Fruit salad curry…

Fruit salad…what? Yep, that’s right, let me say it slowly…fruit…salad…curry…

Well, it’s not usually a curry – it was last night because I’ve allowed myself to run out of cumin…the core recipe is Food.com’s New Zealand Curried Sausages but I have found it to be as good, if not better, when the meat content is dropped out…I don’t mind sausages but am a little more suss about their contents now and tend to eat them way less than prior to my green journey…

Ingredients

  • 25 g butter (or any oil) I still use butter because I have heaps still in the freezer.
  • 1 -2 teaspoon ground coriander ( or 1-2 tsp curry powder instead of the coriander and cumin)
  • 1 -2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 10 -12 links pork sausage, each cut into about four pieces – or any other meat, really…so far I’ve tried it with chicken chunks, beef chunks and beef mince or just leave the meat out entirely
  • 1 -2 onion, chopped
  • 1 -2 carrot, chopped
  • 2 (400 g) cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 (400 g) cans coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons coconut
  • 2 tablespoons sultanas
  • 1 -2 banana, chopped, frozen is OK but fresh holds its shape better.
  • one chopped apple (optional) or any other fruit…so far adding chopped pears and kiwifruit has worked well
  • salt and pepper to taste but neither’s really necessary

Directions 

  • In a large deep frying pan or electric frypan, melt the butter. Don’t let it spread all over the pan but keep in a smallish area.
  • Place the spices over the butter and mix them into the butter and cook a minute or two till the spice flavour has expanded.
  • Stir the sausages (if used) through the butter and spice mix.
  • Add the onions and carrots and stir through also.
  • Cook a few minutes stirring every now and then, till the sausage and onion are starting to brown a little and the mix is sticking to the pan surface.
  • Add the tomatoes and stir through.
  • Add the coconut cream and stir through.
  • Add coconut, sultanas, bananas and any other fruit you are using.
  • Simmer all together till the mix is as thick as you want.
  • Season to taste and serve on rice.
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Onion and carrot just gone in on top of the spices

I used coconut milk powder this time as a potentially more flexible and additive-less alternative to canned coconut milk which has too many big words on the label. I used 4 tablespoons to 400 mls of water (using slightly warm water helps the mixing) and it tastes OK but I think that maybe another spoon or two with further beef up the coconut flavour.Similar, once I eventually run out of butter, using coconut oil may have a similar effect.

I don’t think that this would work well with ice cream i.e. it’s not (yet) a dessert curry but the coconut milk blends the flavours of the spices and fruit very smoothly. I’m also still using white rice until I finally run out of it – a 5 kg bag goes a loooong way..! – but will eventually switch to brown rice for more of my rice recipes and hold the black rice in reserve for special occasions…

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Fruit added

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Done after about 45 minutes

 

A coffee what..?

A coffee syphon…nope, I’d never heard of one before either but stumbled across the idea online when looking for something total unrelated…

The basic idea is that a syphon gives you a smoother brew because if keeps the heat source away from the coffee, thus eliminating any chance of burnt coffee…picked one up on Trademe around September last year. It has a certain decorative appeal and I never actually used it until just a few weeks ago…

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It’s a simple device…water goes into the spherical lower chamber, the heat from the burner forces it into the upper chamber where it mixes with the coffee grounds and then, when the heat is removed, returns through the filter back to the lower chamber as coffee…

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The recommended approach is to pre-heat the water in the jug so that there is no messing around warming it from cold. The spring thing you can see at the top of the chamber is the spring-loaded wire that holds the filter in place against the bottom of the upper chamber…

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All the water is now in the upper chamber and held there by the steady heat from below…

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Add the coffee and gently stir before letting it sit for a minute. The idea is that the beans should be ground only after the top chamber is full of water sot hat the fresh grounds go directly into the hot water. I’ve tried that and using pre-ground grounds and haven’t seen much of a difference so far…having said that, both my brews (yes, a whole two!) have been quite weak sot hat I may need to beef up the quantity of grounds. It may be that the limited sit time for the coffee i.e. not sitting for longer as in a plunger or being forced through the grounds as in an espresso machine, is not drawing out as much flavour as other methods..?

