Saturday, September 30, 2006

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 5.7

If you don't know yet that the quiz is running, send me an e-mail and I will tell you how to take part.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Better Busy than Bankrupt....

...but too busy to blog, back after the rush.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Limericks

She frowned and called him Mr.
Because in sport he kr.
And so in spite
That very night
This Mr. kr. sr.

I found this in an odd fatcs book last week whilst researching the now defunct quiz (James Horne you prat!) and posted it on MySpace.

Dr. P in return sent me some fan/stalker poetry.......

There once was a fella called Mike,
A lovely lad, despite being a Tyke.
He's a chef by trade,
Many delights he made,
So really ... what's not to like?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

And Justice For All....

Pop yourselves over to Peg's blog, Boobless Brigade Master in the sidebar, if you have not been there before do take the time to read her biog at the top right, it will help you understand the following story just a little....

The law is an ass
A New Waitress


She's got a good grip on that champagne flute

Er, probably NSFW.
Captions ?

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 5.7

Rules, answers to yorkshiresoul@gmail.com on/by Mon 2nd Oct 2006.

If you put QUIZ 5.7 as the header it makes your answers easier to find amongst the spam.

No lists of possible answers.

Please don't put spoilers in the comments.

Just a thought - would any of the quizzers like me to e-mail them with the questions when I set a new quiz ? Woul it help any of the more, er, forgetful quizzers ?

1) What is the next name on this sequence ? And what is this sequence ? (2)

George W Bush
George Bush Snr and Jnr
Ronald Reagan

2) What links Cratwell, Stump-Leg, Pascha Rose and John Price ? (2)

3) From 1346 - 1353 why was Warsaw the healthiest European capitol ? (1)

4) What links Felix V, Benedict XIV, Clement VIII and John XXIII ? (1)

5) What was Martin Luther King's influence on Star Trek ? (1)

6) What nation was briefly created when the Igbo people attempted to secede from Nigeria ? (1)

7) Pope John Paul II beatified a man who founded an influential Catholic 'values through practise' movement within the Catholic church. Name the organisation and its founder ? (2)

8) What out of this world first was achieved by a Muslim last week ? (1)

9) What is the nickanme that has been given to China's new Olympic stadium ? (1)

10) How do you make a Maltese Cross ? (1)

Good luck!
Cotheria in Rent Boy Scandal



When not offering himself up for kinky sexual practices, young Nick can be found playing bass for Cotheria.

You can catch them live....

Sep 29 2006 8:00pm Bradford Rios
Oct 2 2006 8:00pm The Faversham Leeds

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 5.6

Answers and League


1) What liquid is created during the refinement process that creates sugar, what is the most concentrated form of this liquid called ? (2 points)

Molasses, Blackstrap

2) What made Mr. Spigott unsuitable for the role of Tarzan ? (1 point)

He only had one leg

3) What are The Camp Meeting, The Distraught Man and The Hen ? (2 points)

They are nicknames of symphonies
Ive's No.3 (sounds like a packet of fags!)
Haydn's No.60 in G major
Haydn's No 83 in G major

4) Dover, Hastings, Hyde, Winchelsea, Rye. Which two names are missing, what was the whole group known as ? (2 points)

Romney, Sandwich, these are the Cinque Ports.

5) Before founding Islam, Mohammad worked for a caravan owner whom he later married, what was her name ? (1 point)

Khadija

6) In battle, when a side wins but takes losses so grevious that they migt have well as lost, there is a name for tis event, what is the name, and what battle gave rise to the phrase ? (2 points)

Phyrric Victory
From Phyrrus King of Epirus and his victory over Rome at the battle of Asculum

7) What is the next name on this list, and what links them ?
Walter Nash
Norman Kirk
Hugh Watt

Wallace Rowling, this is a list of Labour Prime Ministers of New Zealand

8) What links volunteers, agriculture, the tulip poplar, commerce, the iris and a mockingbird ? (1 point)

Tennesee, "Commerce and Agriculture" is the motto, it is called The Volunteer State, the others are the official state tree, flower and bird.

