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Showing posts from 2012

Awesome Geeky Dream alert

I suspect I've just woken up from the geekiest dream ever. I was 'watching' a film where Transformers, Aliens (and ergo Predators) all existed within the Star Wars universe. The plot revolved around an Jedi Autobot on a solo mission to stop the Empire releasing a genetically modified Xenomorph on Earth.

I can't be alone in thinking this sounds amazing can I?

Think of the possibilities? although I'm sleepy so I'm struggling past Predators with lightsabers...

Posting it on Facebook led to this conversation:

And maybe something will come from this sad little tweet

because my own attempts are rubbish!

but it works....

Sometimes cheating just works better...

It's from a packet - one I picked up in a Spanish supermarket and translated using Google translate ... and it worked......

(This is my favourite desert of all time, ever, I could eat a whole one - no probs....)

How to Cut a Pizza..

Vintage NomBook - The Mixer & Blender Cookbook

Author: Alison Denny
Date: 1973 (this edition 1977)
Published: Book Club Associates
I don't really remember acquiring this book, it's got no price scribbled into the corner in pencil a-la-charity shop, it doesn't have a cover and there's a slight possibility it came home from a pub with me, maybe.
I don't know - it's not an official branded Kenwood book or anything, like #78, but it does have photos and illustrated guides of my chef and the attachments (all the lively attachments) I own a blender too - so maybe it will come in useful ... maybe....

Merry Christmas

Source: via Kristen on Pinterest

This amused me when I spotted it on Pinterest - and I think it's a fitting way to wish you all a very, merry Christmas, and I hope you have lovely food....

Festive food & Baking

What are you guys doing for Christmas? We're going to some friends of mine in Stafford, which means we don't actually have to do much, we've made some Christmas puddings, well, Pete has made some - using the ever reliable Good Housekeeping and the slow cooker to great effect, and bar picking up a bottle of wine or two then we don't need to think about everything else for the main event. Well, Pete has to make his favourite veggie substitute - a cheese and lentil loaf - but that's it.

I've planned Christmas morning, panettone and fizz for a change. We'll have to remember not to recreate the year we spent on our own and consumed so much alcohol we fell asleep of the sofa by 8pm. Although that was fun...

So, for a festival the has so much to do with food we're at a little bit of a loss as to what to plan and eat. We're good for veg, since our Christmas delivery arrived yesterday, and we'll be skipping around pubs tonight, so no chance to recreate las…

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone!! - we haven't sent many Christmas cards (although we did a charity donation to St Luke's Hospice) this year being as we're in Stafford for the festivities -. We'll be skipping around some pubs later on tonight (once Pete has finished work, and we've had some food, providing he can still face being around people - bless him, he came home yesterday and couldn't face socialising after a very busy day at work - he was in bed by 10pm!) So we should see most of you to wish you Merry Christmas in person.

If we don't see you, we hope you have a very lovely, relaxing and fun time - that if you've travelled anywhere you got there safely and it wasn't too horrible and that you have a great day, with lovely food, exciting presents and no one gets in the way of you watching the Dr. Who Christmas Special. (5:15pm, BBC1)

Love Nia & Pete xxx

When things go wrong - making my own raisins

I should have known .. I should be dubious of anything that's only mentioned in passing. I had a sudden thought as I sorted out the fridge today and I realised there were two boxes of grapes lurking in the back of the fridge.

Since I was in a creative mood I though 'oh, I know, I'll dry them out in the oven and turn them into something useful. I've done it before, when we lived in liverpool turned a glut of cherry tomatos into sundried tomatos, but back then we had an electric oven.

Of course  now we have an ageing, but other ise useful gas oven, which meant I had to guess at having the right setting. I either guessed wrong or the oven is worse then I thought. So, once my paranoia subsided that I would someone blow up the house I came home to find them looking a little bit juicer then before.

I quick discussion with Pete and some playing around with settings at it would appear I've has it to high, and now I had a baking tray with burnt, hard grapes.

Maybe I should inve…

Cleaning Potatoes in a dishwasher?

Really, anyone done this? Is this a thing??

Source: via Karen on Pinterest Ha ha this is sooo me!!If you have 20 pounds of potatoes to wash for your Thanksgiving meal throw them in the top shelf of the dishwasher. Set on the quick rinse cycle and let your dishwasher clean the potatoes. :-) LOVE THIS! - Original quote with pinI suppose in theory it would work - but then I can't help feeling it would both not clean the potatoes and wreck the dishwasher - leaving everything to come out muddy forever more. I suppose it's no different from using a potato rumbler - and our Kenwood attachment has been great since we finally worked out how to use it - but you'd still have to peel them surely?

