# Sunday, February 15, 2009

We usually go out on Valentines Day but this year we decided we would stay in and cook at home. I received a gift of flowers and chocolates from my husband in the morning and then we went out to source ingredients. We ended up going for a menu of seared scallops with a tomato salsa, fillet steak with rocket salad and banoffe pie accompanied by a bottle of Bollinger. It was all cooked to perfection and was very tasty and when I consider that to purchase food of this quality in a restaurant would probably have cost double what it cost us to cook at home I think we did quite well. That's not to say we won't be going out for a meal but we will go next weekend when we won't be paying over inflated Valentines Day prices.

posted on Sunday, February 15, 2009 1:18:37 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Saturday, February 14, 2009

I read this article with some disbelief, its about a women who had booked a holiday to Costa Rica. Unfortunately for her, the travel agent had made a mistake on the ticket entering the wrong airport code on the ticket and she ended up in Puerto Rico. Instead of entering SJO the code for Juan Santa Maria in San Jose the travel agent had used SJU, the code for San Juan in Puerto Rico. Not realising the mistake she boarded the plane and it was only when she got into a taxi to go to her hotel that she was told "This is not Costa Rica. It's Puerto Rico". What I can't believe is that she managed to get all the way there without noticing she was flying to the wrong destination. The departure boards do show the destination of the flight, so I'm assuming she missed this small but all important detail. Failing that, did she not get a little suspicious when the captain said "welcome aboard this flight to Puerto Rico". Whilst the travel agent has obviously made a mistake here, I think you would expect some degree of common sense on the part of the customer.

posted on Saturday, February 14, 2009 10:31:58 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Friday, February 13, 2009

This article suggests that despite a Government pledge to crack down on developers who build new homes on flood plains, the number of new homes built on flood risk areas is increasing. The article points out that local planners gave the go ahead for 16 new developments in danger areas in 2007/2008. In each of these case although the Environment Agency raised objections, these were ignored and many were approved after the floods in the summer of 2007 when thousands of families lost their homes and possessions. There are now around two million homes built on flood plains in the UK and the insurance industry will no longer cover people who move into new homes in at risk areas unless the builders have installed flood defences.

It just seems ludicrous to me that despite the bad floods of the past couple of years developers are still choosing to build on areas that are at risk of flooding. The flood plains are called that for a reason, they are there primarily to take the excess water when an area floods. In fact two definitions of the term are "All land adjacent to a watercourse over which water flows in times of flood or would flow but for the presence of flood defences where they exist" and "The area around a body of water which may at times be under water and may at other times be dry land, depending on the level of the water in the lake, river, pond, etc." It seems to be me that if they developers insist on building on flood plains they need to stop building conventional houses and look at other solutions. Something like this Eco-home might work. It is built on stilts so that the water simply flows underneath the house. It also has no foundations that will be swept away by flood waters. Another interesting idea are these floating houses made by Dutch company Waterstudio. One thing is for sure building conventional style houses in an area which will flood is a dumb idea and developers should be looking at the long term implications.

posted on Friday, February 13, 2009 9:18:08 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

PD*26818581 I came across this picture of a heart shaped island in Croatia today. The unusual shape was of the island called Galesnjak was highlighted on Google Earth and it has since become known as Lovers Island. The owner has now started receiving lots of requests from people who want to spend a romantic break there.

posted on Friday, February 13, 2009 9:15:47 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Thursday, February 12, 2009

This article suggests that more people are ignoring level crossings. This doesn't surprise me because recently there seems to have been lots of news reports about people being killed or injured on level crossings. The article shows a video of a car driving through a level crossing moments before the train comes through and also talks about an incident where a man's show was clipped by a passing train. All of the reports have one thing in common people who can't be bothered to wait for the barriers to go up and decide to ignore them. I live in an area where I have to cross a level crossing every time I want to go into town and whilst it is really annoying and I spend much of my time waiting there it's just dumb to jump over the barriers, they are there for a reason. As one reader commented "It's called natural selection".

posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009 9:45:23 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

One-Missions-electric-mot-001This is the world's fastest production electric motorbike. It is produced by a Californian company Mission Motors and is considerably quicker than other models already on the market. It can reach a top speed of 150mph and can run for around 150 miles before it needs charging. It is likely to go on sale for $68,995 (£47,100) with a cheaper model being announced in the summer.

posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009 9:43:56 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

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This cow was unfortunate enough to be struck by lightening. Surprisingly she survived although has some nasty burns. It is apparently very rare for a cow to be struck by lightening and most die so it appears this is one very lucky cow.

posted on Thursday, February 12, 2009 9:39:30 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This is interesting its a project to help raise awareness about breast cancer. It called Artful Bras and the idea is that members of the Quilters of South Caroliner have created a one of a kind bra. The results will be part of a touring exhibit and when the exhibit ends in October will be auctioned off with the proceeds being donated to the Best Chance Network. Here are just a few of the designs but you can see the rest at the website here.

