Tweets on 2010-02-09

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Pudding Club: Pear and Ginger Cake

Previously on Pudding Club: Chocolate/Chestnut torte / Beef Wellington canapés / Crème renversée au caramel

Tonight’s recipe was found here on the BBC / Good Food site after searching for a Come Dine with Me recipe I couldn’t find again. The CDWM version involved making a paste of butter and sugar, spreading it on foil, lining the foil with tinned pears and putting a ginger cake on top. The paste caramelizes and the pears sink into the ginger. I couldn’t quite find that, and didn’t quite want to improvise, so used the recipe instead.

Here are some thoughts: the instruction “core the pears but leave the stems on” – easily said, not so easily done. I stopped trying after a while and cooked them with the cores in. The recipe seems extremely fluid, so don’t know how it will come out. It also gets you to add liquid ingredients to dry ones, which means I couldn’t mix the flour in too well and ended up with loads of white speckles at the top. I couldn’t get the pears to stay standing up, either, so ended up with them on their sides. And because it was so liquid, all the crystalized ginger sank to the bottom.

So, we’ll have to see how it goes.

I’m not supposed to cook at night when the household is supposed to sleep. It’s pretty antisocial after all. The noise wakes the light sleepers – especially the cats – and the tantalising cooking aromas permeate dreams so that P wakes up salivating and with acid indigestion. But… sometimes I’m much more awake at 4am than I ever am at 8, when the household is properly waking up.

Trying to cook quietly is like that old comedy sketch of the drunk guy trying to get into his house without waking everyone up. Every silent moment turns into a cacophony of sound. Getting baking trays out of piles, saucepans out of stacks, opening crinkly cellophane wrappers. Even the fan on the oven – how much noise does it really make – is it audible upstairs? I try closing the kitchen door, but at the moment, it squeaks. Must grease that at some point. Ginger cake smells are indeed wafting up the stairs. Thus far, I have not heard angry footsteps… I think I may have gotten away with it.

Tweets on 2010-02-08

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Tweets on 2010-02-07

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Tweets on 2010-02-06

  • I just ousted @fidothe as the mayor of Nottingham Council House on @foursquare! #
  • Armed with flowers and chocs for a colleague who's moving on today (@ Nottingham Council House) #
  • Armed with flowers and chocs for a colleague who's moving on today. (@ Nottingham Council House) #
  • @CllrTim definitely a cool driving cop not a warden, but I'm afraid you were still outwitted by Bond. in reply to CllrTim #
  • 12seconds – Single Point of Failure. #
  • Would anyone happen to know if Falkirk Wheel is floodlit / operational after dark at this time of year? #
  • RT @lovefilm Twilight star stars shooting new film 'Bel Ami' <<< that made more sense when I slowed down and read it properly. #
  • I just unlocked the "Photogenic" badge on @foursquare! #
  • @willhowells phew, for a minute I thought it was just me. #
  • Local residents giving Lab portfolio holder a hard time about proposed libray closure (@ Beechdale Road Library) #
  • One resident is even promising to pay the £ 12k a year needed to keep the library open! #
  • Meeting ending with round of applause for hardworking local staff. #
  • LGA Lib Dems v helpfully holding their children conference in ward next door to mine. (@ National College for Leadership of Schools) #
  • Facts from quiz: average secondary school headteacher earns over £70k. #
  • % of SEN girls who achieve 5 A-C GCSES ? Only 1.9 #
  • Young people who received a first reprimand and therefore a lifelong criminal record, 08/09: 74,000. #
  • I just became the mayor of National College for Leadership of Schools on @foursquare! #
  • Second day at the LGA Lib Dems education conference. The National College really is a super venue. #
  • @Thickfurred good turnout, no actual violence, but strong feeling "they've already made up their minds" 😦 in reply to Thickfurred #
  • Delegates being recaffeinated after session on cutting costs without cutting services. #
  • @Thickfurred decision will be at Budget on 8/3 – but don't think anyone knows how that will follow through on the ground in reply to Thickfurred #

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Tweets on 2010-02-05

  • I just became the mayor of Caffè Nero on @foursquare! #
  • Having my free one. (@ Caffè Nero) #
  • Lean / systems thinking briefing. (@ Guildhall) #
  • @ramtops – keeping under review. You're the only one to comment – and confusingly, you've commented positively and negatively! 🙂 #
  • When I see the cat stacker covered in fur, I think "must hoover that." Every time I get the hoover out I remember tis what cats retreat to. #
  • @tom_geraghty I like flickr, fo sho'. Plays well with twitter too. in reply to tom_geraghty #
  • Bit confused as to why updating my GPS maps needed my PC to interfere with my iTunes installation. #
  • Cor blimey, they keep them in late at #stockportmbc #
  • Really *really* weird dream last night in which MYM was James Bond and @cllrtim a traffic policeman. #
  • @sarabedford I think I'm with James. iPhones are quite pretty and have funky games, but could you take notes on one? #

