Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Review: Savoury Tooth - Not-Sweet bars

Whilst getting ready to get back to work, I went and got some new pants, as I'd lost enough weight that my pant-size had changed. Whilst in Kathmandu looking or suitable pants, I came across some interesting snack-bars and thought I'd give them a go. Given that my job entails me sitting at my desk tapping out code and putting out electronic fires, I eat a lot of food-bars as it's fast and easy. However, mindful of my diet, I was intrigued to see these are not sweet-candy bars like many trail snacks are, I've covered some in the past. The Bounce food-balls and the Blue Dinosaur Paleo Bars which are both good products, but both pretty sugary.

These protein bars are primarily made of a whey protein concentrate purported to lower blood sugar levels when consumed before a high glycemic meal and is the most complete protein.

They feature a polydextrose binding agent, where something like treacle or molasses might be used in other food. The one used in the Savoury Tooth bars is a low GI soluble fiber with prebiotic properties.

It helps to slow down the digestion process alleviating blood sugar spikes. Reducing sugar rush effects.

Heavily spiced, with woo-seeming ingredients like turmeric for its active polyphenol known as curcumin purported to help provide an ideal intervention for type 2 diabetes. Ginger, chilli, cinnamon, coriander, lemongrass and garlic have also been shown to help lower blood sugar levels.

Importantly, these bars taste amazing, and had a really nice texture: Not too hard to bite or chew, but not mushy or pasty. Dense and rich. The seeds included gave each bite a variety of texture. Food fatigue is a real thing, and having some variety makes a lot of difference, remember that when you're loading up your bunker or bug-out bag.

The Svoury Tooth bars come in "Thai Green Curry" and "Thai Peanut Stay". Both really do taster like they are described. For me, after a few chews, and rolled the bite around in my mouth, the flavours emerged and I found myself recalling street meals I had in the streets of Bangkok and Singapore I had growing up. I'd go as far as to say these were authentic flavours, from my non-native pallet. Jut a hint of spice, certainly enough to get the mouth juices flowing, but not so much as to drive me to rinse my mouth out or reach for he milk. Certainly enough to satisfy the Texan in my culinary history. Not Jakarta Crazy-Wings hot, by a long shot, but not Vanilla thickshake either.

From a nutritional perspective, the

Savoury Tooth protein bars are great after any workout. Each 50g bar offer s 870kJ of energy, or 10% of a 2000cal daily diet. 21-19% of the protein intake 13% of the fat and 6% of the carbs. There is quite a lot packed into these little bars, but the heavy seed and spice content, the bars come with a reasonably short best-before dates, ofonbly a few months as the rich aromatics would age poorly.

I've found the couple I bought to be very tasty and fun to eat and a perfect break from other sweet snacks. Not as satisfying as beef-jerky, but still, a good pre-packaged snack.

The advertising was great too, these post-cards made me chuckle even months later when I pulled them out.

Low in sugar, with complex carbs, high in protein, and dietary fiber, Gluten free these seem to be really viable healthy alternatives to other candy-like sports and protein bars. I'm not a big fan of woo, and straight edge vegan, paleo lifestyles, but these healthy bars don't wrankle me as soy-based, cruelty-free fair-trade hippie-bars might, they are more the granola eating, merino-wool beanie mountain climber food. plenty of bang for your mass!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: CampMaid's Charcoal Chimney

I love cooking, and I love fire. cooking outdoors is always so satisfying, especially when done over fire. BBQ's a re primal, an whilst LPG or propane is fast and convenient, its not quite the same. However. getting a fire going takes time and effort and can be fiddly and messy, not to mention frustrating if you're running to a schedule.

I came across a tool to assist In the starting of briquette bbq's on Kickstarter, and thought it would be a good investment. Camp Maid make a variety of camp-fire cooking tools, mostly focusing on cast-iron Dutch oven type cooking tools, but their Kickstarter project for a collapsible charcoal chimney caught my eye.

CampMaid's Charcoal Chimney is a unique twist on the traditional concept to quickly heat charcoal for outdoor cooking! The twist being that the sides of the chimney are hinged so it folds flat for storage and packing. Designed to fit inside the lid of a 12" Dutch oven to keep all your sooty-gear together!

The principle is pretty simple. Up to 45 briquettes at a time are loaded into the top of the chimney, onto the fold-down grill that creates an air-space under the coals for you r kindling or solid-fire-starter cubes. I typically use the fire-Cone starter and kerosene from the big old tank on our property (a hold over from the redundant oil-heating system the house was built with. Once lit, the Quickly heats charcoal in about 7-10 minutes and you're ready to grill.

A handle on the side assists with placement and emptying once its hot and ready to go. The handle is supposed to be heat-safe. However, id recommend wearing gloves. and take care. my handle melted and caught on fire! Once the plastic sloughed off and burned away, it was fine but be aware.

Both the body of the chimney and the handle fold flat for easy of storage, though I found once fired, it took some manipulation to get it fully flat. The inner grill needs to be folded up but the inside of the chimney has space for it.

Also it can be used as a hobo stove. with the internal grill down, pretty much any solid combustible fuel can be placed in its burn chamber, and the rigid sides act as a base for a pan or pot, or even to hold the skewers for your rat-on-a-stick. For camping, tailgating, scouting, backyard, beach, survival the CampMaid Charcoal Chimney makes for a simple, dependable, portable fire pit you can leave in the trunk of the car.

So, it's a simple enough piece of kit, is small enough to slip down the back of a backpack (when cool, and maybe even rinsed off). It not only gives you a contained fire-pit, and a chimney for rapid charcoal lighting.

The fact that the handle melted and caught on fire was a bit distressing, but it's loss has been inconsequential to its ongoing use. One thing to note is hat they do rust, especially after firing. This has made the hinges a bit stiff, but a dose of WD40 should fix that. I've thought of painting the whole thin with a fire-tolerant paint but its probably unnecessary. I might cut some notches into the upper lip to give my skewers some purchase but again, not essential by any means.

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