Sep. 26th, 2010 09:23 pm
emeraldembers: (Default)
Verdict on today; TOTAL AWESOMENESS.

First off, way more people turned up than I'd initially expected :D, some of whom were OMG SCARY GENEROUS in the donating department (I haven't had a chance to count up what we raised for MacMillan but I'll let people know the total ASAP), almost everyone got to take home something useful for them while still leaving a pile of clothes and goodies for charity, I've got spare fairy cakes to take into work tomorrow, mum made awesomeawesomeawesome food as she is wont to do, and I got to see many friendly faces both familiar and unfamiliar :D.

[personal profile] not_cynical, you are gorgeous and your mum is awesome and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING! It was amazing meeting you at last and I can't wait to have a long natter to you one-on-one at some point. We have to see a movie and/or have dinner and/or have a DVD fest at one of our homes together someday!

[profile] fahrenheit_f430, see SCARY GENEROUS. You are epic.

[profile] llian, you are looking lovely and it was wonderful seeing you again, and I hope you're feeling better soon <3. Can't wait for our Halloween meal!

[profile] hathy_col, you are as ever a light of my life <3, hilarious and wicked-awesome, and your friend Jo is lovely and welcome around anytime she likes. My mum is still buzzing off your compliments on her cake. Speaking of which:

For interested parties - the recipe for Chocolate Fudge Cake )

And, as if all of the above awesomeness wasn't enough, we got a call off mum telling us she'd got back home and checked the answerphone messages - and one of her long-lost buddies had left his phone number for us on it! We haven't heard from him in nearly two years due to losing his number when he changed addresses, so the glee levels in this household are pretty much unprecedented at the moment. This is a very, very happy home.

ETA: £47.13 raised for Macmillan. Allow me to reiterate; you guys are AWESOME.
emeraldembers: (Default)
Today I made Shepherd's Pie for the first time ever because after watching Celebrity Big Brother Come Dine With Me (yes, I know there are so many problems indicated in my viewing tastes by that title alone but my brain occasionally demands comfort food television, DON'T JUDGE ME) it pinged my interest. As the net results of this venture into Shepherd's Pie territory were foodgasmic indeed, I thought I'd share the recipe (thank you first five search results on google, you never lie if I cobble together your best bits):

500g lamb mince
1 oz butter
1 oxo cube
1 large onion
1 garlic clove
1 pint water
1 large carrot
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp worcester sauce
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp coarse ground black pepper (~ 1/4 tsp regular black pepper, I guess)
1/2 tsp sea salt (because I'm lazy and it was closest to hand, regular salt would be fine)
4 really bloody big potatoes (or the equivalent in smaller potatoes, again, big ones were closest to hand)
Enough water to cover the potatoes
A knob of butter (~15g/1 tbsp maybe?)
Cheddar cheese (optional but highly recommended)

* Brown the lamb mince over a medium heat in the 1 oz of butter, breaking up any clumps with the back of a wooden spoon so you don't get any huge ew gross lumps of meat later in your pie of awesome.
* Drain the liquid from the lamb into a large, seperate saucepan. Finely dice the onion and the garlic clove. Add this to the liquid and simmer until the onion in soft, then return liquid and soft onion to the pan with the lamb mince.
* Add 1/4 of the pint of water to the saucepan, chop the carrot into small slices or chunks, and add to the water. Simmer until the carrots are soft, adding more water from that original pint as and when necessary (carrots like to burn if you don't watch them like a hawk, bastards).
* Add all remaining ingredients (and remaining water from that pint) except for the potatoes to this pan, stir well, switch to a low heat and leave simmering away while you prepare the mash to go on top.
* Make mash with the really bloody big potatoes. (For cooking novices; peel and dice the potatoes, cover in water, boil until the edges look fluffy, drain, add the knob of butter, mash it to a smooth... mash. It's mash, guys, srsly)
* Pour the mince and gravy into the bottom of an appropriately sized dish, and cover with the mash. If desired, grate a layer of cheddar cheese over the mash.
* Bung in an oven at 180C for 40 minutes (30 if fan-assisted) and you're ready to serve. These quantities should serve about four, I'd say.

emeraldembers: (Default)
1) Brendan at work caught my attention to say "Have you been on a diet, Louise?", and when I said "Um, no?", he said "You look like you've lost weight!". So, that was awesome.

