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Digital Dreams

Hi. I still use LJ, follow my friends and similar, but I've moved my main host to Dreamwidth, and crosspost everything here.

Mat Bowles. It's fully interoperative, the OpenID comment functions there are good and improving, and I follow everything from both sites without problem.

Lime and Ginger cheesecake

  • 14th May, 2014 at 11:56 AM
Anarchist, MatGB
Just had a second slice, it hadn't quite finished setting before I turned in last night so a very late pudding. Based, loosely, on two recipe's in Mary Berry's Baking Bible but with a few variants of my own.

Ingredients:

The base:
Half a packet of Tesco Value Ginger Nuts (150g)
2 ounces butter (I used Tesco own brand salted, that's about 1/5th a pack).
1 ounce brown sugar (any will do, recipe calls for demerara, I used light brown baking sugar).

The Topping:
4/5ths a pack of Tesco Full Fat soft cheese (about 175g)
150 ml double cream (I used some cheap stuff)
1 tin condensed milk (again, one of the cheap brands is fine)
Zest and juice of 4 limes

And yes, I know I mixed imperial and metric in the ingredients list, it's fine.

You also need a 23cm cake tin or flan tin, I used a Sainsbury Cook's Collection springform thing I got in a sale awhileback, the Cook's Collection stuff is REALLY good but pricey, they put it on sale fairly regularly, buy what you can afford when they do, seriously. From experience, line the base of the tin with a bit of overlap, I didn't do this hence you're not getting a picture.

Crush the biscuits in a bag using a rolling pin or similar—an empty cereal bag is perfect for this, cheap thin plastic bags not so much, but I managed to avoid spilling too much…

Melt the butter over a low heat in a medium pan, once all melted remove from heat, mix in the sugar and the biscuit crumbs—note, don't do this in a milk pan, it's not big enough and you'll spill stuff (note the trend here). Once mixed in you'll have a nearly solid mix, push that into the base of the tin and put it in the fridge.

Next up, put the cheese, cream and condensed milk into your mixing bowl with the lime zest (but not the juice, yet). I heartily recommend an electric whick or mixer for the next bit, I bought a cheap one from Wilko last year and it's So Much Easier. Whisk all this together and keep whisking for a bit. Slowly start adding in the juice in small amounts, keep whisking. It'll start to thicken, for me it started to really thicken after the juice started being added so be careful from now on, [personal profile] miss_s_b tells me the acid in the juice reacts with the cream to thicken. Keep going, slowly adding the juice, until the mixture is very thick.

Now, pour, prod and spoon the cream mixture into the tin on top of the biscuit base. Try to get as much in as possible and resist the temptation to taste too much (I almost managed this bit). Put in the fridge to set, it'll take at least 3 hours in the fridge, probably more, overnight is best. Don't be tempted to take it out before set, it'll make a mess.

You can, if you want, put some whipped cream on top, top with strawberrys, etc, but I didn't bother, it didn't need it. Total cost about £4 depending on ingredient quality, plus £30ish of equipment, you could do it with a hand whisk but, um, you'll need strong whisking muscles.

Enjoy.


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Baked: Shredded Lime Cupcakes

  • 20th Jan, 2013 at 11:11 PM
Anarchist, MatGB
Made these to follow on from Jennie cooking a sausage casserole (separate Quorn for me) based on a Grauniad recipe from yesterday, as the oven was on I made pudding. They're very nice, and very sour, citrussy cakes. And I really do mean sour.

Theoretically, I bake these so we've something nice to finish and some left for the next day. 12 of them, 4 of us, 3 each, they're all gone almost immediately, every time...

  • 3 oz Butter/baking fat/margerine (softened if necessary)
  • 3 oz Caster Sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 1 oz dry Semolina (or ground almonds or rice flour, I'm allergic to almonds so I substitute)
  • Juice of 2 limes (or just pour in what looks like enough from a bottle of lime juice)

Plus, for the topping
  • Zest of one lime, pared using a zester
  • Juice of 2 limes (or see above)
  • 2 oz sugar (any, I used granulated)

Right, simple method. Preheat oven to 180oC, 12 cake cases in a tray ready for you.