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As soon as you remove the burner, the coffee will start to filter back into the lower chamber…

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It takes less than a minute for all the coffee to draw back into the lower chamber. To me this looks too light in colour hence my thought that I need to beef up the quantity of grounds…

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I tried frothing my DIY almond coconut milk in the espresso machine…it does froth better than the commercial stuff tin a carton but not as well as I’d like.

Some Google research implies that the reason that real milk froths so well is that levels of protein. if that is the case, adding some protein to the coconut almond milk may encourage better frothing… I bought some protein from the supermarket and will try this in my next brew – I am limited to a brew a day so I don’t go completely hyper so this may take a while…I’m thinking that it’ll only need a 1/4 teaspoon if that…

The coffee complete does have a nice hint of coconut but the coffee itself leaves a bit to be desired, both in the ‘hit’ and in the flavour…it may be that I am trying too many things at once and need to separate mastering the syphon from my mastery of frothed almond coconut milk…

If the syphon doesn’t end up performing, at least it is a nice decoration for the kitchen…

Brick | The Daily Post

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Brick | The Daily Post

These one word daily prompts still strike me as quite lazy: possibly that is why I so often have a similarly motivationally deficient response in reverting to imagery for my post…

DSCF0139 Paving bricks that we pulled up from a pathway bordering the house to make way for a deck from the new (in 2007) bifold doors…the deck still isn’t in but the stacking bricks are becoming  a feature in their own right…DSCF0140

A build brick recovered from somewhere – we often still find things that were tossed off the old highway that is now our driveway – now home to a new strawberry plant, under a blanket of maple leaves…DSCF0141 Bricks in the workshop add weight to a laminating sandwich…

Beets, feta and rice

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Source: Dream | The Daily Post

This is one of those kitchen experiences where everything just came together perfectly…a dream to prepare and more so to digest…

The foundation was another of Jen Rice’s cracker recipes, Roasted Beets With Goat Cheese And Honey…if you have any interest at all in spicing up your kitchen and your diet, you really must check out Jen’s site Sugar Soil: it’s chock full of great ideas and cue to try different ingredients. Living in rural New Zealand, our local shops don’t have the same range of more exotic items as larger centres: at the moment, I’m making regular purchases from Happy and Healthy for things like root tumeric, agar, black rice and bulk almonds and chia seeds.

Anyway…as I’ve discussed on a couple of occasions previously, my green journey is driven by a desire to eat and be more healthy and less by any philosophical issues – although the Hot Doc’s insights into what gets pumped into commercial chicken and cattle gives me pause – so I’ve not gone entirely vegetarian or diary-free, just adjusted my habits for more healthy outcomes…which is why I’m quite comfortable with the dairy content of this particular dish…

As you can see, it is quite simple to prepare but I did make some minor changes:

I thought that I was buying baby beets at the supermarket: I was but it was only when I opened the packets to actually use them that I realised that they were precooked. I should have and will in future just buy normal beet root.

Jen’s cooking time for this is up to four hours in the oven – I don’t get home from work til around 6 and there is no way that I will be waiting til after 10PM for dinner. My cunning plan was to just toss it all in the slow cooker while I was at work. This sounded like a good plan until I found that the beets were precooked.

I wanted a rice base to bulk it out as a meal – as writ in the original recipe it is more a snack or an entree than a meal in its own right – so set up a cup of black rice to pre-soak through the day so that the only cooking and delay in the evening would be cooking the rice.

I couldn’t find any goat feta locally so opted for the stuff from cows…I think I’ll survive.

I used black sea salt instead of normal salt – I bought some of this just to try but then found I had run out of normal salt any way so it is going into anything calling for salt.

I warmed the honey so it would mix better with the balsamic and spread over the beets.

I was worried that the precooked beets would just turn into mush after a day in the slow cooker. I needn’t have worried as they were still nice and firm when I nervously lifted the lid off that evening.

From there it was just a matter of flicking the rice cooker to ‘cook’ and dicing up a third of the feta…and then racing up to the National Park Village just before it closed to get the Greek yoghurt that I had forgotten on my way home – they had none so I had to settle for natural yoghurt: not a biggie for this non yoghurt connoisseur. They only had a mega container though so will be applying yoghurt to the next week or so of meals just to burn it up…

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Yes, my plating still needs work but OM-bloody-G!!! Did this taste good or what??? The best meal I have eaten in a long time – if I do say so myself – even better than the coriander tacos from Eat in Ohakune or my meal at Kokako the last time I was in Auckland and I COOKED IT!!!!

