Monday, 30 July 2007


Ok don't laugh but the other week I started a new um hobbie I guess, and some cheap organic cotton t-shirts in plain boring old white that I found at Primark. Yes I hand my head in shame I have been to primark and actually bought something. Anyway I wanted to design a t-shirt, and not having a clue what to do with it the shirt sat around for over a week before I did anything with it, then I bought a laundry pen.. that you iron the ink on to make it stay even when washed. The above is what I ended up with. I'm pretty happy with the result, though I'm sure it could have turned out better or possibly worse if I tried to lean how to do silk screening.

I think she is a lovely little flower goddess I must scan or take a picture of the original sketch I did. My only other option would be to have the imaged scanned and either print it on that iron on paper or take the file to one of the printers that prints t-shirts.

Yesterday was Frizbe's birthday and I made a t-shirt for her, its the same style shirt just a different drawing, which i totally forgot to take a picture of I'm such an idiot.. I took a picture of the original sketch which has been lurking about in my sketch book for something like a decade.. ouch.. anyway here she is until i take a picture of Frizbe's shirt anyway.

P.S. Meg if you are reading this I'm still working on your scarf I haven't forgotten about you!

Thai Chicken with Basil Leaves on Sticky Rice

Chicken With Fresh Basil Leaves

3 tablespoons vegtable oil
2-3 tablespoons crushed garlic
3 red chilies chopped
1 lb chicken (ground/minced) or turkey
1 tbl oyster sauce
2 tbl thai fish sauce
1 tbl soy sauce
1 tbl sugar (white/caster)
2 red chilies cut large
1 cup chicken stock or water
1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1-2 tbl lemongrass ( I used the squeezie kind but you can use fresh stalks and chop it)
2 tbl fresh lime juice optional

Heat the oil in a wok or a large frying pan, add the garlic and chopped chilies and lemongrass. Stirfry until the garlic begins to brown.

add the chicken mince stirring vigorously to break it is. Cook the chicken for two minutes before adding the oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar. Stir well before adding the large chilies. Add the cup of chicken broth, or water and bring it to the boil.

add the basil and cook for a further 1 minute. just before serving add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

cooks notes:
the dish turned out lovely, I served it with some tom yum soup that was from a paste that I bought at the little thai stall at the Eagle Centre Market in Derby. I also cheated with the rice and use some readymade thai sticky rice. Although last week I expiremented with making coconut rice which had mixed results of tasting nice but strangly not very coconutty.

Saturday, 28 July 2007

another meme

My roommate and I once: never had a roommate unless my husband counts

Never in my life have I: bungee jumped, freeking stupid sport

High school was : hell, definitely 10th circle territory

When I'm nervous : My stomach twists in knots and I feel sick

My hair : needs a new style, M says he thinks it should be long again

When I was 5 : um we drove across the US of A from New York to California

When I turn my head left : I look out the window at the carnage that is H's toys strewn about the garden. Also there is a strange glowing orb in the sky surrounded by blue

I should be : cleaning right now, but H is asleep and I'm having a break

By this time next year : I have no idea its hard to think ahead to what to make for dinner tomorrow night let alone decide what i want to be doing a year from now.

My favorite aunt is : erm seeing as i don't think i actually exist to my blood relatives I would have to say my favorite aunt of my husband's relatives is June

I have a hard time understanding : politics, baseball, knitting patterns

You know I like you if : I cook/bake for you

My ideal breakfast is : coffee followed by more coffee, possibly followed by pancakes with cinnamon sauce yum

If you visit my home town : Santa Rosa: bring me back some asiago bread and a wolf coffee, and a spinach Parmesan bagel, and a burrito from the mexican place the next road over from where i lived. if you visit Ripley, well there isn't a lot to do here, but Brock's is a nice cafe.

If you spend the night at my house : you will be woken up by H promptly at 6am, but you will get a lovely lavazza coffee, and i might make some nice pancakes with maple bacon

My favorite book is: ohh um well I dunno, that's really difficult to narrow down to just one book.. possibly the Stand by Stephen King unabridged naturally

My favorite day of the week is: Tuesday, as its normally ride out day

The animal I would like to see flying besides birds : penguins, but the are a bird so umm turtles

I shouldn't have been : eating m & m's earlier.

