Archives for the month of: March, 2013

Or not, as it happens.

I have made a rather startling discovery today; I CANNOT bake.  Not for love nor money or, as it turns out, cake.

I am utterly at a loss to explain this strange phenomenon.  I can cook fairly well, I can read and I can count.  Putting these simple elements together should mean I could piece together a basic Victoria Sponge whilst following a non-too-complicated recipe, should it not?

But alas.

I tried, initially, to make a really simple chocolate sponge.  Following a recipe I found on the BBC website what I made came out looking basically like two large flat biscuits.  It was chocolately, but not that impressive. It should have been this;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/spongecake_1284

The best part appears to have been my daughter, who got to “clean” the bowl with her tongue.

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Actually, I thought it may have been my fault for adding the cocoa powder.  I have been assured that this should not have made too  much difference.

So second I thought I’d do a nice Victoria Sponge from a recipe book I found on our bookshelf that belongs to my wife.  The book is called British Baking by Peyton and Byrne.

Well it can sod off, I can tell you.

I followed the recipe TO THE LETTER and guess what?  I had to leave it in the oven for double the alloted time, plus turn the oven temperature up.  AND IT STILL DIDN’T BASTARD WELL COOK. check out the photo.

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So it appears my career as a master baker is much shorter than I would have suspected. I ended up with this though;

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I have just watched the film “The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas”.  About six months ago or so, I read the book.  I was moved by the novel; a small work but packed with emotion and feeling all wrapped around a part of history we all know and seem to have an unstoppable thirst for.

The film was ok,

I know; the book is always better.

But here is why the film was just ok, in my opinion.

Firstly, they all spoke English. I really really think that it would have been so much more believable in German with subtitles.  I don’t often like subtitles..if I want to read I’ll pick up a fucking book; if I want to switch off for a bit I’ll put on a movie.  But this would have been so much better and more emotional. It really would.

Second; in the book it was entirely from the small protagonists point of view; Bruno led us on his adventures with a fantastic innocence.  This was lost a little bit in the film.  It didn’t make it feel like it was us watching Bruno…it was more watching the family and in this lost a little bit of the childish innocence that allows the plot to unravel in the way it does in the pages of the book.

Mostly though, the movie just missed the mark slightly untill the swift, dramatic and tragic ending.  Standing in the rain aware of what has happened, the father cuts a distraught figure.  There is a scene where we just see a door.  It’s a few seconds long; just a door.  We know what has happened on the other side of this door and it makes it quite powerful.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, it was just, well, ok.

But what the hell do I know?

Watch it if you fancy it; read it if you have the time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkzIC_bwxT8

Today as I took the dog for a walk I saw a sight you don’t see everyday.
A group of school children, on their way up the hill to the local secondary school. A couple of them had modes of transport; a bike, a skateboard tucked under an arm.
One of them was very competently riding a unicycle. What a terrific effort. He was only about ten or twelve years old. It just struck me as it isn’t a regular thing to see.
More people should ride unicycles, or penny farthings….

In other news, if any of you would like updates to your email accounts when I blather on about any old rubbish then there should be a little “follow” option on here, bottom left. Just in case.

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Or bottom right, even…

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Since my childhood I have always been a little bit of an ideas person.  I’ve had loads of (what I consider) to be great ideas in my life. Some people would disagree with me on this and say that most of them are idiotic, at best.  But that’s just their opinion.  And they’re wrong.

Take for example my idea of a mobile cooling machine.  A classic, if I may say so. Basically it involved carrying an old car door around with you, with the window done up.  The idea here is if you get hot you just open the window and allow the air to flow, thus cooling you down.  It works in my car, ergo…

Actually you know it doesn’t have to be an old car door at all, you could get a new one if you wanted, or even one of those really modern (in the nineties) ones that open upwards.  It’s up to you, although obviously old and used ones will be cheaper.

You see some people would suggest that this is a daft idea.  I like t think of it as unusual, yes, but just thinking outside the box.  Thinking five dimensionally, as I like to say (I’ve never said that before, I just made it up).

Another of my awesome ideas is for a home-based reality TV programme.  You’ve all seen them before; person goes out, team of people arrive and decorate entire house/garden, person arrives home and looks surprised/delighted.

Well mine would be called “Surprise Gardeners” and would have a little bit of a twist. Basically a team of people would hide in someones garden and when the said person goes into the garden, they all jump out and scare the crap out of them.  They could dress up, or hide in wierd places; the possibilties are endless.  It’s sort of Jeremy Beadle meets Charlie Dimmock.

As I said, I’ve got loads of ideas me.

Ideas I have had as an adult include;

  • Squintissentials – a series of photos of quintissentially British scenes done out of focus so the veiwer has to squint.
  • The Adventures of Mavis the Ninja – where I dress up as a ninja and perform really basic household chores, or go shopping to Waitrose or walk the dog.
  • Shit Pub Gardens – a book documenting pub garden failures around the country.

Personally I think there is mileage in all of these. Check out my Mavis the Ninja first attempt at the top of the post (an introduction).

So no stealing my big ideas, ok? I’ll be a millionnaire next year…