Tweets on 2010-06-30

  • My car, which has been completely dead for the last 3 days, just started first time when I tried to show the mechanic what was wrong. #
  • @LilianGreenwood what do you have to do with the testing kit? is it unpleasant or uncomfortable? in reply to LilianGreenwood #
  • RT @helenduffett RT @alexfolkes: Lembit has a website – http://bit.ly/boTfvz << shame no-one in "Lembits team" knows about apostrophes. #
  • @LilianGreenwood that does look quite a faff – is a screen for everyone or people who are at particular risk? in reply to LilianGreenwood #
  • @lordbonkers actor decided to retire in reply to lordbonkers #
  • @dr_nick I have @meryl_f's anniversary down as 5/7/75? Although never quite sure about celebrating other people's anniversaries. in reply to dr_nick #
  • Would have ticked loads off to-do list tonight if I had written the jobs down in the first place. #gtd #
  • Flights, airport hotel and transfers booked for honeymoon, rail tix for London week secured. #
  • Sorted guest hotel for wedding and booked a bus for transfers. Edging closer to be able to issue invites. #
  • @qwghlm did you see that Screenwipe ep satirizing "quest" documentaries? in reply to qwghlm #
  • Blimey. Learning point from the Derby #cdwm Would never have occurred to me that pesto might not be vegetarian. #
  • Grrr. Is it just me or are people increasingly unable to differentiate between "none" and "non-" ? #
  • Cripes, @honladymark 's pretty dedicated, running an STV recount at this time of night? #
  • @dr_nick I know you're not free that weekend! in reply to dr_nick #
  • Oh dear. The spam bots have learned to count. My blog is getting deluged again. #

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Tweets on 2010-06-29

  • "We are not now trying to gain EMAS accreditation" << v disappointing sentence in ctte report. No systemic review of environmental pract … #
  • Today, I have learned the proper name for "giant over-take me lorry." It's a "crash cushion" #
  • Just seen a man walk past with a tshirt reading "YES, I'm good in bed. I can sleep for hours!" #
  • @timandtransport as it stands, 20mph zones are the things communities and schools campaign to get and are disappointed about when delivered. in reply to timandtransport #
  • Wilford Hill Crematorium is having an open day on 10th July http://bit.ly/bW1scB </deadpan> #
  • @NCCLols haven't you heard? BEFORE was an Elysian paradise where everything was perfect. AFTER is a Stygian mire where only evil lurks. in reply to NCCLols #
  • On the south side of the building, it is very hot. (@ Nottingham Council House) http://4sq.com/cwhENE #
  • @NCCLols that's an awfully stark choice! in reply to NCCLols #
  • @austinrathe oh, great, another "burgle me" tool for twitter. in reply to austinrathe #
  • Blimey, Cllr Richard Kemp, what do you really think of elected police chiefs? Don't hold back! http://bit.ly/9vh7YV #
  • @Meryl_F @dr_nick you might even be able to rent in the same building to make moving easier… in reply to Meryl_F #

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Tweets on 2010-06-28

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Catchup in Budget week

Weekly catchup returns this week as the nation, and this blog, have been consumed with debate about the budget. Not for us such petty distractions as the World Cup, the cricket, the world-record breaking tennis or the siren call of the vuvuzela; no, for us, it’s all about the 2.5 percentage point difference between the previous VAT rate and the next.

We kicked off our budget coverage with a message from Nick Clegg warning us that things would not be pretty.

On budget day itself, we asked you what you thought, and spawned a massive comments thread with over 200 entries.

In the days that followed, Mark Pack wrote about tackling tax avoidance and brought you news on the budget from Clegg and from Simon Hughes. Newshound sniffed out Vince Cable’s views. When Vince himself popped by to give his perspective, a further 130 comments ensued.

Reaction from the budget continued to pour in through the comments, and Op-eds began to appear. Elaine Bagshaw saw light at the end of the tunnel whilst for George Kendal there was nothing but anger.

We were still talking budget by the end of the week when Iain Roberts ruled out returning to two-party politics and we had some further extracts of Danny Alexander.

But it wasn’t all high finance.

Are you thinking about going into politics? Mark Pack has a daunting list of things you should do this summer to convince yourself you’re serious.

