Tweets on 2011-02-19

  • Oh dear. Truncated Evening Post headline reads "Freed sex offender demands to be taken." #

  • Council making good use of QR codes for Lightnight. #

  • Curious installation in Bromley House Garden #
  • Belated Valentines dinner. (@ Pizza Hut) #
  • @Hookbell how've you done that? all my settings look right but it's just not working. #
  • What happened when ET phoned home ( board) #
  • @owenblacker @PaulTwinn can it not be both? #
  • RT @NathanFillion: Nice. Real, real nice. I feel the love. #
  • @owenblacker @alexwilcock multimember constituencies is the next step. And definitely preferable to 5-yrly boundary reviews. #
  • @NGHodder so is @magicweston (I'm home now) #
  • Watch this! I can fit Emily Dickinson's entire head in my mouth! #
  • @NCCLols I think it should actually be reported next week, if I understood right, the public wasn't excluded from meeting. #
  • Explain that "early night" thing to me again? #
  • @millenniumdome eek #

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Tweets on 2011-02-18

  • @Psythor Nottingham Lib Dems are having a Hot Potato night. But then you knew that already yeah? 🙂 #
  • RT @MyNottingham: Nottingham Central Library fully reopens on Monday! Perfect for half term events! #
  • . @Psythor the French for baked potato is actually the cute "potatoes in their dressing gowns" – pomme de terre en robe de chambre #
  • RT @MyNottingham: Lovely piece about Light Night (taking place tomorrow!) on LeftLion: #
  • @tonytheaker more of a tinker than a revamp. Certainly no Brum or Newcastle. #
  • @Rick_Hall you want to talk about planning to children for 45 mins first thing in the morning? Can't think how you'd make it interesting! #
  • @sarabedford kin prawns? kin marvellous! #
  • RT @ianvisits Labour's Shadow Minister for Pubs is tee-total. You couldn't make it up. <<< P Eye got worked up their Mins of Ag were veggie #
  • @lordbonkers some people waste an awful lot of time on the really obvious. #
  • RT @lordbonkers: Seven ways to thank someone for a retweet via @jaybaer #
  • "Sit And Knit A Bit" – knit a blanket square for International Women's Day #
  • Please stop buying pianos #
  • Wondering if OO code is like 00 flour (@darrenram) #
  • @dwbullock mine didn't really put me off cooking but I can't really watch the show the same way any more. #
  • Grr. My online bank is limiting me to transactions less than £999,999. How will I cope? #
  • Ooh, @helenduffett has just noticed I have 666 followers. #
  • @JChris_J that's weird, I don't follow him! I am but one of 58,000. #
  • RT @BeauBodOr: RT @DanAndDanFilms: The Sun is due to interfere with mobile phone communications. Sounds very familiar. #
  • @darrenram 00 flour is a very fine grade of flour intended for making pasta #
  • @rfenwick don't it go to show you never know? #
  • Weird. My local cell tower must be dead. Mobile call dropped halfway and now no connection. #

  • RT @jamesmcgraw: RT @mirandafay: Nearly forgot! I caught this amazing York headline on my phone today. #localnews #
  • Knock knock who's there? Knock knock who's there? knock knock knock knock knock knock knock who's there? There? There? There? Philip Glass #
  • #
  • @Neil_Littlewood hey, yeah, are we still mailing you? #

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Pudding club: Lancashire hotpot

In a rare happening, I volunteered to make the main for this week’s outing, and so this week’s pudding is not a pudding at all.

What I actually wanted to was lamb shanks, as I have recently discovered these. Well, I ate them ten years ago, in Bistrot les sans culottes ((Nicholas Parsons shouldn’t climb trees)) and much more recently I discovered you can get them in the butchers, they are not particularly expensive, they are delicious, and they are easy to cook.

However, for once I was catering for 6 not 4, and I wasn’t sure I had a pot big enough to cook six lamb shanks, so I decided to do a Lancs hot pot instead.

A dish for that many would have entailed quite a lot of vegetable chopping, so I got the food processor out and fitted the slicing attachment. There is always the danger, when chopping veg for stews in the processor, of chopping too finely and ending up with an unrecognisable mush. I sought to avoid this by using the slicer instead. I used the fine slicer – and next time I will use the coarse slicer instead.

