Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Hard at work

Phew! We are all set for Thanksgiving now. We collected the heritage turkey at Essex Market yesterday along with two pies and some cheese (in case we don't have enough food).

Today I started off by roasting the sweet potatoes and acorn squash. The sweet potatoes were mixed with sugar, eggs and spices for the casserole (will be finished off tomorrow with caramelized pecans). The acorn squash were mixed with softened onions, carrot, garlic as well as orange juice, cinnamon stick, pinch of chili and cream - delicious soup!

While I was on a roll I made corn pudding - adding panchetta and two eggs and skipping the cheese from this recipe. A tomato/red onion/green bean salad is resting in vinaigrette in the fridge along with a new round of cranberry sauce, this time back to a tested (brilliant) recipe from Williams Sonoma.

Tomorrow we do turkey (of course), mashed potatoes, leek gratin and bacon wrapped dates. Oh and gravy of course!

It is over

While Rob has improved, I agree, he is not a patch on Ricki or JR. For some reason they gave him straight 10's for his show dance which was very good but perfect? I think not.

Ricki danced her tango from halloween again - oh and it is even better than last time! The music must be a movie score, such a great choice and the dancing is crisp. ItI want her to win! The judges agree.

Rob is next. He feels he proved he belongs in the final. I am not convinced. They are dancing the foxtrot from the week when they all did dances for something memorable and he messes up a bit (forgets to take his hat off) and generally just looks very hesitant. Nerves I guess. Well this is not a winning performance. But the judges like it an Len says his foot work is the best he has seen in a male dancer in this competition ever. I just cannot see what they see.

JR is doing their jive but taking out the linty and the illegal lift. So basically doing a new dance? That is ok, I still really, really like him! It is super energetic and I think it looks great, apart from a little miss in the middle. Len decides to randomly thank the singers instead of talking about JR. Bruno looks like Chruschev banging the table shouting "fun, fun, fun" so I take it he liked it.

Judges votes:

3rd - Rob
2nd - JR
1st - RICKI!

But after adding last nights score it is Ricki 1st, Rob 2nd and JR 3rd. Now they are going to add the viewers votes and I think also the instant dance? A lot off re-counting. I am fast forwarding. I love my TiVo.

OK we are back and I do hope their counters are good ones as now we get the news on who is 3rd:

RICKI! WHAT THE FCK! NONONONONO! She is the best! Who are the morons voting? I was working late so missed it. Oh now I am pissed off. First Carson, then David now Ricki. Not fair!

I am giving up on this now, will fast forward through the rest.

Lots of filler with the other dancers already kicked out repeating a dance. I can't remember half of them actually, whoops. But CARSON IS BACK!! Doing Vogue. Hehe. And he gets to dance with Maks' brother. This is brilliant. Not the dancing obviously but having Carson back.

They are doing a recap of the season, I liked 80's week and Halloween week the best I think.

Lacey's dad is back! He dances with Chaz and Lacey to 'I likem chunky' - snark!

DAVID. Aww David, I miss David. They are dancing to a song from Grease and he looks fab as always. He is John Travolta of course, and Kym is Olivia Newton John.

SOON the last two will dance again, just a bit more filler and adverts. Yawn. Lady Antebellum I do not like so fast forward it is.

At last - final dances. Instant samba by JR first - he is brilliant. Rob next and he does rock those hips (with a cheeky wink at the judges.) Len gives them a standing ovation. Bruno gushes about Rob's bonbons. JR scores 10, 10, 10. Rob scores 10, 10, 1o. Oh for heavens sake why are the judges even there if they can't be bothered scoring properly.

A bit more adverts while they complete the complicated task of adding 30 to the total they had earlier. Guess they did hire Mr Scrooge's excellent accountants for this task... And JR wins. Good. Not Ricki but my second choice. And he has been amazing from week 1.

I will have such withdrawals next week...



Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Semi final

Three dances each this week! Oh how will they manage? And it is injuries galore - Hope gets shots for her shoulders, JR has injured his ankle and the other two fall over a lot. OK I might have exaggerated the galore bit but still...

Hope and Maks started off well I thought, except that she does stomp around a lot. Judges not impressed: 7, 7, 7. Maks pinches Tom's bum as he seems to do each week but I am ignoring as I really don't like Maks.

JR and Katrina next and he is incredibly hesitant, his ankle is really causing problems, this is not good... It is awkward and if he wasn't a super hero he might be at risk of being kicked out. I thought he would be great at samba :-( But the judges do not judge on the dance but on how impressive he is for coming out dancing injured and gives him 8's. The audience is screaming so loud that we can't hear what Tom says. Probably nothing important.

Rob and Cheryl are next and he is great! Samba is definitely his dance! Surprising as that sounds boy did good. His mum cries when Carrie Ann Inaba (ever the over scoring) gives him a 10.

Ricki and Derek next and she is dressed like a chicken but somehow makes it look FAB-U-LOUS! And her dancing is great. Derek's choreography is great as always and their execution as strong as ever and the judges loves it - straight 10's.

To break things up a bit they show sob stories from the stars pasts. (I am in tears when Hope talks about her homeless dad coming to all her football games. Sniff...)

Second lot of dances next - Hope and Maks are back and they should be great at the Argentine Tango but even though it is littered with complex lifts it is just not quite there. Judges agree and Hope has unfortunately learned off Maks and decides to talk back. Bad idea. She is bound to leave tonight.

JR and Katrina - oh and he has gone and bought a new ankle in the break. Very good Argentine tango! Being in pain probably helps with keeping his face all serious as well. 9, 9, 9.

Tonight Brooke is dressed in what looks like a shell covered dress - like a Pearly Queen but American style.

Poor Rob Kardashian - his evil sisters dressed him up as a girl a lot as a kid. Probably scarred him for life. But if he talks any more about going to University of South California I will scream. I know you are supposed to repeat things to make them seep into peoples mind but this is too much. Anyway his tango is quite good except for his bum sticking out in some of the steps. I want Cheryl's dress... Judges like - all 9's.

Time for Ricki and Derek! But first we get a reminder of her background and all the weight she gained and lost. Poor mite was molested as a kid, I didn't know that. OK now I am crying again. Time for Tango! And as always she is absolutely amazing. Love it! Share flicks and hooks and crisp footwork. She looks wonderful in a red sheath dress cut high on the thigh. (oh oh oh they just showed Carson in the audience! I love Carson!) 9, 10, 10 - I have no idea what made Carrie Ann Inaba hold back on scoring seeing as she has consistently been over scoring by at least one the whole season. The worst was when she gave NANCY a 9! I thought Len was going to strangle her.

Time for another oddity - the cha cha relay! Don't think they have this one in the UK... Ricki starts of in a dress with lots of little hanging shiny things that swirl in a fab way when she dances. Hope next in trousers made of the same material but that kinda looks weird... JR next and he walks a little then shakes his hips and now its Rob in a a kinda leather/oily looking shirt. He holds his and over his hip bone in a really weird way. Noone dances enough to really see anything. What an odd invention.

Judges are conferring while we go to advert break: Ford, ToysRus, AT&T, Subway and Modern Family ("I sleep clown" looove!) Hope is last (no surprise, those two know how to piss of a judge), JR is third, Ricki second and Rob is first!

