eliphas, napping

Food: Mixed-meat stew with black beans

Yesterday we were RPGing, and as it's still freezing cold, flederkatz and I cooked a mixed-meat stew with black beans the day before. It looked a little unconvincing (mostly brown), but tasted very good. Collapse )
Feeds 6 to 8.

Edited to fix some copy-paste errors.

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eliphas, napping

New year's eve (and day)

New Year's Eve 2015, I spent getting data backups to a new laptop, after two PCs that were acting as backup for each other had died a week before. So, merging two one-year-long chains of incremental backups. I was done when it got light outside on New Year's Day 2016.

While that was a constructive way to spend the night, I wanted something more traditional this year. So I e-mailed all my friends a "save the day" note in October, and actually got a nice little party together. Ceridwen helped a lot, especially in keeping me from freaking out over every little damned thing (not enough food! too much food! wrong food! aaaaahhhhh!).

We hung out, talked, ate a lot and drank a little, went out for the fireworks at midnight, and then made Feuerzangenbowle and ate Krapfen, just because. The cats were amazingly cool about the whole thing. It seems that they felt that while all those strange people had to be handled with great care, just in case that the might be catnappers, the noise outside was of no relevance at all.

New Year's Day, around noon, half of the guests came back for a large breakfast, then we played Trivial Pursuit, cleaned away some more leftovers, and that was it.

Today I had to go to work. It was snowing the whole day. Hardly anyone else was if office -- even the ones who had something to do were mostly working from home. I read manuals and wrote documentation. Two days to go to my vacation.

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eliphas, napping

Christmas food: Roast veal

You need:
- A large frying pan
- An oven large enough for the frying pan
- Something to turn a 2 lbs. piece of meat with
- A meat thermometer (or good instincts)
- Tin foil

For six:
- 3 lbs. of back of veal without bones
- Coarse salt
- Black pepper
- Olive oil (about 4 tablespoons)


Get the veal from a good butcher. Try not to faint at the price. 3 lbs. are likely to be two pieces, see that the pieces have the same thickness. Measure that thickness (in centimetres).

Get the veal out of the fridge 30 minutes before preparation. Pre-heat the stove to 150°.
Rub the meat with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in the pan until it starts to smell nice. If you have a powerful stove, do not use the highest setting, but medium high. Fry the veal on both sides until it starts to brown. Then put the pan in the oven at middle height.

Leave it in for about 10 minutes per centimetre, then check inner temperature. Should be about 65°C. When you are getting close, 5 minutes can make a difference of 5 degrees!

Get the pan out. Let the oven cool down to 50 to 60°C. Get the meat out of the pan and wrap in tinfoil (what was "up" during roasting should now be "down"). Put in oven to rest (together with the plates you are going to use) and make/finish the other dishes (about 20 minutes).

Note that you cannot create gravy from the contents of the frying pan -- it's too salty!

I made a sauce from shallots, a garlic clove, cognac, gravy paste, a bit of orange peel, and cream, and served cowberries on the side. If I did not have gravy paste, I might have roasted a bit of tomato paste after the shallots started to brown and thickened the sauce with a bit of starch after the alcohol had boiled away.

Cut in thin slices when serving.

To re-heat, spread slices on a plate and microwave to lukewarm. You are doing yourself a disservice if you try to get it back to "hot".

I served it with Brussels sprouts and boiled potatoes the first day, with green beans and potato croquettes the second, and ate the rest on toasted pita bread. All very good.

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eliphas, napping

State of the Lyorn

Couldn't sleep last night. That is very uncommon, as in, happens every few years at most. Got up at a quarter to four, drank hot cocoa with rum, ate a bunch of leftover christmas cookies and read comic books until a quarter to five. Then slept like a baby...

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eliphas, napping

Rogue One

Watched it last Tuesday with Ceridwen, in the only cinema in the region showing it in 2D.

Liked it a lot -- more than "The Force Awakens", actually, which felt like, "everything you have seen so far was futile, we are back at the start of "A New Hope"." Endless recursions are fine when you are fighting a Time War and cannot ever get rid of the Daleks, but WTH is wrong with the Star Wars universe to get into exactly the same mess barely 30 years later? Couldn't it be a slightly different mess? Everything that movie did well was tainted by the basic futility of all that had happened before.