The challenge now is to be able to recreate this success next time. yes, it is possible that the sugars in the beets and the honey contributed to some extent to my sky-rocket level of satisfaction and enjoyment but then my serving also filled me up…

Whether by accident, chance or skill (most likely one of the first two!), this meal offers a great combination of texture and flavour:

the soft smooth beet, yoghurt and cheese is offset by the texture of the black rice.

the sweetness of the beets and rice is balanced by the more tart cheese and yoghurt.

Even the colours work well with the dark red of the beets and the black of the rice contrasted nicely by the lighter cheese and yoghurt

There’s not really anything that I would change about my ingredients or preparation of this dish – if it ain’t broke… – other than use raw beets next time and see if I can find some Greek yoghurt…This was the first time that I had used the black sea salt and the black rice but both performed well: many recipes mention the need to soak the black rice overnight but it came out well after soaking through the day and also came out of the rice cooker, even after presoaking, better and cleaner than normal white rice…

15 out of 10 on the yummilicious scale!!!!

My Green Journey so far…the next bit…

I must have made more progress than I thought as I need to flow over into a new post…my previous post talked about the results of reducing caffeine and dairy from my diet…

Smoothing out the rough edges

DSCF9624I usually drink 2-3 smoothies a day now, almost certainly two, and three perhaps if it has been a long day…I’m learning what makes a good smoothie and how to keep it affordable. Part of affordability is keeping on top of what fruit and veges are in season and steering away from more expensive out of season items. Coconut water is less bland than the plain rainwater that comes out of our taps but @$5/litre kinda pricey so it’ll become an occassional. Rather than using storebought juice (if it is really juice!), I’m going back to making my own from whatever fruit and veges are cheap…it’s only a week or so before the ‘Kune Eclair shop re-opens with its cheapest bags of carrots and parsnips, heralding a mega juicing and freezing effort…

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Being clever with meat

I’d already been reducing my meat intake over the last couple of years, a step partially driven by simple economics: it doesn’t take too much in the way of smarts to be able to stretch half a kg of mince from 1-2 meals to 4-5 without feeling that something’s missing…

Lighten up

I used to rely heavily on potato in my old diet, mainly mashed or fried, i.e. chips but now that all feels just way too heavy…Living rurally, I tend to buy a lot in bulk and so this year I have slowly consuming those stocks down to zero and either not replacing them or substituting a healthier alternative.

A lot of the time now, rice is the new spud and the Irish in me is comfortable with that. The chips, potato, fried, chunky that used to be a staple of my diet are now an occasional treat, usually with fish…

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It does mean, however, that I will need to experiment with some new roles for the air fryer beyond healthy(er) means of making chips…

Turn to the dark side

As much as possible I am moving away from processed food and ingredients, getting as close to the raw material as possible…I’m not sure whether “if it’s white, it’s bad” is a solid rule (maybe just not as good), but white food like bread, sugar, flour, salt has generally been uber-processed….is the white just what’s left after all the good stuff is taken out?

For the most part, a healthier alternative is easily sourced and at not much additional cost, if any…

Yes, I do still mainly buy white flour, but offset this by adding bran flakes when I’m baking…summa-summa for baking bread;

Raw sugar instead of white sugar (+ banana is often a good sub-in),

Sea salt instead of common kitchen salt,

Brown or black rice instead of white rice: if you use white rice, rinse it first: all the sediment that comes off after the first rinse may be a good argument in favour of darker rices…

Spice up your life

A little spice goes a long way…spices and herbs make for tasty meals without the need for sugar to taste…it is now so easy to use spices and herbs to spice up what might otherwise be quite mundane…adding a chunk of ginger totally vitalised my juices last winter…and jalapeño in bread adds a whole new dimension of flavour…

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Butter…? From Apples..? Really..?

For the last couple of weeks, I have been having apple butter on my breakfast toast…

It all started when I collected up a bag of windfall unripe apples…before following what had been my standard previous practice and just dumping them in the compost, I did a quick Google for any recipe that might use unripe apple.I found many references to apple butter, which I had never heard of but which my American taste testers assured me was a ‘good thing’.