Well I think we can safely say Hope will be voted off and the finalists are JR, Ricki and Rob. I do not know what I will do on Monday evenings when this season is over! Get a life? nooooooo....


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Bapabapabapabaaa

No idea what the theme is today, missed that crucial bit and can't decipher from the costumes.

Just noticed there is one guy in the orchestra that has a toupe, I saw him last week but thought it was part of the Halloween costume. Some guy in the first row has a cap on. Seriously, he should have been told to take it off, unless he is a stage hand filling a seat for someone on a loo break like they do at the Oscars?

Rob is dancing to Aha Take on Me - the chirpy version. I hate it. Not only are they ruining a good song (you know the high note? the guy in the band did not nail it...) Rob is just DULL. BUT it turns out the guy in the audience who should have been told to take off his cap is his sister's boyfriend (the one who sensibly has not married the nutcase). Len dislikes the opening sequence but says best dance so far (which I take to mean time to leave!). Bruno liked his frame and line. Carrie Ann Inaba thinks he was polished and elegant. I am guessing three 8's in this perpetual scoring of only 7's and up... 9, 9, 9 - OK they are certifiably nuts. I guess the over scoring has stepped up a level, we will see 10's tonight if that was a 9.

There is some random lottery in the middle where they get to pick their music for the instant jive. They pick Maneater with Hall & Oats. I have no idea what instant jive means, but I am sure I will find out soon... Turns out it is that they get 20 minutes to 'learn' a dance. In practice it means they have been practicing all week to different music and now just need to work out how to do it to a certain song. Meh!

Hope and Maks next. She looks lovely in a yellow coat and hat. He looks miserable. Maks apologizes (kinda) for being too rough with her. I doubt he means it. I am not keen. He is trying a gentler approach to coaching. He should just hand over to the guy who did a great job last week... Instead he introduces her to his family so they can tell her all about him. His dad proceeds to tell her Maks used to cry a lot, not sure what she is supposed to take from that. Anyway, they are dancing to Valerie and the start is a bit of a mess. She looks lovely as under the coat is a very pretty 1950's dress. It gets better though and Bruno loves it. CAI gives Hope a hug and Len thinks its her best dance yet. 9, 9, 9. Their instant jive is The Best Damn Thing by Avril Lavigne. No idea.

Ricki and Derek next! He has bad face hair again. They are dancing the waltz and I expect it to be amazing as always. But I am actually a little bored. The judges all love it but Len says she can't get a 10 from him without sorting out her heel leads. Considering how flippantly he hands out 9's I can't believe he is suddenly picky about handing out 10s. 9, 9, 10 (Aw, bless Bruno.) Instant jive music Land of a 1000 dances by Wilson Picket. Again, no idea.

Nancy and Tristan next - for what I hope is the last time! This should have been David! Get rid of her! She feels Tristan is negative and complains about him. I feel for the poor man, he must be going nuts with her. Tom notes Tristan should get hazard compensation - snork! Their tango would be ok for week 4 but this late in the competition it is just not good enough. Len feels since week 2 she has been on a plateau but now she has moved up again. Bruno feels she had the right Jezebel attitude. Carrie Ann Inaba feels she should give Tristan a break. 8, 8, 8. Upside Down with Paloma Faith. I hope they don't ruin it.

JR coming up! I had dinner as the program started, recording it in the background so I just whiz through all the adverts! Well, I did until now when I have run out of TiVo recording. Time for a soda pop break so I can build up some more recording time. American adverts are mind numbingly stupid and annoying.

OK I am back! JR was A-MAY-ZING! A wonderful waltz and he gets 3 10s! Whoppie!

Time for instant jives - quick summary:
  • Rob - ok but not very exciting
  • Hope - wow! interesting outfit and great super fast fabulous kicks!
  • Ricki - ok but not up to her usual standard. Best part was Derek jumping over Ricki's head and doing a great heel slide.
  • Nancy - terrible, week 1 level. Len even found the 6! About time.
  • JR - FANTASTIC! Amazing considering they got the music 20 min ago!
So tomorrow on the results show I want Nancy to go. As does Len. America - please listen to Len!


Sunday, 6 November 2011

Sweet potato casserole

Just cooked a mean sweet potato casserole - based on the Del Frisco side dish. Definitely one for Thanksgiving!

  1. 7 sweet potatoes - peel and wrap in tin foil then bake for 1.5hrs at 350F
  2. Mix 2 eggs, 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup demerera sugar, 1 tsp salt, 50g melted butter
  3. Once the sweet potatoes are done mix in with the above mixture and whisk until smooth.
  4. Put the sweet potato mixture in an oven proof pan.
  5. In a pan mix 1/4 cup of dark brown sugar, 50g butter and 1/4 cup chopped pecans. Cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Top the sweet potato mixture with the pecans and cook in the oven for 15 minutes.
Very yum. Next dish to try is succotash - we had it at Red Rooster and it was very nice.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Thanksgiving plans

Just a few weeks away now! I have ordered the turkey and the pies (apple and pecan) - both being picked up at Essex Market the days before the big day. I will be making the cranberry sauce the weekend before but the rest of the cooking will happen on the day or be done by someone else (frozen corn bread is the way forward.)

I am testing out the side dishes and I was super excited by the idea of corn pudding but after cooking it this morning it will not re-appear at Thanksgiving. Bland. Instead I have decided to go with JD's mash, MoF's leek in cream and anchovies and green bean/tomato salad. Tomorrow the plan is to test cook sweet potato casserole a la Del Frisco's as the final side dish.

JD wants Bisto gravy but I am thinking we do our own. I suspect we will not even touch the pies on the Thursday but enjoy them the next day as breakfast...

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

HALLOWEEN

DEAD from Hollywood! (Geddit?) Things go bump in the night.

All Halloween edition, I suspect there will be props galore but luckily they have swapped the judges for skeletons so Len will not have a fit.

The orchestra is more dead than alive, with the conductor is looking very zombieish with arms out. They have swapped the judges for skeletons!

We start with David and his Australian dancer who needs no mask to scare people. I am thinking plastic surgery gone wrong. They are working on his hip action - as it is a nice looking bum I am not complaining.

OK dancing - a bit of pyrotechnics and out his dancer come in her underwear with red string - weird and not very attractive. He is very Mandrake looking in tails, top hat and a cape, but unfortunately not looking very good on the dance floor. But to quote Brucie - they are still my favorites! Well Len liked it!? Obviously I am not very good at this dancing lark. Bruno just called Carrie Ann Inaba a bitch on telly! I think so anyway - they beeped it. Hmpf, finally something interesting said and they beep it! Brooke is looking like she wants to be in Chicago, not sure why that is relevant for Halloween. But there might be an opening on Broadway that she is eyeing up. Judges - 8, 8, 8. Another night of over-scoring! I really don't think they have paddles 1-6 in the US.

JR has a giant red gun. I wonder if they are supposed to be ghost busters but due to budget constraints they just got a cheap water gun at the local petrol station... But first ADVERTS! I am giving out some sweets to the local kids in the breaks. Trying to get them to take more as I am having to eat the rest.

