A bit bleary today – no write ups for you.
Instead, have this short video of Stockwell Skatepark, taken by Ben moments after the old man attempted some tricks on his bike. Silly fool. (this was a few days ago. Now he has severe backpain. Funny, that).
Mighty unusual film, this. Yes, there is a degree of goat-staring, but that is not the entire plot.
A dark comedy, based around true events (Americans are weeeeeird), we follow the story of the PSYOP movement. Some of it is frighteningly believable (and historically ineffective in terms of interrogation methods) such as the brainwashing techniques (Barney the Dinosaur, anyone?), but some of it, I find hard to swallow (I’m not into the whole “psychic” thing. Although I know people who are, so I will not pass judgement).
However, believable or not, this film is very fast-paced, pretty whacky (Clooney seems to be doing a lot of whacky at the moment) and very entertaining.
Drugs! Goats! Moustache! And dancing. Lots of dancing.
Get with it.
Terry Pratchett is back on form. This is the best book he’s written in a long while, no argument. This is back to the hard-as-nails, philosophical, quick-firing Discworld that we all originally fell in love with.
And there is football.
Wait. What? I hate football.
But don’t fret – it’s not all about football. In fact, football is just a vehicle for the moral story (as it should be). I can’t reveal to you too much, but if I liked it, it can’t be that football heavy, right?
The wizards are back (and it’s lovely to see them again) – even Rincewind makes an appearance, which is good fun, but I’m glad he was just background colour, as I feel his days in the limelight are over (and I think he thinks so too). The Watch are everpresent, but again, this is not their Moment.
In fact, the main characters are new: the working class! Hurrah. They have names and personalities, now. And one of those is the delightful Mister Nutt, a goblin with a mysterious past…
OK, enough teasing. Go read it.
Well, I promised you a post devoted to the food I made on our holiday, so here we are.
WARNING: CONTAINS MEAT. Please turn away if you are a vegetarian, vegan, or just a bit squeamish.
Whilst we ate a lot of junk (mainly sausage sandwiches, crisps, service station chocolate, and the metre of Jaffa cakes that Ben’s nephew & niece gave him for Christmas), there were a couple of beautiful creations, made by my own fair hands. OK, those were also fatty piles of calories, but hey, we were on holiday, and it was cold!
First up, I made my own spin on eggs Benedict. So much a spin, in fact, that you can’t really call them eggs Benedict. An English muffin, a slice of fried middle bacon, a fried egg, and a glob of creamy parsley sauce. We had three each (champion!! Did not need to eat anything until 9pm that evening)
OK, looking at that, I do feel a leeeettle bit sick. But they were amazing, I swear to god.
But let’s cut to the chase: there is only one real reason I wanted to write this post, and that reason is PIE.
I did, in fact, make the pie of a lifetime. Ben says it was the best thing I’ve ever cooked, and I will have a hard time EVER topping it. This makes me a happy housecat. But what made it so good? It all comes down to Kennington farmers’ market…
Every weekend, there is a farmers’ market outside the big church in Kennington, and just down the road lies FWR, the bike shop where Ben gets all his bike repairs done. So, one afternoon, nearly a year ago now, Ben was in Kennington having has bike looked at, and he decided to pop to the farmers market. Needless to say, he came home with three pheasants, a duck and a rabbit. Thankfully, they were all plucked and gutted.
Well, two of the pheasants met their end in the oven over the following weeks, but the final pheasant, and his two other woodland friends, remained in the freezer for many months. Then, a couple of months ago, I decided enough was enough, and chopped them into little bits.
Let it be known that I would be a pretty poor butcher.
However, I’d make a fairly awesome pie chef. I fried up the chunks of game with some cubes of black pudding, then threw in some roughly chopped garlic, a glass of red wine, a good glob of chilli jam and about half a pint of gravy (just for good measure). I let the gamey stew simmer away for about 2 hours, tasting and throwing in herby loveliness along the way. And then? I stuck it in a tupperware box and straight back in the freezer. D’oh.
But then Paxton’s lodge came around. I packed my tupperware box of game stew and a roll of puff pastry (ready made – what do you think I am?!) and on our last night at the cottage, it was only an hour of preparation until pie loveliness. I kept singing “I don’t think you’re ready for this pieee” at Ben (in the style of Destiny’s Child, as you do), which may have gotten annoying, but there we are.
