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First look at Poem/1

I really like the look (and soul!) of Matt Webb’s AI rhyming clock:

It’s a device that tells the time with RHYMING COUPLETS! It’s a MACHINE POET that lives on my frickin BOOKSHELVES composing tirelessly and INFINITELY. Anything apart from the poetry that yells for attention distracts from that.

Launching on Kickstarter next week!

Cottage pie

There’s nothing particularly special about this recipe other than it came out rather well and I’d like to make it again!

Ingredients

  • Beef mince, 400g
  • Mashed potato1, enough mash for 3cm layer
  • Brown onion, 2 medium, minced
  • White mushroom, 300g, diced small
  • Carrot, 1 large, diced small
  • Frozen peas, 1 cup
  • Garlic, 3 cloves, minced
  • Tomato purée, 1 tbsp
  • Harissa, 1 tbsp
  • Vegetable stock, 250ml
  • Henderson’s relish, 1 tbsp
  • Thyme, leaves from 4 sprigs
  • Ground coriander, 1 tsp
  • Ground cumin, 1 tsp
  • Ground fennel seed, 1 tsp
  • Salt + pepper

Instructions

  1. Take a good-sized pan, put on a medium-high heat, add a touch of vegetable oil followed by the onion and garlic then cook until they start to turn translucent.
  2. Add the carrots and cook for a 5 minutes.
  3. Add the mushroom and cook for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato purée and harissa then cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the ground coriander, ground cumin and ground fennel seed, stir well then cook for a few minutes.
  6. Stir in the mince and the thyme, using a spatula to ensure the mince is broken up.
  7. Add the frozen peas, vegetable stock and Henderson’s relish. Season with salt and pepper then stir well.
  8. Bring to a hearty simmer for ~20 minutes or until most of the liquid has reduced then set aside to cool.
  9. Spoon the mixture into a deep oven dish and top with mash then grate some cheddar cheese on top.
  10. Put the oven dish in the middle of a pre-heated oven set to 180℃. Cook for 30 minutes or until piping hot in the middle and golden on top.
  1. This is how I made the mashed potato!

    Ingredients

    • Potato, ~800g, peeled and quartered
    • Butter, ~83⅓g
    • Cheddar cheese, ~100g
    • Wholegrain mustard, 1 tbsp
    • Olive oil, 1 tsp
    • Salt + pepper

    Instructions

    1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the potato. Boil until turning soft but not falling apart.
    2. Pop the potato a colander to drain then return to the pan to steam dry for a few minutes.
    3. Add the butter, cheddar cheese, wholegrain mustard, olive oil and salt and pepper then give the pan a quick shake.
    4. Mash the potato using a potato masher until smooth.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 (2023)

I adore Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered (2020) so I was super-excited to play the sequel.

It’s a good game, but not as accomplished as the first. The story feels tenuous and overextended, the mechanics are odd (parry being particularly frustrating) and the web swinging is finicky.

Side missions are uninspired and samey, with stealth playing second fiddle to all-out combat. Gadgets aren’t as fun as those in the first game — I struggle to tell the difference between them all.

I didn’t play at release (I downloaded a post-installation update) but I’ve encountered a fair number of bugs including the crash-and-report kind.

3 out of 5

lima-test

I’ve been looking at Lima as a replacement for Vagrant × VirtualBox since switching to a Mac with Apple Silicon:

My use case is to spin up a disposable virtual machine running a flavour of Linux that is mounted to the directory from which it is run.

I didn’t find a lot of prior art so I’m sharing for people of the future.

My top 5 hot sauces

  1. Tabasco Pepper Sauce
  2. Crystal Hot Sauce
  3. Huy Fong Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
  4. Cholula Hot Sauce
  5. Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce

Wonderbag

Wonderbag is a draw-string bag that’s overstuffed with repurposed foam chips:

After bringing a pot of food to the boil and placing it in a Wonderbag, the food will continue cooking for up to eight hours without any additional energy source.

I love my Wonderbag. It makes particularly great curry. I associate slow cookers with overcooked ingredients but Wonderbag is different (and unpowered), leaving vegetables with their bite and protein in one piece.

Thx Seamus!

Half-Life: 25th Anniversary Documentary

To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the release of Half-Life we reunited the original development team to share their memories of creating Valve’s first game.

