Little Hog!

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Here’s a pic of the little hedgehog we have currently visiting the garden. He is SSOO cute! I got to pick him up and look at him last night. Em came home from the supermarket, and as it was dark, didn’t really see him as she approached the door and nearly squashed him!

It was only the fact that she could feel his spikes that alerted her to his presence.

She just went out with a torch to check the hedgehog box we have outside. She’d put dog food in the box earlier this afternoon. Anyway, as she shone the torch down, he was there eating the dog food! She couldn’t resist taking a snap, and I had to have a peek too!!

He is VERY small. That is a VHS case next to him (some sense of scale of the size of him). I was able to hold him in one hand. He’s adorable!!!

My Pavolva Success!

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Home Made Pavlova, originally uploaded by Larelle_M_R.

It was an accident, Gov!

On Wednesday night I was looking to make myself a little treat. I thought of meringue nests. I knew all I needed were egg whites and castor sugar, of which I had (eggs needed to be used up as they were going out of date).

I looked on the ‘net for the correct ratio of sugar/egg and then saw that the oven had to be SO low to avoid burning it would take 1-2 HOURS to cook the meringue. There went my sweet snack for that night!

I still wanted to make the meringue though, to use up the eggs, etc. So I planned to make them the next morning. One recipe I saw said you could cook the meringue for 10 mins, then turn the oven off and let them cool in the oven to finish off baking. Sounded a good idea to me! So I went for that one.

I pre-heated the oven at Gas mark 3 and fluffed up 4 egg whites and a teaspoon of vanilla essence and slowly added 250gms of castor sugar. I didn’t realise it was going to make so much! It made TONNES. I’d scooped out about 10 or 12 meringue nests and still had loads left. So I lined a little sandwich tin with grease-proof paper and filled the sandwich tin with meringue.

I left the oven on for about 20-25 minutes (had it on Gas mark 3 for the first 15 mins, then turned down to GM 2), then turned the oven off and let them finish cooking.

Two hours later, I got all the meringue out of the oven. The nests had crispy tops, but fluffy innards. The shell had a crusty top and a spongy, soft bottom. I transfered the nests on to a plate, and put the shell on a plate, still on the grease-proof paper. I put both plates in the fridge.

At this point I thought “the shell would make a GREAT pavlova base!” and decided to get Em to go to the supermarket and get some strawberries and cream to fill the shell.

Later, I inverted the shell (so the crusty top was now a crusty base) on to the plate, added whipped cream, sliced strawberries and then sat four of the meringue nests on top.

ZOMG! It was LOVELY! The meringue nests gave it a chewy top, then the shell was all spongy and fluffy in the middle and crusty on the bottom. Oh, it was just like pavs you get back home in Oz. NOT what is classified as pavlova here in the UK, with crunchy hard meringue all over and a few token bits of fruit and crappy bits of cream.

It was the pavlova I’d been dreaming of for a LONG time, and all put together quite by accident. It was like an orgasm in a bowl! I just sat there savouring every spoonful. I can’t believe I actually made it!!

Photos From The Archives: Langkawi Airport, 31st March, 2005.

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Langkawi Airport 4, originally uploaded by Larelle_M_R.

I was making my way out to Australia for one of my extended trips home. Before arriving at KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia), we had a short stop at Langkawi Airport.

Not all the passengers had to alight from the plane, we were only stopping about 90 minutes. Most chose to exercise their legs, but a few remained.

As I alighted and made my way to the TINY terminal, I decided I might as well take a shot of the plane. I took two or three before quickly being approached by a security guard politely asking me not to take any more photos. I quickly obliged. I know how security in some Asian countries can be and I *didn’t* want to rock the boat.

The terminal had one tiny little shop. I had no Malaysian money so I couldn’t buy anything, so I had to take just ONE more shot inside the terminal.

I don’t know why really. It’s juvenile, but the name of these sweets made me giggle. Nips! In a bag! LOL

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Well, I only had about 13 hours more flying ahead of me and several hours of hanging around in KLIA. Never the thing I look forward to when travelling, but KLIA *does* have an executive lounge that anyone willing to part with about $US20 can enjoy. That always helped pass the time away.

It’s Not Hat-making. It’s Not The Airport. It’s Not The Motor Plant…

So what *IS* the largest line of trade in Luton, I hear you ask? Well, given the number of leaflets coming in through my mail slot yesterday, Luton’s biggest line of business is fast food (and/or leaflet delivery).

Four individual leaflets came in yesterday! So what would you like? Indian, Indian, kebabs or pizza? They were all posted by separate distributors too!

So Luton has shifted status from “Crap Town” and home of MP expenses claimer Margaret Moran to Fast Food capital of Eastern England!

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Viva Luton!!

Recipes From Scratch.

I saw a story on the BBC that showed from research carried out by the UKTV Food channel that Briton’s can make 10 meals “from scratch” – IE: without the use of a recipe or cookbook.

Number one on the list was spaghetti bolognese. PER-LEASE! If you buy the sauce ready made, as I’m sure most people do these days, the recipe has three ingredients – sauce, pasta and mince. Ooh, hard!