Ah yes. Ghostbusters. JR is in a janitor suit and Kym is in a...erm...well... It is like a feather hat that Cher would have worn 20 years ago with a cape that looks like the egg white when you fry an egg. The dance is very good. Well I thought so. Len and Bruno give him 8's - as if David (love him to bits and all) was equally good.

More adverts then we see Nancy (bleugh!) and Tristan (mmm yum) practicing. She is so annoying I fast forward through most of it, the dancing is rubbish. She walks around a bit looking confused. Time to go. The judges are not impressed and show it by giving 3 7's?! Seriously? Where is Craig when I need him??

Kardashian next! As his sister has just announced her divorce I am surprised none has commented on it so far in the show! Brucie would have been right in there. Gah! Can't believe I am even missing flipping Brucie. Anyway. They are dancing to Addams family - another one eyeing up a role perhaps. The sister with the godawful hubby is in the audience (he is not in costume, no need I guess). Oh I don't like to say this but their dancing is actually quite good. Although his facial expression is more Lurch than Gomez. Len loves it, Bruno admires his manliness and Carrie Ann Inaba says best dance yet. More adverts!

Brooke still not asking about the divorce! Come on! OK scores: 9, 8, 8. Bruno and Len loved that but still only giving it the same as the JR dance they didn't like. Seriously expand your range of votes!

Ricki! Ricki! She is Red Riding Hood but is hampered by an injury - rib nerve something with a complicated name. This season's first injury not counting Chaz knees! Luckily her partner says he knows how to dance with someone in pain (god knows what he does to the ladies...)

Props galore! Trees. Cape. Basket. Great false lashes on her. False teeth and bad face hair on him (well he has no body hair so being a wolf meant pouffing the fringe a bit.) As every week it is very good! Having read up in Us and People I know that is her new bit of stuff in the audience as well. No idea who all the old people are they keep showing. Dad? Random relatives? The judges all love it and Len goes off on how this is why he loves the paso. Blabla. Scores: 9, 9, 9. Seriously she is MILES better than Kardashian brother! You need to sort out your scoring people!

Hope and Maks next. He is wolf man and I hope the fake teeth will shut him up as no one likes the talking back to the judge routine he did last week (a la James Jordan - don't like him either.) Maks broke his toe so Hope is dancing with another guy and Hope is loving it! Maks is unhappy. Fneh! Dance starts with Maks ripping his sleeves and shirt off. Well well... Her dancing is better than last week, maybe she should swap partner. CAB liked it, Len likes it and says thank you to hair, make up and costume department. Bruno liked it too. So probably 8's all round... Score: 8, 8, 8. Well that surprised no one.

Group dances next. As they are getting votes for that they are all super excited and Nancy smashes a pumpkin just to make the point. They are dancing the tango and JR and David are looking good - straight jacket tango suits them. Nancy is more rag doll being moved around the floor. Len likes the group parts but thinks the individual parts were a disaster. Bruno agrees with Len. CAB does too. OK move on. Scores: 8, 7, 8. Yawn.

Group Paso up next. Looking very scary. Adverts. Bruno is on Jimmy Kimmel Live later. Olive Garden (JD has vetoed it so I have never been), ATT (got it) , Ford (better than Toyota, I think not), Walmart (we need one on 5th Avenue I think.)

Ricki is trying to be a group player and she is injured so that is the excuse in early. Maks whips Hope around in an almost violent way. He is such a moron. The others are looking on awkwardly.
Rob stomps around, Hope is not bad, Ricki is solid as always. Finishing with some cape action where Maks is out of sync! HAHAHAHAH! Bruno is ecstatic! CAB is ecstatic and didn't even notice the cape out of sync. Len liked it too. Scores: 9, 8, 9.

Re-cap and its over for the night. Tomorrow Justin Bieber and BoysIIMen (LA special - book one, get one free?). We have lots of sweets left so I am going to have to eat that for the rest of the week.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Oats



It is October, end of, but still October. It is snowing outside. Quite mad. So we have cancelled our weekend plans of taking a boat up the Hudson to Bear Mountain Oktober fest and instead we are enjoying being indoors and admiring the snow pelting down outside.

I fancied cooking something but as we have no flour at home I went through the cupboards and found oats. As I was also hungry I searched for recipes with oats and found one that inspired me. Unable as I am of following recipes, not just a personality trait but also due to lack of ingredients, I made the oat soup by toasting the steel cut oats (the fast cooking kind) then adding a jar of Marinara sauce, water and chicken stock. Very nice!

I also found a recipe for oat brûlée but modified it a bit adding more egg yolks and some cardamom before torching it with my small torch. Very warming and wonderfully filling. Mmmm. Future brunch staple I think.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

DWTS - in summary

No Carson! Sob! But it is Broadway week so here is a tacky, inaccurate summary - just imagine in between each the monotonous, ever repeating adverts for medicine, cars, kitchen roll and a public announcement that McRib is back:

Rob K and Nancy G - no idea as I missed them. Probably not great.

David - Greased Lightning!

Ricki - Razzle Dazzle!

Chaz - more Happy Feet than Fierce Phantom - time to go?

Hope - Maksimum Len-noyance! Hope in boots and something that looks knitted by a 3-year old.

J.R. - Just Right! Best In Show!

Kristin Chenoweth - sings very loud and knows how to pick the best looking boys. And she is back tomorrow!

Group Dance with Chaz Hands! And CARSON! Oh no he is gone again. LIFTS! Bring out the crash mats! (So not a sentence you want to hear...) Well that was it for the evening.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Follower

I am a follower, I admit. I would hope that I am not completely without thought a follower, so if you jumped off a cliff I would hopefully stop to think about it, at least, before jumping as well. Anyway. I just got a Kindle because E got one and loves it so I thought it is worth trying. After reading a book on the iPad I confirmed I do not mind reading on a screen but I don't like reading on the iPad. It is too heavy and shiny.

Nook or Kindle? I love Barnes & Noble. We were there yesterday and mooched around, I picked up a few books but after we had the 'should I get a Kindle/Nook' I put them down and went to try out the Nook. I didn't overly like it but then it is hard to compare not having the Kindle next to it. Online I found more of the books I want in Barnes&Noble.com than on Amazon.com but having downloaded a Nook book (love saying that, btw) decided that I do not like the way they look on the iPad compared to the Kindle books on the same device.

Today we walked to Staples where they have both brands, tried both and decided that the Kindle (black and white, nothing snappy) is the one for me. So I am now a proud owner of a Kindle 4 and have ordered a great looking case from Etsy to finish it off.

Now off to read another Peculiar Crimes Unit story on my new device.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Ups and Downs

Carson is out. Booo. But Burrito Man made it through on Xfactor. As is the group that was made up of everyone bar the kitchen sink. And the pretty girl that Simon likes but that can't sing very well.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

80's week!

Good start! The Bangles live! Ah reminds me of the summer I worked at the hospital in Enkoping and stayed with granny at the summerhouse, cycling into town and listening to Bangles on my bright yellow walkman. I would have loved the dancers dresses back then as well.

OMG Brooke's shoulder pads are almost as wide as a normal woman's hips! But not a patch on Tess' normal outfit. Carson is best dressed, as always, in a snappy tracksuit matching his partner. Very campsite anywhere in the world 1984. Ricki is in a prom dress that could very well be her original from back in the day.