2) I finally found an onion bhaji recipe that WORKS FOR ME. And it's so easy!
i. Finely slice three onions.
ii. Add one very heaped tablespoon of gram flour, two tsps coriander leaf (or one tablespoon fresh coriander leaf, chopped) two tsps cumin, two tsps coriander, half a tsp salt, one tsp lemon juice, one pinch cayenne pepper (strictly speaking should have been a green chilli but I had to improvise), toss the onions in said mixture. Add enough water - about two tablespoons - to form a thick batter coating the onion.
iii. Form into bundles on a baking tray - they should be a little smaller than palm sized and don't worry about them falling apart because they don't stick together very well; as the batter cooks the onion bits will start to stick together - and spray with cooking oil or drizzle no more than a tsp vegetable oil over each bhaji.
iv. Gas mark 7/220C for 15 to 20 minutes.
v. Voila, epic deliciousness.

I am now off to have the very, very early night I promised myself. After one more bhaji. Seriously, caramelised onion is good.
emeraldembers: (Default)
1) Who wants some crack porn? Because voyeur!Crowley/exhibitionist!Sam is pretty much as cracky as it gets (thx [personal profile] spacefragments for the epic prompt, and also for the MENACING BANANA which is still one of the best things I have ever seen with these eyes of mine.

2) Final reminder on help_chile given the auctions end tomorrow, or, well, technically later today now (March 10th 4pm midnight GMT); all English fic offerings; my fic thread; my podfic thread.

3) OREO CUPCAKES OMG YES. Okay, I cheated and cobbled together about three different recipes after one of you guys mentioned these a while back because I like to take the laziest, easiest route, but here's how I made mine (AND THEY WERE AWESOME, I know this because it's a rule that my sister's birthday is a mid-Lenten break because otherwise she wouldn't get birthday cake AND THAT WOULD BE WRONG so I got to taste them):

Recipe time! )

Oh, yes, and one last thing!

4) Dear everyone on my flist who's ever mentioned Dragon's Age: Origins - THANK YOU. I just bought the game on a whim and I'm SO IN LOVE, even with Alistair who I'd set out thinking NO I WILL NOT FALL FOR YOU LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES and then he was such a dork and I was all ASDJLASDJFLA I LOVE YOU I CAN'T HELP IT so I'm glad I rolled a girl this time as hopefully at some point I can persuade him to make with the whoopie. HE IS SO CUTE. I WANT ONE. When he woobies I want to hold him but I want to hug him even more when he's being all silly and and damnit, aww. I EVEN HEAL HIM BEFORE I HEAL THE OTHER CHARACTERS. I DON'T DO THAT. EVER. EVEN IN WORLD OF WARCRAFT WHEN I HAVE PERSONAL ATTACHMENTS TO PEOPLE IN THE GAME. Congratulations Bioware, you made a role playing game where I'm actually role playing.

Also, my female human mage character has stomach muscles and a butt as well as enormous knockers, which is rather awesome. She looks like she could actually fight, I'm shocked and surprised.
emeraldembers: (Default)
- I'm not reposting the cancer meme because every time I think about my Aunty Jean's death and my mum's side's history of cancer I wind up thinking about the likelihood of my mum, my sister or me getting cancer and, to be honest, it's not a fun thought. Moreover, the '93%' statistic on that meme's repost rate is obnoxious and (as is so often the case with statistics) worse than a damned lie.

- My goodness, choux pastry is ridiculously easy to make. 2 ozs butter, 1/4 pint water, boil them together without burning the butter, stir in 2 1/2 ozs plain flour until it forms a sticky ball, allow to cool, add two eggs, stir into a thick paste, voila. If I'd known it was that easy I'd've started baking profiteroles and eclairs years ago!

- A boat (unmanned, fret thee not) just sank in the dock next to us. A perfect sink as well - no capsizing or anything, it just looks like somehow the other boats all are sat on top of the water and this one just sank perfectly straight to the bottom under all the others. Weird!


