Corned-Beef Hash with Beetroot and Bacon

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Here is another potato free hash recipe, which has the flavour and colour of beets, and the hearty “comfort food” effect as well.  There are two variations of this recipe, that I have made for my wife recently one with the beef and the other only with the bacon.

Corned-Beef Hash with Beetroot and Bacon

Ingredients:

  • Corned Beef 200 g tin
  • Red Onion 1 medium to large
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Bacon 1 rasher
  • Beetroot 1 medium (prepared and cooked)
  • Dried Parsley 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Black Pepper 1/2 tsp
  • Oil splash
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as needed

Method:

In a medium pan fry off the piece of bacon and remove it from the pan retaining the dripping. Dice the onion, garlic, and beetroot. Add a splash of oil to the bacon dripping, and add the onion.  When it begins to soften add the garlic and beets.  Fry until tender.  Add the herbs and pepper and a few splashes of water if needed to keep the mixture deglazed. Shred the bacon and dice the corned beef. Stir these in and stir until well mixed in and dissolving into a hash.  Pat flat into the pan and brown well, then flip with a spatula, then serve.  Salt if needed.

Bacon and Beetroot Hash

Ingredients:

  • Bacon 4 to 5 rashers
  • Red Onion 1 medium to large
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Beetroot 1 medium (prepared and cooked)
  • Dried Parsley 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Black Pepper 1/4 tsp
  • Onion Powder 1/4 tsp
  • Double Cream 3 to 4 Tbs
  • Oil splash
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as needed

Method:

In a medium pan fry off the bacon and remove it from the pan retaining half the dripping. Dice the onion, garlic, and beetroot. Add a splash of oil to the bacon dripping, and add the onion.  When it begins to soften add the garlic and beets.  Fry until tender.  Add the herbs and pepper and a few splashes of water if needed to keep the mixture deglazed. Shred the bacon and stir it until well mixed in.  Pat flat into the pan and brown well, then flip with a spatula, then serve.  Reduce the heat and add the cream. Allow the cream to thicken, and mix well with the hash mixture. Salt if needed.

Padre

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Macadamia and Chocolate Fat Bomb (FB 5)

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While doing reading on the topic of keto foods, Macadamia nuts were spoken well of.  So as I continue to come up with variations I tried Macadamia and 80% chocolate.  It worked really well, and I think it is one of the tastiest so far.

Ingredients:

  • Macadamia Nuts 1/4 cup
  • 80% 5 + Chocolate 2 squares
  • Cocoa Powder (100%) 1 tsp rounded
  • Nut Butter 1 heaped Tbs
  • Stevia 2 tsp
  • Coconut Oil 2 1/2 Tbs

Method:

Warm the coconut oil to a liquid. In a food processor blitz the nuts and chocolate to a coarse flour texture. Add the cocoa, sweetener, and nut butter and mix well.  Pour in the coconut oil and mix again until even. Spoon the mixture into an ice tray and place in freezer for 10 minutes. When set, remove the bombs from the tray and place in a bowl.  Store in the fridge until needed.

Padre

Godmanchester: River and Water Meadows

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Godmanchester

We had some errands to run in the Godmanchester/Huntingdon area, and as we were passing we saw the beautiful sight of the Causeway and the water meadows beyond.  It became a must see stop.

We found parking near the Godmanchester sign, and then made our way to the Chinese bridge, and the water meadows.  This is not a very difficult walk, and is well paved.  If crossing the bridge however, there are a couple of stairs to negotiate if using a wheelchair, or similar.

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Views

Godmanchester has really done a great job in this area making for a garden like experience with large willows along the Great Ouse (river) and more human touches such as hanging baskets of flowers along the causeway and the river walk trail.

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Chinese Bridge

Several pleasure boats were also moored in the area, and this added to, rather than detracting from the peaceful feel.

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Ducks

Ducks, geese, swans, and moorhens were in abundance, and it was interesting to watch them frolic. There were even fish jumping from the river, something we hadn’t seen for a while.  There are several benches along the route, and they provide a great place just to relax and take it in.  Public toilets are available near the Council offices, and for those wanting to make a longer stay of it, there is a pub (The Royal Oak) and a chippy (The Riverside) for a bite or a drink.