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Primary processing…peeling and dicing in front of TV…

It wasn’t hard to make: the greater challenge was finding a recipe that wasn’t laden with sugar; after a lot of research, I settled for this one from Allrecipes although I did replace the brown sugar with a banana and accidentally maxed out the cloves: looking into the box there didn’t appear to be much left so I just upended it into the pan – to find that there had been at least a tablespoon concealed in a  fold in the internal bag…Too late and I’ve always been keen on cloves so there was nothing for it except to see how it came out…

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All spiced up in the slow cooker…just apples, spices and a banana…

I left the skins and cores as there seemed to be some agreement that, in unripe apples, there is more goodness trapped there…apart from one lady online who was very concerned about the cyanide content of the pips!!

I left the mix to slow cook overnight and by breakfast it was like this:

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Looks icky, smells awesome…

Some of the recipes I had researched had used a food mill to separate the apple from skin, pips etc…another Google session provided education on the what, why and how of a food mill and I was able to score one off Trademe for $40, Tupperware no less!

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It didn’t come with any instructions and even with the assistance of Youtube, it took me a while to master the ‘milling’ process…once done though, I had a thick slurry of pureed apple which was bottled (probably around 600 mls total) as distributed to my taste testing team – none have died so far so I think we can put the apple pip cyanide theory safely to bed….

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First slice from a new loaf is always eaten fresh…

The apple and cloves flavour combination is pretty strong and I only apply a thin layer to my toast but I know that at least one of the taste team team cakes it on, thick as…

Simple, spicy, and using apples that would otherwise have been composted…

Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

After successfully making my first batch of almond coconut milk,  I was left with about two cups of moist almond and coconut meal…what to do with it? Apparently there are many things that can be done with this by-product of DIY almond milk so I opted for the almond coconut chocolate chip cookies from Minimalist Baker and originally from Sprouted Kitchen’s book The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods. I took a quick peek at the online recipe list at Sprouted Kitchen and I think that I will be paying them a few more visits…

So about 10-30 on Saturday night, between movies, I decided to have a crack at these cookies, not so much because I had the munchies – certainly nothing that an apple didn’t take care of – but just to see how they came out…I did modify the recipe around the meal that I had to hand but you can see the original on the link above…

What you need:

Two cups of ground almond coconut meal

A quarter cup of dark chocolate chips

Three tablespoons of coconut oil

One egg

A third of a cup of brown sugar

Half a teaspoon of baking powder

A quarter teaspoon of salt

Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract

I left out the half cup of coconut because I already had this blended in with the almond. One of the attractions of this recipe was that it called for the expenditure of dark chocolate chips: I have some that I bought for a chocolate bread puddings but found I much much preferred this with white chocolate so the Minimalist Baker recipe offered an opportunity to expend an item that had been sitting around the pantry for some time, unused…

What you do:

In a large mixing bowl, stir together almond meal, dark chocolate chips, baking powder, salt and sugar.

In a separate bowl, beat egg until uniform in colour and doubled in volume.

Whisk in the coconut oil and vanilla, then add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.

Chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or even overnight.

Preheat oven to 190 C.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls, place on baking sheet with 1-1/2 inch space in between each. Press down slightly to flatten a bit.

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Ready to bake…

Bake until edges begin to brown, 7-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool before serving.

Insights

Less some scorching around the edges where excess oil leaked from the cookies and didn’t like direct exposure to the heat of the oven, these first time cookies came out really well. They are firm although soft in the middle and very chewy due to the high content of almonds and coconut, undiluted by flour as in a ‘normal’ cookie.

These would be a great snack for a days walk in the Park.

Next time I will:

Warm the coconut oil so that it will, in its liquid form, blend better with the egg. I don’t think that chunky oil affects the outcome but it looks better and ensures an more even spread across the individual cookies on the tray.

Only use two spoons of coconut oil: the original recipe may be based on an assumption that the meal is dry however mine was still moist from the wringing process. As a result the cookies were quite moist and ‘bleed’ oil on to the baking tray in the oven where it scorched under the heat of the elements.

Reduce the heat by about 20 degrees to reduce any incidence of the coconut oil scorching and also to allow the cookies to bake through.

