Yorkshire Pudding Experimentation Day

It’s a little known fact, primarily because I have just made it up, that most Yorkshire Puddings are produced in a terraced house on a could-be-a-lot-better road in Huddersfield. And that they are produced by a woman famous for, amongst other things, walking into a glass door and searching for a can of coke which she was HOLDING the whole time.

Today has been what Carole has termed “Yorkshire Pudding Experimentation Day!”

Try getting a Moonpig card with that on.

What this has meant, in layman’s terms, is that for most of the day Carole has been mixing up different batter recipes and trying out different tins in the hope of perfecting a Yorkshire Pudding. She’s done it all very scientifically, of course, by not keeping the rest time for the batters, oil quantities, oven temperature, batter portions or cooking time consistent. So, obviously, an outsider choosing to look in would see an experiment with several scientific flaws, including but not limited to a complete lack of repeatablility. But that’s just an outsider. And, to be honest, if they looked in what they’d actually see is a massive stack of Yorkshire Puddings varying in size and rise quality from small and flat to large and flat via small and risen, large and risen and LARGE and RISEN.

Which we ate.

So the outsider wouldn’t see those.

They would see that the freezer is now overflowing with these Yorkshires and bags and bags of my dad’s home grown green beans.

Guess what we’re having for tea for the foreseeable future, folks!

Oh and a marrow.

I’m not even sure I like marrow. I’m reasonably sure I don’t. But wrapped in a Yorkshre Pudding it’ll probably taste different.


Thug Life

Carole tried to entice another cat into the house this morning.

And, in what was quite an unusual turn of events, Peppa actually prevented it from happened.

Normally she’ll just sit idly by as another cat walks all over her territory, only putting up any kind of feline resistance when she’s backed up by one of the two humans who are at her constant beck and call. But this time it was almost as if she knew what Carole was up to and, in her own way, was saying “Don’t you f***ing dare!” by asserting her dominance with a bit of growling and a look that said “Yeah! That showed you! Yeah!”

And so buoyed by this act of defense was Peppa that she then took it on herself to run, at great speed, across two gardens to tell a poor, innocent cat to do one as well. A cat that just happened to be there. A cat that was just minding its own business before finding itself chased under a table and beaten with a paw, then chase out of the gardens by a black-and-white cat on some sort of Adrenalin high.

Peppa, in the space of seconds, went from being a lovely little cat to being one of those people you see out in town on a Friday that has had too much to drink and thinks they can take on the world. And anyone who looks at them funny between the pub or club they’ve stumbled or been kicked out of and their home/closest pizza establishment/taxi rank will get a threatening look, an incoherent “What you lookin’ at pal?” and a punch.

That was Peppa.

Beating up cats left, right and centre.

Albeit just the one cat and beating up is probably too strong a word. But the analogy still counts.

Peppa is a yob.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see her wearing a hoodie tomorrow, hanging out in a bus shelter drinking WKD.

Well, no, I would be surprised. I think anyone would faced with a cat in human clothes drinking. But you know what I mean.

Saturday Late Shop

Oh Sainsbury’s delivery where are you?
I’m somewhat a captive you see.
I can’t really get on and reseal the bath
Until you’ve delivered my order to me.

So I’ll sit here and wait and wait a bit more
And wonder just when you’ll appear
Normally you call if you’re running behind
But this time you’ve not, oh dear.

So I wait and I wait then I call your helpdesk
And they find out what is wrong
“The vans were late this morning,
But your shopping should not be that long.”

So buoyed by the fact I start to prepare
For the task that awaits me upstairs
But you still don’t come even though you should
I’m sad, but nobody cares.

And I wait, and I wait and I wait
Eventually you pull up to the house
I think about pretending not to be in
Hiding quietly, just like a mouse.

But that would be daft, after all of this time
A whole hour later than planned
And just a quick apology
As my shopping is swiftly de-vanned.

Shopping deliver and alternates returned
It’s time to sign on the pad
“I don’t have a pen, so you can use your nail.
It’s really not all that bad.”

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried
To sign your name with fingernail
But instead of a flowing elegant script
It just looked like I’d drawn out a snail.

Hunting & Bought-It

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 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…