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Willows and Water Fowl

This pleasant walk is at the heart of Godmanchester.  The town was a Celtic, and then Roman settlement, Durovigutum before becoming chartered as a town in 1212 by King John. That said the name predates the charter as a variant of it appears in the Doomsday Book.

It was a really lovely stop, and one worth making if off the beaten trail.

Padre

The Choice is Ours

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Choices: photo credit – http://jenekapela.com

Sister Joe brought an incredibly powerful word this week. Her focus was on the choices we make as free moral agents, and how these affect our lives and our relationship with God.  She began her message with Daniel 3: 16-17,

 “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.”

Here we have three young Hebrew men, who have been taken from Israel and given positions within the Babylonian Empire.  They are housed, fed, and even renamed by the king, but they go along with it. To a point.

They are then faced with a challenge. The king has made a decree that all must bow to a golden image. They choose to say no.

This idea of human choice, often called free moral agency was in two gardens: Eden and Gethsemane. In the first case, God’s simple command to avoid a single fruit was ignored by choice, leading to the fall of human kind. In the second, Jesus faced the decision as to whether to follow God’s plan and face His own death, or to refuse.  In the end, he chose to obey, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done (Luke 22:42).”

This example of Jesus as a choice maker is consistent throughout the New Testament. When Jesus was tempted in the desert, He three times had to decide between His physical needs, His ego needs, and His ultimate mission, and God’s plan for the same.  In each case He responded with scripture, and yielded to the Father’s plan. The choice, however, was always His own.

This brings us back to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They too had to make a choice of ultimate destiny. They could obey the edict of the king, or follow the first two commandments. Look closely at their words. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand.  But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up (verses 17-18).”

They would not comply, and they trusted in God to deliver.  And even if not delivered physically, they could rest assured in God’s promise to keep His promise of the covenant, so they were going to keep their side.

The three were indeed punished by the king. But in furnace, they were preserved.  They had chosen obedience to God.  It would have been easy to make a token gesture to appease the king, but they chose integrity! Much as Polycarp would centuries later.

How then do we choose? Sister Joe gave four really great tips on this!

Choose Companions that will encourage and support you in keeping to a positive path. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).” If we are to choose wisely, let us surround ourselves with those who do likewise.  The inverse of this is also true, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character (I Corinthians 15:33).” Be an example of integrity and yo will strengthen others. Resist and avid that which corrupts. These are choices. 

Choose Your Battles wisely. Don’t wear yourself out on things that don’t matter. The three Hebrew youths of Daniel 3 accepted exile from Israel, new names, positions, and more.  But only when it came to things that would truly corrupt their relationship with God, did they make a stand.  Let that be a standard we can hold onto.  Does it glorify God?  Does is help or hurt our relationship? These are the battles to choose.

Choose to PrayRather simple, but profound. We need to choose relationship with the central power in the universe.  You cannot have relationship without communication.  We need to choose to keep this avenue open.

Choose Eternity. Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego chose to follow God’s plan, even at the risk of this life. They saw God’s promise as sufficient. In fact, the El Shaddai, all sufficient God was enough.  How about for us?  Do we cling to the here and now, or for a better hope?

The choices are ours, but in the end, neither Sister Joe, nor I cannot make your decisions. You are a free moral agent.  The choices are yours to make.  How will you choose?

Padre

Thank you Sister Joe for such an amazing message.  It was truly inspiring, and powerful.

North Wales Adventure: Anglesey

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The Britannia or Menai Bridge links Anglesey and the mainland, and was the necessary starting point for our of our visit. This imposing and impressive Victorian structure is something to see! It has really strong lines, and the massive stone work give a sense of security that more modern structures sometime fail provide. This really is a wonderful piece of engineering.

Once in the island we headed to Holyhead and the Holy Island. We found the Holyhead docks are much like ports everywhere, with the ferry port doing steady business, and the marina area rather disappointing.  So we headed down the West Coast towards South Stack.  The South Stack area more than made up for the everyday views of Holyhead.

