Hunting & Bought-It

August 28, 2015

This weekend marks the official start of the “make absolutely everything in Frances’ book” campaign. A food-fest like no other over however many weeks it takes me to work through every cute, crafty and crazy recipe in her ridiculously good book.

I’m starting with the Malted Milk Tiffin because I was tipped off to its existence by the Good Food magazine and because it’s quite a nice place to start. I have all the ingredients, as I mentioned, except for the Barley Malt Extract. which I couldn’t get on the online shopping order.

So I did a quick good and discovered that I could get it at Holland and Barrett.

So I went there at lunch time.

And I asked one of the people in the shop where it was.

And he walked around the shop repeating “Barley Malt Extract” to himself, like a particularly low-rent Harry Potter trying out a sticky, sugary Patronus charm.

I’ll be honest, the idea when I asked the guy who worked there where it was was to get it as quickly as possible, although I hadn’t factored in the hoops I would have to jump through when it came to paying for it and my not-up-for-discussion acceptance of the loyalty card, for all those times I need to buy pasta with so much fibre in it you turn inside-out when you poo or another jar of the barley stuff (which could happen, depending how nice the tiffin turns out to be). This didn’t really work, though as although he both worked there and was in ┬áthe process of stacking some shelves at the time I asked, he didn’t seem to know where things were.

I could have blindly staggered around the shop myself, without the malt mantra, and probably found it just as quickly basing my entire search on the fact that it would be in a jar and brown.

As it happens, he was put out of his misery (in the search, he wasn’t humanely destroyed) by another colleague who did, it seemed, know where everything was on the shelf.

So, that’s it. Game on. Well, it will be when the shopping arrives tomorrow and they’ve had to substitute all the other ingredients out for, I don’t know, hot dog buns or something. And I’m just stuck with a big jar of brown gunk.

Tiffin anyone.

How Frances Quinn Made Me Into A Rebel

August 27, 2015

August has been a good month for books that I like.

At the start of the month, all my attention was focused on my favourite red-headed geek, Felicia Day, and her lovely “You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost)”. A book which, when attempting to buy it in Edinburgh, was like trying to track down genuine Rocking Horse droppings. Even with a shop assistant who went “Oh, it’s got Felicia Day on the front – how can I not find that?” before failing miserably to find it, it took several days for it to appear from the “We have one in stock” to “Yaay, I own it.”

And I read it and I loved it and I might have cried a little at some of it, but it could have been allergies or smoke in the air or something. It might not have been the book.

And then today it was the day I have been waiting for for a long time. Frances off of the Great British Bake Off has written a book. And it’s finally out. I have been waiting a long time. Not necessarily patiently. But I have waited and waited and waited and waited and then when it came out today I did what any person who has waited that long for the book would do.

I went off into Leeds to buy it in my half-hour lunch break.

I could have pre-ordered it. But it’s a hardback book, so that would mean that if I’d ordered it from Amazon it would have come in a box large enough to house a small family. And I’m not a big fan of having all my deliveries sent to work because it already partly feels like I live there, if I start having my post redirected then I may as well just get myself a favourite chair.

So rather than pre-order it I chose to hot-tail it to WHSmith’s who were once the go to place for books and things.

Wow, it’s a long time since I have been in a WHSmith. Times have changed. Where once there was every book you could imagine, now there are books which wouldn’t look out of place in The Works. Or books allowing you to wear a mask of Harry off of One Direction’s face. Made out of cardboard. Not Harry’s actual face.

But what there isn’t – or wasn’t – was bloody Quinn’s book.

By the time I’d finished dithering about, noticing that they did have a copy of Felicia’s book on display, I had ten minutes of my lunch left. It takes about ten minutes to get from WHSmith’s to work.

So I did what anyone would do.

I went the other way.

Up to Waterstones. A hop, skip and a jump away. Okay, a few minutes walk away. I was now, officially, a rebel. With a cause. But a rebel none the less.

But still a rebel who couldn’t quite cope with being a full on rebel. A good two-shoes rebel, of a sort, who reasoned that, with a stroke of luck, they could make it back to work on time. It’s a new book, I figured it would be on display near the door.

Nope. Or if it was, it was well hidden. I could see Jamie Oliver’s massive head gurning up from his latest anti-butter (or some ingredient he used to use by the fricking skip-load) cookbook, but not Frances’ wooden spoon-pencil affair.

