Friday, 31 August 2012

Norm Kirk

Norm Kirk was a former PM of New Zealand.  He died unexpectedly in office on 31 August 1974 at the age of 51. He was known as "Big Norm" and there was even a song about him of that name which went to no 4 in the charts early in 1974.

Today’s cryptic crossword clue – solution tomorrow

Sadly I fall, poor hoax victim (5,4)
Source of clue – NZ Herald

For the solution and explanation, click here

Solution for 30 August cryptic crossword clue

She’s willing to try adult jokes on radio (9)
Solution – testatrix

So the solution is a bit esoteric today.  A testatrix is the female version of testator ie someone who is making a will and testament.  That matches the "She's willing" part of the clue.

Then you can also get to "testatrix" from the rest of the clue.

Try = test
Adult = the abbreviation a
Jokes on radio = a word that sounds like a word that means jokes but isn't spelled that way = trix (sounds like tricks)
Test +a + trix = testatrix

The clue that "sounds like" is involved is "on the radio" ie heard not seen.

If you would like to know more about different cryptic crossword clue types, please go to the sidebar under the StumbleUpon button.

Food on Friday – Prawns and shrimp


Update:  I have created a Pinboard to which I am pinning all these links - this is the link - so you can see them all at a glance.

I am excited about the subject of this week's Food on Friday – Prawns and Shrimp!  I just know there will be lots of great ideas out there for using them in spectacular dishes.

Prawns go well with:

Coriander (cilantro)
Fish sauce
Olive oil
Rice wine
Soy sauce
Spring onions (scallions)
Worcestershire sauce

So just put your links into Mr Linky below.  Put your name and the name of the dish into the first box and paste the url for the post about the dish into the second box.

You don't need to do a comment but it would be super if you visited other links.

I encourage you to look at other collections in Food on Friday – we have done quite a few things now.  Just look at the sidebar under the cryptic crosswords sidebar to find them.  You can still link in to all of these if you would like to.

Happy linking!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford, that great New Zealander was born on 30 August 1871.  He was the first scientist to split the atom – which he did in 1917.  So I guess he also has a bit to answer for.  He was considered such a great scientist that he was buried in Westminster Abbey near to Sir Isaac Newton.  He features on our $100 note – not that I ever see many of them!

Today’s cryptic crossword clue – solution tomorrow

She’s willing to try adult jokes on radio (9)
Source of clue - FT

For the solution and explanation, click here

Solution for 29 August cryptic crossword clue

I’m one involved with cost (9)
Solution – Economist

A relatively rare sort of clue today – known to aficionados as "literally so".  The clue isn't split into parts as is usually the case but all adds up to the solution – but with a twist in that there is also some word play involved.

So someone who works in the area of money and cost can be an "economist" – also if you mix up the letter in "I'm one" and "cost" you get to "economist as well"  - so "involved with" is here in 2 capacities – tricky, huh?

Van Gogh

The Artist's Bedroom

Even people who are not into art, generally have heard of Van Gogh – at the very least about him being said to have chopped off his own ear!  He was a pretty archetypical artist with a tortured soul.  Don McLean,s song "Vincent" or "Starry Starry Night" was about him.

Self portrait 1889

Van Gogh was Dutch but spent a lot of time painting in France.  He is perhaps the most famous Post Impressionist painter.  In many of his paintings you find colour used in quite startling ways.  Like this self portrait (1889).  This was painted while he was in an asylum at St Remy after the break down which led to the chopping off ear incident.

Thirteen sunflowers in a vase

He sold almost no work during his lifetime and was largely supported by his art dealer brother, Theo.  He died, it is thought by his own hand, at the tragically young age of 37.  He was survived by about 600 letters he wrote to his brother and friends.  No emails in those days – you had to put pen to paper to keep in touch.

The Church at Auvers

And lastly the painting that inspired the title of the Don McLean song:

The Starry Night

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Curried eggs

These curried eggs are a bit of Kiwiana.  I know many countries have devilled eggs but when I was a girl there wasn't a function that didn't feature a whole plate of them – usually much smoother and nicely piped than mine.  Rustic is in, I say.

You can also see that I had trouble peeling the eggs.  Anyone got a good tip for this?  And I only put the good ones in the photo!

So I boiled my eggs (see my post on how I do that), shelled them (badly) and scooped out the yolk.  I put it into a bowl with pepper, salt, a teaspoon of curry powder, some softened butter (in my case runny from being microwaved too long) and part of a finely chopped spring onion (scallion).  Then I spooned the mixture as carefully as I could back into the egg whites and garnished it with a little cayenne pepper and a couple of spring onion pieces.

This is good as a snack or as an accompaniment to a salad or smoked salmon.

Today’s cryptic crossword clue – solution tomorrow

I’m one involved with cost (9)

For the solution and explanation, click here

Solution for 28 August cryptic crossword clue

Take in synopsis (6)
Solution – digest

This is an example of what is called a double definition clue – that is, the solution word will be something that can mean "take in" or "synopsis".  Digest in the sense of Reader's Digest is a summary or synopsis of something longer and of course you digest food as in eat it.

