Copyright© 2010 by Anthony Concept
"Hi there Tony, how did the weekend go?"
I looked up to see my assistant Mike David. "Good Mike, had a great time. Sybil and Mavis came with me, they loved the place. When we get a bit settled I'll take you out there. The downside is a very sore bum from riding the horse though."
"You on a horse? I'd like to see that mate."
"You my friend are looking at an expert equestrian, I might tell you."
"Did Syb go for a ride as well?"
"Yeah, both of them had ridden before, but if you see her sitting a bit gingerly it's 'cause she's got a sore bum too."
"Ha, can't wait to call her 'saddle bum'."
"Tread warily my young friend, she bites."
"What's on the plate for today O Great one?"
"Sybil's come up with a great idea she want's us to work on." I went on to tell him about Alan's comment about the Rwandan people eating dirt to stave off their hunger pangs.
"Jesus Tony, my heart goes out for them poor buggers. No one could convince me there's a god, not when things like that happen."
"I agree with you Mike but millions wouldn't though."
"So, how do we go about making this nothing stuff?"
"Syb suggested using psyllium husks as a starting point; apparently it swells up when water is mixed with it. I think we should look for a small flour mill to grind the husks down into a powder. That's your first job, search around some of the health food stores and see what's available."
"Right, I'll get to it, do you want me to buy some of these husk things as well?"
"Yeah, that'd be a good idea, these health food places should stock them."
Mike headed out and I sat mulling over the project. My big problem was my mind kept drifting back to 'Willow Bend'. I hope something comes out of our weekend romance. Ah well, time will tell. Back to the project at hand.
Mike rang on the phone. "I've found one Tony, it's a bit pricey though."
"Tell them it's for scientific research Mike they might give us a discount, but don't let on what we are experimenting with. That's confidential."
"Righto, I'll get the husks in a different place just in case they get curious."
"Good thinking Mike, see you when you get back."
When he came back we set the mill up. Reading the instructions we found how to use it and how to adjust the discs to obtain the required fineness. Mike started to drizzle the husks in as I cranked the handle. After a bit of mucking about we were producing a 'flour' that I thought would be suitable.
Once we had the flour milled we sat and discussed how we could use it. My first thoughts were to mix it with skim milk powder and see how it behaved. Mike slipped down to the supermarket and bought a bag.
Sybil popped her head in the door. "How's it progressing Tony?"
I told her that we had milled the husks into a flour and was about to blend them with the skim milk powder. "There's some calories in the skim but I'm more interested to see how the flour behaves with it and the water. If it works out well we can look at some of those coffee whiteners as a replacement."
Mike mixed the stuff together and put it in a blender. He gave it a quick burst and then poured it into a beaker. "Well it seems to swell up Sybil, looks a bit 'gluggy' though."
"That's OK Mike, now who's going to be the guineapig then?"
I took a sip and wrinkled my nose, "You weren't wrong about the old socks taste Syb. If this is going to work we will need some flavour enhancer in it."
Mike took a sip, "Yuk, most definitely needs something to mask the taste."
"I'll pass on the taste test fellas, I can see by the look on your faces that it ain't all that good."
"I hear that you went riding Sybil, have a good time?"
"Most enjoyable Mike, it's been several years since I've been on a horse, but now Tony has this property I think I shall doing quite a lot of riding in the future. The lady that looks after the place runs an equestrian school there, we even got Tony up on a nag."
"Bet that was something to see!"
"Just you wait young man, when I take you out there we will see who's got the last laugh." I warned.
"Thank you Grandad, I'll look forward to that promise."
"OK, back to the project, I notice it's starting to collapse. It would appear that you need a stabiliser in it Tony."
"Yeah, it looks that way Syb, I'll run a few test batches. We still have the data on the stabilisers we used when we did the project for Millarbix."
"You seem to have everything under control so I'll leave you with it."
Our project was going well, we came up with a satisfactory stabiliser and masked the taste with a vanilla flavour. When Mike ran the tests for the calorie count it was low enough to retain the skim milk component. Now that we had a drink that would give you that 'full' feeling, the next step was to see if we could make our mixture into a muffin style product.
"A 'NUFFIN MUFFIN'" chortled Mike.
"Great idea for a name Mike, now all we have to do is make it work."
"I remember my Gran showing us kids how to make bread. She used flour, oil, yeast and water. When she mixed it all together she set it aside to 'prove', when it swelled up she 'punched' it down. After it rose back up she baked it in the oven. Perhaps we should go the same way with this Tony."
"OK, looks like someone has to go shopping again. Get a large amount of yeast Mike, it won't go to waste."
Mike took off to do the shopping. I made some coffee and dropped into Sybil's office.
"How's it going Tony?"
"Good so far Syb, I just sent Mike out to get some yeast. We are going to try and make some muffins out of the mixture. 'Nuffin muffins' he calls them."
"I like the name, what's he calling the drink then?"
"We haven't come up with anything yet. If we get this thing off the ground we will need to have something that's a bit catchy."
"How about 'DRINKIN NUFFIN'?"
"Yeah, that sounds good, Nuffin muffin and Drinkin nuffin. We would need to get a copyright on both of them and anything similar that could be used by a competitor."
"I bought a small bottle of olive oil as well as the yeast Tony, we should be able to mix up a workable dough."
"Good thinking, OK lets get mixing this stuff up." We made up a dough and let it prove as Mike's Gran taught him. When the dough swelled up we punched it down and then pinched off pieces and formed them into balls. Mike had also bought one of those silicon muffin pans with twelve spaces. We placed the balls of dough into the pan and covered them with a damp cloth to allowed them to rise.