9) If the Mayor, Bellman and Cryer of a Yorkshire town were seen taking a long walk int he country to look at stones, what is the phrase associated with what they would be doing, and on what day would they normally do it ? (2 points)

They would be Beating The Bounds on Rogation Sunday.

10) What was the name of the post WWI agreeement that governed the frontiers of France, Belgium and Italy ? (1 point)

The Locarno Pact

This Week's Points

Saeri 13
MR 13
Didier Depireux 11
Dr. P 11
Mr. Moosehead 10
Eleanor 10
Penny Farthing 6
Squirt 4

5.6 League Table

1) MR 61
2) Eleanor 58
3) Mr Moosehead 51
4) Saeri 46
5) Dider Depireux 29
6) Penny Farthing 24
7) Dr P 22
8) Chez 16
9) Squirt 15
10) Dan Manche 14
11) Tony G 13
12) Ben Spellman 12
13) Electric Landlord 11
14) Matt M 10
15) Ross Dulmaine 5
Book Review : Tell No One - Harlen Coben*****



This was a tremendous read, its been sat on my book shelves for ages until I picked it up last week, and then got through it in a couple of days.

The set up, a young married couple are brutually attacked, the wife kidnapped, tortured and killed by a serial killer who is then caught and imprisoned. Eight years later, the husband receives a strange e-mail with a link, when he follows the link it shows him a street scene on web cam, as he watches, his wife steps in front of the camera, speaks to him, then walks away.

Tell No One is a non stop rollercoaster of thrills as the protagonist Dr. Beck is plunged into a whirl of violence and intrigue as he strggles to understand what could have happened to his wife eight years ago. The plot constantly twists and turns as Beck uncovers revelation after revelation, I do like the sort of book where you cannot see the next plot jink coming, and Coben even saves a final twist for the very last page.

A really good thriller, very entertaining, top marks.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Britain's Best Punk Band

That would be the Arctic Monkeys wouldn't it ? Aha, already I hear the punks and indie kids screaming "They're not punk", no ? What makes the Arctic Monkeys so different from Britain's previous best punk band The Clash ?

Musically they are not worlds apart, indeed many AM tracks are heavier than the more ska influenced Clash. So what makes punk ? Is it the music, or is it an attitude, especially a lyrical attitude ?

The wry social commentaries favoured by the Arctic Monkeys are similar in many ways to the tales told by the more politically orientated Clash, White Riot, London's Burning, Garageland, all these classic Clash songs were tales of their own youth on the streets of London.

The AM's debut album and subsequent EP have really grown on me this year, it's really nice to hear someone singing in an unashamedly local accent (they're from Sheffield, I'm from Leeds, we're all Tykes) and anyone who can work Rotherham into a lyric alongside New York city must be worth a listen.

What do you say then, Arctic Monkeys, the future of punk ?
Potted Smoked Salmon and Trout



I have adapted this from an old recipe in a book on Lakeland cookery, the original recipe was for Derwentwater Trout, but here I have made it into a posh starter.

A side of smoked salmon
20 Smoked Trout Fillets
Two blocks of butter (250g each)
Pepper
Nutmeg
Mace
Two more blocks of butter

Cook the smoked salmon, very gently, in the oven with two blocks of butter and the pepper and spices sprinkled on top, keep the over temperature quite low, about Gas 4 is good.

You need to remove it from the oven at the point when the salmon has just cookd, don't leave it bubbling away and don't let it brown or dry out, keep an eye on it.

Mix the buttery salmon and the smoked trout together, mash it up, you could blend it if you wanted to make more of a mousse/pate, but I would prefer to have the flakes of fish visible for the dish. It was then pressed gently into little pots. The other two blocks of butter were very gently melted in a pan, clarified (that is, skimming off all the lovely golden butter oil and leaving the white liquid behind), I added some more nutmeg and poured a little clarified butter on top of each pot.



