Wednesday, 30 September 2009

King 'O' Soup returns

Taking the beet route
They had some fresh boiled big beetroot in the greengrocers the other day so I bought them not knowing quite what I would do with them. Anyway today was grey so I made soup I’d hesitate to call it “Borscht”
so Ruby Red Beetroot Soup will do.

Feeds about 4
Cooking time about an hour (mostly 20 mins of simmering)
What you need:
Couple of pounds of beetroot peeled and cubed (mine was already parboiled by the grocer)
1-2 rasher of bacon chopped (probably didn’t need this)
2 small/medium turnips peeled and cubed
2-3 medium shallots chopped
3 stalks of celery chopped
3 cloves of garlic.
2-3 bay leaves
4-6 peppercorns
A big pan of stock (2 litres?) I used some cubes.
Splash of oil.

Garnish: all optional croutons, feta, lemon juice, oil, chopped herbs (I used sage)
What to do:
1.Heat the oil and fry the bacon (not sure I’ll bother with this next time my reading pointed to sort 2.beefiness to Borscht but don’t think it needed it)
3.Add the veg excluding the beetroot and garlic let it sweat down add enough oil so it doesn’t stick.
4.When things have started to sweat down 5- 10 mins add the beet root and garlic and then pour in the water and add bay leaves and pepper corns.
5.Cover and bring to boil and leave to simmer for 30-40 mins (the beetroot and celery need to be soft and cooked.
7.Then in batches whizz up in your blend etc.
Because I’d whizzed the bay leaves I had to sieve the pulp which gave it a nice texture.
8.Return to the pan.
9. And re heat then check the seasoning and because I was out of lemon I added a splash of vinegar for tartness and splash of Tabasco for heat.

10.Then serve with an artful arrangement of croutons, cheese and sage (which gave an intense
aromatic waft as you tucked in)

Who is Der käsemeister?

Who is Der käsemeister?
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
I'm faintly obsessed with this chap smiling out benignly out from tins of cheese. The gold chain adds a touch of louchness to his look, I'm intrigued as to his provenance as a cheese expert.

Monday, 28 September 2009

"hello you are through to BLTP tech support..."

Passing it on:
How to group a picture and text box in Microsoft word 2007

This is a techy post because I couldn’t find how to do this anywhere else so hopefully someone else might find it and save themselves some time.

In the word office 2007 there’s nigglely fault in older version of Word if you want to “group” a picture and say a text box together you simply had click on the item while holding down shift and then click on the next item(s) then right click and press “group” and the items would be fixed together. You could then move them about resize them etc. It was useful for people without Photoshop etc to make multimedia pictures, cd sleeves etc.
Well the new version doesn’t do this and the way suggested in help doesn’t work for jpegs.
So here’s how to do.
1. Open a new doc.
2. Then “save as” it as “compatibility mode.” (word97-2007 version)
3. You can then work as you would in older versions. And group together your items as above.*
4. Then you can copy and paste it into your 2007 document and use it like you would any other image.
*If your jpeg won’t group try selecting “tight” from the text wrapping memo.
Alternative titles for google to find.
Grouping objects in Microsoft word 2007

Tat roadshow

"This week we are in historic crystal palace...."

Lovely day yesterday spent the time wandering round Crystal Palace. Just a heads up on few things to do there.

We went to museum of Crystal Palace which is a good if quirky exhibition with loads of excellent pictures of the CP's history. It's a little sad the loss of the palace as it had some amazing things and until recently it's treasures have been undersold. There's pictures of it at it's prime surounded by a whole town of "coney island" style fun fair booths and statues looked incredible and there was also incredible fireworks oh and a rampaging stuffed elephant..

The other hidden gem is Hayneslane market which is a Tat (sorry collectibles) fans wonderland a little twisty series of antique places all of which seem to have a box of vinyl anda shelf of toycars and headless dolls. I got the Jose Feliciano live album (which I didn't have), so if you are in the area on the days it open it's well worth a wander round we went to White Hart for a pint and some snap (the snap was a bit tardy but worth the wait).
Between us we came up with the tongue twister of the day:

Temporary Tapering Topiary Tapir
What did everyone else do?

