Monday, 24 February 2014

Woodlife Trails Weekend

The rather fine weather this weekend just gone was boding well for a good weekend in Hatfield Forest with Woodlife Trails. The warreners course couldn't happen because of the previously wet weather had made certain areas unusable for the course.I went for the DD tarp M and slung a hammock and underblanket in there too.

The weekend was used for some modular work with those doing the Woodlife Trails diploma and so on as well as taking a guy called mark (who had been sent Woodlife Trails' way via a well known professional bushcraft instructor). He had come for some tracking instruction before heading out to Brazil for six months to study for a PhD. The team also acted out a medical emergency scenario for training purposes. Well acted Rob!

Shortly after lunch Richard started prepping a Muntjac carcass which was going to end up slow cooked. He started skinnig it and let any other interested individuals have a go too. Griggers is pictured here.

This slowly cooked for around six hours and sadly the light levels demanded that I had to use a flash (which didn't do the colour any favours) but this was a very satisfying Crusader cup full. I've got a bit of a 'lame game' palette but this was mighty fine. 

Breakfast for me was a fruit bannock (they have to be my favourite campfire fare) and a sachet of coffee. I like coffee and these sachets are good with my choice being this one. The day before, Pablo let Mark head out with a trail cam and he is pictured here reviewing the results.

Kit and the chute were then stashed to beat the possibility of rain (we did, us 1 rain 0). Pablo finished by doing some module signing off before spending more time with Mark. 

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Wheat Free Drop Scones & Variations

Recently there has been a recipe idea for flour free banana drop scones circulating in pictorial form on Facebook, and about the same time I noticed a suggested site suggestion for a Vegan page which curiosity took me to and blow me down if there wasn’t a similar recipe on there but with peanut butter in. With the three basic ingredients of bananas, egg and peanut butter grabbed I set to work and decided to not only try the ‘mk I’ and 'mk II’ versions, but to also try variants along the way. I was interested to try it anyway, but the wheat free angle made me think that it was worth trying so I knew it would work for someone with such an allergy as it means they can enjoy drop scones on a backwoods night.

The mk I mix suggested a banana to egg ratio of 1:2 but I decided to try 2:2 as it seemed a bit egg heavy. With the mixture blitzed I decided to use an old saucepan that I am chucking out just in case this mixture decided to spot weld itself during cooking. I oiled the bottom and set a medium gas heat and spooned the mixture in much like a usual drop scone.
The first one had bubbles coming through, again much like a normal scone, at which point I flipped it over and found that the heat was a tad high (although it had held together well). I reduced the heat for subsequent ones to between low and medium which was about right.
After some more originals I tried a cinnamon and wheat germ one (not bad and hmm) and then decided to add some self raising flour to the original mix in a ratio of 4:3 as a comparison and they worked really well with the banana taste coming through. It goes without saying that the original two ingredient mix tastes of banana...a lot. There are flour substitutes out there and if you mix some Xantham gum in I don't think you'd find them that different to the ones made with regular flour.
So back to the original mix but with the peanut butter in. I went for a mix/ peanut butter in a 4:2 ratio and it made a deeper coloured drop scone and to be honest the two spoons of peanut butter, whilst adding a good flavour, dominated a bit too much and might have benefitted from being crunchy as opposed to smooth.
So predictably it’s the original mix, with peanut butter in and self raising flour added for a comparison.  I kept the 4:2 ratio of the peanut butter mix and added three parts flour. Again these were very similar in size and texture to standard drop scones and  the added flour helped to take some of the peanut butter’s dominance away. Remember if you try any of these versions for someone with an allergy to use the cooking utensils first, or use separate ones.

Clockwise from the top: The mk I, two more mk Is, with cinnamon, with wheatgerm, mk I and flour, mk II with peanut butter, mk II with flour.