Showing posts from August, 2015

Fair trade jelly tip icecreams :-)

Back before we stopped eating regular chocolate, I was rather fond of jelly tip ice creams.  Recently, I've begun to wonder if I could make my own.  It turned out to be pretty easy - and very yummy :-)  The only difference is that you can't make them popsicle-shaped: a home freezer doesn't get cold enough to make the icecream sufficiently rigid to get it out of the moulds, so my jelly-tips are squat and fat.

Jelly (based on this, and other internet sites I've lost track of)

1T raspberry jelly crystals (1 box is 95-100mL)
1T + 1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup boiling water

Dissolve jelly crystals and sugar in boiling water.  Make sure everything's fully dissolved - may need to microwave it to achieve this.  Pour into four 100-150mL disposable paper cups and freeze at least 3 hours.

Adding icecream (based on this)

Slightly soften approx 1.5C vanilla icecream and spoon into cups.  Add posicle sticks, teaspoons or sticks from iceblock molds and freeze overnight.

Chocolate coating (ba…

Fair Trade White Chocolate - an update

Since my previous post on chocolate-making I've learned one important thing: whilst it's relatively easy to make nicely-flavoured white chocolate, nicely-textured white chocolate is much more complicated!

Commercial chocolate-making involves three further steps beyond a simple mixing of ingredients: refining, conching and tempering.  Since my previous post, I've been learning about the first of these.

'Refining' chocolate involves grinding the particles in the chocolate (including the fat globules) till they are so small that your tongue can't detect them.  Commercially, this is done using either roll refiners (forcing the chocolate up a series of stacked rollers not unlike the rollers in an old-fashioned wringer washing machine) or a ball mill.

On a domestic scale, the 'state of the art' solution is the Spectra 11 Melanger.  Investing in such an expensive piece of equipment seemed insane for my purposes, but it gave me a clue.  The Spectra 11 is a modi…

Splashes of colour :-)

It's bitterly cold in Auckland at the moment (it got down to 3 overnight last night) and, whilst today is brilliantly sunny, there've been a number of very grey days recently.

However, even on the greyest day, there are two splashes of colour in our garden that make me smile every day :-)

Firstly, the brilliant calendulas in the garden outside my bedroom window.  These were supposed to be a companion planting with our summer vegies, but they've waited until the last few weeks to flower.  There isn't much in the garden for them to attract beneficial insects to or lure bad insects from (I can't honestly remember which they were supposed to do), but their brilliant colour delights me!

Secondly, our grapefruit has begun to fruit for the first time this year.  We've probably had about 10 grapefruit so far, and there's a few more to come.  They're yummy to eat, but also a delight to see, glowing brilliantly on their tree.

The cost of flying

Later this month, Martin's off to San Francisco for a work meeting.  This won't be featured in our calculations of our carbon footprints: if work incurs the financial cost of the trip, we figure they (and, ultimately, their customers) incur the carbon cost, too.

All the same, I was wondering what the carbon cost would be, so I plugged his flights into Atmosfair.  He'll be flying economy and one way he'll be on a 777-300ER and the other way on a 777-200ER.

I was genuinely shocked to find that the carbon emissions of these flights add up to a massive 8.8T of CO2e!  That's the same as the carbon emissions from every aspect of both our lifestyles over anentire year!!!!

In the context of Martin's work, I don't think these emissions are unreasonable.  Hapara make software that's used by vast numbers of students.  Their business does seem to require a remarkable number of flights between their Auckland and San Francisco offices but, even if 100 such flights ar…