Mind you, I don't really understand dishwashers, I don't own one and I'm not sure the one time I used the one in work I did it correctly....

Zombie Fruit Bowl

Source: via disti on Pinterest

App Review - Change4Life drinks tracker

Pete suggested I add this to my phone - well he'd added it to his own phone as part of his comprehensive health kick aspect.

Google Play link
I tried to do this on paper once, keep a diary of what I drank, it quickly spiralled into a selection of blurry notes on exciting evenings out and reminded me what was great about spontaneous drinking.I don't think this was the point of it.

This is a bit more graphical, and it is handy to keep a track (although I'm not going to put the massive white wine binge from last week into it, that will just give me something to compare every other drinking session to e.g. - "well, it wasn't as bad as that day, I'll have another pint please" but I will carry on with it, just to see if my drinking is as bad as I think it is - it probably is.
The only issue with this, and a lot of the other info on cutting out drinking is the 'tips' are full about way to not be thirsty, as opposed to bearing in mind I really like the taste,…

Some exciting additions to the kitchen

Saw this in a closing down sale in a shop I didn't know existed until I saw big signs in Brum. It's massive as far as cookie cutters go but it's very cool. I also got a T-Rex and a frog, I love cookiecuttters, just not a fan of making or eating cookies.
Also, my lovely in-laws sent us up a Raclette pan, because we're down with the kids like that.

Spice Mix & Ingredient Inforgraphic

via Ragbag

Festive Things - Tree Edition

A few snap shots of some of our Christmas tree decorations - collected from travels and over the years...

I'm not sure what's worse...

... That I'm sat in here in my officer on Sunday morning watching YouTube Videos showing a Kenwood Potato Peeler at work, trying to fathom if we've just been using it wrong, or it is in fact rubbish.
Or that someone has made these videos in the first place - and I'm the 1,654th person to watch a man, use a Kenwood chef attachment, to clean carrots.

... Succsess - and it appears everything is indeed sexier in French, even instructions on using free standing mixer attachments!!!!

RIP My beloved Spork

It's not a good sign when you have a dream about cutlery, worse still when your favorite piece of 'eating leftovers at work related' cutlery - my wonderful £2.99 bright pink Light My fire Spork.

In fact, I've been meaning to write a post about how useful this bit of camping kit is when it comes to sharing a kitchen, and a dwindling selection of miss matched, orphaned and donated cutlery with however many people use the little kitchen next to me (maybe it's time for a cutlery amnesty - I can't be the only person with contraband cutlery at home can I?) - this cheap little gadget, brought randomly from the National Trust shop at Shugborough House,  has done me well for months - unusually for a bit of multi purpose cutlery all of the relevant sections are the right size to both use in Tupperware and to eat from.

Back to the dream - which was random at best - but the section I remember and oddly the bit that pertains to the spork; For some reason my boss and I were in…

Lunchtime Dilemma - Korean Noodles edition

My Uni is blessed with an excellent selection of slightly odd Korean noodles in the student shop. You can tell I'm deep within the semester because my eating habits have dropped to abysmal levels. Anyway this is my choice:
(they were on a BOGOF offer so 2 x noodles = 85p - bargain, and very handy due to the fact I've just paid the deposit for my Christmas Dinner and the cash machine is broken)
Anyway, on the Left - the spicy 'artificial lobster' flavor, on the right the 'spicy shrimp' flavor. In a lesson as to why you shouldn't read the ingredients for things I learnt the following: The 'artificial lobster' has shrimp in it, the 'spicy shrimp' one doesn't, it has artificial shrimp in it - I'm not sure what artificial shrimp is, and I'm not sure why it requires beef extract - as a thickener I imagine.
All of this is largely academic, because whichever of these I eat - and in fact I went for the 'artificial lobster' one this t…

Office Snacking

I'm blessed to work somewhere with not only a small, but functional kitchen, but also a well stocked shop, a bar, a canteen and an alright coffee shop. While this is lovely, it doesn't really help with snacking. I love snacks, ever since I was packed off to school with a flapack for my 11am break time - but it's a habit that's hard to break, specially since I spend so much time in front of my pc writing things.
I used to find I was doing quite a lot of 'stretching my legs' and going off to buy a muffin, or a chocolate bar - and when even disappointing, dry  mass produced muffins are £1.50+ then I started casting around for something else.
First Up The Graze Box  - this is sent to my door every Monday. I get a nice mix of sweet and savory things and it's excellent for padding out left overs or just having a little pick me up. One box will last me all week and for the most part I have everything available on 'try' because otherwise I'd have to make …

for the honour of grayskull....

