Thursday, October 22, 2009

Grand Designs Revisited

Was intrigued by tonight's episode of Grand Designs on ABC, I guess it made me think due to all the press coverage at the moment about the lack of public housing or just affordable housing generally.

Tonight's episode was about the Hedgehog Co-op, basically a bunch of people looking for secure rentals. And through an agreement with a housing association land was purchased and they built their own very basic houses to live in. They don't own the houses but rent them from the housing association. But at the end of the day they get a secure reasonable rental and somewhat of a slightly improved lifestyle.

But this wasn't an isolated projects there had been other similar projects to create housing for people in this vein. Which is what intrigues me, not everybody would have the capability or the inclination to to build a house to live in, especially at the end of the day if all you get is the right to rent it and not own it outright.

Maybe instead of people jumping up and down and pointing at the government saying you should build more houses their are people without homes who want one. We are to an extent a very lucky country, there is government benefits, their are welfare organizations, in a time of trouble there should be no reason why anybody who wants help can't get it.
It's perhaps time to look outside the box and consider projects like this, there are people who would be willing and able to surely construct a basic home like the ones on tonight's episode of GD, in a way it would still be government funded but the labour could come from those going to live in them.

Reading back there is a word I want to describe what this all sounds like to me, but I can't think of it, I think what I want is certian political schools of thought? Europe keeps popping into my head but I think that has more to do with a vague thought I have on a story I saw of factories in some European countries being turned over to worker ownership and something to do with productivity ratios.

It will no doubt come to me.

Delivered as promised!

Here are the Best Ever Cafe Scones...
This was the Gingerbread Apricot Pudding from Slow Cooker by Sally Wise, which she stipulated be done only in a 4.5L slow cooker. Well I had the choice of a 3.5L or a 5.5L, so I went with the 3.5L after the specified cooking time the batter was still uncooked in the very center of the pudding. I wil try it again as the bits that were cooked where delicious but I will either add cooking time to it in the 3.5L or test it in the 5.5L.

This was the Fruity Bread and Butter Custard which was a raging success! It was absolutely delicious but my mother refused to eat it because it was a "baked custard" but it wasn't, to eat it it was like a really luscious soft spongy fruit pudding. Divine!

Here's some dished up....It may look quite brown on top because right near the end of cooking time you sprinkle a mix of brown sugar and cinnamon on top of it.

I made a list of everything we have tried from Sally Wise's Slow Cooker book and the thoughts on the various things we've made.

Tilly's Indian Sweet Curry Beef - It was sweet, and no one liked it at all.

Goulash with Herb Dumplings - So far this has been the most popular dish we've tried, not surprising it's absolutely delish with a bit of a bite!

Hedgehogs - Lovely, even if most of the rice worked it's way out into the sauce and some of the balls fell apart. Still good to eat.

Meatballs with Spicy Barbecue Sauce - YUM! YUM!

Satay Chicken - Lovely, I do like a good satay sauce and this was wonderful.

Citrus Chicken - Everybody including my mother ate this but Miss Stash said after she hadn't liked it. It was lemon and orange, we are talking of trying it again bit with a lemon-lime combo instead.

Bedevilled Chicken - Once again something everyone ate but Miss Stash apparently dosen't like this either.

Black Forest Self-Saucing Pudding - The first pudding we attempted in the slow cooker, I think of Dylan Moran talking about a cake from a French bakery and how you want to get a room and be alone with your cake because it's that good. That was this pudding! I bought pitted cherries but one of them turned out to have a stone in it, next time I might give them all a prod with a fork just to check them.

Savoury Beef - I didn't like this, it didn't actually taste of anything. I'd certainly add more of something to it. But everyone else seemed to like it.

And of course the above photoed Apricot Gingerbread Pudding and Fruity Bread and Butter Custard!
We also have the Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise, not yet made anything from it, but I am very excited to try a number of things. My preserving these days seems to be limited to a large batch of apricot jam once a year.
When I was much younger and my grandparents were also much younger they had a huge garden and I can reall my fave times being when we went to visit on holidays when everything was ready to be picked and helping to make jams and bottle the fruit.
Although there was also freezing of vegetables, but the best job you could get here was if you were put in charge of sucking the air out of the bags with the vacumn pump, it did seem a bit like magic.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Somewhere over a rainbow..

...there are pictures! I promise, I need to go and get the camera and download them.

I have photos of the Fruity Bread and Butter Custard I made in the slow cooker last night, and photos of the Apricot Gingerbread Pudding I made in it today.

There is also some of the Best-Ever Cafe Scones I baked this afternoon and some less than successful biscuits I tried for the first time, didn't realise quite how much they would spread on baking! Oh well live and learn.