Saturday, 26 September 2009

McDonald's Happy Meal trumping madness

Dumb & Dumber #345

On the way out yesterday, the day got off to a good start when I found a playing card in the street (part of my ongoing madness) it’s the Top Trump pictured. At the risk of turning into Paul Dacre isn’t it a bit pathetically dumb that McDonalds have even dumbed down Top Trumps.
Compare it to the marvellous one below that I found a while a go! Now I know the McD’s card maybe aimed at young kids but the name of animal and the words “height”, “weight” wouldn’t be out of place.
I know from playing Top trumps with my nephews that they often in past have just said the “top one” instead of “intelligence” or whatever but well that’s not the point and it’s also more importantly not how we learn to read. Also them being part of a Pan-European promotion isn’t any excuse either.

Anyway being a spod here’s the real facts about our buffalo in case you want to alter your set!

African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) local names Nyati, Mbogo
Intelligence /brain weight 500g ( a cow) humans 1500g *
Height: 1.7 metres high,
Body length: 3.4 metres long.
Average weight: 500-900 kg
*(this one was tricky to track down as measuring intelligence is tricky and most of the papers where behind academic pay walls everything else was from one page. Here’s a whole site about brains )

Sunny Goodge Street

Out and about .....
.......yesterday , it was such a lovely day, wandered into the British Museum but have to admit to just sitting and people watching in the great court mostly then pottered around until ended up on Goodge st for a pizza and a pint.

A sunny evening and London's endless parade of good and bad luck helped break my cabin fever and Eyoreness, my lucks never been as bad as the guy wearing a sandwich board for a sex shop (nobody did "ask him for directions" all the time I was there).

And for the price of a snifter "none of the fancy stuff it's wasted on me" an old guy in a very nice shawl collared western shirt told me some tall tales about about old Fitzrovia. I can't remember my first day at work but it didn't involve being flashed by Shirley Bassey and getting locked inside a wardrobe with 3 dancers.

Here's a slightly gloomy dutch lass singing that old teller of tales Donovan's eponymous tune.
Lisebeth List :Drai Weer Bij (Sunny Goodge st)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Empire of Rust

Watch this Programme it's great
I know I go onto about him but the latest Jonathan Meades is top ep.2 about the Isle of Rust is brilliant. Bonkersly verbose as usual but excellent any fan of rusting sheds and abandoned rotting lorries should not miss the last 15-20 minutes I actually laughed out aloud (yeah I know I'm not normal but then again I never wanted to be that much) Anyway in a land were 3rd division ball room dancing and over wrought generic pop music hold sway on our screen do youself a favour and get Meaded

Oh and did Nigel Slater really make bubble without cabbage last night? He's got one of the those weird larders like Nigella has that has a camera man hiding behind the pickle and spice jars too must be tiresome in morning.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Against the flow

Woolwich Dockyard to Deptford (Thames Path) More picture here as usual

It seemed a little unnecessary that at the base of Viking towers there was a smouldering settee, more so that two kids where dancing round it. Moving on down to the main road a real Viking roars up on his three wheeler Hog. In effort to keep in with the natives I give him the sign \m/ and he laughs a gappy smile and returns it, his shaven haired slightly wizened shield maiden clutching to the pillion does the same as they roar off as the lights changed.

I cross the steady stream of the Woolwich rd and wander down towards the Thames. In a 60’s paved courtyard stands a chestnut tree underneath in his Sunday best is a skinny young black kid. He is intently stamping on the conkers but instead of picking up the glistening burnished nuts he just stamps on them and occasionally gobs on the nutty mush.