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Tweets on 2010-02-04

  • I'm at Nottingham Energy Partnership (Castle Heights, Maid Marian Way, Nottingham). #
  • Phew – just as they were closing! (@ Lakeland) #
  • Ducking in to refuel on caffeine and shelter from the sleet. (@ Caffè Nero) #
  • I just unlocked the "Adventurer" badge on @foursquare! #
  • @ramtops would be in there all the time if it weren't for our "one in, one out" kitchen kit rule 🙂 in reply to ramtops #
  • No! No more snow – I have to drive to Scotland next week! #
  • Making the most unbelievable mess with a far-too-wet pizza dough. #
  • Hmmm, looks ok, tastes ok, but the recipe wasn't kidding about "serves 4" #
  • @Meryl_F what age kids? in reply to Meryl_F #
  • @stephenpglenn are the roads safe north of Edinburgh? Pack ice and wolves? in reply to stephenpglenn #
  • Trying to work out whether Come Dine With Me contestant has a wife who is blonde or blind. #
  • This is apparently tweet number 5,501 for me. #
  • @CharlotteGore You know what they say about saying never. in reply to CharlotteGore #
  • @stephenpglenn Ooh, I'm definitely going Beyond Willie Rennie. The Trossachs beckon. And Dalhousie Castle on Valentine's Day. in reply to stephenpglenn #
  • Novellist. Novelist. One l or two? #
  • Going with "writer" 🙂 #
  • That "novelist / novellist" dilemma got me again RT @libdemvoice Daily View 2×2: 4 February 2010 #
  • Grr, dagnabit, I've been mousing all night, and now my wrist is killing me. #
  • Can't stop thinking about fried eggs. But there's no bread in the house and will take ages to make some! #
  • Damn your eyes, Amazon One-Click! That credit card was supposed to be resting! #
  • Ouch, both @documentally and @darrenram seem to be stuck in traffic, #m1south #

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Congrats to Alex Folkes

Last night, newly elected councillor Alex Folkes broke the news on his blog that he’d won the New Councillor award in the LGIU c’llr awards.

Obviously I’m very very chuffed at the news and want to thank the LGIU very much indeed.

LDV often share facilities with Cllr Folkes at conference when he’s working as a photographer – indeed much of his work is available for use, if correctly credited, at the Lib Dem Flickr group.

The criteria for the award were:

  • election for the first time in June 2009
  • visible positive impact on the political group and/or community
  • they will have pioneered new projects, made an impact on the political groups’ vision, and/or developed initiatives that have made an immediate impact on the community.

Certainly his regular blog giving details of the issues facing Cornwall, Cornwall Council and Launceston in particular go a long way to meeting those criteria.


Daily View 2×2: 4 February 2010

Good morning, on this misty day which in history saw three awful earthquakes – in Haicheng, Guatemala and Afghanistan.

This day is a birthday to American civil rights campaigner Rosa Parks (pictured) as well as to the American vice-president famously unable to spell “potato”, Dan Quayle.

Deaths on the 4th February include Liberace and American novelist novellist writer Patricia Highsmith, who wrote Strangers on a Train, The Talented Mr Ripley, and – according to Wikipedia at least – the first lesbian novel with a happy ending.

Today is also Facebook’s 6th birthday. How many other 6 year-olds earned $300m last year, had new words entered into dictionaries, and caused moral panic?

2 Big Stories

Legg Report published

Later today, Sir Thomas Legg’s report will be published on Parliament’s website. The Guardian – MPs ordered to pay back more than £1m reports:

The former civil servant charged with probing MPs’ expenses claims will deliver his final, damning verdict on their conduct when he reveals that he has ordered 350 of them to pay back a total of more than £1m.

In a report said to be “devastating” for the reputation of parliament, Sir Thomas Legg will criticise the “culture of deference” MPs created in which they expected Commons officials to unquestioningly pay out for their claims.

Using blunt language, he will accuse MPs of a collapse in their ethics regarding the expenses system. “The whole system lost sight of the Nolan principles,” the report, to be published , will say.

The Daily Express has a rather more trenchant headline – FIDDLING MPS WILL GET AWAY WITH IT and a predictable quote from the Tax Payers’ Alliance.

Final word on this goes to Lib Dem Phil Willis MP:

We had an independent report, we asked for it to be put in place. It should have happened. Instead we’ve had these layers of different processes that have been contradictory and conflicting. We won’t win confidence back if the watchdogs are arguing with each other.

The Car In Front Is Behaving Erratically

Meanwhile, if the car in front appears to be having difficulties keeping to the rules of the road, it may not be the fault of the driver, as the Times reports.

Toyota has suspended the delivery of thousands of new cars as the crisis over defective accelerator pedals threatens to engulf the company.

The Japanese manufacturer, the biggest car company in the world, revealed last night that 180,865 vehicles in the UK might be affected.

Accelerator pedals on seven models, it said, may get stuck. It said that it would be recalling models in the coming days to fit a new part to solve the problem. The recall affects about one in nine of the 1.6 million Toyotas on British roads.

There’s never been a better time to buy an Audi.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • Nigel Griffiths calendar
  • No, not the big one from Pie in the Sky on a Calendar Girls-style naked photoshoot, but some rather unfortunate campaigning from an MP who has just decided to retire, not fight on.

    Stephen’s Linlithgow Journal has the details.

  • Electoral Reform
  • Sanjay Samani argues that change must include the Lords:

    I personally feel that with a combination of reforming the House of Lords and the House of Commons in a co-ordinated, joined up manner, we can get the best of both worlds. Between the two Houses we can have both single constituency MPs elected by AV, multi member constituencies voted by STV and if necessary, some national or at least regional proportionality.

    That is why the House of Lords must be reformed along with the House of Commons. It is incredible that after 13 years and 3 Labour Governments we still have an unelected House of Lords. Few would have believed that was possible back in 1997.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

Coming up later today:

  • Good news for Alex Folkes
  • Social media and politics – our series continues
  • Political quiz – how is your knowledge of Scandinavian politics of the 1950s?
  • How to get LDV by email
  • And Chris White taking on private companies.