Week 16: Chryslers, cash and crapulence

What on earth is that title about? Well…

1. I’m going to buy a car. After getting lifts home with a lad from work these recent weeks I’ve come to the undeniable conclusion that getting public transport with a bunch of mouth breathing mumblies really sucks ass, so I need a vehicle to get me from A to B: And that vehicle will be a Chrysler PT Cruiser! Why? Coz I like ’em, and no other reason. For once I’m going to buy something because it’s what I want, not just because it’s the sensible option, or because I can afford it. I think they look cool, and I think I’d look great driving one, so I’m gonna get me one. Now If I can just find one for under three grand…

2. Y’know I said I was going to do the week without any money, well it turns out that that ain’t as easy as it sound. Not that I really had to buy anything (see point 3. for further detail), but just having no money in your pocket is kind of weird. It’s much more comforting to have just a little something jingling about down there, just in case you fancy a coffee or something when you’re out and about. So I cashed in my coppers jar – a whopping total of seven quid – just so I’d be liquid again… and then promptly spent most of it on booze. Which brings me neatly to:

3. I’ve got to give up drinking! Not that I’m a raging alcoholic or anything, but I do enjoy a drink now and then (more now than then) and I’m well aware that it’s not good for you in any way, shape, or form. Also, I did manage to do a bit of meditating this week, and alcohol is not conducive to the practice of mindfulness (and anyone who says otherwise is kidding themselves!). So if I want to reach Enlightenment before I die I need to put it aside. But more than that, if I want to get out of bed in the morning without feeling like crap I need to give it up. Whichever way you slice it it needs to be done.

So, I’ve got a few things to be getting on with. I also this week did a new recipe with I’m very pleased with (see my previous post) and I’ve been enjoying lots of pictures of purple things (yeah, I find it a bit weird too!) so it’s been an interesting one. Next week more fun, with a trip to the theatre, some sound financial planning (man I’m getting old) and more musings no doubt. Stay tuned.

Potato and Tomato Dahl

Hi all. Here’s a little something I’ve come up with. But first, a small qualification:

Contrary to the recipe below I made the dahl pictured with a tin of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of ground coriander, coz I’ve got no money so had to make something up with what was in the cupboard, but I reckon it’ll be much nicer with the fresh ingredients listed.

Potato and Tomato Dahl
(makes enough for 4 people)

potato and tomato dahl

1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
a splash of olive oil
2 medium potatoes, chopped (I used 5-6 small)
3-4 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup of red lentils, rinsed
2 cups of boiling water
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp chopped coriander

In a large pan on a medium heat fry the onions and garlic in the olive oil for a few minutes. Add cumin seeds and fry for a further minute or two until onions are soft.

Add potatoes, tomatoes, lentils, water, turmeric and salt, bring to boil, then simmer on a medium low heat for a minimum of 15-20 minutes until potatoes are cooked through. Add coriander and garam masala, and cook for 3-4 minutes more, then serve.

Like with a lot of recipes like this, this one tastes better the second time around, after it’s had a chances to rest and for all the flavours to mature. With this in mind you might want to leave it on a very low heat for a while before serving. This will improve the taste first time around, though it’s still quite nice as is. Oh, and if you use ground coriander instead of fresh you can add it when you add the turmeric, you don’t have to wait until the end.

Also, the water doesn’t have to be boiling when you add it, but it does speed the process up a little bit if it is. Maybe cut the potatoes a little smaller too, lol.

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Week 15: Skint, sleeping, sunshine and stir-fries (Kiki’s Simple Student Stir-Fry)

My, but what a lazy ass week I’ve had this week. Would that I could say that I’ve achieved anything, but I ain’t. A ragged combination of night shifts, having no money, and sheer bloody nothingness has resulted in my doing even less than usual. I know, I know, I’m disappointed too, but what can I say? Such is the nature of things sometimes. All I can say is I’m resolved to do something about it! Still, at least the sun came out finally. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve done a bit more tilt shifting, as per my previous post, and I’ve come up with a new recipe (to follow), so not a complete loss. Plus I have been working on my script ideas, in a vague been-thinking-about-them-and-working-out-new-outlines kind of way. ‘Fuck You, Satan!’ is moulding into something interesting, and I’m determined to finish ‘The Maraschino March’ soon too. Should be a lot easier now I’ve got no money.

Five days ’til pay day and I’m skint. Just ran out of cash. But, going to try and hold on, see if I can’t make it like I did in the old days. I mean I’ve got food in the house, and travel money, so there’s no reason why not, but still it ain’t gonna be easy. I’d kill for a bit of choclate for one thing!

Right, on with the recipe. This is something me and my mate Mark Koo invented one night with what we had in the cupboard. Turned out to be pretty damn tasty (much to our surprise). An easily adaptable recipe for whatever takes your fancy, providing you have soy sauce and something sweet to go with it.

Simple Student Stir Fry

simple student stir fry

1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
olive oil
1 tin of braised tofu, mashed
1 tin of bamboo shoots, drained
1 tbsp cashew nuts, chopped (optional)
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp honey

In a frying pan on medium-high heat, fry onion and garlic until soft. Add tofu, bamboo shoots, cashews, soy sauce and honey. Fry for further 5-7 mins (until properly heated through) stirring thoroughly. Serve on a bed of rice.

