What The MiB Film Can Teach Us About Government Reactions to Terror Attacks

A customer at work yesterday complained that David Cameron was "giving terrorists ideas" by talking about possible things they could do. I've heard similar sentiments before. I tried explaiming that poisoning water supplies, breaking internet and phone lines etc was not IS's MO.

IS and their fellow bands of deeply unmerry men (and some women), like gun fire, explosions and other flashy modes of mayhem. Sure, cutting internet lines will cause disruption, but it's not showy and it's not scary to anyone but a few millenials.

Poisoning water supplies is fairly difficult work, and not at all showy. It also risks killing Muslims. IS doesn't want to accidentally kill random Muslims. It wants the West to do that, to drive Muslims to hate the West, to return to the Middle East if they left, to join IS.

Cameron knows this. Cameron knows IS et al are unlikely to listen to him and go "wow, what a good idea, let's try that instead of blowing ourselves up!"

So why did he say it? Why have Western leaders been saying these things for years?

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free Cupcakes... or With Egg, If You Like

It took me a while to get these just right, but I think I have finally cracked it. They're a little denser than a normal, white flour cupcake, maybe somewhere between a cupcake and a brownie, but unless you went out of your way to tell someone they were free from a bunch of stuff then no one would ever guess.


Ishtar =/= Easter, Geez!

The Ishtar = Easter meme is doing the rounds again, with even more inaccuracies and visual lies than previous years. I'll start with the worst offending parts, from the point of view of mythologists, historians and anthropologists... and rant on from there.

Fudge Making; It's Not THAT Difficult

I got a bee in a my bonnet a few weeks ago about fudge. Fudge isn't something that's ever been a big part of my diet. You try finding fudge that's made with organic dairy produce on the high street (Thornton's used to do some but the shop in my town stopped selling it suddenly). I've made what I'd call "cheat's fudge", or vegan fudge, with peanut butter, chocolate and icing sugar, but never real fudge. Proper fudge that's just sugar, butter, milk and a flavouring of choice.

I'm not even sure why I decided to give it a go, but I did and now I'm slightly obsessed.

I'd assumed that it was something hard to make. Something that required years of practice at mom's side in the kitchen, so I did a LOT of reading. All the marshmallow cream (whatever the hell that is... Americans), condensed milk or icing sugar using "cheat's fudge" recipe intros say it's difficult to make, and all of the expert blogs and articles I read implied the same thing. Fudge is hard science, it's chemistry and timing. There's no fudging with fudge!

Okay, so maybe to make the utterly perfect, show stopping fudges from professional small traders on the continent you need years of practice. But to make something that's consistently fudge-y and tasty, if not artisan grade? I've been doing this every other evening for about three weeks and, seriously, it's not that hard. Don't listen to the gate keepers!

Bad English Haiku 2

Crisp winter night.
Full moon winks behind sparse cloud.
Confused werewolf.

Courgette Cupcakes

This was... an adventure. As I'm attempting to save up for a deposit on a house, I'm making/baking birthday presents for my friends this year. This, as you might imagine, generally leads to some pretty calorific gifts. At this time of year, a lot of people are if not trying to lose the Christmas binge weight, at least trying not to put more on. A pile of cream, butter and sugar is not necessarily going to be highly appreciated.

I wanted to try to make my friend something a bit healthier for her birthday than the vegan truffles I made for someone else, or the little bags of death I put together for work Christmas gifts.

Hello, courgette cake. Or as you'll find most recipes online referring to it; zucchini cake. Americans might do a lot wrong with food (sorry, American friends, but your fast food has ruined most economically wealthy nations), but baking they do superbly. I'm not talking the fancy pants stuff France is fond of. No high end, decades to master techniques. No, just good old, what your grandmother would bake, with twists, baking. Hence the zucchini innovations.


My intention this week was to make salmon and egg donburi, and a strawberry baked Alaska, to test my new blow torch out! However, yesterday I discovered I did not have any rice in the cupboard (how the Hell I let that happen I do not know), and my strawberry ice cream appears to be edible anti-freeze.

So... I replaced the rice with soba noodles and made something else with salmon that I have been calling, as you might guess from the title, ALL OF THE UMAMI!

Medieval Pork Pate... and some other stuff

My experiment with Babylonian cooking went really well. This week I decided to fly through time and space to try a couple of Medieval English recipes and one Roman one. More turnips! More leeks! Boy, were these two (obviously hardy and easy to grow) veggies ubiquitous in centuries past. Which is fine by me; I love them. Turnips aren't too readily available in Scotland at this time of year, so again I used swede, or... turnip as it's known up here. Rutabaga to American folks.

Hammurabi's Lunch

My Not-Really-A-New-Years'-Resolution is to cook more non-stew, non-stir fry recipes at home. I do plenty of cooking at work when we cater big events, but I'm just an assistant so I have no real say in the menu. I am setting aside time each week to try some new recipes, learn some new techniques, or work with ingredients I haven't before.

First stop; the Yale Babylonian Cuisine Tablets.

Okay, so that's quite a step in a "different" direction, right? Eh, maybe not.