norfolkian: Holtzmann from Ghostbusters licking a gun (Default)
[personal profile] norfolkian posting in [community profile] weekly_food_challenge
I love lamb and I love asparagus. This was also one of the first meals I cooked since being away for two weeks and sometimes home-cooked food is a treat.

You could make it even more of a treat by using proper risotto rice, a splash of white wine and cheese in the risotto. I was just using what I had.

Serves 2

a splash of olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely sliced
100g long grain rice
1 tsp mixed dried herbs
500ml hot vegetable stock
100g asparagus, chopped into 2cm chunks
handful of frozen peas
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to season
2 lamb leg steaks

Heat the oil over a gentle heat, then add the onion and garlic. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes until starting to soften. Add the rice and herbs and stir well. Add the hot stock a ladle-full at a time and keep it cooking on a simmer. Once the rice has absorbed nearly all the stock from one ladle-full, add the next. Stir regularly. This should take 15-20 minutes - keep going until all the stock is used up or until the rice is cooked to your liking. [Or if you want to cheat, add all the stock at the beginning and let it simmer for approximately 20 minutes.] Towards the end of cooking add the asparagus, peas and lemon juice and cook for a further five minutes, stirring well. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, cook the lamb steaks in separate pan over a high heat. I didn't add any oil because there was enough fat round the steaks. Cook for a few minutes each side for rare steaks, and then longer for medium or well done.

I served mine with some wilted baby spinach leaves and a salad. 

The Blood is the Life for 29-05-2017

May. 29th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
miss_s_b: (Mood: Miserable Brian :()
[personal profile] miss_s_b
I am dangerously low on spoons, I have a bunch of things I'm committed to doing before the end of the month, electoral stuff is particularly pressing (I may be beginning to regret being on regional exec, and chair of Plus, and involved in national stuff too) and daughter is on half term holiday so I have less time to do everything.

I may be a bit absent for the next few days, is my point. And if I do turn up I may be irascible. Just so you all know.
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
OK, so I didn't like the last couple of weeks very much, but that? That has actively made me angry. Anyone who has been in an abusive relationship? Do not watch this episode.

What kind of cut for spoilers and lots of swearing ). And that's without even getting into the fact that more spoilers ).

So yeah, I am angry. I am especially angry given how good the first few episodes this series were. If it had all been crap I could have just shrugged and carried on. But this is... ugh. It feels like such a waste. A waste of Bill, and a waste of Erica, who was an awesome new character.
djm4: (Default)
[personal profile] djm4
2: a song you like with a number in the title

Ten Duel Commandments from Hamilton by Lin Manuel Miranda.

So, really early in this meme run, we get a song from Hamilton. It was always going to show up at some point - it's not much over a year since multiple friends with very different musical tastes raved to me about the musical, and I do in general like musicals anyway.

Ten Duel Commandments is one of the rare songs from Hamilton that can stand on its own outside the wider context of the musical. It's a beautifully-crafted exploration of the culture of duelling in late eighteenth century America, and weaves the disclosure of several crucial pieces of information through a counting motif warp that mirrors the classic pace count for a duel. And while it does stand on its own outside the bigger narrative, in the context of the musical both the song and the counting motif return multiple times at critical moments.

The song, particularly the title, consciously references Ten Crack Commandments by The Notorious B.I.G. - Lin Manuel Miranda says: 'So, I came up with the idea of doing Ten Dual Commandments because Ten Crack Commandments is a how-to guide for illegal activity in the 90s. And this is a how-to guide for illegal activities in the 1790s.'

If you haven't seen it, this Ham4Ham performance of the song outside the Theatre with stage manager Jason Bassett calling the shots is worth a look, because it's just delightful.

The Blood is the Life for 27-05-2017

May. 27th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
djm4: (Default)
[personal profile] djm4
Meme grabbed from [personal profile] sfred and [personal profile] ghoti

Meme list )

1: A song you like with a colour in the title:

This one took me a while to think of. I toyed with saying 'anything off Chris T-T's 9 Green Songs album', but none of the songs on the album have a colour in the title themselves, so this was clearly cheating.

In the end, I went for Fade to Grey, by Visage. Yes, grey's a colour.

This is just distilled essence of early Eighties, right down to the lyrics being jointly in English and French because why wouldn't you do that. I'm a lot more familiar with the song than with the video, which is a shame because I've just watched it now and the video turns out to be a thing of beauty by Godley & Cream right at the start of their video directing career.

As with any chart song pre-1983, I missed this completely at the time, but when I first heard it in the late eighties, it settled into my brain like dew from a morning mist, and has never really left.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Continuing the Hugo due diligence reading.

Um, not sure what I think about this book. Well-written, definitely. Captivating? I'd say "morbidly fascinating", I want to know more about the world, but I am not sure I want to now about the world. It's... well... in this case a sign of brilliant writing.
miss_s_b: (Fangirling: Cuddly Cthulhu)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
... the Manchester thing hit me pretty hard, and then yesterday I had a migraine to the extent where I could just about manage twitter on night mode in a darkened room but not much else.

