I love gram flour. It's awesome, you can do so many things with it and it's gluten free¹. OK, mostly what I do with it is make a batter an deep fry stuff, but that's just nice.

I've messed around making bhajis, pakoras and, well, stuff. Tonight, I went for chunks of halloumi cheese and some quorn cocktail sausages I'd forgotten to use when we had guests Sunday.

An ounce of flour, enough water mixed in gradually to make it a cream consistency, poured over the chunks of stuff then deep fried at 180°C until it's golden brown.

Because I can handle low amounts of undeveloped² gluten I've replaced wraps with my old approach to sandwich making, so while that cools a bit (the 180°C bit is your hint it's hot) I put some rocket (USians: arugula) and spinach (everyone: the stuff popeye got from cans, some dressing (Tesco cheap salad cream) then put the battered stuff in and wrap it up.

Lovely. And, vaguely, healthy, if you ignore the transfats from the super hot sunflower oil.

1) ground up dried chickpeas, also known as chickpea or besan flour
2) you know breads and pizza dough needs kneading? Yeah, that's to develop the gluten, if it's had that done I can't eat it
My own recipe, adapted from multiple sources with some, *ahem* suggestions from friends. Multiple flavourings are possible.

You will need:

10-12 small glass ramekins (you can buy these in department stores, I use the ones that come with Gu Puds, we've got about 30)
For the base:

1 200g(ish) box fine milled oatcakes (I use Nairns which is 218g, I don't personally need to worry about buying the guaranteed gluten free ones which are more expensive, these are made in a factory that also makes gluten products)
125g unsalted butter
some sugar: I recommend a couple teaspoons of molasses sugar with the lumps broken up as best as possible and a couple teaspoons caster sugar.
For the topping:

one 250g tub ricotta cheese
100g white chocolate (I've tried other chocolates, it tends to not work, plus [personal profile] miss_s_b can eat white chocolate without risk of dying, which is good). I recommend Sainsbury Belgian Cooking Chocolate for cost/benefit quality wise

Either 2 limes, zest and juice, with 2-4 teaspoons of ground ginger for taste (I think 4 is too much, others disagree)
or one large orange, zest and juice, 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1-2 teaspoons nutmeg
You could almost certainly try other fruit+spice combos, this is what I've done, successfully, so far.

First, make the base: crush the biscuits as much as possible, you want breadcrumb style crumbs. Melt the butter in the microwave, careful not to overheat it. Mix the butter and the sugars thoroughly through the crushed biscuits, you should end up with a very loose, crumbly dough. NB: You can use 200g of any biscuits for this, including standard sweet digestives, but if you use sweet biscuits omit the extra sugar.

Share the mix out amongst the ramekins and press it into the bases, you'll likely get just over 1cm depth per tub, don't worry about exactness here. Put them in the fridge to cool.

Whisk the ricotta in a glass bowl. Using a different glass bowl, break the chocolate up and carefully melt in the microwave, if you're not used to doing this, full power for 30 seconds, bring out stir thoroughly, repeat until it's all just melted, be careful not to over melt as the chocolate can crystallise or otherwise stop being nice.

Whisk the melted chocolate into the ricotta. Then whisk in the flavourings. Share the topping mix about the ramekins, you'll find the lime is a fairly tough mix, you might want to add some more lime juice to soften it further, the orange will likely be a fairly loose mix depending on size and juiciness of orange. Try to press the mix down and spread it out.

Put back into fridge to chill for a minimum of 2 hours (the topping really does need to set). Serve and enjoy.

I am grateful to [personal profile] hollymath and [twitter.com profile] A_C_McGregor for their assistance putting the ingredients together yesterday and their, um, help in choosing the spice quantities—I suspect both would've happily put even more ginger in, but I think 4 teaspoons is too much.
Made these to follow on from Jennie cooking a sausage casserole (separate Quorn for me) based on a Grauniad recipe from yesterday, as the oven was on I made pudding. They're very nice, and very sour, citrussy cakes. And I really do mean sour.

Theoretically, I bake these so we've something nice to finish and some left for the next day. 12 of them, 4 of us, 3 each, they're all gone almost immediately, every time...

