Saturday, 5 October 2013

Laughter is the Best Medicine

They say laughter is good for you and tonight I have done a lot of it!

The venue - Royal Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool. The comedian - Bill Bailey. He covered celebrities, language, politics (including the tiniest, squeakiest Nick Clegg you could think of), Downton Abbey, music and owls! 

All political parties were equally ridiculed to the delight of the audience and I have to sayost people seemed to agree with what was said. 

I knew Bill had a musical background was was amazed at the amount of instruments that he played, including at the end a selection of bike horns. My favourite musical part was several different versions of the Match of the Day theme. This included a Jewish folk version which was very catchy.

Personally I would say if you get the chance to see Bill Bailey then do!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Christmas Is A-Coming

A girl at work keeps telling us how long it is until Christmas. Not sure why as most of us have seen twice as many as she has! But it got me thinking about Christmas Cake and Pudding.

Homemade cake and pudding are a highlight of Christmas but I haven't made either for a few years now. I searched through my recipes and came across Hairy Bikers recipes which looked different. Listing the ingredients most were easily available in my local supermarket, one I found in a health food shop and one was made by crushing a spice.

I started with the pudding as that was going to take six hours to cook. The recipe was easy to follow and certainly smelt good before cooking. The only additional ingredient was a generous slug of whisky.

Once the pudding was merrily rattling away in the saucepan I turned my attention to the cake. I wasn't sure that my largest mixing bowl was going to be big enough (I have used a washing up bowl in the past!) but it was - just. The recipe is very fruity but does not contain sugar or butter. The sweetness comes from the fruit and also golden syrup and barley malt syrup. Trying to mix those in was fun!

One the cake was finished I found there was a bit too much for my cake tin. Rather than waste the mix I used it to fill some muffin cases to make individual cakes. These will be iced along with the main cake.

They turned out like this. Let's hope they taste as good as they look!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Tonight! Tonight!

This evening we have been for one of our periodical trips to the theatre this time to see West Side Story.

I remember watching musicals on TV usually on a Sunday afternoon after The Big Match had been on. It was either that or a western it seems. Because of that I have grown up with a love of musical theatre and visit whenever I can.

This particular production has been getting rave reviews all week and tonight didn't disappoint. The cast were full of energy and the choreography was superb. Although the lead role of Tony was played by the understudy it didn't detract from a wonderful performance. 

Baking - Part One

Baking is a skill passed to me by my mum who has always made cakes, pies and biscuits. Sadly it's also a skill I have let slip over the years but not for any particular reason. 

Although I have made some savoury items I haven't ventured back into cakes for a while now but having found a recipe for Rocky Road Muffins on the internet I thought I would give them a try.

For someone who hasn't baked for some time I was surprised to find I had all the ingredients in my cupboards so set about baking around the time my beloved CAFC were kicking off at Burnley.

Around 25 minutes later 12 muffins were placed in the oven and all I could do was wait. 15 minutes went by and a delicious chocolatey smell was coming from the kitchen. So far so good! Another 5 minutes and the muffins were ready and were sitting on a rack cooling down. 

I haven't tasted them yet but if you do decide to try them the link to the recipe is below

For the record CAFC lost 0-3. 

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

The Boss

I'll start this blog by saying I'm not a Bruce Springsteen fan and yet I've seen in him concert three time now, the last time at Wembley on June 15 2013. Now me admitting that is probably considered heresy by Springsteen fans and they would question why I would want to see him in concert. The reason is very simple. The Boss gives you around 3 hours of solid music and the energy is amazing especially considering he's 63 years old.

This was my first visit to the rebuilt Wembley Stadium and to be honest from the outside I wasn't too impressed. We found our way to our entrance and I wondered just how many flights of stairs there were to get to the upper tier. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that as well as stairs there were escalators. Very useful for those of us who are a bit older and have dodgy knees! The inside of the stadium is something else. I was impressed with the seating as it gave plenty of legroom and didn't make you feel as if the people either side were trying to sit on your lap. Our seats gave us a good view of the pitch and there are no posts to obstruct the view.

As normal Springsteen wasn't on stage on time but didn't keep as waiting for long. It took until the third song (Radio Nowhere) before I began to sing along. He then started to collect his requests. For anyone who has not been to a Springsteen concert the fans in the front section hold placards up with a song they want him to sing. One particular song set him off singing the whole of one of his early albums - of which I knew not one song! 

Once that was finished he moved from early songs to more recent including my favourite from the Wrecking Ball album, "Shackled and Drawn". We heard some classics and some lesser known (to me ) tracks. After around 2 and a quarter hours the band left.....for all of about 3 minutes. They then returned for the encore which lasted another 30 minutes and finished with "Twist & Shout". Last year when we saw him I missed most of the encore as I almost fainted. This time I was determined to enjoy every second as the whole crowd danced and sang along.The band then left again only for Springsteen to come out again with harmonica and guitar. We were then treated to a solo version of "Thunder Road" to end the night.

The only thing that spoilt the concert was that the sound quality wasn't the best. It was fine when the whole band were playing but had a bit of an echo the rest of the time.

One last point - it would be great if Wembley had their own Gamesmakers to help people leave the stadium. Yes there were people about but not anything like the Gamesmakers we saw at the Olympic Stadium.