Chris White is clear where the hammer should fall: not on the little people. Mark finds an interesting use of newly-public data. And Iain writes about what attacks we will face.

Finally this week, Tom Papworth makes a suggestion. The Government is planning a Great Repeal Act, removing from the statute book decades of unwieldy legislation. Do you have a view about what could be removed? If so, write a post on your own blog, or send it to us and we’ll publish it for you.

Pudding club: BBQ special

Pudding club was at our house today as we celebrated the hottest day of the year with a barbecue in our back garden. Which is not looking bad right now, but will look better when a) the Thomson & Morgan “instant cottage garden” bundle arrives and b) when/if the plants grow.

I don’t do barbecues that often, but when I do there’s a few things I always do. Today, I added in a few more things.

The one meaty thing I’ve been doing for ages is a chicken satay. Take mini-breast fillets ((my friends don’t trust me to cook bone-in chicken safely on an open fire, and whilst they’ve all gone for gas barbecues, for me, it’s all about having a fire )) and marinate overnight in chopped ginger, garlic and chillies, with lime juice, sherry, oil and soy sauce helping out with liquid.

Now mostly in years past, I have just bought a pack of satay sauce and that is nice enough. But today my car wouldn’t start, so I couldn’t go to the big supermarket, and so I had to make it out of store cupboard ingredients. Chop a clove of garlic and a chilli and lightly fry. Add in about 6 tbsps chunky peanut butter and enough coconut milk to make it a barely-runny consistency.

Get the chicken out of the marinade, and run skewers through it, then cook on the barbecue until done, and pour the sauce over the top.

There were also burgers and sausages as per norm, without a great deal of thought in them. Just buy burgers, making your own decision about price vs quality and cook until cooked.

This time, I made all the bread: Dan Lepard’s onion hotdog rolls formed into long thin rolls for sausages; and a batch of burger buns made with 700grams breadflour, 350mls milk, yeast, oil, sugar, salt and beaten egg for glazing, based loosely on a recipe found here.

In all the heat, the two batches of bread dough didn’t so much as rise as collapse sideways off the edge of the baking tray, so the resultant cobs were a little on the flat side, and bigger than intended, but all tasted nice enough in the end.

In terms of sides, I made Manda’s delicious tepid salad of mushrooms, lentils and pearl barley in a balsamic reduction; a really sharp coleslaw of red cabbage, apple, carrot with a honey vinaigrette (which could have used more honey, to be honest); and one of our guests brought that day’s harvest of potatoes duly saladed.

But it was the dessert that was really good and definitely something I will do again: Grilled pineapple. After the meat was done and the barbecue was cooling, I took a fresh pineapple and cut it into 6, removing the tough core but leaving the skin and leaves on for decoration. A quick go on the barbecue is enough, cooking all sides until they get a visible griddle pattern, and a bit longer on the skin side, because that’s tough and can take it.

The warm pineapple is delicious enough by itself: all the huge flavour of ordinary fresh pineapple but with with slightly less chewing.

If your barbecue is the sort of affair where you sit around a table with knives and forks, you might like to serve up the bits of pineapple straight from the grill. However, by this point, we were all sitting on the floor in the “glade” bit of my garden (( I have a glade and a fountain. At least that’s what we call it – it’s not nearly so grand as I like to make it sound )) so I chopped the pineapple into chunks, put it in a bowl, and let people help themselves with skewers.

What really made it, though, was an aromatic sugar syrup I had made the night before: 300 grams of sugar in half a litre of water, boiled up with a chopped chilli, a branch of thyme and a finely sliced lime. This, poured over the pineapple bits, was just lush.

Tweets on 2010-06-27

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Tweets on 2010-06-26

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Tweets on 2010-06-25

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Tweets on 2010-06-24

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Tweets on 2010-06-23

  • Oh, no. VAT to increase to 20%. CGT? #
  • Housing benefit reforms will be a shock to landlords. (amongst many many others) #
  • Ok, CGT reforms sound OK to me? #
  • Listening to budget on radio in car. What's that thumping noise? #
  • Lightbulb moment. I *could* lord weight for the wedding… Or I could just buy a corset! #
  • Talking to online support to see if we can figure out why alexfoster.me.uk is hogging too much CPU time and is suspended. #

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