Monday, February 20, 2012

A Toilet in a Straw Bale House

Whoever thought I would write a post on toilets? It is actually a very important topic for the owner builder...or anyone contemplating building a house or simply replacing a toilet.

The pan and toilet seat shape are of extreme importance as we discovered after the toilet had been installed. We (that would be ME) chose a squarish shaped pan and toilet seat. Looks modern, unusual and suited our quirky little straw bale house.

All good.

Until we started rendering the walls and someone used the toilet seat and lid as a ladder to gain higher up access to the surrounding walls around the toilet. It started as a slight crack in the seat. Which eventually deteriorated into a full thickness crack in the seat that was a real pain in the arse. Literally. Bunnings and other plumbing places do not supply just toilet seats in that particular shape, or ones that even come close to fitting!

We had to buy a whole new toilet just to get the confounded seat to fit the existing setup and that model is no longer made!!!! I had to scour eBay for a supplier of end of model toilets to get one.

So people, when shopping for a toilet, do not be sucked in by sexy unusual shapes, go for the standard slightly rounded in the event that should you need to replace a toilet seat down the track, you can. You know that avocado green toilet that every house had installed in the 70s´? You can still buy a replacement seat that fits today. Stylish? No. Fashionable? Never. Trendy, yes, for all of 43 seconds in 1974....but you can still get away with buying a new seat for it down at Bunnings tomorrow morning.

While we are here, when toilet shopping sit on many to determine comfort levels. Some seats are just plain uncomfortable. Can you endure completing your daily diabolical sudoku on it? Digest some Readers Digest without squirming. Expel that dodgy chicken vindaloo over the course of three or fours hours with minimal collateral damage? If not, shop for comfort or increase your fibre intake.

Also look at the pan, does the flush focus just at the back of the pan, or is it a pan round flush? Are there nooks and crannies that will harbour germies, or will it be easy to clean? Will you need your miners helmet and HAZMAT suit to get in and clean under a rim that no toilet duck could ever reach? These are all important points when it comes to selecting a toilet.

I should have gone with avocado green.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Khorasan Bread

Being a little sensitive to gluten (abdominal bloating, cramping and excessive gas production  that blows my carbon footprint out of the water) I am interested in baking breads that are more Daffodil friendly.

Over at "Ethic" (I LOVE THIS PLACE!!!!! post to follow) in Woodend, Victoria, I came across Khorasan flour sitting in a big bucket. I had never heard of it before, but that has never stopped me from purchasing things before. After all, isn't that what google is for? Buy first, then google to see what you can do with it!

So I hit the net and did some research of Khorasan. It is an ancient wheat grain originating in the Fertile Crescent. It is a lower yielding grain per acre and very fragile to mould and disease. On paper, this looks like an agriculture disaster, however, because of its frailties, it has not been aggressively cultured and bred for vigor or yield. So its actual structure has changed very little since the beginning of agriculture. It is a very old grain. It may just have slipped under Monsantos radar.

On the gluten front, as with many other ancient grains, it is more friendly to the sensitive gluten gut. It is not coeliac friendly, however. Sorry guys. So after doing some research into the history of Khorasan, I had to find something to cook. Otherwise it would just sit looking all smug and eclectic in my pantry. One recipe that sprang up on Google was "Egyptian Flat Bread"

We were planning on home whizzed Falafels, with home whizzed hoummus and some vegetable matter. Egyptian flat bread was a timely find!

So the recipe we followed for Egyptian Flat Bread - courtesy of Our Daily Salt

2 cups of Khorasan flour

1 cup of warm water

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon of dry active yeast.

We popped the water and salt in our thermomix to heat  at 37 degrees, however, you can just put it in a food mixer to whizz it. We then threw in the Khorosan flour and yeast and mixed at speed 6 for 10 seconds to mix and then 3 minutes on knead. For those of you who have a food mixer, use it as you normally would for bread, or simply mix it by hand and knead plentifully.

Turn the dough out into  bowl to prove for 1 to 2 hours. Roll out to approx. 1cm thick. Have the oven preheated to 180 degree oven. We baked ours on a heated pizza stone. Bake for about 25 mins. The kitchen will smell delicious. Turn out onto a bread board and try to wait for it to cool down enough to handle.

I love this kind of bread. Crunchy crust and chewy centre with a nutty flavour and it was divine on its own, with a smear of goats fetta and also smothered with hoummus, tomato salsa and falafels.


I plan on having some Egyptian Flat Bread for breakfast tomorrow morning topped with some fetta, poached eggs, caramelised onions and squirt of lemon juice.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Daffodils Buns.....

of steel!!!! NOT!!!!!

I have noticed that bread has been rather painful for me over the last few months. So I am now on a spelt flour kick to get my bread fix.

This is my latest baking effort. Spelt Wholemeal buns with a kick-butt amount of extra goodies that resulted in bread with a crunchy crust (DELISH!) and a chewy substantial inner. Jam packed with seedy flavour, it is my new bread fave, and comes without the abdominal bloating, moaning and groaning.

HH reckons he could build a house out of them. I love my "Brick Bread"!!!!

Are there others out there who have developed a late onset gluten or other food sensitivity?