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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Autumn

Ah, Autumn is here. It may mean rivulets of rain down the windows, russet coloured leaves in mounds on the pavements and darkness descending on us at 5pm, but it also means I can again start making hot puddings and stews and all those marvellous wintry things that are hideously out of place next to pomegranate salads and juicy tomatoes and rounds of goats cheese. Today I made the first baked apples of the season. A kind soul had given us a monstrous bag of organic apples, so what choice did I have? The apples, headily scented with cloves and rivers of unctuous golden syrup are ready to served with a dash of cream and a very big spoon.


God, I’ve been reading too much Nigel Slater, haven’t I? At this point, I probably shouldn't mention the vaguely erotic dream in which he featured. Ahem. Definitely too much.

Anyway, still haven’t got a start date for new job. I do however have a desperate yearning to shop. Life’s a bitch, eh?

Oh, and I took this photo:

Alice in Wonderland eat your heart out.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

What do your doodles say about you?

That title sounds a bit dodgy, I admit, but you know what I'm referring to.

Well, I was curious (I very often find myself under a doodle attack) so I Googled it. Of course I appreciate that this is in no way a scientific analysis, but it makes for interesting reading nonetheless.

First up, doodles have been split into several distinct groups:
Geometric shapes
Abstract shapes
Good-looking faces
Weird or ugly faces
Arrows and ladders
Repetitive shapes
Weapons and vehicles
Flowers and curves
Animals
Hearts
Food

I'm no expert, but I would have thought that most peoples doodles fit into one or two groups. Not me, of course, I never do anything by halves. My doodles, when all styles are taken into account, fit into seven of the eleven groups. Now I choose to take this as a compliment - surely it means that I'm a complex, interesting person with many skills. Either that or my brain is fried. Personally, I think it's probably the latter.

So, on the basis of this highly non-scientific study, I:
*have an organised brain, and show clear thought processes, good planning skills and efficiency. (Geometric shapes.)
*am tense, have difficulty concentrating or an inconsistent, sentimental personality. (Abstract shapes.)
*am a people person, who sees the positive in people and situations, is optimistic, friendly and enjoys being around others. (Good-looking faces.)
*have ambition, drive and movement towards a goal. (Arrows.)
* have patience, persistence and the ability to concentrate.
* am all about peace, love and understanding. (Flowers and curves.)
* am in love with love. Bit of a bugger I'm single then, really. (Hearts.)

Looking over the list, I would say quite a lot of that applies to me. I wouldn't agree that I have an inconsistent personality. It might not be great, but goddammit, at least it's consistent.

So, what do your doodles say about you?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Molten Choccie Cakes

Here we go, the recipe for these delectable individual chocolate cakes:
  • 50g soft unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 350g best dark chocolate
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs, beaten with a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 50g plain or Italian 00 flour
  • 6 individual pudding moulds, buttered
  • baking parchment

Unless you are making these up in advance, preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6, putting in a baking sheet at the same time.

Lay 3 of the moulds on a sheet of doubled baking parchment. Draw round them, remove, and then cut out the discs as marked. Press them all into the base of the tins.

Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly.

Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat in the eggs and salt, then the vanilla.

Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.

Divide the batter between the 6 moulds, quickly whip the baking sheet out of the oven, arrange the little tins on it and replace in the oven.

Cook for 10-12 minutes (the extra 2 minutes will be needed if the puddings are fridge-cold when you start) and as soon as you take them out of the oven, tip out these luscious babycakes onto small plates or shallow bowls.

Serve these with whipped double cream, the same unwhipped in a jug, crème fraiche, crème anglaise or ice cream.

Serves 6.

(Stolen from Nigella.)

Go and make these now!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Of leg wax, piglet burgers and c-list (sorry) celebs.

Today, I met up with my friend N and baby Aidan. As I was getting ready this morning, I somehow managed to leg wax in my hair. Even by my standards this was quite an achievment. Still, it was too late to do anything about it, so I just had to put up with strangely textured hair. We went to this nice wee pub for a spot of lunch, and each had a butterfly and piglet burger:



and just how cute is the menu?:



We picked up babbie A (He'd been with his dad) and went for coffee. Hm. Food. A theme in my social encounters, it seems!)

Chai

I have to say, I'm not a huge Starbucks fan, when I'm in town I prefer Cafe Nero, but they don't do chai.

During our travels we spotted Clare Sweeney. Lovely though I'm sure she is, I don't think she's near the top of exciting celeb spottings table.

This evening I faffed around on Flickr, wrote this and heated up a choccie pudding I made the other day:

Molten chocolate cakes

Nice plates, right? A wee treat to myself from that mecca of cut price kitchen-wear, Asda.

So that was my day in photos. Now, I'm going to go and tidy up a bit, clean my room and chill out. Tomorrow might be a night out for P's birthday, I'm not sure yet.