Plan on baking the cookies longer. The stated baking time in the recipe was only 7-10 minutes: 20-30 minutes was my experience. Aggravating this is the fact that, being of the male persuasion and not advantaged for multi-tasking, when they weren’t ready in the advertised 7-10 minutes, I started doing something else and kinda forgot about them for a while.

Dispense with the chocolate chips: the taste is lost between the flavour of the almonds and coconut. I may use them one time more just to expend them and then that’s it.

Leave the mix overnight in the fridge to gel. I’m not sure that it will make any difference and the recommended minimum 30 minutes worked out OK this time, but it may allow for a firmer cookie.

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Voila, albeit a little crispied around the edges

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DIY Almond Coconut Milk

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As I’ve progressed along my green journey, I have started to become more discerning about my healthy alternatives.

One of the themes in Damon Gameau’s That Sugar Story/Movie (depending on whether you are reading the book or watching the movie) is that much of what is pitched at us as ‘healthy’ isn’t really. There are the obvious villains like sugars concealed in health bars and even in meats as I found with my little adventures with the pre-crumbed chicken cutlets from New World.

One learns to become quite discerning even amongst the apparently acceptable healthy alternatives. I’ve been quite happy with my change from dairy milk to almond or coconut milk (from the supermarket) but when I looked at the label recently (see above), it has just a few too many big words on the ingredients label for my liking…an alternative milk is not naturally the same colour or texture (something I know a lot about because optimum consistency for airbrush paints is that close to milk!) as real milk: that it is when poured from the carton is a marketing decision, not a natural process.

Something I like about opting for a more healthy lifestyle, apart from the obvious benefits, is that most alternatives are quite easy to prepare…yes, making your own almond milk will never attain the same level of convenience as dropping a few containers of milk into the shopping trolley and, yes, you do need to be just a little more organised in terms of ingredients and preparation…but neither the decision, its sustainment or the work are that difficult…

Locating a suitable recipe for DIY almond coconut milk – I’ve always been a sucker for coconut – Google is your friend and, after sifting through a dozen or so variations of the theme, I came back to this one from Ethical Foods. My driver for this journey is one of health more than philosophy and when I look at a recipe, I consider it more from a practical perspective. However, I did like that the author lists some pretty good reasons for having a crack at making your own alternate milk, especially the one about the packaging.

There’s not much waste here from the foil-lined cardboard containers that these products come in from the supermarket: the plastic cap gets cut out and goes into the rubbish and the container gets sliced up and goes into the landfill on the back lawn (just filling holes). Even the foil lining breaks down and any plastic liner that might survives works its way to the surface for collection and disposal (there’s not much of it). But why deal with the waste products at all if you don’t have to…?

I’m not so sure about the ‘advantage’ of DIY almond milk being “…beautifully creamy white…” because almond milk is not naturally white: look at the inside of an almond: at best, it’s an off-white…

This is so simple to make:

Place a cup of almonds and a cup of shredded coconut in the blender and run it up to the maximum speed for a couple of minutes.

Empty the ground product into a bowl and add a litre of water.

Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight.

The next day, pour the content of the bowl in some double layered cheesecloth and wring the heck out of it into a clean bowl, ideally one with a pouring lip.

Once you have wrung all the liquid from the meal, pour it into a sealable bottle and store it in the fridge for  use.

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Easy!

The jury seems to still be out on the shelf life for this ‘milk’ so just keep an eye on it…anything over a week is probably pushing it…

The only down side to DIYing your own almond milk is that it does cost more: probably about twice as much compared to the store-bought stuff in the cardboard cartons.A cup of almonds is about 200 grams (@around $4 per 100 grams at the supermarket) plus about $1.50 for the coconut. The water here is free, coming directly off the roof, through a filter system and then being filtered again in the kitchen: this last step is probably unnecessary but the filter is right there so why not use it?

Buying almonds, especially sliced almonds, in bulk will close the cost gap and I will also experiment with using less almonds: some recipes only call for 100 grams but I’m not sure how strong they would be. I am also going to try blending the almond and coconut with the water to see if that strengthens the flavour…

The finished product has both an aroma and a flavour that blend the almond and coconut together so taste-wise this is a winner…give it a go…

Edit 24 May 2016

I’m not so sure about the ‘advantage’ of DIY almond milk being “…beautifully creamy white…” because almond milk is not naturally white: look at the inside of an almond: at best, it’s an off-white…

I got this wrong because I didn’t read the instructions properly. On my second go round making my own almond coconut milk, I blended the almonds and coconut with the water before letting it sit for the day.