Before pie could be assembled, of course I needed to make some sides. I had some basic ingredients at my disposal, so peeled some potatoes and carrots, and boiled them separately. The potatoes went straight into a tray of hot duck fat, and into the oven at about 180 degrees C. The carrots went into a roasting tin, with “rustically” chopped brown onions, a whole bulb’s worth of peeled garlic cloves, some chopped chillis and lashings of olive oil. That tin went in alongside the potatoes.
And now, the piece de la thingy, Landmark Pie. Easily done: big glass dish, pie filling in, topped with puff pastry. I pricked the top with a fork to let some steam out (as you do). Into the oven. 45 minutes later, this is what we were left with:
This pie was nearly a year in the making. Truly epic. I miss it already.
The diet starts today.
I got this little gem from Ben’s sister for Christmas – once upon a time, I expressed a wish to have a pet squirrel (they are ADORABLE) and she has remembered that ever since. So here was my first step!
From one of the brains behind the beautiful The Gruffalo (book is brilliant, the short film is lovely), here is a short book about squirrels. Whilst it is not advised to actually attempt to keep a squirrel as a pet (have rats instead), this little number is worth having a read for its wonderful illustrations alone.
Apparently based on a 1910 children’s encyclopaedia entry, this book advises plenty of nuts, and a large cage preferably with a trapeze. It’s charming and entertaining, and 10p from each book sale goes Save Our Squirrels!*
There’s not much else to say without spoiling the story, and I can’t exactly show you illustrations, so instead, here are some photos of me, feeding squirrels in Battersea Park.
*It’s great that they’re donating, but as the book costs £9.99 RRP, you would have hoped the publishers could have been a bit more generous…
I love DreamWorks films. Big time. The Road to El Dorado is one of my favourite films of all time. But Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas is one I haven’t seen quite so many times. In fact, before today, I had only seen it once, in 2003, when it came out in the cinema.
So I was overjoyed when I had the opportunity to watch it at my leisure in my own home. DreamWorks films have a dry sense of humour that sets them above Disney in my eyes. Plus, they have adopted a particular, angular drawing style which I get on quite well.
I have no idea how true this incarnation is to the original Sinbad tale. Probably not at all. But you know what? I don’t really care. It is an exciting, cartoon romp, which is good fun for kids and adults alike. There are sexy sirens, an exciting chase scene with the Roc (not the wrestler), an unlikely and begrudging love interest, a moral tale, a charming crew on the ship, a delightfully comic dog, and of course, a token “strong but gentle” muscley, shirtless black guy. Oh, yes.
Nothing earth-shattering, and I still prefer Road to El Dorado, but still a welcome, enjoyable distraction.
A bit of a cop-out comedy post today, simply because I’m about to set off for the day to galavant about town with one of my old school friends (who I haven’t seen for about 3 years!)
So, what’s this? Ben and his dinner last night?
He looks way too happy. What is that? It can’t be healthy if he’s that pleased. And he made it himself…
That’s right folks. It’s cheese on toast, in a bagel. Ben will eat anything in a sandwich. Even if it’s another sandwich. Scratch that, ESPECIALLY if it’s another sandwich.
It’s so wrong. So very wrong.
But it does look tasty…
Typical! Just about to have out Easter break from uni, and I come down with a horrid cold-thing. Obviously I can only get ill when I have the time. Just hope I’m not too ill to sing this weekend.
You may have noticed I rehauled the layout of my blog. This is more along the lines of how I want to brand my new shop. Still a bit generic at the moment, but I’m still working on it – just got a bit sick of the all-black look; I think I’m getting a bit too old for that! I plan to incorporate some other elements (cutesy ones!) but I’m fond of the London sky line. Still no firm thoughts on a name.
But what have I been working on, in preparation for my new shop? I’ve decided to focus on my strengths (i.e. easy things, that I believe I make well, and that sell!), being fibre crafts. I love making beaded jewellery, I believe I produce really nice pieces, and have received a LOT of compliments for my jewellery products – however, not a single jewellery piece has sold. So unfortunately, I’ll be calling a halt to production of jewellery for retail purposes – it is simply a flooded market. Any jewellery I make in the future will be only for me, or as gifts for friends.
So what does sell? Cute crochet things, like this:
It’s a mouse! Yay! I’m also working on other crochet critters, after the success of those ‘shrooms.
AND I ordered some new felting needles – my last one broke ages ago, and I never got around to replacing it.
And now, a Current News Rant
There is talk of altering Daylight Savings by an extra hour, to match the rest of Europe. The idea behind it is to make summer evenings longer - “