10 December, 2007

The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust

This album is by one of my favourite artists in ages.
It's FREE or $5 (about £2.50) to download, depending on how much you want to pay.

It's also been produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame.

Have a listen, on me, go on. If you like it - have it - completely legally. It's yours (although obviously your a cheapskate if you don't pay £2.50, direct to the artist, no record label involved, to get your copy).

Have a listen

10 November, 2007

Back from holiday

We've been away to Budleigh Salterton, where we rented a cottage for a week.
It's a bit tricky getting anything done wit' baby, as you can tell by the plumetting number of posts in the last few months (this in no way correlates to the fact that work banned access to blogspot.com from our desks).

Sugar, talking of having no time, I gotta go, but before I do here's some pictures of Amon from a while ago:

Amon and I playing with his toys.

Sleepy boys

This is from the Lake District earlier the year ...
... Amon no longer fits the bucket bath, being the weight of the avergae year and a half yearo old and the height of the average one year old.

02 October, 2007

The ol' family beer stick

I've been reading up on brewing over at this amazing (well informative, at the least, maybe you're not all as fascinated with the why and wherefores of beer) site
There was a time when the role of yeast in brewing was unknown. In the days of the Vikings, each family had their own brewing stick that they used for stirring the wort. These brewing sticks were regarded as family heirlooms because it was the use of that stick that guaranteed that the beer would turn out right. Obviously, those sticks retained the family yeast culture. The German Beer Purity Law of 1516 - The Reinheitsgebot, listed the only allowable materials for brewing as malt, hops, and water. With the discovery of yeast and its function in the late 1860's by Louis Pasteur, the law had to be amended.

06 August, 2007

Single Use Items

No, I'm not talking about disposables that get chucked once done with. I thought I'd share a secret and indulgent passion of mine ... I really love kitchen gadgets that serve one singular and niche purpose the more bizarre the better (although I have an irrational dislike of garlic crushers).

As you see in the little animation below, I bough an egg slicer the other day. To me they are the epitome of this kind of item.

Egg slicing the way it was meant to be.

But let us not forget the noble toothpick, or olive fork, or even better the pickle fork with spring action. My grandmother had one of these and I've wanted one ever since. I can't explain how they work but they are a marvel of victorian engineering akin to the canal system in my warped mind.

What other items bring joy to my heart when rummaging in the drawer for some tool or other?
Pizza cutters, mandolins, pestle and mortar, scone cutters, coffee makers, cheese slicers, flour dusters; God they're lovely.

The only problem is I have a perfectly good knife and my brand new egg slicer from Aldi makes the egg look like this:


20 July, 2007

Last ever Ashton Court Festival

OK, this video isn't from Ashton Court, but I found it on You Tube and the sound quality and snippet of music is a better representation of SJ Esau than this video of him at Ashton Court by Rabid Pounder.

Anyway the sad news this morning is that the company that organises Ashton Court every year is going to go into liquidation after Sunday of the festival was rained off and everyone lost out, not least of all, poor Damon Albarn who didn't get to headline on Sunday and now never will. He must be gutted.

08 July, 2007

Ashton Court sponsorship plea+

There's a very sad neglected, lonely-looking page I've found, asking for sponsorship for Ashton Court.

As of writing it reads
Money Raised: £115.00 Amount Remaining: £30,270

Please donate and help save the Ashton Court Festival - Every Little Counts!

5 Days remaining: it's hardly worth it is it? Bless 'em! 'em, in this case being "Snappy Start-ups", an Ad /web design Co.

24 June, 2007

Further adventures in babyland

Lately Amon has begun to laugh a bit. It's heart-meltingly good and when he does it, we regularly just spend ten minutes singing and dancing, doing monkey impressions and beating each other up violently all in an effort to get him to repeat that little grimace.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I spent an absolute age the other day boucing him in his chair and getting him to gurgle whilst pointing my camera-phone in his face. Even with the flash off, before the photo is taken a little red light comes on to take a light reading, and this always surprises him out of laughter. Except once. When the bouncy chair was bouncing too fast to capture it. Damn.