"The Royalist Democrat"
Right down next to the river the tides in. This bit of Woolwich is well “tooled up”; two huge guns stand ready one pointing downstream to see off any marauding “Gallicans” (“Frenchies” to the rest of us) and the other making sure Tate & Lyle aren’t getting too uppity across on the north bank. It’s a shady spot so I sit for a while watching the car ferry load, when up scampers two excitable king Charles spaniels towing behind them a puffing “Greek” guy. He fusses with them for a moment and then sits down next to me and they jump on his lap. Feeling sociable I ask their names. Holding the head of one of the dogs he gentle sort of shakes its head as if it were talking and says without any irony “dis ones Dodi” and patting the other dog “and dis ones Diana”. I praise their cuteness and get a lick for my reward. He continues “We had Dodi done“
I reply that this was probably wise
He continues “it’s nice down here now. it used t’be covered in Johnnies and broken glass but w’ complained to the council and dey cleared it up. “
“Power to the people” I reply
“Tis true it’s important to keep ‘em on der toes” he said with a chuckle
I nod my agreement
With that he slowly gets up and we say goodbye, the dogs jump down and he wanders off.
Where our royalist democrat was sitting written in marker is “I f*ckd Kaycee on this bench” underneath in another hand there’s a reply “pity your knob was small” I take this as a cue to wander off myself.

It’s a bit annoying on this stretch as you have to double back through the estate after a short distance and the only interest in the estate was to see the number of people smoking gaspers on their doorsteps it’s that sort of a day, chain smoking weather.

"No Caps or Trainers no customers"

From here through the path swerves through edges of Woolwich past a few sheds and warehouses and I came across a grim maroon bar covered in swirly plaster. On the door is a long list of what can’t be worn in the bar etc. What owners of places that have this sort list don’t seem to grasp is that the sort of drinker who goes there would start a ruck in a nudist camp. I was about to take a picture when the “gunvor” comes out and tells me I need permission, it didn’t look like the sort of occasion to argue the toss so I wander off. Funnily enough the pub just up on the corner that didn’t have a grim list of rules on the door and had a row of books for customers to read in the window was full with happy looking punters.

Further down there was another pub with amongst other attractions “exotic dancers”. Rather a coy term in this day and age when they have strippers on Eastenders and wouldn’t it be nice if they were really “exotic” like some whirling dervishes say or perhaps Balinese women with intricate hand dances or maybe just Sylvie Guillem! After taking some pictures of another sadly distressed closed pub it was time to marvel at the Thames barrier (again).

another Eden another Jordan

From the barrier upstream the riverbank is handed over to the sorts of things people like to keep at arm’s length so we have yards full of gritter lorries and another filled with the sound of stag parties racing go-carts oh and a charismatic church. Outside the chapel (housed in an old 60’s office block) a small lad was bouncing a tennis ball on the steps trying to hit each step in order, while the sound of his parents singing floods out across the empty yards and down on to the path and out onto the brown Thames.

Having not tasted or at least not learnt from the tree of knowledge I took a bite of little apple from a riverside tree. To say it was sour is an understatement it was like oral smelling salts. The fruit curiously brought me wide awake even while I was hacking up bits of its gritty flesh. Suitably enlivened I stroll along the bleakly atomic Nagasaki and Hiroshima Ways (god bless nuclear free Greenwich!) to the Hope and Anchor (a cheery un-reconstructed pub).
On the river terrace large plates of lunch where being brought out, the sort of roasts with an excess of veg and dark sticky gravy they looked good. Sitting in the sun next to the river was wonderful, all the benches around were filled with a happy mixture of dressed up families, chatting locals and people walking/riding the Thames path (they even had a turn on). Revived by an icy cider the path heads into a dramatic alley hemmed in with metal fences separating huge mounds of gravel and Sainsbury’s sheds. It’s a recycling yard and it’s all quite impressive with flying conveyors and teetering mounds of chewed up asphalt. On one of the path’s dog legs there’s a guy painting he’s perversely chosen the yachts on the river for his subject, get with plan mate rubble is where it’s at.