We started with the circle huts. The ancient stone circle remains of the huts are impressive. They overlook the sea, and really give a feel of the past.  This is a fairly big complex, but the lower huts are easy to access. There is parking at a small car park directly opposite them, and after crossing the small road, the closest hut circle is only about 50 paces from a farm gate. The next is a similar distance further up the path.  I found the stone rings, and what I assume to be hearth stones great reminders of our heritage.

The RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) Reserve is a short distance further up the mountain from the huts. The reserve offers some wonderful views of the sea and surrounding natural beauty. There is parking in three places that we could find. One low on the mountain across from the circle hut ruins (this also gives access to a Ellin’s Tower path. The second is at the visitor centre/cafe. The third is at the top of the rise where the road comes to an end. Hikers and watchers also climbed the rocky areas above. The visitor centre views are excellent and the RSPB has done a good job of making the area as accessible as possible, without spoiling the nature.

The Reserve has a visitor centre and cafe as well, so finding the cafe was a bonus. The cafe is medium sized, and it being a chilly day rather full, but the staff were really helpful and the service good (one server carried tray to table for us owing to disability).

There is outdoor seating as well, which we braved for a few minutes, and great views of the sea, Ellin’s Tower, and the light house.  The cafe/visitor centre also has a disabled toilet. The tea was well brewed, and we had chocolate and lemon cakes which were rich, moist, and satisfying. Really glad we found this place, to chill and take in the views.

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The South Stack Lighthouse is a wonderful part of the overall scenery. Owing to mobility issues we knew the hike itself was too much, but there are several places above the complex, and along the trails to view this sight. It was well worth seeing, even if for a few minutes just for the glory of the surroundings, and the majesty of the building itself.

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Lighthouse

Similarly, Ellin’s Tower was difficult for us to access. Therefore, we only looked at the building from the outside, but it makes a a wonderful photo op when used as a backdrop to the surrounding nature. Its while walls also make a striking contrast to the sea below. It is well worth seeing, and I have been told for those able to make the short hike to it, even more impressive up close.

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Ellin’s Tower

Leaving South Stack we followed the coastal road Lon Isallt to the Trearddur Bay taking in the views and visiting a couple of beaches. Then it was off to Aberffraw and St Cwyfan’s Church which I have previously posted on. The rugged coastline, and defiant little church (against nature;s power) are inspirational to see.

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Church in the Sea

On our way off Anglesey we followed more coastal road until we had to head inland to make our way back to the Menai Bridge.  Our island adventure had been a real treat, and the views alone made it worth taking, but yummy cake, and a glimpses of history made it a truly outstanding day.

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Trearddur Bay

Padre

 

 

Asparagus Bacon Wraps

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Here is a dish which combines asparagus and turkey bacon. It has a few steps, but is still easy and relatively quick to make.  It is gluten free, and low carb as well.

Ingredients:

  • Turkey Bacon 5 to 6 rashers
  • Asparagus 8 spears
  • Mature Cheddar 40 g
  • Parmesan 1 Tbs grated
  • Butter 2 tsb
  • Double Cream 2 to 3 Tbs
  • Water to steam

Method:

Remove woody bottoms from the asparagus and cut into thirds. Place the asparagus into a steamer and steam for 5 minutes. In a medium frying pan warm  the bacon, but do not fully cook. In a sauce pan melt the butter, and then melt the cheese into it, stirring constantly then slowly stir in cream. Remove bacon and cheese from the heat.  Lay out the bacon strips and place a few asparagus pieces to one side of each then roll the bacon around the veg. Gently place each roll into the bacon pan and brown on each side, avoiding unrolling each bundle. When well cooked place the wraps onto a plate. Quickly reheat the cheese sauce, enough to pour, then spoon it over the bacon wraps, and serve.

Padre

 

Potato-Free Corned-Beef Hash

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In trying to keep the carbs down in my wife’s diet, I have adjusted my traditional hash recipe to accommodate.  It uses tinned corned-beef, carrots and some savoury veg to make a hearty meal.