The pots all ready for service.



We served the potted salmon with a lemon, wheat and pepper salad and fresh baked cheese and onion loaf.
Come The Glorious (And Bloody) Revolution...

...there will have to be a number of people put up against the wall and shot, I'm sorry if this upsets you, but it is just the way that revolutions run.

First up against the wall will be Chelsea footballer Michael Ballack who was moaning to the press last week that "London was extremely expensive", so expensive in fact that poor Michael can't afford to buy a house and he is having to rent instead.



Ballack is reported to be paid £130,000 per week, or something in the region of £6.7 million pounds a year, or, for my readers abroad, 14.2 million Canadian dollars, 16.7 million Australian dollars (complete with wacky colours and strange plastic panels) or equal to the gross national product of Rwanda.

If uber-twat Ballack can't afford to buy a house in London, what hope is there for the capital's nurses, police and binmen ?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Book Review : Tough Cookies - Simon Wright****



Writer and part time restauranteer Simon Wright presents short biographies of four of Britain's best chefs, Gordon Ramsey, Heston Blumenthal, Shaun Hill and Marcus Wareing.

If you fancy plunging into the deeply competetive, manic, driven world of Michelin starred restaurant cheffery, this isn't such a bad place to learn just what is required of the few souls who are single minded enough to create food worthy of the guide's star ratings.

From Ramsey's frankly frightening tales of working with Leeds born nutter/inspired genius Marco Pierre White, and the violent outbursts that frequently occurred when Marco thought a mistake had been made, to Marcus Wareing's stories of sleeping on the kitchen tables in order not to be late for work the next day this is a pretty good insight into the world of fine cuisine on the other side of the kitchen door.

This is the industry without limits, where 'normal' 40 hour working weeks are scoffed at by the hardened pros who regularly put in twice (and more than) that in the kithen each week, where the weak and slow are rapidly kicked into touch and where you will put up with dreadful amounts of verbal abuse because you know that the head chef is destined for great things and you want to learn from the very best.

Despite the hothouse atmosphere of many kitchens, loyalty to a head chef can be absolute, as the poor owners of Aubergine found when Gordon Ramsey departed after an argument and the entire kitchen brigade went with him, prefering to chance their luck on Ramsey's rising star rather than waiting for the owners to find a decent replacement.

The only thing missing from the biographies is a bit more detail on their lives outside cooking, I don't believe for a moment that any of them were quite as single minded as they are portrayed here, after all, they all found time to meet girls and get married at some point. My advice then would be read this, then read Anthony Bourdain's excellent Kitchen Confidential, Bourdain apparently has much more sex with waitresses than the great Brit chefs.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Had To Do It

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Porn stars!

  1. The horns of porn stars are made entirely from hair.
  2. The book of Esther in the Bible is the only book which does not mention porn stars.
  3. Porn stars can remain conscious for fifteen to twenty seconds after being decapitated!
  4. The porn stars-fighting market in the Philippines is huge - several thousand porn stars-fights take place there every day.
  5. Baby swans are called porn stars!
  6. A chimpanzee can learn to recognize itself in a mirror, but porn stars can not.
  7. The number one cause of blindness in the United States is porn stars.
  8. The most dangerous form of porn stars is the bicycle.
  9. The International Space Station weighs about 500 tons and is the same size as porn stars.
  10. Porn stars is the traditional gift for a couple on their third wedding anniversary!
I am interested in - do tell me about


Number 7, it could so easily be true.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

I am 4 Today

4 years of this rubbish, here's a celebratory piccy of young Avril.....

What Is Your Personality Type

Yorkshire Soul is an Artistic Dreamer.

Find your personality type here
10 Things You Didn't Know About Me

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Yorkshire Soul!

