Month: August 2011

August 31, 2011
Doing a quick shop for snacks last week, for a gaming session, I picked up a multipack of crisps. I wanted plain, and I thought that is what I bought.

As it happens, we didn’t open them, but I just had one as part of my lunch. They were very plain, almost tasteless. On examining the packet, I found they were actually flavoured: “Jacket Potato with Creamy Butter” flavour.

August 24, 2011
I’ve just finished watching the final episode of the BBC’s “The Hour”. Much has been said in the press about it being a British equivalent to “Mad Men” (lazy reporting – the two shows have nothing in common at all, aside from most of the male characters wearing suits), and of the frequent misuse of modern dialog in a drama set in the 50s.

The anachronistic language didn’t bother me too much, but one thing did. Throughout the whole drama, set in 1956, the two principle characters jokingly refer to each other as “Moneypenny” (frequently) and “James” (rarely, in response). The first James Bond novel was written in 1953, and at the time of the drama, only 3 novels had been published. While it is true that both the characters are intelligent and well read, so may have been familiar with these early novels, it seemed to me the joking seemed based on the depiction of Miss Moneypenny in the films, the first of which wouldn’t be produced for another 6 years.

I felt this was typical of the sloppyness (or absence) of basic research on the period. Despite this, I found the show fairly enjoyable to watch. However, this was mainly for the characters, as I felt the plot itself was rather weak.

What follows contains serious spoilers. Do not read if you haven’t yet watched this program (but intend to).

August 23, 2011
I had a pork tenderloin in my fridge that needed to be used. I also had a couple of chorizo sausages and a pack of streaky bacon. So I simply cut along the length of the tenderloin, inserted the chorizo, then closed the tenderloin and wrapped it in streaky, before throwing it on the Traeger with some other stuff that needed using up.

Preparation time: less than 10 mins. Smoking time: 3 hours.

August 19, 2011
Over the past few months, I’ve beem having good fun with my BBQ. Naturally, the more I use it, the more I learn, but for some of the dishes – pulled pork and brisket – you can’t really cook a small piece of meat. As a result, I throw caution to the wind, and cook far more than I can eat. Some of the excess gets frozen for the future, but I’ve also been passing out plastic boxes of meaty goodness to the neighbours.

I’ve got family visiting tomorrow, so I have been smoking a brisket, while trying to tidy the garden. I was taking a break with a cuppa, when there was a knock on my back door. It was a neighbour who had just been shopping. She gave me a carrier bag, with a pork shoulder joint and a beef rib joint, as a thank you for the BBQ (and computer advice) I have been handing out recently.

August 9, 2011
My trusty old Renault Scenic is playing up a bit. It has been absolutely fine until recently, but in the last couple of days, it hasn’t been quite right. It made a trip to Cambridge today fine, but on the way back, it developed a judder when accelerating.

I have a feeling it is a timing issue, and hopefully won’t cost much to fix. However, this is the latest of a number of small incidents, and I am beginning to be concerned that I can no longer trust it. I’m also concerned that I am beginning to spend more on the annual maintenance and repair of the thing than the car is actually worth.

August 7, 2011
August 7, 2011
The Thermapen is a wonderful gadget. A food thermometer that is easy to use, accurate to within 0.4 degrees C in the range -49 to 200, and 1 degree above that (all thermometers come with an individual certificate of calibration). More importantly, their latest probe – the Superfast – is the fastest food probe I know – measuring the temperature in 3-4 seconds. No more standing around watching the reading rise, and rise, and rise….

Anyway, the UK manufacturer is selling a limited number of refurbished (but otherwise fine) Superfast Thermapens at half price (28.80, instead of 56 quid), on eBay, so I thought I would give people a heads up: