Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Some Midweek Rants

Aaaaah. The sun is out, the shorts are on, the birds are singing........time for a rant!

So this Pink thing is absolute bullshit. (If you haven't come across this story yet, Pink went to a cancer charity benefit looking incredible in a long black dress and was somehow then ridiculed for the choice of outfit and her weight. She then issued a statement calling out the cyberbullies and basically saying up yours.)

But she looks amazing as always. And why should she have to defend herself against nasty bullies? Why should she have to justify her outfit? Do men have to do the same? And yes she makes a joke of it and tells everyone she's happy with her body, which of course we all should be. but again, why should she have to make a public statement about that? Shouldn't that be obvious just from looking at her?

How are we ever going to convey how hurtful and wrong body shaming and cyberbullying is to younger people, when adults are readily taking part in it themselves?

I know we all judge, we all do it, it's instilled in us from a young age to question difference and to observe others. But that doesn't mean you have to blast that all over the freakin' Internet. Keep it to yourself. Try and expand on that initial judgement by looking for something positive to say about the same picture or outfit, or see the beauty in that difference. Or just shut up, because it doesn't really matter what Pink wears, she can wear whatever the feck she likes. Oh, and shouldn't the cancer charity and the support she showed them be more important than the dress she wore to said event? Or her weight on that particular day?

The world's gone mad. Or rather it's going madder. Put a stop to this nonsense and think about the person behind the picture. Think about the feelings behind the still image.

Rapid Change
I wouldn't be British if I didn't mention the sudden change in weather. We zoomed from long sleeves and knee highs to shorts and sun cream in about 48 hours. Insane.

I'm not complaining, per se, I just like a more gradual change, you know, one that gives you chance to dig out your 'summer clothing' from the depths of the chest of drawers, where it hasn't seen daylight in nine months. Oh, there are all the vest tops, hidden underneath the jumpers and long sleeved tops and trousers and skirts. Etc.

Being of the pasty variety means sun cream is now essential to the bag as soon as I leave the house otherwise red face comes to visit, and if this weather carries on the sexy sun hat will have to leave its dark home in the wardrobe and face the outside world once again.

Though I have to say, I did enjoy my walk into town today in a vest top and long shorts, arms and lower legs feeling the direct warmth of the sun for the first time in almost a year. It's not bad this Vitamin D stuff.

Okay, so I just rewrote Cornflake Girl as Sun Cream Girl, and it really works! #lovetoriamos

I've always been a sun cream girl
It's always been a good solution
For pale, pasty freckled girls
Who'll bronze in the blink of an eye
You better get your sun hat on
Or you might burn your scalp
And it will flake and itch and burn

This will not really, this, this will not really happen to me
You bet your life it will
You bet your life it will
You will burn
If you don't put the sun cream on
Please use the sun cream.

She knows her skin will peel
But looking kind of tan is hard
When your buried beneath loads of cream
It's better for your skin and health
So listen to the sun cream girl
She speak lots of sense
Or you can risk it yourself

This will not really, this, this will not really happen to me
You bet your life it will
You bet your life it will (oh-oh)
You will burn
If you don't put the sun cream on
Please use the sun cream

Mother. Please apply the sun cream (Oh-oh)
Brother. Please apply the sun cream (Oh, this time)
Sister. Please apply the cream...(the sun cream)
Mother. Please apply the cream, please apply the sun cream.

And the girl with the sun burnt nose, thought she knew so much, thought she knew so much, yeah
And the girl with the red shoulders, thought she knew so much, thought she knew so much, yeah
And the girl with the red, red, back, thought she knew so much, thought she knew so much, yeah
And the girl with the sun burnt toes, thought she knew so much, thought she knew so much, yeah!

Mother. Please apply the sun cream.
Brother. Please apply the sun cream.
Sister. Please apply the cream. (oh, yeah.)
Mother. Please apply the sun cream.

Well that was fun.

Okay, final rant:

The 21st Century
Is anyone else struggling to remain in the twenty first century? What with Poldark and Outlander and watching reruns of Pride and Prejudice and Downton, I find myself using some interesting phrases, expecting to change for dinner, and half expecting to see a clan of Scots outside on horseback. (Aye, and I wouldn't be complaining either, you ken.)

