Kitten harness training

Our eight month old kitten seems to be desperate to get outside, either into the garage or out the front door. We started harness training him so he could go outside on a leash.

Day 1: Harness sized for an adult cat barely fits 8 month old kitten. Velcro is no match for kitten ingenuity. Thank goodness they don’t have opposable thumbs.

Day 2: Dog harness fits, and kitten cannot escape the clips. Will play fetch while harnessed. Progress!

Day 3: Outside, on the leash, digging at a shrub. Success!

Day 4: In the garage, on the leash, rolling around on the concrete. What is going on in that tangerine-sized brain? Need to replace garage door handle with a door knob. Just in case…

Day 5: Kitten lunged for the front door and got it shut on his head. No apparent damage, got to be more careful.

Day 6: Photographic proof of kitten in a dog harness, on a leash.

New Mac build

I got a shiny new Mac laptop for work use this week, and was thinking about the stuff you put on a machine to make it useful. This is my current set of necessary-for-work software:

Homebrew (to get everything else)
Chrome
Firefox
Git (to get code in progress)
Node.js (to get npm, and all the other hundreds of node modules)
Java (trying v9)
Gradle (was a PITA to get working, needed manual config)
IntelliJ IDEA community edition (to make sure Java and Gradle are both working, took some tweaking)
Visual Studio Code (nifty for JS work)
iTerm2
MS Office and OneDrive
The Slack app

It is a very different list to a few years ago. Android Studio isn’t currently needed on the work machine, Sublime was supplanted by VS Code, and Node is a relative newcomer.

Norfolk Rusks

Back in the distant past in Britain, there was the Yorkshire Television company, who had a show called Farmhouse Kitchen. I went to university with two volumes of recipes from that show in books that were copyrighted in 1975. This is an adaptation of one of those recipes to be more Paleo-friendly.

Ingredients

Makes about 13 rounds

  • 10oz almond flour (might need a bit more if dough is very wet)
  • 0.5 tsp salt plus a “good pinch”
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 2.5 oz butter
  • a beaten egg

Mix the dry ingredients, then rub in the butter until you have a breadcrumb-like mixture. Add the beaten egg and fork the dough around until it is one lump. Roll out the dough to about 10mm thick and cut into rounds. The dough will be sticky and resist rolling, I put some all-purpose flour on the work surface and that helped.

Put the rounds on parchment paper on a baking tray. Put the baking tray in the freezer for 10 minutes to chill the dough. Set the oven to 400F.

Bake the rounds for 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top and bottom.

These turn out as pleasant, buttery, slightly crumbly, savoury cookies. You could add herbs (rosemary, or Herbes de Provence) to add flavour. I was craving cookies and these are a gluten-free version.

Eclipse 2017

Using a tree as a pinhole camera, these were taken a bit before the eclipse and fifteen minutes before totality.

Traffic stopped, everyone was out and looking at the sky. Even though the sun was down to a tiny sliver, it was still almost full daylight. Then the light dimmed and it looked like dusk right after sunset. It wasn’t pitch dark but the lights at the gas station across the street suddenly looked a lot brighter.

We got a minute and a half of totality, then a line of sun was visible and we were back to almost full daylight.

Sourdough Scones

I’ve been tweaking a recipe for sourdough scones, and it feels sufficiently different from the original to put it here. I found this recipe on Sourdough Surprises, who credits Sourdough Diva (no longer online)

Before you can make these, you need to get enough sourdough starter to play with. You can do this first thing in the morning or overnight, but you’ll need to leave this stuff alone for at least 6 hours to do its thing.

Take a half cup of goo from your sourdough stash and put it in a big bowl with three cups of water. Add one cup of all purpose flour, and two cups of whole wheat pastry flour, mix well. You can use all the same kind of flour, I like the mix because the all-purpose seems to get processed faster than the wheat.

Replenish the stash with a half cup of all purpose flour and a half cup of water, stir well, and stick it back in the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of sourdough starter
  • 1 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1 cup of wheat pastry flour or Paleo flour
  • (Optional) 2tbsp of Trader Joe’s coffee flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Penzey’s Cake Spice
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons of cold butter
  • 1/2 cup of currants
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • Cinnamon sugar or maple sugar to sprinkle on top

Heat the oven to 400f.

Mix the flours, salt, cream of tartar, baking soda, sugar, and cake spice in a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and rub it in to the mix until you have a breadcrumb texture. Mix in the currants and walnuts.

Add a cup of the sourdough starter and mix well with a fork. Add a second cup of starter, knead the dough in the bowl for a minute so it knows who’s boss. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 3/4in thick. Cut out rounds (do NOT twist the cutter, that seals the edges) and put them on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Brush the tops with milk (cow or almond, makes no difference) and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over them. Bake at 400f for 20 minutes.

You can substitute a lot of different things into this recipe. I have used dried cherries, diced orange peel, pumpkin seeds, raisins, cranberries, roasted hazelnuts, 1/4 cup of roasted cacao nibs (also from Trader Joe’s), dried blueberries, whatever you like.

Do not under any circumstances use more than 2tbsp of coffee flour, because it will drown out all the other flavours.