Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pacific Garbage Dump, Titanoboa

Good Morning America are doing a series about garbage, trash, rubbish, whatever you like to call it for the whole of this week. There are some horrifying videos on their web site click here showing a garbage dump in the Pacific ocean which is equivalent to the size of America. It is due to the swirling of currents that this area has formed, but apart from the fact that this terrible dump is there, the fish and birds are eating from it in the mistaken belief that it is food and now it is beginning to get into the fish we might select for our own dinners. I had never heard of this 'trash island' before and I am absolutely horrified to hear about it. GMA have several videos about the whole subject and I do hope you will watch them. One segment is called Are You Eating Garbage? Last night we saw a news report which is also in our newspaper this morning, but nowhere on the internet, (maybe I am the first) about a giant snake, the fossils of which have been discovered in Colombia, South America. They are calling it Titanoboa Cerrejonensis. They figure it would have rivalled the T-Rex in length and would have eaten crocodiles for lunch. It would have weighed in at about 1 tonne and was estimated to be about 13 metres in length. Apparently they have recovered the fossilised vertabrae of at least 28 individual snakes. On TV they showed a vertebrae from a large anaconda which is the biggest known snake today and compared it to that of Titanoboa - it was like a pebble to a large rock. A pin head to a penny. Because this snake has been found, it has enabled scientists to revise previously known information on the temperatures of tropical rainforests in Colombia. When the creature lived, scientists have now figured the mean temperatures would have been 30° and 34° C which is much hotter than temperatures in modern rainforests. The fossils, by the way, are about 58 to 60 million years old. The picture is an artist's rendition of what the snake would have been like. In the picture there is a croc and a turtle, fossils of which were also found and which they reckon the snake would have snacked on. It was a Boa Constrictor and I would NOT like to have met it anywhere. Having posted the recipe for Steak au Poivre yesterday, a friend called, partly to wish Matt Happy Birthday and partly to express horror that I was going to be killing him by feeding him raw beef *g*. Our friend is well known for his intense dislike of rare meat. However, we ate our steak very rare and it was absolutely delicious. The peppery sauce really complemented the steak and the mushrooms were great. We drank a Chilean Errazuriz Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon which we hadn't tried before and very much enjoyed. Today I am giving you another recipe from Food and Drink. This recipe includes Peanut Butter so as there have been some health problems with this lately, be very careful about buying it. However, it looked so good, especially with the chocolate, I couldn't resist sharing it. Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart Pat-in pastry and stir together filling make this elegant tart easy - and chocolate and peanut butter make it divine. Serves 8 to 10 1 1/4 C all purpose flour 3 tbs granulated sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut in cubes 1 egg yolk 2 tsp white vinegar Filling 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 1/2 c whipping cream 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter 1 tbs liquid honey 1 tsp vanilla Chocolate curls and/or chopped peanuts for garnish (optional) Whipped cream (optional) Place flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Whirl until blended. Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Whisk yolk with vinegar. Add to processor and pulse just until dough comes together. Gather into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Using the palm of your hands press into and up the sides of a 9 to 9 1/2 inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Prick bottom all over with a fork. Place in freezer for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 °F (190°C) Lay a piece of parchment paper that is slightly larger than tart pan onto the pastry. Fill with dried beans or rice, making sure to push up against sides. Bake on lower shelf of oven 19 to 20 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Discard parchment and beans. Continue to bake until crust is golden brown. About 5 minutes. Cool completely before filling. Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring whipping cream just to the boil. Pour over chocolate. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir chocolate until melted. Stir in peanut butter, honey and vanilla. Pour into tart shell and smooth as best you can. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Garnish with chocolate and/or peanuts. Serve in small wedges with whipped cream. Have a great day.


  1. Dunno about the snake, or the rubbish, but that chocolate looks gorgeous...

  2. Its interesting that since I wrote about the Titanoboa this morning there are now hundreds of references to it.

    Yes, the chocolate does look scrumptious doesn't it?

  3. Hello Jo --

    The snake looks like its a good thing he's no longer about ...

    As for the rubbish: it's said that we are what we eat, so maybe we are also what we throw away.

    The cake sounds good!


  4. The trouble is Marilyn, is anyone trying to do anything about it. I feel a few nations should try and get together to deal with this mess.