Archive for December, 2009

Christmas Feast

I was really pleased with how Christmas Dinner turned out. Mum made our customary Christmas Cranberry Chestnut Ring which is made with leeks, carrots, onions, cranberries, and chestnuts with a vein of feta cheese through the middle. The outside is then wrapped with pastry and decorated elaborately with pastry holly leaves and sprigs of rosemary and cranberries for colour. Never fails to gain a gasp of awe when it’s brought to the table. It’s a stunning piece and knocks seven shades of sh*t out of a dry old turkey carcass any day.

For the meat eaters I made Christmas Kebabs but substituted beef for smoked ham. This was ideal particularly for my nana who struggles to feed herself these days, so the bitesize chunks of meat and veg on the kebab sticks was perfect as it didn’t require use of a knife and fork.

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/166641/Christmas-kebabs

To accompany I made:

Red Cabbage with Apple and Raisins which was spiced with a very festive flavour of cinnamon.

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/137549/Red-cabbage-with-apples-and-sultanas

Maple Glazed Sesame Parsnips

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/137914/Glazed-parsnips-with-sesame-seeds-and-maple-syrup

Lemon, Ginger and Honey Stir Fried Sprouts with Cashews – I used baby frozen sprouts which I warmed through in some boiling water briefly before cutting in half and stirfrying. They turned out so nicely that 3 of us who are avid sprout haters actually ate more than one (and enjoyed them).

http://www.goodtoknow.co.uk/recipes/281252/Stir-fried-sprouts-with-honey–ginger-and-lemon

Butter and Rosemary Roast Potatoes

Dessert was courtesy of a Jamie Oliver recipe and went down an absolute treat. Winter Pudding Bombe looks stunningly elaborate but is actually very simply put together with Pannetone, icecream, pistachios and glace fruit. I also used some frozen fruits of the forest as I had trouble sourcing different glace fruits.

http://www.channel4.com/food/recipes/chefs/jamie-oliver/winter-pudding-bombe-recipe_p_1.html

Today I used the left over red cabbage & raisin dish and blended it with chickpeas, lemon juice, cumin, tahini and olive oil to make the best tasting hummous which Wil and I scoffed with some veggie sticks, crackers, cheese and a glass of red wine. A welcome treat after the bingeathon we had yesterday!

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Ain’t No Diva Like A Gay Diva

Finally a snippet of news that left me feeling rather pleased for a change. I don’t normally *do* news but I couldn’t help noticing a link flickering away at the side of a page which led me to read a story about how Boy George has been refused suspension of his probation order  so that he can partake in the last Big Brother series. A fact in itself that left me confused because I thought they’d had the last one already – assuming this is the celeb BB?.

Anyway – too bloody right mate. Why should he be allowed to partake? I get a bit fed up with these buggers, especially the celeb buggers who think they’re above everyone else and deserve special treatment. You’re on parole, you’re on parole because you repeatedly cocked up, not least, handcuffed a man to the wall in your house thus imprisoning him.

What justice would it be to allow Georgy Boy to go against parole and continue to make money and raise his profile?

No justice – that’s what. And in a country where there is very rarely justice served to the right people, I for one am quite pleased that someone in an awful wig made the right decision

Boy George – take your silly hat, handcuffs and your ankle device and behave.

It’s for your own good – we don’t really want to hurt you.

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2009 Facebook Status Collage

So I finally gave up fighting the universe and got stuck into Facebook. What tipped me over the edge was having that damn FB application already installed on my mobile when I got a new one – way too convenient.

Anyway, this little widget claims to summarise your year in FB status’ – in actual fact this is more like a summary of a week if we’re honest.

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Nightmare Before Christmas

Well it’s that cheery time leading up to the Christmas Holidays when people are being made redundant from their jobs, money leaves your pocket faster than it goes in and people in shopping centres turn into total assholes by dismissing any scrap of manners they were raised with. To add to the pleasure the weather turns dreary and freezing, food and sweets are the focal point of every waking moment and there seems to be an endless stream of jobs to do in addition to the ones you normally have. Ahhh… magic.

Hello all, the Grinch here.

So blogging material has been at a bit of a low recently and when anything remotely interesting has happened I haven’t had time nor inclination to sit and write it down.

Wil and I entered a Duathlon together as a mixed team. Duathlon is a Run/Bike/Run event – Wil did the biking and I did the running. There were about 60 entrants altogether comprised of 30 individuals and 30 teams split into female/male/mixed.

Out of the 30 teams we took 6th place and out of the 11 mixed teams we took 2nd place. A brilliant result that neither of us thought for a minute we’d achieve!

We traded our Mazda in! Wil has hated our new Mazda ever since we drove it off the lot just under 2 years ago. Since I’m the one who drives it all the time anyway and I didn’t particularly have a major hatred against it I insisted we keep it. I managed to keep that going until a couple of weeks ago when we dropped into a Honda dealership ‘for a look’ and ended up doing a deal. If it gives that angry midlander one less thing to piss and whinge about then I’m currently all for it. Now, mark my words – he’ll start harping on about trading the other car in sooner than you can blink.