Aug. 30th, 2009 12:47 am
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Aug. 29th, 2009 11:01 pm
emeraldembers: (Default)

My goodness. So slow to start (but in an awesome the Good, the Bad and the Ugly deliberate tension sort of way) and then it gets funnier, and nuttier, and funnier, and nuttier, and then THE ENDING. THE EPIC, EPIC ENDING.

Seriously the ONLY films I've loled harder at on first viewing are The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (DON'T YOU DARE JUDGE ME) and the latest Rambo movie (... okay I'll let you judge me on that one but SERIOUSLY HE SHOOTS UP A BOAT AND A TRUCK AND ABOUT 283472983749273424208309428032342342 SOLDIERS AND IT IS AMAZING).

Absolutely insane. Oh, Quentin Tarantino, you are an odd little person and it's very obvious that movies are a playground for your twisted imagination but I cannot judge you for it.


ETA: Movie aside, the day was kind of awesome for me in general (sorry [profile] fahrenheit_f430, I know yours was lame before we met up!):

1. I woke up before my alarm went off :D, so I didn't begrudge any loss of a lie-in (which is kind of unsurprising given I went to bed about 10pm last night after drinking milk, the one thing guaranteed to make me pass out, and I woke up 11.25am).
2. I washed my hair so I got to smell lovely all day :D, even if it has gone super-froofy due to my not putting any gel on it (I can never be bothered in summer given my hair needs washing again so soon; hair maintenance is for winter!).
3. My copy of Death Race arrived in the post :D! So I can watch that later. Hooray for carnage!
4. On the train into town the CUTEST THING EVER happened - there was a not-quite-toddler lad, probably about five or six, and he was fussing over his baby brother, and he pulled his baby brother's dummy out of his mouth to give him a quick peck on the lips before giving him back the dummy and I was just all AWWWWWW.
5. I got my eyebrows threaded again \m/.
6. I met up with [profile] ilovedoyle completely by accident in town :D and we had a great ramble about J2 and Jared's awesomely cute dorkiness.
7. I then met up with [profile] fahrenheit_f430 and we had a deliiiiicious sushi lunch. And there was a girl there with beautiful hair! I had to tell her how gorgeous it was, I know curls are a git to get under control. Also, I think the sushi chef guys are starting to recognise me XD, because I swear every time I go in the Chicken Katsu Curry gets better. Unf! OH. And the white chocolate and toffee dessert they do? I don't normally do toffee but THAT IS EPIC. I may have to investigate the exotic one at some point although I'm hesitant given fruit doesn't tend to agree with me so well.
8. We then went to see above GLORIOUS MOVIE.
9. After said GLORIOUS MOVIE went to have a quick drink and got accosted by a slightly spiffed gentleman who was flirting his head off with us both, although neither of us was particularly in the mood XD, so I gave him a hug before we headed off to Eddie Rockets where, as ever, the milkshakes were awesome :D.
10. And then I bought cheap plums :D :D and headed home.
emeraldembers: (Default)
No, not of the "IT'S ICECREAM SUNDAE NIGHT MAJOR :D" variety, I'm afraid. I don't know why but for some reason I've been desperate for the past couple of weeks to make something with plums in (I generally don't eat fruit because my brain does not recognise it as a foodstuff with, for some odd reason, the exception of berries and all forms of melon except cantaloupe) and, well, I put on my robe and wizard's hat inventing cap and hopped to.

Louise's Totally Winged It Plum Chutney
[actually cobbled together from about five other recipes as per most inventions]

1 wooden spatula
1 medium/large saucepan, preferably with a heavy base
1 sharp knife
1 chopping board
1 medium-sized empty jar, sterilised

1 punnet of plums (1lb/400g)
1 tablespoon sultanas/raisins
1/2 pint water
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-sized shallot or two small shallots
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 cinnamon stick (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
4 black peppercorns
4 clove sticks (or 1/4 teaspoon ground)
1 green birds-eye chilli
4 tablespoons white/spirit vinegar (or two of pickling vinegar)
6 heaped tablespoons demerara sugar

