My first parkrun!

A year ago, more or less, I wrote about parkrun, registered, got a barcode, and then prevaricated and didn’t get around to trying to run around the park for 5k.

Last Friday, I went and checked I could indeed run 5k around a park in under 50 mins and wouldn’t be the absolute slowest person there.

(If you’re interested, you can get the GPX for any parkrun on the “course” page of the parkrun website and convert it into a Runkeeper course using these intstructions.)

And this Saturday I got up early to be at the start line long before 9am and ran with the people there.

The email with the results just arrived and they’re here. I came 77th out of 92! Clicking through on my age group result, I see that of all 83 men aged 35-39 who have ever run Forest rec in the last year, only one has ever run it slower.

I’m actually pretty chuffed with the time, I didn’t think I could do anything like that. I also know that to improve, the next step is the easy to say, hard to do, “spend less time walking.”

Now, having got up early on a Saturday, must try extra hard not to waste the rest of the day.

Pudding club: marshmallow cheesecake

Quite often with recipes as I flick through Olive magazine or follow links on the internet, it’s a new technique that piques my interest. This was one of those. It starts with melting marshmallows in milk and using the gelatin from there as a setting agent.

I used hobnobs for my cheesecake. The idea that a biscuit base doesn’t have to be digestive comes from Nigella’s Grasshopper Pie where she uses bourbon biscuits. I’ve just been to find that recipe again and was amazed to find that uses the same marshmallow technique!

The cheesecake I made was not massively successful – it looked bad because the cream cheese wasn’t beaten enough, the frozen fruit mix was not nice, and the fruit juice soaked into the base and meant that the whole pie did not slice properly but fell apart. Next time I think I would either make a rough jam from the fruit or try blitzing the frozen fruit to a purée and then blitz it through the cheesecake mix to make a sort of smoothie cheesecake.

Anyway, here’s the recipe I was trying to make:

Serves 10

300g marshmallows
200 mls milk
200g biscuits
50g butter
500g cream cheese
150 mls

Line a 23cm tin. Make a biscuit base from 200grams biscuit and 50grams butter.

Melt 300grams of marshmallows in 200mls of milk stirring regularly over a very low heat. Once the marshmallows have fully melted, cool the mix. Mine separated a little at this point.

Melting marshmallows in milk as a first step to a cheesecake

Put most of a bag of defrosted frozen fruit on your biscuit base, reserving some fruit and juice to make a coulis to serve.

Frozen berries on hobnob biscuit base

My original recipe now calls for you to beat 500 grams of cream cheese with a teaspoon of vanilla essence, and whip 150mls of cream. Because that was two separate bowls, I decided not to let the Kenwood do the whipping, which was probably a mistake. Whilst I can whip 150 mls of cream by hand, it does make a bit of a mess of the kitchen. The texture of the final cheesecake shows clearly that the cheese wasn’t beaten enough to fully incorporate with the marshmallow mix.

Adding cream cheese to the cooled, rubbery, separated marshmallow mix

Some recipes get you to microwave the cream cheese a bit to check it properly integrates.

Because of the sugar in the biscuit base and the marshmallows, there’s no need for any more in the fruit.

Final assembly. Didn't beat cheese enough so slightly unfortunate texture / appearance

Frozen parodies

I’ve still not watched Disney’s Frozen – I felt for sure I wouldn’t be able to avoid seeing it at school on the last day of term, but somehow managed to avoid it after all – but thanks to parodies on the internet it feels like I know half the songs already.

Since it’s now available on Netflix, it’s only a matter of time till I see the real thing, but until then, here’s Cute Parents Lip-syncing…

(Which itself has spawned a series of parodies of parodies…

)

The original “Despair of an alto” video has been blocked on copyright grounds, but there is still this using the same track:

Dad who’s had enough of wife and kids singing the same song a million times.

And finally, which I didn’t even find until starting to write this post, is the censored version where they take the old ISIHAC trick of bleeping perfectly innocent words to make it sound rude.

Well, maybe not finally. As we were watching the credits of Tangled this evening, the songwriter credit came past and reminded me, if I ever knew, that the most of the Disney songs of the last thirty years have been written by the same guy who wrote Little Shop of Horrors, a sound track I can probably still sing all the words to myself. No wonder they’re so catchy.

Well. You remember that total eclipse of the sun, a few weeks ago?

Da doo.

There’s a stage production of this in Nottingham at the Lakeside coming up…

Link graveyard (lots of French)

I have this unhelpful habit of following links to something interesting and thinking, “that’s interesting, I must do something with it.”

I then leave the window open in my browser. Thanks to new browser technology, when I re-open it next time, Chrome still has a bunch of interesting tabs I don’t know what do with. They have been there for months. I don’t know who sent me to them in the first place, but there they still are. So that I can finally close them and get browser closure, here’s a selection:

Awful translations.

Many of these are funny to good speakers of French and English. But many are too rude to share with school students.

Funny photos of Paris métro stations.

Interesting. But what could I do with them? Shared in the context of teaching about Paris, which we don’t really do.

A Dilbert cartoon about being shamed for asking for training.

This would have been useful if I had found it when I still had a responsibility for councillor’s professional development.

An article in French about why the French are bad at learning English.

An interesting twist on the usual fare about why the English are bad at learning foreign languages.

Introverts in the classroom.

I’d talk to you about this right now but I’m too shy.

Away from my usual focus about teacher introverts, this is something aimed at teaching which allows space for students who are less than happy with group work.

A table of weird French that sounds like English, along the lines of Mots d’Heures: Gousses, Rames.

A teacher twitter colleague keeps sharing awesome resources that are essentially French LOLcats, or the funnies that are shared on Facebook, but translated into French. I would be retweeting these in a heartbeat were it not for the fact that his twitter account is locked, and I can’t.

Teaching responsively

I like the idea of having a drawer full of resources that can be used for anything to make it look like you planned the diversion you ended up on.

An essay about Tom Lehrer.

I’m reading this slowly because there’s so much of it.

This might be a good way to revise colours in the run up to French GCSE.