Last night I: watched Garden State for the second time, I forgot how lovely the soundtrack is

A better name for me would be : I've always wanted to be an Alex (Alexandria) or a Morrigan or even a Mara

I've been told I look like : my parents.. other than that I think someone once said i looked like some star from the 40's or 50's, i can't remember, probably Mae West if she was brunette or someone equally curvy (read fat) .. my brain is tired today

If I could have any car, it would be : a flying car so no more paying out tons of money to fly out to visit my parents.

favourite movie from childhood: a toss up between The Last Unicorn, Labyrinth, The Flight of Dragons, The Lost Boys, The Princess Bride, many many more

Monday, 23 July 2007

Apple Upside Down Cake II

Upside-Down Apple Cake with Cream Filling

The recipe for this is essentally the same as that of the original Apple Upside Down cake but this time I took pictures and instead of using my large cake tin, I seperated the batter into two smaller tins, then when the cake was cooled I whipped some double cream that was lurking in the back of the fridge trying to hide until it turned into sour cream. I slatered the whipped cream over the bottom layer of cake and the carefully manuvered the top (upside down layer) carefully over the cream.

A closer view of the cake

Apple Upside Down Cake

½ cup butter
½ cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups self-raising flour
½ cup milk
2 to 4 firm-fleshed apples (granny smiths are best but this time a used small royal gala apples that were perishing in the fruit bowl)
1/2 cup butter (melted)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ cup light brown sugar (I used dark brown this time as thats all I had it just gives a much richer taste)

Cream the butter and the sugar together, add the eggs one at a time. Add half of the self-raising flour, then half of the milk and the vanilla.Add the remainder of the flour followed by the remaining milk and beat till well blended.

Melt butter in baking pan in the oven while pre-heating, remove and sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Pare, quarter, and slice the apples thin. Spread in an over-lapping layer on the bottom of the baking dish . Pour the cake mixture over the apples. I'n this instance i used two small 8" cake tins and seperated the batter. The batter will be thick and may need to be smoothed on top with a knife.

Bake at 300° to 325° F. for 45 minutes. Until the cake is golden brown on top and springy to the touch. Leave on a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Loosen the sides of the cake with a knife , Cover the cake with a large serving dish or baking tray and turn it out carefully, upside down.

original post

Monday, 16 July 2007

Wilted Green Tomatoes

My poort tomatoes have been woefully neglected this past week with everyone having been sick in some way. Poor Starbuck the cat was attacked and his face was punctured in to places, it got infected and was oozing some not very pleasant green pus. Whe had to take him the the vets to get him patched up, the poor thing looked like a monster.

Starbuck as Frankenstien
Starbuck is much better now his wounds are healing nice and cleanly and he seems quite happy again... Well as happy as Starbuck ever gets, he has never really been the life and soul of the party, but he choose us and we choose him so there we are. He is a good cat despite his grumpy disposition, I often wonder why we didn't call him Oscar, as in Oscar the grouch... I will tell the tale of how starbuck got his name in another post, and its a bit more complicated than the coffee place!
Anyway I took care of a poorly cat, a poorly son, and a poorly husband, and just when i thought i was going to be ok I got the virus as well, and am still recovering now, as the cold left me with yet another throat infection which i have had to go to the doctors for and get some penicillin, which is making me feel rather neaseaus, and throw up a few times, but M says I have a weak stomach after all so I shoulden't be suprised.
Anyway my poor tomatoes have been brought back from the brink of withering away several times this past week and seem to keep going on strong, which is good that i haven't killed them, and bad becuse if all those tomatoes do survive its going to be one hell of a crop, I don't know what i'm going to do with them all.


Everyone here has been battling flu including me so have gotten nothing at all done this week and should have been asleep two hours ago but my throat kiss and I can't stop coughing so here is a meme. I promise new posts soon.


