The ‘dark side’ of wildlife photography

Like most addictions it starts with a friend egging you on, you'll be fine, there's nothing to it he said, it will brighten your mornings, give you an energy boost, you'll be ready to take on the world he said. I'd heard about this substance for some time, my mate said he can't start the mornings without it and he does it all the time. Trust me he said there are no down sides, how bad can it be when his mother is his supplier I thought. Little did I know.......... I resisted for some time especially when there is nothing like it over here in the UK but when I ventured into his territory it became all too easy to succumb. I'm in trouble, I'm addicted and I can't find my fix. When I visited his Country I couldn't believe how in the open this substance was, how it would stare at you from every shelf, enticing and alluring you to their charm. As I passed through Duty Free, there they were. I was astounded, back home you have to find a supply chain, deal in foreign currency and 'friends of a friend' may be able to help. Here it was just utterly brazen and in your face, positively shameful. I have a very strong will and refused to waver. I pride myself on my resistance and I was sure that would continue. How wrong I was! So many people were doing it that it seemed the right thing to do. I could see the immediate boost it gave to those imbibing it just as my friend had said. I'm ashamed to say it didn't take long for me to succumb to its devilish appeal. My mate said that it would be OK, that I would be fine and he would guide me through my first time but I said no I don't want you to see my first time, I would do it myself out of the gaze of others, I felt a little ashamed. Even though I trusted him I was reluctant to give in to peer pressure and thought I would try just a bit and leave it at that just to say I had done it. So I sourced some for myself, I couldn't believe how easy it was and promptly bought a bag (just in case I liked it, didn't want to waste money!) I took my first bite and instantly felt a boost, I wanted more. I remembered my friend telling me that if you took it with coffee the rush would be greater, oh no, it was, it was fantastic. I need more, I want more. By the time I left his wicked country I was on 4 a day and that took considerable will power on my part to restrict it to that. Now I've returned home I've tried to find a dealer but no matter who I ask, no one will help me. Amazingly in the UK we sell lighter versions (Farleys are the supplier!) that are given to our children but it must act like a vaccination against the addiction in later life and of course as we don't come across them we are cosseted from their minx like ways. But the problem is what happens when you re-open that habit and get a supply? I'm bouncing off the walls here and have had to resort back to tea to try and break the habit. I've actually managed to find a dealer who said he can supply but it's top dollar as he has to go through channels. I might just have to somehow find the money, what choice do I have? There's only one thing for it, I’m going to have to manufacture my own..................................... And lo and behold as if I planned it, here it is Now this task was made harder now I’m a vegan however not as hard as I thought. What is a rusk? Well it is possibly the greatest dunking experience you will ever have. It’s a hard biscuit, if you imagine a roughty toughty big chunky Biscotti (which I don’t like), it’s much better and besides they are for wousses!! Vegan Buttermilk Rusk Ingredients: 1.5kg self-raising flour 5ml salt 2 tsp cream of tartar 500gm vegan butter (I use stork in the foil not the tub, it’s not vegan) 350gm sugar 500ml of buttermilk - Now this was the hard part but after a bit of trial and error of online ideas, this seems to work. Vegan buttermilk recipe: Pour 480ml of non-dairy of your choice (soya, the nut ones are fine etc, something for you to try as they all add a subtle taste) into a jug and add 1 TBsp of lemon juice. Let it curdle for 10 minutes, voila vegan buttermilk. *Addition* You can add almond slices, coconut, raisins etc but remember you are changing the mix so experiment. Method: 1. Pre-heat the oven to 180c or 160c if using fan oven. 2. Chuck (that chef term again!) all the dry ingredients into a bowl (ginormous bowl, I use a new washing up bowl, no really) and give it a mix. 3. In a small bowl melt the butter and sugar together. 4. Add the butter mix and buttermilk to the dry mix and combine. 5. Prepare a couple of flat baking trays and cover with grease proof paper. Now you should grease the grease proof paper, Do I, Nah! 6. You can split the mix in various ways such as roll it into balls, into sausages or recently I have spread the mix onto a baking tray and split it using a knife into long rectangles a bit like a flapjack (I know it’s the artist in me!). 7. Bake for an hour, then turn down the oven to 50c and bake for a further 8 hours, yes I will repeat 8 hours. This is the secret to the hard biscuit. 8. Take the rusks out, split them up if they have joined, turn them onto a baking tray preferably overnight to let them dry out. Don’t blame me if you get a habit - Rob
© Geraint Radford and Rob Cottle - Copying, displaying or redistribution of these images without written permission is prohibited
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