Someone must love me enough to buy me this =D Superpunch Toy Roundup

It's been a slightly random month...

I didn't mean to leave this a month - I'm not entirely sure where the last month has gone. A whirlwind of lectures, networking, stuff, Pete's gigs (see #openmicgems), things, games - some of which I have pictures of.

It's Christmas lights switch on tonight, Olly is coming to stay for the weekend and Pete has a gig later - fun times ahead

Cooking at work - PHD Comic

Nerdy Cookies & baking

One of my favourite things that I own is a Dalek cookie cutter - brought as part of a make dalek cookie pack thingy.

It does have a habit of making slightly misshaped, mutant Dalek's, fit only for the asylum, but I think that has more to do with the cookie dough recipe then anything else. I'm still casting around for the perfect sugar cookie recipe if anyone has suggestions.

App Review - OurGroceries & Food Planner

I'm not the only smart phone geek in the house, and when Doug was living with us we had between us an iPhone, a blackberry and an android galaxy S. It's also tricky to balance a shopping list between 3 people, 2 is bad enough.
So we turned to an app, and the first one we found that would work on all 3 devices, and sync accordingly OurGroceries

And, to be honest, it's worked ok, but with some issues on syncing. I think at least once I've deleted all the things Pete has added by updating all of the things I think we need.
The recipe aspect didn't seem to work too well either so well it's done us ok for the past year we've investigated a new, similar app
Food Planner

We've only just started using it, but it's already handy to put in place meal planning, like a digital version of our wipe clean planner board. It will be slightly annoying to build up the categories of shopping again.

Lego Cookies - A Pinterest Success!!

Just for once, something worked...

The Original Pin....

Source: via Nia on Pinterest

And Mine - well, they arn't as tidy - but they kind of look like lego bricks...

Slow Cooking a month or so on

So, we've found a place for the slow cooker to live, nestled in a big deep drawer with the pasta maker and a selection of ice cube trays and I think we're getting the hang of it. We also seemed to have started a bit of a localised Stafford based slow cooker revolution but it seem people get a bit obsessed and cultish about them. My mum described it in a lovely way, like "having a mam in the kitchen leaving your dinner on the stove".

We've found it excellent for tomato based things, chillis and pasta sauces,  Pete did a slow cooked Spanish omelet after a tip off from a friend at work, I've used it to cook a stewed fruit crumble filling, loving the fact that it frees up the rings on the cooker for more immediate things. I think I'll keep an eye out in charity shops for a more general slow cooker cookbook - The veggie one is good, if a little limited - but we're getting there on adapting recipes where we need to. I'm keen to try it as a Bain-Marie to …

Desserts in Restaurants

I can't be the only person who finds restaurant desserts unappealing can I?

I mean, usually it's ok, if a little uninspiring - slightly too sweet chocolate fudge cake or a slightly sad bit of cheese cake with some artificial tasting fruity sauce

I wish more places took the lead of one of our local swish restaurant The Swan, and put after dinner cocktails on the dessert menu.

I bet they're probably better for you then a cake too..

One of those Zeitgeist-y days: BCN Edition

How odd, when everywhere you look you see references to where you're off to next on your travels. Jess mentioned it in a Facebook post, someone else put their holiday snaps from BCN up and then I saw this:

I'm off with Jess & Becky at the end of November to go see mam and do some Christmas shopping / soak up some sunshine and drink pick n mix beer. We're also off to Fira de Santa LlĂșcia - visiting which is fast becomming my favorite Christmas tradition.

App Review - Evernote Food

Ok, I've had this app on my phone for months and I've never used it..

Evernote Food

I love using my phone, and I love checking in - my foursquare badge collection is testament to this, I just don't feel the urge to take detailed account of the food I eat, it seems to take away the magic of sharing a meal with someone. Lunching is my favourite past time after all.
Maybe it's a generation thing, I know people complain I'm always attached to my phone, but really I try and check in at the start of the meal and then leave it alone to enjoy the experience or eating out. I'd like to think I'd have no issue getting a 5% discount here.

