Thursday, May 15, 2014

Healthy fruit bars and then quince and apple crumble---all gluten-free!

There is no need to be too fussy with these two ideas---just play, but then again, some of you are hooked on being 'exact! I feel for you.
Healthy fruit bars:
Go find your favourite big bowl. Found it yet? Just kidding you, cause who the hell cares what bowl you use!
Put between a half cup and a cup (The more you use, the more 'product' you will have, so consider how much space you have on your baking trays before you get too generous.) of the following ingredients into the 'bowl:'
Desiccated coconut
Chopped dried apricots
Chopped nuts and seeds of your choice---go choose about three different varieties---OK --you want me to spell it out!===yeesh! Sunflower seeds, sesame, cashews, almonds--get the picture?---it's over to you and what you have in your cupboards and items from the bulk bins. Use whatever combinations you like. Reserve about half to one cup of the whole seeds and nuts for sticking on top later. This is a freedom recipe.
Now, in your food processor (or bash the hell out of them between the clean folds of a dish towel) process about a cup and half of some of the above 'dry' ingredients, not the 'wetter' but strangely described dried fruits like raisin, craisins, blueberries and the like. Mix them with the other ingredients and then use your hands to work in three ripe bananas. Have much fun and pretend its your boss. Note---there is no added sugar as there is plenty of 'sweetness' in the dried fruits and bananas and of course your wonderful sweet self! If you feel adventurous, add as much ground ginger or allspice or even cinnamon but if you have still not hooked on to freedom baking, then stick to my confusing instructions. If you think the squishy mix that is no doubt coating your fingers (yes I licked mine!) looks too dry, don't worry--it's OK---but who says you can't slosh in some booze---like a favourite liqueur.
Now line a tray or trays with baking paper, depending on how big your mixture has grown, and spread the mixture evenly onto the said tray(s). Press the reserved seed sand nuts on top and gently press.
Bake at about 160-170C for about 20-30 minutes. Check to make sure it doesn't burn. If it does, ice it and give it to someone who's peeved you off.
Let it cool and then cut it into bite sized pieces and place in a tin and hide it. It's way to good to share.

Quince and apple crumble:
If you didn't read my post on FB, that's OK. You can use any fruit in this yet another example of freedom baking. If you can find quinces, peel about three and cook them with a few apples (I used Ballarats, but who's checking what you stick in?) in a slow cooker---yip leave them cooking all day on low if you wish. I added a clove or three and only about three tablespoons of sugar.
Remember the lovely healthy fruit bars above? Grab a big handful or two from the hiding place, crumble them up and add about cup of 'any' gluten-free baking mix of rice flour and a little sugar to taste (if you must, because there is sweetness in the bars) plus a generous two teaspoons of ginger or as much cinnamon as you love and then work some chilled butter ( I used about a tablespoon) into the mix. Spread it gently on the top of the fruity mix in the baking dish that your mum gave you. Bake at about 160C for as long as it takes for the crumble to go a lovely brown.
You can serve it hot or cold, with or without your favourite ice cream or yogurt.
Did I write this blog with the help of one of New Zealand's best wines?---go figure! Now my sister knows what's for 'pudding' tomorrow night. Damn, now I can't eat it tonight!

Ataturk's vision and Kamalsim are in danger through the actions of the present PM.

The vision Ataturk had for a secular modern democratic nation that is Turkey is increasingly under attack by the present Turkish leader. The terrible tragedy in the mine and the huge loss of life is an example of the modern state ignoring basic human rights. Ataturk liberated women from long-held beliefs and improved the lot of many Turkish workers and peasants, but the lack of regulations on the 'private' owners of the mines' and their woeful safety standards is an example of how the present leadership is hell bound on returning Turkey to something resembling a 'clerical' state. The rights of women, workers and those opposing the government are being trodden on.
One only has to look back at the last 6 months top see this process in action. The arrogance of the leader is readily observable through his response to criticism of him in social media and his attempts to close much of that down.
His inaction re the safety in the mines and his media purge mirror the  direction his neighbour, Russia is taking. Whether this blog can still be seen is a moot point, for now, perhaps. but very soon, given the direction he is taking Turkey---well time will tell. Turkey is indeed at a modern day cross road.

National takes a leaf out of Labour's policy book.

It's election year. Why do we known that, apart for the obvious? For starters we have the prospect of a cynical National Party; you know the one that was not going to move on policies around 'paid parental leave', or for lowering doctors fees for young people---yes they have announced changes that go some way to addressing these important issues.
The question has to be asked---would they have moved at all if Labour had not come out with policies that actually go much further re the health of our kids and supporting families? Maybe their research indicated that Labour's policies were gaining some traction amongst the voters; because all their utterances from the past would point us in the direction of the thrust for the rest of the budget---that is to give payoffs to their mates in the top 30% of the electorate.
Any move however in the two examples I have given is welcome, but take the news with a little bit of bemusement and expect more of the same. In the meantime Labour, keep the policies coming and at least influence NZ politics for the betterment of all New Zealanders and act as if you really are the Government in waiting and not some fractionated group of wannabes. So far, so good. Keep those policies coming and if National wants to steal some of them--well that's just a sign that you are getting under their skin.