This week I am watching Xfactor (recorded yesterday) instead of suffering through the adverts. The judges have fabulous houses. Everybody cries a lot. Some of the contestants are good.

Maks and Hope - a lot of complaining. On both sides. Jeebus just get on with it... She is in a shiny red rain coat with a big handbag. OK there goes handbag and there goes coat. Mmmm not bad. A lot better than last week but she stomps a bit. (They are dancing to Living on a Prayer so I am busy head banging.) Len is not keen. Bruno waffles but seems to like it. Carrie Ann Inaba think both are right. Hope pinches Tom's bum before walking off. 8, 8, 8. I am guessing another week of scoring everyone 7-8.

Back to Xfactor. Why oh why do they all have to make the songs their own? Just sing the bloody melody.

CARSON! I LOVE CARSON! The track shots come off and they are in cheerleader outfits with pompoms and he has no clue, lost his steps within 20 seconds. Not finding it back but who cares. He is just loverly. Bruno says he was loopy but loved it. Carrie Ann Inaba is not seeing any technique (look harder dear!). Len not sure if it was good enough to come back next week, Carson says 'let America decide'. Hear, hear! I am voting Carson and David! 6, 6, 7 - guess that is the lowest paddle they have available.

Nancy is next. Yawn, maybe I will just skip this one. She is in hot pink with big blond hair (ok i am jealous I want to have big blond 80's hair). Dancing to Spandau Ballet True. Her dancing is sketchy so I am hoping they kick her out this week. CAI think it was drab. Len and Bruno thought it was good, although Bruno is talking (drooling) about Tristan more than talking about the dance. 7, 7, 8. Middle of the road again.

More Xfactor. Burrito man! He is great! He is my favorite.

And as its pointless professional dancer break (even if it is to the Bangles) I am staying with Simon a while longer.

JR - with the samba. Oh this should be good! I can smell a 10. Love the hip action! Let's see what the judges thought. Len loves it! Bruno thinks he is a sex machine with a volcano down below. Carrie Ann Inaba wants more - she said something in Spanish that I don't think came out as she thought it would. His dance partner looks like the girl who steals in with Zucco in Grease at the school dance. 9, 9, 10!

Rob coming up. Not super keen. I think he is just not known enough and definitely not good enough to make it through. Dancing to Hello in not even funny outfits and being middle of the road good. Bruno is gushing. CAI sees potential. Len is stroppy because he feels the others are talking to much. When he calms down he says it is good. 9, 8, 8.

Chaz and Lacey coming up. I like Lacey! Of all the dancers I reckon she would be the most fun to hang out with. Chaz is not great at this dancing lark so Lacey brings in her dad to help convince him that chubby men can dance. Love it! Her dad is brilliant! I want him as head judge! And he has got results, the hips are moving! CAI happy, Len moderately and Bruno compares Chaz to a basketball. 7, 7, 7 - middle of the road.

David and his odd looking Australian dance partner are up! Not sure what happened to her face but it cannot be natural. He does an amazing impersonation of Len. Snork! He is all punk. Mmmm me like. And the dancing is not bad - to Tainted Love - actually I think it is very good! Whohoo! David has learnt how to dance! Len loved it (little Coco in the audience happy as larry at the positive comments) as did Bruno and Carrie Ann Inaba but she and Len descend into bickering with Bruno pitching in for good measure. Children behave! Oh David you are lovely but when he talks he sounds like the nutty gang leader out of Polica Academy 2. 8,9,8!

We finish with Ricki! Ricki! Ricki! And she is proper A list as John Waters come in to see her! She is fab-u-lous! Love the dress, the wig, the blue eye liner, the attitude, the dance! Great choreography and excellent execution. But I must have missed something as Bruno is not impressed. Carrie Ann Inaba think they should have stayed in hold and not done the raunchy rabbit (I loved the rabbit!). Len feel they are mucking about with the foxtrot (well boho to you!). I am sure she will get through no problem. 8, 8, 8 (misery guts). They seriously felt Rob was better than RIcki? Fneh! Need to get their eyes checked.

Well tomorrow, after a very drawn out results show, we will find out who goes home. I hope it is Nancy or Rob.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Oooo

Oh it's famous movie scores at DWTS! David Arquette is still in the show as is Carson and J.R. I am hoping tomorrow Nancy gets the boot.

OK while I prefer these hosts to the UK version I have to say I suspect they might be recycling an old Tess dress for Brooke tonight. It is off the shoulder and a bit of a mess.

Carson has a cute weird viking beard! David is looking snappy with chest showing and a tash! Ricki is looking amazing! Chaz is in a boxing outfit. If Carson grew that bearding a week then he has amazing hair growth.

Oh no, pointless professional dance around a fire on the floor. The men lost their tops so now i am waiting for the Bucks Fizz skirt ripping moment. Nope, they just let the girls go to one side to remove their skirts while the guys played with pretend light sabers. Gripping stuff. As mr host says "you can never go wrong with light sabers and spray tanning". True.

Chynna is first. Not keen. Her dance partner is not keen either it seems. Cut to clips on how all the couples are having problems and being snappy with each other. Adverts - highlight: rediscover baking soda for brushing teeth, yum.

Chynna and Tony! He comes down from the ceiling, she stands around waiting. Then they pose a bit, she takes a few dance steps but this is not great. She almost looks in tears at one point. It doesn't help that he his ceiling straps kinda looks like a black diaper. Tom reminds Len that they are allowing 'mucking about' in the beginning this week. Well at least she didn't cry. She randomly gets three 7's - she remembers almost nothing of the steps! Come on! Just give her 4's as she deserve.

David is next! But first adverts! Highlight - sensodyne foam. Looks surprisingly like pictures from an advert for a pipe unblocked.

Re-cap from last week and a "touching" rumba. It was not very good so maybe that is a good description. But I love him so I hope he does better tonight. Paso Doble to the Raiders of the Lost Arc theme! He swings in, cracks the whip and looks great. Reminds me of my favorite show as a kid - Tales of the Gold Monkey with the one eyed dog. And the dance is good! Boy does good! Love it! And it seems so does Bruno who is standing and shouting. Carrie Ann Inaba takes over the shouting, not sure if they feel it is so noisy in there they have to. Len does not like it. Miserable git. David calls him out asking if Len means he should't stomp his feet in the paso. Snork! Then a fight breaks out over whether David has a tight but or not. Wow. Bruno shows Len his tight but as an example so he know for next time.

Adverts! Chocolate, kids toys, banking and air freshener. Followed by pointless professional dance. What?! One of the guys just stuck his tongue out at the judges!

CARSON! I LOVE CARSON! Dancing to some pirate music so that explains the outfit. Sword dude turns up during training. Carson likes him and thanks him for wearing a low button shirt. I agree.

Adverts! Car, coffee, cereal, movie, insurance and a search engine.