Keep on running
After that I pass up the chance for a flat gin and tonic at the yacht club open house day and watch a 3 master slide past on the unlikely named stretch named Mudlark Boulevard which is over shadowed in by a row of post modern millennium flats and Mr Posh Spice’s footy school.
A bit further down towards the Dome I take a pew to have a look at the Gormley sculpture when up jogs a female runner. Almost immediately she’s does the annoying thing all runners do which was to do a stretchy thing with her legs and then tell me she’s just done “7 k”. As usual I never know what to do with this piece of information should I leap up and grab her and parade around the path in triumph, or strike a medal or maybe castigate her for not doing 12, what? In the end I did a sort of head shake/nod thing that sort looked impressed I hoped. She obviously didn’t care and waving 2 donuts shaped pink drinking bottles she adds apropos nothing “rehydration, amazin’ how much a few extra pounds adds to your work out”. I fear she didn’t want to hear about my throbbing feet so I do the head thing again. She then switches to straighten the other leg and without another word is off again. Off to run back to her flat to skype her boyfriend in Geneva and then to have something prawny and coconutty for supper while finishing “that” report while listening to Coldplay. She’ll be getting excited for when Swiss boys firm flies him in next weekend and they can go running together and then go out for prawny coconutty food and maybe come back and listen to Keane this time or have I just defamed the lead singer of Charlton’s only femcore agit prop salsa band?

The Dome

In a bit of grump I trudge off (resisting the temptation to stop people to tell them how far I’ve walked and that I’ve just had a drink of water).I’m on the tip of the Peninsular now and The Domes is busy with people taking down Ben Hur extravaganza. I’d hoped to see straining slaves loading a galleon with elephants but in the end it was bored looking blokes in big gloves and hi-vis vests loading up artics with cheap looking chariots.

It’s a bit of shame about the Dome I use to like it when it was all weedy and empty it was a nice hubristic monument! The next bit of the path is still however reassuring messed up full of broken concrete, piles of sand and big muddy puddles. There’s even a gas plant that makes the most horrendous stink, it is remarkably smelly. Sadly they are building more flats next door and have started to tidy up the ramshackled old shipyard. (These new flats must be for the olfactorly challenged presumably).

Dusk and more cider
Back in the chi-chi terraced streets of east Greenwich I am in need of more cider so I stop at the “Georgian free house” named after a Scottish witch and have a pint.

After that it was past the tube power station and on to Trinity Alms House. In front of which a beautiful Asian girl is having her picture taken by her boyfriend. She’s radiant in a blue and white sari and a million of shiny bangles her long black hair framing a beaming smile. I go over and offer to take their pictures and she tells me they’ve just got engaged so I offer my congratulations. She’s so excited she’s bouncing on the bench her bangles jingling a way. Her beau looks less than impressed in the close up I take (which by the way shows “must be a professional”) so the boyfriend gets a dig in the ribs (the first of many to come!) and eventually we both get him to smile and I hand the camera back and wish them luck again, as I turn the corner she’s still bouncing up and down.

It’s dusk now and Greenwich is winding down a bit, the ice cream van is packing up, the last tin of Highland shortbread is being sold in M&S. On Creek road a fresh gaggle of students are wandering in from Deptford presumably to spend their loans on breezers and noodles. So as the lights come all I have to do is dodge some fleeing “Hoody” lads on the high street and wander through the park past a couple chatting and drinking quietly on a bench. In the orange light the smell of a wood fire is wafting over a nearby fence. Turning into my road and into our block I gratefully and little wearily climb the stairs and turn the key

Sunday, 20 September 2009

dinners ready

Who wants the skin?
Sorry if this a conceit but Iwas listening to Simon and Garfunkle and that lead to me to thinking of the ingredients for stuffing it is Sunday after all?

Here's my spotify playlist of sunday lunch songs please add suggestion.

A few more thoughts:
There are a lot of songs about greens.