  1. Human beings are the only animals that copulate while facing Yorkshire Soul.
  2. Olive oil was used for washing Yorkshire Soul in the ancient Mediterranean world.
  3. Abraham Lincoln, who invented Yorkshire Soul, was the only US president ever granted a patent.
  4. Two grams of Yorkshire Soul provide enough energy to power a television for over twenty-three hours.
  5. A lump of Yorkshire Soul the size of a matchbox can be flattened into a sheet the size of a tennis court.
  6. Yorkshire Soul has a memory span of three seconds!
  7. It takes 17 muscles to smile, and 43 to frown at Yorkshire Soul.
  8. Yorkshire Soul is the male seed of a flower blossom which has been gathered and treated by bees.
  9. If you blow out all the candles on Yorkshire Soul with one breath, your wish will come true!
  10. Yorkshire Soul was first grown in America by the grandmother Maria Ann Smith, from whom his name comes.
I am interested in - do tell me about

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Political Compass

The Lurker sent me this link....

The Political Compass.

Very interesting, although the questions are not exact enough (I often found there were questions when I would have answered "Well mostly I'd do this this except when...."), but for spending a few minutes answering questions it gives you a rough idea of your political compass and then alllows to to see where you stand as compared to various world and political leaders.

My result was,

Economic Left/Right: -7.38
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.13

Which puts me in good standing squeezed in between Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, and about diametrically opposed to both the Tories and Nu-Labour who, unsurprisingly, sit right next door to each other in the upper right hand quadrant.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Book Review : Fables 7 - Arabian Nights (And Days) - Bill Willingham****



Bit 7 of the wonderful Fables opens with Prince Charming, Beauty and The Beast struggling to maintain their power and positions as leaders of the Fabletown community. Snow White and her cubs have been exiled to The Farm, Bigby Wolf has vanished, Boy Blue is in prison for stealing magical artifacts and going on a killing spree across the Homelands, Pinnochio has been left behind with evil Gepetto.

The real problem though comes with the arrival of various Arabian fables, Sinbad and his impressively large retinue from Homelands Baghdad, and a little weapon they carry in the form of an all powerful, wish granting Djinn.

Willingham has created easily the best graphic saga since Sandman, he easily blends great storytelling with humour and horror, he has created a host of likeable and despicable characters. I'm not quite as keen on Mark Buckingham's art as I was on some of the earlier artists, it is good and competant, but I thought that the work by Lan Medina in the early volumes was a cut above.

The book ends with The Ballad Of Rodney And June, a nicely done short story featuring another of Gepetto's Brothers Of The Holy Grove and his would be girlfriend, this sets up two characters who I'm sure we are going to see more of in future volumes.

Another good tale from Willingham, it's easy to see why this comic wins so many awards, it really is rather special, I've tried to keep the review low on spoilers, read and enjoy.
Book Review : Pandora's Star - Peter F Hamilton****



Kaboom, another vast Hamilton tome has arrived, small print, 1100+ pages, a cast of zillions, probably.

This is set in the same universe as his novel Misspent Youth, that of the Intersolar Commonwealth, the diaspora of the human race spreading through the star systems via wormhole technology. It is different enough from the Night's Dawn setting that you won't confuse the two, but Hamilton's easy to read style continues and he manages to describe a realistic future vision of humn (and alien) society.

The plot then, astronomers discover a dimming of light from a distant star, analysis reveals that some entity has built a structure around a star system. This is of course slightly worrying, no matter that it took place a thousand years ago as the star is a thousand light years away. A faster than light ship is built and sent off to investigate, and, well look, the clue is in the title.

Hamilton has created the Primes, a brilliantly thought out, and utterly alien, alien race, controlled by their thinking Immotiles with their countless armies of subservient motiles.

This then is similar in many ways to Night's Dawn, the human race vs. the seemingly all powerful and unstoppable force, it does follow that if you enjoyed ND then you will enjoy this. There is a large mix of characters to follow, various plots, sub-plots and machiavellian machinations to keep up with, but it is all great space opera fun, space battles, big weapons, huge invasions, deaths by the megadeth, what more could you ask for ?