Nevertheless; More photos:

Happy AmonWha d'ye wan'?ToungueOOh!

And some of family holding him:

Mum and Amon
Dad and Amon
Christopher and Amon
Beth and Amon

21 June, 2007

Actually enjoying my job

I've been setting up a conference and publishing a Good Practice Guide over the last few weeks and working long tiring hours (ontop of having a gloriuos baby boy to come home and care for).

It has been weird actually enjoying my job and when all this is over and I'm back to stationary orders and mis-management, I thoroughly intend to go out there and find a job I can enjoy like this all of the time.

14 June, 2007

Listening to SJ Esau on Last FM

I'm happy listening to my friend Sam (and people who are, apparently, a bit like his band). on Last.FM.

Try it! It may make you happy too!

You can find me here on Last.FM


Oh dear, I seem to have got hooked on Facebook over the last couple of days. How very addictive it seems to be.
facebook logo
Fortunately all my attempts to hunt down old Uni friends and school chums have fallen short, or I wouldn't have found time to write this.

Try it - it's the new Myspace! (oh ... dear.)

More homebrews

After the fun I've had making beer, I've gone a bit brewing-crazy.
homebrew: dark ale in cider bottles

I got some wicked old cider bottles for putting my beer in, they have glass screw-stoppers with rubber seals to stop them bursting. And they feel properyl 1930s. the problem is some of my beer's gone flat as some of the seals are probably from teh 1930s!

A couple of months or so ago I went out to the countryside where my mum lives and got a load of dandelion heads (it was St George's Day: the best day for picking dandelions, apparently) and oak leaves.
The Dandelion wine has now breweed and been bottled, and the poak leaf wine has finished bubbling and will be bottled in a month or two.

Taking the elderflowers off the flowerheads
For my birthday my mum gave me a load MORE elderflowers (ontop of the stuff I got just before Amon's birth which I turned into wine and cordial and now I've got three bottles of elderflower cordial)

I also have a gallon and a half of ginger beer which I made at the weekend for my birthday (30th dontchaknow)

The Ginger beer tastes good, I used a really good recipe from CJ Berry's classic book about brewing. It tastes a bit lemony, fairly gingery and has a hint of cream of tartar - a substance I haven't quite figured out yet. My main problem is that I can't figure out how to kill off the yeast without making it go flat. This means that it slowly gets more alcoholic and I need to release the pressure in the bottles every day. I discovered this this morning when I took the champagne cork out of the demi-john it was in and all the CO2 that was liquidised within it turned suddenly to gas and with a whoosh which sent the cork rebounding off the ceiling spurted all over my living room.

Brewing's excellent fun!

04 June, 2007

The League of Apathy

So, yeah.
I founded the League of Apathy (yes, that was me!) back in 2002 and thought I should mention it to someone.
Umm, like, here's our* manifesto, which is a kind of work in progress I haven't yet finished.

League of Apathy Manifesto

  1. The League of Apathy is the true way towards the enlightenment of people, betterment of the planet and all that jazz.
  2. Note to self: Think of a second comment
  3. Ignore idiots.
  4. Get it wrong the first time and you're unlikely to be asked again.
  5. Putting things off until later could be a good idea, unless it's too much bother
  6. Things can be best achieved through the natural gestation of the apathetic.
to be finished later...

*I say "our", it's just me really, and I think Alex might have joined once. If anyone else wants to join the League, do let me know, and we'll, umm, have a cup of tea or something.

22 May, 2007

People's Republic of Stokes Croft

I am very impressed by PRSC (The People's Republic of Stokes Croft)'s work. It has been set up to turn what is otherwise an area of deprivation in Bristol, into a recognised area of culture.
Stokes Croft is right on the edge of St Paul's in Bristol, an area, for those who aren't familiar with Bristol, which has a long history of social problems peaking in some big riots in the early eighties.
Stokes Croft is also right at the start of one of the cities major transport arteries northbound from the centre, so it has quite a substantial percentage of Bristol's populous passing through it each day.