Need some inspiration? Try Bacon

It's Wednesday again, so it's time to re-visit the links submitted to Food on Friday – this time the Bacon edition.  I have selected 6 of the links to showcase today.

Don't forget to check back to Food on Friday when you are looking for inspiration for what to cook.  Also please add more links to dishes that fit each edition.  All the linkys are still open.

Showcase time!

First, Jewellery4Change's Cheese and Bacon Potato Rounds 

Cheese and bacon potato rounds

My mouth is watering just looking at these!

Next, There's Always Thyme to Cook with Carol's Paccheri Carbonara 

Paccheri Carbonara

That pasta looks so delectable!

The next one is so visually stunning, I just had to remind you of it.  Here is Bacon Roses from Gwen's Kitchen Creations.

Bacon Roses

Woo hoo!

And now for something sweet.  Here is Cook & Be Merry's Mango Glazed Bacon

Mango Glazed Bacon

The fifth dish I am showcasing is The Harried Cook's Spinach and Bacon Quiche 

Spinach and bacon quiche

And last, and apologies for shameless self-promotion but I was proud of my bacon and scrambled egg rolls – which are also linked in! 

Bacon and scrambled egg rolls

Hope you are all suitably inspired!

If you go to this Pinterest board you will see all the links to Food on Friday: Bacon

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Ain't that just the truth!

- Anton Chekhov

Today’s cryptic crossword clue – solution tomorrow

Take in synopsis (6)
Source of clue – NZ Herald

For the solution and explanation, click here

Solution for 27 August cryptic crossword clue

Clever vehicle’s reversed (5)
Solution – smart

A reversal clue today.  The word that gives you this idea is "reversed" – pretty direct indication.  So a word that means  vehicles has its letters reversed to form a word that means clever.  The "s" on vehicles is important but as is often the case you ignore the punctuation – in this case the apostrophe.

Smart = clever
The reverse Trams = vehicles

Chicken and noodles: Quick Dinner for One

I often skimp on the cooking if I am eating on my own but this time I needed to use up a chicken thigh I had in the fridge.  So I made a Quick Dinner For One using chicken and noodles.

This was prepared all in the time needed to boil water for some egg noodles and cook them.

I chopped up the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and fried them in a little vegetable oil to which I added 2-4 drops of sesame oil.  Yes, you read that right – drops – sesame oil is very strong and a very small amount will go a long way.

I added a ¼ of a chopped red onion, a sliced radish, some cubes of pumpkin (which I pre-cooked in the microwave) and half of a red chilli. Season it with salt and pepper and have some chopped parsley on hand for garnish.  Squeeze a little lemon juice in for brightness of flavour.

Drain your noodles, take them off the heat and stir through one beaten egg.  It will gently cook.  If you try to do this on the heat the egg will scramble – it will still taste ok but won't have a silky smooth texture.

Add your chicken mixture to the noodles and serve in a bowl with the parsley garnish.  Simple and scrumptious.

Monday, 27 August 2012

For Bloggers' Eyes Only

This post is just to let you know about the little sub blog I have started – it is called Carole's Chatter Blog Tips - not very original name, I know.  I have learned so much in my blogging journey that I just wanted to share some of the stuff I have learned with others who might find it helpful.  A number of you have found it already – which is quick off the mark!

The topics I have covered on it to date are:

How to kill the "prove you are a robot stuff" on Blogger!
How to code a link in a comment on someone else's blog
How I created a recipe thumbnail page the easy way using Pinterest
The Importance of Photos
Managing your label cloud or list in Blogger
Getting the best from Google Searches

And topics that are coming up in the next little while include:

The Blogs I Follow Gadget
Google Friend Connect Followers sidebar
How to crop a screenshot and put it into your blog
Follow back etiquette
Replying to comments

So do stop by if you are interested in any of these topics.  I will be adding others as I do them.  Hope you find it useful – particularly if you are a newer blogger.  Happy blogging.

Nigel Brown - sometimes dark but quirky artist


I do like Nigel Brown’s work – not all of it.  Some is a bit dark for my liking.  He has some interesting little quirks – like you will often find a little dog somewhere in the image.  There are often men in black singlets.

On gallery sites he is described as New Zealand’s leading figurative artist – whatever that exactly means.  He is a painter, print maker and has even done some stained glass works – most notably in the Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell.

Today’s cryptic crossword clue – solution tomorrow

Clever vehicle’s reversed (5)
Source of clue – NZ Herald

For the solution and explanation, click here

Solution for 26 August cryptic crossword clue

A passage from Emma is learned (5) – aisle
Solution – aisle

A passage = aisle (rather than a passage in a book which you could be thinking of)

"From" is the hint that you will find the solution within "Emma is learned".  And there spread over the 3 words is "aisle".  Result.