  • 3 oz Butter/baking fat/margerine (softened if necessary)
  • 3 oz Caster Sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 1 oz dry Semolina (or ground almonds or rice flour, I'm allergic to almonds so I substitute)
  • Juice of 2 limes (or just pour in what looks like enough from a bottle of lime juice)

Plus, for the topping
  • Zest of one lime, pared using a zester
  • Juice of 2 limes (or see above)
  • 2 oz sugar (any, I used granulated)

Right, simple method. Preheat oven to 180oC, 12 cake cases in a tray ready for you.

Cream the fat and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, slowly beat in the egg in smallish amounts (if you've never done this before say in comments and I'll do more detail). Add the flour and semolina (sifted if necessary to get lumps out), folding in, then fold in the lime juice. Divide into the cases and put in oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

In the meantime, make the topping, put your zest into a pan, add the juice and the sugar, mix it then put on the hob on a low heat, slowly bring it to the boil, stirring regularly. When it's boiling, lower the heat to minimum to simmer it until it turns into a nice sticky syrup, normally takes about 5 minutes. NB I did this bit while eating the main course, stirring regularly is not the same as stirring constantly.

Ideally, the syrup'll be ready just before the cakes are-they need to be a golden brown colour. Get them out of the oven, immediately prick the tops with a skewer or just a fork, then spoon some of the syrup (including zesty bits) over each cake, try to make sure most of it soaks into the cake not flowing over the side. It is a sugar syrup just off the heat, it will be HOT, bear that in mind.

When you've got all the syrup spread around the cakes, put them onto a wire rack and allow to cool until, ideally, actually room temperature, but normally they don't last long enough in our house. The syrup itself is very nice in small quantities on its own, but very sour. Which we like.

Right, job done. You can use the exact same recipt for oranges (one orange instead of two limes) or lemons (1 and a half lemons), and theoretically more sugar in the syrup'll reduce the sourness, but I wouldn't want to. You could also add a bit of ground ginger to the cake mix (for lime) or ground cinnamon if you're doing the orange variant.
Dear Govt.

We haven't exactly been on good terms for some time now, but even so, please understand that if it gets to the point where I read a Mail on Sunday scare story entitled "Stasi HQ UK" and find myself agreeing with them against your actions? You're Doing It Wrong.

Seriously, know any vegetarians? Or someone involved with a "foreigner"? How about a fear of flying so you prefer sitting above the wing, or a tendency to make last minute decisions on travel plans?
An internal Home Office document obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveals that during testing one 'potential suspect' turned out to be an airline passenger with a spinal injury flying into Britain with his nurse.

'Suspect' requests likely to cause innocent holidaymakers to get 'red flags' as potential terrorists include ordering a vegetarian meal, asking for an over-wing seat and travelling with a foreign-born husband or wife.

The system will also 'red flag' passengers buying a one-way ticket and making a last-minute reservation
There are, we know, nasty people out there. And some of them want to try to blow up aeroplanes. But treating those who believe animals deserve a little bit of respect as potential terrorists?

That's fucking stupid!

I tick so many boxes on this system it's silly. And I know several friends (including those reading this) that tick even more.

FFS. My friend Dr Packula has created a Facebook group, which essentially will share information and link to WriteToThem. Contacting your MP about this insanity would probably be a good thing.

I need to go hit something. Oh, wait, the bread is rising downstairs, I'll go hit that before it goes in the oven. I have photos. If they come out, a post may be pending.
On Monday evening. [livejournal.com profile] miss_s_b did, with a fair bit of help from Shrub and me, bake cupcakes. A sign that I'm getting naturalised is I'm now in the habit of calling them buns (mostly, admittedly, because Shrub gets confused otherwise). SB was in charge on Monday, because I'd not baked cakes for years (and years and years), and simply lack confidence in the kitchen.

It's not that I can't cook (granddad was a chef, I grew up around farms), more that, generally, I couldn't be arsed. But, y'know, I do enjoy cooking, so I'm trying to build my confidence up.

I learnt how not to do it

Anyway. I learnt lots on Monday. Specifically, I learnt how not to do it, and that, if in doubt, use less mix in the bun case, not more, which was SBs preference.

So, with us having eaten them all by this evening, I decided to cook some more up. Theoretically SB was going to be in the room with me making sure I didn't mess up, but that would've meant getting out of bed and that just wasn't going to happen.

I quartered the recipe

Given that we'd a) made far too many and b) they'd all overflowed the cases on Monday, we decided to quarter the recipe to make just 12 (ie one tins worth). So, from memory, I quartered the recipe.

Except that I mixed up the cake recipe and the bread recipe. So when I quartered a 800g of flour and weighed out 200g, I was actually measuring out the exact same amount of flour as we used on Monday.

Ah well. We now have a nice sponge cake as well as 126 cupcakes. I did cook 12, but, y'know, they were fresh and looked tempting. Shrub likes them too.

The sponge cake is still cooling, SB's made some buttercream icing to use as a filler, some of which is already on the buns.

Eat the mistakes

This cooking larks a lot easier than some people make it out to be y'know. As long as, y'know, you're prepared to eat the mistakes.

Nom nom nom.
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I think the The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy answered this best back in 1992:

Although it's not exactly new. And possibly it's being replaced by t'internet. Which, y'know, given the events of this week, is probably a good thing. On that subject...

URL of the week:

http://change.gov/ (via)

I have a brief comment on the Obama election. It's a story about a man who captured the hopes of the nation, made an appeal for change, won an election by mobilising a massive coalition of disparate influence groups, uniting them for a common purpose who went on to win seats all over the country, including in places that were previously thought unwinnable for his party. A lawyer, he and his young family were a refreshing alternative to the tired right wing Govt that they voted out.

Mr President Elect Obama sir? If you turn into another fucking Tony Blair, the entire world will be very disappointed in you. I voted for that git, I supported that git. He broke his promises and let me down. Don't be a git sir, we're depending on you.

Domestic bliss?

This morning, [livejournal.com profile] miss_s_b did take young [livejournal.com profile] shrublette to school, then went into town and did some shopping in Tesco. She bought a loaf of bread, more classic Doctor Who poseable action figure (we're very close to getting the whole Robot now, yay!) and a big bag of five custard doughnuts. I then took her to work. At lunch today, I did eat one of the doughnuts and felt a bit guilty about it. This evening, I picked her up from work, we went to former Cllr Yates's house to get his name at the top of our petition, then I dropped her home so I could go back to her work to pick up her Dad and give him a lift home.

When I got home, I offered to make tea. Quoth she:
I'm not hungry actually. I've eaten all the doughnuts
She has as well, the greedy pig.

Next time she complains about putting on weight? Suggest she might like to stop eating all the doughnuts...

Love you darlin'
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Hungry)


Oct. 10th, 2007 11:44 pm
Jennie and I are having our first argument. I think it's a northern thing, but we will solve it with skience:
[Poll #1069303]
Because, seriously, although we're giggling, this is the first time we've seriously disagreed.
ETA: Despite quite blatantly losing this vote, she's now making excuses—the votes of Americans and Southerners don't, apparently, count. OK, currently still winnning anyway :-D
Hmm, good news for a change, Masterfoods no longer evil:
Mars said it became "very clear, very quickly" that it had made a mistake.
Merely very very stupid. Was going to post about the sheer idiocy when [livejournal.com profile] mooism first posted on the 8th (note, that was 6 days before the BBC caught up), but things got lost in the shuffle. They were using the excuse that "only strict vegetarians" would be affected, and in a way, they'd be right. When I eat out, I don't tend to worry whether the cheese is made using rennet, I'm not that strict. But if a company does something blitheringly stupid, and says that it shouldn't bother me at all?

Worse, for them, it would've meant that many of my non-vegetarian friends and family would have stopped buying their products; why buy Masterfoods when Cadbury do something just as good? Stupid stupid company decision. Still, while I'll try to stick to Green and Blacks when I can afford it, and Cadbury when I can't, I can still buy Masterfoods now, they're idiots, but they're not
evil like Nestlé. Ah, informed consumers making choices within an active market, and forcing companies to change. You can see why so many capitalists are anti-market at heart, right?

The only problem of course is that some of the statistics used to claim how many vegetarians there are in the country are likely very very wrong. Why? Because even smart people are stupid:
Twenty years after the IQ tests were carried out in 1970, 366 of the participants said they were vegetarian - although more than 100 reported eating either fish or chicken.
Guys? Vegetarians don't eat fish, let alone chicken. So as virtually every survey of the nature relies on self reporting, and approx 1/3rd of self-described vegetarians are pescetarians at best, the market impact might be smaller than it should be. People assuming I can eat fish despite being vegetarian is probably one of my biggest pet-hates, and it isn't helped by the ignorance of some who self-describe wrongly. It's a bit like self-described Christians who don't go to church; they may quack like a duck, but they sure as hell don't walk like a duck.