Ingredients:

  • Corned Beef 200 g tin
  • Onion 1
  • Yellow or Red Bell Pepper 1/2
  • Carrot 1
  • Garlic 2 large cloves
  • Oil splash
  • Ground Black Pepper 1/4 tsp
  • Beef Stock Cube 1 (gluten free)
  • Water as needed
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Dice the onion, garlic, and bell pepper. Peel and grate the carrot. Heat the oil in a medium pan and stir in the veg.  Fry until tender, and chop the corned beef into the pan.  Crumble the stock cube into the pan and add splashes of water until beef forms a firm hash, and season to taste.

Padre

Nutty Fat Bomb (FB no.4)

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I was continuing to try to mix it up when it came to treats, so as we were working to find some keto-friendly options this recipe emerged. It is a blend of nuts and nut butters,  and is rather quick to make.

Ingredients:

  • Pistachios (shelled and unsalted) 2-3 Tbs
  • Pine Nuts 1 Tbs
  • Pecan Halves 10 – 12
  • Nut Butter (your choice of type – I have used peanut and almond in past) 1 heaped Tbs (no added sugar)
  • Stevia 1 scant Tbs
  • Coconut Oil 3 Tbs

Method:

Place the pistachios, pecans, and pine nuts into a food processor and blitz to crumbly texture. Add the sweetener and nut butter and blitz again. If coconut oil is solid warm in microwave for a few seconds or place in a bowl over boiling water.  Once liquefied pour over the nut mixture and blitz till well mixed. Spoon the mixture into an ice tray, and place into freezer for about 10 to 15 minutes (do not over freeze). When set, remove the fat bomb cubes from the tray, and place in a bowl in the fridge until needed.

Padre

 

 

Bacon Pasta Stir

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Looking for a quick yet rich dinner?  Then the Bacon Pasta Stir may be right up your street. This is definitely in the 15 minute meal range, and my wife really enjoys it.  For those of us that shy from all things “piggy” it can be made as a *veggie dish by omitting the bacon, and I have had some success using poached salmon rather than bacon as well.

Ingredients:

  • Bacon (thick sliced, unsmoked) 4 rashers*
  • Bell Pepper 1 large
  • Onion 1 large
  • Oil splash
  • Double Cream 3 to 4 Tbs
  • Mature Cheddar 70 g
  • Spaghetti or Linguine 50 g (I use gluten-free)
  • Water (as per pasta instructions)

Method:

Prepare the pasta as per the manufacturer’s instructions, drain and set aside. Dice the pepper removing seeds, and the dice the onion. In a pan fry off the bacon and before crisp remove from the heat.  Take bacon from the pan and set aside.  Drain off all but a tablespoon or so of the bacon dripping, and add a splash of oil. Return the pan to the heat, and add the pepper and onion.  Fry until tender.  While veg is cooking grate the cheese.  Chop the bacon into small pieces and add to the veg, then top with the pasta and cheese.  Stir well.  Then stir in the cream and reduce heat.  Serve when all is well mixed and the cheese melted.

Padre

 

A Garden Enclosed

 

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The Hebrew word gan means enclosure or garden. Eden was described as such, a place set apart from the wild and untamed: a paradise. Ever since the fall and the expulsion from Eden, people have tried to return. There is something about tamed nature that is relaxing and reassuring. The wild and chaotic frighten us, but there is a security in enclosure.

Notice that shortly after the flood account, Noah plants a vineyard. We like our enclosures, and being “men of the soil” (within reason). There are those of us today who would be totally lost in the world of agriculture, but in our gardens and lawns we find the taste of Eden, as Noah sought to do.

The idea of a cultivated enclosure has a place in the Christian story as well. Jesus uses the imagery of a sheep pen to describe His relationship with the church.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers (John 10:1-5).”

Jesus’ sheep have haven in the enclosure, it is only in His presence do they go out into the wild.  This is an interesting reflection, as Jesus said that we were to “go into all the world . . . .” But remember He also said, . . .  make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:19-20).” He is with us, leading us outwards.

This metaphor of the church being a “garden enclosed,” a special place of nurture has a long history.  It was particularly popular with Puritan writers such as Milton, and Paul Hobson, where the special fruit of God (His people) will grow and flourish.

We seek a return to the “Paradise Lost,” and we find brief snippets of it in our gans.  But, let us seek it as well, and more actively in His enclosure, the church.  Where will you find your secure nurture this week?

Padre