Browsing Posts published on 12/09/2010


Well, that supposed ‘lunchtime meeting’ took a little longer than planned.

I had to ‘earn’ my lunch, and this included fitting a new hard drive and installing some software on a good friend’s PC.

Unsurprisingly, it being a Sunday and all, Windows was not ‘playing ball’ so I was a little longer than anticipated!

More tomorrow when I’ll be bright and fresh -right now I’m far too tired to even see the electronics.


Oh, I did get the LED in this morning, and its a green one, now nestling in the heart of the circuit board.  A photo tomorrow, I feel…

Onion bhajis (15)
Sunflower oil in large pan/wok
5 medium/large onions
roughly 200g Gram (chickpea) flour (or enough to coat onions)
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp garam masala (for a smokier flavour, try 2 tbps tandoori masala instead)
2 tsp chilli powder (increase to taste, or add different varieties of chilli – for a huge kick, try a drop of ghost chilli sauce)
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp dried parsley
Water to bind – approx 3tbsp

Slice onions into thin slices. Cover with the dried ingredients and bind with water.
Heat oil in a large wok until batter sizzles and floats to the top immediately.
Make balls approx 2″ in diameter, and place in the pan 3 – 5 at a time to deep fry, turning regularly until dark golden brown.
Place on a bed of kitchen towels to remove excess grease, and serve with fresh lemon slices and/or raita (a dip made of grated cucumber, dried mint, greek yoghurt and coriander)

Beetroot chocolate cake
250g dark chocolate (I’ve found that 86+ [usually 92] works best)
3 eggs
200g muscovado sugar (cheating – any brown sugar works fine,although not as rich)
3 tbsp honey
40g self raising flour
40g plain flour
1/4 tsp bicarb of soda
25g cocoa powder
50g ground almonds
250g raw beetroot, peeled and grated, with the juice squeezed out (NOTE: wear gloves, unless you want red hands for about 3 days)
100ml coffee
Olive or palm oil for greasing

Topping –
150g dark chocolate
2 tbsp coffee
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 160C. Melt chocolate in a bowl
In a separate bowl, beat eggs, sugar and honey until fluffy, and then fold in the dry ingredients. Add the remaining ingredients.
Take a 9″ cake tin, and lightly grease it with olive or palm oil (I prefer palm oil as the cake retains the red colour). Pour mixture into the tin, and then cook for about 1hr 30 mins. Loosely cover the cake tin with foil, and then bake for an extra 20 to 40 mins depending on the texture you want.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes.
For the topping – melt the chocolate in a bowl. Remove from the heat and add coffee, vanilla and honey.
Cover the cake with the chocolate mixture, and leave both to cool and set for 30 minutes.

Blackberry and courgette cake –

Cake – 3 eggs
100g fruit or jam (or 80g cocoa powder)
200g courgette, peeled and grated finely. Be sure to squeeze all juices out before adding to the mix
zest of 1 lemon
100g rice flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
80-150g of fruit or half-cal sugar
1tsp olive oil – or enough to lightly line the tray

Icing – 100g sugar
2 tbsp strawberries (or 150g plain chocolate)
1/4 tsp creme tartare
1 egg white

Whisk eggs and sugar until soft peaks. Fold in the lemon and courgette, followed by the flour, almond and baking powder.
Half fill a 9″ greased baking tray(lined with olive oil) with the cake mix. Add the fruit or jam, and then cover with the remainder of the mix.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes, or until golden.

While the cake is cooling, melt the ingredients slowly in a bowl over a pan of water. If creating a chocolate cake, use the chocolate options instead of the fruit – or you could add both for a different flavour.
Whisk for 9 minutes or until stiff peaks.
When the cake has cooled fully, spread the icing over the cake and leave to set for approximately 30 minutes.

A most enjoyable Day

Hello Folk’s,

                      Well I have to say that yesterday was very enjoyable. Most of the day was spent harvesting. The crops were potatoes, garlic, shallots, onions.

The potatoes on the top plot were a mixed bag and not a very good crop. But there was at least ten different variaties and this was expected, very interesting though. The garlic and shallots were fantanstic, beautiful, lovely, brilliant, amazing, Oops got carried away there, onions red and not red were of good size to large. So in between dodging the showers I enjoyed myself so much I missed my lunch. Didn’t even notice. We had a new voulunteer working with us, us being Nick and I his name is Patrick, and went at it like a bat out of hell on the top plot. The Pickling session was postponed while next Saturday. So you still have the chance to participate.

Okies Ian.

Coding, coding everywhere…

…and not a byte to run. (…Sorry.  Really lame ‘geek’ joke, there…)

Its getting late, so this will be short and sweet.

When I’d got in, had the obligatory shower and change of clothes, it was straight onto Blogging today’s activities (…see under the main ‘Blog Entries’ column…), then when I’d finished, it was straight on with the coding to run the circuit now with added current monitoring.

I’ve basically taken the existing code used for voltage measurement coming from the generator and added some new routines which will ‘roughly’ monitor the current, and light a red (…or green.  I haven’t chosen yet!..) tell-tale when a certain current is reached.

I’ll be first running this under the strict ‘watching eyes’ of my multimeter and the dials on the PSU (Power Supply Unit), and doing it well within safe limits, just to see that my code actually works.

I have some more bits hopefully arriving from Maplin’s late next week which will allow me to build the ‘proper’ version that will monitor up to about 30 Amps flowing into the batteries.

You may think that 30 Amps is a lot of current, and had it been a mains voltage, then yes, that is a huge current, but at a mere 12 Volts, it’s only 360 Watts.  The average cyclist can easily generate abour 120 or so Watts at a gentle pedal.

You can use the formula yourself:-

Power (in Watts) = Voltage (in Volts) X Current (in Amperes)

Of course, we’re going to get ‘head-bangers’ who want to see just how fast they can pedal the bike in top gear, despite the warnings -presumably to see if they can blow anything up.

Well we won’t let them!

Of course, as an added disincentive to potential ‘nutters’, I can always make it such that when you start racing over a certain speed, it gets really, really difficult to pedal!

Easy bit of coding that, and it might be interesting to see who gives themselves a hernia trying!

…I know.  Wicked.  But very, very fun to watch!

Tomorrow I have a lunchtime meeting, but in the morning before I go, I’ll stick in that extra LED of whichever colour, then tomorrow afternoon on my return, I’ll fire it all up (…hopefully not literally!..), and let you know the results.

Anyway, it’s fast approaching ‘Stupid O’clock’, and I can feel my eyes closing.  Not good for computing or electronics.

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