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Not only did I get a fraction more milk, maybe another 100 mls but what I did get had a very (cow) milk-like texture and colour.Like the commercial variety it also separates in the fridge but reconstitutes with a quick shake. My version version deposited a lot of sediment at the bottom of the bottle and needed vigorous shaking to mix in and didn’t separates into layers like this. teh flavours are also a lot stronger on this second attempt.

So the secret to good homemade almond coconut milk is to blend the solids with the water…I’ve identified a good source of less expensive almonds so will be making this every few nights from now on. Savings in the kitchen budget to offset the cost of DIYing will come drop dropping rice milk and reducing coconut water to an occasional.

Top Gun Day

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May 13 was, apparently, Top Gun day…

Anyone who is anyone knows that Top Gun is Tom Cruise’s principal contribution to Western culture and that TOPGUN is the place where real aviators do way cooler stuff than was ever in the movie…

Everyone also knows that movies like Top Gun are all about the toys and not about the boys…

topgun256Top Gun was released in 1986 and screened in New Zealand later that same year. I’m pretty sure it was 1986 because it was my first year in the Army and I used to crash on many weekend at my mate’s flat in Picton Ave…handily the corner with Riccarton Road on which the KFC sat…

The good thing about going to the movies in the 80s was that we were spared the torrent of media releases, spoilers, making-of, etc, etc, etc and going to the movie was actually the first part of the experience not the last…

At that time in NZ, Ready to Roll was the weekly TV Top 40 show and that was where we might get an inkling of what a movie was like from the music video. But in 1986, TVNZ had a falling out with the music producers who demanded a royalty for the screening of said music videos. TVNZ’s position was that it was providing free advertising for their product so no way…as a result, we missed some of the better music videos from the mid-80s, of which Top Gun‘s Danger Zone was one…

That Saturday night Top Gun was our movie night pick – we didn’t have great expectations, modern aviation based movies to that point topping out with Blue Thunder and hitting rock bottom with Iron Eagle.  My mate Paul had other plans for the evening so I went with a chap named Dom Kelasih.

Now at the that time, our chose mode of transport around Christchurch was motorbike. When I had come up from Invercargill in January for my infantry training, my first act, like very first, as soon as I rode into town, on arriving was to trade this…

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…in on this…

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I usually rode it with the side covers off as they were only thin ABS and used to keep cracking…this is it all packed for Christmas ’86…from memory, I was house-sitting for a friend in Christchurch and working over the holidays…this is porobably just after the Top Gun incident…

Anyways…so Dom and I sent out in plenty of time from Picton Ave into the movies in the centre of town – from memory, it may have been the Embassy Theatre. The most direct route was through Hagley Park, and a road with some lovely gentle curves. Dom’s chariot of choice at the time was a 50cc ning-ning machine but he rode it like a maniac…right up to the point when the cop parked by the hospital waved him over – and then me,because we were obviously riding together…

We had been travelling a little over the 50kmh urban speed limit and this could have been expensive. I played the soldier card, good old country boy from the wilds for Burnham Military Camp just having a quiet weekend in the city but worried about getting lost and so my only concern was getting lost and keeping up with my guide. Many of these cops were ex-Army and/or Territorials and this was often a successful approach…as it was this time…for me…

Poor old Dom was not quite so lucky being somewhat deficit in some of the his critical documentation, like a license and maybe a warrant of fitness, and rode away a lot poorer…

As a result, we got to the theatre late, although this was the good old days of trailers and shorts so we still got to be seated before the main feature kicked off…seated right at the very front, in the veriest front row…so close to the screen that the action flew (literally for this movie!) beyond the extent of our vision…getting all that glorious ACM from  neck-crickin’ proximity…

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Top Gun is probably the only movie that I have seen that was a pain in the neck in a positive sense – have seen many others that have been pains in the neck – and elsewhere – in more negative contexts…