Props galore! Pirate flag, swords, parrot, pirate hats, mini boat, explosions and initially no dancing just sword fighting. Carson loses his step but gets back into it, loses it again so overall not his best dance. I love the robin hood-eque jumps, thigh slaps and general merriment. Len will not be pleased. Len compares it to child birth - Carson shows his Len in a heart tattoo! Bruno proposes a film 5 - revenge of the gay blade. I don't think the audience understands him but I don't think he cares as he is probably well paid for this.

Susan Boyle is coming tomorrow. Terrible photo of her shown. Scores are in - 7,6,7 - I would say generous if I hadn't seen the scores for Chynna the forgetful...

Adverts: cat movie, car, cell phone, cereal, self parking car, credit card.

Nancy is runining a great song - Flash AAAAH he saved everyone of us. She just looks sulky and the dance is clunky. The ending is odd, I wonder if she is hurt... Len cannot get excited about it, Bruno wants Nancy to become a ball breaker, Carrie Ann helpfully points out Nancy is one of the oldest contestants and that she is doing really well ('for her age' remains unsaid). Three 7's - WTF! they are just being bland making sure everyone is around the same score. More honest voting! I want Craig on the show!

More adverts. Hope with Toy Story Song! That explains the outfits. Maks adjusts his bits before the dance starts. I like her wide legged trouser skirt. Their dancing is quite good, she just need a bit of confidence. Oh there is a kid in the audience dressed as Buzz! Cute.Bruno loves it, Len gets frustrated and wants to tell us why but we do not want to hear. Maks and Hope does a fab synchronized bow! Len keeps talking but noone is listening any more. 8,8,8 - F off! That was more than one point better than the Chynna the Forgetful and Nancy the Bore.

Adverts. Asthma medicine - increasing risk of death from asthma.

Rob dancing to Superman. He feels the score is perfect for him as he is shy and has to transform himself to this arrogant guy. He is 'like' taking it very seriously 'like' putting a lot of 'like' hours in 'like'. But I have to admit he is not bad, he messes up a few steps but overall it could be worse. And his clumsiness kinda works with the Clark Kent nerd look. Carrie Ann Inaba uses the word 'like' too much as well. Len didn't mind it. Bruno is up and showing how it should be done almost tipping Len out of his chair. Still do not think they understand him. 8, 8, 8 - seriously? Hope was better than that...

J.R. keeps stroking one side of his task, very cute. But we have more adverts. TVs, soup, mascara, toys, coffee, Bose speakers, travel site, health insurance.

It's Ricki! Looking lovely as always. Dancing to Pshycho. Love the shade dance intro! It is a weird song to dance to, this cannot be easy for her.But she does great! I just wish Derek didn't have that stupid facial had, that is all I can see. That was the best dance so far this evening. Judges agree. 10! 9, 10! OK that is excessive, I was expecting three 9's - they need to score down everyone or increase the maximum to 12...

Adverts of course. We are back to baking soda. And we are back! Close up on violinist with fab glasses!

Chaz dancing to Rocky. Cher is in the audience so he can be voted off now. Not a lot of dancing but Cher loves it. Coco looks more bemused, but not as much as she will be when they give Chaz about the same score as her dad in this pussy footing about judging. Carrie Ann is crying! So weird. 7, 7, 7. Have they removed the paddles from 1-6?!?

More adverts. Oh just get on with it.

Time for J.R. - looking forward to seeing him and Ricki in the final. Dancing to Pink Panther. He is the pink panther and not Inspector Closeau, and Karina has a dress with bits hanging off it like bits of pink toilet paper. Yuk. His dancing is good but not as good as i would expect, a little disappointing. Oh the sword guy is in the audience!! Carrie Ann Inaba thinks the humor was unnecessary (agree), Len complains about having to sit between two idiots but both he and Bruno likes it very much. 8, 9, 9. THAT was more than 1 point better than Nancy and Chynna and definitely not equal to Hope and Rob - but better and if they scored more fairly that would show in the leader board. Hmpf.

Well I hope Chynna or Nancy leave tomorrow. I am off to vote!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Sunday cooking - planning

At Essex market yesterday we got some Vermont cheddar that is salty and wonderful on toast with a bit of honey and a cup of tea. We got a bit of New York blue cheese as well, both cheeses were dinner last night with some fresh bread and a bottle of American red wine (Aratas Petite Sirah, curiously strong at over 15%, why is American wine so strong?)

At the market we found a butchers selling heritage meats so we got some cold cuts for snacking and also some goat. I have eaten goat before but never cooked with it so it just had to be done. We also found some cut up pumpkins of different types, I like not having to buy a whole pumpkin so got a few chunks. Today the goat will become curry in the slow cooker and the pumpkin will become soup with some of the left over blue cheese. Just need to pop out to the spice store to get some additional spices then we get cracking!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Food

We did a food walk through Lower East Side today, arranged through the Tenement Museum. We started with some pretzel as the area used to be very German, we then down the road and tried really good pickle from the Pickle Guys. Turns out that what we would call 'fresh salted' and here they call it quarter pickle - very green, still crisp and slightly salty. Delicious.

We walked on to the Essex market and tried some cheese, mmmm cheddar from Vermont and then fried plantain called tostones.

Off again this time to try puff pastry with green tea filling, dumpling from Vanessa's (oh so returning there as the whole menu looks great) and donuts from Donut Plant. Mmmmm....

We returned to Essex market after the walk as this was a great little place. We now have cheese and ham for dinner, goat for stew tomorrow and heritage turkey ordered for Thanksgiving. We also got a tip from a fellow guided person about a spice shop on Lex and 28th so that will be where we head tomorrow before we get the curry goat going.



View Food Tour of LES in a larger map

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Bitching with the Stars

Oh I need a US version of Strictly Come Bitching. Everything is slightly too nice, everyone gets along and there is no Bruce or Tess to get annoyed by. The US host and hostess are kinda nice, but not very interesting, although the hostess wears very very low cut dresses.

For some obscure reason they have imported Len and Bruno as judges. What they need is Craig. What makes me snigger is that the US dancers just ignore Len's complaints about props and not enough content. Fneh! Bruno seems almost normal in the US - strange but true. They have also imported the Voice - but I am not sure if they fly him over or just get him to record his parts in a BBC studio?

On top of quite normal hosts they have also got singers who can sing! It is almost too good, too plain, too vanilla, as they say here.

Best bits of tonight's show - they are all dancing 'from the heart' to music from a year that is special to them. Some stories are sad, some funny and some uninteresting.

Rob - not bad and dancing to his dad's favorite song. Oh! Kim K is in the audience! She pretty. Half the clan is there and I noticed they have a heavy presence on twitter as well...

Chynna - D-U-LL as Craig would say. Dances to her only hit. Snork!

Chaz is dancing to a Sonny song. When I say dancing I mean standing still while moving his arms a little, with Lacey twirling around him. Len must have seen something I didn't as he just said it was his best dance so far. They all three agree Chaz is likable, saw, isn't that nice? Craig would have been scathing.

Kristen - she feels Len has to say something nasty about everyone. Hmm maybe Len is so bitter and twisted on the UK show because he is not allowed to be the mean one? Every US show needs a mean Brit judge. I missed why Beyonce's Crazy In Love is special to her. She looks great in her outfit. Len is as always charmed by a pretty girl. Bruno is standing up and shouting. The TV cameras keep showing some guy in the audience that I assume is her boyfriend or brother? I need to start subscribing to Us Weekly obviously.