Now I was officially in rebel territory as I had to run up the stairs (embellished for dramatic effect, I walked) and then find cookery. It’s not called cookery, because that would be too easy. It’s food and drink in Waterstones. Gardening is still Gardening and not Grass And Plants, but Cookery is Food And Drink.

But at least I found the book. And bought the book. And raced back to work where I was late back and a total of zero people noticed.

So I just sat there for a bit and read the book, and worked out what order I am going to make everything in there. Twice. Except perhaps the meringue swans because coconut wings.. and it was going so well up to that point.

It’s Malted Milk Tiffin first, although the barley malt extract is (was, not anymore) proving harder to find than Felicia Day’s book…


August 26, 2015

I happened to be upstairs this morn
When the postman came to call
By the sounds I heard from downstairs
I expected a truck to be in the hall.

I’ve never heard such a lot of noise
From post so small and light.
It’s a good thing I was wide awake
Or it would have caused a fright.

I thought it was a burglar
Someone trying to get in
But it was only a Graze Box
And a thing just for the bin.

What the hell Mr Postman
Did you have to make that noise
Could you not have posted quieter
With grace and delicate poise?

As I said a bit ago
Thank god I was not still in bed
Or I might have freaked out a bit
And pulled the duvet over my head.

Dead Butterfly

August 25, 2015

There’s a butterfly in the hallway

I think it might be dead

It doesn’t seem to move around

And there’s no antennae on its head.

So this becomes the question then

Answer if you’re on the ball…

How long does a dead butterfly cling on for

And when will it fall?

Because I don’t want to be under it

When the grip it has is gone.

And it tumbles from the wall

and lands upon someone.

Because that someone will scream and shout

Wave their hands up in the air

All because of a dead butterfly

that just should not be there.

Alarmed To Be Back At Work

August 24, 2015

Alarms back on on Sunday night
For Monday’s back to work
But then wake up throughout the night
Like a worried little berk.

Not because of going to work
Or any of that stuff
But filled with fear you’ll oversleep
Because an alarm is not enough.

What if I’ve set it wrong, I thought
Or turned the volume down to nowt
Then I’d stay in bed past six
On work I would miss out.

So instead I got to wake
At points throughout the night
Each time I woke I checked my phone
Bathed in its screen light.

I knew that the alarm was set
And it would break my slumber
But in an hour I’d wake again
Time just became a number.

But the best I have to say
Is the last on of the night
I woke up at 5.59
Which really is quite shite.

Hot In The Kitchen

August 23, 2015

Today I’ve had a tricky task
But one I made it through
Teaching Carole to make Yorkshire puds
And roast potatoes too.

I didn’t do a Gordon Ramsey
I didn’t scream or shout.
Even when it came to the chicken
And she refused to get it out.

I thought that I was showing her
A complete Sunday dinner
But she refused to touch the chicken at all
So that was not a winner.

“When I do a Sunday roast,”
My student made the point,
“It won’t be chicken that I make,
It will be a nice beef joint.”

“I can’t touch the chicken,
Don’t make me, I don’t wanna.
Chicken is a scary meat,
Do it wrong and I’m a goner!”

So basically the other stuff
Was what she learnt today
And she made notes and wrote stuff down
It a teacher’s pet type way.

There’s 10,345 Moths In The Kitchen, What Am I Gonna Do?

August 22, 2015

Starting tomorrow, I’m charging a fee
For access to our kitchen
Because it’s full of minibeasts
As an exhibit it’s kind of bitchin’

Because it’s been warm and muggy as hell
The back door has been open all night
But it turns out, we didn’t think it through
We should probably haved turned off the light.

Now what we’ve got is a room full of bugs
You can’t move an inch for those things
They’re basking on walls and flying about
Brushing past you with those dusty wings.

Some of these suckers are massive
And some of them really quite small
But glimpse in the kitchen right at this sec
And you’ll see lots more moths than there’s wall.

They’re sitting on cupboard fronts
The boiler’s quite popular too
The wall and the door and the window
Just moths coming out the whazoo!

So that’s a thing to be dealt with
When morning rolls around after night
I’ll have to evict each of the moths
And the big ones will put up a fight.

Right now though, the doir has been closed
Both the outer and inner are shut
You can hear them slamming into the wood
Like some monsters that just won’t stay put.

I might just open the window
And leave the kitchen pitch black
That way they might leave during the night
Or nip out and bring more moths back.

That’s the downside of summer it seems
When you just want to stay cool
The insects come in and fly round your head
And you duck, flinch and twitch like a fool.


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