Archive for August, 2006

Payday Whisky

Thursday, August 31st, 2006

It’s payday! I have no[1] whisky! Recommend me something!

(for reference, I am of the opinion that there is very little on the planet that tastes nicer than Talisker 10 year – although I’m contemplating an Ardbeg this time round; I like big smokey peaty flavours)

[1] Well, I say no whisky. I actually have about 1/3 of a bottle of cask strength Aberlour and several bottles of Various Things with a shot or two left in, but most of them hold vague sentimental value and I don’t want to finish them off.

The PSP isn’t dead!

Wednesday, August 30th, 2006

Disgaea. Coming to the PSP. I could almost cry with happiness. Almost, because it’s only in Japanese so far.

Apparently, this is edible

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006


Edit: It is apparently called a Rambutan. It has also vanished from Dave’s desk, so I can only assume it was actually edible.

The best kind of satire

Friday, August 25th, 2006

God’s Pottery. Ouch. Very, very ouch. Frighteningly close to the bone. But very, very funny.

Sad day

Thursday, August 24th, 2006


Chilli apple

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

Well, I was going to make that apple and chilli pie thing tonight, but I made pizza first and ran out of flour. So you’ll just have to wait until another time.

Incidentally, there are few things better than a home-made pizza. And it’s really not hard to make one, although it will help enormously if you’ve got a baking stone: seriously; you really ought to own one – they make awesome pizza, obviously, but they’re great for making nearly any kind of flatbread – naan, pita, whatever.

But anyway, yeah. Pizza. I reckon it’s time for Approximate Cooking With Chris again.


  • Base
  • Some flour. Strong – bread flour is ideal. Not sure how much. A cup or two. Plus a bit more, if necessary.
  • Yeast – see below
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 150ml warm-ish water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sauce
  • 1x tin tomatoes
  • 1x clove garlic
  • Some basil, salt, pepper
  • 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 dried chilli

I never really got on with easybake yeast, although I know plenty of people (including the only properly actual trained chef I know) swear by it. If you’re going to use it, make sure it’s well mixed into the dry ingredients. Personally, I like dried active yeast: you dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then whisk the dried yeast into it and leave for 15 minutes or so – it’ll form a foamy head and smell faintly of alcohol – then stir again.

Either way, add the liquids to the dry ingredients and mix. If the dough still looks sticky, add a bit more flour and mix again. Once it looks like, well, dough, turn it out onto a work surface – not floured – and knead it. Keep in mind you’re not trying to mix the ingredients here – the kneading action is about forming sheets of gluten in the dough which helps the produce the “bubbly” texture of the bread. Knead the dough until it’s fairly stiff and very slightly sticky on the outside.

Now leave the dough somewhere to rise for an hour or so – now’s a good time to start making the sauce, if you want. You’ll need to stop it sticking to stuff – polenta is really good for this, and it won’t dry the dough out the way flour will.

The sauce is easy – smash and dice the garlic, then chuck everything into a saucepan and simmer very, very gently for about an hour – until most of the liquid has gone and the sauce has thickened. You’ll probably need to stir it to stop it burning, so check on it every so often. Don’t forget to take the chilli out before using the sauce.

At some point, preheat the oven to the highest setting, and put the pizza stone (or baking tray) in. You want the oven as hot as it will go before you start cooking the pizza.

To be honest, if you can’t work the rest of it out from here, you probably shouldn’t be in the kitchen – roll out the base, spread the sauce (1 tin of tomatoes will do about two pizzas, so you’ll probably have some spare), add the toppings and cook for about 10 minutes or so – either way, once you take the pizza out of the oven, let it stand for a minute or two before cutting it. It’ll help crisp up the base a little bit more.

Quick pop quiz

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Apple Pie with Chilli.

As in, apple pie, but the sauce has a dried chilli added whilst it’s cooking for a bit of spiciness and warmth.

Good idea or no?


Wednesday, August 16th, 2006

Brian bought a cheap graphics tablet from Tesco at the weekend and has started a blog of things he’s drawn with it: News Sketches. It’s not at all a ripoff of Orion’s Thoughts because Brians drawings are topical (as opposed to Orion’s, which are largely just mental).

(Brian’s prior claim to fame is pretending to be a streetlight on upper chorlton road)

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

Possibly against my better judgement (nominally because it’s all full of tags and socialness and web2.0 but actually because it’s likely to cause me to spend a lot of money on new CDs) I’ve joined The plugins and tools and things don’t seem 100% reliable but it’s surveying enough of my music to get a decent idea of my tastes, I think: at least, the music it’s played me based on the stuff it’s seem me listen to so far has mostly been good stuff. The forums and other people’s track listings seem to suggest that most of the world is listening to Death Cab For Cutie and the Arctic Cockmonkeys, but fortunately it so far hasn’t played those for me yet. Anyway, you should go and have a look at what I’ve listened to lately and use it to inform your future record purchases, because I have immacculate taste in music and your life can only be enhanced by it.

Sandi Thom

Monday, August 14th, 2006

I heard Sandi Thom’s new ‘song’ on the radio at the weekend. I didn’t think she could go downhill from the excruciatingly awful “Punk Rocker”, but she’s managed it. Somebody please take her big book of astonishingly terrible songwriting cliches away from her before somebody gets hurt.

In other news, I went into Fopp today to buy the Captain album, and discovered not only the album, but the actual real-live band there doing a live set. Which was nice. It’s quite a good album – okay, it sounds as if no music has happened since Prefab Sprout, but at least it’s not Yet Another Post-Punk Garage Rock Band.