Thursday, September 22, 2005

Worcestershire Sauce

Pronounciation
First things first - so that's Woostershire.
Proof from Dictionary.Com http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=worcestershire
Not Wor-cess-tah-shire
Like the Americans might think.....e.g. http://www.factmonster.com/ipd/A0741269.html

Ingredients
Next - hmmm - it's not exactly vegetarian..anchovies layered in brine, tamarinds in molasses, garlic in vinegar, chilies, cloves, shallots, and sugar

Fascinating times for Worcestershire Sauce
Firstly and most importantly - in Cartoons....
South Park - episode Pink Eye
Source: http://sp24-7.lambtron.com/sp107guide.htm
Russian space station Mir crashes to Earth, killing Kenny on impact. At the morgue, Worcestershire sauce is accidentally mixed in with the embalming fluid, causing Kenny to become a brain-eating zombie. He attacks the morticians, turning them into zombies, which is diagnosed as "pink eye" by the town physician. The boys don't seem to care about the fact that Kenny is alive, much less a zombie. Chef figures out that the epidemic is not pink eye, and warns the boys about it. They find the Worcestershire sauce bottle in the morgue, which has a warning label about embalming. While Kyle calls the hotline on the bottle, Stan and Cartman start decapitating all the zombies. The hotline operator tells Kyle that only the original zombie needs to be destroyed, and all the others will revert to normal. Kyle then takes a chainsaw and cuts Kenny lengthwise ("Oh my God, I killed Kenny!").

And then some moments in history...
An advertisement in 1919 falsely claimed that Worcestershire sauce was "a wonderful liquid tonic that makes your hair grow beautiful."

In a famous photograph taken on September 30, 1938, of Neville Chamberlain having dinner with Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Edouard Daladier, a bottle of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sits on the table

In 1942 the War Department, using emergency powers, took possession of the Midland Road factory. A new home had to be found for the Lea & Perrins' barrels of maturing sauce. It was decided to move the vats to local public houses. As soon as the locals saw the barrels arrive they assumed it was a delivery of beer (which was unavailable at the time). The landlords' insistence that the barrels contained Worcester's favourite sauce fell on deaf ears and angry scenes ensued. The only way to calm the crowds was to remove the tops from the barrels, as soon as the lids were removed the distinctive smell reached the noses of the crowds and disappointed, they dispersed.

The Bloody Mary was created in 1921, when Fernand Petiot, a barman in Paris added Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce to vodka and tomato juice.

Origins
In 1835, Lord Marcus Sandys returned from India, and asked Lea and Perrins to prepare a sauce from a recipe he had brought back from India. Lea & Perrins thought the result was terrible. They sent the barrel they had made for themselves to the cellar. About 2 years later while 'spring cleaning', they came across the wooden barrel, and decided to taste it again before throwing it out. They found that the sauce had mellowed, and was delicious. They purchased the recipe from Sandys, and began to sell it commercially in 1838.

Related links
http://homecooking.about.com/library/weekly/aa070599.htm http://www.leaperrins.com/selecta.php http://www.bbc.co.uk/herefordandworcester/culture/2002/02/lea_perrins.shtml http://www.foodreference.com/html/fworcestershiresauce.html http://www.factmonster.com/ipd/A0741269.html http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=worcestershire http://sp24-7.lambtron.com/sp107guide.htm http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A126631

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Portsmouth Celebrities

(This is a bit out of date as i wrote it on my web page in 1993)


OK OK OK. everyone who lives here KNOWS full well all the proper celebs that have anything to do with Portmouth (Charles Dickens, Peter Sellers blah blah blah) But. This is paying homage to the lesser famous people..and you'll see what I mean. Read on.

btw - if you don't know the more famous people - skip to the bottom - where everyone who has anything to do with portsmouth is listed. OK?