PRSCWith this in mind The People's Republic ...
Have set up returning the area to its' former glorious state of colourful, tasteful advertising, with signage and Billboards. the idea is if they can get all the parts of the area which are neglected or tagged, and get proper graffiti artists and other murals and artwork up to beautify the area, then how nice would that look?

PRSC Lower Gay St (note:Graffti already!)PRSC Lower Gay St (note:Graffti already!)

On Tuesday 15th, they organised a whole load of people to turn up and paint the boards outside of the homeless persons hostel which I live. I had forgotten all about it until I walked passed, with Amon strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn carrier. Then I rushed home and got this photo, which I stuck up and varnished with interior varnish in an attempt to keep the weather off.

shopping trolley icon

I'm so glad to have got involved in doing something to improve where I live and to take part in something so unique and apt to the area.

21 May, 2007

Update on parenthood

So everything is still going amazingly. Baby Amon is in great health, and somehow, we know not how, Rosa and I are struggling through.
As if he wasn't blessing enough already, he's started sleeping for longer at nights after only two weeks (touch plyboard desk he sticks or improves on this), so we (as in Rosa) get woken up twice in the night for feeds, burps and changes which is bearable.

Little Amon still doesn't do a great deal, holds fingers in his hand, stares at interesting patterns of light and dark on the wall, especially when you're trying to show him so cool mobile or over-priced toy.
His favourite game, and it's a cool little trick, is to wait until you've just changed him and then do a big one, or alternatively, wait until he's naked and then do a "fountain". It's a classic and we have a whole load of fun, cleaning up and washing things constantly. We're not even on the washable nappies yet (I know, there go my eco-credentials, although are disposables are largely biodegradable).

Here's a slideshow of photos (if it works, if not follow this link to my photobucket account)

13 May, 2007

Babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies babies

Some highly amateur theories on childbirth:

Boys fart
Boys fart more because it is more likely their father's burped and winded them as a baby, therefore they learned it is good to fart around men.

Jiggles = wiggles
Babies wriggle around a lot, as their digestive systems don't do much, and this shifts the food in the right direction for them and gets them going

Perfect little poos
Obsesive Compulsive parents seem to be fascinated by baby poos. I first thought this was just because midwives ask you to keep a check on how often baby poos to make sure he's all working alright, but now I'm starting to think, that little babies don't have a lot of expressions, and one of their major functions is poo production, so maybe that parents just like to see the bbay expressing themselves someway. I'm tired. I don't really know what I'm getting at here, please ignore me.

09 May, 2007

Amon Zach Richards Sadler.

Amon Sadler
Not the prettiest photo in the world, but at least his eyes are open in this one.

We have finally come to an opinion on our little baby's name.

The decision was a tricky one. Jasper, Harry and Finn or Finlay were all names we were considering recently. We wanted a name with 2 syllables for the forename, we like Biblical names or old names, but nothing too popular.

I got Amon from Amon Tobin, a musician I like. I met him when he played the Thekla in Bristol at a gig John Stevens put on and he was a thoroughly nice chap.

Rosa favourite has always been Zac, mostly, I think, because she fancies Zach Braff, the actor (from Scrubs) and Zac Goldsmith the environmentalist (from The Ecologist). She will probably claim she just likes the name, but ...

Amon is very happy right now because his mother's milk has come in and his no longer having stinky yellow colostrum on a drip-by-drip basis. Please let me know if you want a blow by blow detail on his poo, I believe it's something all parents are weirdly fascinated by and we are developing a chart of his progress to date - kerwow!

More later.

07 May, 2007

More new on our baby

Here is our little baby giving his arm a suck.

Rosa had a long labour that started when I got back from a poker night. She had been having period pains about every fifteen minutes for a few hours, but they got a lot stronger and regular when I got home.

We turned the lights down low and tried to settle down for the night, although Rosa didn't like to lie down as she had to get up when the contractions began and moan whilst on all fours, with her arms up on her gym ball (large inflatable silver ball).