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posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 11:11:39 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

If you are planning a big romantic proposal this Valentines Day you might want to check out this article for some examples where a public proposal has gone horribly wrong. It includes one where a lady was left standing in a restaurant in her underwear after jumping out of a giant cake, her intended was not impressed and simply left. Shame.

posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 10:27:45 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

We had roast pork at the weekend and my favourite part was the crackling which was perfect. Looking around on the internet it appears people have lots of different methods for making the perfect crackling. Personally I put deep cuts in the fat on top of the pork joint spaced about 1cm apart. Then I rub some salt into the cuts I have made and drizzle some olive oil over the top and put it into the oven covered for about 2 hours. Halfway through the cooking time I sprinkle a little more olive over the top and leave the meat covered with foil. Once the pork joint is cooked I slice the layer of fat from the top and place it into a roasting tray on its own for about 10 minutes with the newly exposed fat side facing to the top. This allows it time to crisp up to produce perfect pork crackling. I'm sure other people have tried and tested methods that they will want to share but this works for me. How do you cook your pork crackling?

posted on Wednesday, February 11, 2009 10:03:47 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A South Korean grandmother has taken the written driving test a total of 771 times and has failed on each occasion. She has been taking the test since April 2005 and consistently scores between 30 and 50 marks, however, she needs 60 out of 100 in order to pass. She has so far spent more than four million wong (about £2,000) but is not to put off and will be back for another attempt. I admire her persistence, I think I would have given up by now.

posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 11:46:40 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Monday, February 09, 2009

If you use Twitter you might want to check out an article from the Time Online which lists the 50 most popular celebrities on Twitter. Stephen Fry, Russell Brand, Britney Spears and John Cleese are just a few that you might be interested to follow.

posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 3:28:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

According to this article the number of UFO sightings in Britain has doubled in the past year. A total of 285 unidentified flying objects were reported in 2008 compared to just 135 in 2007.  One was even reported hovering over Parliament on the 12th of February last year. I'm not entirely sure why the amount of sightings should double, perhaps it is down to people wanting to add a bit of excitement to their lives during the difficult economic conditions. Either way, one thing is for sure, if the aliens are looking for signs of intelligent life, then Parliament is the wrong place to look.

posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 2:28:25 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

This article is interesting, it suggests that whales used to live on the land. Fossilised remains of an ancient whale from 47 million years ago seem to prove that the creatures were dependant on the land for resting and breeding and may have once lived completely on the land. The fossil found was a female whale that was pregnant with a calf when she died. The calf's position in the womb appears to back up the theory that at this point whales were not totally aquatic. Looking at the position of the calf in the womb it would have been born head first like land mammals rather than tail first as the norm in aquatic mammals. It is this that in the words of Phillip Gingerich of the University of Michigan shows “They clearly were tied to the shore".

posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 9:37:32 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback
# Sunday, February 08, 2009

 

I made this roasted rack of lamb with a herb crust and rosemary jus yesterday and it was really good. If you want to make it, here is the recipe which is from BBC food. I would recommend using less breadcrumbs than suggested in the recipe as I has too much of the bread crumb and herb mixture left over. As I tend to try and use everything to prevent waste I have saved the remaining left over herb crust mixture and intend to use it to make a herb crusted chicken breast during the week.

Ingredients
For the herb crust
200g/7oz fresh, rich white bread
2 tbsps freshly chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tsp fresh soft thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
4 tbsp vegetable oil
100g/4oz unsalted butter
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 lean racks of lamb, french trimmed
For the rosemary jus
500ml/17fl oz hot, good lamb stock
1 large sprig fresh rosemary

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 240C/450F/Gas 9.
2. To prepare the herb crust, break the bread into large pieces and place in a food processor or blender and turn into fine crumbs.
3. Add the herbs and garlic and blitz for a further 30 seconds.
4. Heat the oil in a large pan with the butter until foaming, but not coloured. Season the racks and add to the pan, skin-side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side (for medium rare). Remove from the pan and leave to rest for 5 minutes.
5. Place the racks of lamb, fat side up, on a chopping board, and brush the mustard over the racks, to apply a good coating.
6. Press a generous handful of the herb crust over the racks and transfer to a medium-sized roasting tin and roast for 5-15 minutes, depending on how your lamb is preferred. Cover the bones with foil if browning too quickly.
7. To make the jus, heat the stock and rosemary in a pan over a medium to high heat and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Check seasoning, strain and keep warm.
8. Slice the racks in half and serve immediately.

DSC_0001 Lamb 2

posted on Sunday, February 08, 2009 12:29:34 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback

article-1135683-034BF5C3000005DC-979_468x353 Fossil hunters have discovered the fossil of a snake which they believe would have measured 45ft long. The snake would have been longer than a bus and would have been able to swallow an animal the size of a cow. The creature named Titanoboa would have lived on a diet of crocodiles and giant turtles which it would have squeezed to death before eating them whole. It would have lived in South America and would have weighed around 1.25 tons. This is an artists impression of what it might have looked like. It makes me think of the film Anaconda. I wonder whether there might still be some huge snakes living in remote locations today.

posted on Sunday, February 08, 2009 11:17:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] Trackback