove me bonkers as this book very quickly became one of my favourites, along with Greg Egan's other work Diaspora. Luckily I've since obtained new copies of both books, although not with my favourite covers. The cover I had for Quarantine was this nice purple one but oh well.
Now, on to more important matters than what happened to my copy of this book.
As I've only just bought another copy of this book I'll have to rely on all those good impressions I had way back when. This book was published in 1994, so I was still 14. About 2 years later I read A Brief History Of Time and from there started delving into general knowledge quantum mechanics - I am by no means an expert and wouldn't recognise the maths behind the theory if it were placed in front of me so a working general knowledge is all I'll ever claim here. About another 2 years again and I ran across Quarantine, the first of the Greg Egan books for me to read. The one that prompted me to attempt buying a copy of each of his works on a measly income.
Quarantine is a blast for the mind. I found when reading it that I had to engage in the odd blend of rational and irrational thought far more than when reading most other science-fiction books. The technical knowledge applied to the plot and actions of the characters was far beyond what you'd normally expect, and it was explained in a way that you could imagine the physical results, create the creatures in your mind and bend the space you were guided through with ease. For me, especially at the time, I was deeply impressed with the writing and incredibly envious of Greg Egan for his ability to utilise and express his knowledge of quantum mechanics so well. It made me see just what was needed of an author to write solid science fiction and realise that this might be a little beyond my reach. Science-fiction fantasy blends, however, I might be able to handle now.
While the character of Nick Stavrianos faded somewhat in my mind, he didn't disappear entirely. But it has to be said that the strength of Greg Egan's descriptions of physics, maths, evolution and quantum mechanics in action overpowers by far any single character's importance. Just like when reading Asimov's Foundation series, the presence and impact of the single character weaves in an out of significance when shown against a backdrop that encompasses the universe. And so Nick is important but what's was left in my mind for years on end were the creatures, the reason for the bubble and the way space was described. And I have to say I'm incredibly glad to have read this book and had such things stuck in my head for years.
So that's a review from someone who last reread this book after entering uni and handing it on to a friend to read, which lead to the lost book debacle. I'm well past my uni years now. Some day soon I will have the time to reread Quarantine again and I am looking forward to it. I'll also be rereading Diaspora, which I might well have reviewed except I'm more familiar with quantum mechanics than the mathematical theorems that are behind Diaspora - again though, I delighted in the application and description of such technical knowledge.

I'd recommend this book to: anyone interested in a heavy, intellectual read who also has a good working knowledge of science or mathematics. Many an avid science-fiction reader would love this book.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Rosy's scrawled manga recommendation: Blame! by Nihei Tsutomu

Nihei Tsutomu

Killy is a man of few words. He wanders, seemingly endlessly, through a lonely, gargantuan labyrinth of concrete and steel, fighting off cyborgs and other futuristic nightmares, searching only for something called Net Terminal Genes. And he has a very powerful gun, which he uses without hesitation whenever anything resembling danger rears its ugly head.
Who is this quiet, violent, determined man and what are these Genes he seeks? The small communities he finds tucked into the crevices of this towering, dystopic ruin hardly give him leads on his treasure, driving him to find larger enclaves of civilization where people can reveal more about the world he lives in and the quarry he seeks.

Alternative Names


Reading Instructions
Chapters 1-19: Read from left to right
Chapters 20-66: Read from right to left

Sites for reading online (free)

Rosy's scrawlings on Blame!
Brilliant. Love it, love it, love it.
Okay, that says about all you need to know but I'll write some more.
Within Blame! you'll find a dystopian nightmare that seems to stretch on endlessly and without reason. The world is its own and seems completely disconnected from ours except by a few similarities and IT based or science based ideas. You will likely need to dust off your physics knowledge as you go but if you don't have much of that to start with then just enjoy the play of hard science-fiction. There's little that will get in your way if you don't understand as most of the time you'll feel a little like you're scrabbling for answers just with the plot. This is actually one of the best aspects about Blame! and, in fact, most stories I've truly loved. That the reader is kept guessing and intrigued by the unexpected is a sign that the story is new and quite unique, as far as unique goes in this world.
What life there is isn't really life as we know it. The beings of the world are constantly being built or constructed, blown to pieces and patched up again, backed up and remade or just rebooted endlessly without explanation. There are even some who heal wounds generally fatal even to their own kind and go on to fight another battle. Characters change forms and even bodies with ease although they don't always like it. Rarely are there those who stay dead without being beheaded and or exploded by a gravitational gun.
The violence is extreme and long lasting although the gore and horror impact is limited so you get the same sort of viewing pleasure with this as you do with zombie stories. The violence has a different meaning due to the different set of rules you need to comprehend it by. All in all, I'd say that there's something hypnotic about the artistically stilled violence that only sometimes flows and blooms.
As to the characters, their base motivations aren't always explained but you do become familiar with them as you read on. Reading Blame! is almost like watching a silent movie in this respect. You have to watch the action and interpret the meaning just as much as pay attention to the odd explanation that comes your way.
The art is very dark and scratched in, mirroring the jagged and stark landscape, characters and events. Light is used sparingly throughout and because of this it is as harsh as the darkness. Add to that, Killy is more often than not dwarfed by the landscape and the creatures he encounters, making the entire text a tad disturbing spatially. The art is truly beautiful but not in the way you'd expect beautiful art to be. It is entrancing and pulls you along, making up for the lack of speech and hidden plot lines until all becomes clear. Why it pulls you along is a need to find out what the next space is, what is to be discovered by the characters and what sort of cyborg, human or silicon life Killy will encounter next.

I'd recommend this manga to: anyone who likes dystopian literature, cyborgs, IT or tech, The Matrix and all things dark and violent. It is very male in style but females will love the story too, as long as they match the above description.

Notes on manga reader sites
The quality of manga readers can vary. The uploads are often done cheaply or as a serious hobby by a collective. Be aware that sometimes licence hasn't been given but the sites noted above, Manga Fox in particular, are extremely careful about adding and pulling mangas according to license agreements. So you shouldn't have to worry too much about the material being pirated. There are also translated works and non-translated. Amongst the translated works you will find that the quality of translation may vary according to the skills of the translators. Usually the works are perfectly readable anyway, with only a few added or dropped words or a word in the incorrect tense or with/out plurals. But sometimes the text becomes gobbledygook. In which case, either seek another version or give up and buy an official copy once a printed translation comes out. The other issue of note is you may need to expand the screen to read the text easily as sometimes the scans are minimised a little.
I find that if a page doesn't download properly or some other issue occurs (too slow or someone ordered the pages incorrectly etc.) with one reader then skipping across to another reader and picking up where I was is quite easy and rarely annoying.
Otherwise, enjoy and watch out you don't get too addicted you forget about the necessary things in life.