I sometimes look up and think, where am I? What is this? And, oo, corsets. But then of course I thank the twenty first century for its lack of corsets and its liberal views on living in sin and having children out of wedlock and not being seen as a spinster. And I love the fact that equality and rights for women and servants and LGBT and race are so much further along. But really, Claire (Outlander) should listen to her husband more and stop getting herself kidnapped, Honestly. I know she's headstrong and stubborn - I might know someone like that, and I might even have made some of her rash decisions - but she keeps getting herself into trouble which then gets her completely hot and awesome husband into trouble and there's been a few too many attempted assaults and almost maimings for my liking. She has to realise she's from the twenty century but currently residing in the eighteenth, and I need to remember than I am definitely from the twenty first. Thankfully. I'd have been tried as a witch, called out as a spinster and shunned in another other century, I'm sure of it.

Alright then. Enjoy the sun whilst you can. Let's face it, we could be back to knee highs and long sleeves by next week. And Happy Wednesday.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Baking Rants

Ah, the smell of baked cookies, wafting through the house (okay, the tiny one bedroom flat in London, where your kitchen is essentially your living room, which is also your dining room because it's the only room you have that's not for sleeping or peeing in). But still, the smell of freshly baked dough infused with cinnamon and raisins and chocolate and oats. Ah, the serenity of it all.........


Butter. A staple of every fridge and a necessity for bakers. There's just something so satisfying about a slab of butter. It comes in those lovely little 250g bricks of yellowness. Or so they say........

In the hope of making two different batches of cookies today, I needed 260g butter between the two recipes. I had a full pat of butter and a tiny bit left over from another pat. Should be about enough, right?

Wrong. I put it on the scales and bam, it's barely 230g. Say what? How can you sell something that clearly states it is 250g, when it's not? Money grabbing liars. Oh, and that was weighed with packaging - not that the packaging of butter weighs anything - so they can't even claim that would have anything to do with it.

So then I started weighing everything else. The raisins. Should be 500g, weighed in at 490g. The porridge oats. Should be 500g, weighed in at 490g.

Just think if you were conned out of 10g of everything you ever bought. Madness!

So, as I was making batches of cookies, I thought I would try out our sexy baking function on the new oven, Sirius. He's done us right so far, what with Dino apple pie with perfect pastry, and countless pizza and calzone on the pizza setting. So I had high hopes of the ability of Sirius to cook several trays of cookies at the same speed.

Yet. After the recommended 12 minutes, my cookies were not only anaemic, but were also soggy on the bottom. This has never happened before in the land of Flat 19's cookies. So I put them in a few minutes longer. And I moved the trays around as Sirius hadn't managed to cook them all at the same speed.

After having about 7 minutes longer than they normally had in the old oven, I gave up and took them out. They had browned on top, so looked less ill, but some of the bottoms were still a little soggy. No one likes a soggy bottom.

But after a few minutes cooling on the tray and then a quick transfer to the rack, they were hardening up, and after a test - come on, that's the beauty of baking right, the testing? - we realised they were actually pretty tasty.

But, I did the next batch of cookies on the normal setting and they cooked much better. No soggy bottoms, and just the usual game of musical trays, swapping the trays around so they all gained that golden brown colour on top.

Don't lie to me Sirius. I trusted you.

This is merely a plea, but Sainsburys Kentish Town please start stocking the dark brown soft sugar again, it makes much nicer cookies and biscuits. The light brown stuff is all golden and pale. I like the dark sugar, it really gives them colour and punch.

And really, some recipes are crazy. As I was making the first batch of oat and raisin cookies, I half the quantities which still makes about 22 cookies, otherwise I have cookies coming out of my ears and I've used up all the ingredients in the house. But when a recipe says 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract before you've even halved the recipe, you know something's gone wrong. 1/4 teaspoon vanilla? In cookies? You might as well not bother putting any in at all. I put in 1/2 a teaspoon. Ha ha ha. I laugh in the face of your rules, recipe book. Oh, and the same with the Cinnamon. I am a purveyor of Cinnamon and again 1/4 teaspoon in 22 cookies is simply not enough. As with blue eyeshadow, you can never have too much cinnamon. I think a whole teaspoon went in. Not sure, but they taste great!

Ah, and now for that moment where you pop in that last tray of cookies for just a couple more minutes, as they just weren't quite done enough, and then you forget, until suddenly you're like, 'Did I leave the oven on?' A second later, 'Did I leave some cookies in there?' Then the burning smell. Then the realisation. Oh Shit.

Luckily they weren't burnt in the traditional sense - blackened - but they were a considerably darker shade than the rest of the batch. Ah well. I'll freeze them and hope that they'll taste better after some time in the cold place.

Needless to say, I've got the baking heat right now, so despite the chill in the air I'm running a temperature, and I'm desperately trying not to snaffle a cookie or two off the cooling rack. This is a real test of will power.

Though I did eat quite a bit of dough earlier. Mmmmmm cookie dough.

Weigh your butter, people. Weigh everything.