mrph: (Default)

...but despite the vile weather, I have an urge to make sorbet. This is probably because I've had a horrible throat bug since Whitby and I've almost exhausted my current supply.

To be fair, that's not as significant as it sounds: the only thing left in the freezer was a bit of mint sorbet that needed eating soon anyway. Not my finest attempt - too much sugar and not enough mint - but it certainly helped soothe my throat for a little while.

I've been meaning to try rosemary sorbet for a while and the 'green ginger' rosemary in my garden is thriving and might add an interesting gingery twist. Hmm.

Has anyone else been dabbling in ice cream or sorbet making this year?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Italy

May. 30th, 2012 08:43 am
mrph: (Default)

I was going to write something about the very pleasant long weekend I've just had in Italy, but then my sister phoned to check I was ok. I hadn't seen the news about the second earthquake.

So, yes, we're back safely. That was more or less where we were visiting, although the worst effects seem to be in small villages rather than Mantova and Bologna).

I hope that everyone we met there is ok after yesterday's events.

It's more than a little sobering to realise that if we stayed an extra day, we'd have been evacuated from our hotel in Bologna Monday morning.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Blank page

Apr. 30th, 2012 02:14 pm
mrph: (Nonstandard spacetime)
All comments on this entry are screened (and they'll all stay that way unless they specifically state they're ok to unscreen) and anonymous comments are allowed.

IP address tracking is switched off, by the way.

Tell me stuff.

Quinces

Oct. 2nd, 2011 11:51 pm
mrph: (Default)

This year I got my first crop of quinces from the garden. Tonight was my first attempt at cooking them...

Peeled, cored and roughly chopped two, then cooked them 'til tender in a covered pan with butter, sugar and lemon juice.

Nom. Not sure I got it entirely right in terms of sugar/lemon quantities, but very tasty nonetheless. :-)

(2 down, 15 to go...)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

mrph: (Whitby shades)

Supper today was my very first homegrown apple, a huge Peasgood's Nonsuch.

It's one of those 'dual purpose' varieties - supposed to be good for cooking, but also edible raw.

I can confirm that they are actually quite tasty. Which is probably just as well, as the tree may be big enough to give me more than one apple next year. :-)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Doctor Who

Sep. 11th, 2011 10:31 pm
mrph: (Default)

So... "The Girl Who Waited"...

Good, bad or a cause for concern...? I gather that this one has divided opinion...

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

mrph: (Fang)
Nigel Slater's 'Appetite' (which is generally rather good) has a recipe for "an earthy, meal-in-a-bowl-type soup" based around pulses. The standard version involves mint and lentils, but it's also got a bunch of suggestions for alternatives...

This one worked a little bit better than expected. A hefty dose of garlic, some chopped onion and some chopped unsmoked bacon, gently fried in olive oil. Then add the beans (soaked overnight and partly cooked), some parsley and enough chicken stock to cover.

Leave it to simmer for a bit, then throw in a small heap of chopped tarragon when you think the beans are just about half done. Keep simmering. When it's done, season well, add a splash of lemon juice and mix a heap of wilted steamed spinach into each bowl.

It's filling but not stodgy - and the tarragon worked surprisingly well. Given that I've got a glut of french tarragon and parsley in the garden at the moment, any excuse to use 'em up is a good thing, too... :-)

(The same book also suggests "cannelini and chilli" and "lentil, celery and mushroom" versions, both of which sound well worth a try...)
mrph: (Default)
Friends who haven't been to Leipzig have occasionally had to put up with my attempts to explain why the war memorial is quite so... memorable. It's partly the scale and it's partly the style.

The phrase "Indiana Jones architecture" has been used by a few people, although it might not be entirely fair (although....). There now appears to be a YouTube video that gives a decent idea of what I've been on about - although you still have to look carefully to work out just  how big some of the carvings and sculptures really are...


iPhone

Aug. 26th, 2011 09:00 pm
mrph: (Default)

Wow. The latest version of the LJ iPhone app doesn't actually suck at all. The last one I had - which was quite some time ago - most definitely did.

This one's got useful buttons for LJ-user links, cuts, bold/italic/strikethrough, uploading photos... and it let's me see my friends page in a useful layout.

It's just as easy to update by phone as by computer, it seems. Which is good, as I seem to have a less and less time to use an actual (non-work) computer these days... :-(

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

mrph: (Setzer (Amano version))
I'm not at work and this morning's going very slowly. It's grey and damp, mostly.

This afternoon is [livejournal.com profile] mhw 's funeral. As mentioned elsewhere by [livejournal.com profile] stgpcm , it'll be followed in a week or two by the event that Kay would want people to attend.

I didn't post anything to LJ or FB immediately after Kay died, although a lot of other people did. I wasn't entirely sure what to say, or very good at finding words to say it. 

Kay was one of the people I met in my first year at university; he was one of my best friends for almost 20 years.

If we hadn't met, I suspect my life would have gone in a very different direction. I can look around the room and immediately see a dozen things that wouldn't be there if I'd never met Kay - classical CDs, books (especially cookbooks), RPGs. Those are just the superficial things, the most obvious reminders.