Oh, it's National Vegetarian Week as of tomorrow, so expect dodgy media coverage, false assumptions and some of my more idiotic ethical eaters to be a bit too assertive in various places, sorry about that.
I'm sat eating the pizza (standard on offer Sainsbury 4-cheeses plus some quorn slices I added myself), the phone beeps.

Megabus vouchers paid for by a certain someone. I'm off to Yorksher (again) for trhe bank holiday weekend. I go to post. I hit the WiFi. I log into [livejournal.com profile] deepestsender. I hit the WiFi (again). I type this. I hit the WiFi, pull the connector out and hope this'll help. I hit post, happy, despite the damn WiFi.

Pizza. Is that fattening enough for you m'dear?
I did not go out on my lunch break and buy a big chocolate doughnut. It is not sat in front of me on the desk to eat after the sandwiches. To do such a thing would be wrong.

Hmmm... Doughnuts...

ETA: Nice doughnut. Not the best ever, but, y'know. Ah well, back to work.
Seriously, I'd forgotten just how much better a decent gas hob is over traditional electric plates. With my pile of stuff collected over the weekend, I finally grabbed the omelette pan, and have just had my own, self cooked, and damn nice omelette. With a side of halloumi.

So good...

I don't want to go back to an electric hob again, ever. Well, actually, one of those modern expensive glowing things would probably be ok, but I likes me my gas I does.

Anyway. Was supposed to spend morning unpacking and sorting, the afternoon trawling employment agencies, again, and then go into Cowley St. I have in fact spent the morning reading and feeling awful, the afternoon catching up online and pratting around, have finally had lunch + coffee, and will now get myself together to go into town.

Organised? Me? Whatever gave you that idea. Really ought to get around to unpacking the rest of the car, it's got the best part of my CD collection in it, and I want to rip more of it onto the walkman.
Sorry, couldn't resist.

Moving to London, stuff with friends, and pirates )
Anyway; I got to ?skip=200 on my main friends view, let alone blogs and weasels, so I gave up, so if anything major has happened in your life recently, or you've died, or something, LMK?

I'll put up a new contact details for LJ-friends tomorrow when I've figured out the post code, but the public bit is Raynes Park, near Wimbledon, SW20

I am a London resident, complete with house keys and off-street parking. Off street parking, broadband and a room that isn't as small as I thought, for £300 a month? Bargain!

Now, naturally, I have to go investigate the kitchen facilities, I'm a little peckish. Then, the plan is, investigate this thing known as Slimelight. I've never been.
Pete Martell: "How do you like your coffee?"
Special Agent Cooper: "Blacker than midnight on a moonless night."
Pete Martell: "...pretty black."

Special Agent Cooper: "MMM, that's damn fine coffee!"
Always did disagree with Coop about how to take coffee. It should first be made as black as midnight, but then? You need to add a little something special.

On why I have some expensive vanilla ice )

Mat, what has ice cream to do with coffee?

Well, y'see, little trick I picked up on from a Slovenian friend ... ). Instead of adding milk, add ice cream to your coffee. ... ) Soooo gooooodddd...

I'm about to make my second mug of this evening. Um, this may effect my ability to sleep properly this week. Ah well, off work next week, of to Londres. [livejournal.com profile] nadriel? We may need to investigate a cheap way to get you a freezer compartment for some ice cream.
Gotta love those Canadians...
Vast Left Wing Conspiracy
I'll be putting the link onto the new site when it's done, but in the meantime, it amused.

I've been playing with background stuff on Taktix, putting ads up (Google won't allow me multiple adsense accounts, but it will let me track individual ad effectiveness, so I'll be playing with that - I don't, actually, care about the money, it's user behaviour that interests me, I'm such a rational choice/webutility geek these days), etc.

Back at work tomorrow. Ah well, can't have everything. Must take long (ish) weekends more often, and hopefully not be ill during them. Still, have rediscovered a love of eating satsumas (I'm not sure my sister believed me when I said she'd interrupted me eating one), and am realising that healthy eating is a damnsite cheapter than junkfood eating. I did, of course, know this, but knowing something and "getting" it are two different things.

