Monday, December 15, 2008

Parsnip and carrot soup

Just thought I'd make a quick note of my simple recipe for carrot & parsnip soup (it really is that simple that I should be able to remember it and anyone else would quite adequately be able to invent their own recipe, but what is the internet for if not for pointless information - plus I've posted soup recipes before, so why not continue with it - plus, plus I don't need to justify myself to myself on my own blog!)

  • 2 carrots
  • 2 parsnips
  • half onion
  • 1 clove of garic
  • fresh stem ginger
  • 250 ml stock (I used chicken, but you could use different stock if you want)
  • 125 ml single cream
  • nutmeg
  • lemon juice (a bit!)
  • salt + pepper
Peel carrots and parsnips and chop into small pieces. Finely chop garlic, ginger and onion and put in saucepan. Sweat off onion, garlic and ginger in a little oil. Add carrots, parsnips and stock, and as much lemon juice, nutmeg and seasoning as your tastes require. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 mins(ish). Take of the hob, stir in the cream and then puree with one of those electric spinny-bladey things. Pour into bowl and eat.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The party meeting

This week sees the Christmas season really kick off with a host of festive work dos. I had my first Chrimbo party a week and a half ago with the canoe club (we went vaguely Italian with dinner at Di Maggios), but they'll be coming quick and fast over the next five days. Tuesday sees research group Xmas lunch number 1, with the IGR Spanish tapas-based bash at Cafe Andaluz. Then Thursday has an Australio-East Asian fusion style yuletide lunch at North of Bondi with the A&A group. Finally the week is rounded off with the traditional (traditionally rather poor that is - unless you really like Coronation Chicken and Caramel Shortcake) Physics and Astronomy Department party on Friday afternoon. I'm sure the meals will all be nice, but I've been slightly put out by the lack of a traditional turkey-based meal as an option at any of these events, but I'll just have to make up for that by eating as much turkey/stuffing/roast spuds/cranberry sauce/roast parsnips/pigs in blankets/etc the following week.

All that merriment is not to say no work will get done as I'm having to give a couple of talks during the week. Both of these are for our collaboration meeting which is in Maryland this week, but as you may have guessed I'm not going to be there in person (otherwise it would be rather hard to attend the lunches/parties), so these will be given by the magic of the phone (or the internet via EVO if it's being reliable enough). The main annoyance being that the talk on Wednesday will probably be at around 9.30-10.00pm.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Band attempt V

Following this post, in which I tried out with a band who I never heard back from, I (and others) have been making efforts to form a new band using members of the canoe club (which has quite a few very musical members). Four of us had our first experimental (in terms of testing out the whole band idea, rather than our musical style) jam session on Tuesday. We went to A-Side studios, which is the place that my former band(s) Corpse Full of Bees/Look Up for Danger practiced at, albeit with a name change from Practice Pad, which has been very slightly done up with the best new feature being wireless internet. Instrument-wise we had drums (obviously!), a couple of guitars, a bass, a sax and a tin-whistle (essential for all bands apparently), but with only four of us these couldn't all be played simultaneously. The session didn't have that much direction and we mainly just pissed around playing random stuff, but it was very good fun and gave us the motivation to try and continue things - we've got a version of a popular Disney cartoon theme tune that needs to be honed. The main problem for me was that of the four of us there is another Matt who is a considerably better drummer than me (and by considerably I mean at huge, fuck off, gaping chasm, better than me - he's very good and I am pretty shit), so I felt kind of intimidated and over shadowed by this, but it'll either spur me on to improve (for which I suppose I should put in a bit more practice time), or lead me into a fit of despondency. However, as one of the band's primary instigators I think I can make sure that I stay on in the role of drummer even if we could have someone far better - the other Matt also plays guitar very well, so he'd still be there. We're now just trying to recruit more of canoe club into the band, but I think it'll probably be the new year before we get another practice session in.

The decline and fall of the rolling empire

Yesterday was the last pool session of the year for the canoe club and I got to spend my usual 10-15 mins in a boat paddling around. My general paddling skills are now reasonable, but for the last couple of months my ability to roll has declined considerably. At the start of the new term I could upright myself the vast majority of times when I capsized (generally on purpose), but yesterday I managed a meager one roll for three attempts, which has been the norm for the last few weeks. I think I started to get a bit complacent and have been relying on pulling down on the paddle as leverage too much rather than using a nice strong hip-flick. This will need to be remedied come the new year

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Second post...

...again by email (can you spot the theme).

I've have followed Iain in quickly setting up an account on posterous - where indeed this post can originally be found. This seems like a pretty cool site that you can, for example, submit posts by email, or text message (well if you're in the US you can, they haven't got it sorted for other countries yet), or post pretty much any other kind of online media in a very simple way. It can also automatically cross post anything on your other blogs/facebook/twitter/flikr/etc (and this post is also a kind of experiment to see if, and how quickly, the cross posting works). There's no real point in me having this new site as it'll probably just provide additional duplication of the shit I'd put online anyway - but it could provide useful for posting things on occasions when having blogger open in a browser would be frowned upon.

[Update: It worked very quickly, but the post had lots of carriage returns in it that I had to edit out manually]

Posted via email from Matt's posterous

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Carling Cup exit

Watford's one chance at glory (well the FA Cup is still to come, but our league chances are shot) this season - the Carling Cup - has got away from us after losing 1-2 to Tottenham this evening. Apparently it was a reasonable performance from us and maybe something new boss Brendan "Buck" Rodgers (I'd never heard of him before - well I'd never heard of Aidy before he joined us - but apparently he was Chelsea reserve team coach) can build on.

Back on the (fake) piste

This evening I went snowboarding for the first time in just under two years. I went for a session at the indoor ski slope at SNO!zone (that's how they spell it, it's not me!) at the Xscape complex in Braehead. I wasn't particularly convinced that I'd remember how to do it and had planned to book a refresher lesson due to the standards ("You must be able to use the lifts, control your speed/direction, perform controlled linked turns and ensure your boots fit correctly") that SNO!zone expect you to be at to go on their main slope - I was particularly worried that I wouldn't be able to use the lifts (you can read about my first particularly atrocious attempts here), which would show me up as completely unsuited to the main slope straight away. But unfortunately there were no space left for a lesson, so I had no choice except to throw myself onto the mercy of the big slope. Things in fact turned out perfectly fine. The tow lifts were far easier to use that I remembered, other than being particularly uncomfortable and crotch-crushing - I didn't fall off the lift at all. On going down the slope, which was actually rather tame compared to all of the real slopes I'd been on, I still remembered how to turn from one edge to the other, control my speed and stop - so I met all the requirements with no problem! I did fall over once, but it was a minor topple. It was very good to go and remind myself how to snowboard and I'll probably go back a few times before hopefully embarking on an actual trip to some mountains early next year.