The other things are hard to quantify. Lots of good times - including the reason that I no longer drink green chartreuse At All. Picking up the phone at an unsociable hour and talking me down from an incoherent state when I'd fried my brain on sleep deprivation and taurine. Reminding me - and others - that (metaphorical) underpants should not be worn on the outside.

Persuading me that I might actually like classical music if I gave it a chance. And that I might not be bad at cookery and might enjoy it - and that geeking about cookery was definitely fun. Being there as a friend and voice of reason when I was young and stupid and not entirely comfortable being me.

It's a very long list, much of it probably doesn't make much sense to anyone else, and I doubt it would fit into one LJ post anyway. I'm sure that time and memory have hidden away more than a few other things, too. They do that, sometimes.
 
I suspect most people who knew Kay have their own lists. A few of them have already appeared on LJ and FB, because Kay knew a lot of people, through a lot of different social circles. And general opinion (which I most definitely agree with) is that knowing Kay generally made your life better.

Time to stop ramblng now. Things to do.
mrph: (Default)
One for comic fans - very geeky but rather wonderful. 

The League of Extraordinary er... Authors?
mrph: (Arucard)
Quick question - does anyone happen to know a good German goth gig/club/event listing site?

[I'm in Koln (Cologne) next weekend and was wondering if anything's happening on Saturday night...?]

Soup

Apr. 19th, 2011 11:05 pm
mrph: (Arucard)
I try to make nettle soup at least once or twice each year, not least because I've got a huge patch of nettles at the end of the garden.

Tonight was this year's first attempt, using a recipe I hadn't tried before - with celeriac and rice (no potato), based on fish stock and topped with chunks of smoked haddock.

It works pretty well. I have to admit, I wasn't entirely sure about the fish stock to start with but, yep, it works.

The recipe's from the River Cottage fish book, by the way - one of those books that I really ought to use more often. :)

[As for the next batch... I've got a very different recipe in one of Jekka McVicar's books. Nettles with lovage, potatoes, milk, lemon thyme and marjoram... hmm...]

mrph: (Arucard)
First day in three weeks that I haven't had to set the alarm.

I may not wake up 'til Sunday.
mrph: (Default)
Ok, so I still haven't read the books.

However, I've just watched the 15 minute HBO preview - the first part of episode one. Mmm. Yes.

I may have to pay attention to this. :)
mrph: (Arucard)
...is that there's always a particular bloke on it, talking into his phone via hands free headphones, very loudly ranting about his day.

He doesn't work for my dear employers, which is probably just as well, as if he did then I'd have to kick him very hard. He works for a pharmaceutical place just down the road.

...and he has absolutely no concept of the sort of work topics you Do Not Rant About Loudly On A Bus, especially if it's clear that you work for a household name.

Aside from the usual "manager is an idiot" anecdotes, there are loud tales about security and safety near-misses, drugs that go missing or get mis-labelled and more than a few mentioned-by-name rants concerning their customers. Especially local customers.

Or possibly it's just me who gets wound up about such things. I guess that some workplaces don't have quite the same emphasis on DPA and "don't talk about the confidential stuff in public", but even so...
mrph: (Arucard)
I'm not scheduling my holidays sensibly this year. After WGW I was back at work for just one day, then off to Gatwick for a rather early flight on Friday.

The intention was to meet up with my sister, fly out to Bologna, then spend a couple of days in Mantova (Mantua) before heading up into the hills for a day, then going our separate ways (E's staying on in Verona for a few days, I'm flying back from Verona airport tomorrow).

It didn't entirely go to plan. Read more... )

Lent

Mar. 31st, 2011 09:43 pm
mrph: (Arucard)
So, this year I've given up Twitter, Facebook and coffee. These three may sound like a slightly odd mix, but from my perspective there's a single aim behind them: to slow down and relax.

Coffee fuels my working day. Tired and grumpy when I get to work? Want to get away from my desk for a minute? Trying to summon the energy to review a lengthy technical document or backtrack through the sequence of events behind a complaint or major incident? Coffee is always the answer. Lots of it. That's the way to do it.

Which leads neatly onto FB and Twitter. If I'm not relaxed, I get bored easily. I fidget. My mind rattles round in circles and needs something external to feed on, so that my thoughts don't tie themselves in knots.

...and checking FB or Twitter works nicely for that. Check what people are up to, post short sharp comments, then do it all over again five minutes later. With luck, there'll be replies to reply to. If not, there may still be photos to view and links to follow. Repeat as required. There goes lunch. Or most of the evening.

Using them in that way eats time and stops me doing other things. It also seems to discourage me from actually picking up a phone and talking to my friends.

So, away with all of this. Time to slow down - and to make better use of the time I do have.

None of the three are intrinsically bad things, and I'm looking forward to picking them all up again after Easter. But hopefully, when I do, I'll remember why I did this over Lent and I won't just fall straight back into the same old bad habits...


mrph: (Arucard)
Off to Bologna, that is. I've survived my one day back at work, packed things and managed to catch a train to London.

From there it's down to Gatwick and onto a (very early) flight. Fortunately, my body is still in Whitby mode and does not require sleep. Honest. My brain, on the other hand, is doomed.

From Bologna, it's on to Mantova... and then I fall over and sleep for most of Friday. :)


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