Phew, night fellow bloggers.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Well....

...you are now reading the blog of a bone fide career gal.

:-D

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Oh, no :-(

Just read that Richard Hammond is critically ill in hospital after a car crash. He has a wife and young family, so I hope to God he pulls through. :-(

It's the Pitts

Sorry. Bad title. But I read this interesting article which partly concerns itself with Brad Pitt's latest announcement that he and Angelina Jolie won't marry until gay marriage is legalised. *Sigh* Let's assume he's well meaning, but does he really believe that will make one iota of difference? Also, it didn't stop him marrying Jennifer Aniston, did it? It seems, from afar, and no doubt to many there, that America is going downhill. Quickly. This is just one area in which the Bush administration has angered and frustrated me. It further frustrates me that celebrities seem to be latching on to these civil rights issues in an attempt (hopefully) to help, but no doubt also to bolster there position in the entertainment world. As the article points out, if they truly want to help (and this applies to many topics, not just gay rights) there are so many more useful ways in which they could do it.

Let's hope they realise that sooner rather than later so we don't have to listen to anymore silly pronouncements.

Extra! Extra!

Apparently, Kate Moss is to design a collection for Topshop, and is apparently being paid a million quid for it. I can't say I'm as enthused about that as some people. For starters, I've really begun to find her style predicatable, rather than signature. Also, it seems a shame to me that there are so many talented young designers out there who struggle to find paid work and spend literally years as little more than slaves for big brand designers. And there is the fact that if it's Kate Moss endorsed (I can't really see her doing any of the legwork) then it'll be hotpants, skinnies, grandad shirts, waistcoats...basically what's available in every other store (possible better quality) and for a cheaper price tag.

Added to this is the fact that I'm buggered if I can understand the hysteria that surrounds celebrites. Sure, I'll admit to getting a bit of a kick out of spotting a celebrity, but I don't feel any need to buy a product just because their name is on it. The Karl Lagerfeld or Stella McCartney ranges for Topshop, Celine Dion, SJP or Britney's perfume. Just. Don't. Get. It. Unless I like the item, but then that's nothing to do with who's name is plastered all over it.

Sometimes it actively annoyes me. Case in point - the Celia Birtwell range for Topshop. The quality was awful - each garmet couldn't have cost more than say 50p max to produce, yet they were charging £40ish quid for a piece that would, of course, end up on ebay with some numpty paying a hundred smackers for it. Bonkers.

Disclaimer: in the murky world of fashion and celebrity it's hard to tell which news stories (if any) are factually correct, so this may in fact be a load of hooey. Only time will tell.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The day today

Hello all!

Let's see: well, today I appear to be over my hangover. On Thursday night we managed to polish off five bottles of wine between the four of us. (I was flat sitting for my brother) Not entirely sure how it happened. Anyway, good banter was had as always, including a mini lapdancing tutorial and practice. Apparently, I was quite good and had the 'look' down. Not that I'd take their word for it - after all the wine, anyway!

I headed off to bed and zonked out and woke up around 10ish and then dozed off again. Around 12pm, I decided I really should get up and wash the dishes. So there I was, beautifying myself (ha) when I heard a noise on the landing. I disregarded it, assuming it was the neighbour. But then I heard a key turn in the look. Thoughts raced through my mind, like 'holy God - they aren't back from their holiday already, are they?' So I called out a tentative hello, and heard my brother's mother-in-law to-be shout back 'Hello? Susan? Oh God, H's going to kill me - she told me to phone first!' Well, flustered isn't the word. I was painfully aware of my hair doing an admirable Cousin It impression, the dishes in the kitchen and the empty white bottles.

As it turned out, mother and father-in-law had come over to put up the new light fittings and had assumed I wouldn't be there. Still, it was all fine once my heart retreated from my throat and I spent the afternoon blethering and making cups of tea.

It was lovely to have the place to myself - the peace and quiet was heavenly, and the place is all newly decorated and so lovely. One way and another, the couple of days were quite eventful. Today, I went to Asda looking for an interview outfit. I couldn't decide (I needed a second opinion) so I bought a pair of charcoal pinstrip wool wide leg trousers and a black scoop neck 60s style dress with big button detail and I'll get my Mum's advice after. I had one of those moments where any sense of style I had flew out the window and everything looked to me like a potato sack.

Sigh. Right, I'd better tidy up a bit because the place is a tip.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Whoo!

I have an interview! It's not my dream job, just clerical work, but the pay is decent and it's only one stop on the train! Ooh, think of the mornings - not having to get up too early. Oh, and the building is nice from the outside. And it's next to a big Asda with a clothes department. Not that these things are important, you understand. Ahem.

Anyhoo, now I have to come up with an interview outift and anticipate questions they'll throw at me, have a mild panic about the fact I might get the job and then I'll be all set.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thank God for that!