From midnight until seven she had contractions every five minutes, we phoned the midwives at one am, when we =sure this was "it" and at four they came to check how we were doing. At seven Rosa's sister, Beth, joined us to help out. Beth was fantastic, she sat calmly by Rosa, rubbed her back stroked her hair and held the glass as she had water through a straw.
The labour carried on and on and by about midday tRosa's waters still hadn't broken and she was dying to get into the birth pool (a large pool-in-a-box which is brilliant. It's an enormous paddling pool with wide, heigh sides and room for two people comfortable, or four intimate 'friends').

Unfortunately her temperature was quite high and the midwife was worried that if she got in the pool her labour might reverse a bit (stop having such regular strong contractions). By about 2pm, she was allowed into the pool, took the TENS machine off (a little device which does magic - can't be arsed to explain, sorry.) and got in.
It was probably about 3pm, when she was still labouring away, we allowed the midwife another internal inspection to see how we were doing. and as most her cervix had dilated and the baby's head was coming right down, the midwife said she would burst the waters. She got a little plastic stick with a hook on the end, inserted into Rosa's vagina and with an enormous splash all this water and muck came out. Rosa couldn't see at the time, but I was crestfallen to see that it had lots of brown and green bits in it.
This doesn't mean that the baby's disintegrated thankfully, but it did mean that the amniotic fluid (waters) had myconeum (baby poo) in them, which was dangerous for the baby, if he had inhaled any of them. From here on the baby would have to be closely monitored and specialised equipment would need to be on hand if there were any problems.
Gone were our hopes of a relatively relaxing birth at home.

The ambulance came at half three. I feel as I write this that I'm going on a bit, so if you're still with me, this about the same feeling we were having at the time, your average labour would be finishing up by now, whereas Rosa had been crying out to push for about an hour and hadn't yet been allowed that privilege. In fact for the next hour and a half all of her remaining energies were used up just straining against her muscle's urges to push.

Eventually, though she was exhausted and despairing she lay on the bed on her side and as she pushed I could see a baby's head starting to appear. At five o'clock a shit-covered little baby boy stuck his head out from between her legs, facing her bum and blinked. Two pushes later he was out and started crying like you would not believe. He was wrapped up warm and had a little hat put on him, and that is as you see in the video at the top of this post.

Rosa had to stay over at the hospital in case there were any problems with his breathing or anything else. But so far, he has been perfect. Hallelujah! Here are some pictures from my visit today:

Baby Sadler Looking thoughtful

The youngest CEO in the world

I came back to get some rest myself before the baby came home and all I've done is laundry, emptying the birth pool and this post. I can't help it I'm too excited.

My son

After a long and exhausting 17 hour labour, Rosa gave birth yesterday to our son. There are some photos below, but I'm not going to say much more because visiting hours are about to begin and I'm going to run off and see him again.
He weighs nine pounds, five and a half ounces.

In the heated thingy

First meal

01 May, 2007

Fishboy's summer spectacle almost released

My mate Dave has got an animation he's been preparing for ages. I remember going around and seeing this as a kind of computerised flipbook of images in flash, it was very impressive. I really don't know what the full thing will be like and can't wait to find out.


24 April, 2007

Fun little game

I should have finished the edit of the story of the 5 course pastie, but, no, I'm taking some kooky Japanese intelligence game. Good luck!

I found this game on Arcade Templethanks to Channel 4 games site

Shit. I should have explained this game is all about domestic violence and disturbed parenthood
  • Father can't be left alone with the girls
  • Mother can't be left alone with the boys
  • The criminal (probably a murdering paedophile with a penchance for jaywalking) can't be left with anyone except the policeman

20 April, 2007

Gapminder - A new Google Tool?

I don't really know what this is.

I found it whilst looking at the Webby awards noiminations for internet 'things of the year'.

It appears to be a organisation that promotes accessible world statistics, which has been bought and taken over by Google (ah, Google. I am I'm afraid, signed up to just about everyhting google there ism from Maps and Groups to Personalised homepage with applications on and Google Sketchup 3D models).

A Gapminder presentation

You can select about 3 variables about national statistics and ontop of that highlight the country's stats, plot lines and refine your data in other ways. It's all very interactive, the kind of thing you'd see in a science museum, and I'm fairly impressed.

These Webby awards, on the other hand ... I hadn't heard of half the stuff that was being voted for and couldn't be bothered to trawl through it all looking for things I had an opinion on. They're a load of marketing rubbish really, aren't they?
Well Jackson.

16 April, 2007

The 5 course pastie PART III

The five course pastie.

All I did to finish this off, was cut a corner from the cheese so it wouldn't break through the pastry. This didn't work and it was impossible to transfer to the pan for baking.
Although as you can see I did a lovely crimped crust before I attempted to lift it.

OK. This wasn't as fantastic as it could have been. I made a few crucial and critical errors, such as forgetting the salt (properly seasoning is probably lesson #1 in chef's school)
Could have done with veg stock or something for more body. The bacon went soggy and I managed to mess up my fine pastie look as I was attempting to transporting raw pastie to pan and then from there to plate was a nightmare. My thoughts are I could either pre-cook the bacon and the crust or make the pastie in-tray? Hmmm.
Need a better cheese than cheddar something that will keep it's shape yet taste interesting and complementary, perhaps a goats cheese veg pastie to keep my friend Matt Borg happy.
The only other criticism I have of this is that I forgot to sweeten the coffee to taste first. I take sugar, and it would be a good idea to ask how people like their coffee before baking it all up.

I will post again with the new improved pastie when it's made.

The 5 course pastie PART II

I have realised the dream and it was ... well, it needs a little work, but it's getting there.

Surprisingly the espresso jelly worked out well and it was the main filling that let me down.

Anyway, to tide you over until I write up all the details and paste up some photos from photobucket (my photos are here, but there's a lot of other rubbish there, too...) Here's the diagram I based it all on ...

Pasties: PLAN A

It's not very clear, I was originally considering an additional hard-baked handle for carrying it, but talked myself into thinking it was a friend's mistake and that all it needed was some good crimping.

    Plan Reads (left to right:
  • asparagus tips (wrapped in the word bacon)
  • Pork, fennel, coriander, white wine, coriander, sweetcorn and barley
  • Apple puree and cardamom
  • cheese and a grape (which I bought but forgot to put in)
  • digestive border
  • espresso jelly

Mmmm, still sounds good.

11 April, 2007

London Marathon

My friend Tom is running the London Marathon for charity. I certainly couldn't run for 26 consecutive miles, so to do my bit I've given him a wee little bit of cash (hardly anything compared to all his other generous friends) and thought I'd pop this bar here:

Why not sponsor him?

He's raising money for The Deaf Studies Trust because he, like, cares about people and shit.

Edit: silly technology went and broke so there may not be an automatic bar showing you how close he is to his target now, just this picture.

Pimp my 5 course pastie mother-fudger

Seriously. There is a mother who makes fudge somewhere, to whom I address the following:

STAGE 1: Planning

Plan for a 5 course meal in one pastie:
Each course must be able to seep into the previous without ruining the flavour.

bacon wrapped asparagus
fruit-based pudding
Cheese and a green grape
espresso (probably in a jelly)

Notes to self: will the jelly melt when baked? What will happen when it does? Is the use of sugar paper (thanks, Alex) a good idea?


We are in the eighth month of pregnancy, the hardcore nest-building stage. It reminds me of a couple of things, which it probably shouldn't. The first is when our cat gave birth when I was a teenager and she spent ages going all over her territory looking around and sitting in new and interesting places trying to find somewhere comfortable to birth. I wasn't quite sure how aware of being pregnant our cat was, but clearly, she got the hang of it and managed to deliver her litter behind the curtains in the lounge.
We tried out the birthing pool on Sunday, which was great fun. It's like an enormous paddling pool, so whilst everyone was outside in the park reading the papers in the sunshine, we lounged about in our front room in a big old paddling pool with extra high and wide sides (and some handles you can hang onto whilst in labour). I can see that it was a brilliant investment. Pool in a Box are the company if anyone's interested.
The second thing I was reminded of is the story of when Rosa was a wee one, how she made a "white castle". Legend has it that her parents came home to find talcum powder everywhere and toilet rolls slung up all over her bedroom and a happy, busy Princess in the middle of it all, making her white castle. Awwwww!

