Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hawaii/Mars, Squirrels.on Steroids. Ampersands.

Hawaii-MarsTight but spectacular quarters. Six people will spend the next eight months together in a 1,500-sq.-ft. dome on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano (not the actively flowing Kilauea). The experiment, funded by NASA, will permit scientists to study the participants’ reactions to close quarters and minimal contact to the outside world, groundwork for a future mission to Mars.  This is fascinating, I didn’t even realise there were any plans afoot to send people to Mars at any time in the near future. I guess they want to figure out whether it’s feasible before they do make those plans. It looks pretty desolate doesn’t it? I am not sure if they think the area is similar to Mars or it’s just the isolation they are looking for.

Interesting story about Arctic Ground Squirrels female-arctic-ground-squirreland how they survive the winter in their burrows which can end up being –23C. They are in the burrows for 8 months. They cannot burn just fat for this length of time to get the results so they also burn muscle, This means that during the summer they have to bulk up on steroids and just before winter they are loaded with testosterone. Scientists were studying why these steroids don’t affect them adversely as they do humans, no squirrels with “roid rage” for example. The article goes on to explain this in detail. What it does not explain is what the squirrels ingest to obtain these steroids.

Something I have been thinking about lately, I recommend people do not use ampersands "&" on their blogs as 9 times out of 10, especially in headings, they come out as gobbledygook.

On Monday, a Portuguese friend, who had just spent 5 weeks in her native country, turned up at bowling with a present of some Ovos Moles for me. I love these sweets and could devour them in large quantities, but apart from anything else, they are sweets. There is a large Portuguese contingent in Cambridge (the next town) and I wondered if there is anywhere there where they are made and sold. Meanwhile I looked up a recipe. They are a lot easier to make than I thought. I still might look for a baker though.


Source: Easy Portuguese Recipes
June 21, 2013

We are going to show you how to make Ovos Moles de Aveiro, which are Portuguese egg yolk sweets. These are one of the most identifiable treats unique to Portuguese dessert making. They are seen at any dessert shop or any event and are perfect for those with a sweet tooth like myself. The smooth texture and sweet flavour of the yolk in the crunchy shell makes for quite an enjoyable treat. This dessert is sure to impress and quite simple and easy to make.

Making the Shell:
1 pound flour
2 cups cold water
1/2 cup of olive oil
Making the Filling:
8 egg yolks
1.5 cups sugar
1/2 cup rice flour

For the Shell:
1) Pour the ingredients in a bowl and knead them well until they reach a dough like consistency..
2) With the help of a rolling pin, roll the dough very thin, place it in a lightly greased form and with the tip of a knife, make the shape you wish to mould the filling in. The dough should be very thin, almost transparent.
3) Mould the dough into whichever shape you please, or if you have a specific baking mould, use that.
For the Filling:
1) Pour the sugar in a saucepan on the stove with a glass of water and let it boil until 245 degrees Fahrenheit or the sugar has become a syrup with an even consistency.
2) In another saucepan, dissolve the rice flour in 1/2 cup of cold water. Add the boiled sugar syrup to this mixture let it cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
3) Turn off the heat and let it cool slightly and begin adding in the egg yolks.
4) Keep stirring them together and let them cool for another 5 minutes on low heat in the saucepan.
5) Pour the filling into the moulded shells.
6) Serve and enjoy!
*If you wish to add a bit of crunch to the treats you can place them on a baking sheet in the oven at 250 degrees fahrenheit for about 3-4 minutes until they reach a crunchy shell.*

Have a great day


  1. Replies
    1. Are you seeing the gooblydgook on the actual blog page, or in dashboard? I never see it on my page but I do see it in dashboard, which I'm fine with.

    2. Dashboard I guess. I am not totally sure now, will have to check it out.

  2. Hi Jo - animals are amazing at how they've adapted to live through frozen times, while also surviving fires ... Glad your friend came back with something Portuguese .. they sound very moorish.

    The ampersand is just one of those things ... I usually remember ... cheers Hilary

    1. Yes, I have been outside when it was -24C and the tears froze in Matt's eyes. I didn't stay out that long. They really are great. My Portuguese friend who lives in Portugal gave us the first Ovos Moles when we were there.

  3. My dad was Portuguese but he never made or mentioned those. But he was from a British colony in S. America so that's probably why. I'm also curious as to what the squirrels eat that contain steroids.

    1. No I think they only come from Aveiro in Portugal. Although I do hope there is a local baker.

      Me too.

  4. Testosterone-pumped squirrels - now that would be a sight.
    I'd heard about the mission to Mars. The test is a good idea. You don't want someone going nuts.

    1. Wouldn't it?

      I hadn't but yes, it is a good idea, but then it all needs to be done with potential travellers before they go.

  5. Squirrels on roids - now, that's funny. :P

    You always post the most interesting recipes. :)

    1. Pumped up squirrels would be a hoot.

      Thanks Melissa. I love to eat after all.

  6. Hawaii would be nice but I've no interest in seeing Mars. I love squirrels! Good question - wondering how they get the steroids. Might have research this - pure curiosity I suppose.
    I'm so guilty of ampersands and dashes too!
    My goodness - a pound of flour - that would make a lot of those yummy egg treats! I don't know that I'm brave enough to try this one. :/

    1. I would love to see Mars but it won't be in my lifetime and even if it were, I would never be chosen. If you do research it, let me know. Dashes aren't so bad but it's the way ampersands change from PCs to Apple.

      Do try it, they are well worth it, absolutely delicious.

  7. I wish we could figure out how dogs eat rotten meat and don't get sick. I mean they must have some sort of immunity to some bacteria we lack.

    1. They eat far worse things than that without getting sick.

  8. I think the Portugese make fabulous sweets especially. My favourite are the Portugese Custard Tarts which i learned to bake as soon as I arrived home from my trip which included Portugal. Thanks Jo.

    1. I don't remember the custard tarts, but the things they do with eggs for desserts are absolutely amazing. These are delicious.

  9. If that's what Mars is like I can't imagine why anyone wants to go there. I must be very unadventurous. Squirrels are so cute. We love squirrels over here and I was shocked when I saw them running around in New York. I thought they only lived in forests!

    1. It's part of the ongoing space exploration. I would love to take part in all this. I want to see my favourite books come true.

      These are somewhat different squirrels I think. We see squirrels all over the place round here too, particularly black ones which are an offshoot of grey squirrels but, to my mind, are much cuter.

  10. It's amazing to think about a future mission to Mars! I wonder if those squirrels have six-packs! What a decadent dessert!


    1. It is, doubt it will be in my lifetime though. They may have 6 packs at the beginning of winter but I bet they look really scraggy by the end.

      I like decadence when it comes to chocolate. Even if myEnglish son in law scorns Hersheys.