Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cyclists vs. Da Police

There is an annoying little section of my ride to work every day where the cycle path ends abruptly and you are supposed to get off your bike and walk through a short section of pedestrian-only area.

Problem is, it's a very wide and inviting bit of pavement and it takes about 2 seconds to freewheel through it to where the cycle path continues, even when you're braking so that you're moving at the same speed as the zombies pedestrians are walking. It's a no-brainer for most cyclists - like riding through red lights (always giving way to pedestrians, of course) to avoid the traffic, it seems so pointless a rule that it would offend your common sense not to break it.

A couple of times I've been caught out - ages ago a community police officer pulled me over, took my details and gave me a warning, and another time a couple of bobbies were officiously blasting their whistles to warn cyclists to get off.

This morning, however, as I rode up to this area (as I have been doing twice a day for over two years), I noticed a group of policemen who had obviously pulled over a couple of cyclists and were ticketing them. The girl on the bike ahead of me turned around to warn me, even as I was getting off, and we shared a wry smile.

As I walked my bike through the pedestrian area, I passed about five other cyclists coming from the opposite direction, casually walking their bikes as though they do it every day. We all shared a glance, a roll of the eyes, or a "those-dumb-cops-with-their-silly-rules" kind of a smile. I felt part of a subversive group of rule breakers. A well mannered, slightly scruffy, but generally law abiding group of rule breakers.

Teeny tiny cupcake bombs

Adapted Taken wholesale from the Domestic Goddess (I would like to be reincarnated as Nigella, please, God. Not sure how that would work, time-and-space wise, but I'm sure you of all people could manage it).
This makes a huge batch. For a normal sized batch, just halve the quantities.

250gm butter, softened
250gm caster sugar
4 large eggs
250gm self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
4-6 tbs milk

For the icing: use whatever icing method you prefer. I used whipped cream and icing sugar, but buttercream or plain old lemon would work fine. Decorations look lovely scattered over these babies - stars, silver balls, sprinkles etc.

Heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.

I just put all the ingredients except the milk into a big mixing bowl and used a bamix (hand-held mixer) to blend, which worked a treat. Add the milk until it reaches a soft, drooping consistency.

Then all you need to do is spoon tiny blobs into your miniature cupcake holders, which is seriously time-consuming but also kind of fun. If you have a piping bag, so much the better. Don't be tempted to fill the cases, I put small teaspoonfuls into each cup and they puffed way up.

Watch them in the oven, they only take about 7-10 minutes to cook and will burn very quickly if you leave them too long.

Then all you have to do is make your icing and spend a good 20 minutes carefully icing them one by one until you are left with a sea of gorgeous, bite-size treats that will win you much kudos.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Share-house living for introverts - the experiment comes to an end

experiment 2

What with the Halloween party and various extra people moving in/staying over at the house (seven of us at last count), I have had it. The wheels have fallen off this particular experiment, sadly. I reached breaking point last week, when Friday found me a nervous wreck after existing on virtually no sleep for several weeks. I tearfully booked flights back to Australia for Christmas (yay!) and decided that I need to move out in order to preserve my sanity.

So now, the house hunting begins again. I can't afford to live on my own (which I would do in a heart-beat) so I am going to try and find a flat to share with one other girl. Like I was was doing just 5 months ago.

*heaves world-weary sigh and slaps forehead at own stupidity*

Maybe the universe is trying to tell me something. Something like: Go home, sister! Your parents miss you! London in the Winter is miserable! You aren't designed to be a travelling nomad!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

What's hot + what's not this Wednesday

Hot Dogs
* Halloween circus party decorating - so much fun! I spent the Friday night before blu-tacking up twisted crepe paper streamers in the kitchen to give it a Big Top vibe. The house looked ah-mazing thanks to the efforts of the entire household.

* Up. Saw this movie in Imax 3D and loved it. A funny and touching story of an old man whose attempt to escape the modern world is complicated by various hangers-on who refuse to leave him the heck alone. Finally, a pixar film for grumpy loners everywhere.

Plus, the old guy reminds me a lot of my Pa (not the grumpiness, just the big square jaw and glasses).

So long, suckers

* Miniature cupcakes. Little bite-sized pieces of heaven, and definitely worth the faff of carefully placing teaspoonfuls of mixture into what seemed like endless trays of tiny paper cups. Recipe to be posted soon.

* Party escape-hatches. I had some much needed time out upstairs with a friend at the height of the party, watching The Breakfast Club and discussing the various merits of Judd Nelson vs. Anthony Michael Hall (my vote goes to the reformed Nelson). Bliss.

* Hula-hooping! Joy in circular format.

* Short & Sweet. Free short films every Monday at Café 1001, Brick Lane - what could be better? Here's a taster:

Cold Cats

* Suspiciously tall and bum-fluffy trick-or-treaters with no costumes. Lame.

* Feeling a bit partied out and wanting to hibernate.

* The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. A grown-up fairy tale of pacts with the devil, virginal daughters, and unrequited love; as seen through an antique kaleidoscope while high on mescaline. As fantastical as it was to watch, it left me cold (as so many of Gilliam's films do). Made more watchable by a deliciously sly Tom Waits playing the devil.


* My lovely big SLR losing a bunch of pictures from the party - distressing! Fingers crossed it's just a senile memory card and not the end of a beautiful relationship.

* Not having anyone of the masculine variety to watch the utterly brilliant Series 4 of The Wire with.

Inspired by loobylu.
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