Roland Orzabal
"Roland was born in Leigh Park, Havant, UK. (on a council estate) on August 22, 1961."
So the guy out of Tears For Fears (not Curt - not the one for the ladies) - anyway - the guy with the talent was from flipping Leigh Park... Roland Orzabal

Amanda Lamb
'Scottish Widows' woman - and 'A Place in the Sun' - but also a quick Google for Amanda Lamb shows she is - um - how to put this - well I think the adult content filter may be set off by some of the sites she is on. Amanda Lamb

Marcus Patric
A Hollyoaks bloke (Ben) is apparently from Gosport Ben out of Hollyoaks

Tom Oliver
Lou Carpenter from Neighbours - Seems that Lou Carpenter is something to do with Fareham - a friend told me: "the guy (tom oliver) who plays lou carpenter in neighbours went to school in fareham." Tom Oliver

Raji James... (guy from Eastenders)
Some guy from Eastenders is also from Portsmouth... Raji James

6th roughist pub in the UK - that one up by mountbatten.....
According to Sky One on 19/01/04 Mother Shipton

Stephen Marcus
Guy who's done quite a bit of stuff - including Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels (as Nick The Greek) and Red Dwarf (as Bear Strangler McGee in Gunmen of the Apocalypse) Stephen Marcus

Roger Black
"Roger Black was born in Portsmouth in 1966. Educated at Portsmouth Grammar school, he successfully gained a place to read medicine at Southampton University in 1985. " Roger Black

Nicholas Lyndhurst
Born 21 April 1961, Emsworth, Hampshire Nicholas Lyndhurst

Davy Jones
Quoting a friend again: "Davy Jones from The Monkees used to live somewhere near fareham because he came to our house to buy hay for his horses"

Fred Dinage
Is indubitably from somewhere near by - but as the Knowhere guide shows - people seem to argue exactly where

And now the really famous people
So that was the semi celebrities - there are some real famous people who are either from Portsmouth or have Portsmouth connections. The following are taken mainly from http://www.klif.demon.co.uk/pomp/pomppers.htm
Here are some of my favourite:
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
Born in Portsmouth in 1806 - Engineer dude - The Clifton suspension bridge - the Great Western Railway - the Tamar bridge ...
Charles Dickens
Born in Portsmouth in 1812
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Set up as a medical General Practitioner in Southsea from 1882. He wrote his first Sherlock Holmes story A Study in Scarlet in 1886 while still at Southsea. He left in 1889
Rudyard Kipling
(1865-1936) from the age of 6 to 12, was boarded with an aunt in Portsmouth
H.G.Wells
Was apprenticed by his mother to Hyde's Drapery at Southsea, in 1881.
Peter Sellers
Born in 1925 in a flat in Castle Road, Southsea.
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Very very hard to justify this one - but basically did some body-building exhibitions at the Wedgewood Rooms and South Parade Pier in Southsea.

Had enough? If not try the following two searches on uk.imdb.com. These will give you famous film actors in:
Hampshire
http://uk.imdb.com/BornWhere?Hampshire,%20UK
and more specifically, Portsmouth
http://uk.imdb.com/BornWhere?Portsmouth,%20Hampshire,%20UK
Right - well I've just about had enough of this one - but if there is anyone I've missed - feel free to tell me.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Council Estates

All right. OK. Calm down. Apparently lots of places claim to have Europe's largest council estates. All these places seem to be in Britain though - does the rest of Europe have Council Estates?

Also lots of other places claim to have had the biggest one at some time in the past. Those currently claiming it are:
"Becontree estate, the largest council housing estate in Europe."
http://www.accordplc.com/easyview.asp?recid=215

"Europe’s largest council estate in the Kingstanding ward. Birmingham"
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/vote2001/results_constituencies/constituencies/054.stm

"Leigh Park in Portsmouth - the largest council estate in Europe"
http://www.hants.gov.uk/hampshire-musicspace/Therapists.html

"largest council estate in Europe in Hull "http://www.nestafuturelab.org/events/past/dc_pres/cd01.htm

Oh - look - found one that sounds French:
"It is claimed that Val-Fourré is Europe's largest council estate, housing 28,000 people "
http://www.00dr.com/article.php3?id_article=892

A couple selection of past Estates who claim the title...
"Clifton is a large purpose-built Council Housing Estate situated to the south of the City of Nottingham. When it was built (1951-1955) it was the largest Council estate in Western Europe."
http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/coun/department/housing/Wedo/Council_Prop/hs_clifton.asp

"Southwark Council during the post-war building boom created the largest council estate in Europe – The Aylesbury Estate."
http://www.designcommunity.com/discussion/23524.html

I give in. I don't know who is right...

