The other night, we watched a delightful little documentary about the Wye Valley in Britain, it is shared by the West Country and Wales and is a beautiful area. They were predominantly showing a cider apple grower, a bee keeper, a sheep farmer and a fisherman and how they lived during the year. It was fascinating that the bee keeper brought millions of bees to collect the nectar from the apple trees – a co-operative effort, the bees would also pollinate the trees for the grower whilst they were harvesting the nectar. Britain too is affected by the disease which is killing off honey bees and which could cause a major disaster because there won’t be anything to replace them to pollinate all kinds of plants.
Good Morning America, on Thursday, had a very interesting segment about chemo therapy and hair loss. It appears that in the UK they have been using an “cold cap” very successfully during certain chemo treatments, breast cancer being one, and by using these cold caps it is possible for the patient not to lose her hair. By freezing the hair follicles, it appears the chemo does not affect the scalp area. There are people (around 100) who have tried this in the States although it is not recognised by insurance companies and costs as much as $1,500 nevertheless some women are pursuing it. One patient was talking to GMA and she definitely managed to save her hair. She had a team of friends with her during chemo treatments who changed her ice cap every half hour. The friends have since formed an informational group called the Rapunzel Group (what a great name) which disseminates the word in order to ensure that everyone is aware of the option. They also donated a freezer to their local hospital. I understand dry ice is used so these caps must be fairly difficult to put up with. There are two main reasons for using the cap, one you can keep your cancer private if you wish by not losing your hair, and two you feel so much better in yourself if you still have your hair even though Robyn Roberts, who has gone through chemo, said “you are not your hair”.
This week we have had, what has been referred to as a weather bomb, in North America. Very high winds and in the central States and Provinces they were socked in with snow storms – other places were inundated with flooding. Locally we were staggered to see three glass bus shelters had been damaged by the winds. One time our car was badly damaged because we were parked in our outside parking lot and the wind blew grit off the roof – we needed a new paint job, others needed new windshields. I don’t know if that has happened this week, haven’t yet heard anything.
Today on GMA Dr. Richard Besser was talking about vitamins and other supplements. Basically the consensus for a generally healthy adult with a good, balanced diet and regular exercise, you don’t need to spend a load of money on taking pills. The young and the old often do need such supplements, but mostly otherwise, he said, it’s a waste of money. http://tinyurl.com/24who8e Guess we will be saving ours in future.
Hallowe’en approaches and for those people who like to make various items to hand out rather than candies here is an English recipe for biscuits (cookies over here) which I thought looked pretty easy and rather fun.
Whip up some homemade sweet treats to delight little ghosts and ghouls. Try our simple biscuit dough, rolled out and cut into spooky shapes.
100g/3½ oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
100g/3½ oz caster sugar (just regular sugar in North America is almost as fine as caster)
1 egg, lightly beaten
275g/10oz plain flour (all purpose)
1 tsp vanilla extract
400g/14oz icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
3-4 tbsp water
2-3 drops food colourings
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper (waxed paper).
Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until combined.
Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, a little at a time, until well combined.
Stir in the flour until the mixture comes together as a dough.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1cm/½in.
Using Halloween-style biscuit cutters, cut biscuits out of the dough and carefully place onto the baking tray.
Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes, or until pale golden-brown. Set aside to harden for 5 minutes, then cool on a wire rack.
For the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large mixing bowl and stir in enough water to create a smooth mixture. Stir in the food colouring.
Carefully spread the icing onto the biscuits using a knife and set aside until the icing hardens.
Have a great day