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.



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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!
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