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cheesecake

When I eventually get on with it, this is just going to be a recipe. First however I'm going to discuss how hard it was to come by the recipe. When I was a little kid my folks got me a recipe book called "The Blue Peter Book Of Gorgeous Grub". This book was compiled by Blue Peter (that's a surprise then) from the best of 33,250 recipes sent in to by their viewers. This book was so cool it was even edited by Biddy Baxter and dates from 1980 when Simon Groom was a presenter.
Anyway - I had it when I was little (I guess around 7 or 8) and didn't really use it for much except a recipe for chocolate biscuits and a recipe for "No Bake Banana Cheesecake". The book was so overused for this recipe that it fell to pieces. My mum even used the recipe when she was running a tea shop. When my parents moved house, my mum decided it was time to throw the remaining pieces of the book away. This coincided with me realising that I really wanted the recipe for the cheesecake. Not that I actually eat cheesecake - but that's beside the point - I still wanted the recipe. So my mum told me she'd chucked the book away. No problem I thought - the trusty Internet won't let me down. But shockingly it did - lots of recipes for cheesecake but I couldn't find a recipe for one you didn't have to cook that didn't contain gelatin (which is off limits if you're a vegetarian). Right then, I thought, I'll try and see if I can get hold of a copy of the book. Several problems there - couldn't remember what it was called and there are quite a few Blue Peter books around. When I finally found out its name, obviously next hurdle was that it was out of print. I found a "marketplace" seller on Amazon who'd sell it to me for some extortionate sum. Which she did - but when it arrived I was at work so I had to pick it up from the Post Office, where it transpired that she had not paid the postage and so I had to pay an extra £1.40 to collect it (in fairness to the seller - she refunded that when I complained).
Anyway - boring drivel aside - I now have the book and think I should share the recipe with the world in case I lose it again.
Here goes:

No-Bake Banana Cheesecake
Ingredients:

BASE
4 ounces (100 grammes) crushed digestive biscuits
2 ounces (50 grammes) melted butter
1 ounce (25 grammes) caster sugar
TOPPING
5 fluid ounces (150 millilitres) double cream
3 ounces (75 grammes) cream cheese
1 tablespoons ( 1 x 15 millilitre spoon) lemon juice
1 ounce (25 grammes) caster sugar
3 firm bananas
1 ounce (25 grammes) browned flaked almond to decorate

Method:
Crush biscuits with a rolling pin and mix with butter and sugar.Press into an 8 inch (20 centimeters) sponge tin or flan dishPut in fridge for 1/2 - 1 hourBeat lemon juice into the cheese and gradually beat in the cream until smoothAdd Sugar and fold in sliced bananasSpoon over the biscuit base and sprinkle with almonds
Serves 6

BTW - my personal, additional recommendation is to leave out the bananas (keeps better)

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Whitby

Right-Oh. Whitby. When I was a child my career aspiration was to run a sweety shop in Whitby. Don't know when I lost it. Seems a perfectly sensible aspiration to me. Maybe not a sweety shop anymore. Maybe an off license. But Whitby none the less.

My parents took us all to a guest house when I was a child - I had some jeans with metal studs on the back pocket - after several days of wondering what the strange lines that were appearing all over the wallpaper were - we realised it was me sliding my jeans over the wall. Stupid child.
Been back subsequently - stayed in tents on the campsite. Also good.

So what makes Whitby good. Primarily all the Dracula crap... Black dogs, ships, you know. Bram Stoker apparently:
"spent a holiday here before being inspired to write about Dracula arriving in England via a shipwreck on Whitby's shore. He enters the country as a big black dog that runs up the long stairway from the river to the abbey. "

Those stairs. Blimey. 199 of them I believe. That doesn't sound very many does it? It feels like loads. There are lots of resting places on the way up which I believe were for the pallbearers to stop and catch their breath. I've had some belting arguments climbing up these steps. I think its also safe to say that I wouldn't take them on, wearing, say, my brown boots.