Second on the list was a traditional roast dinner. Erm, again. What recipe *IS* there for that? Get a big slab of meat, or a chicken, whack it in the oven. Roast some potatoes, boil some vegies.

Third on the list was pot noodle. Forth was beans on toast.
LOL – NO! I’m kidding! But it might as well have been.

Some of them do get a little complex down the end of the list. Some people claim to be able to do a cottage pie from scratch with no recipe. That’s fairly bold.

At the end of the list was curry. I can’t help but think for some people who said “Yeah, I can make a curry from scratch.” that their list of ingredients would read:

1. One jar of korma sauce.
2. 500gm of chicken fillets.
3. 75gm of uncooked rice.
4. 15ml of olive oil.

Method:
Cook rice to instructions on packet.
Place oil in frying pan, heat. Add chicken, cook to brown, approx 8 minutes. Add korma sauce. Serve with cooked rice.

If they actually can make the sauces from scratch with no recipe to reference, they are better than I could ever be! I suppose if you’re Asian you might be able to do it, as it would be second nature to know what the sauces are made with and they’d be making them regularly.

Another was stir-fry. Well blow me down with a feather! That’s hard. Fry some meat, and a variety of chopped vegetables to your liking, then add some soya sauce, a bit of honey…viola!

Still, if people ARE cooking at home, and regularly enough not to need recipe guides, it can only be good.

Click here to read the story from the BBC.

Odd Juxtaposing Day.

I feel very drained today. We ventured out yesterday. Got this free bus travel around the region and have hardly used it so far. We just went to Stevenage again. There’s a pet store there that I wanted to go to. It’s quite large and they have lots of small animals for sale. Bunnies, guinea pigs, chinchilla’s, gerbils, as well as degu’s. One of the gerbils looked just like our little Banjie, and he came up to the glass to say hello to me! Too cute. And me and Em were both going gaga over all the lovely CAVEY’S!

Anyway, we didn’t go there for the fluffy creatures, we went there to try and get some replacement equipment for the fish tank. There’s a split in the under-gravel filter and we need to get a new one. Of course they didn’t have one! But we were able to get a replacement glass scraper/cleaner and we bought two tubs of this stuff they are selling, which is kind of like a chewy version of Bonito tuna flakes/Kitty Kaviar. I was really hoping Chris would like it, ‘cos she goes MENTAL over the Kitty Kaviar, but she’s not keen. The texture is too heavy and chewy. It’s not light, dry and flaky like the Kitty Kaviar. She kept investigating it, went to eat it a couple of times, but then stopped. I just don’t think she likes the texture. BUM!

Anyway, while in Stevenage, we checked out Aldi and we got a little tray of mini Ritter Sport’s chocolates. Em got all dark chocs and marzipan, and I got all milk chocs with different centres.

And the local Tesco has an in-store Krispy Kreme counter, so I got my big Easter treat of a dozen original glazed doughnuts!!! YUM!

We went back to Hitchin for a while. We got some flower and vegetable seeds from the 9TP (where everything is 90p – hence the name. Cute pun!) shop. 15 packs of seeds for 90p! Then we got a couple of fruit tree/shrub/plants from another discount store. We got one blackberry and one blackcurrant for £2 each.

Anyway, on to today. As a result of yesterday’s adventures, I feel TRULY knackered. My legs started to hurt before we got home. By the time we were home, they’d died. My feet were aching like mad, and at that point, once I’ve rested, for next 36 hours, I find it incredibly uncomfortable to put any weight on my legs. They just ached and throbbed in bed all last night.

I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. I didn’t want to put weight on my legs and feet. I stayed in bed until 11.30am, then I knew I had to get up. Luckily I did, as my “friends” had just arrived and left a spot on my underwear – GODDAMNIT!! Just to add insult to injury, they arrive!

So, it’s a lovely sunny day, Em’s just gone off to some allotment society thing at another allotment nearby to join and get some supplies. And two weird juxtaposing events are happening in England today. The Grand National and Jade’s funeral. At least it’s a lovely sunny day for both.

Today is a weird day…

Despite How It Seems…

I am still alive. I just really haven’t had anything to talk about of late. I’ve just been busy starving myself, hanging around on Blip.fm, getting back into Twitter (I don’t know why either), blended with watching bits of TV and watching all 5 series of Peep Show to bring me up to date.

I am IN LOVE with Peep Show. Can’t believe I never watched it from the start. As Em keeps saying to me, Mark (David Mitchell) and Jeremy (Robert Webb) are probably MORE like David and Rob than we should really think about!

There are some really naughty bits in it though that I love, like Mark bumping into Dobby in the stationery room in series 5 and she gets all moochy with him, gyrating her bum against his crotch and proceeds to make him jiz his trousers! I can’t wait for series 6 now!!

I recorded a programme which we watched last night about Paul (rent-a-gob) Morley and his “journey” through fashion. He spoke to Jarvis Cocker at one point about his fashion style, which inspired my subconscious to have two dreams. One earlier in the night, which I barely remembered about me and Em helping Jarvis buy a new wardrobe of clothes. The other, just before I woke up this morning on Jarvis sending us a letter of thanks for helping him buy his new wardrobe! Daft! I’m always amused when my dreams immediately correlate with something I’ve just done or seen the previous day or night!