Not so with "Rogue One". Collapse )

I also noticed that I did not have many opportunities to hear English spoken this year. It took me about five minutes before I could understand what everyone was saying.

Fred Clark of Slacktivist thinks about contract workers on the Death Star here without having seen the movie yet.

Something fun: Leaked photos from the Rogue One sequel (Mainly Speculation - Possible Spoilers)

Discussion on Making Light (Spoilers). It includes the mind-boggling line: "yet I hear people screaming to boycott the movie because suddenly it has an anti-Nazi bias.".

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eliphas, napping

Things going thunk

2016 really hates me.

I was driving home in soft sleet that ate up all light and gave nothing back, through the suburbs at 8 p.m. after a very pleasant advent tea-cookies-and-a-movie get-together at N___'s place.

A bus stopped before me. So did I. The car behind me, a large one by the height of the lights, was a little too close for comfort, but nothing to be done about it. Bus started driving. I followed and noted pretty late that the bus has crossed a traffic light which was right before me now and showed yellow. I braked with a little force and brought the car to a stop a foot or so before the stop line.

The guy behind me didn't. I had time to think "uh-oh", before I heard the breaks of the other car engaging too late, and than it rear-ended me and shoved me three feet forward. Fortunately, there were not pedestrians crossing in front of me.

Mellowed by lots of cookies I though, "Oh, damn", activated the warning lights, turned off the engine, and got out. A young woman on the sidewalk said that she had seen it all and would testify if needed.

The other car was a big silver SUV, about twice the weight of my car. My number plate was dented, that was all the visible damage. As we were all fine and there we nothing dangerous on the street, we agreed not to call the police, but exchanged addresses and went our separate ways before we were all soaking wet.

I got home fine, scrounged a cup of tea off Ceridwen and then set to call silver SUV guy's insurance, which was calm and helpful. As I was standing at a red traffic light when that car rear-ended me, I expect no trouble out of it, but I have to go to the garage tomorrow and have the damage evaluated.

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eliphas, napping

Most well-behaved cats ever; and lebkuchen

Yesterday, the cats had their yearly appointment at the vet to get their shots and have a check-up.

Now, getting cats into boxes can be risky and bloody (cats fight tooth and claw), or it can be annoying and stressful (cats diving under furniture), or very time-consuming, or all of the above.

Yesterday evening, I got out of bed from a little cat-nap. Got dressed. Picked up a sleepy Tully from the covers and set him down in front of his box. He got in and I closed the door. Repeated this with Jerry. Both cats boxed in less than two minutes.

Only when I carried the boxes out in the cold, there was a soft "human, what are you doing?"-meow from Jerry.

At the vet, the scary good behaviour continued.

Back home, they carefully left their boxes and looked for a place to nap in peace.

A bit later, mad_freddy and K___ came over for testing lebkuchen. We had nine different kinds, each cut in three and all pieces labelled, notepads and pencils, and very seriously set about to rank them by taste and lebkuchen-ness, or, in my case, just make notes of their distinguishing characteristics. I did that mostly one-handed, as Tully had decided that the best place to nap was right next to me, getting his ears rubbed.

After that, we were as happy and full as expected after finishing the equivalent of a three-course-dinner in lebkuchen.

Other than that, I feel as could be expected, all things considered. I.e. tired and in pain, but generally OK.

Also, dinosaur feathers! (via pallia.net)

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eliphas, napping

2016 hates me

OK, so 2016 hates everyone, but Saturday it felt that it had to let me know that it is not below getting personal.

In other words, ouch. Collapse )I have sworn off any attempts at sports (except walking) until New Year's Day. No use tempting fate.

This year, I will throw a New Year's Eve party, and get some very loud fireworks to scare the evil spirits away. I feel that it's needed.

Sunday, Ceridwen, Gwydion, R___ and I were having our yearly cookie bake-a-thon at R___'s place. J__, a friend of Ceridwen's, had come, to, and we were talking so much that now have more burned cookies than usual. But we still have a lot of very fine and perfectly edible cookies. My mood could have been better, though. I have become so cranky and volatile that I'm scaring myself. And really, WTF is going on in my head when I'm getting a tantrum over some shortcrust breaking? Priorites much?

Oh well. Blame it on 2016, too.

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