Friday, 31 January 2014

Book time two

So this week I ended up reading The Curds and Whey mystery, the third in the Third Pig Detective Agency series (by Bob Burke) and then Trolls in the Hamptons by Celia Jerome.

So The Curds and Whey Mystery.  If you haven’t guessed yet it features little Miss Muffet and the Third Pig of the three little pigs, and like Ronseal, it does what it says on the tin.  He’s a detective.  The book is set in the fictional Grimmtown (named after the brothers) and contain lots of folk tale people.  The first book involves Aladdin (on a completely different side note – I once convinced someone that Ali was short for Aladdin, but man was she stupid.  Mind you so is Ali.....) and the second features the Jolly Red man who visited a month ago (and no, that’s not a euphemism). 

Is it worth reading?  Not really.  They’re quirky little books which are quick to read but not exactly spectacular.  The culprit is not usually the one you expect, and they’re good filler, and I most probably will read the next one, but I won’t buy it new, I’ll wait for it to be second hand and cheap (just like me).

After I finished this one, I started Trolls in the Hamptons.  This is the first in the Willow Tate series.  Whats it about?  Magic once again.  Well, a kinda magic.  It starts with a young graphic artist (the afore mentioned Willow Tate), the titular Troll and family gifts.  Is it my kind of book?  Not really.  

It’s well written, but I don’t think I’m the target market (I think that’s teenage girls).  The set up was good, however I did feel it was suddenly over.  The denouement just seemed a bit too easy and quick.   Would I recommend this book?  To a teenage girl, yes.  Will I read the next in the series, maybe.

Now I've finished these 2, I've started to read Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress.  I might only read the one book in the next week as I've got the Superbowl preview magazine to read as well as the newest edition of Comic Heroes.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Shortbread fudge cookies

Okay, so tomorrow's goodies for work are Shortbread fudge cookies.  Why?  Because they're quick and simple. 

6oz plain flour
2oz sugar (supposed to be caster sugar, I have granulated in the cupboard so it'll do)
4oz butter (I use baking block as I'm tight)
Pack of fudge pieces (The one I used was 85grams from tesco's baking section)

  1. Put the flour and sugar in a bowl.  You're supposed to sieve the flour but I never bother as I'm lazy.
  2. Add the butter to the bowl.  It's easier if it's in quite small chunks.
  3. Rub the butter into the mixture using your fingertips until it's like breadcrumbs.  If you don't know how, put both hands in the bowl, pick up some of the mixture, rub between your thumb and middle and fore fingers, dropping back into the bowl.  Then repeat.
  4. Add the fudge pieces.  Try not to eat too many, but man are they tasty.
  5. Squidge together until it forms a dough.  Think the technical term is kneading.
  6. I leave it for half hour, dunno why, but it seems to help the mixture bond.  I think it has to do with the heat of my kitchen allowing the butter to melt.
  7. Roll out the dough on a floured surface.  Use a cutter to cut out shapes and put on a baking tray.  I use a round one until the tray is full then a smaller one for the left overs to fill in the gaps on the tray.  Once again I use a silicon lining.
  8. I like well done shortbread, so I cook it for about 20mins on gas mark 4 (200C?).  15 mins if you want it normal shortbread done-ness.
  9. Leave out for 5 mins then put on wire rack.  Or eat them.
As you can see, forget about the fudge pieces, they taste awesome, but don't look pretty, and if you eat a cookie too quickly, they act like Napalm.

Why do I always add stuff to cookies?  Because it makes them delicious.  Now I'm going to watch today's Babylon 5 on Watch on catchup (Season 3 is amazing, if you haven't seen this show do.  Buy it on DVD, it's cheap and watch it.  Season 1 is so so, Season 2 is better and season 3 and 4 are amazing.  Season 5 is so so again as they were expecting it to be cancelled and then it was reprieved).

Let me know if anyone else wants cookies.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Geeks in waistcoats......

So we're trying to update the blog a lot more regularly (or should that be we are trying to endevour to update our blog on a more regular basis?), so a few times a week.  

So what have we been up to?