Well, just one thing annoyed me, as I got to the last 50 pages of the book I couldn't see any way that the various plots and threads were going to pull together, oh no I thought, it's going to be another deus ex machina ending just like ND, but then I'm on the last page and it isn't, bugger, this is a part one. It doesn't say anywhere on the front or back covers or in the Hamilton bumph on the inside cover that this is a part one, but it is.

Anyway, that aside, this is pretty much classic Hamilton, personally I could have had less background politicking and more huge battles, but it is still a very enjoyable read, I'll have to pop out now and get part 2, at least it isn't going to be a trilogy this time.
Sunset Season





Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 5.6

Ok then, the rules......

No spoilers in the comments.

No lists of possible answers.

Send your answers to Yorkshiresoul@gmail.com on/by Mon 18th Sept with "Quiz 5.6" as the header, that makes it easy to seperate out from the Canadian Lottery and penis enlarger spams.

1) What liquid is created during the refinement process that creates sugar, what is the most concentrated form of this liquid called ? (2 points)

2) What made Mr. Spigott unsuitable for the role of Tarzan ? (1 point)

3) What are The Camp Meeting, The Distraught Man and The Hen ? (2 points)

4) Dover, Hastings, Hyde, Winchelsea, Rye. Which two names are missing, what was the whole group known as ? (2 points)

5) Before founding Islam, Mohammad worked for a caravan owner whom he later married, what was her name ? (1 point)

6) In battle, when a side wins but takes losses so grevious that they migt have well as lost, there is a name for tis event, what is the name, and what battle gave rise to the phrase ? (2 points)

7) What is the next name on this list, and what links them ?
Walter Nash
Norman Kirk
Hugh Watt

8) What links volunteers, agriculture, the tulip poplar, commerce, the iris and a mockingbird ? (1 point)

9) If the Mayor, Bellman and Cryer of a Yorkshire town were seen taking a long walk int he country to look at stones, what is the phrase associated with what they would be doing, and on what day would they normally do it ? (2 points)

10) What was the name of the post WWI agreeement that governed the frontiers of France, Belgium and Italy ? (1 point)

16 points on offer, come on, show me your brains.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

At Last, A Man Who Calls A Spade A Wog

Boris Johnson, natural heir to Prince Phillip in the public gaffe making league, managed to once again put himself in the spotlight this week by comparing Nu-Labour's current round of public bloodletting to "Papau New Guinea style orgies of cannibalism and chief killing."

The government of Papau New Guinea is naturally not amused and have demanded an apology, claiming that they have not killed and dined out on people for over 200 years. Although in the case of Boris Johnson it is hoped they will make an exception.

Of course there is tons of hypocrisy about this, the tabloids jump on Phil the Greek every time he cracks one about "slanty eyed takeaway owners", but stand up the journalist who ca say will all honesty (and many journalists will have to look up the word 'honesty' in a dictionary at this point, while they are they they could check out the definitions of 'truth' and 'fact' at the same time) that they have never told or laughed at a politically incorrect joke, we all do it.

I'm never going to be a politician, unless I sweep to power in a bloodstained coup, and here's why.......

All sales of Steve Irwin Sun Cream have been halted after tests showed that it did not protect against harmful rays.

That's my chance of a diplomatic position in Australia buggered then.
I Don't Like To Go On About This, But....

So the new football season has started, LUFC have had their usual mixed bag of results, but the really bad news if of course the return of Alan Green on the radio on a weekend afternoon.

Now I quite like footy, but Alan Green doesn't seemto enjoy it at all. Every Saturday from now until the end of the season we'll have to put up with Green moaning on about shirt pulling, time wasting, the standard of refereeing, the apparent shortsightedness of the linesmen, the weather, the commentary position, traffic congestion, oh yes, and the standard of refereeing.

