5 days in pictures

4 September, 2008

Well, the weather’s been so crappy that I’ve been unable to get out and do much, so I’ve spent much of my time in the kitchen.

I’m champing at the bit to make the suggested modifications to my Competition, though, and spent an hour last night trying to work out how to use a Line Lok. Doh… I almost had to post for help, but I got there in the end with the assistance of some diagrams from the web page.

The Terror Spider also made a further appearance, followed by a permanent disappearance…

Potato, thyme & taleggio pizza

On Monday Francesca came to lunch, and I made a potato and thyme pizza (including pizza base!) from a Nigel Slater recipe. It was all yummy except for the base, which was rather too ‘virtuous’, I felt; the wholemeal flour tasting very obvious and making the edges a little cardboardy. Still, Francesca was very polite and said she enjoyed it very much. Thank you, Francesca *g*

Later on Monday I converted the cucumber, round beans and runner beans…

Cucumber, runner beans and round beans soaking for piccalilli

…plus cauliflower and shallots…

Cauliflower and shallots too

…that I’d been soaking in brine overnight into piccalilli! When I remember I’ll take a picture of the finished product. What a nice colour it is! Unfortunately I have to wait 3 months to see how it tastes. Crunchy and hot, I hope, rather than squishy and sweet, like all the shop-bought ones I’ve ever encountered.

On Tuesday I decided to wash the throw thingy I have over the armchair in my sitting room–the chair underneath which the Terror Spider disappeared when I last saw it several days ago–and I found the spider tucked up in the folds! It agreed to sit there while I ran downstairs for the camera, and after I’d taken its picture I transferred it to a beer glass (the largest glass I had) and put it out into the garden, where it dashed off into the border. Eep!

Terror Spider!

Yesterday I made soused herrings and a truly delicious soda bread loaf. Last time I made soda bread it came out like a brick, but twice as heavy. This was a different recipe, though, and wonderful. Yum!

This afternoon I made lentil soup with bacon ribs–free-range bacon ribs, that is, made especially for me by the butcher after I ordered them a week and a half ago–and it was absolutely stonking, with some red cabbage. Yum, yum, yum!!!

Lentil soup with bacon ribs & soda bread

I’ve done some other stuff too–met up with two great Challenge pals yesterday; lived through 36 hours without my desktop when the blasted thing broke down (****ing Vista…); endured an hour of terror last night when we experieced some of the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in this country; put the tent out in the garden to air and waited 3 days for the rain to stop so that I could bring it in (I’m still waiting)–but the foody things are the ones that seem to bring out the camera.

So! Crubeens crossed that at some stage before 2009 it might be possible to get out and so some walking without a snorkel and fins…

Edited to add:

Oh, joy! October TGO has just arrived digitally, with the application form for next year’s Challenge 🙂


Foody morning — Yum! Plus fantastic podcasts, photography and a wee lolcat

30 August, 2008

I’ve been intending to make some pickled onions for about… well, probably about 25 years, now *g*

I finally got round to starting the process the day before yesterday, when I peeled what felt like a very large quantity of shallots (in the absence of baby onions), made some brine and set the onions to soak in the brine for 24 hours.

This morning I washed, polished and sterilised some jars, packed the onions lovingly in and covered them with a mixture of malt vinegar and pickling spices, with a couple of dried, habanero chillies per jar, since I like my pickled onions hot and spicy.

I like my pickled onions crunchy too, though, and I thought the soaked onions felt a little squidgy as I removed them from the brine, and so I made a third batch–following The Definitive Delia’s Quick Pickled Onions recipe–which haven’t been soaked at all: simply peeled this morning, washed in a dribble of cold water, dabbed dry with a paper towel (so as not to dilute the vinegar) and tumbled into the jar.

I think I have to wait at least 3 weeks before I try them, but I’m quite excited 🙂 My mother used to make pickled onions every year, and they were lovely. The nicest I’ve ever had, though, I bought from a stall at the Southport Show a few years ago, and that’s where I got the chillies idea: they were almost hot enough to blow my head off! Quite wonderful!

I’ve been getting on with various domestic kitchen-related chores for the last week, partly because I’m in the process of mucking out the sty to put it on the market, and while I’ve been doing them I’ve been catching up with the absolutely fantastic range of podcasts over at backpackinglight.co.uk and The Outdoors Station.