What else - well there are those big whale bones, through which you can get a good view of the abbey. Abbey is pretty flipping old - founded in 7 century. Suffering from acid rain a bit. Whale bones are because whaling was an important industry in Whitby during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

It's heavily associated with Captain Cook too.
"In 1746 James Cook, a youth aged seventeen, came to be apprenticed to Captain John Walker of Grape Lane, Whitby. Here he learnt the seaman's skills, sailing out of Whitby on Walker's ships."

My top tip is - if you're staying in the same guesthouse we stayed in (nope no idea which one it was so you'd probably better take one wherever you stay) - anyway - top tip - take a whisk. I was put in charge of making pudding - I bought a tin of fruit and some cream - I was little - give me a break. Anyway I was quite devastated to have my plans shattered by lack of whisk back at the ranch and spent about an hour whisking the sodding cream with a fork. Also, probably goes without saying - but don't rub your bum along the walls if you're wearing jeans. Finally, and the absence of vinyl these days probably negates this comments, but if you're trying to buy - say - your first ever single - from woolworths and they have the object of your desire particularly firmly clamped in - its probably for display purposes only - do not spend 5 minutes trying to extricate it from its plastic brackets. You may be able to guess that I can only give that advice with hindsight.

So in short - Whitby's great. Scarborough on the other hand, which is about 20 miles away, sucks.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Teatime

"breakfast, dinner, tea" or "breakfast, lunch and dinner". Which are you...?
lets start with the easy stuff.
Here's how it works for me: "Breakfast" in the morning. "Dinner" at midday and "Tea" in the evening. "Tea" may be consumed at any time after 5pm - it does not have to wait til 10pm in order to be socially acceptable. No problem with having it at 10pm - as long as it is understood that 5pm is also OK. (That bit is dedicated to a sooooooper posh flat mate I had once, whose mum reprimanded me for have "supper" at 5pm - but "supper" is a different matter entirely and I don't want to confuse the issue at this early stage - that bit comes later.)
I think its pretty acceptable to say "lunch" as the midday meal. And drop "dinner" all together - "dinner" is not an evening meal. "Tea" is an evening meal. The only way "Dinner" becomes the evening meal is if you haven't eaten all day - then it becomes acceptable - but that's just cos your running late.
Now the fundamentals are dealt with - this is the bit that confuses me....
Where does "supper" fit in. Posh people have "supper".
Do they have dinner and supper. or do they have afternoon tea and supper. if so, when do they have "dinner" - at midday?? But posh people aren't allowed to have "Dinner" at midday - so does that mean they don't use the term. Are there two classes of posh people - those that have "Dinner" and those that have "Supper". Oh I just looked that up - apparently so. i.e Breakfast-lunch-dinner is a bit more plebian than breakfast-lunch-supper - which fits with the posh girl's mum's statement. And how do posh people get away with having school dinners at midday? And what about Christmas dinner - that's the midday meal isn't it - hypocrites.
And is "luncheon" more posh than " lunch"? Sounds it - until you think of "luncheon meat" - which is - frankly - Spam.
So "Supper" is super posh - but then it's also super-unposh - like "fish supper" from the fish 'n' chip shop.
And then - super posh people have lots of other meals too - like elevensies/brunch and afternoon tea and high tea. So why aren't they all really obese -("really obese" was not the first way I thought of expressing that sentiment - but I'm trying not to swear...)
Right. well.. clear as mud. I'm off.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Marmite

One week til holiday in Menorca... But lets talk about Marmite:

Well there are a lot of sites devoted to Marmite. I think its pretty fair to say that none of them include a picture of my favourite boots, so I feel I'm adding a little something to the online Marmite community by adding that picture here.

Quintessentially British. The BBC web site describes it as "Viscous in consistency, it is deceptively like crude oil in appearance. " - possibly not the most tempting of descriptions. Made by adding salt to the leftover yeast from the brewing process - super rich in lots of B vitamins. Its been around for 100 years. No not the same jar.