This nicely filled my 5 litre orange le Creuset wedding present pot, and it cooked on the oven floor. I was undermining my veggie Valentines menu by cooking this at the same time for the following day.

Lancs hotpot

In the end, only four of us were there to eat it, but the leftovers hotted up nicely the following day, so it did do six generous portions.

750 grams lamb chunks
olive oil and butter for
3 small onions
4 sticks celery
3 carrots
garlic to taste ((I am rapidly becoming one of those annoying people who ‘likes garlic but it doesn’t like me’))
handful mushrooms
1 large bottle, Manns Brown Ale
3 large potatoes (I had baking potatoes to hand)
Oxo cubes and Worcester sauce

In your stove-to-oven casserole, brown the meat and remove from the heat. Chop the veg and brown it bit by bit, caramelising the onions as much as possible, then return all the veg and meat to the pan.

Add the bottle of beer, two oxo cubes dissolved in a little hot water, and a good glug of Worcester sauce.

Slice the potatoes finely and layer on top of the stew.

Cook the lot for 90 minutes at 180. Or longer, or shorter. Or do what I somehow managed to do, which is actually whack the dial on the oven up to 250 and not notice for 40 minutes. This seems to be a pretty forgiving dish.

Shortly before the end of cooking time, remove from the oven and brush the potatoes with melted butter or dripping. Whack under the grill to get a nice brown finish on the spuds, and serve.


Eek! They’re switching off BBC2 in just over a month

This post on Wartime Housewife prompted me to visit Digital UK again to find out what is happening in our area.

I was dimly aware something was up. I have spoken to Digital UK at Lib Dem conference in the past, and know that they are rolling out the digital switchover, and the end of free-to-air analogue television, in stages, across the UK. The first few regions have already completed the change. I know that the East Mids was soon.

I’ve also had something pink and scary through the post that explains very briefly what is going on.

But I hadn’t really appreciated till now quite how soon it will be.

Plugging my postcode into the website gives me the information that they are switching off BBC2 analogue in just over a month, on 30th March. All remaining analogue stations will go a few weeks after that, on 13th April.

For people living in Notts: if you are currently using a digital TV receiver, for example a set-top box, you will need to retune it on both of those dates.

If you are currently receiving your TV through your aerial and don’t have a digibox, you will lose BBC2 in just over a month and will lose all TV on the second date. Time to make the switch! If you have cable (Virgin) or satellite (Sky) TV you are not affected.

Tweets on 2011-02-17

  • @jamesgraham where should that comma be? #
  • RT @doctorvee: RT @JamesCridland: There are 36 MILLION transistors in a typical €30 DAB digital radio. Goodness. #drs11 #
  • RT @Psythor: RT @richjm: Justin Bieber's mum is 34. And now you feel old. #
  • @tonytheaker I don't think that was brisk enough. #
  • Just had email to say "Come camping on Shell Island – re-opens 4th March!" Makes me shiver just thinking about it! #
  • It's not "drinking alone" if you're on the internet, right? #

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Tweets on 2011-02-16

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Tweets on 2011-02-15

  • Extra meeting to thrash out positions on budget. (@ Notts Fire and Rescue HQ) #
  • RT @newsaboutwomen: Most New York prostitutes use Facebook to get business – #
  • Eek, »20? Whose idea was it to have an international flower-giving festival when the world's richest consumers are barely out of winter? #
  • RT @thingbox: Happy Valentine's Day. No date? Don't worry there are lots of desperates on @thingbox! #
  • @dr_nick corked rather than corned? #

  • Onto the truffles! #
  • Eek. P is admonishing Steve the kitten using his Sunday name: Steven! No! #
  • @binny_uk what… the Dutch? #
  • RT @madeupstats: Roses are red
    Violets are blue
    A fifth of all stats
    Are completely untrue #
  • @bykimbo well, I like it and think it's well worth watching. It gets a teeny bit formulaic, but always fun. #
  • Ooh, there's an idea. Way to not make a huge pot and eat it all at once. #
  • .@MitchBenn @LFBarfe yeah – cos serving your community is definitely something you should only do as a punishment. #
  • Watched Milk: #

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Veggie Valentines

I earned the opprobrium of NCCLOLS for the menu I cooked for CDWM which was a little heavy on the meat for his liking, being as how he’s veggie.