I did my back in a few days ago. Don’t know how, but it was KILLING me for like 3 days. Finally it has gotten better and I’m okay again now.

Well, I better be off. I’m trying a new recipe for tea tonight. Hope it’ll be good. It’s a pasta dish.

Much Better.

That was a bad day the other day. I felt awful. I’m feeling much better now. Thank goodness. I’d been a bit worried about myself there. Thankfully it was just a pre-Christmas bump.

Just finished the last of the online food shop. That gets delivered tomorrow. I had to scoot around the other day when Gilly took us to Letchworth to get a mock (vegetarian) turkey roll from Holland and Barrett. Flippin’ £4.25 it cost! It’ll barely feed me and Em. Just enough for both of us.

I’m totally splurging on nice food this year. We had a bleak Xmas last year, so this one will be special. And we’ve got alcohol too! I got a bottle of Disaronno from Morrisons the other day (almond liqueur, like marzipan) and I’ve also got a bottle of Midori (melon liqueur) coming and a couple of packs of snowballs (advocaat mixer).

Sssooo looking forward to the Doctor Who Christmas special. I’m counting down the day to Xmas by the number of days left before I get to see the special! That’s bad!

I’ve got plans to go and see Australia at the cinema as well. I saw the Newsnight Review on the BBC and it was slated by Germaine Greer and other members on the review panel. It sounded SO bad, it’s good!

Just a little bit of bits and bobs today.

Laters…

ASDA Luton’s Improvements and Little Booze Lost.

For five years now, the ASDA store in Luton has been our local supermarket. When we still had a car it was easy for us to go elsewhere and we more often than not shopped at Morrisons or even other ASDA stores instead of our own.

Without a car we’ve had little choice but to shop there. Most of the time we just couldn’t face it and would shop with ASDA online instead. Especially for out main fortnightly shop.

Luton’s ASDA was always cramped, lacking in certain items and was just generally an unpleasant shopping experience. Early in the Autumn, the store began an expansion. It made shopping a little inconvenient at times. And at one point the store was closed completely for an EXCRUCIATING 90 hours!

But for the last few weeks the store has been finished and fully operational again. I got to see the completed work for the first time today. Wow! What an improvement! A store you finally want to shop in! The isles have been widened and better stocked. There’s now a small pharmacy inside. It was just a muc

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h more pleasant shopping experience. You didn’t feel rushed. The store felt roomy. You didn’t feel pushed for time…it was FAB!

We did a stop-gap shop there. We filled up two “old grey-haired lady” shopping trolleys with stuff from the store. A good list of items for just a tad over £50 that’ll see us through probably until the end of next week. It was good.

We caught the bus home as we had a lot of stuff (even though we’re only 10 mins from the shop – Em would’ve walked, but it’s a big hill for me). As we were walking from the bus stop, just before the corner to our street, I heard crying – not sobbing – but sort of like yelling. At first, I thought it was a kid, I stopped and looked behind me and there was a cat, running to me, meowing at the top of its lungs! It ran up to me and was just looking up at me meowing so loudly. I bent down and patted it. Then as I went to walk off, it started following me! We encouraged it to follow us. All the way it was meowing. Poor little thing!

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So we got home with little “Heart-breaker” in tow. Em gave her a bit of Chris’s food and she stayed around, all the time meowing really vocally. We locked Chris away in the bedroom and were trying to console Heart-breaker. She spent the next 4 hours hanging around, meowing really loudly through the door when she was locked out. I was REALLY starting to get worried. Em even took a walk down to the newsagents to see if there were any lost cat notices in the window, to no avail. Eventually poor Heart-breaker seemed to disappear. Hope she’s okay and found her way home, wherever it is?!
She just appeared from nowhere when I first saw her!

Pre-Christmas Organizing and Stuff…

Just basic ramblings about stuff for today.

We put up most of the Christmas decorations last night. We’ve got a decorated artificial 5ft tree by the lounge room window and we’ve got a dinky little 3ft fibre optic tree at the bottom of the stairs on the other side of the lounge room. We’ve got a fibre optic Father Christmas by the TV and have a nativity scene, an advent Santa and a Santa snow-globe on the gas fire mantle, and a wreath on the door.

Over the weekend the fish tank needs a good cleanout. JUST in case we get guests over the festive period. Not likely, but it’ll be a nice pressie for the fishies to have a clean tank for Xmas anyway.

After that, I’ll have to clean out the freezer section of the fridge, to make sure we can house the goodies over the Xmas period.

On a separate note. I tried to get tickets for Hamlet today, as I’d heard there were some limited seats available from the box office for today’s performance. I lucked out sadly, but the guy on the phone said I should keep trying as some tickets do become available through the day. I will try again in a few weeks though, as I have to watch the pennies until the rent is paid.

Anyway, that’s about it for now. Catch ya later.