Here are the rules:+ Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following.+ They MUST be real places, names, things…NOTHING made up.+ If you can’t think of anything, skip it.+ Try to use different answers if the person before you had the same first initial.+ You CAN’T use your name for the boy/girl name question.+ Have fun!

My name: Ariel
1. Famous singer/band: All About Eve
2. Four letter word: Arse
3. Street name: Ash
4. Color: Aubergine
5. Gifts/Presents: album
6. Vehicle: airplane
7. Things in a Souvenir Shop: err ashtray?
8. Boy Name: Alexander
9. Girl Name: Alys
10. Movie Title: Amalie
11. Drink: americano
12. Occupation: Accountant
13. Celebrity: Al Pacino
14. Magazine: Arena
15. US City: Alameda
16. Pro Sports Team: A’s (do they even exist anymore?) erm Angels ?
17. Reason for Being Late for Work: accident
18. Something You Throw Away: ashes
19. Things You Shout: AAAAAAAhhhhhh
20. Cartoon Character: Alvin (and the Chipmunks little bastards)
21. Fruit or vegetable: Apple, artichoke

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Show Me The Bunny!

Yeah so.. Its my bunny and my box!

Its very much a love hate relationship between Alys and Mr. Bunny, a bit like Calvin and Hobbs with claws, and if Hobbs were a purple bunny with green ears. H won the bunny at Critch Toy Library and said he was bringing it home for Alys that she would like it. Since then she has beat the crap out of that purple bunny pretty much every day.

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

1 ½ cups self-raising flour
½ cup porridge oats
¼ cup caster sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
½ cup sour cream
½ cup milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

pre heat oven to 400F.

Place paper baking cups into a muffin tin, or grease and flour the muffin cups. In a medium bowl mix all the ingredients except for the blueberries until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups filling them about two thirds full. Sprinkle the cups with a small amount of sugar or oats.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Immediately remove from the pan. Enjoy while still warm or wait for them to cool.

notes: Picture forthcoming. I made these muffins this morning using the ingredients I had in stock, there are many different ways to make blueberry muffins and I was quite happy with the way these turned out. Not too sweet, otherwise they would be more of a blueberry cupcake than a muffin. They have been quickly devoured by husband and son so I must have done something right. ;o)

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Medieval Fayre

Been to ye olde Litchfield Medieval Market today and had a great day out, knights on horseback, jewelry stalls, ice-cream, pretty things, did I mention the jewelry? Because there were some absoloutly lovely stalls there with lots of pretties. I think I must be part magpie or something becuse I do have a profound weakness for silver jewelry, especial of the square cut gemstone variety. I tried to be stong but i couldn't and ended up buying a teardrop shaped lavender amethyst cabachon pendant, its lovely, will wear it tommorow, not that I'm doing anything tommrow as M has a wedding to shoot but thats ok I have a new precious to wear. I'm happy.

The market was fun we sat and watched our first ever punch and judy show, H thought it was hysterical for about 5 or ten minutes and then he had had enough and we wander around a little bit more, looked at the bird man collection of owls and hawks, which h though very good but informed me that he liked the zoo better when we went on thursday. The jousting was great though H got very worried at the start because the knights were walking around and didn't have their horses right away. It was very exciting and M has said we will go to Warwick castle sometime soon as its all very commercial and camp there and H will love it.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Independence Day

Happy Fourth of July!

Its that time of year again the great BBQ holiday, or in the case of my house growing up the great barbecue Holy Day! We will hopefully be having a little bit of a BBQ here later I have made a lovely citrus cake that is cooling on the counter as i type this, to be topped in whipped cream with blueberries and strawberries, red with and blue of course.

Today is the day we celebrate America's Independence from British rule. Doesn't really say a lot about an ex-pat American living smack dab in the middle of England, but it is an excuse to bake a cake, not that I really need an excuse for anything other than skipping the gym.

