Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Walking in the Peak District

We went to stay with my brother in law and his family in the Peak District at the weekend. After a dreadful journey up the M1 on Friday, we did manage to get out for a splendid walk on Saturday, starting with a climb up towards Hollins Cross then to Back Tor and Lose Hill and back again.

Fantastic views all round.

Apple sells 2 million 'Leopards'

Appleinsider posted an article today, saying that Apple sold over 2 million copies of its new operating system, Mac OSX 10.5 Leopard, during the first weekend of it's launch.
Apple said Tuesday that it sold over two million copies of Mac OS X Leopard since its release on Friday, far outpacing the first-weekend sales of Mac OS X Tiger, which was previously the most successful OS release in the company's history.
In fact, it took six weeks to shift this many copies of Mac OSX 10.4 Tiger, after it's launch in 2005.

BBC News 24 Click's Rob Freeman takes a look at the upgrade to Apple's OS X operating system in this video.

Serj Tankian on 92.3 K-Rock

On Metalhammer today:
SYSTEM OF A DOWN frontman Serj Tankian recently stopped by the K-Rock studios in New York City to talk about his solo debut, "Elect the Dead", with K-Rock's Nik Carter.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

434,930 of our cows are missing!

According to Cowabduction anyway. Aliens are taking them.
It's a serious problem. Countless bovines have disappeared from dairy farms everywhere. And the numbers of missing cows are on the rise.
There is some pretty compelling 'evidence' here, I think you will agree.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Time to roast some roots!

I love this time of year, when there are root veg aplenty.

A couple of nights ago we, had roast root veg, Yorkshire pudding, vegetarian sausage and gravy. Sorry, I wasn't as organised as Nic, so no photo of the finished dish. However, this is roughly how I made it:
Roast root veg, Yorkshire pud and red onion gravy
4oz plain flour sifted
1 egg
1/2 pint milk
pinch of salt
2 medium carrots
1 medium parsnip
1 small sweet potato
1/2 small butternut squash
Olive oil
Black pepper
1 small red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 pint veg stock
1 tsp Marmite
Black pepper
Cauldron Lincolnshire Sausages

  1. Make your Yorkshire pudding batter, putting all of the ingredients into a hand blender and whizz it up into a smooth batter. Leave to stand for 2 hours.
  2. Cut some carrots, parsnips, squash, sweet potato or any other root veg you have to hand, into chunky batons. Place them into a large bowl, glug on some olive oil, throw in a few springs of fresh thyme, grind some black pepper and chuck on a bit of salt. Give it all a good stir and leave to stand if you have time.
  3. Pre-heat over to around 200°C, gas mark 6. Place veg on a backing tray and place into top of the oven for approx 30 minutes.
  4. Once the veg are looking part roasted, move the tray to the middle shelf. Pour a some Sunflower oil into Yorkshire pudding tray and place on top shelf of the oven. Turn the heat up to 220°C, gas mark 7.
  5. Put the sausages onto another baking sheet and place in the oven, or cook them in a frying pan, or under the grill. Keep warm once cooked.
  6. When the oil in the Yorkshire pudding tray is very hot, pour some batter in. It should sizzle. Place back into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the puddings are well risen and golden.
  7. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and gentle fry the red onion until soft. Stir in the flour and keep stirring for a minute over a low head. Add a little stock (dissolve the Marmite in the stock first) and mix well to eliminate any lumps. Add more stock a little at a time. Bring to the boil, while stirring continuously, until the gravy starts to thicken.
  8. Serve with a nice red wine.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

The unthinking majority

Serj Tankian from System of a Down releases his debut solo album, Elect the Dead, on 23 October. The second single from the album Empty Walls has an anti war message, which some may say has been done countless times by various metal bands over the years, but I think the video is pretty original. Take a look and see what you think.

The first single The Unthinking Majority is worth a look too - fine use of toy soldiers!

There is a message from Serj on the website, which starts like this:
Borders are the gallows of our collective national egos.
Subjective lines in the sand, water and air are separating plants, animals, and atmosphere.
Fear! Fear is the cause of separation for this imposed illusion, this cordoned off space from pre-birth.
Thought provoking stuff, I think you will agree. He has a book of his poetry out too. It's called Cool Garden. Although, I'm not big on poetry (sorry Nic), I may well buy it.

Tour dates too!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Delicious vegan flan

Yup, you heard me right. Another favourite recipe, this time from Sarah Brown's Vegetarian Cookbook:
Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 45 minutes
100g wholewheat flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
25g butter
25g solid vegetable fat
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2–3 teaspoon water
2 teaspoon oil
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
175g red lentils
350ml vegetable stock
350g spinach
1 tablespoon lemon juice
salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

  1. Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl. Rub the fats in with your fingertips until you have a mixture resembling fine breadcrumbs.
  2. Dissolve the sugar 2 tablespoons of water. Mix in the oil and add this to the flour mixture. Add a little more water if necessary to bind the mixture. The dough should be on the wettish side. Leave to rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 or 200°C.
  4. Roll out the dough to line an 18–20cm (7–8 inch) flan dish. Press it in well, prick the base all over and bake for 5 minutes to set it.
  5. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan and gently fry the onions and spices for 3–4 minutes.
  6. Add the lentils to the pan together with the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for 10–15 minutes until the lentils turn to a stiff purée.
  7. While the lentils are cooking, wash the spinach, drain it well and gently cook in its own juices in a covered pan for 6–8 minutes until just done. Drain and chop. Mix it into the lentils with the lemon juice and seasoning.
  8. Spread the filling over the prepared flan base. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 25–30 minutes until the pastry is cooked and filling hot. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve hot, warm or cold.

Monday, 1 October 2007

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas?

My dear old friend Simon sent me this link last week. Although he works in 'urban planning' himself, it might not be of interest to all. However, I reckon there must be a category for everyone here. Although I couldn't find 'I heart Cymru', I did find this for Nic:
My favourites are this, this and this.

Mac marketshare increasing?

MacUser reported today that, according the latest figures from Net Applications, nearly 7% of computers connected to the Internet are Macs:
In September 6.7% of computers that accessed the Internet were Macs, the highest proportion since the company began measuring operating systems' share in 2004, and a 50% increase in 2007 alone.