Monday, 25 February 2013

Most Seriously Don't Forget Thing to Do This Week!

I forgot it was this day and I forgot to remember something to seriously not forget to do, then I forgot tro write about it.

EPIC fail.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Chips We Love You!

Perfect timing!

Keith and I have had to reschedule our latest lunch get together (several times) and it's happened to fall on 'Chips We Love You Day' (largely because I also rescheduled that!)!

So we pootled off to the Star and Garter at Kirkby Overblow and enjoyed the best chips I've had in ages (much better than the soggy, wet and greasy offerings Ray prefers!)

These chips...we love!

I also seem to have developed a recent and irritating habit of fiddling with the poker chips at the bar at Charlie's!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Chilli Chocolate Challenge!

On 'Meet Someone New Day' we also participated in a chilli chocolate challenge - I suspected this would be a two way competition with Sarah and I withdrawing fairly early in the proceedings but I was wrong!



 
 
(Now I'm wishing I hadn't left the empty box at Nando's - I'll have to try and rely on my memory (always risky) for which was which!)
 
The blue one was supposed to be the mildest (milder jalepeno?) with green being medium (jalapeno?), yellow hot (tabasco) and red fiery (habanero) - we suspect though that there'd been an error somewhere as the green and yellow both tasted milder than the blue!
 
Much to everyone's surprise we all managed to get to the end of the challenge - even me.  Admittedly I did try and palm half of my red one on to Duncan but he was having none of it so I was left with little choice but to finish it!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Meet Someone New Day!

I met someone old instead!

Not old as in age but old as in not new but haven't seen for a while!

Anna, Sarah and I went off to Leeds to meet up with Duncan for a long awaited catch up with much to tell from both sides!

It was also my first Nando's experience and I have to say that I'm well and truly converted!  It was awesome, in fact it was so awesome that I didn't even mind eating corn on the cob and covering my face in butter (due to eating the corn - I didn't randomly sit there and cover my face in butter just for the hell of it.  That would occur on 'Cover Your Face in Butter Just for the Hell of it Day') in public!

By face I mean chin, obviously.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

People to Phone this Week!

People phoned me - I am a person to phone!

Apart from the phenomenal amount of calls I get to my home number (despite being registered with TPS) from people convinced that I, or someone who lives at my address with me, have been involved in a car accident for which we're owed compensation, people wanting to know if I have a will and am interested in updating it, people who claim I'm owed PPI, people trying to sell me everything from double glazing and kitchens to fraud protection insurance, the calls I get from a dental surgery convinced that I'm their patient and obviously just pretending to be someone else when I say they have the wrong number on their system, the calls to arrange viewings for a local estate agent who used to have this number and for whom it's still listed in some of their historical web content and the consumer research calls I get from International numbers...

(By the way this is a really good website to use to find out who's been calling and what they want - who calls me, just put the number in and hey presto!)

Marley (and Tom) called me on Saturday during their brief return to the UK between holidays in Fuerteventura and Morocco.

I was due a long over due catch up with someone on Sunday but it never happened, Pops did call me on Sunday though :-)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Experimental Cooking Day!

Shrove Tuesday but no pancakes - been there and done that!

We've already had Eastern cooking,  cooking with equipment not usually used for cooking and battering and deep frying things which shouldn't be battered and deep fried so this year I chose to finally make use of the little jelly moulds Aunty Betty gave me and fill them with jelly and things you wouldn't normally expect to find in jelly!

Webby took over the actual jelly making (aparently I wasn't doing it right?) while I organised which jelly was going to go with which added ingredient (because Webby failed to see the importance of getting this bit right!).  We were scoring each jelly on 3 things, taste, texture and appearance.

 
1) Layered (pink, blue, white, purple) cake sprinkles in Blackcurrant jelly

 
This was not successful, the jelly itself worked really well in this mould but when it was tipped out it just left all the sprinkles in a soggy mess in the bottom.