What's the best song about coffee?

Oh and the Round the Horne show is a tribute to Sunday lunchtime listening?

Anyone want anymore carrots?

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


Look it's catching! Our A found one the other day it must be congenital this gutter poker obsession!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Sad news

Keith Floyd 2009-1943

Not amazed to hear Keith had died although I thought he was older. He obviously a complex character and was probably hellish to be around by all accounts. But many people who do inspiring things aren’t angels and KF inspired me (in part) to start cooking and enjoying food. His early shows were great unlike anything on TV at the time his effect was so great that while it was affordable monk fish was found on our table done as in “gigot” ala Keith.

A lot has been made of his drinking on screen but watch how much they knock back on Saturday Kitchen and Oz Clarke and James May have spent several series stocious in what looks like a slightly farty camper van and they will be getting another series.

Anyway what people like KF bring to life is some joy some excitement some incitement. So I’m off to think about making something good for tea.

Ps. You often see his books in charity shops they are worth purchase as they are a really good read and full of good stuff to eat.

Friday, 11 September 2009

I'm an old bag....

I'm an old bag....
Originally uploaded by bltphoto
From Deptford.
Almost makes me warm to her. 999 club is a drop in centre for local people shame she couldn't visit yesterday!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Nine Nine Nine
Just remember it will be 9 secs past 9 mins past nine on 9th of the 9th 09 today. Or 999999. Last time this century for single digit fun like this. I'm off to use up my lomo 9 shot camera and do nine great things and listen to nine great songs and watch England win 9 nil and generally behave like a 9 years old.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

30CL over Toyko*

To London’s fashional erm Bridge for a tasting at The Rake of the much talked about(well in Scotland and by beery types) beer BrewDogs Tokyo* . The idea of the night was a taste (1/3 of a pint) of this extreme stout and then to have some lower alcohol beers etc.

So what did taste like ? Well it’s a strong stout like an Russian Imperial or Nigerian export Guiness and it has some strong fruity flavours and also a notable alcohol burn in the throat. I would have liked some cheese etc to go with it. As to causing binge drinking well I had 2 halfs of Duval green and a Vietnamese meal afterwards (Song Que rules) and was home in time for the Wire (blimey what an episode!!).
Tokyo* won’t be to everyone’s taste and you couldn’t drink enough it to get mashed on it anyway it’s £6 a half and too flavourful to swig down. The Rakes a top place for beer.

knoppers..... dems tasty

Originally uploaded by bltphoto
Sorry I am a child, but I think global brands should always check the profanisaurus before naming any new product that or run it past any group of 14 year old school boys or maybe just me and BLBW!

Monday, 7 September 2009

Toda's street card!

Today's street card!
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Street Semiotics :Any day when you find a new street card is a red letter day, plus I got some job stuff done and some sorting out had a light lunch and now off to drink a beer that has been terrorising the red tops!
Result! Full pack so far here

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Dawn of Space Age

Dawn of Space Age
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Big Screen Weekend:

Went to the flicks twice this weekend had some catching up to do.

First was MOON by Duncan Jones which is really good a simple cheaply but well made scfi thriller set on the moon. Excellent simple twisty story.

There's been some talk of cheap effects but I loved the Space 1999 style lunar models, that's what the moon looks like!
Sam Rockwell is excellent as the only actor! If you've not already I think you should catch it.

Next up and down to earth with a bump is The Hurt Locker by Katherine Bigelow who's always great at action . This one is set in Iraq and about UXB squad and is tense as F*CK. Excellent small cast and well done full on action. Not as comic book as some of her other films.Again if you like action I should check it out.

Weird addendum: Came out the flicks slightly wired from the tense scenes to find it all go on in the Middle of Greenwich, a guy rolling around on the floor claret every where. Fortunately I think it was old wound on his calf that had opened up and his mates where helping him but it was a bit intense.
Had to have long walk down my the river in moon light to blow away the Adrenalin!