Cream the fat and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy, slowly beat in the egg in smallish amounts (if you've never done this before say in comments and I'll do more detail). Add the flour and semolina (sifted if necessary to get lumps out), folding in, then fold in the lime juice. Divide into the cases and put in oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

In the meantime, make the topping, put your zest into a pan, add the juice and the sugar, mix it then put on the hob on a low heat, slowly bring it to the boil, stirring regularly. When it's boiling, lower the heat to minimum to simmer it until it turns into a nice sticky syrup, normally takes about 5 minutes. NB I did this bit while eating the main course, stirring regularly is not the same as stirring constantly.

Ideally, the syrup'll be ready just before the cakes are-they need to be a golden brown colour. Get them out of the oven, immediately prick the tops with a skewer or just a fork, then spoon some of the syrup (including zesty bits) over each cake, try to make sure most of it soaks into the cake not flowing over the side. It is a sugar syrup just off the heat, it will be HOT, bear that in mind.

When you've got all the syrup spread around the cakes, put them onto a wire rack and allow to cool until, ideally, actually room temperature, but normally they don't last long enough in our house. The syrup itself is very nice in small quantities on its own, but very sour. Which we like.

Right, job done. You can use the exact same recipt for oranges (one orange instead of two limes) or lemons (1 and a half lemons), and theoretically more sugar in the syrup'll reduce the sourness, but I wouldn't want to. You could also add a bit of ground ginger to the cake mix (for lime) or ground cinnamon if you're doing the orange variant.


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A medical statement of the obvious

  • 17th Oct, 2012 at 2:41 PM
Anarchist, MatGB
I've had maybe 10 hours proper sleep in the last week. As a result, my Doctor has prescribed me some sleeping pills, Promethazine Hydrochloride.

I collected them from the chemists on the way home from work and have just opened the packaging. Instructions are:
Take ONE at night

WARNING. THIS MEDICINE MAY MAKE YOU FEEL SLEEPY...
Really? Pills I'm supposed to take at night to make me go to sleep may make me feel sleepy and I need to be warned?

Thanks, wouldn't have figured out that sleeping pills might make me sleepy...

(Ok, the rest of it is the standard don't drive or do silly things after taking it, but, really, they actually need to warn people this?)


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Politics
Jennie links today to an article on the OpenDemocracy website about the BBC coverage of NHS reforms. I'm afraid I didn't finish reading it. I generally have a little rule, if I'm reading something that claims to be factual and come across something that's egregiously annd blatantly false, I find it hard to take anything else it says seriously, if it gets something wrong that I know to be wrong, how many other things wrong are there that I don't know about?

If the article is headlined two years of censorship and distortion , then I expect it itself to not distort facts. That's fair, right? So, here's the the first substantive point the article makes:
1) Legitimacy – the bill no one voted for

In the run up to the 2010 general election, David Cameron frequently pledged that under a Conservative government there would be “no more top-down re-organisations” of the NHS.
Note, no citation there; he only actually said that once that I'm aware of, in a speech (a long time before the election as well). But how many times have you heard politicians and activists and campaigners opposed to NHS reform parrot that line out?

It's a lie. It's not true. Anyone saying it is either willfully distorting the facts or hasn't bothered to check them.

Y'see, Page 45 through 47 of the Tory 2010 manifestopdf includes such things as
We have a reform plan to make the changes the NH S needs. We will decentralise power, so that patients have a real choice.
...
We need to allow patients to choose the best care available, giving healthcare providers the incentives they need to drive up quality.
So we will give every patient the power to
choose any healthcare provider that meets NH S
standards, within NH S prices. This includes
independent, voluntary and community sector
providers.
...
We will strengthen the power of GPs as
patients’ expert guides through the health
system by:
• giving them the power to hold patients’
budgets and commission care on their behalf;
• linking their pay to the quality of their
results; and,
• putting them in charge of commissioning
local health services.
Centrepeice of the manifesto. Couldn't be clearer. That article starts with a lie, and then builds on it, therefore I gave up.