 
So, this one was kind of voided as it was just blackcurrant jelly.  Webby scored it 0 for appearance but I was impressed with bottom jelly bit so I gave it a generous 8.


 2) Jelly tots in strawberry jelly


 
Disaster!  The tots stuck in the bottom of the mould (Webby did pick them all out and placed them back on the jelly for the tasting)

 
I went for the a spoonful of jelly with a green tot and was pleased that the lime flavour had survived.  Webby gave 8 for taste, 8 for texture and 2 for appearance.  I gave 9 for taste, 8 for texture and 3 for appearance.

 
3) Tinned sweetcorn and mixed veg in blackcurrant jelly

 
This was disgusting, Webby spat it out but I toughed it out and managed to finish.  Webby gave 2 for taste, 2 for texture and 2 for looks.  I gave 2 for taste, 2 for texture and 3 for appearance.

 
4) Dry roasted peanuts in strawberry jelly

 
Also disgusting, in fact this one made both of us gag and we both spat it out.  When you think about it though it's not that different from peanut butter and jam which they put in sandwiches in the good ole US of A.  It was 0 from both of us for taste and texture and a 7 from Webby for appearance with an 8 from me (this held the shape of the mould really well!)

 
5) Hot dog sausage in strawberry jelly

 
Unfortunately things didn't get any better - this combination didn't work at all and also ended up spat out in the sink. 0 again for taste and texture from both of us with 2 for appearance from Webby and 4 from me. 

 
6) Cottage cheese in orange jelly

 
Ugh.  Although Webby actually liked this one (despite it being the one he was dreading the most) and went back for a second spoonful!  Taste was 7, texture 8 and appearance 2 from Webby and 5, 2 and 1 respectively from me.

 
7) Pea in orange jelly

 
I thought this one looked amazing! Tasted absolutely vile though and was hastily spat out in the sink!  I gave it 10 for appearance, 0 for taste and texture and Webby scored it 8, 1 and 1.

 
8) Prawns in lime jelly

 
This one just looked like something alien - which pretty much sums up the taste too!  I managed to keep it in my mouth at least which is better than Webby's attempt - 5 for appearance and 1 for taste from Webby, 6 and 1 from me and we were both in agreement that the texture was just wrong.

 
9) Dried chilli flakes in lime jelly

 
Looked very pretty but was very hot (and dry!)!  I gave it a 9 for looks, 7 for texture and 5 for taste, Webby gave 7, 6 and 6.

 
10) Pickled onions in lime jelly

 
Also looked alien (but in a good way!) but just tasted bizarre, I toughed this one out again while Webby disposed of it in the sink fairly quickly!  6 for taste from me, 9 for appearance and 5 for texture. 3, 5 and 3 from Webby.

 
And here's picture of my pretty (ish) jelly city!

 
And how it looked after the tastings (be very grateful I didn't take a photo of the sink!)

 
With a bit of luck there'll be an Experimental Cooking Day 2 later this year (if it can be arranged) which will be much more palatable than this one!

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Create an Air of Mystery...

I actually did this unintentionally on Saturday night when a very nice and funny chap I know expressed his interest in me and asked to take me out to dinner.

I've chatted to him a few times but we don't know each other very well although it's known in our mutual social circles that I'm single, rather than go into a long and complicated story I just told him that I wasn't available at the moment but that it wasn't anything personal - I'm just not interested in dating anybody at the moment.

This led to a long discussion where I was made privy to the potted history of his relationships and I told nothing of mine - this only seemed to interest him all the more though.  I'm sure he thinks I'm hiding some tragic story of lost and impossible love!

Which sent me off on a google mission where I found 50 quotes about lost loves, I particularly liked these two...
“I know that's what people say-- you'll get over it. I'd say it, too. But I know it's not true. Oh, you'll be happy again, never fear. But you won't forget. Every time you fall in love it will be because something in the man reminds you of him.”
― Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“Wherever I go, whatever I do, I wonder where I am in my relationship to you, wherever you go, wherever you are, I watch that pretty life play out in pictures from afar”
― John Mayer
 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Chinese New Year - The Snake!