Problems Lou Reed's never had

Minor hiccups on the path to enlightenment:

Boiled a kettle of water to do a small amount of washing up. But the power of the water going into the sink knocked the plug out of place and as I scrabbled and scolded myself trying to replace the plug the boiling water mostly drained away and I was left washing up in cold.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Crepuscular thoughts

“And at all other times: Dusk”

The music stops and there’s a moment of quiet
before the sounds of the park flood in.
Above a plane
flying low slices the heavy smudgy clouds
tearing a pale strip through the grey darkening sky.

The crows, gulls and even the pigeons have left
spurning the scattered bread and discarded chicken boxes.

Off behind Ali Baba and his 40 ice pops
are taking one last hopefully turn round the estate
The evening chill and empty playground robbing him of custom.

Only the wind is left now running through the swings
and stirring the litter
indulgently ruffling the tops of the trees.

Across the darkening grass a broken figure shuffles up
laden with taut straining blue bags
heavy with clinking bottles.
He moves so slowly
as if he’ll stop at any time
it’s hard not to stare
as he threatens to stop and even fall
at every step
painfully he heads on and is lost in the gloom.

And as the first lights come on there’s a jangle of rattling keys and chains
and a green man from council is at the gate.
I collect my things and walk over
“Come on mate some of us have got homes to go to”

OOH! Gauge railways.....

Best trains set ever

the Strangely campest and also deeply freudian train set ever
(warning contains the music of Sarah Brightman)

Friday, 4 September 2009

It's Not Tuesday it's TUNES Day

Friday night is music night as we know

BBC 4 is showing this again

Yet to listen to it but this beauty has the best cover of the week.

There’s more cool sleeves O! Ohh! Tunes here.

As for newish music.
I saw Lisa Hannigan in a thunder storm at Latitude and she sounds just as sweet indoors at home (oh and one the train, bus...) tip top track “I don’t know”

How I stopped worrying and learned to love the YEAH, YEAH, YEAHS heard “Hysteric” off their new lp and was won over. Its sort of shoegazey in a good way, I didn’t like them before as the lead singer seemed like a nuisance and I heard the drummer interviewed and he was a bit of a kn*b.

Got the Je Suis Animal lp it’s proper indie sort of Stereolabby and double plus good.
Also really like High Down by Grass cut which is sort of weird and electronic.

Also Beth Jean Houghton especially the “Track Golden” she’s nufolky without sounding like an Orange phone advert.

Also was impressed and pleased that the Jonsi lp is as good as other Sigur Ros stuff .
Oh and there’s even a cabbage botherers rockstar cook book! With a top slightly 60’s "Good housekeeping" pictures. Bargain!

Oh and I’ve been revisiting Mazzy Star .
You can get most of the tracks either at I tunes or that there Amazon or buy the record cd doo-dah, I went to Rough Trade the other day, it's marvellous think I saw someone famous but not sure.

Beth Jean Houghton “ Golden”

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

micro post

Just found this ace picture on flickr. I heart NASA.

Larkin about on the Beach

Seaside Special:
To prolong the hols that bit longer and to share this top bit of marineside verse from the Lord of the Grump and bleak lyricism Philip "there's a 75p fine on this one" Larkin. It's from a mini horde of poems a found the other day. I'll transpose the Auden soonish.

Yes it's Alan " no I won't thank you we've just had our lunch and the beetroots plaguing me something rotten it's does look lovely..." Bennet reading it.

Philip Larkin(read by Alan Bennet) To the sea

Reassuringly stupid

Bad ads #109: Stella-Nonsense
So, let's see this is a beer originated in Belgium brewed in Bedford or Luton and owned by a global brand and now identical to a bland american beer (that stole it's name from a Czeck beer) being advertised that it's aluminium cans can be re-cycled into a classic French car that was made out of steel.
In short Stella Artois isn't French.

Sorry, I know it's small beer (pun intended) it just annoyed me, as you where.