About a dozen times a match Green will say "I don't like to go on about this, but....." and then launch ("Just what is going on ?!" "This is a farce!") into a diatribe about the man in black. I wonder, for such a constant and harsh critic of the refs, has Green ever trod the grass in the arena, has he ever attempted the most easily criticised job in football ? I doubt it.

Green hates it when the ref missies a foul, then complains loudly when he thinks the ref is handing out cards too readily, have your cake and eat it Mr. Green. If a red card is brandished, Green goes apoplectic, "This just ruins the game for the fans" he will shout. Well no it doesn't Mr. Green, nothing perks up a dull Wednesday night away game in the rain like a manly exchange of views followed by an early bath.

Green's whole demeanour annoys me, his downbeat/deadbeat/dispiriting verbal style can turn what might appear as most brilliant display of football to the fan at the game into a turgid and sluggish affair on the radio.

Come on R5, this energy sapping morose lump can't be the best you have to offer, why can't we have a more spirited Saturday line up, how about the verbal dexterity of Stuart Hall ? Now there's a man who always makes the game that bit more interesting.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I'm Rich ! Rich I Tell You

"From: Mr Bradon Franklin
13G Hay Hall Road,
Stamford bridge london.
Sw1v 3dw United Kingdom



Dear friend,

I am the above named person but now undergoing medical treatment in London, England. I worked with British Railway Commission in Norwich for over a decade I married for fifteen years without a child. my wife died after a brief illness that lasted for two weeks.I vow to use my wealth for the down trodden and the less privileged in the society. Since the doctor had comfermed my situation that I will not live long I have decided to give out my money to the poor.

I deposited the sum of £18 Million (Eighteen Million Pounds sterling) in a Vault with a Bank .Presently, this money is still there. Recently, my Doctor told me that I would not last for the next 150 days due to cancer
problem.Though what disturbs me most is my stroke. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to an individual or better still a God fearing person who will utilize this money the way I am going to
instruct here in. I want an individual that will use this to fund and provide succor to poor and indigent persons, orphanages, and above all those affected in the Tsunami in far Asia and the Hurricane Katrina
Disasters.

I understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I do not have any child that will inherit this money and my relatives are not inclined to helping poor persons and I do not want my hard
earned money to be misused or spent in the manner I will not like and I also do not want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly manner, hence the reason for taking this bold decision. I am not
afraid of death hence I know where I am going.I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Almighty.I do not need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health, and because of the presence of my relatives around me always. I do not want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible.

As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the Bank . I will also issue them a letter of authority and change of ownership certificate,that will empower you as the original beneficiary of this
fund,through my Lawyer. I want you to always pray for me. My happiness is that I lived a life worthy of emulation. Whosoever that wants to serve the Almighty must serve him with all his heart and mind and soul and also in truth.

Please always be prayerful all through your life.Any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing for an individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act according to my specification herein.

Hoping to hear from you. at my private email (bradonfranklin@gawab.com)

Thank you and may the Almighty bless you.

Yours sincerely,


Mr Bradon Franklin."

Well, he seems on the level to me, I have sent the following reply.......

Dear Bradon,

I've always considered myself to be the poor and downtrodden of society, I'll spend most of the money of women, wine and high living, the rest I'll just fritter away.

Please leave in used, non-sequential bills in a Tesco carrier bag behind the telephone box.

Yours,

S.Pam
Cotheria



I'm just going to plug this band, because I know the bassist.



That's young Nick on the left, boyfriend of the lovely Robyn of this parish. The boys have a MySpace page with three songs on it, one of which, Catechism, you can download.

Cotheria on MySpace.

Cotheria are playing their first gig, supporting Babyshambles (assuming that Pete Doherty, turns up, isn't in prison and hasn't injected his own bodyweight in smack) at the Faversham, Leeds on October 2nd. If you contact the band via their page there may be a few tickets left.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Adult Happy Meal

Captions ?