So if I missed anything important, I'm sorry xx

Slightly Late Challenge 20: Treats

May. 26th, 2017 11:15 am
miss_s_b: (Mood: Surviving)
[personal profile] miss_s_b posting in [community profile] weekly_food_challenge
This week has been a bit rough in a lot of ways* - which is part of the reason for the challenge being late - so I think we all need a treat. You can interpret that word "treat" how you like: tell me your indulgences, your comfort foods, your foods you turn to when everything is awful.

And then we can all feel a bit better reading about them :)

* this is British for "a city near me had lots of its children blown up, politics remains screamingly frustrating, and I have had a horrific migraine", if you're wondering.

The Blood is the Life for 26-05-2017

May. 26th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

Garden addition

May. 25th, 2017 06:21 pm
nanila: nellie kim is awesome (purple nellie)
[personal profile] nanila
Back story: The garden behind our house is a very peculiar shape. It is quite wide at the back of the house for about 10 metres, then narrows abruptly to a very skinny path alongside the canal towpath hedge. It goes along like this for about 5 metres and then ends in a round, fenced-in patch about 4 metres in diameter. The round patch has a concrete pavement in a pretty circular pattern.

We’ve been trying to work out what to do with this odd space since we moved in. It’s a fair way from the house and not visible from the back door. Jacuzzi? Too much maintenance, plus it’s too far to trek on a horrible winter night. Bike shed? Functional but boring, and also bike sheds are ugly. This is a pretty space, ringed by climbing roses and vines.

A few weeks ago we went to the garden centre and found a display of cute playhouses with trimmed roofs and windows, and an interior upper floor reached by a child-sized ladder. The 6’x6’ models were on sale. As we had to carry the children away from them, literally, we thought, perhaps this is the optimal use for that round patch.

Thus far, we have been proved entirely correct, and the expense has been justified. Since it’s been installed, both children come home from nursery, dash through the house and out the back door into the playhouse to draw, play on the tablet or just run up and down the steps and in and out the doors. (There’s an adorable toddler-sized door out the side in addition to the larger front door.) The only things that brings them back to the house in 15-20 minutes are the requests for drinks and fruity snacks, which are then carried back up to the playhouse.

tl;dr version We got the kids a playhouse for the garden. Photos below!

[Keiki on a wooden chair outside the playhouse. “Oi* shut da door on moi sister!”]

+3 )

* The Black Country is strong with this one.
** There is a whole separate post brewing about how I simply do not understand Danger Mouse.

I am up to my ears in marking...

May. 25th, 2017 03:30 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila here, have a photo from yesterday evening instead of hearing me moan about that.

[Humuhumu and Keiki in their swimming costume & swim nappy respectively, eating ice creams in the paddling pool.]

Reminder: June challenge

May. 25th, 2017 02:26 pm
nou: The word "kake" in a white monospaced font on a black background (Default)
[personal profile] nou posting in [community profile] flaneurs

Just a quick reminder that the June challenge starts soon.

Anyone got any plans firmed up yet? I’ve organised a date to do my regular bus challenge (i.e. I.c) with [personal profile] bob, and I'm planning to do the next stage in my bit-by-bit West Croydon to London Bridge walk (amended version of II.a) too.

miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Last night we went to Manderley again the theatre in Leeds to see The Play That Goes Wrong. It was funny to the extent that my stomach hurts from laughing so hard this morning. I very much recommend it if you are in need of an evening of jollity - and who isn't, these days?

I think my favourite character was the corpse (no, really), but it was a close run thing between him and the stage-hand-who-ends-up-getting-roped-into-the-play, or the corpse's brother, whose layers of performance were very impressive - acting a bad actor who plays up to a large audience excellently.

The recalcitrant set, of course, is a character in it's own right. Whoever designed it is a genius. Bits alternately fall off or unexpectedly don't fall off; doors swing open or fail to open, depending on what they are not supposed to do, etc. The timing of all these things is vital, and it was absolutely spot on every time, right down to the small spoiler ) at the end.

The po-faced actor/director-playing-the-inspector's small spoiler ) He reminded me of nothing so much as my English teacher at school, who used to sweat blood pushing recalcitrant children into the school play, and inevitably things went wrong as they do in these situations.

The one note of caution I would sound is that it doesn't pass Bechdel. There are two female characters, but they don't talk to each other at all (although at one point they talk over each other and small spoiler )). There's no real reason why the Butler, or the Sound Engineer, or even the Inspector couldn't be women, they just... aren't. This is a bit of a contrast from the Agatha Christie plays which this is clearly riffing off, which are always scrupulously gender balanced...

That was the only thing that really bothered me, though. Otherwise I had an excellent time, the performances were good, the stage set was excellent, and the comic timing was first rate. If you get the chance, go see this, particularly if you've already seen and are familiar with The Mousetrap, to which there are many many refernces. Also, you need to get in there ten minutes or so early. No spoilers, but it's worth it.