CARSON! I LOVE CARSON! But first adverts. Chocolate. Bastards. Now I have to go dig through the cabinets. (Found some Big Turk - great name and oddly tasty). Oh a bit pervy coat removal. And Carson wants her shoes. Anna is dancing in a black net curtain. Some great high kicks! And not as bad a tango as it could have been. Bruno loves it and gets a kiss! Len clarifies he doesn't want a kiss. But he liked it. I don't like agreeing with Len. A very handsome man in audience - boyfriend? Seriously am getting that subscription tomorrow...

J.R. - what is not to like? He has great hips and his story is very moving. The judges all love him. We all do. I think he will win. Betcha he will get his first 10 next week.

Nancy Grace. I like the Irish dancer who says 'turd' for 'third'. He remind me of the driver from Downton Abbey. Mmmm... But Nancy is not great. Yawn. Jeebus. Carrie Ann Inaba (as the man with the voice always says, no first names here) must have an amazing imagination. Off with the fairies. Maybe she is friends with Paula Abdul.

Crikey. Advert break again. Anti-depressants this time. Obviously catering to a mainly female, middle aged audience.

Ricki! I just feel we should be chanting her name. She loks a bit hippie, some sort of sheet over one shoulder and Cher 1970's hair. Her dancer dated Cheryl Cole for a while - he needs a shave. I think they should have kept Cheryl on Xfactor over here, Nicole Schechszingzr is not great. Anyhoo. Very nice dance, she could win too...

Adverts. Is it me or are they just adding more and more breaks as the program progresses? Jackie Chan is advertising V8.

Hope. Not just a female sport star but soccer star so unlikely to get a lot of votes. She looks great and I like that she picks on Maks for not being fit enough. Hehe. She has hideous tights on. Len thinks it is too provocative, Carrie Ann Inaba wants Maks to show his girly walk (ooooooh his face.. priceless), Bruno is walking with his hands on the table to show her how it's done.

David. I am a big fan! And dancing with open shirt! He has a nice chest but no hip action. I still want him to go through so am going to vote a bit extra to make up for the fact that he can't dance. He is so lovely and weird and I just love the outfits he practices in!

Over for today! Tomorrow is the drawn out results show. Yawn. Luckily Glee is on at the same time followed by New Girl so I will google the results afterwards.

Gossip corner - confirmed new boyfriend of Kristen in the audience and the handsome man is with Carson.



Monday, 3 October 2011

French

We found a great little French restaurant by Lincoln Center, where we had lunch yesterday. La Boîte en Bois. It had good food, rude waiters and everything you would expect of a real French restaurant. Definitely going back! I had the house pate followed by seafood crepes (mmm). JD had garlic sausages with lentils followed by steak with garlic mash (m m mmm).

Today for lunch we tried a French style restaurant by Union Square. It looked French as someone would think a French restaurant should look, the food was ok but we will not be going back.

A few weeks ago we tried another Looking-Like-French restaurant place just round the corner from here. It looked better on the outside than inside and food left a lot to be desired, not to mention a very dirty bathroom (or restroom as they say here).

It seems we have a thing for French restaurants. No point in showing where the two rubbish ones were but below is a map showing the good one.



View Larger Map

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Lazy days are here again

Great day so far. I got my wallet back from the very nice lady who had found it in the taxi the other night, we then had lunch at a small French restaurant before going to see the Barber of Seville at the Met. It was wonderful. I love the going up and down explosion chandeliers in the ceiling.

Tonight we are having a Downton Abbey marathon. For some reason I didn't watch them last year but JD did. Luckily he does not mind watching them again so season 1 is in full flow on our telly. I am very excited for season 2 now!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Sunday

We got up early (for me) today and made our way up to Central Park to join lots and lots of other people in the Race for the Cure. Now the word 'race' in that title is misleading as due to the sheer amount of people even walking at pace was not possible. So we meandered for the cure through Central Park - it was lovely and at time moving as we read the signs on peoples backs.

After getting lost on the way out of the park (clearly we have not lived here long enough) we finally managed to get to the subway and off home. The race itself was probably about 10,000 steps but by the time we made it home the pedometer said 19,910. That is how lost we were. I think the cure is spending more time strolling around the park.

We have now spent the afternoon catching up on tv - True Blood and Strictly. And of course reading Come Bitching. The best blog ever. I love autumn as it brings with it more Come Bitching. Time for some Dr Who and Torchwood and we are all caught up.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Guests




Our first guests staying more than a night have just been and gone. My parents arrived two weeks ago tomorrow and we had a lovely time. First we went to Niagara and Toronto, which was great, then the parents roamed around Manhattan a few days.

JD and dad went to Mets while mum and I shopped on Union Square and then we had a fab time on the Intrepid before the week was over. Photo evidence attached.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Cars!




I am just back from a visit to Detroit, Michigan. One more state! To be honest I didn't actually see Detroit itself as I was driven from airport to a lovely suburb called Birmingham where I spent the whole weekend visiting a friend. When we were not busy chatting, drinking wine and eating lovely food we walked and admired old cars. Not as old as the ones we used to see at the London to Brighton rally but making up for lack of age with amazing colour and detailing. Even the family cars being displayed were smashing! My favorite was mint green and white with green carpeting.

Overall I liked the Gremlins, the Corvette Stingray and the Chevrolet Bel Air. We chatted to a bunch of people about their cars, other peoples cars, cars passing by and cars they had at home as they were afraid of getting them wet. I know almost nothing about cars. Luckily most of the mainly men we chatted to were happy to do most of the talking while we asked polite questions.

Crockpot yoghurt take 2

I made more yoghurt last night. I have read up a bit more online and decided to add measuring the temperature to the earlier recipe.

I poured 8 cups of whole milk into the crockpot, set to Low. The milk was slowly heated to 180F/82C (about 3 hours) then I unplugged the crockpot and let it sit until the temperature dropped to 115F/46C (about 3 hours). At that point I added 1/2 cup of the yoghurt I made last week (as the starter), wrapped the crockpot in a thick towel and let it rest for 8 hours (well, until I got up this morning.)

It thickened a lot better than last time - keeping an eye on the temperature definitely worked! So now I have 8 cups of beautiful plain yoghurt to enjoy for breakfast this week. So simple and so nice.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Update


Yoghurt had thickened a bit overnight but I like mine thick and creamy so after straining it through a towel I can report it is delicious! Mixed in some frozen blueberries just to make it extra super special. Mmmm.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Rainy!



Love a rainy day! We have had a lot of sunshine this summer so waking up to the sound of cars driving on wet roads made me smile. We had planned to check out Governors Island but that can wait.

Instead I am making yoghurt and have made a lovely summer pasta salad with all the bits and bobs we have at home - mainly local vegetables - in a purple basil garlic mayo (basil is in season! whohoo!). The left over baguette from Fridays balcony picnic made great crutons.