Work wise I’ve applied for a new job within my department, managing the team I’m in and expanding it to take on a few new posts. It won’t be hugely different to what I do now but it would make a lot of the extra stuff I do official and the pay will reflect that. The awkward side of it is that the people I work along side now would actually report to me if I get the job – but I’m hoping we’ll all be fine. These aren’t people who need ‘managing’ and we should be able to tick along like the grown ups we are.

Changes are happening at Wil’s work by the sounds of it. Quite a few people have been made redundant as the company seems to be pulling things towards corporate HQ in Germany. No one really seems to know what’s going on and every day there are new stories of someone else being let go or more recently people in high up positions being shunted over into purpose created ‘bunce’ jobs. The kind they hope you get fed up in and leave on your own accord so they don’t have to pay you off. I’m not sensing that Wil’s job is directly inline for horrid things, however there could be some sort of restructuring and without knowing who he’s going to be reporting to it leaves things open to speculation. And speculation, particularly from Wil’s gene pool is rarely of the positive kind but more to the tune of ‘D’ that’s D for DOOOOOM DOOOM DOOOOOOOOOOOM.

Cameron decided to single-handedly attempt to set fire to our house. He took the opportunity of Wil and I being out of the house for just over an hour one late afternoon/early evening to light a candle and then proceed to carry it upstairs, in the dark and set it on the side of the bath. When it slipped off the bath and onto the brand new bath mat and set it on fire he picked it up and threw it into the bath, extinguishing the flame and scolding the bottom of the plastic bathtub at the same time.

The first I knew of this was when I saw a large wet brown mark on my new bathmat and although he denied any knowledge of it to begin with he eventually told Wil what had happened. I’m hoping he sufficiently shocked the shit out of himself enough to never do that again – because with the nearest un-manned fire station about 12 minutes drive away there is not a chance in hell any part of this house would be salvageable if it went up in flames. And if the 11 year old went up with it, well, it doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened.

On a brighter note Wil gave me my Christmas present early – a beautiful matte black steel string acoustic guitar. I learned to play the guitar when I was 5 and continued taking lessons until I was 11. When I went to high school there were no instructors for guitar so I was left on my own with it and ended up not taking any interest. Recently Cam has been taking lessons at school and we have a little kiddie size guitar kicking around which was bought for a member of my family by his dad for £10 from a book club in the 70’s! Think elastic bands stretched around a Kleenex box and you have the tune this thing puts out. It really does sound horrendous however, it’s been great for practicing chords and getting my finger movements back on making it even better to strum away on something that sounds as lovely as the new guitar does. So far I’ve nearly perfected Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb and Wish You Were Here, Outkast – Hey Ya, Johnny Cash’s cover of (NIN’s) – Hurt, and I’m working on Oasis – Wonderwall and a number of other tracks. If I could nail quick changes to those pesky barre chords I’d be well away but it’s going to take much more practice and I imagine ten times as many blisters on my fingers. I’d also forgotten that guitarists fingernail design you have to sport. Long nails on the right hand and none on the left! What a great look!

We did have some fun on Friday. I organised our departments Christmas Lunch at a fantastic pub not too far from our office. The food was great it was just unfortunate that I was also due to attend Wil’s works do that evening which also included a large sit down 3 course meal. Planning carefully I begrudgingly only ate half of each course I was given at the lunch time meal so that later I wouldn’t have to spend the entire evening sucking in my burgeoning gut within the jade coloured snug fitting satin dress I’d bought for the occasion. It was a shame that the food at the evening meal was more like airline grub but this was more than made up for by the great people, good conversation and fun atmosphere brought about by an in-house band formed by a handful of Wil’s colleagues. They had a few people from around the department join them to play various instruments for select songs – Wil played drums for ‘Back In Black’ by ACDC (I think) and you’d have never known that he doesn’t play drums for a band it was brilliant.

Right, enough rambling. Now that I’m fairly caught up I hope to update a little more regularly. If you don’t hear from me soon, just assume that the house has been burned down, we’ve lost our jobs and I’m busking on the underground with the only possession I rescued from the fire before leaping out of an upstairs window onto the bonnet of the new car. If it’s going to happen to anyone!……

Bah Humbug!

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Taking The Piss

I had to ditch the Running Club sprinting session briefly this evening to answer the dire and URGENT call of nature. Unfortunately in my haste to get to the end of THE LONGEST PISS IN THE WORLD whilst squatting in a patch of woodland between a main road and an office block – trying to dodge car headlights and nighttime dog walkers, I managed to pee on the back of my trousers and partly in my shoe. Thank goodness they were black trousers and it was dark. What’s that? More info than you needed?

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