Saying "I disagree wtih this" is fine, in 2010 I was out there campaigning heavily against them, but saying "no one voted for it" is a blatant lie. 44% of voters in my constituency voted for a candidate backing these reforms. 39% did nationally.

The Big Lie is beginning to spring to mind about this one.

Wouldn't it be nice if the opponents of measures would actually argue their case? Y'see, I don't know what to think about the Govts NHS reforms, but when those opposed spend more time lying about them, distorting facts, scaring people, and similar than they do actually addressing the substantive issues, it doesn't make me think they've actually got valid arguments. If they did, why lie all the time?

How about you?


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It was thirty years ago today...

  • 3rd Oct, 2012 at 11:16 PM
Anarchist, MatGB
Well, actually, thirty years and two days ago, the first commercial CD was releasedvia.

Which got me thinking. I bought my first CD player, and my first 2 CDs, on holiday in France (I'd been saving up for ages to buy one but the holiday cottage Dad'd rented was so horribly remote we were dying of boredom in the evenings). They were:
The Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Art of Noise The Best of The Art of Noise

I was approximately 16, so this was roughly 1990. I've still got both.

What was the first CD you bought, if any, why, and how old were you?

(yes, the title is inspired by the opening song on the first CD, for those that would otherwise insist on asking the obvious)

(And yes, it's been over a year since I last posted, no particular reason, but, y'know, this seemed like a good idea for a post so I'm posting it)


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Anarchist, MatGB
Clegg's speech at conference includes the line
A new economy that works for families. Where men and women can choose how to balance work and home. That’s why Liberal Democrats are bringing in shared parental leave and more flexible working.
This is a very cheering thing to see. I knew it was likely on the cards and was being worked on, but actually having it confirmed in the Deputy Prime Minister's conference speech is a very cool thing.

Because, basically, it's my idea and policy. It wasn't just me, but when I first took Jennie to conference she stewarded a consultancy session and suggested it to the policy working group that included people who're now ministers. At her next conference when she was a fully accredited voting rep, it was in the policy paper that working group created out of the consultations. Jennie swears it wasn't just her talking about it, but I wasn't there & I know she did propose it.

But we'd been talking about it at home in advance as it was something I felt would be very helpful, not just for our family arrangements but also to help solve ongoing disparities. Scarily? I first started thinking about it after Tim Worstall convinced me maternity leave was a big contributor to the gender pay gap issue, both directly and through covert discrimination. So, there we go. A flagship policy that grew out of a conversation I had online with a former UKIP press officer and candidate...


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Interesting Links for 29-8-2011

  • 29th Aug, 2011 at 4:02 PM
Webstuff, Internet
Collected links from around the webAutomatically posted from Delicious using [personal profile] matgbs updated Delicious Glue script.
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Interesting Links for 27-8-2011

  • 27th Aug, 2011 at 4:01 PM
Webstuff, Internet
Collected links from around the webAutomatically posted from Delicious using [personal profile] matgbs updated Delicious Glue script.
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Absolutely Fabulous anniversary specials

  • 25th Aug, 2011 at 5:49 PM
Anarchist, MatGB
Absolutely Fabulous tickets. I post this not because I'm interested in attending (although you may be). I post this because of the bits I've put in bold.
Absolutely Fabulous
BBC One | 9, 16, 23 September

The cast reunite for three 20th anniversary specials.

Due to the popularity of this show we are operating a random draw for tickets.

You can apply for tickets at any time until Thursday 1 September at 4pm.

You can apply for a maximum of two tickets and one recording per household.

Good luck with your application.


All information is correct at time of publication.
Absolutely Fabulous is 20 years old.

I am coming to terms with the idea that in two weeks time I will become 37. I am coming to terms with there being junior Govt ministers younger than me. I am coming to terms with being served by people who weren't born when I was their age.

But Absolutely Fabulous is twenty years old? Seriously?