I am re-reading Harry Potter so spending the in-between time on the sofa with my nose in book 5. It's an easy life.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Picnic on the balcony


Friday and no energy to cook or to go out for dinner so I met JD in Grand Central after picking up some cheese, truffle salami and serrano. We got a delivery from our wine club the other day so we had a picnic of American cheese (from Sweet Grass Dairy, delicious), American wine (Blagden Pinot Noir 2007) and some American vegetables. Mmmm I think I can get used to living here.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Slow cooker

The slow cooker made the move and I have just found a recipe to use it for. I am very excited. Sunday I think will be yoghurt making day.

Relax


Aaaah, Friday. Lovely warm but not hot day. I picked up the new balcony sofa and tried it out for dinner. Perfect. Dinner was wonderfully flavorful tomatoes with onions and basil from the farmers market topped with some feta and watermelon.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Game on!


One thing America is absolutely the best at is sports venue food. We went to Citi field and saw a Mets game last night and the selection of food was very good. Deciding between Shake Shack and Blue Smoke was tough but in the end the queue to Shake Shack was just too long and besides I have tried it before. So dinner was pulled pork sandwich, the best one I have ever had.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Settling in


We are slowly settling in. This week we tried one (of the gazzillion) local restaurants for dinner, very nice. And we got a zipcar (car sharing) over the weekend! Like proper New Yorkers we want to get out of here over the weekend as its just unbelievably hot. So we went camping up in CT, river kayaking (much too exciting for my taste) and relaxing under the stars.

Next week the plan is to go see Mets on Tuesday, the tidy the flat for our first guest who will stay over on Sat night when we are going to a jazz club and, more importantly, for pineapple martinis. Sunday we have tickets to see Jerusalem - hoping it will be as good as the reviews imply.

I am going to order blinds tomorrow. They will cost and arm and a leg but supposedly will retain the view while keeping the heat and sunlight out. We will see...

Monday, 25 July 2011


View in the morning (6AM) and evening (10PM).

We need blinds but until then we just enjoy the view.

Moved

All moved and almost all packed up. We need a bigger book case so the last items are books to be unpacked or donated.

Noted another odd American thing: in our lift there is no eye contact, hellos and absolutely no chit chat. JD tried talking to the girl who lives next door saying 'Hi we are your new neighbours' and she looked at him as if he had two heads.

This is now added to other odd things like the very low toilets, single ply loo paper everywhere and insane tipping habits.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Moving

We are moving, inte to the city but a smaller space so we will have to go through and get rid of some things. Always tough. But moving means new stuff! So I just got a shower curtain. Haven't had a shower curtain for years. Nice green Marimekko shower curtain from Crate & Barrel. With matching towels. All on sale so it's not that bad, right?

Now lets start packing!

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Crocheting

Am back to crocheting! Have decided to go for a scarf (or a throw if I don't get bored) made up for crocheted squares. I have some bamboo wool to use up in pretty pastels and am planning to find a wool shop in San Fransisco or Seattle to pick up some more while on the road.

A lady at work got me back onto crocheting by giving me a magazine on knitting, we got talking and 45 min later (and after admiring her beautiful half knitted sock project) I got a new friend and lots of blog links. It is a shame that I am so rubbish at actually knitting and crocheting. Maybe I will improve with time...

Monday, 2 May 2011

Beef stew

While we golfed the slow cooker cooked us a beef stew, wonderfully filling with buckwheat and root veggies cooked in a stock based on our home made ale. Should be even better tomorrow when its left over time!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Misty

Afternoon turned dry but misty. Nothing like zero vision to make you feel cosy inside.

Update on lamb curry - it is the best one I have ever made and if I was served it in a restaurant I would be a very happy customer.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Easter



Its lovely and rainy outside, so we have an excuse not to go out. My favorite type of day! I have just finished another David Sedaris book and have about 100 pages left of 'The Darling Buds of May' before I throw myself headlong into the next book which will either be Fay Weldon's 'Nothing to wear' or I go back an try to get on with the 'New York' book by Rutherford. He is just not very engaging... I also have another 3 books started but they can be read slowly over the coming weeks.

In the oven: diet coke cake - or muffins rather - trying an online recipe using a ginger cake mix + a coke zero. Nothing else. Will report out.

In slow cooker: Lamb Tikka Masala - should be ready in approx. 5 hours.

From Friday - Swedish rye bread using a Finax 'shake n' bake' mix. Its wonderful with cheese and ham. Or a boiled egg and a slice of tomato.

Wonder if it will rain tomorrow? If it does I am planning poached salmon in the slow cooker and attacking some of the books I have bought but not got round to reading yet...

Monday, 18 April 2011

Slow cooker update

The eggs were nice but would have been even nicer if I had been brave enough to take them out after 30 min, but I chickened out and left them in for 40.

The lamb was lovely, we had wraps with tzatziki and salad. Plenty left over for Monday dinner. The stock is great so that we are saving to use as a stock in a curry. Or I will forgets its in the fridge, find it in three weeks and wonder what on earth it is.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Testing easter recipes

I got a slow cooker a while back and while I love the idea of it we haven't used it a lot. Its a bit big for two people I guess. We made a lovely roast chicken in it and the stock and vegetables left over made a wonderful soup.

So, in the spirit of spring and easter I am trying two new recipes in the slow cooker this Sunday:

Eggs en cocotte - breakfast (will be ready in 30 min)
Lamb shoulder - dinner (will be getting ready while we are out golfing)

Fingers crossed they will be nice and we will have dinner ready for us when we get back. If both work out we have two dishes for easter sorted. The last easter dish will be something with salmon, not sure what yet but am sure I will find inspiration during the week.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Spring is here

The cherry trees are beautifully pink. The tulip buds are about to burst. The first bare legs are out. The restaurants have all put the tables out.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Winter














As spring is being slow coming we decided to embrace winter. So for my birthday we went up to Lapland Lake in south Adirondacks. We stayed in a very cute little cottage with a great wood burning stove - making for toasty relaxation after the skiing. The cross country skiing tracks start just behind the cabin so not only was it 30 seconds to get out it also meant a break for tea is no problem. Lovely! We ordered the Finnish platter catered dinner - meatballs, beetroot salad, cabbage rolls (kaldolmar) and salmon potato casserole (laxpudding). Mmmm.
Definitely going back - wish it was a little closer so we could go again this weekend!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Crochet


Its spring. Sun is shining and we are heading for the season when I need excuses to remain indoors. So I am thinking a new crochet project. I have a tub of yarn behind my chair and a tube of needles (that my parents made for me) so all I now need is a pattern within my capabilities that I want to do. I am thinking a bookmark. I normally try something more ambitious like a cardigan or vest but then fail to complete (or complete something looking very very bad).

It's hard

Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

This is a hard one. So many books to choose from and which one to commit as best one ever, ever. Favorite author is hard enough, but best book is just very very hard. I loved Tralarna, Kulla-Gullla, Pollyanna as a child, the Hobbit (and all the followers) in my teens, The World According to Garp followed and then The Master & Margarita. Cat's Eye and Anna, Hanna & Johanna I cherished reading. Finding new authors (new to me, that is) and reading all their books led me to Charlaine Harris - I do love Dead Until Dark, and Ali Brookmyre. Getting recommendations from friends helped me find the excellent Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff and World War Z. The bookclub led me to Shantaram and a lot of other books that didnt quite make this list.

