Monday, 30 April 2012

Javelin throwing at a dartboard

Last night I dreamt that I was throwing full sized Javelins at a larger-than-usual dartboard.

I didn't get a good run up to throw them, it was more of a standing throw.

And I couldn't get my Javelin in anything higher on the board than the bullseye.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

How much do I swear? Results of my 'giving up swearing for lent' experiment

You may recall that this year I decided to give up swearing for lent and I announced it via twitter and facebook and to anyone else who might listen.

If I did slip up and swear I fined myself: 20p for a mild word and 50p for a really bad word, collecting the money in a noisy, rattly tin at work. 

Everyone showed their "support" when they heard my tin "chink" with coins, by sniggering.  And their sniggers were often louder on a Monday (because I'd be paying up for the weekend's mishaps).

The first day was the hardest, it felt like one of those diets I went on years ago when there was a list of forbidden foods and the only thing I could think of for the first few weeks of the diet was the forbidden foods.  During my first day of lent all I could think of was the worst swear words I could possibly say, and they went round and round my head.

I managed to stop myself, rephrase things and choose better ways of expressing dismay, anger, frustration and complaints, instead of the usual f-word.

Over the course of 40-or so days (I think I did more than what was asked), Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, I collected £8.82 and I don't know where the random 2p came from.

I've decided to donate this to my friend Jamie's Just Giving Page, for Ocean Youth Trust (North)

Have I changed my habit long-term?

I feel more conscious of myself when I swear, and try to avoid it.
I also notice it more when others swear.
However, there's no avoiding foul language when trying to use the University's P2P system, and before you ask What's P2P? you don't want to know, because I'll start by using a profanity.  And we don't want that do we?

You're The Voice but not the TV Show

There's some talent show on BBC1 at the moment called The Voice. 
But this isn't a blog post about that programme....

Whenever I see a tweet, an entry in the TV guide, or hear a discussion at work about the TV Show The Voice, I get this song in my head...

And it's really annoying.

According to the wonderful wikipedia entry on John Farnham, it was released in 1986. I was 8 when this song was released.

The easiest homemade fajita sauce in the world...ever

I tried this recipe at Christmas, as one of the many ways to use up turkey and although it worked it does benefit from using raw meat rather than cooked meat.

When I started looked for fajita sauce recipes I was expecting to start a shopping list to buy random ingredients, fresh chillis and far off ingredients. I WAS WRONG.
This simple (but really tasty) recipe is made up of pantry items, everything I have in my cupboards as 'standard' and it's one of the easiest things to make.

This is all you need for the marinade!!!

Ingredients (for the marinade): 

You put all of the following into a clean plastic, sealable bag (freezer bag):
  • 60ml lime juice
  • 80ml water
  • 30ml olive oil
  • 10ml soy sauce
  •  5ml salt
  • 2.5ml paprika
  • 2.5ml cayenne
  • 2.5ml black pepper
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • MEAT (2 chicken breasts (uncooked), or whatever you prefer) sliced

Ingredients (for cooking the fajita sauce): 

  • 1 Sliced onion
  • 1 Sliced pepper (red/yellow)
  • 1 Tin tomatoes

Method (for the marinade):

  1. Get the meat you want to marinade, 2 chicken breasts ( i've only tried chicken, but I suppose other meat would work just as well) and add that to the bag.
  2. Seal the bag of wet gloop and put it in the fridge for at least 2hrs, or all day, or overnight.
  3. Then get the other bits & bob's for fajitas: tortillas, salsa, soured cream, guacamole etc. We tend to do fajitas on a 'help yourself' arrangement, so the tortillas get warmed in the oven (wrapped in foil) and the other stuff is put on the table.

To prepare (cook the sauce) - it takes about 15-20mins:

  • Heat some oil in a frying pan
  • Remove the marinaded meat from the bag and add that to the pan to fry off (high heat)
  • When the meat has sealed (& gently browned) add the rest of the gloop from the freezer bag (all of it) into the pan (keeping the temperature fairly hot).
  • Smell that sauce mmmm.
  • When it's reduced down you can add a tin of tomatoes (and crush into the mixture) 
  • Stir well
  • Reduce the liquid down to as thick/wet as you need and then serve!

It's got a nice little kick to it, I'd say 4*** out of 5, I can't go too hot cos Mr Lisa doesn't like it too crazy hot.

If you want it hotter then increase the cayenne & paprika at the first stage (when making the marinade).

A really simple recipe with authentic tasting results.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Tomatoes galore

It's time for me to think about my allotment, I previously posted an item about how I plan my allotment and organise things.
But now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty getting dirty.
Well, I should say that I've not left it until Good Friday to start the work, oh no I've been busy pottering away, weeding, preparing beds at the allotment and doing a bit of planting at home, I've got a 5ft lean-to plastic greenhouse on the back of my garage, we've got adjustable shelves in there and it's currently loaded with seedlings.
The back bedroom (recently skimmed, painted & due for a new carpet next week) is home to our tomatoes.
I go for a cherry type tomato (sungold), a plum type (inca, 1st time growing this yr) and a juicy salad type tomato. And for the last few years I've not had to buy these ones.  I've had my own "greek style" and "spanish style"
You see, in 2009 I went to Greece on holiday, enjoyed the sun, sailing and salads, particularly greek salads made with beautifully sweet, juicy, fat tomatoes. If you saw me on holiday, in a restaurant, you might have noticed me picking seeds out of some of the tomatoes wondering what I was doing. Well, once the seeds were wrapped in a napkin & transferred back home I carefully washed them and dried them out on kitchen roll. And planted them here, first at home, then transferred to a greenhouse in the North east, about 1mile from St Mary's Lighthouse. And they grew, nice big fat juicy tomatoes, in a bush habit (not cordon).
When I went to Spain, I thought I'd try it again, and it worked. So for the last 3yrs I've had these unknown holiday varieties of tomatoes that are fabulous in salads.
I decided that this year the "greek" and "spanish" seeds would probably be too old and not germinate, and decided to plant them all in my heated propagator. But actually most of them germinated and I've got quite a few, including my Sungold and Inca, 39 to be exact. I can only house about 15 in my greenhouse!
I need to offload a fair few.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Barre - not your average exercise class

Ive been to the Barre. That's Barre with two r's and an e at the end.

When you're a beginner you start at  1st Barre, when you master the 1st Barre you progress to 2nd and then 3rd.

1st Barre provides an hour-long session of controlled, ballet-type exercises, which help to build core strength, and tone troublesome areas.

What's different about the Barre is that the exercise is careful, controlled and monitored by one of the teachers.  Classes are small (max 12) and you're constantly monitored, and corrected so that you get the most out of each move.

I really enjoyed my first class, offered at £6 (half-price) so that I could walk away without it breaking the bank.

What I also like is that you can just pay as you go, but if you want to pay for a block of sessions you can (at discounted rates) and they've always got a monthly challenge for hard-core Barre nuts.
I've been twice in the last month (fortnightly), which suits me at the moment, I'm supplementing my non-Barre week with allotment stuff or a bike ride.