this weekend …

I have been mostly writing code. Not for clients, but for myself.

for a long time, I’ve wanted a way to track the recipes I use – I have a lot of cookbooks, loads of URLs file away, and can never find what I want. I also wanted a way to look through my recipe resources for given ingredients.

I know there are software products about that do this, but none of them did what I want, so I’ve been meaning to write one for *ages*.

and yesterday I made a start on it – I have ColdFusion talking to Amazon’s web services, and pulling data straight onto web pages, I’ve adapted some code we had to do the tagging thing, and I’m extremely pleased with myself (preens).

it’ll be a long time before it sees the light of day – there’s a lot more to do, lots of data to enter, and £920* odd to find to upgrade our ColdFusion to the latest version . But it must be done, and so I’m writing this stuff as a sort of test case; parsing the Amazon API stuff would be a hideous nightmare in our version of CF.

* or about £740 if you bought it direct from Macromedia US. But they won’t allow you to if you’re in the UK. Bastards.

what I haven’t done this weekend is what I should have been doing, i.e. doing some Extreme Housework before kalunina comes to stay – briefly – on Thursday, before we all trundle up to geoffcampbell‘s for the bank holiday weekend. And I have a load of stuff to do work-wise this week.

it’s probably extremely sad that I’d rather code than go out and enjoy the sunshine …

did you get the things we needed?

stripy tomatoes
Originally uploaded by ramtops.

we went to the Bristol Slow Food market today. It’s held on the first Sunday of every month, and this is the first time we have managed to be organised enough to get there. What did we get?

  • lots of sossidge – smoked venison, venison with south efrikan seasoning, and pork, leek and ginger
  • bread – three sourdough, one rye and coriander (amazing), one seven seed; all gone in the freezer for now
  • some organic tomatoes for perlmonger – I can’t abide raw tomatoes, although these looked fab
  • rhubarb, ginger and chili jam – this was amazing, and will be fab on sourdough toast
  • a smoked duck breast
  • a leg of organic lamb; we’ll eat this tonight, studded with rosemary and garlic slivers, and accompanied by steamed new potatoes and brocolli
  • four Exmoor pasties – *huge* things, made with beef and lamb; gone in the freezer for now
  • three bottles of dry apple juice, the labels of which proclaim “Ingredient: apple”; which is just as it should be
  • some dried rose petals – great for Moroccan cooking
  • two sorts of goats cheese – one very simple and light, one flavoured with garlic and chives

we managed not to buy anything else, although sorely tempted by raspberry and walnut brownies (sublime, but £1.70 each [scream]), beautiful fish, organic garlic, still more sossidge (we *love* sossidge), great choice of organic meats, etc. But we knew that we had enough to fill the freezers, and we nearly ran out of cash 🙂

I have put notes in my diary for the next twelve months, so we don’t forget. Once a month is better than nothing, but I do wish that Bristol was better equipped with decent food outlets …

my evening meal (an occasional series)

too hot to stand in front of the cooker tonight*. So:

  1. finely chop a shallot, some fresh coriander and a red chili. Combine this with 1lb of Dexter mince, together with some sel gris. Shape into vaguely hamburger-shaped shapes
  2. in a bowl, combine a can of chick peas, some chopped fresh mint, diced cucumber, finely chopped spring onions, some cold cooked potatoes from the fridge, and grated carrot. Make a dressing with walnut oil, white wine vinegar and a splash of shoyu and toss it about a bit
  3. *get perlmonger to stand in front of a very hot ribbed cast iron pan and cook the burgers
  4. sprinkle the salad with sesame, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, which have been dry fried, then tossed in a little tamari
  5. eat in front of When Harry Met Sally which – astonishingly – perlmonger had never seen.

a perfect way to spend a hot summer evening.


parsnip soup

gently saute one roughly chopped large onion, and some chopped garlic (how much is up to you) in a large lump of butter – about 50g – for about five minutes. Do this in a large saucepan to save washing up.

grind up some cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric and fenugreek in a pestle and mortar, or I suppose you could cheat and use curry powder. Sling this in with the onion and garlic and stir it about.

add about 2 pints (yes, I know, but I can’t really do metric volume) of vegetable stock, and bring to the boil. Then add some creamed coconut – I cut about a 1″ block from the bar, and chopped it up.

peel and slice about 500g of parsnips, and sling them in too. Bring it all back to the boil, and simmer for 20 minutes or so, or until the parsnips are soft.

then put the lot through a liquidiser, reheat, and enjoy. We ate it with onion/poppy seed bagels and cream cheese. And very nice it was too.