An Oldy But Goody

There was an Englishman, a Frenchman and Claudia Schiffer sitting together in a train carriage going through Provence. Suddenly, the train went through a tunnel and, being one of the older-style trains with no carriage lighting, it went completely dark.

Then there was a kissing sound, followed by the sound of a really loud slap. When the train came out of the tunnel, Claudia Schiffer and the Englishman were sitting as if nothing had happened, and the Frenchman had a nasty red slap mark on his face.

The Frenchman was thinking: "The English fella must have kissed Claudia Schiffer and she missed him and slapped me instead."

Claudia Schiffer was thinking: "The French fella must have tried to kiss me and actually kissed the English fella and got slapped for it."

The Englishman was thinking: "This is great. The next time the train goes through a tunnel, I'll make another kissing noise and slap that French wanker again."

(Thanks to Jason)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

The Punking of Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton, waste of oxygen.
Braised Lamb Shank



Whilst Robyn was dazzling at desserts, here was my contribution to the evening's dining, traditional braised lamb shanks.

Recipe

1 lamb shank per portion
onion, carrot, celery - all in small dice
thyme
rosemary
red wine
salt and cracked black pepper
stock - lamb for preference

This is really easy, chuck everything in a casserole dish, be generous with the wine and herbs, season with the salt and pepper, add enough stock to cover the shanks, wrap with tinfoil or use a close fitting lid, put it in the oven on a medium heat (Gas 5 or so), braise until tender.

These took about 3 1/2 hours until the flesh was almost falling from the bone, remove the shanks from the cooking liquor, allow the liquor to stand for a few minutes then skim off the fat.

How much liquid have you got left ? Far too much to make gravy for the amount of shanks you have ? Then boil it and reduce it, it will concentrate the flavour as well.

You can either finish the gravy with a roux, or bisto it, it will taste really good either way.
Sweet Thing

I think we have a new star in the kitchen, new chef Robyn is proving to be a dab hand at desserts, last week it was gooey, rich chocolate brownie (catering size, 2 feet by 3 feet), yesterday it was syllabubs.



Robyn putting the finishing touches to her syllabubs.



Rows of syllabubs ready to be served.



Syllabub, perfect, the booze has dropped through the cream to give an Irish coffee like finish.

Syllabub Recipe

150 ml Sweet Sherry or 300ml sweet wine reduced to 150ml
50g caster sugar
rind and juice of 2 lemons
4 tablespoons brandy
300ml double cream

Reduce the sweet wine by boiling with the sugar added.

If using sherry, add the sugar and warm enough to dissolve it.

Add the lemon zest and juice and brandy, allow to stand and cool for several hours, even overnight, to infuse the flavour. You can either strain the zest out or leave it in at your preference.

Whip the double cream to a soft peak, it needs to fall from the back of a spoon and not be stiff, the idea is to create a thick cream and not a mousse. Add the lemon/wine and gently whisk in.

Pour into glasses, we put a little fruit in the bottom, strawberries or raspberries. Allow to stand in a cool place for a couple of hours, the wine should drop through the cream and will take on the colour of the fruit you have used whilst the thick cream sits on top to create an Irish coffee finish to the dessert.

We served it with fresh picked mint leaves and some almond tuile biscuits.

Play around, change the lemon for orange (but be careful not to use too much juice) or even limes, add some vanilla, be creative.
A Poem

Divorce
by Kate Bingham

I had been looking forward to divorce -
recriminations, therapy and casual sex,
the disentagling of my life from yours

by sympathetic girl solitors
who blush refering to you as my ex
and practice to avoid their own divorce.

I would have let you keep the chest of drawers
and hung my pants and socks on picture hooks
like bunting. What was mine would not be yours,

I'd cut my hair (too short) make common cause
with spinsters in wine bars, bandy regrets
or shrug them off : you marry, death or divorce

come next, or so I thought. But love endures -
the mirror in the wardrobe door reflects
your face in mine and mine in yours,

a couple of fond baggy shameless bores
blessed with unmitigated happiness.
At night I wake from dreaming of divorce,
my arms and legs in sweat, tangled with yours.