See, real easy to make. I made the cashews optional as they weren’t in the original recipe, but I thought they added a bit of texture this time. And originally it was tuna instead of braised tofu, and golden syrup instead of honey, but I think this way is better.

Anyway, if you’re ever stuck for what to eat, stir fry whatever you have with soy sauce and honey and you can’t go wrong I reckon. Works for me anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚

Right, next week will probably be a quiet one, what with 5 days of work and no money, but the week after I hope to start doing things properly. There’s a board game I’m going to get cracking with (I haven’t mentioned that one to you before), a rock climbing course to go on, and I’m determined to commit an act of trespass some time soon. Just need to find somewhere worth the effort.


Week 14: Trees, tunes and tiltshifting

Spent most of this week just monkeying about, doing ‘stuff’. So, in no particular order…

bonsai 11th april 10

Re-potted my bonsai this week with the help of my friend Vanessa, who knows mucho about this kind of thing. It was easy enough done, and Ness was an excellent teacher (she did the one on the right, I did the one on the left – note the variation in quality of craftsmanship, hahaha). I think, once I get myself a proper garden, I’m going to get more into the bonsai thing. It’s a lot more complicated than you think, and a real art form.

In lieu of any script work this week I instead spent my time making iTunes playlists of the soundtrack albums for the films I’m going to write. I know, serious work avoision in action, but I couldn’t help it. Once I got into it I was in the zone. You should hear the one for “Fuck You, Satan!”, my horror/comedy movie, it’s brilliant!
Seriously though, the idea is to have some inspiration music to help get me in the groove when I start writing. It can be hard to get going so a little something to put you in the right frame of mind works wonder. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it, so nyah! ๐Ÿ˜›

low tide at mousehole-tiltshift

I have an new online toy! www.tiltshiftmaker.com. For those of you that don’t know a tilt shift lens is one where by you can move the front part of the lens to varying angles, giving you a very narrow point of focus within the picture you’re taking. Basically you can take a photo of something real and it comes out looking like a scale model (see above). It’s an astounding effect when you get it right, and great fun to do.
Thankfully, for those of us without masses of expensive camera equipment, you can go online and ‘cheat’ it with a picture you’ve already taken. I spent several hours the other day making tiltshift pictures and a few of them are online to check out (click on the pic above to see them). I’m really pleased with the results and this is going to be something I’m going to play around with for a while, see where it takes me.

No new recipe this week. Been on night shifts so haven’t had my head in gear for days. But plan on doing a few this week to try and catch up a bit. Got one planned, one nearly done, and I should be able to do another this weekend. Looking forward to that.


Week 13: Exercise and egos (& Suzette Rice)

Right, I’m well late for this ‘report’ but that’s ok, coz I’m going to chill out a bit about this whole blogging thing (hence the fact that it’s not a report anymore).

Last week I was too busy with cat sitting, work, and everything else to even get online, never mind do things, so I haven’t ‘achieved’ very much, though that depends on your point of view.

I did exercise every day, which is a first. I went to see a physio and he told me that my tight leg muscles were making me walk funny and causing the pain in my foot and back. Unfortunately he wanted over ยฃ228 for the privilege of sorting it out for me, and that’s far more than I can afford (or am willing to pay for a bit of leg stretches if I’m honest) so I’m just exercising at home with techniques I’ve got from friends of mine – lots of yoga/sports type stuff – and it’s working out ok. Definitely feel looser, and it can only get better.

katie goes ape

Bank Holiday Monday I did Go Ape again with the very lovely Katie (above). It was great fun, and it made me want to get out more, do more physical stuff. Y’know, the other day I did a quick list ofย Things I’d Like To Be If Time, Money And Effort Were Not An Issue and this is what I came up with:

1. Turntablist
2. Parkour Expert
3. Zen Gardener
4. Surfer
5. Buddhist Monk

Notice how they’re all physical (with the possible exception of Buddhist Monk, though it could be argued that the practice of mindfulness is the most physical activity of all). That’s what I should be doing with my life, something physical, not spending most of it in front of a computer. That’s why my legs are messed up, because I don’t get enough exercise. So, with that in mind, I’ve looked into doing a climbing course at the Westway Centre. They’re farily cheap for a taster session, and it looks like fun. I’ve always enjoyed climbing stuff, just never done it in any professional capacity. Well, now’s my chance. Just got to wait for pay day to roll around now.

Suzette Rice (or, la riz Suzette)

My recipe this week was going to be a dahl type thing, but I’m still working on it, so here’s a little something I made up whilst cat sitting, named in honour of my friend whose house I was staying at.

suzette rice

1 cup Basmati Rice
1 Onion, chopped
1 clove of Garlic, crushed
1 tsp Black Mustard Seeds
1 Bay Leaf
Olive Oil
2 1/4 cups of Water

In a pan on medium high heat fry the onion, and garlic for 3-4 minutes until they start to soften. Add the mustard seed and fry until seeds start to pop.

Add the rice, water and bay leaf, stir, then leave to simmer until all the water has gone.

Remove from heat, remove bay leaf, fluff up with a fork, then cover pan and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

It’s not a complicated recipe but it does make plain rice a little more interesting, both taste wise and visually too. And the first bite is with the eye after all, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