Good food and good friends

Well, she’s gone to China for the month. It’ll be cool. Saying goodbye is always hard, but it’ll be fun. Living together isn’t without its irritations, but life is so much better together.

She got me a big book of Ukrainian/Moldovan/Russian/Uzbek recipes, and we cooked our way through some of them.  The author posts some online, and they are very delicious. Better than the sour and underseasoned stuff I was making before. But I put that down to the woman’s ability. Some samples of the recipes here:

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/may/17/delicious-recipes-ukraine-and-beyond-borshch-stuffed-cabbage-olia-hercules

Before she went, she made some excellent food and froze it. About 13 servings of lamb stew, stroganoff and a lasagna. Her rice is really amazing. Within an hour of her going, I was eating couscous out of a mug. It’s going to be hard.

Guess it’s only a month, and she’ll be bringing back good tea, and an invite to come back next year to her friend’s hometown.

Focussing on the positives:

Started running 2 miles to work and back with a colleague. Has about 200ft hills either side of the run, so it’s a reasonable workout. Awkward to run with a backpack, but fuck it. We do it in about 16 mins, which isn’t bad considering I haven’t run in 10 years.

Used to be a mediocre runner, but a county champion in high school for long jump. Might join a gym here with work people, but not sure if I want to spent £25 a month on it for a year. Might be better for the social gains though.

Lots of blacksmiths here in Bath. One right opposite my workplace. Going to see if I can get a little bit of instruction, because blacksmithing is really fun. Or do a metalwork course, or woodworking. Anything is better than sitting inside at a computer, which is what I default to without the woman.

Ordered some more Gundam models after the last 3 months waiting debacle. The MG Ball and HG Hygogg. Doing panel lining on my RG 0079 Gundam. Waiting for those should make this month a little more exciting.

It’ll be fine.

Breadkeepers and Homewinners

This is a post about bread, and unit costing.

63bc16027fdd11e1b9f1123138140926_7

You enjoy mass produced bread less once you see it being made on TV. It’s more like a piped wheat foam that is baked, then sliced. You’ll never compete with an industrial process on price or volume. But when you make your own bread, you are competing with more expensive, labour intensive “artisan” loaves, typically made by hand.

For example – buying rye sourdough in a bakers is $5. Buying the ingredients costs $1 per loaf, and the electricity costs me 5c. It takes me about 15 minutes to make and cleanup. The loaf isn’t as good, but it’s about 50% bigger than the bakers. So that’s a decrease in the price, and an increase in size, which seems to be the opposite of every other trend in food and drink.

Making your own is surprisingly easy and cheap, but requires you to lock down a few variables in your kitchen, that won’t be in recipes. Hopefully the notes cover it. If you make mistakes, eat them, and learn for the next time.

Probably couldn’t go too far wrong with the Irish food board recipe to start, Celia.
http://www.bordbia.ie/consumer/recipes/desserts/pages/traditionalbrownsodabread.aspx

Notes:

Weigh the ingredients, don’t go by volume.

Sieve both flours a bit above the mixing bowl to get more air in. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3 in fag notation) – the raising action comes from the acid-base reaction with the buttermilk. It’s not “baking powder”, if that’s on your American shelf. Don’t go overboard on the bread soda, it can give a metallic taste.

Make sure your oven temperature is reliable, use a thermometer if necessary.

It will be moist on the inside when it’s done. Stick a skewer in, and if it comes out clean, the bread is cooked.

Wrap it in a clean cotton dishcloth/teatowel once it’s cooked, and let the moisture steam through the crust on a wire tray.

Buy Irish for your butter, or whatever grassfed butter you can get your hands on.

_

This is a different one, but worth looking at for American brands it lists:

http://farmette.ie/2012/04/06/irish-brown-bread/

I’d never say there’s a fixed recipe, it’s a very robust bread that can take anything. Once you’ve made it a few times successfully, it’d be great to hear what you come up with.

Extraordinary item

love ulster riot

Income statements report revenues, expenses, gains, and losses occurring in the normal course of business. But unique or rare incomes or expenses outside of the purpose of the business are reported as extraordinary items. These are infrequent, and unusual.

For the period of September 2013 to August 2014, I want to report on the some extraordinary items I found dumpster diving. I go through a lot of rubbish piles, bins, skips: what Americans lump together as “dumpsters”. Seeing a skip like the one above makes my heart skip a beat.

From a University Comp Sci dumpster

15″ dell monitor
17″ dell monitor
5 keyboards
3 mice
2 optical drives
UK kettle leads

I used the monitors in the PC, and made birthday cards out of the keyboards. The drives were fucked, but I used them for parts and modelling. Maybe €50 worth total?


From hotel/restaurant dumpsters

8 milkcrates
A2 Whiteboard with a stand (€60 new, cleaned, and repaired stand)
Ironing board
Expensive brand saucepan (€110 new, cleaned, and repaired handle)

I used the crates on the back of the bike to hold groceries. The rest were things I needed to buy, but didn’t have to. Probably saved me about €60.

Found while cycling
€30 lock, found with key (needed unsticking)
€20 pump (lost)
€30 scarf, found in bag with receipt on windy December day.
3 cheap backpacks
pair sunglasses
About €40 lost notes and coins
2 reflective vests
gloves
shemagh

A good haul – particularly as I’d otherwise have to buy these things. Being able to see these things and stop to pick them up is a reason to cycle in the city. I’m sure if I had a car, I’d have picked up other, heavier shit from the roadside, and gone to proper recycling centers. I’d value it about €50, and then add the €40 cash.

Sub total: €210

Then the extraordinary losses that came out of the blue:

Kids threw a bottle of water at me when it was pissing rain, and we were soaked.
Lost about €20 cash.
Bungee cords off bike (nicked, so €.50)
Losing the veneer of normality early November with colleagues when I spotted the A2 whiteboard and doubled back to grab it before anyone else did.

I’d value all those losses about €30.

Total: €180 income/savings from just picking shit up off the ground, and rooting through some selected dumpsters. That’s 75% of my gym membership. That hunting/gathering feeling is paleo as fuck too, and is guaranteed to put 20lbs on your totals. Expect to see these tips on T-Nation soon.

Any cool shit you guys have found?