Family · Humour

The Desperate Cooking Of The Desperate Biker Pie

The E.I.C. and Penny are cooking there way through The Hairy Bikers Perfect Pies. Except this week I sort took over – herself being not so much a meat person I get to cook the savoury pies… nom nom nom…

So this week it was the Desperate Biker Pie. A big meaty with horns rising from the middle. We were schedule to cook it on the Saturday but things didn’t work quite like planned. I didn’t read the recipe properly and started cooking the middle about an hour and a half before it was due to go in – not realising it needed to be cassaroled for nearly two and a half hours! As this meant the pie wouldn’t be ready until eight we decided to cook the middle and then do the pie on Sunday.

We were cheating a bit and had got pre-rolled sheets of puff pasty. Life is just too short to roll and then roll and then roll puff pastry. Everything was out and defrosted this afternoon and we were ready to start with the construction. First up roll some tinfoil into horn-shapes to use as molds for the horns. But lo we had our second problem–no tin foil! The E.I.C. improvised using her fingers 😆

What a horn should look like
Our pie


Now for the important bit–taste! It was delicious. Nom nom nom… Next time we might be a bit more prepared though!

Humour · Ruminations

An Exercise In Patience: Hurry Up And Wait!

This morning the library was closed while campus security and the police ran a coordinated exercise code named Exercise Hogwarts. Myself, with diverse other staff and students volunteered to act as victims while three “gunmen” ran amok in the library with guns and bombs.

It started with a lot of hurry up and wait; there was the initial briefing then followed by hanging around waiting to be told what to do. We were split into groups and placed on different floors. Some of the volunteers were tasked with being corpses, while others were told to “flee: at the right moment into the AOS teams. I ended up hanging around on the second floor.

While there was a feeling of falseness around the exercise many of us were starting to feel edgy, as we were told to ring the police/security and make reports of bombs and gunmen. The heart raced a lot faster when the constables playing the gunmen arrived with their large armaments. When they started firing them you couldn’t help but jump. Especially when they fired the really loud one!

I ended up being told to flee down the staircase and report the position of the gunmen to the AOS squad at the bottom of the stairs. After they raced off I found myself in the deserted first floor with no idea what to do. I had been told to follow instructions but none were given. In the end I wondered back up the “non-active” stairwell and rejoined the experience.

Moving between the floors was a little nerve wrecking as there were by now a lot of gun noises, and screams echoing through the building. The atrium to the library was awash in a sea of black masked men holding what looked like assault rifles.

I ended up on the fifth floor waiting to be rescued. This ended up being a long wait as well, even after being rescued. We were corralled into a corner and had to wait for a clear exit. One of the student volunteers had been “shot” in the leg and they decided to put her in a stretcher. Unfortunately we were above the “explosives” and ended up having to wait for them to be cleared. The poor girl lay on the floor in the stretcher for nearly 40 minutes (although to great amusement they let her up for a quick toilet break).

The police shifted between smiling and joking a little, and “role-playing”. This kept everyone on edge a bit as we tried to relax and wait to be “evacuated”. For me the most disturbing thing was being marched out of the building and having to have our eyes faced down and hands on the person in fronts shoulders.

After it was done, the food was nice, but I felt that maybe they could have had some counsellors on hand to circulate and check on the volunteers. The whole experience was both exciting and yet disturbing and I can see how it could have upset those who volunteered.

Family · Humour · trees

The E.I.C., The Pie, And The Empty Plate…

So after getting the Hairy Bikers pie book out of the library we’ve now had to buy it and have spread the joy. Penny at her blog and I are going to bake and blog our way through some of it’s excellent pages.

First up apple pie.

I have a great weakness for fruit pies, although I hadn’t managed to convince the rest of my family of their merits. I haven’t made sweet pastry before, but the instructions were pretty straight forward and I have an excellent large wooden rolling pin 😉

The filling was really easy, so once the pastry was done it was fast to assemble. I didn’t bother with the decorative leaves, as I thought it’d be better to make the extra pastry into shapes for the non-pie eaters. Little did I know.

As it cooked our whole kitchen started to smell like an american sit-com and Mr 12 (I don’t like hot fruit), and my dearly beloved (I only like meat pies) decided it smelt so good they’d have a tiny try……

The evidence

So the pie was a success, but it really did need some of our cooking apples to do it justice.

Our Apples

It’s too early in the season for our apples so I had to use the end of season, too sweet apples from the supermarket in it. Next time I’ll make it in season with our own apples, and I’ll buy some vanilla ice-cream-yum.



The Case Of Small Wasps And The Curtains In The Lounge

Over summer recently we had a number small black wasps flying around the house. We would shuffle them out the windows when we could but it was a bit strange as often they would be in the house in the morning and there had been no windows open over night.