Still, time to bed. To sleep, perchance to dream...
Well, another wasted weekend, unless you count serious relaxing and getting head back together as time well spent. It's mid June, so I've had one month of hell at work with another two to go. It's actually going OK, the bosses are listening to me (quote from MD; "what we've found from this meeting is that, essentially, the only numbers we can rely on are Mat's") and the staff are doing great.

Minor cogs; no matter how far ahead we are from previous years, no one believes me except my sister, whose specific job requires her to pressure me to work harder anyway. Ah well.

Went to see Sin City with colleagues Wednesday; I thought it was cool, but I'm in the minority, most weren't the type to even look at comics so the style was lost on them, and many had never seen Pulp Fiction, one was unable to sit through Reservoir Dogs (why she went to see Sin City if she couldn't watch Dogs is beyond me, but, well, People). If you like Tarantino-like stylised violence, comic book humour and messed up morality, go watch it. If the idea of watching people hit people disturbs you, then, well, don't. Really.

Oh, and yes, Jessica Alba was incredibly sexy throughout.

So, to subject. I cooked breakfast, and came online to eat; the idea was to drive to Exeter afterwards. Well, 4 hours later, I'm still sat at my desk trawling through webcomics (http://www.vgcats.com/archive/ and http://gucomics.com/ ) that I hadn't seen before. Not 100% compos mentis though; I just picked up my coffee mug, which was next to the glass of orange juice I've been refilling. The coffee looks a little funny as I go to drink it.

It's half coffee and half orange juice; I must've poured some into the wrong receptacle while looking at the screen. Y'know what?

It tastes damn nice. I've always liked Muddy Puddles when I'm driving in pubs (pint, 50/50 orange juice and coke), so perhaps it shouldn't surprise me too much. Then again, my lack of sense of smell means my taste buds do strange things at time.

Meh; I need to get to Exeter this week sometime, and hopefully I can confirm to [livejournal.com profile] silentgreeneyes that I can drive the minibu for her, but that means taking Friday afternoon off work, which will be hard to justify, so I may need to put a lot of hours in the rest of the week. Not a good time of year to need me to do stuff.
Well, it's another bank holiday. Which means when taking my lunch break, buying a newspaper was hard work, getting lunch in an open cafe harder, and everyone wants me to eat crappy milk chocolate bollocks. Thanksfully, my parents, knowing me well, sent in to work via my sister a Green & Blacks dark chocolate egg :-D

Oh, and I went to Somerfield last night and bought 4 bars of their white chocolate, which is absoletely great. If, like me, you were put off white chocolate for life by that Milky Bar Kid, but you like chocolate, do yourself a favour and try this stuff. Suitable for vegetarians but not vegans; I bought some Maya Gold to go alongside it anyway :-D

I like that my job means I work bank holidays and take the day off when I want it. I hate that it's pretty much impossible to get normal services in the pokey small town I work in (the place of my birth). I really need to look more at the Exeter jobs available...
This is not my first post. This is just redated so it's not at the top of my journal all the time.

I'm Mat. This is my personal journal, the fun stuff. I also write in a few other places, including Not Little England (on UK politics) and TaKtiX (about gaming).

For more about me, your best bet is to read the bio and Userinfo. This post is mostly here so I can find all the tags I use easily, it may get more useful stuff in the future. It's not a 'Friends Only' Journal, but I do filter some stuff. Oh, if you're using Internet Explorer... ) go here and get help.

My Blogs: )
[livejournal.com profile] nolittleengland   [livejournal.com profile] torbaylife    [livejournal.com profile] warhammer_tx_fd
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)

British Liberal, house husband, school play leader and stepdad. Campaigner, atheistic feminist, amateur baker. Male.

Known to post items of interest on occasions. More likely to link to interesting stuff. Sometimes talks about stuff he's done. Occasionally posts recipes for good food. Planning to get married, at some point. Enjoying life in Yorkshire.

Likes comments. Especially likes links. Loves to know where people came from and what they were looking for. Mostly posts everything publicly. Sometimes doesn't. Hi.

Mat Bowles

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October 2015


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I'm the Chair of the Brighouse branch of the Liberal Democrats.

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