But if I have to, and it seems I do, I will have to say that my favorite book of all time is Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks.

Monday, 14 March 2011

More books

Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book - "Buggrit! Millennium hand and shrimp."

Day 18 – A book that disappointed you - early Margaret Atwood and John Irvin novels like Lady Oracle or The 158-Pound Marriage. Best avoided those two.

Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie -Casino Royale - read the book and then see the film to see how unusually much made it into the film from the book. I also like One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest

Day 20 – Favorite romance book - Daddy Longlegs

Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood - I liked series: Little House of the Prairie, Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, Taran and the Black Cauldron, Over Sea Under Stone, Kulla-Gulla, Tralarna

Day 22 – Favorite book you own - The Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks

Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t - wanted as in 'feel I should read': any book by Moa Martinson

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read - Stieg Claeson: Henrietta Ska Du Ocksa Glomma

Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most - some days but not all, but some: Bridget Jones. Other days: Aunt Polly (from Pollyanna). To be honest I am more often Aunt Polly than Pollyanna, especially when there are children around.

Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something - World War Z - gosh think we need to be prepared!

Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending - Hamlet

Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked - 'everybody' is hard, I know some of my friends really didn't like Until I Found You by John Irving

Monday, 28 February 2011

Lazy Sunday

After a day of being good - carpet cleaned and bathroom - we are now relaxing in front of the Oscars. Come on Colin!

Day 10 – Favorite classic book - Classic English: Pride & Prejudice, Classic American: Catcher in the Rye, Classic Swedish: The Long Ships
Day 11 – A book you hated - So many I didnt even bother finishing. But 'We have to talk about Kevin' is up there. As a kid I had to give up reading Jack London's Call of the Wild after just a few pages as the violence against animals just was too much.
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore - trixy, I have probably forgotten more than I have actively stopped loving. Oh I know! As a kid I loved this series of books about a guy called Dante - I dont know if I wouldnt still love them but as I have not read them for 25 years I think its likely I might have out grown them
Day 13 – Your favorite writer - so many! Ok picking just one: Margaret Atwood. (2nd choice: John Irving, 3rd choice: Charlaine Harris - just a couple of backups)
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer - Alias Grace. (or any book from the Handmaid's tale)
Day 15 – Favorite male character - Owen Meany
Day 16 – Favorite female character - Pollyanna

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A bit more

Today I am doing this sitting next to my book case as my memory is a bit bad. So better answers should come out of it, I hope...

Day 07 – Most underrated book - Big Jessie by Zane Radcliffe - very funny book that not a lot of people have read. Set in Northern Ireland. Or any Barbara Cartland books, best enjoyed when bored on a sunny (or rainy) summers day somewhere there is nothing to do. Popcorn for the mind.

Day 08 – Most overrated book - hard to remember as I am sure I would have ended up donating it to charity rather than keeping it. Actually no, I do know: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. Just read The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing, as its far superior and she captures the essence of the dilemma in a lot less pages and tells a more compelling story.

Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving - PopCo by Scarlett Thomas as well as her book The End of Mr Y - both looked great but that always makes me suspicious. Loved them both! The types of books if EL wrote books that I think she would write.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Catch up

Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times - most Terry Pratchett books
Day 03 – Your favorite series - Terry Pratchett
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series - Feet of Clay - Terry Pratchett
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy - Interesting Times - Terry Pratchett
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad - Monstrous Regiment - Terry Pratchett

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Day 01 – Best book you read last year

Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made it

Starting today

Day 01 – Best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favorite series
Day 04 – Favorite book of your favorite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favorite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favorite writer
Day 14 – Favorite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favorite male character
Day 16 – Favorite female character
Day 17 – Favorite quote from your favorite book
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favorite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favorite romance book
Day 21 – Favorite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favorite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favorite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favorite book of all time

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Another Year

We saw 'Another Year' last night. I love Jim Broadbent so it was my choice. JD thought it was depressing and boring beyond belief. I thought it was sad but good, with some scenes that were very British and made me a little homesick.

Tonight we are waiting for the snow with bated breath. We had snow during the day and more is supposed to come through the night. We have learned a new word: Thundersnow. The news channels are incredibly excited about the weather and not talking about anything else. Its a good thing the weather keeps them busy I guess.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Deer


We will sleep well (again) tonight after two days of skiing up in Farmington. We are slowly getting better so that is a positive! Its freezing outside (-10 when we set off on the trail this morning) but luckily its such hard work to ski that we didn't notice. Lovely and sunny day in the forest and we even saw deer! JD dropped his poles and grabbed the camera so we got a couple of nice shots. Very picturesque.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

True Grit

First film of the year, we have been a bit slack lately, and we went and saw True Grit. It was very good, preferred it to the old version except that it had John Wayne in it and he is always great. Good start to the film year!

And on that note - Golden Globes. Oh dear. Gervais was the best bit of the evening. Tim Allen and Tom Hanks trying to be funny was amusing in a way that unfunny things are sometimes. Looking forward to the Baftas, I miss Stephen Fry as presenter but Wossy will have to do. And no nominations for Burlesque or The Tourist.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Sleeping well

We had a cross country skiing lesson on Saturday at Winding trails - it was great. So much more pleasant than downhill as the legs are not locked in those horrid boots.

Anyway, we had such a good time we went back again today (its Martin Luther King day so we are off) and had another lovely day in the sun. We will sleep well tonight. Skiing is tiring. The plan is to go back on Saturday, assuming I am able to get out of bed tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Snow

It is supposed to snow all night. It started about an hour ago with small flakes slowly drifting down. Its now big flakes and we can barely see the other side of the road. Am glad I am in a warm bed tonight.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Fishy part 2

So last week was all about fish and we will continue this week is the plan. We mixed up a few days so skipped scallop linguine (as I forgot to defrost the wee buggers) and instead had teryaki prawns with brown rice. Friday night (due to snow - about 10 cm - but an excuse to not leave the house) we had fish tacos with tilapia and moved the Sushi pizza to Sat night. Pizza was not as amazing as at Mercer Kitchen but it was nice and we have some ideas on how to improve...

Today we went to IKEA to get a shoe rack, which we didnt get but we did have meatballs (mmm, diverting from fishiness for Swedish goodness). Tonight we are making a lasagna lookalike dish - but with sliced butternut squash instead of the lasagna pasta - spinach, onion, mushroom and garlic stuffing. Mmmm very very very nice.

Monday - Pan fried flounder with potatoes and lemon mayo
Tuesday - Popcorn and True Grit
Wednesday - Fish Stew
Thursday - Shrimp curry
Friday - Moules Mariniere (or dinner in NYC if A has time!)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Made in Dagenham

We opted for Made in Dagenham. Good film! Good girls.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Fishy

New year and we have decided to eat more fish this year. Well, I have decided and JD agreed; as I do most of the cooking. So freezer is full of lovely seafood and fish from Whole Foods. Here is this weeks menu:

Mon - Miso Glazed Cod with watercress, avocado and fennel salad
Tue - Popcorn (True Grit or Made in Dagenham - will see which one we fancy tomorrow)
Thu - Linguine with scallops (I think I will add capers as well)
Sun - Scrambled eggs with prawns and tomatoes
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