Well we have discovered the source of these frequent visitors. Hidden in the folds of our green brocade curtains hanging in the lounge and master bedroom have been wasp nests! They are very small and were buried in the creases. We didn’t notice them as the brown merged into the pattern. They were all very small, with maybe three little cocoons to each nest. But we found them now. It’s a bit late though as all the wasps have flown the nest.

Humour · Writing

Great Excitement

It has been quite exciting today. Book sales have been good, and I have been flotaing between 7,500 and 10,000 on the Amazon sales ranks. 🙂 I have even been as high as 77 on one of the best seller lists!

This excitement was tempered by a lack of roleplaying. I was going to a game tonight, but it was cancelled. It was in October that we last played, and as such I am starting to get withdrawal symptoms.  Ah well maybe next week! 😆


Insert Witty Remark Here

I have been managing to post something everyday so far this year. I know it’s not that flash since the year is only 16 days old 😆

Today I am not feeling it so imagine some witty remark here: “…..”

Though, that being said the Golden Globes are quite entertaining. I think Ricky is a bit flat, probably because they were expecting it this year. And man can they talk in the acceptance speeches. Less talk and more awards so we can see the dresses please. Like that fashion… 😆


An Interesting Weekend Of Sales

When my publisher said last week that they wanted to try to give The Spiral Tattoo a boost by giving it away for a day I was a little bit hesitant. I didn’t really see what that would do, but thought lets promote it and see what happens.

Well for the 24 hours it was free it was quite exciting seeing the book march up the Free book rankings, reaching the lofty heights of #343! While I can’t actually see how many were downloaded there must have been a goodly number, and the thought of a lot of people reading my work brings a warm glow to the heart. 🙂

I was really interested to see how that flowed over into today when the story went back to being $US0.99, and so far it seems to have had a positive effect. I have had another 5star rating (my third) and there has been quite a large number of sales.Last I looked it was back up to #24,000 in the paid, which is only 13,000 off it’s highest previously achieved spot, and obviously there has been some paid sales 🙂


Sausage And Bean Breakfast Pie: So Bad It Must Be Good

This recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Perfect Pies cook book borrowed from our local is so bad it must be good. I shall indeed be cooking it for tea tonight 😆

This cook book has been placed at the top of our “must buy” list!

Sausage and Bean Breakfast Pie

850g medium potatoes

3 tbsp sunflower oil

8 good-quality pork sausages

1 medium onion, finely sliced

425g can baked beans

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat slightly and simmer for 15 minutes or until only just tender – they need to be firm enough to cut into chunks. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.

While potatoes are cooking, heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry the sausages gently for 10 minutes until nice and brown, turning every so often. Add the sliced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes more until golden, while stirring. Tip the sausages and onion into a shallow flameproof dish and pour over the beans. Drain the potatoes and put them on a chopping board.

Return the frying pan to the hob and add the remaining oil. Cut the potatoes into chunky pieces and fry them in the oil for 2-3 minutes, turning regularly until golden. Scatter the potatoes over the sausages and beans. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are crisp and brown and the beans are hot.


Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows – A Review Of Confliction

The E.I.C. and myself, thanks to Grandma, managed to escape for a night out at the movies. We headed off as is our custom now to Waipukurau Civic Theatre. They have good prices, good food, good people and it turns out good iced coffee/chocolate.

The movie was one we had looked forward to for a while, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. We both really enjoyed it, as we had the first Sherlock movie. Robert Downey Junior is a great actor, as is Jude Law, and the movie was a fun romp.

The confliction comes from having to partially agree with some of the critic’s criticism. That the Sherlock character is not “Sherlocky” enough. I can see why people may think that if they are wedded to the Victorian stiff upper lip gentleman of other portrayals. I think they have chosen to accentuate the murkier side of Holmes that many previous versions have all but ignored.

My problem, and the problem I had with the first movie, was not that the character wasn’t “Sherlocky”, my problem was that the story wasn’t very “Sherlocky”. It was really a Victorian political action/thriller rather than a mystery. I wanted a crime for Holmes to solve not a labyrinthine political conspiracy.

Never the less, I would still give this movie 4 out of 5 happy faces. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


The Eating Regime

I have decided that amongst a small tranche of small changes I want to make in how I am living I will try and eat breakfast.   I never feel like eating when I get up, which is probably more to do with entrenched eating habits rather than a healthy biorhythm.

What I would want to eat for breakfast!

I have made the shocking discovery, yeah I know don’t tell me, that when you eat breakfast you get hungry at lunch! I thought having a goodly breakfast this morning would mean I would be set for the day. But no, it seems that if you eat in the morning not only does your brain work better so does you metabolism. Shock horror!

What I should eat for breakfast!

So it seems that eating breakfast will lead to eating better lunches. I guess that might help with my other change of eating more fruit!