Pain Au Chocolat is Sad

Via (that's Nerdalicious) (via BF)

Making use of rubbish ingredients - Frosty Jacks

I work at a university - every year the freshers bags have a bottle of horrible Frosty Jacks Cider. Last year I made the mistake of drinking it.
This year I've got 3 bottles to use. One I've out into a sausage casserole - and it worked very nicely. Any suggestions on using the other two in cooking?

See also:

Great British Bake Off - Final

Annoyingly, the winner has been spoiled for me, even though I had it on catch up to watch when I cam back from Poland - not by any of my friends, or from twitter for one, but buy the guardian online tv blog. Why they couldn't just leave off his name I'm not sure. Anyway - here it goes for the last time (unless there's a celebs GBBO this year)

Contestants: All male Final, James, John & Brendan. I'm loving the slightly more indepth video bios on them all.

Signature - can we all agree that that's a pasty - a big pasty, but they all look good.

Technical Challenge -  OOh, fondant fancies, these are one of those things I feel are best left to Mr. Kipling. Wow, those really are super messy - bat least they are all impressively messy, and there's no where to hide on a glass cake stand.

Show Stopper - These all sound fancy - I don't think I've ever eaten a chiffon cake. It's interesting watching this, I can see why John won. I also love that they all get flo…

Great British Bake Off - Semi Finals

I'm a few days behind again, but I'm not 100% sure who left, I've an inkling.

Contestants - Brendan, Danny, James and John are left. Brendan is still a little creepy, but I suspect he may be this years win. It will be well deserved, i just can't warm to him.

Since when did John want his life to be a pastry based, isn't he studying law? Although I gather things like this are life changing.

Signature - petit fours - small, exquisite, perfect, 3 baking elements I'm rubbish at. I don't even really like eating petit fours, I always get slightly bored with macaroons. No one makes 'proper' coconut macaroons any more do they?

Gosh, Danny's look pretty though, but there does appears to be lots of hiding things under icing sugar.

Technical Challenge - Frasier Cake - I don't think I've ever seen one, or eaten one. That all looks a nightmare to make.  Oh poor Danny, that doesn't look good. Even I held my breath when Brendan was moving his onto the pl…

App Review - gojee

I'm guessing they couldn't call this food porn, they should, that's what it is.


It collects recipes from blogs, but it works fantastically for suggesting recipes based on ingredients (handy if you have a veg box and no idea what to do with all the plums that keep arriving) - but it's so beautifully done,   all glossy and wonderful with mouth watering pictures.
Of course, as we know from links from Pinterest etc, there's every chance the recipes wont work, but it's very inspirational to have a go at.
It's also helpful recipes you want to try can get pushed to Evernote - which is easily the most useful digital resource I use with cooking.

Hot Sauce Collection

I collect cook books, Mr Wearn collects hot sauces. this is perfectly normal right?

Slow Cooking One Week On

So, I brought a slow cooker - having turned to the internet for support last week. Admittedly, we had a busy weekend anyway, and the Pete was on holiday for a week - not necessarily the best planned time - but on the flip side we did have veg to use up.

We have ordered 2 cookbooks -

(Numbers #277 & #278 on NomBooks)

I've also been tagging any tweets about it with #genericstew - after something I read on a mumsnet page about slow cookers.

So far we've done:

Monday -  a Veggie Chilli - Using the only vegetarian recipe that came with the slow cooker. Getting home at 7:30pm to the smell of it cooking was really lovely. It also meant Pete got to go out to an Open Mic night. The leftovers went towards my lunch the next day.

Tuesday - We had a rather large Butternut squash to use up so I found the recipe - although I cheated and didn't saute anything, just chucked it in - I also suspect I over filled it, but we'll see. There is something strange about chopping veg while you hav…

Great British Bake Off - Quarter Finals

Contestants - joy, no twitter spoilers this time, I'm only a day behind. Well, I have an inkling of who may be star baker, but I'm not sure.

I'm a bit lost now, bar Brendan, who I still think is a little creepy, I'd be quite happy for any of the remaining ones win.

I'm rubbish at biscuits. Without fail they are under cooked, or over cooked, misshappen or rubbish. I like cookie cutters though. I don't even really like making them, I get bored md way through making them.

Signature bakes - crackers, ooooh, interesting. I've made savoury cheesy biscuits, but never a cracker. This one of those things I'm pretty sure big machines make better then I can. I could however put together a cheese board to go with them.