Of course, we had to revisit it the following night…at a more sedate pace…and from seats more in the viewing sweet spot…

Top Gun…probably one of the best recruiting movies ever made…one of the first blockbusters that introduced an element – in a  very Hollywood manner but who really wants to pay to see a military training movies..? – of what the military really does…

At the time it was also quite topical: earlier in 1986, there had been another misunderstanding between Libya and the US Navy over access to the Gulf of Sidra, one that had been resolved by naval aviation and ELDORADO CANYON was the follow on act to this later that year…As young soldiers, brought up in a Cold War environment  (as close to it as you got down under), we wondered what these events might lead to, especially before the Challenger disaster was found to be the result of a cheap washer and not some Middle Eastern nutjob…

While I’m not convinced that it deserves its own day, Top Gun (two words, only first letters capped!), the movie, the soundtrack, and the ripper quotes, did shape and define our 80s…

 

A study in growth…

On Thursday, I conducted an unintentional but educational experiment.

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In the interests of science

Mid-afternoon, I decided to drive to Taupo to do some shopping.

Having skipped lunch – not intentionally, I was just doing stuff and not feeling particularly hungry to that point – I stopped at the Turangi BK for a Big Feed; Whopper, fries, nuggets, caramel sundae and big Coke. I must admit I did hesitate slightly when the TV screen asked me “Coke for the drink?” – I would have opted out if I could have remembered what else BK had to offer but went with the flow, which is probably the whole idea of such a leading question. Later thought: I could have asked what other options they had to offer…

For old me, stopping for lunch at the Turangi BK was pretty much a habit on my way to points further…new healthy me had a brief think about the options – there aren’t many in Turangi and less when you’re hungry NOW and in a hurry (to get to Taupo before 5) – but habit won out..

Shopping in Taupo completed, once again habit took the helm and I found myself in the drive-in queue at the Taupo KFC – in the full knowledge that every time I have KFC, it reminds me why I don’t have KFC…a three piece quarter pack and a Big Snack burger…all that grease suppressed healthy conscience’s pricking as I drove back west…

Two things I noticed.

Firstly, how absolutely sweet both the BK and KFC offerings tasted to Way Less Sugar Me…coming up to six months along my green journey and this cynic is pretty much sold on the notion that there is a direct connection between sugar/sweetness in food and food craving…

Secondly, by the time I got home – 90 minutes max and that includes stopping at the Turangi New World and stocking up – on healthy food, I might add: baby beets, pineapples ($2.99 each!!!), pumpkin, kumara, ginger (yes, it’s time for that ripper soup again) and more, more, more bananas…Depending on my smoothie mix for the day and less any consumed in cooking, I’m averaging three bananas downrange each day now…Oh! And, almonds, in quantity as well: after the reading the label on my store-bought almond milk  – all the words to big to pronounce in a hurry  – I am somewhat motivated to try my hand at making my own…

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Compensatory healthy stuff

Oh, I distract myself…hey, look, groceries..! do I need to get out more, I wonder..? So anyway, secondly, by the time I got home, my belt was distinctly tight and uncomfortable and I had this craving for sweet, sweet, sweet stuff. Now, when I stick to my healthy options, I can and do consume a lot but never, never, since I started this journey have I felt so bloated, yuk and uncomfortable as then…lesson identified…time will tell about it level of learnedness…

Inspiring Max liked my post Earth  this evening so, as I try to do, I checked out Max’s blog, it’s a tit for tat, you scratch my back bloggie thing for me…in  Coffee Catchup #6, Max asked readersIf we were having coffee I would ask you what you have been up to this last week, let me know in the comments.” Since the question had been posed, I did…and this discovery popped out as I burbled out my week in response…then I thought (it happens sometimes) “…well, if this is profound enough to contribute to someone else’s blog, it’s good enough for me as well…”

So here I am, at 8-30 in the PM, writing a post, after my first day back at work after three weeks off – and it went very well, thank you very much – when I should have dinner well under way…which is how I get to skip meals and then conducting unintentioned experiments like that above…still, dinner tonight will be quite simple: a reheat of the korma I made last night where I learned how much tastier food is when cooked in coconut oil than vegetable oils like Canola…

OK, now it’s time for food and a rewatch of Spectre, surely one of the better Bonds in the last five decades…?

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