Tag Archives: health

Hemp and Walnut Bread

It was time for some baking again last Sunday (but I only find time to blog about it today), time for another experiment. I decided to make an alternative version of the Hemp and Almond Bread I first made back in June (and have made again since), mainly replacing the almonds with walnuts. But as the walnuts came in a slightly strange packet size I also played around with some the of volumes.

These are the ingredients I used (I decided to also include some sunflower seeds):

  • 400g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 200g strong white bread flour
  • 125g hemp seed hearts
  • 130g walnut halves
  • 50g sunflower seeds
  • ~15g fast action bread yeast
  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 400ml of warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 30 minutes.

Taste test? Similar to the almond version, a nice slightly nutty taste, as expected from the hemp and the walnuts. Crunchy when you bite on a walnut. Also tastes very nice toasted.

Hemp and Almond Bread

Decided to experiment with some bread baking again. While doing my shopping yesterday I spotted some ‘Hemp Seed Hearts’ (described as ‘pure unrefined hemp seed kernels with a delicious light nutty flavour’ and that among other things they are perfect for baking), so I bought some to use them in some bread to be baked for the weekend.

(click on the pictures for larger versions)

These are the ingredients I used (I decided to also include some almonds):

  • 300g strong stoneground wholemeal bread flour
  • 150g strong white bread flour
  • 75g hemp seed hearts
  • 75g toasted chopped almonds
  • ~10g fast action bread yeast
  • 2 table spoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pint of warm water

Mix, knead, let rise as appropriate, then bake at 220ºC (fan assisted oven) for just over 30 minutes.

Taste test?

Has a nice light nutty smell. Taste also light nutty (as promised), bread turned out quite light but also crunchy with the seeds and the almonds. Yes, I’ll almost certainly make this again.

March walk in Woolhampton

Yesterday I bought myself a new ‘travel and cargo trouser pocket camera’ (a Panasonic Lumix TZ100), as my old one simply wasn’t good enough anymore and was starting to show signs of its age. Today was a ‘walk day’ as part of my ongoing recovery from my heart surgery, so I took the camera out for a walk to the gravel pit lakes near Woolhampton. Here are a few early spring impressions from the walk:

(Click on the pictures for the larger versions)

New Year’s Resolution: Improved Sleep

It’s not really a New Year’s resolution, but it sounded a bit better in the title. One of the things I thought a lot about during the first months of my recovery from heart valve surgery has been my sleep. I think it’s something I have to admit I’ve neglected over the last years if not decades. In the back of my mind I decided it’s something I wanted to do something about, although I didn’t form any firm plans what it was.

Browsing in a bookstore during a trip to Reading just before Christmas I came across a little book I decided to pick up and see if it can help me forming a plan how to improve my sleep:

‘Elite sports sleep coach’ sounds a bit strange and bombastic, but then the author has indeed good credentials, having worked with the major football teams, the Sky cycling team and more. So I thought I’ll give it a go. I haven’t finished the book just yet, but what I’ve read so far largely makes sense to me.

Since just before Christmas I’m now getting up at a regular time (6:00 for me, very early, but I need the early start for various reasons) regardless of the day. Yes, even over Christmas and New Year I got up at that time. So far that’s working quite well. I’m trying to think/plan my night sleep in 90 minute cycles instead of thinking the old outdated 8 hours (which I never managed anyway) and also aim to have daytime naps in either 25 minute power naps or 90 minute full cycle naps. That part isn’t fully working yet, my body still needs to properly adapt to it. I’m trying to slow down and significantly reduce screen exposure the last hour before going to bed. I’m having mixed success with this, I’m now usually shutting down my laptop an hour before bed, but I’m still looking too much at my tablet/phone at the last minute, so far I haven’t fully build up the resilience not needing to look. Combined with general recovery/fitness plans I’m going for a 15-20 minute bedtime walk regardless of the weather, that’s working really well. I’m also doing other closure/preparation tasks like washing up, preparing my clothes for the next day and the like in that hour, that’s working fairly well.

There are many more areas needing work and I need to make sure I transfer what I’ve started into fully consistent habits, but then this is a journey, not something you just switch on. I’m hoping improving my sleep will help me in both the ongoing recovery as well as maintaining my health later on. After all sleep is when our bodies rest and repair themselves.

The Birds and the Berries

No, not the birds and the bees, the birds and the berries. Stop being naughty. For the last almost three months I haven’t been able to fully use my camera due to my heart surgery. Almost all the pictures I’ve taken were with the phone, except for the ones of the roses, but for that used the lighter ‘normal’ zoom. As I was limited in the weight I was allowed to lift I was unable to use my big (and unfortunately rather heavy) telephoto zoom lens. Only recently I’ve been allowed to start lifting more and on the 3rd Christmas Day (i.e. the 27th of December, the bank holiday in lieu of Christmas Day falling on Sunday) I decided to give the big lens a first go. I had spotted a number of birds going into a tree with red berries to feed. Not being used to lifting the heavy lens any more I wasn’t particularly successful, these three pictures I thought just about presentable:

(Click on the pictures for the larger versions)

I only lasted for about 10 minutes, then I really started to notice the weight of the heavy lens. Still a long way to go until that part of my body will have fully recovered, but I’m happy that I at least had a start now and have something to build on.