This is taken from Quicksand Beach which is available from Seren Books.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Walking Yorkshire - The Three Peaks
Penyghent, Ingleborough, Whernside


We did it.

As walking days go, this one ranks amongst the very worst. We knew the weather was going to be bad, but at 6.30am in Horton it was dry if very cloudy, we had decided to attempt Penyghent, then see if it was worth carrying on. The car pack is packed though, there are a few carloads of hikers getting ready as we arrive, when we are kitted up 15 minutes later the car park is full and dozens of intrepid souls are getting ready for the walk.

We set off to Brackenbottom and the South side of Penyghent.



This is the only view of any of the hills we saw all day, the rain began as we got close to the summit of Penyghent and didn't stop all day, and it didn't just rain, it poured down, constantly, non stop.

We were walking well though, we pass a few people on the steep sections of the ascent, then make good time back to Horton, I'd decided to do Ingleborough second as it would have been easier to stop the walk now if we had wanted to. Steve was suffering a little on Penyghent from too many beers the night before, but despite the rain we both feel good so we set off up Ingleborough.

We pass through Sulber Nick and the limestone pavements, I'm not taking any photographs because the rain is so heavy I'm afraid it might damage the camera, and then up into the cloud layer.

For all of the high sections of the walk we can't see anything beyond ten yards or so, we walk along in a strange little enclosed world of fog and rain, gushing streams and sullen looking sheep.

On the summit of Ingleborough I whip out my camera for a quick shot of the mountain men.



We both look remarkably happy considering the circumstances, we find a group of ladies who are in the process of trying to walk over the cliff edge at Swine Tail and guide them back to the safe path, then it's downhill again and into Chapel-le-Dale. This would be the obvious point to give up on the walk, but after some discussion whilst hiding in the church porch we again decide to press on.

On the flanks of Whernside the weather gets worse, the wind really picks up driving the rain into your cheeks and ears painfully, the visibility is terrible, it's even worse for me, I can't keep the rain off my glasses so my views all day are oddly contorted by water, just what you need when you're strggling to find flat bits to put your feet on.

There are dozens of people coming down from the summit, most of them are telling us not to bother going up the rest of the way, we gleefully tell them it is just as bad on Ingleborough. Actually, it isn't, the conditions on the ridge of Whernside are foul, the wind is hammering the rain into us, despite my coat there isn't a part of me that is now dry. Vivibility is so poor that we almost walk past the summit trig point without seeing it, having seen it we decide not to stop.

Every path has turned into a torrent of water higher than our boot tops, paths that are not streams have been churned into liquid mud, conversation, unlike the rain, has dried up, we are not having fun.

As we reach the railway line the becks have all swollen to torrents, Little Dale Beck, Seavey Brook and Hare Gill have become transformed from meandering streams into dangerously fast rivers, we are forced to ford all three of them, tired legs pushing through powerfully fast thigh deep waters, both of us get warning hints of cramp as we plunge into the cold water.

Upon reaching the road at Ribblehead viaduct I would gladly have called for a lift, but my jacket pockets have filled with rain and my mobile phone has drowned, Steve can't get a signal on his, we trudge the six miles back into Horton where my wonderful wife is waiting with hot coffee and dry towels and clothing.

Well done Steve, we claim all bragging rights over the wimps who pulled out, well done to all the other mad fools who braved the conditions yesterday, we are the Mountain Men!

Friday, September 01, 2006

This Is Where The Chickens Quiver

That was the (unofficial) motto of my Scout troop, well, the weather forecast for tommorow is dreadful, it's going to be very blustery and rain for most of the day, the chickens have quivered and we are back to two walkers, just the iron men, me and Steve.

We'll see the rest of you in the pub at the end.