It's time to move from the year of the Dragon to the year of the Snake!
 
And it was done in style at Casa Slimmon!
  
I arrived in a red and gold ensemble (lucky colours) and was greeted by Helen in a black and gold sparkly dress with a very lovely red scarf around her neck.
 
 
I was a little concerned about my white bag (white signifies death) but it's my opinion that the fact that it's in the shape of a panda counter-balances any ill omen! 
 
And it was the only bag large enough to carry a bottle of wine and Chinese New Year gifts in!
 


 
Firstly I'll just share a couple of photos of oriental things around and about in the house...
 
(unfortunately my handbag isn't big enough to try and sneak this large picture off the wall and home with me!)
 
 
 
Then, to the sounds of oriental music, I walked into the kitchen and found this amazing set up... 


 
We each had place settings according to our Chinese zodiac
 
Bill 'Monkey' Slimmon
and
Helen 'Horse' Slimmon
 
Heidi 'Dragon' Orange
 
 
Each red envelope contained a token
 
 
The menu was presented on a lovely table decoration.
 
 
 
And the food itself (after the delicious Mandarin Martinis) was superb, it was without a doubt the best chinese food I've ever tasted - in fact just the thought of it now is making my mouth water!
 
 
 Helen entertained during the meal with readings for us each, predicting what the coming year has in store for us (sounds like health could be an issue for us all if we're not careful but in general it sounded like a good year in store for all!).
 
We followed the meal with fortune cookies and I was presented with this (I confess that I ate them for breakfast the next morning!)...
 
 
...and then we went on to telling a few China related stories....
 
Bill told us about lopping the tops of monkeys heads off and eating the brains while they were still alive - to which Helen's response was "I'm so glad that wasn't in my good food magazine this month."

Bill also told us about the origins of the name Kowloon - it stems from the nine dragons, a term which refers to eight mountains; Kowloon Peak, Tung Shan, Tate's Cairn, Temple Hill, Unicorn Ridge, Lion Rock, Beacon Hill, Crow's Nest and and a Chinese emperor, Emperor Bing (Song Dynasty) as the 9th dragon.

I told a story about how Pandas got their colour markings - I've looked up the proper version(s) because my version wasn't excactly my most coherent moment!
One Tibetan legend focuses on how the Giant Pandas got their unique color markings.

Long, long ago, the Giant Pandas lived in the high mountains of Tibet. Their fur was completely snow white. They were friends with young shepherdesses, who watched their flock in the mountains around their village.
One day a mother and her cub were playing with the shepherdesses and their flock when a strong and hungry leopard attacked the cub. The shepherdesses tried to save the cub but were unsuccessful and the leopard killed them.
All the Giant Pandas in the area were very sad and held a memorial service for the shepherdesses and to remember their sacrifice for the cub. The local custom in the mountains was to cover your arms with ashes to honor the deceased.
The Giant Pandas wept. They wiped their eyes with their paws, covered their ears to block the sounds of crying and hugged each for comfort. The ashes blackened their fur. The Giant Pandas did not wash the black off their fur as a constant reminder of the girls.

A Second Variation
When the Giant Pandas came to the funeral, they wore black armbands as a sign of respect. They were so sad during the funeral service that they began to cry. As they cried, they wiped their eyes with the black armbands. As the black armbands became wet with tears, the dye began to run. When they wiped away their tears, large black marks were left on their eyes and ears. As they hugged each another, the black dye stained their fur.

A Third Variation
One other variation of the story has the Giant Pandas turning the girls into a mountain with four peaks to ensure they always would be remembered. This is the Four Girls Mountain Range located in the Sichuan province overlooking the Wolong Panda Reserve.
...before the evening descended into this!!

Smoking Dragon!
(this was the only dragon smoking)

 
And this
(it's probably best not to ask!)
 
 
I think I'll take my dragon into the office with me, you never know when it might come in handy!

And finally, we couldn't celebrate the year of the snake without this classic Northern Soul hit!