This weekend we both went to a friends wedding in Littlehampton.  Well, I went to 2 Weddings actually!  So I finished my real job and got dropped off, sat on the train to be told that it wasn't going anywhere due to a tree on the line so ran to get the Gatwick train and changed there.  Luckily I had a book with me so was happily entertained (more about that on Friday).

When I finally got to Goring-by-sea I was the only person getting off the train, so surprisingly there was no taxi.  So I started walking to the venue with my paper map (yes, Paper.  My phone is a brick and is barely in colour, on the plus side the battery does last about a week).  So my friends phoned me and told me I'd missed the turning, so I went back and up this dark secluded road and got to a big hotel.  

Unfortunately this was the Highdown Hotel, not the Highdown Vineyard so I went in to ask where I was supposed to be and basically crashed a Chav wedding.  I did get a beer and the number for a taxi.  The taxi was going to be 45 minutes so I started walking and found that if my friends hadn't of phoned me it was another 200m from when they called.  Bastards.

So I eventually go to the wedding and proceeded to drink a fair amount (none of my friends were really intrested in Tequila the losers) and just as it was starting to turn into a real party it was time to go.  We got back to the hotel and decided to go back to our friends room, have a few more drinks and order Domino's.  It was then we got a knock on the door telling us to "Shut the Fuck Up" basically from the receptionist.

Luckily I didn't have too bad of a hangover, and didn't end up being sick like the last wedding, which Nicky was appreciative of!  Unfortunately my friends are Bastards and went for breakfast without me so I was starving by the time I eventually got home!

What else have we been doing?  Not much!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Baking and Books - The book bit.....

So I ended last week by saying how I'd just started to read the latest Alex Verus Novel, Chosen (by Benedict Jacka).  What was it about? How was it?

Well, it's an Urban Fantasy, or that's what I call it anyway.  It's quite a popular genre at the moment, modern day tales with fantasy and magic thrown in, like Harry Potter!  So Alex Verus, it's about a wizard, well Mage who's the main protagonist (not exactly a hero, way too self serving for that).  Its the 4th in the series but I'd say it's my favourite series compared to Jim Butcher's Dresden files or Ben Aaronovich's River's of London series which is very similar.  

So a Mage?  Yes, a wizard with one power, he can see the future, which is quite a cool power and he's quite self serving and selfish, which might be why I like him as a character!  In the latest book, he tries to protect his friends whilst dealing with his own dark past.  Without giving away any spoilers, it's well written, and the choices he makes are ones I understand.  I often read a chapter when I go to bed, unfortunately the 1 chapter ended up being 180 pages so I was quite tired for work the next day!  I'd definitely recommend the series, but read them in order, unfortunately I have 8 months until the next one.

So what else have I read?  The Cuckoo's calling by Robert Galbrath, or, the book JK Rowling wrote that's under a pseudonym as they swear and have sex.  Is it any good?  Yes.  I loved the Harry Potter books, even though I didn't expect to.  I remember reading the first one when I was 18, I had tonsillitis and didn't have anything else to read so resorted to that and was hooked!  

Back to the book, just so we're upfront, I love me my murder mysteries, from Murder she wrote (don't mess with the Death Magnet, but if I do ever meet Angela Lansbury, I'll run like hell) to Castle (Nathan Fillion, 'nuff said).  I wasn't expecting to like this book as much as I did.  The book's written in a different style to the Potter books which you'd expect, and to be honest wasn't as gripping, but I still sat reading it on a Sunday morning with a cuppa so it was better than the TV which is always good in a book.   The characters were well rounded and not the typical pretty ones, well the main detective anyway.  

Would I recommend it?  Definitely.  Why?  I didn't guess the killer.  Does it matter?  Yes, I watch Death in Paradise with my parents as it's one of the few shows they don't need any explaining and can guess the killer half way in.  Normally about 20 minutes before my dad shouts who did it.  Mind you this is the same man who gets confused between Harvey and Mike when we watch Suits and is banished for anything more complicated.......

Why do you care what books I read?  Because I read a lot, and Ali told me the more I update this blog the better Google likes our website.  Plus, if you didn't know, I'm a geek, so I tend to read geeky books, and some pretty random ones as well as more mainstream ones.

