Monthly Archives: June 2007

Smiffy’s Madeira Fruit Cake

I have further developed my gluten and dairy free fruitcake recipe, this time including Madeira – actually a verdelho liquer from Sevenhill Cellars, our friendly local Jesuit winery. This is about my fifth fruitcake variant, as I go through a process of what we software developers call “debugging”.

The following are approximations as this is deliberately a “not rocket science” recipe.

  • 1 cup green pea flour
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (or 2 of this if no green pea available)
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • very heaped teaspoon guar gum
  • 2 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 packet yeast
  • 400g+ dried fruit
  • 4 eggs
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil
  • 0.5 cups Madeira
  • 50ml dark rum
  • large pinch ground ginger
  • large pinch ground cinnamon/cassia
  • large pinch ground cardamom

Sieve all dry ingredients apart from fruit into bowl, stir together with a DRY whisk.

Make well in centre, add eggs and liquid ingredients, stir well until thoroughly mixed.

Add fruit, stir until well distributed. Beat if you have the energy. Thorough mixing is important for this recipe, aeration not particularly so.

Divide into greased baking moulds. I use a couple of silicone bun (muffin) moulds for the bulk of the mixture, the rest going into a silicone loaf tin.

Prove for 1 hour with oven just on (warm to the hand, not hot).

Oven to 150°C, bake for 35 minutes or so for buns, another 15 or so minutes for small loaves, longer for large loaves.

Another Sildenafil Story: Jetlagged Hamsters

A recent news story regarding the dubious practice of feeding sildenafil citrate to oysters may have obscured a more practical use of this drug, generally used to treat erectile dysfunction. Sildenafil accelerates reentrainment of circadian rhythms after advancing light schedules is the title of an article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which details a study where sildenafil was used to treat hamsters with jetlag. Globe-trotting hamsters rejoice!

Million Dollar Bath Stolen

A CatererSearch article tells how a million dollar bath has been stolen from a Japanese hotel. The article fails to make clear exactly why anyone would want to make a bath out of gold, let alone pay 1,000,000 USD for the dubious privilege of having one. Personally, I’d be forever worrying about it getting stolen. Oh, whoops, that’s what happened; silly me.

Huitres aux Citrate de Sildenafil

I won’t further pollute the Web by posting links – if you can’t get it from Google, you’re probably accessing the Web via a home-made modem, part of which is a potato. To cut a long story short, a couple of guys have been feeding sildenafil citrate (brandname witheld) to oysters. This substance, used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (and not without side-effects) combined with the legendary aphrodisiac properties of oysters (legendary: a thing of legend; a thing of story; not true) is making a storm with foreign buyers.

I do wish these guys luck and good fortune – the may get the latter sooner and need the former later when Pfizer, whose trademark they are violating, gets on to them. Man no mess with Big Pharma. But why did these guys not a) contact Pfizer to ask if what they wanted to say was OK and b) just call the stuff sildenafil citrate?

I’m sort of guessing that saying "contains a nice PDE5 inhibitor" doesn’t have much of a ring to it.

As an oyster aside – if you’re on the Cotentin peninsula (that’s France, for those about to dive into Google Earth), try les huitres de St Vaast.