Because I’ve been out of touch for a while I’d fallen hopelessly behind, but this week I was glad of that because it gave me tons of great stuff to listen to. I’ve been through loads of them, including (but not limited to…) The Gourmet Hedgerow, Foraging for Fungi, the whole of Bob’s journey with Lee along the Cape Wrath Trail, Andy‘s Life as a Guidebook Writer and Life as an Outdoor Writer interviews with Paddy Dillon and Mark Richards respectively, as well as his Meet the Bloggers compilation from the 2008 Outdoors Show, Bob’s interviews with the Cicerone Team and with Gayle about the LeJog she and Mick undertook earlier this year in M & G go for a Walk, and one of Bob’s broadcasts from the Friedrichshafen Outdoor Trade Fair, which included his chat with Chris Townsend and John Manning. I’m now working my way through Bob and Andy’s Tale of Two Podcasters, as they made their way along the TGO Challenge in May of last year.

I’ve always loved the podcasts, but I was really quite staggered by the truly fantastic range, quantity and quality of the amazing recordings that Bob and Andy have now accumulated. What a brilliant resource it is, for all of us.

Thirdly, I’ve been over at Andy’s blog, excited by a new Photo Project he’s started, the purpose of which is discussion, debate and information for those of us interested in expanding and developing our photographic horizons. I’ve just bought a DSLR and I’m very keen to learn how to use it, and so I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time over there soaking up all the info that Andy and other photographers more experienced than me have to offer.

Right! Back to mucking out the kitchen, then… First, though, a quick scan at ICanHasCheezBurger… *g*

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

TGO Challenge Video — hee hee!

25 August, 2008

It happens that the bloke who used to be my guitar teacher recorded a very funny song about a holiday in Scotland, and it occurred to me this morning to set some Challenge pics to it and make a video.

It’s mainly pics from my 2006 crossing, but there are some pictures from 2005 as well. All the usual suspects will find themselves featured at one point or another (or several, heheh…)

Well, if you watch it then I hope you enjoy 🙂

Incidentally, I’ll put the larger, better quality vid up on MegaUpload, so if you’d like a copy you can download it there. (Membership isn’t necessary, though it’s free and I think downloads may happen faster that way.) I’ll add a link to it here when it’s up.

Edited to say:

Megaupload download link here.

Backpacking photos: Pyrenees 2006 (Haute Route)

22 August, 2008

I’ve uploaded the pictures I took during my walk along the Pyrenean Haute Route (High Level Route) between Borce (near Lescun) and Gavarnie in August 2006. Anyone who’d like to take a look can find them here.

Backpacking photos: Pennine Way, March 2008

20 August, 2008

Last March I did most of the Pennine Way again, and I’ve been putting some pictures up at SmugMug. I might write it up at some stage, but in the meantime, and for those who’d like to see what a late winter/early spring Pennine Way looks like, you’re welcome to take a scan at the piccies.

This SmugMug place seems really excellent, btw. The only thing is that it takes quite a long time to upload the pictures, and so I’ve only got about a third of them up so far. I’ll put the rest of them up over the next day or so, and then I’ll go back and add captions and maybe a bit of further info.

Trip photos: Pyrenees, Dales Way, Pennine Way & food

19 August, 2008

I’ve almost finished writing up my C2C trip now, but I’ve got hundreds of photos from trips to the Pyrenees, the Dales Way, the Pennine Way and various shorter outings that I haven’t written up.

I’m thinking that when I’ve finished the C2C I’ll put up the photos from those trips. It seems a pity to just hide them away on my hard drive, and it’ll be liberating not having to dig out my notes and write them up at the same time.

In the meantime, I’ve got a 14 day free trial of the photo site–SmugMug–where Streapadair has his amazing walking photos, so I thought I’d make a test gallery showing pictures of how to make the little pork and prawn wontons I made a couple of nights ago, for my Thai’ish soup. Click on the wonton piccy above to get to the gallery 🙂

Amazing photos! Thanks to Slowman for the tip :)

7 August, 2008

I saw a tip on Alan’s blog just now for some fantastic photos published by Streapadair on his photo site, and went over there. I started with the GR20 pics, and was amazed by them.

What’ve completely blown me away, though, are his photo’s of flora and fauna in the Alps: just mind-bogglingly good! This is exactly what I would love (but will never be able) to produce. See them and weep 🙂

Click here for the Flora and Fauna, and follow links at the top of the page to the rest. Amazing!