Next week I'll tell you how the third in the Third Pig Detective Agency series and Trolls in the Hamptons were, if I finish them.....

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Baking and Books, well Double choc chip oatmeal cookies

So each week for work I bake some goodies and thought why not share it with you all, the recipe's come from  my mum's giant old cook book she's had for 50 years, as well as tell you about the books I've read this week, but I'll do that tomorrow, maybe.

This week I've made Double choc chip oatmeal cookies

The ingredients you'll need for a single batch are below, I normally double up and make loads, as you can see in the picture above!

  • 4oz Sugar,
  • 4oz Marg / Butter
  • Tablespoon Golden syrup,
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of Soda
  • 4oz self raising flour
  • 4oz oats
  • 100g milk choc chips
  • 100g white choc chips

The steps to make this are:

  1. Melt the marg or butter with the sugar and syrup over a low heat.  And yes, stir it until its melted or it'll burn.
  2. Take it off the heat and mix in the flour, then the bicarb before mixing in the oats.  Why the oats last?  As they're a pain in the backside to mix, I've snapped one of my mum's wooden spoons doing it before (I blamed someone else of course)
  3. Leave for about 45 mins to cool.  Why do you do this?  So the choc chips don't melt, trust me, I've made this mistake.
  4. Once it's cool to the finger, mix in the choc chips.
  5. Heat the oven to gas mark 4, no idea what the temp is, 200C maybe?  The tray I use has a silicon liner, why is this important?  So they don't stick and are easy to get off.  I've tried other things like baking paper but it's pretty crap.
  6. Roll small balls of dough about the size of a ping pong ball, bigger for bigger cookies, smaller for smaller ones, obviously.
  7. Cook for about 10 minutes.  About?  Yes, about, each oven is different, and after the oven's been doing a few batches they can be done a little less.
  8. Once done, leave the tray on the side for 5 minutes.  If you don't leave them and try to take them off the tray straight away you'll fail as they'll still be too gooey.
  9. Once you've waited, move them onto a wire rack to cool.
  10. Repeat this until you've run out of dough.
  11. Eat them.
  12. Curse your weakness for failing your new years diet.
Why should you care about cooking?  Because cookies are amazing, and they're easy to make.  Plus, if you ask us nicely at most convention's we'll have a stash of cookies to help us through the day, often not eating real food but full of sugar and caffeine.  Plus, nothing goes better with a book than a cuppa and a cookie, or a quick snack during a game of Fifa or Mario Kart.  Talking of which I can't wait for the new one to come out on the Wii U (when it does I hope Robbie buys one, I know I can't afford it!).

Next week I'll either cook Chocolate flapjack or fudge shortbread cookies, if you have any preference, let us know.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

January Funk and malaise

So my business partner Ali-pops told me a new blog post was long overdue so here it is, even when it’s his turn for a techy one.

So I hope everyone who reads this (all 4 of you) had a good Christmas and involved lots of alcohol and new year’s was better than mine (apparently my social life is like Eastenders, I would go into more detail but I’m sure I would alienate any of my remaining friends).

So what have we been up to at Geek is Chic?  Not much to be honest.  We tried out the whole paying for people to see a facebook post and seemed to have quite a few people like our page, when I looked earlier tonight we had 212 likes, which I’m pretty amazed at, now we just need that 212 people to start buying our shirts!  Ali-pops is also trying out to see what more people see – photo’s, posts, links, blog posts, at the moment it seems to be photo’s, but then again it could be that people liked the photo more than the post so we could be completely wrong!

Now we’re starting to get prepped for the Spring Convention Season, I’m getting the stock ordered for the Midlands Comic con in February and then in March we have one every week – Cardiff, Newcastle, London, Birmingham and maybe Kitacon or Luxcon.  So that means we need to stock up as we don’t want to go to any con’s with a sub standard quantity and maybe a few new shirts too.

So thats about all from Me, I’m going back to watching B5 on Watch – I still love this show!  I might write another post with all the latest geek news, but then again I might be too busy reading (have just started the new Benedict Jacka book.........)