H has a bit of a cold today so he hasn't gone to his swimming lesson in fear that things will turn into the Exorcist and he will cough and puke up his lunch in the pool. again. Hopefully he will feel better after having a bit of a nap but right now all i can hear from him is singing and random chatter from his darkened room. So much for trying to be quite and not disturb him, I guess I'll get the vaccuume out then no more putting it off.

Also on the menu for today is Macaroni cheese, as I haven't got and Kraft mac and cheese, I will have to make do with normal chedder and some relatively orangeish red leichester that is as close as you can get to the love shade of orange that mac and cheese normally comes in.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Alys Through The Cat Flap

And here we find Alys having shot through the back door and out into this brave new world called outside. Now Starbuck, are great black lump of a cat he only uses the cat flap if he really really has to. In point of fact he will sit and wait till you do his bidding and open the door for him. Even when he goes through the flap on his own its quite a scene with a lot of pawing and nudging the flap with his nose before he squeezes his girth through the hole somewhat eel like, or perhaps like The Blob.

Alys in the other hand if we so happen to have forgotten to lock the cat flap will take a running leap and dive to freedom! So far she hasn't gone very far up the garden, its pretty safe in our yard the only place that could get a bit hairy is the neighbors with the dogs. Two Staffordshire pit bulls, I believe, is there technical name, nasty ass bastards that would shut up is what we call them.

Now growing up my parents house has always been a zoo, I love animals, have grown up on a farm, have lived on a ranch, and had innumerable cats, and dogs in my life. And never have I disliked animals more than the ones in my neighbors yard. They are just not nice looking dogs, they bark constantly, and I really don't think they are taken well care of at all. THey are kept in a shed with some hideous blue fencing to keep them to a little concrete square and they are always fighting.

I love dogs, and would have one in a heartbeat if I didn't think it would be cruel to leave it twice a year to visit my parents stateside. But these just aren't nice, I have been told that they are lovely dogs and are not the illegal sort of pit bull, but they are still pit bulls, when i would never trust. I really don's see the point in having a pet that is not part of the family. Animals have always been part of my family, and took the place of the extended family I never had growing up. It was me, my parents and various cats, dogs, ponies, and horses, the animals took the place of the grandparents and other relatives that I didn't really have.

My parents have a kennels worth of dogs, lets start with the biggest dog, Hunter (very big some sort of water dog/hunting dog but gentle as a lamb) they found him at a pet fair for an animal shelter and brought him home. Holly, (blue heeler) she was found on the side of the road near to where they live, skinny and half starved my dad took her in and she has found a place in their home. Bear the collie mix, who is quite ancient by dog standards and though he cant walk very well is still very tolerant of H. Now for the pugs, which I think are some of the nicest dogs around. First there is Stormie, the queen bee, she is half pug and half Chihuahua, so she has a temper but is a good dog, and apparently a good mouser. She came from L.A. from an adoption fair for Little Angels Pug Rescue .

Then there is Ricki, he came from the flea market aptly enough, he had a tag saying he liked to wander and my dad took him back to the house near the market. On a return trip to the flea market my parents found him wandering around again and very thin, they tried to take him back to his owners but no one was there so they took him home and fed him and were never able to get ahold of his former people. His tag said he liked to wander which is so untrue, he follows my dad around everywhere, and if my dad goes out he will wait by the door pining for his return. Up next we have Sherman, found on Sherman Avenue of course, he was wandering around lost in the street and nearly hit by a car, he was filthy and limping, my dad stopped and asked a group of school kids if it was their dog, they said no that he had been wandering round for a few days in the area. My dad took him home and fed him and placed and add in the paper saying male pug dog found. Nobody called so Sherman became another member of the family, he adores H and follows him around when we visit.

Since last we visit my parents in Early spring they have got two more pugs, a mother and son Nico, from someone who could no longer keep them. They are all happy and healthy and well loved, and all great with H, I'm sure the new ones will be too, H can't wait to see them. They are are surrogate dogs, we only get to be with them a few weeks a year but its fun and good for H. For now we have Starbuck and Alys, and crotchety old thing that Starbuck is he would probably defect if we were to bring a puppy home Alys is more than enough trouble for him.