Dodgems, Pi, feathers

May. 24th, 2017 09:54 pm
squirmelia: (fuchsia)
[personal profile] squirmelia
It was Thursday when I rode a dodgem, stared at Pi and spinning feathers.

"Don't lick the steering wheel," the health and safety regulations for the Dodgems of the Mind insisted. I signed that I wouldn't and filled in a personality test, in an old fire station. "What's your current personality?" it asked and I ticked, "amazed". I gave my answers to an assistant and then was matched with a dodgem, which spoke to me a bit, telling me to drive onwards, but seemed quite reluctant to move. An assistant told me I could lick the steering wheel if I really wanted. Screens appeared above me, with faces on them, talking sometimes, as I went around the course.

"You're wonderful," one said.


I walked through the rain to get to a gallery, and then inside, I stared at a picture that was made up of the digits of Pi, and looked at the patterns, the darkness and the light. I stared at flashing screens with patterns that made me think of how hacking is portrayed in old films.


In another exhibition, in another gallery, I watched feathers attached to wheels spin around and around, and met a polar bear with feathers.

6/5/15: Kindergarten report

May. 24th, 2017 10:11 pm
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[personal profile] tla
Before the LJ migration, I used this journal mostly as a diary of life-with-Sophie. No reason not to continue I suppose...

Since last I wrote, we have all moved to Vienna, settled into a new neighborhood and new routines, and Sophie has got most of the way through her final year of kindergarten / preschool / Vorschule. Yesterday afternoon we had the semiannual parent-teacher meeting with her teachers there.

Well. As [personal profile] mpk  said elsewhere, one almost wishes they'd said "she's doing great, a bit above average" and left it at that.

None of it was bad news - we do, after all, know what our kid is like. They led off with definite good news, which is that she has made good progress this year in learning to tolerate group activities. They also pointed out how musical she is - not only that she is singing to herself constantly, but that she's got some serious natural vocal talent that should be allowed to flourish. She is also crazy about what we call "making" but what in the US would be called arts & crafts. Every week we take about an Ikea bag's worth of paper creations home from school, and the house is just as full with things she draws and colors and constructs here. The teachers say that they've never seen a kid make the sorts of things she comes up with, both in terms of intended creation and in terms of construction techniques. She's still pretty convinced that, given enough sticky tape, paper, and cardboard, she can eventually get to the moon.

The basic gist, though, was that she is "extremely individualistic" and "has a completely different internal structure from the other children." Even in Montessori-land, which is so much about learning by doing (and boy does she like to actively do things, rather than watching or listening), the activities that engross the others simply don't capture her attention. I've observed this too - she picks up new ideas or skills or knowledge very quickly, but at some point short of "sustained mastery" she will just lose interest. When we put her in piano lessons last year her teacher wanted to tear his hair out for the way she would grasp in a few minutes what took other kids a few weeks, but then be right back at square one the next week because she didn't care to retain it. Even now, when she counts up past 12 the sequence tends to go 11, 12, 15, 14, 17... and when I stop her and say "what comes after 12?" she'll roll her eyes and say "13" but she just doesn't think it's important. This also means that she has done very little of anything this year that even by Montessori standards would count as structured learning - she recognizes the materials from her old classroom, and doesn't seem to think that they hold anything new for her, and her teachers haven't been able to disabuse her of this.

The teachers didn't entirely explain what they meant by a "completely different internal structure", and it's hard for me to articulate what I understood of it. It is to do with all of the above, and with the vocabulary she uses, and with the things that interest her, and with the questions she asks, and with her drive to create. Another example they gave is the way that, when the class goes out to see a show at the theater, the other kids are engrossed in the story but Sophie is engrossed in the production, and will march up to the actors after the show and grill them about how and why they were doing whatever they were doing on stage. It's clear to me that she is absorbing ideas for how she can make similar productions of her own.

And so, even though she's mostly made her peace with occasionally being asked to participate in what the other kids are doing, her teachers were clearly worried about her prospects for primary school. They told us of their concern that she was not ready to cope with a classroom where the kids are sitting at desks and doing what the teacher asks them to all day long. Happily for everyone, the nightmare scenario of being constantly summoned to school about our uncontrollable problem child, in those circumstances, had already occurred to us, and we were able to get her into the one mixed-age (grades 1-4) Montessori-style classroom at the local public school. We've only met the teachers in passing on the open days, but the visiting day for new kids to the class is on 19 June and we will have some more idea then what the next year(s) will be like. Still, I know that there is simply no predicting how any teacher will cope with Sophie until they actually find themselves having to do so. Watch this space...

The Blood is the Life for 24-05-2017

May. 24th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine

This is a book about swords. It is pretty much just about swords and swordsmanship, through history and in the modern day. I don't think I cam say much else about it, apart from possibly "there are some things that Hank Reinhardt say about some swords that I do not agree 100% with".

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