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Showing posts from September, 2012

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

Contestants

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

Contestants

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…

Posters & T-Shirts

It is done, it is finished - Back to normality next week. I really love Welcome Week, but answering all those questions and helping everyone else even takes its toll on my usually sunny disposition.

A few bright points - We have a few new posters for the office - this is situated so we can pretend we have a view

and when we work out how to laminate it we can add details like this..

And I have new t-shirts (T-shirts on the left from Qwertee's InsaniTEE Sale - I think I lucked out on the Iron Man one) The House Lannister one is from Something Geeky

On Fast Food

I'm a sick of fast food and takeaways. There I've said it.

I've spent the last week skipping around the place for work eating an exciting selection of fast food, well, when I say exciting I mean my go-tos mexican food where I can, Burger King where I can't. This week of excess has been bookended by curry out one night, and takeaway curry tonight. Add to this 2 nights of networking with some excellent pizza and I'm sick of it all....

...but that isn't really true - what I'm really bored of is the same thing. In my heart of hearts I know I wont change, because deep down I love fast food, There's something about the uniformity, the nothing like the pictury-ness about it, even the high end fast food type stuff I adore. I know it's bad, I know I shouldn't, and I can go for weeks without touching anything (that's the upside of living in Stafford,m your choices are limited on such things)  - I think my problem is I've exhausted all of the fast fo…

Digital Sources and Recipes

This thread on Reddit about what point cookbooks have in the digital age got me thinking. First up, it was nice that so many other people said the same thing I did, cookbooks are a nice get away from the digital world, and their great for inspiration. If I didn't have cookbooks I wouldn't even think about making half the things I do.

I do use digital things, Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, and I've spoken about that before (and for my sins, I've got a baked blueberry oatmeal recipe in the oven as we speak I spotted on there). Similarly I use Evernote to nab them in one place, and share them. All of these are linked at the top of the page. It's great to be able to think of something to make for dinner, inspired by something you've read, or something in the veg box, and quickly google for a recipe that either matches or you can adjust and make for dinner.

There's also a few blogs I keep my eye on - some are listed on the right, and a few others, lik…

Great British Bakeoff 2012 - Episode 5

Half way through already... Gosh, time goes quick.  This week, pies, mmm, pies.

Contestants
Ok, now I've found the official blog I've got a much better idea of who everyone is, and how to spell names., I'll go back and correct any misspellings.

I'm slightly worried about Sarah-Jane. I'm pretty sure she won't win, but I think she's easily my favourite female baker.  I'm hoping Cathryn gets Star Baker. She seems lovely but she doesn't seem to be doing so well in fan adoration on twitter. That camp is firmly begin James & John.

Mind you Ryan wasn't doing well either, but then he's messing with a Key Lime Pie, he doesn't deserve to stay - he looks amazed though.

Ok, I can't tell now, but I'm pretty sure Manisha is done for.  

Signature - fnarr, fnarr, 8inches long. I live with a veggie, and I think I've only attempted a mushroom Wellington once. I'm much more comfortable with a savoury roulade. I do love a salmon one, but I'…

App Review - The Good Food App

Sometimes you've no idea what to cook. You might have ingredients, you might have the blank canvas of a supermarket in front of you, sometimes you need something to prod you in the direction.
I've got a handful of apps that do this - the first, The good food app I think I got as a free download from Starbucks.

Now, it's on the iPad, which instantly means I don't access it anywhere near as much as I do my Galaxy S 2 phone, but every time I have tried it I've found it very limited on suggestions. It's organised in a sort of seasonable way, but it doesn't see very robust - but curiously it does have a timer, which seems a little out of place and stuck in at the last minute.
Compared to how good the BBC Good Food website is this is very disappointing.
It's not as useful as this for suggesting meals