1. Peel and dice all the plums, toss away the stones and skins.
2. Add the salt to the plums, leave for five minutes, then add the 1/2 pint of water and stir. Leave to one side.
3. Finely chop the shallot(s) and cut the chilli into four segments then add to the saucepan with the tablespoon of olive oil and the spices. Fry on a low heat until softened.
4. Roughly shop the sultanas/raisins, then add to the saucepan with six tablespoons of the liquid from the plums and cook for a further minute.
5. Drain the plums and add them to the saucepan along with the vinegar and demerara sugar. Stir until dissolved.
6. Boil until the liquid thickens enough that when you draw the spatula along the base of the pan, you can see the bottom for a moment before the chutney covers it back up. Turn off the heat and remove any solid spices (the chilli, cinnamon stick, clove sticks, and preferably the black peppercorns too).
7. Warm the jar with hot (not boiling) water so it will not crack; empty the jar, then pour in the chutney.
8. Put a tight lid on it, then leave in a cool dry place to, er, cool down.

GORGEOUSNESS. Oh, and it's recommended you leave it to mature for two weeks minimum, but I'll be grabbing some poppadoms asap for this <3.
emeraldembers: (Default)
Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please!

Pretty much 90% of us are in some way feeling the pinch at the moment in some way shape or form. Now, I'm not suggesting this post is in any way going to fix things - HOWEVER, what I am going to suggest is that we all do our little bit to help each other out by sharing ideas for things to do that cheer us up without having to spend much money. And as we're all completely innocent types who don't know what torrent files are or how one downloads a movie, we'll be leaving that illegal business out of it today.

Tough times can bring out the genius in people and I want to know what you guys do to make the most of cheap times - even if you're from a wealthy background there'll be moments you've been off at university/travelling/waiting on a new card when you lost the old one and you've had to tighten your belts. I want your ideas!

And while we're waiting on your suggestions, I may as well include a few of my own :).

1. Reading!

This works best if you're in an area full of little old ladies and/or libraries. Reading can be an expensive hobby if you're very picky. If you're not (or if you are but you're also lucky), it's dirt cheap. Charity shops, second-hand bookstores (brilliant if you're buying in bulk as half the time you can grab those 12 hand-me-down Dickens hardbacks for £10 instead of £1 each if you get matey with the owner), libraries etcetera will pretty much inevitably have hundreds of books squirrelled away for you to investigate. Best thing is, if you don't like the book much after reading, you can either take it back and feel good about yourself, or (with libraries being the exception - take it back you thieving sod!) pass it onto a friend as a gift. Also, if you're really into pop-culture/want to read a novel that's just being made into a movie but you DEMAND a new copy? Don't beeline for the book stores. Check out your DVD/Music stores first - oftentimes they'll have brand new copies of Watchmen/V for Vendetta/Dexter/Let The Right One In and the like for much, much cheaper than the book stores will sell them for.

2. Feed the birds!

~tuppence a bag~! Throwing away stale biscuits/bread/cakes is depressing. Breaking stale biscuits/bread/cakes and tossing the crumbs to birds? Strangely soothing. Unless, like, you're allergic to birds or terrified of them, in which case, I wouldn't advise feeding them. And don't just sit on a bench and chuck crumbs if you're feeling a bit :(. If you've got ducks or seagulls around, those hefty gits are brave enough to eat out of your hands. It's awesome.

If you've just got pigeons, they're not quite as brave, but you can cause wars - pile the crumbs into a little hill and watch the riot. Or get creative! Sprinkle the crumbs in a heart shape and see if they swarm enough to make it! Or see how far you can get them to follow you! I've managed half a mile before, but can't swear that it was the same two or three pigeons all the way.

3. Pamper yourself!

You don't have to spend a fortune to feel good. You just need to take a bit more time to yourself and feel free to enjoy the feel of your own skin. Unless you haven't got hands or feet, but if that's the case, the credit crunch is probably the least of your troubles. I'm generalising here!

On this occasion we're going to go into feet, because woo! Feet! And as my fic-writing tendencies may have shown, I really, really, really like feet.

Cut for foot-pampering ramble! )

4. Be a dick!

Seriously. It's therapeutic! Just make sure you're doing it where no one's going to get hurt.
In order of safety to be dickish:
1. http://www.4chan.org
2. http://community.livejournal.com/ohnotheydidnt/
Sharpen your bitching skills and let go.
3. http://www.b3ta.com
Decent douchebaggery.