This is a hidden word clue – ie where you find the solution word itself hidden in part of the clue.  For more info on this and other clue types in cryptic crosswords, please refer to the sidebar to the right.


Titian - Christ appearing to the Magdalen

The artist, Titian, was a Venetian old master who had a very long painting life.  And like Rembrandt and Matisse he changed and grew over time – great to start out and got even better with age.  If only, we could all say that!  He died on the 27th August 1576.

The painting Christ Appearing to the Magdalen is one of his youthful works. This is where Christ forbids Mary to touch him but asks her to let the others know that he was back.  She mistook him for a gardener so Titian has shown him holding a hoe.

Titian - The Assumption
One of his finest early works is The Assumption 

Titian - Ranuccio Farnese

This work, Ranuccio Farnese is from Titian's middle years.  This is a painting of a very young man looking splendid – he is shown as a jewel almost against a very dark background.  This portrait is from 1542 – the boy was a grandson of Pope Paul IV.  (Bit of a back story there!)

Titian - Pieta

And this one, is a late Titian.  Pieta, the original is in a gallery in Venice.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Welcome Interstate Managers - a super album

I can’t recall how I got to know about this album, Welcome Interstate Managers by Fountains of Wayne.  But it became a fave.  Yes, you could sort of call it country – but certainly not country & western or traditional country.  Wiki says that they are a “power pop band”.  

Not only is the album able to be listened to over and over without boredom, it is also unpretentious  fun.  the melodies are infectious and the lyrics often very clever.  I suggest you sample it on iTunes to see what I mean.

The album was named after a sign displayed at a hotel.  The band was named after a garden store.

The album was released in 2003.  The only track on it that is well known is “Stacy’s Mom” – which is ok but not my favourite.  I think “Mexican Wine” is better - it is the biggest rocker on the record.  Katy Perry has done a cover of “Hackensack”.

Today’s cryptic crossword clue – solution tomorrow

A passage from Emma is learned (5)
Source of clue – NZ Herald

For the solution and explanation, click here

Solution for 25 August cryptic crossword clue

Pair watch for unfaithful type (3-5)
Solution – two timer

A two timer can be a person who is being unfaithful. 

The solution is also made up from the first two words of the clue

Pair = two
Watch = timer (in the sense of timepiece or clock)

Cheat's Lasagne

With not much energy and/or time, I decided to do a Cheat's Lasagne.  So if you are a purist about lasagne look away right now!

This is all done in one big pan.  Brown your mince (ground beef) with chopped onion, garlic and ginger.  Add chopped celery and chilli.  Squirt in some tomato paste.  Add a packet flavour mix (I used one for Cottage Pie) but anything including a gravy mix would work.

Add Worcestershire sauce – it makes almost any savoury dish tasty.  Then salt and pepper of course.

When the meat and onions are browned/translucent, add a can of chopped tomatoes.  I just put water in this time because I had run out of canned tomatoes which is most unusual.  Throw in a handful of pasta – I had penne on hand but any kind works (except for the big lasagne sheets).  Simmer all this for 20 minutes – adding more liquid if it starts to dry out as the pasta absorbs the liquid.  Throw in a handful of frozen peas for the last 5 minutes.  Serve with a garnish of chopped parsley.

We had leftovers and the next day I added some curry powder and soy sauce which made it taste really nice.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

This may be the most beautiful village in France - or at the very least it's right up there!

View from front of church in St-Ceneri-le-Gerei

This is an unbelievably picturesque little village.  St-Ceneri-le-Gerei is found in the Orne department of Normandy to the south-west of Alencon. It is in a lovely wooded setting on a bend in the River Sarthe in the heart of southern Normandy, and officially classified as a 'most beautiful village of France'.

Looking up from river level at the church in St-Ceneri-le-Gerei

Its houses are nestled around the 11th Century Romanesque church. It has some beautifully restored ancient frescos.  Down by the river there is even a little spring which is said to heal eye disease - but I wouldn't know about that!

Houses on the village square in St-Ceneri-le-Gerei

Today’s cryptic crossword clue – solution tomorrow

Pair watch for unfaithful type (3-5)
Source of clue – NZ Herald

For the solution and explanation, click here

Solution for 24 August cryptic crossword clue

See crushed ice does (7)
Solution – Diocese

If you "crush" the letters in "ice does" ie, scramble them up, you can come up with "Diocese" – the tricky part is that "see" in the clue is meant in the religious sense ie the group of parishes that make up the diocese overseen by a bishop.  There are so many other possible meanings for "see".

Fatu Feu’u - do you like his art?

Fatu Feu’u is a New Zealand based Samoan artist.  He came to New Zealand when he was 20.  Like many other artists I admire, his work is sometimes criticised as being too “accessible” – since when is people being able to appreciate an artwork a bad thing?  

He not only paints, but makes prints, sculpts and has even made pots and designed rugs.

His work is inspired by Samoan motifs such as tapa cloth, tattoo, weaving and often the frangipani flower.