Our flat is about as fully equipped as it could be now, and except for my responsibilities of making the mix tape (well, mp3s and CDs) of music to birth to, it's just a question of waiting for the Big Day to arrive. Waiting and waiting and waiting.
ETA May 10th.

08 April, 2007

Batter mix

I am incensed by this stuff. Usually it says on the packet, just add milk and egg, but occasionally it's water and egg.
I wonder whether people know that they are basically buying flour, or flour and milk powder.
I hate people sometimes.
Then I consider custard powder, and absolutely everyone I know uses custard powder to make custard. This is normal, and yet the same applies somehow.
To make custard from powder:
Put powder into a receptacle
Add hot water
heat and stir
To make custard from scratch:
Put milk into a receptacle
add an egg yolk and some sugar; stir.

I mean, whichever way you make it you have to get the proportions right, and most people have egg and milk in the house, so why does anyone even bother with custard powder?

And another thing ...

No. Actually I've run out of outrage. All this talk of custard has made me sleepy.

15 March, 2007

Mobius Strip

I am very bored at work.

11 March, 2007

Meeting my nephew

I'm clearly going photo-happy this evening, putting all my recent pictures up.
This afternoon I met my nephew. He's the first of the next generation in my family. He was born to Lizzie and Luke about three week ago, four weeks premature, so he's still amazingly small (I think Lizzie said still 6 lb 4) and relatively quiet and sleepy. He'd just fed though, when we arrived so that may explain it. I got to hold him for an hour, maybe more, whilst he slept and he snuffled and whined and made lots of itty bitty little baby noises. Goddamn, I can't wait until mine is born, especially not if he's half as sweet.

Please may I introduce Torin ...

My first nephew

My first nephew

Ancona, Italy

I went to Ancona for work on Thursday and Friday. It was pretty good, all in all, and I got about much done as I'd expected. There are still a lot of holes in the guide we've to prepare by June and anxieties over Finances and making sure everyone's budgets are OK, but I think we're making good progress and getting things done. This is the website I maintain for work. Here's some of the less-business-orientated photos from the trip.

Relaxing after our meeting on FridayAncona, Italy, 9 March 2007

There's a guy in Bristol with a marker pen who writes "Jesus" absolutely everywhere, and I was glad to see he's got a colleague over in Italy.
The side of a cleaning truck by one of the main squares in Ancona.
Jesus lives in Italy

I seem to love photos of rust and grimy things. I found an advertising board with a hole rusted in it, and a hole built into the wall behind it:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Imogen's Hands

I went out with a whole load of work friends on Friday before last. I had quite a good time and got fairly damn shloshed in a good way.

Anyway, I took this photo of Imogen, and she said I could put it up here, so here t'is:
Imogen's Hands
I quite like it. It looks quite arty.
This new camera of mine is giving me lots of fun.

26 February, 2007

Little baby no-name

I feel very guilty about not mentioning anything to do with the baby for a while. it has taken up considerable (though by no means regrettable) portions of our life already. I feel I should have shared some of this earlier, but I don't really have any news to post about.
Rosa is exhausted, she has always slept lightly as it is, but with being woken up every night at 3am, combined with some stress at work, she has been considerably out of energy for a few months now. She's doing pretty well at keeping it together and not loosing her rag at all, but I think these last few weeks until maternity leave begins are going to feel like an eternity to her.

Our big difficulty at the moment is the greatest challenge of what to name him. Of course once we see his face (ETA: May 10) all bets are off, but, until then, here's some of our favourites and some random others to give you some choice and save you from slagging off our favourites:

What shall we name our boy?
Junior Danger
pollcode.com free polls

Ginger Beer

As well as making my first beef stock, I'm trying out a recipe for Ginger Beer, from a book mum recommended I get, which someone on Freecycle was giving away.