5. Cooking!

This can be the cheapest, or one of the most expensive hobbies out there. And I LOVE it. It's theraputic when you're angry (all the beating, whipping, punching down...), or soothing when you're already calm (folding egg whites, spinning sugar, making ridiculously pretty delicate concoctions), and best of all, USEFUL END PRODUCTS. If you do a good job? You've got good eats. If you do a bad job? Well, there'll be a pigeon or duck or seagull (see hobby #2) or compost heap you'll make happy.

In accordance with my favourite non-writing hobby, allow me to present some of my favourite cheap and useful recipes, most of them pretty damn easy to make even for beginners, that don't use impossible to get ingredients (and justification for including each recipe has been included along with the recipe explaining why it's a nifty one ^^):

Baked Beans Balti )

Banana Bread )

Chocolate Drops )

Individual Chocolate Fondant Puddings )

Lemon Curd )


But this particular sort of post is nothing without audience participation. I want your ideas! Cheap/free hobbies, activities, recipes, things to do in general for those of us feeling the pinch.

Even quick flash tips, like:
* Rechargable batteries, learn to love them.


Apr. 2nd, 2009 03:09 pm
emeraldembers: (Default)
You guys are ~awesome~! But more prompts are always welcomed ;). Keep me busy, my darlings :D!

In other news, home made strawberry pavlova = WIN (Okay, okay, so this is a little more like a strawberry equivalent to bishop's velvet given the duel layers of meringue, but SHH).

The (ridiculously simple) recipe!:


* 4 eggs
* 8 ozs caster sugar
* 1/2 a pint of double cream
* At least one punnet of strawberries
* 2 silicone sheets (8x8 inches or wider) if you're using a non-fan-assisted gas oven; any other oven you can get away with baking trays and greaseproof paper.

1. Separate the egg whites from the yolks; you won't be using the yolks in this recipe, so feel free to chuck them away or use them in some other recipe!
2. Whisk the egg whites until softly stiff (you should be able to tilt the jug on its side without the contents falling out, but the whites shouldn't look dry).
3. Whisk in a tablespoon of the caster sugar.
4. Fold in the rest of the caster sugar and whisk lightly until you have an almost icing-like glossy surface.
5. Make two discs of meringue on the sheets you're using for cooking (don't let them touch and leave some room for spreading); the discs should have a 7 inch diameter roughly.
6. Bake the meringues at gas mark 2 for 1 and 1/4 hours. Don't forget if you have a smaller oven and can only fit one tray on the top of the oven and one on the middle to swap them over halfway through for even cooking!
7. Remove meringues from oven and leave to cool.
8. Remove the tops of the strawberries and chop them into chunks or slices depending on your preference.
9. Whip the cream until softly stiff.
10. Fold the strawberries into the whipped cream gently.
11. After ensuring the meringues have cooled, sandwich them together (gently! This stuff is delicate like woah) using the whipped cream and strawberries.
12. Serve and OM NOM NOM.
emeraldembers: (Default)
Except that is, if they happen to hate and loathe and despise all forms of pancake with all their heart 'n' soul.

Scotch pancakes (nummy ^_^);
1/4 pint milk
1 ounce caster sugar
4 ounces self-raising flour
1 egg

Stick 'em all in a bowl (minus the egg shell ^_^ hehe) and mix well. Cook in a frying pan on a low heat that has been rubbed over with oil (you do NOT want lotsa grease on this stuff if you want to hold onto your food ><). If you serve it with something, syrup's best, but they're v. sweet as it is ^_^.

Normal pancakes;
1 1/2 pints milk
12 ozs plain flour
3 eggs
3 tablespoons of melted butter (note; these are tablespoons post-melting, not pre-melting ^_^)

Put the flour in the mixing bowl, make a little well in the middle and plonk the eggs in that, and add a bit of milk at a time, mixing well, you'll end up with a very very thin and hopefully smooth batter by the time it's all mixed in. Then add the melted butter, mix that in well, and again cook in a pan lightly wiped with oil ^_^. Serve with butter / melted chocolate / sugar / lemon juice / whatever else you have on it ^_^.

There y'all go! Now GO COOK!



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