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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Friday, 29 July 2005

sunshine, showers and popcorn

We've never let a bit of rain stop us from getting out and about, and the past few days have been no exception.

Christopher and Ella on a tractorOn Wednesday, for example, we practically had the whole of Woodside (or the "Calm your llama right down shop" as Ella calls it!) to ourselves - it's only a shame the trampolines were a bit damp, although the children had fun playing 'make believe' on the tractors - and yesterday we went to Letchworth with Beth's Mum for a bit of shopping.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but if I were to give up my career in engineering, I think I'd probably want to work in an independent record shop, much like the dysfunctional characters in Hi Fidelity (is it me or are there quite a few parallels with Black Books?)

David's Music is just one sort of shop; I popped in there to see if they had the new single by Kid Carpet. I was most impressed that they knew who he was (can you imagine going into HMV and asking for a CD by a recently signed artist? I've been there, and endured the blank stares); they also had the two versions of the Shiny Shiny New single (grrr...) and his CD, too. How could I resist buying them all?

Brief review of Ideas and Oh Dears by Kid Carpet.
An eclectic CD, far from hi-fi, but containing some immediately engaging tracks, such as There's a Shoe, some utter weirdness (his interpretation of If I Had a Hammer is scary) and an answering machine message from his Granny. You can be assured I'll be playing some of it on my next Image FM show. Overall: 9/10. (Oh, and if you buy it at an independent record shop, you get a free mix CD. Hooray!)

Spontaneous recipe section

popcorn!To finish today, I would like to pass on my recipe for 'perfect' simple popcorn - a quick, tasty and surprisingly healthy snack. Over the years that have gone by since as a teenager I practically destroyed a pan belonging to my best mate's Mum, I've refined the process a bit; OK, so it's not rocket science, but I've looked all over the internet for the 'right' way to pan-cook popcorn, but it seems they skip that bit. Presumably because it is actually quite simple... Here goes, then.

  • Go and get some popcorn kernels from your local healthfood shop.
  • Find the largest non-stick saucepan you can (with a lid), and pour enough corn in to just cover the bottom.
  • Pour just enough (extra virgin if you're feeling classy) olive oil into the pan to cover the corn.
  • Turn on the heat nice and high. The contents of the pan will start to fizzle cheerfully. You can play "popcorn chicken" at this point (not the KFC product) where you leave the lid off the pan, so the first person to bottle out and put it on, loses.
  • As the oil gets less viscous, you should be able to swish the pan around a little, occasionally taking it off the heat. This ensures the corn gets a good even heating
  • The corn will start to pop. Keep removing the pan from the heat and swishing it around about once every thirty seconds, to encourage the unpopped kernels to return to the bottom
  • Once the corn's popping has reduced to about once every couple of seconds, remove it from the heat entirely
  • When you're fairly confident you won't get a face full of popcorn if you open the lid and a stray kernel decides to pop, pour the popcorn into a big bowl, sugar/salt as appropriate and then eat it. Or share it. It's up to you.
  • Clean up - not forgetting that the pan will be extremely hot.

The next recipe will (with permission) be Mother's Legendary Potato Cakes... when I finally get round to successfully making them and writing down what I do.

Less than five saucepans were destroyed in the creation of this blog entry.

Posted by james at July 29, 2005 10:02 AM

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