I 'accidentally' put six times the recommended amount of ginger in, and then hastily added half again of water and lemons.
To summarise you chuck ginger and lemon rind into a bucket, boil water and put the remaining lemons in. Then mix that and sugar all together in the bucket. Now take the lemon halves out again. When it gets cool, throw in some yeast and cream of tartar.
Bucket o' beer

Quantities are something like:

  • 4.5 litres water
  • 25g ginger
  • 2 lemons
  • 500g sugar
  • some yeast (forget how much, but I just put the whole packet in)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar

I think I put in 150g ginger (inc. peel, so probably less).

the guy in Brewer's Droop (the best darned homebrew shop in the whole of God-belovin' Bristol) said something about yeast nutrient so I'll chuck a bit of that in in a second. Apparently this evening it should be ready to bottle up (in plastic bottles, as it's volatile and wont to explode if not drunk quickly).

Beef stock

Some throw-away comment from Rosa on Friday inspired me to ask in the butchers if they had any beef bones. They gave me a large plastic bag-full for free, so I spent Sunday stinking out the kitchen with a simmering pot of beef and scum.

Having never made beef stock before, the first thing I did was track down a recipe. All my classic cookbooks failed me. I found no mention of it in Mrs Beeton's Household Management. Edouard de Pomiane simply uses it, he has someone to make these things for him, probably in these new-fangled 'cubes'.

Getting a bit more contemporary, an excellent book mum gave me for christmas, Living and Eating by John Pawson and Annie Bell (which is a bit of a snob's bible to all you need to know) told me that there was a virtual PhD in stock-making available it could attain such artistry, and then proceeded to only give me a recipe (which I made with good results just after christmas) for chicken stock. Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall got me all excited by having a reference to it in the index of The River Cottage Cookbook, but it turned out only to refer to its existence as a recipe. Finally! Gary Rhodes came up with the goods in his New British Classics book. Here's his recipe in summary (from memory):

  • 5kg beef bones
  • 6.5-7 litres of cold water
  • 3 onions
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • salt

Roast the onions slowly for two hours or so. The Roast the beef bones at 200oC for half an hour. Ten minutes in, chuck the roughly chopped carrot and celery in with the bones. Put everything in a big pan. Bring it to the boil and keep it there for 8 hours, skimming the scum off the top every now and then.

I ballsed up the thyme and chucked in some dried stuff, that I then skimmed off twenty minutes later. I also ballsed up by not having a large enough pan to fit all that water in.
By about midnight last night it was ready, if a little too reduced, even. I strained off the lumps, and took the bones out of these. Then I pureed the remainder into a further stage opf soup, that made a grinding noise with the blender as the bits of gristle and bone whizzed round (I had to hack the some of the roasted bones in half with a butcher's cleaver - no simple task for a first-timer). Two minutes later, this final by-product was in the Council compost bin, which marks the territory of our doorstep like the piss of a randy old alcoholic fishmonger. Can't wait for summer!

By 1 am, I'd finished pouring it into various containers to cool, and sort the skimmed-off matter to get some second servings of stock, true blemished skimmings and purest beef lard (pure except for a bit of thyme and leek).
I'll let you know if it was worth the effort when I actually make something.

The chicken stock has made some really really nice stew with a recipe from Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diary, which I got for christmas and am spending the year reading so that I can appreciate the food and get inspiration for seasonal cooking.

13 February, 2007

Truth revealed unto me from the great and glorious meatball

This beaticious creator has become known to me through the glorious Wikipedia and the words of Bobby Henderson, who is trying to insist that if creative design is to be taught in American schools so must his truth revealed unto him that the world was created by the flying spaghetti monster.

Other less surreal wandering son the internet have revealed that Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of Iron Maiden, is flying the Rangers football team to Israel.

And whilst I'm on the topic of meatballs, someone at work has been going to Subway every lunchtime for one of their £1.99 meatball sandwiches. It sounds really good. Could meatballs be the new Pie?