I love it, if you haven't guessed. Which I presume I can thank my parents for - I read somewhere that if you haven't tried it before you're 3, you'll never develop a taste for it. It is particularly good with a hangover and I remember using it as smelling salts at some point in the past - to ward of the evil smell of green ginger wine. Contradicting advice elsewhere on the internet, I think it is pretty good with wholemeal bread too, and the bread doesn't have to be toasted. It can be used to good effect in cookery, for example if you've buggered up your onion gravy its good for adding taste and colour to it.

It is worth pointing out that too much Marmite has the unfortunate side affect of making you feel sick - something I discovered at about 16 when I had a spoonful of it. I think that must be something to do with the high salt content.

Marmite alternatives:
Bovril - I have no opinion on that, I'm vegetarian so I've never tried it.
Vegemite - took me a while to get the taste for this one - its OK. Only ever seen it in stupidly small jars though.
Supermarket own brand Yeast Extract - good if you're broke. Best left alone if you're not

Other links for more considered and technical Marmite info.
www.marmite.com
www.ilovemarmite.com
www.ihatemarmite.com
www.bbc.co.uk
www.guardian.co.uk
www.dullmen.com
www.accomodata.co.uk
www.unilever.co.uk
www.britishdelights.com

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Coffee & TV

Applied for the library job today...

So anyway - Coffee & TV. Well not really. Actually this is about Coffee versus Tea. But "Coffee & TV" is a mighty fine Blur tune so thought I'd mention it in passing.
So Coffee is great. Strong coffee. Instant is OK - as long as its freeze dried - and not granulated crap - especially nothing "mellow". Stuff bought from cheapo supermarkets, with any chicory content at all should be thoroughly avoided. As should anything that is decaffeinated. Black is good - but stains your mug, And your teeth. Black is also good if you're student and can't put the effort in to buy any milk. White is good if the coffee is cheap.
Coffee is good if you sit beside a computer looking for inspiration all day. Its also good if you're walking around a cold zoo in the rain.
Don't understand people who don't drink coffee.
Caffeine however does make you - erm - perspire, so should be avoided if you're wearing, say a yellow silky shirt that will show it really obviously. Especially as you get older - as the effects seem to increase.
Tea is not good. Tea is boring. Tea is pretty rancid drunk black and only suitable for hangovers when drunk white. The whole tea process is so much more involved than nice straightforward coffee. Even if you're just putting your teabag in the cup and pouring water on, you then have to dispose of the tea bag. And yes you really do. DON'T just leave it in the sink you scumbag. That is foul.
Also milk first versus milk last - I am reliably informed that in the land of teabags it has to be milk last. If you put the milk in before the hot water, it prevents the teabag from diffusing properly you see...And its true - if you're still in the milk first land - it takes about 10 minutes longer for your tea to stew properly. Incidentally same person that told me that, also told me that if your polythene packaged sandwiches don't open easily its because the heat of the sealing do-da was too hot.
Coffee is great - tea is crap - may be worth mentioning that Weasel Coffee - which was a craze of gadget shops and websites sounds truly revolting and if anyone gets me any for christmas then they will be the first to have to try a cup. For those of you not in the know it is coffee regurgitated by weasels. Yeuch.
Also coffee is a must for anyone who ever knew anything about Agent Cooper and Twin Peaks...

A bit of coffee/tea background for the truly devoted - taken from http://www.fbnr.com:
Coffee History:

"Coffee is native to Ethiopia and has been prepared as a hot drink in Arabic countries for centuries. Today, the two largest producers of coffee are Brazil and Colombia. All of the coffee produced comes from only two commercially viable plant species grown throughout the equatorial ribbon. Coffea arabica grows well at high altitudes and produces beans with delicate but complex flavours. These beans are lower in caffeine. Caffea robusta (or Canephora) grows well at lower elevations and produces beans with more neutral flavours. Caffea robusta beans are high in caffeine. "

Coffee Manufacture :
"After harvest, coffee beans are removed from the berries that encase them, dried, and shipped for roasting at their destination. The temperature and length of time coffee beans are roasted affect colour and flavour. (See section titled "Roasts.") A variety of beans are often mixed together to create different flavour blends.