I can cook veggie; we try and eat meat free a couple of nights a week. And when our veggie friends come round I can whip up a lovely veggie meal.

Tonight is Valentine’s Day, and we don’t usually go out for it, at least not on the actual day of the 14th. We usually try and have a nice meal out on an adjacent day. We’ve read Waiter’s Rant, and we know that avoiding restaurants on their busiest day in the year is probably a savvy idea, what with them trying to rush customers through, serving up a diminished menu, and bumping into the punters all night. (Read about it here and here if you’re not familiar with Waiter’s Rant on Valentine’s Day.)

When thinking what to make, I ended up with a practically vegan starter and pud, then thought, what the hell, I’ll carry on with a veggie main. (OK, I’ll confess, I had been thinking about getting steaks, then remembered the good butcher is closed Mondays)

So, the starter will be a red pepper velouté, to remind us of a lovely supper we had at Hotel les Cygnes on the banks of Lake Geneva a few years ago. We ordered, then these strange tiny soups, which weren’t anywhere on the menu, and which we probably couldn’t afford, appeared. They were the amuse bouche. The meal was sensational, but mostly memorable for the storm that brewed up halfway through. We’d been eating outside on the terrace, watching the lake, when the wind picked up and it started tipping it down. All the staff worked double quick to get the diners indoors before the rain really hit. They also had an incredibly impressive cheese trolley.

The pud will be pears poached in red wine. I still had uneaten pears after last week’s dubiously spelled tarte, and there’s wine and spices knocking around: wine, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. Serve with yoghurt and honey. This was the dessert we had at our wedding, so there’s the memories for ya.

And for the main? I always end up thinking of mains last. But I think it will be a quichey thing, probably based on this recipe. Somewhere I have a heart shaped tin, so I will make it in that, and serve it with a salad, and spicy potato wedges.

And for afters-afters, I will make some cointreau truffles rolled in cocoa powder and set in little paper cases I have been waiting for an excuse to use. This reminds me (but won’t remind P) of a two colleagues, the one reviewing the other’s dinner party skills: “She goes a bit mad… she even makes her own chocolates!” If it’s faffing around tempering chocolate or delicately melting a couverture or lining moulds before filling with violet cremes… I can see that would be de trop. But simple truffles, particularly if made the day before, should be easily achievable for any kind of dinner party. Melt equal quantities of chocolate and cream, add a little butter and a splash of liqueur of some sort, stir well and fridge overnight. Scoop a small quantity of the chilled chocolate cream the following day, and roll in cocoa powder. I’m sure the irritating foreign chipmunks have a word for how easy that might be.

Tweets on 2011-02-14

  • @rfenwick @OrangeProse will there be sandwiches? #
  • @dr_nick start geocaching! You won't run out for ages and ages! #
  • Grand mystery as piano appears on Florida sandbar – #
  • @markpack hide the chocolate! #
  • Ringing for a service for people getting married.this year. (@ Daybrook St Pauls) #
  • Note to self. Micro-fleece is completely the wrong garment for ringing. Way too warm. #
  • Watching another fillum. Lovefillum won't know woss hit'em if we return 2 in a week. Tonight: Changeling. #
  • Hmm. Changeling was long and annoying. #

  • Fitted sheet, folded as per the strictures of The Internets. #
  • Anyone know who the peer was who delivered a speech from an iPad (last para – was it @ricallan? #
  • Gah! Tom Brake robbed again! #

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Coupla cartoons

I find Toothpaste for Dinner a little patchy. Some of their stuff is so good I’ve bought it on t-shirts. But it goes for weeks and leaves me cold.

In recent days, however, I have chortled greatly at the two following cartoons:


Cartoon punning on beignet and bayonet


Nerdy cartoon about seratonin and dopamine