Technical challenge - tea cakes are mean, especially in that heat. I'm amazed Brendan has never made marshmallow before in all of his cooking escapades. Also, how did they used to make tea cakes without a silicone mould? Also, shouldn't tea cakes…

mmm, books...

Believe it or not, reaching 275 books felt lie a bit of a milestone, not that there's a goal or anything, just that suddenly seems like a lot of books.
And with the start of term etc I've done what I always tend to do this time of year, slow right down on buying cookbooks and unless I have a project, or a party to plan, work though the ones I do have and cook from them a little more.

Well, there's another reason, I've really run out of space. (Comparison pic taken 4th of Jan 2011 is here) There's pipes in the way that are stopping me adding another shelf to the left and until I can convince Mr. Wearn that shelves on the underside of the stairs are a good idea (IKEA do brackets here) I'm a little stuck on where to go next.
There's also the sticky question on how do you categorise them too....
Which isn't to say I've entirely stopped buying books, I'm just being a little bit more selective for now...

Should I Buy... A Slow Cooker?

I've been thinking about buying a slow cooker, well, no, that's not true, I've just this moment had the idea while looking at all those enticing pins that mention crock pots and I've only just got around to confirming that a crock pot is indeed a slow cooker and maybe buying one of those would help with an issue we've found selves in a few times recently.

Mainly that we're too busy to cook, and so we seem to eat a lot of pasta, and quick things. Which is fine and lovely, if a little bit boring after a while. Either one of us is out, or the other, and sometimes we have plenty of veg to sue up, that would make a lovely soup, or stew, just not the time to make it.

Now, the reason I've not yet run off to Argos and brought one is three fold, one, I've not run it past Mr Wearn yet - not that I have to you understand, but it would be nice that he doesn't wake up from his afternoon nap with a note saying 'gone to argos to buy a slow cooker, back soon'…

Great British Bake Off - Episode 7

I'm only a day behind this time, and I've a feeling I know who got star baker from following lots of them on twitter


I love the look on Cathryn's face every episode is great, she really doesn't look impressed. I've warmed to her, I'm sure I'll see her cook book on family baking adoring a shelf in sainsbury's this time next year. 

I think it's only Ryan and Brendan I don't like. I'm sure they're lovely really.

I don't imagine one of my faves, Sarah Jane will make it through, I do hope Ryan doesn't make it though either, but that's personal really.I don't think John will make it either, hich will be a shame.

Signature - buns. Another yeast bread thingy. I really don't do bread stuff. Well, I like eating them but I've no desire to run off and do these. They all look amazing though.

Technical challenge- ooooh, doughnuts. I have made them, well, not with jam in them, I made beignets last year for the students w…

Late night baking

There's something very soothing about a spot of late night baking. Isn't there?

Having promised my office mate cake (I don't actually make anywhere near as much cake as he was led to believe when he moved into the office, I think he feels hard done by) and it's not only been one of those weeks, and I've got some beetroot to use up so it's five to midnight and I think the chocolate beetroot in the oven has at least 20 mins to go.

Pete is out at jam night, we ate late between him coming back from a radio appearance and going back out again, but I'd planned ahead for once, which means it was a pre made cheese sauce I found in the depths of the freezer and defrosted with some pasta. Very nice, like gourmet pasta'n'sauce, but while I'm not hungry this, and a thrown together, but lovely, post Zumba meal yesterday means I haven't really had chance to cook and I've got an backing itch to scratch as it was.

I can't be the only person who finds l…

Great British Bakeoff 2012 - Episode 6

I'm really late posting this up


Ok, there's 7 of them left. I now have favourites, the cheerful vicars wife, who I don't think will win, but she seem lovely.. I'm rooting for her and the student lads, John and James. Please let them do a show / book together.

They defiantly seem all a bit more intense, I'm sure they weren't this tense at this point in previous competitions.

I suspect Brendan is in the running to win, I hope not, but he's constant, unless he has a major melt down at some point.

I'd really like Dannie to get star baker this week, I'm pretty sure she'd explode with happiness. I'm finding Brendan a bit creepy.

Signature Bake - sponge puddings, I'd love to see someone use a microwave - which I have done. I've done steamed sponge pudding, but it's one of those things that sometimes its better out of a tin / microwave. They also make them in tiny individual portions which makes them great for work.

I'm not sure…