Friday, 31 August 2012

Tyne & Wear Metro fact

I tweeted this the other day, but also wanted to blog it too, just in case I forget.

"When drivers change @My_Metro trains the 1st thing they do is blow into the microphone before closing the doors #MetroFact" (Tweeted on 29th Aug 2012 by @loopygirl)

Fashion prediction...petticoats & slips

I predict that petticoats and slips will make a fashion comeback in the next 5yrs.

That is all.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

I might have been a left-handed assassin

I can't be sure, but I think I could have been an assassin in one of my previous lives.

When I'm walking along I notice my left hand naturally curls into a gun-holding shape, with my finger on an invisible trigger.

I've never held a real handgun, and in this life would take any weapon right-handed.

I don't know any more than that.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Rhubarb Gin

If you're a follower of this blog you'll know that last year I made Sloe Gin using sloes I picked on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales.  I'd never made sloe gin before and was VERY please with the results.

If you're not a follower of this blog. Why the hell not?

Anyway, as my sloe gin worked out a treat (and I mean, a real treat), I thought why not try the same recipe but substituting sloes for other fruits, particularly those that need a good amount of sugar to wake them up a bit.

This led me to my trusty allotment and my rhubarb, of which I've got quite a lot of 'inherited' varieties and a limited amount of freezer space...And I got thinking...sloe gin....rhubarb gin? Thus, rhubarb gin was born.

The experiment began 10wks ago based on a Nigel Slater recipe (see the original sloe gin recipe from the blog) or just read the recipe below...

11 Apr 2010 Rhubarb IMAG0482
Just Picked Just Bottled (day1) Just Sampled (wk10)

Ingredients (makes 1x ltr bottle)
  • x1 1 litre bottle
  • 500ml of gin (non-expensive), I used Gordon's (he was okay when I asked him)
  • 270g caster sugar
  • 300g rhubarb stalks, washed & cut into fingers (make sure they fit through the bottle)
  • Put into the bottle, gin, sugar (you might put the lid on here and shake it a bit), and then the rhubarb, and put the lid on again.
  • Shake the bottle until the sugar dissolves.
  • Store the bottle somewhere cool and dark.
  • Each week shake the bottle to mix everything up.
  • Continue your weekly shake for 10weeks, the longer you leave it the better it gets.
At 10weeks, Monday  13th August, I gave it a taste, taken in a small glass (no mixer, no ice).  I wanted to get a feel for the taste.

The smell is quite something, sweet rhubarb, which suprised me - as I didn't cook the rhubarb at all.  But it smelt like freshly cooked rhubarb crumble type rhubarb smell.  Rhubarb picked from the allotment doesen't really have a smell IMHO.

It has a faint pinky colour to it - again this was a suprise because the rhubarb stalks I used weren't particularly pink either.

And the's good. Oh, it's very good.  I could easily drink too much of it without realising.

First you get the fresh sweetness of sweetened rhubarb stalks, not overpowering at all which is followed by a smooth mellow warmth all down your throat (that's the alcohol).

Mr Lisa was very pleased too, he said "That's magic that is"

As with Sloe Gin, the longer you leave it the more it improves.
I don't think this bottle will last long, but I'll be making more.

That's Christmas presents sorted then!

I also plan to experiment with Elderberry Gin...same recipe, substituting sloes/rhubarb for Elderberries.  Full report (as usual) to follow.

Why not vodka? I stopped drinking vodka about 2yrs ago due to an unfortunate incident which involved, vodka, a taxi ride to the airport and a flight to Paris for my birthday.

Friday, 10 August 2012

The best cupcake I have EVER eaten

I've eaten a few cupcakes in my time and I've made some myself, but what disappoints me about cupcakes, and made me stop buying and making them, is cupcake icing.

I've had it too: sweet, sickly, overpowering, over-flavoured, under-flavoured, crunchy, chalky, overdone.

I could name names of places to avoid, but I'd rather tell you about the best one I've had to date, as of Friday 10th August 2012.  

You know when you get to a point in the day when only something cakey will do?  Maybe you've not got a sweet-tooth like me.  But today, I really wanted to have something sweet to eat.  It was Friday, it was lunch hour, so why not...

I trundled off to the town and considered the cake-options, cupcake, slice, traybake, muffin, flapjack...But then I remembered Pet Lamb Patisserie in Newcastle Grainger Market, I've heard about their cupcakes, but never been one to fall for the hype, or get excited about cupcakes, I've been there, had a go, eaten my fair share and nearly written them off as a cake that's had its moment...

But given the recent recommendations from C_Newts NellysCupCakes and LaurenPrince, 3 reliable and trusted cake afficionados, who were very excited about getting some (cupcakes) from the new shop at the weekend, I thought to myself...I want a bit of that....

Pet Lamb Patisserie have (until now) baked & sold at food/craft events across the North East and have only just (as of last Saturday) taken up permanent residence in the Grainger Market.
Grainger Market is now one of the cities hotspots for some of Newcastle's best local independent retailers in: ingredients, foods, breads, pizza (by the slice), coffee, homemade, handbaked and handmade. We're very spoilt in Newcastle.

Pet Lamb Patisserie, photo tweeted by @PetLambGirls

But back to my cupcake.

I've never had a Pet Lamb Patisserie cupcake. So when I bought one from their Kitch, retro shop (at the Wilcos end of the market) I was hoping that everything I'd heard about them was true, that they made really great looking and great tasting cupcakes...

My salted caramel cupcake was, well, just so delicious...So much so I've given it the accolade of The Best Cupcake I've Ever Tasted.

The BEST cupcake I have EVER tasted
The cake was light, soft, not too sweet, not too big. The topping was really really good too (note, 2 "reallys" in one sentence).

And as I said at the start, it's the icing that can make or break a cupcake.

This one had a perfect amount of beautifully soft, smooth, light icing.

I'd love to get my hands on their secret recipe, my cupcakes have always been too buttery, too sugary or too sweet and I've never found the right balance.

It was also the perfect Friday afternoon treat.

I'm definitely going back to Pet Lamb Patisserie for another cupcake, but maybe I'll try a different flavour, watch this space...

Find them on facebook:

Last night I dreamt my friend Kath had her baby...

My friend Kath is pregnant and now 6 days overdue.
Her facebook updates are keeping us entertained with statuses from the baby's viewpoint Stewie-esque (Family Guy).
Last night I dreamt that she'd had her baby, I was sent a text and then went to see her.
She'd had a little boy, which she called Ioan (after the actor Ioan Gruffudd who starred in the TV series Hornblower).  No matter how many times she spelt it out of me to write down I always got it wrong, and couldn't pronounce it either.
I also remember saying, where's big fat Kath gone?
Apparently she's not had the baby, so my dream wasn't a premonition.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Fifty shades vs Forever by Judy Blume

I can't believe the hype, hysteria and hormonal hyperbole surrounding this book (or books).

My sister hasn't read since school, but she's reading it.

It's amazing that a book with a saucy reputation has got people, who don't normally read, to read.  And in ye olde fashioned paperback too.

I can't comment on the content, style, structure, characterisation or leit motifs, because I haven't read it.

All I want to say is, I've never heard of a book so popular since Forever by Judy Blume.  When everyone of the age of 12 at my secondary school wanted to read it.  All I remember is that it was the first sexual encounter in a fictional book I'd ever read and Judy Blume was a teenage-fiction writer, not your Mills & Boon-esque genre.

I don't remember the main characters names but the girl in the story referred to her boyfriends penis as RALPH.