I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed! I passed!

Oh, just incase anyone isn't sure, I passed my college course. Finally found out today after a month of waiting, due to an "administrative error". In other words, someone made a very big cock-up. Not only that, but I scored an A in my main project for the second year running. Mini-wave in celebration of me, people please! :-D

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Afternoon all.

Let's see, what have I been up to? Well, Saturday night I had a craving for Mexican food, so I made tortillas/fajitas (whatever they're called - I never said they were authentic!) with chicken, peppers, onions, homemade salsa and guacamole and sour cream. Delicious! Then it was off out to the pub with my girls N, AB, AF, R, LT and LT. Lovely evening of many long vodkas followed by pizza with bolognese sauce. They've redone the pizza place though and I'm not keen - there is now a weird metal fence thingy in the middle of the shop. It was great to catch up with AB again, as she is freshly back from a rather adventurous trip to America. The sky-diving photos scared the hell out of me. For some inexplicable reason there was much talk of Promiscous Boobies. Somehow, we got to that after talking about Nelly Furtado. What can I say? It made sense in conjunction with the alcohol.

Anyway, today is to be spent working on more applications (one of the posh delis are looking for staff) and trying to come up with some photography project for myself. I haven't done anything much for ages and I miss it. I might try and get some exotic fruit, like a dragonfruit maybe, and do some arty shots of that. Not really sure.

Right - off to do something constructive!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Rage.

OK, I don't think I have much to say in this one - my creativity has buggered off to Aruba or St Lucia or somewhere equally far away and not here on holiday. Will try to remedy that asap. Staring mindlessly at a keyboard is not much fun, you see.

Anyway, word of advice to all readers out there in the ether - never, I repeat never, go to Primark in the middle of the afternoon. It gives me the rage. It took all the self-control I had to stop me from shouting 'gonna fecking shift' to all the people who think it's completely appropriate to stop dead in the middle of the pavement or the aisle for a wee blether. On the upside, I did bag myself a pair of the covetable and highly saught after (apparently) black skinnies. Other than that I bought batteries and mascara. Thrilling. I was highly tempted by Naked's Rose Body Cream - but it's a tenner a pot so I couldn't really justify it. It smells just like oddfellows sweets and is shimmery, so of course I was tempted. Tomorrow, I might nip along to the big Asda - they're quite a few cute little bits in there before, so I might treat myself to one of them. Maybe the boy fit long-length white shirt.

Right, I have another bundle of applications to do, so please, please wish me luck. I think I'm going slowly insane with little to occupy me except watering my brother's pot plants.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A photo.

I took this the other day when I was looking for something creative to do to cheer me up. I took a few photos, but this was the only one I liked out the bunch.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Apparently, I have no balls (metaphorically speaking).

OK, it seems that I have no self-control. I can know that something is an astonishly bad idea, and that by doing it I'm giving up a little bit of dignity, and yet I blunder on regardless.

I've been taking stock and I seem to let people walk all over me. Of course, as the saying goes, it's hard for someone to not walk all over you when you lie down in front of them. I let people hurt me, treat me shockingly badly and basically make me feel rather shit and I say nothing. You see, it appears that I am just too good at seeing the other person's side of the argument. I start off, sure that I'm right in my convictions and slowly, but very surely, they wear me down till I start to think maybe they have a point. My gut instinct is telling me that the person is a knobstick/ bit of a moo (delete as appropriate) and yet I cave. Can someone please tell me why I do his? Or better yet, could they stand next to me and whack me with a big stick everythime it looks like I'm about to make the same mistake all over again?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Points of interest and other ramblings

Here are a couple of things I though people might find of interest:
  1. Here's an interview with Bill Bryson, taken from the Guardian newspaper. I was delighted to read he's already working on another book - though this is completely different to his previous work by the sound of it.
  2. This new Anthony Bourdain book looks like an interesting antidote to the current cosy view of food and celebrity chefs. I haven't read Kitchen Confidential yet either, so both are on my Amazon wish list, which is growing exponentially.

You know, I love books. I love them when they are crisp and fresh and new, filled with that new-book smell. But I love them when they're worn and dog-eared, and the love the owner has for them is shown in every wrinkle and turned down page. I love the sight of a book shelf, creaking under the weight of neatly stacked books. Incidentally, I sort books by author, and sometimes by subject. Anything more than that is wrong. I mean, people who alphabetise their books are just missing the whole point.

I finished The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid last night. Sniffle. I've decided I might go bananas and scrape the cash together for another new book. The question is, which one? There are so many to choose from. I'm thinking a foodie book, like the one mentioned above, but not a recipe book. Oh, God, it's too hard to choose! Maybe this one, or how about this one?

This is going to take some careful deliberation...