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Anarchist, MatGB
How cool is this? Letters of Note:
Back in 1936, renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi was in Mexico working on a 72-ft-long public mural when he hit a snag: for some reason, he couldn't precisely recall the famous formula, E=mc². Rather than risk a mistake, he decided to seek advice and wired his good friend, Buckminster Fuller — a famed architect and great admirer of Einstein — for clarification.
I find telegrams almost impossible to read (ALL CAPS SHOUTING IS HARD OK), so while there's a picture of the telegram and a transcription, I thought I'd try some CSS to get rid of the caps without needing to retype the whole thing:

EINSTEINS FORMULA DETERMINATION INDIVIDUAL SPECIFICS RELATIVITY READS QUOTE ENERGY EQUALS MASS TIMES THE SPEED OF LIGHT SQUARED UNQUOTE

SPEED OF LIGHT IDENTICAL SPEED ALL RADIATION COSMIC GAMMA X ULTRA VIOLET INFRA RED RAYS ETCETERA ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY SIX THOUSAND MILES PER SECOND WHICH SQUARED IS TOP OR PERFECT SPEED GIVING SCIENCE A FINITE VALUE FOR BASIC FACTOR IN MOTION UNIVERSE STOP

SPEED OF RADIANT ENERGY BEING DIRECTIONAL OUTWARD ALL DIRECTIONS EXPANDING WAVE SURFACE DIAMETRIC POLAR SPEED AWAY FROM SELF IS TWICE SPEED IN ONE DIRECTION AND SPEED OF VOLUME INCREASE IS SQUARE OF SPEED IN ONE DIRECTION APPROXIMATELY THIRTY FIVE BILLION VOLUMETRIC MILES PER SECOND STOP

FORMULA IS WRITTEN QUOTE LETTER E FOLLOWED BY EQUATION MARK FOLLOWED BY LETTER M FOLLOWED BY LETTER C FOLLOWED CLOSELY BY ELEVATED SMALL FIGURE TWO SYMBOL OF SQUARING UNQUOTE

ONLY VARIABLE IN FORMULA IS SPECIFIC MASS SPEED IS A UNIT OF RATE WHICH IS AN INTEGRATED RATIO OF BOTH TIME AND SPACE AND NO GREATER RATE OF SPEED THAN THAT PROVIDED BY ITS CAUSE WHICH IS PURE ENERGY LATENT OR RADIANT IS ATTAINABLE STOP

THE FORMULA THEREFORE PROVIDES A UNIT AND A RATE OF PERFECTION TO WHICH THE RELATIVE IMPERFECTION OF INEFFICIENCY OF ENERGY RELEASE IN RADIANT OR CONFINED DIRECTION OF ALL TEMPORAL SPACE PHENOMENA MAY BE COMPARED BY ACTUAL CALCULATION STOP

SIGNIFICANCE STOP

SPECIFIC QUALITY OF ANIMATES IS CONTROL WILLFUL OR OTHERWISE OF RATE AND DIRECTION ENERGY RELEASE AND APPLICATION NOT ONLY OF SELF MECHANISM BUT OF FROM SELF MACHINE DIVIDED MECHANISMS AND RELATIVITY OF ALL ANIMATES AND INANIMATES IS POTENTIAL OF ESTABLISHMENT THROUGH EINSTEIN FORMULA



BUCKY
That's Richard Buckminster-Fuller explaining Einstein in a few sentences. I now need to go close about 50 billion wikipedia pages on various related subjects including Fullerenes, carbon-nanotubes and space elevators. But I felt the need to share


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Introspection

I'm Mat Bowles, a Devonshire lad displaced to Yorkshire. I work at the local school, do some work online, campaign on issues I care about locally and nationally, and look after the house and family.

This is a backup of my personal journal where I write about or link to whatever I've found that amused, intrigued or enraged me at the time. I'm a committed liberal, feminist and atheist, but I really like it when people can demonstrate I'm wrong, and have close friends with whom I completely disagree on some if not all of those points.

There probably ought to be a Creative Commons licence in here somewhere but in the meantime consider this permission to quote me (link) & link to what I write.

If you decide to keep reading, please do say hello, let me know where you found me from, etc.

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