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Friday, April 25, 2014

Concrete Mixer, Chocolate, Stray Dog, Torch Repair

We have visitors coming next Sunday for lunch. Some friends that we haven't seen for a few months. Jean has been inspired to try a few different recipes for the event.  Smoked Salmon Pinwheels, Anchovy Straws, Baked Camembert, Fetta Tart Vanilla Bean Pastry with Chocolate Ganache, mixed berries and Cream.

The lead up work has been trialling some of the not previously attempted dishes which is just as well as there have been some serious disasters. Not that I'm complaining as I've been the recipient of some meals that didn't work out (they may not look right but they taste fine). On one particular day for some inexplicable reason everything Jean trialled failed to come together as it should. Fortunately, perseverance paid off.

My small contribution was the chocolate for the Ganache. The standard recipe of three parts Coconut Oil, one part Honey and seven parts Cocoa Powder always works out to provide a rich extremely tasty chocolate. After making a large block of plain for Jean to melt into the Ganache it was decided to restock our chocolate supplies; Plain thin chocolate shards which just melt in the mouth - Jean's favourite, Chocolate block with roasted peanuts and coconut chips - my favourite, Ported Prunes dipped in chocolate, roasted Almonds in chocolate and with the leftover material Chocolate and Almond Meal shards. That should keep us going for the next few days.

Plain shards

Chocolate Roasted Almond

Anzac Day started with a lengthy thunderstorm with which the rain was welcome. It also brought with it a stray dog who was wandering up and down our house yard fence line in distress. Jean let her in and although she didn't want to be touched she settled down on the door mat and wandered in and out of the house from time to time. Tentatively wearing welder' gloves I eventually grabbed her to inspect the collar but it had no ID. Jean, who has a memory for these things had a vague recollection that she had seen the dog before. We were going to wait until the morning to take her to the vet to scan for a microchip but eventually Jean went into the township to find the suspected owner. She returned with no good news. The woman who she thought might own it said it didn't sound like her dog which supposedly was with her kids at the local bowling club. Jean left our address just in case.

An hour later the woman turned up and claimed the poor dog!

One of our really old rechargeable torches was waning. Rechargeable batteries eventually reach end of life after a certain number of charges. Being a frugal and enjoying a challenge I dismantled the torch and removed the batteries. They are not designed to be replaced but being standard AA batteries a little soldering and an hour's effort provided a fully functioning torch which will ,be handy in the workshop as often I'm caught there after dark groping my way back to the house.

Last month the bulky items clean up yielded a functioning but old concrete mixer. It has been sitting in the workshop for a month teasing me with the excitement of a dismantle, clean and rebuild. Today the process was started. What an amazing piece of equipment. Despite having been out in the weather for a long time, under previous ownership, is still in good shape. The high quality metal construction has some surface rust only. The screws and bolts are of such quality that they unscrew with ease despite the rust. Each bolt and screw is of the ideal length for the job. This thing must be 50 years old, manufactured in those days when high quality built to last materials were used. I'm going to enjoy this.

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