Palaeontologists answer many tricky questions about dinosaurs - but perhaps the most interesting is how did 30-ton animals larger than four-storey buildings have sex. A surprising amount of research has been devoted to the subject - and most researchers have concluded that dinosaurs made love like dogs.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Posted by Aardvark at 9:22 PM
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
The Annual Texas Potjie Festival.
In South Africa, potjiekos (literally translated "small pot food") is a stew prepared outdoors. It is traditionally cooked in a round, cast iron, three-legged pot, the potjie, brought from the Netherlands to South Africa in the 17th century and found in the homes and villages of people throughout southern Africa....Potjiekos originated with the Voortrekkers, evolving as a stew made of venison and vegetables (if available), cooked in the potjie. As trekkers (pioneers) shot wild game, it was added to the pot. The large bones were included to thicken the stew. Each day when the wagons stopped, the pot was placed over a fire to simmer. New bones replaced old and fresh meat replaced meat eaten. Game included venison, poultry such as guinea fowl, wart hog, bushpig, rabbit and hare.The potjie, with a bit of cooking oil inside, is placed on a fire until the oil has been sufficiently heated. Meat is added first, depending on the preference of the cook. This can be anything from lamb or pork to biltong. The meat is spiced and often a form of alcohol is added for flavour - mostly beer, Old Brown Sherry or a dessert wine like Humbro. When the meat is lightly browned, vegetables like potatoes and mielies (Corn) are added, along with whatever spices are needed.
Water or other liquids may or may not then be added, depending on the views of the potjie chef. The lid is then closed and the contents left to simmer slowly without stirring. This distinguishes a potjiekos from a stew that is stirred. The aim is that the flavours of the different ingredients mix as little as possible. Although some chefs may permit stirring from time to time (which is highly frowned upon), it does create a stew where all the ingredients tend to taste similar. Little sauce or water is used, so that cooking is by steam and not boiling in a sauce like a stew; thus the heat must be very low and constant.Potjiekosworld:
When the first Dutch settlers arrived in the Cape, they brought with them their ways of cooking food in heavy cast iron pots, which hung from the kitchen hearth above the fire. Long before the arrival of the early settlers in the Cape, the Bantu people who were migrating into South Africa, learned the use of the cast iron cooking pot from Arab traders and later the Portuguese colonists. These cast iron pots were able to retain heat well and only a few coals were needed to keep the food simmering for hours. They were used to cook tender roasts and stews, allowing steam to circulate inside instead of escaping through the lid.The site has recipes such as: Oxtail Potjie, Beef and Vegetable Potjie, Chicken Cream Sauce Potjie, Beef and Beer (or wine) Potjie, Spicy Seafood Potjie, Oxtail Potjie, Biltong Potjie, Mutton Shank Potjie.
The ingredients were relatively simple, a fatty piece of meat, a few potatoes and some vegetables were all that was needed to cook a delightful meal. The round potbellied cast iron pot was the perfect cooking utensil to suit the nomadic lifestyle of the black tribes and the Voortrekkers during the 17th and 18th centuries. Potjiekos evolved as a stew, made of venison and vegetables (if the latter were available). The pot with its contents protected by a layer of fat was hooked under the wagon by the Voortrekkers while travelling and unhooked at the next stop to be put on the fire again.
The most versatile pot size is a number 3 – depending on the potjie, it will make a meal for 4 – 6 people. After buying a pot, it is important to break it in or cook in to eliminate any iron taste or black deposit on your food. Scour the inside with sandpaper, wash and grease both the inside and outside with pork fat. Now cook in the pot by filling it with leftover vegetables or peels and cooking over a slow fire for a few hours. Repeat the process a few times. When finished prepare your potjie for storage by coating the inside of the pot with a thin layer of fat or cooking oil to prevent rusting. After every meal, rinse the pot with warm soapy water and then coat with oil or fat.
The Annual Texas Potjie Festival.
Posted by Aardvark at 4:25 PM
Monday, July 9, 2012
U.S. Navy celebrates research vessel's 50th year:
With an ability to drift over the ocean like a ship - yet transform into a vertical buoy in pursuit of scientific research - the Navy's Floating Instrument Platform (FLIP) is one of the most unique ships on (or under) the water.
Built in 1962, the steel-hulled platform accommodates 11 researchers and a crew of five for up to 30 days.
Posted by Aardvark at 6:30 PM