T-Shirts for a New Term

It's no secret I love geeky, awesome mashup t-shirts, Well, I love tshirts full stop but there's few better complements you can pay some one, or indeed openers at a networking event then to note the awesomeness of someone's t-shirt.
In the last few years finding cool t-shirts has become an awful lot easier - and where previously everyone would have the same one nerdy t-shirt from River Island, Topman or Primark (doubly annoying in my case since all the students would have it too, and it would be painfully obvious where I shopped, and in the mens sections too). This also means I can get girly fit t-shirts not huge XXL shapeless t-shirts - although I have two treasured Bruce Timm designed tshirts from the era when that was all you could get (Batgirl and Supergirl of course). Someitmes cool stuff turns up in TXMaxx and  Her Universe have done a lot in this area too, but I can't really justify the shipping from the states.
Which is nice to see some print to order, or one …

GBBO 2012 - Links, Twitter & Blogs

Right a round up of twitter accounts and other people's blog posts about this years Great British Bake Off
-Feel free to add things I've missed in the comments

BBC website
Official site - http://www.thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/
The GuardianGreat British Bake Off: which bakers are rising to the top? - 7/09/12
Great British Bake Off: what do you make of the finalists? - 10/10/13

Twitter

Ryan Chong @RyanChongUk
Cathryn Dresser @cat_dresser
Sarah-Jane Willis @sj_willis
Manisha Parmar @2000manisha
Daniele Bryden @DannytheBaker
Stuart Marston-Smith @StuMarstonSmith
Brendan Lynch @brendanbakes

Cooking at work

My office is right next to the buildings tiny kitchen, equipped with an interesting rag tag bunch of appliances. There is, 1 microwave, 1 dishwasher, 3 fridges, 1 with an icebox compartment, 3 kettles, 3 toasters, a george Forman mini grill and a scary toaster oven contraption legend has it someone brought as part of a science experiment.

I'm guessing it's all donated items, or scavenged, and there's a good selection of crockery and cutelery. No one is stupid enough to leave prized mugs there but it's a nice space even if no one ever eats there. But then there's only 6 chairs and there's hundrads of people in the office do maybe that's a good thing. We'd have to take it in shifts.

Since I'm vowing not to move office again, I did that enough last year, I've gotten quite attached to my new office location, and I've been exploring exciting ways to combine that collection of equipment into new and exciting ways in ever increasing elaborate lunches…

Great British Bakeoff 2012 - Episode 4

Contestants - it's amazing how they make anything to do with BrendAn sound like a euphemism 'gluten intolerant' this week. I still think the vicars wife - Sarah Jane is lovely but if she doesn't step up the game she won't win, but maybe I can see her in the top 3.

I think Kathryn in in the running for the top 3 too, and the Scottish one with glasses. 

I don't think Stuart is long for the competition, but I think Danni or Brendan are in the running for Star baker.

It's also the first time I've heard people talk about having to beat a specific person to stay in the game.

Signature - Tortes. I'm sometimes better at these then normal cakes, but I'm not sure about potato flour, but I imagine it will bring up whatever flavour you add to it.  I like the idea of a black forest torte. Not sure on a green tea one, but I've poached pears in tea (black and green) before now and it's worked so I'm hopeful for that one.  I'm not sure on passion fr…

Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes - Fail

I love making breakfasts, and above all I love making pancakes. I leave hearty buckwheat creeps or delicate pancake day pancakes to Pete, my domain is big thick American ones. Now, I've perfected my American pancake method, afteer trying a few I've settled on a method taken from a now very batter splattered recipe in a Jamie over cookbook.

I did have my eyes opened a little with the pancake laboratory section of a cookbook my friend brought me, partly I thin because eh knew I loved pancakes, and armed with the knowledge that things like the milk can be replaced with fruit juices and it still walks. Handy if you have a lactose intolerant house mate.

Anyway, you'd think being armed with all of this knowledge I'd know better then to trust a slightly confusing recipe for pineapple upside down pancakes (to make good use of the pineapple corer I got for my birthday) that involves banana in the mix.
Source: apronstringsblog.com via Nia on Pinterest

Anyway, here is a massive pint …