My first attempt at making a parsnip based bread was from a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I had bought a cheap bag of parsnips which were going out of date and needed to use some up since I didn't really want to fill the freezer with parsnip wedges (which would probably have meant I would be eating roast parsnip for several months).
I followed HFW's recipe very closely but used finely chopped rosemary instead of thyme. The substitution worked well. There was one slight problem, which was probably my fault: the dough was a bit too wet and the resulting bread was slightly soggy in the middle. The actual flavour was good and the bread toasted well, which had the advantage of slightly drying out the bread a bit.
My second attempt was a sweet potato and parsnip bread. I started off with the vegetables mashed and left to cool before I added bread flour, yeast and a little water, and mixed to a soft dough. I think the dough was roughly 50% vegetable by weight. I baked the bread in a moderately hot oven until it was brown and crusty on top. The bread was slightly sweet and had a chewy texture but worked really well in a cheese toastie.
This week's recipe was an attempt to do something with the diced butternut squash I had in the freezer.
The filling was based on a recipe from Good Food magazine but I made half the quantities and made 4 individual pies instead of one large one. I also used a regular shortcrust pastry base instead of a sweet pastry.
I have never tasted a 'genuine' pumpkin pie so I don't have anything to compare mine to. The filling had a slightly 'custardy' texture and the flavour was mainly a combination of squash and cinnamon. I'm not sure if I would make them again but I think I'd be interested in tasting a more authentic one.
Here is the ImageJ version of the classic Game of Life which I wrote in an evening, several years ago. I have made a small change since then so the 'Reset' button clears the window and the 'Random' button fills the window with random dots.
The ImageJ drawing tools can be used to fill in pixels. Clicking on 'Start' will begin the animation. Pixels which have remained unchanged slowly fade to grey while pixels which 'came alive' are in white.
Download the source code and load into ImageJ or Fiji. Select 'Compile and Run' to start.
The program was cobbled together fairly quickly and ideally would need a bit more work to make it more user-friendly. Any configuration is done by editing the source code and recompiling. The speed of the animation can be changed by altering the value of 'pause' (value in milliseconds). The size of the world is given by the 'width' and 'height' variables. If these are changed then the image window may need to be resized by changing the default magnification in the setMagnification() command.
A few weeks ago I was reading the book The Emperors New Mind by Rodger Penrose and I reached the part where he discusses the Mandelbrot Set. Years ago I used to enjoy exploring this on my computer. I decided to download a mandelbrot program for my mac but couldn't really find one which I liked. This prompted me to have a go at writing one myself. I decided to cheat a little and write it as an ImageJ plugin so I didn't have to handle the display and mouse myself.
I reused some bits of code from a version of Life which I wrote a few years ago and also some code which I developed during my PhD and managed to get a useable plugin up and running that evening. Over the next few days I added a few extra features and made it a bit more useable.
Click on the download link and save the 'jar' file into the ImageJ or Fiji plugins directory.
Select 'Mandelbrot' from the 'Plugins' menu. Configuration options are in the 'About Plugins' submenu of the 'Help' menu. After changing any options, the mandelbrot set window will need to be closed and the plugin re-run before any changes will come into effect.
How to Use
To zoom in or out, use the 'Point' tool of ImageJ to select the new centre and click on either the 'Zoom To' or 'Zoom Out' buttons at the bottom of the window. To pan the view without changing the zoom, select the new centre then click on the 'Re-Centre' button. The 'Reset' button returns the view back to the original zoom.
The number selection box to the right of 'Reset' controls how many calculations are performed before the algorithm decides whether a point belongs to the set or not. Increasing this number will show more detail at the fringes of the set at higher zoom levels.
The Normal/Sqrt/Log selection controls how the colour values are calculated. Initially all values are displayed in greyscale. To display in colour, select one of the ImageJ lookup tables for the required colour scheme.
Finally the Julia Set for a particular point can be displayed by selecting a point then clicking on the 'Julia Set' button.
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This week's recipe was a bit of an experiment and not a 100% successful one at that. I'll discuss that at the end but first, the recipe.
I tossed some uncooked prawns in a seasoned flour mixture which contained paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and mixed spice. I left them to sit for a few minutes while I chopped and fried a red pepper, an onion and a clove of garlic. Next I added a handful of diced butternut squash. When the veg had softened I added the prawns and more spices: half a teaspoon each of ground ginger, curry powder and garam masala. Finally I added a portion of cooked rice and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.
The end result was something of a curate's egg. The spiced prawns were good - the seasoned flour had gone slightly crispy and created a good texture. The actual flavour of the biryani was also good. The only problem was created by the butternut squash. It was just too sweet and clashed a bit with the savoury flavours. I have used squash before and not found it a problem so it might have just been this squash was more sweet than I'm used to. It may be worth trying a sweet recipe, such as a variation on pumpkin pie, so that may be a future new recipe for me to try.
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