For decaffeinated coffee, coffee beans are treated prior to roasting. There are two methods available. Caffeine may be removed by chemically extracting it with a solvent (which is rinsed away before the beans are dried) or by steaming the coffee beans and then scraping away the caffeine-rich outer layers.

Instant powdered coffees are the result of removing water from brewed coffee through drying.
Freeze-dried granules or crystals come from brewed coffee that is frozen to a slush. The water is then evaporated."

Tea Manufacture (deeply boring by comparison - obviously):
" There are two main methods of tea manufacture. The first is called Orthodox type of manufacture and the other is CTC (crushed-torn-curled) type. CTC grades are mostly granulated in appearance while orthodox grades are long particle or whole leaf type. Some factories are also equipped to manufacture Green Tea, though its production is limited. "

Hmm. writing about tea manufacture has made me tired. I'm off to bed. Night Night.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

wednesday work...? and bubbles

Hmmmm. Went to the library today. Saw an advert for library staff. Think I might apply. So much for giving up work!

I'm going to repost some of my ramblings from my old website as a start for this blog. when I've run out of old rambles I'll think up some new ones. So. Starting with bubbles and working thtough them - alphabetically - missing the really bad ones...

A light hearted, mum-type ramble...A quick one. Bubble mixture. How frustrating is it that washing up liquid and water makes rubbish bubble mixture. Deeply frustrating. Well it is to me. I've done my research and I know what the secret is. Glycerin. Or corn syrup - but that seems to be an American thing. Here's what you do:
Materials needed
4 tablespoons of glycerin or corn syrup
4 tablespoons of washing-up liquid
1 litre of distilled water
Instructions
Mix water, washing-up liquid and glycerin in a bucket
Stir with a wire whisk until blended
Pour bubble mixture into small bottles or large pans, depending on size of bubbles desired
Store unused bubble mixture in a jar with a lid
You can experiment by adding more or less glycerin or washing-up liquid to achieve the desired consistency

There you go. Sorted.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

ade edmonson

Tuesday. I did manage to scrub the carpet - didn't manage to hammerite the fence though. Maybe tomorrow. Oh look - Ade Edmonson is in Holby City tonight.

Got new neighbours. They're loud. Just put Lucy to bed and they're downstairs in their living room shouting their heads off. Great.

Hey wow - got a new pushchair. I was celebrating having sold 6 books on Amazon and decided I'd finally get a cool new pushchair. I am fed up of not being able to turn corners or chucking Lucy on the pavement every time I go up a curb.

Sometime soon I'll might get interesting. Maybe

Monday, September 12, 2005

Monday & DIY

I'm going to do this a as a diary for a bit I think. In other words - its going to be mindless self indulgent drivel so if you've stumbled across this then i'd advise not reading it. So it's 3 weeks since I quit work. It's still great. Though i've now decided its about time i started on the DIY - cleaning is boring. Today I painted my dining room coving, plastered some holes in the wall, painted them over, painted the front wall and touched up some paint on the stairway. I'm
feeling very virtuous.

Lucy showed me how well she can ride her bike - she rode up and down the street (with stabilisers) all by herself. I am very proud of her! Yesterday we went to Staunton country park - it was free. We had a lovely time. Lucy fed the goats and sheep - she has been a bit of a coward about doing that for a while but she seems to be braver now.

I've just started selling books on Amazon - I could get addicted to it - its great fun. Though I wouldn't like to do it and work as well - packing parcels and going to the post office takes up lots of time!

So I'll check in tomorrow and say whether I managed to shampoo my carpet and hammerite my fence - or whether I decided I'd been good enough for one year. Problem is, once I've started I keep seeing all the other things to do - I think the shed needs another coat of something protective before winter - and, and, and...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sunday

Well Hey. Here I am in Blog land. No good reason. Suppose I thought I'd give it a go. Always fun to try something new.

I gave up work 18th August - decided to be a full time mum. I used to be a software engineer - guess I still like to play with my computer though. Right - i'm going to post this and play with the site - I'll be back with some interesting words some other time