I must have spent hundreds of hours playing Half-Life.

I was dismayed to discover that you can no longer play Half-Life on macOS since macOS 10.15 Catalina removed support for 32-bit software :(

Loki S02 (2023)

I found the plot of Loki’s second season confusing and the cinematography a step down compared to the first. I really liked Ke Huy Quan as Ouroboros and the set and prop design was great.

3 out of 5

Pulled pork

Ingredients

  • Pork shoulder, ~1¾kg, rind removed (reserve for crackling!)
  • Brown onion, 2 large, cut into ⅛ pieces
  • Red chilli, 1 large, deseeded and cut into ½
  • Garlic, 1 bulb, crushed
  • Vegetable stock, 300ml
  • Tomato ketchup, 4 tbsp
  • Tomato purée, 1 tbsp
  • Cider vinegar, 2 tbsp
  • Soy sauce, 2 tbsp
  • Henderson’s relish, 1 tbsp
  • Smoked paprika, 1 tbsp
  • Celery salt, 1 tbsp
  • Seasoning mix1, ½ cup (metric)

Instructions

  1. Generously rub the seasoning mix into the pork shoulder ensuring it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Wrap with cling film and refrigerate for four hours (but ideally overnight).
  2. Take a heavy casserole pan and add the brown onion, red chilli, garlic and pour in the vegetable stock then place the pork shoulder on top.
  3. Take a mixing bowl, add the tomato ketchup, tomato purée, cider vinegar, soy sauce, Henderson’s relish, smoked paprika and celery salt. Whisk until combined then pour over the pork shoulder.
  4. Snug a piece of baking paper directly over the pork shoulder. Lay a few sheets of tin foil on top of the casserole pan then push the lid down onto the pan to form a seal.
  5. Put the casserole pan in the middle of a cold oven and set to 150℃. Cook until the pork is tender and falling apart; test with a fork at 4 hours.
  6. Once done, gently remove the pork shoulder to a large mixing bowl and leave to steam for 10 minutes. Use a pair of forks to roughly shred the pork and remove any bits that aren’t tasty (unrendered fat, connective tissue, etc) then tent with tin foil.
  7. Blend the remaining contents of the casserole pan to make a smooth sauce. Ladle ~100ml onto the pulled pork and mix well!
  8. I like to prepare the pulled pork in advance. To reheat, transfer the pulled pork to a deep oven dish and cover in tin foil. Put the oven dish in the middle of a pre-heated oven set to 180℃. Cook for 20 minutes, stir then cook uncovered for another 10 minutes to crisp the top.
  1. Use whatever you like. Toast fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a pan then bash up with a pestle and mortar; pre-made barbecue seasoning; random mix of leftover ground spices from your cupboard; salt and pepper! 

Saag aloo

Saag aloo

Ingredients

  • New potatoes1, 500g, steamed, peeled and cut into 1½ inch chunks
  • Frozen spinach, 500g
  • Leek, 1, halved lengthways, sliced fine
  • Garlic, ½ bulb, minced
  • Ground cumin, 1 tbsp
  • Ground coriander, 1 tbsp
  • Ground turmeric, ½ tbsp
  • Cumin seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Yellow mustard seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Black mustard seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Tomato purée, 1 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt + pepper

Instructions

  1. Put a good-sized pan on a medium-high heat, add a generous amount of vegetable oil then add the cumin seeds, yellow mustard seeds, black mustard seeds and cook until fragrant.
  2. Add the leek and garlic followed by a good pinch of salt and pepper then cook until the leek starts to turn translucent.
  3. Add the ground coriander, ground tumeric and ground cumin then cook until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the tomato purée and cook for a few minutes.
  5. Add the frozen spinach and a good pinch of salt. Put the lid on and cook on a medium heat until the spinach has defrosted (~¼ hour?)
  6. Add the potatoes and stir gently until well coated in the spice mixture.
  7. Turn the heat to low and cook until well reduced, stiring occasionally.
  1. Any waxy potato will do. 

Sticky ribs

Sticky ribs

This is a straightforward recipe for same-day ribs. You’ll need a rack that will fit inside a deep oven tray and ideally it’ll be one with legs that leaves ½ inch between the rack and the bottom of the tray.

Ingredients

  • Back pork ribs, 2
  • Barbecue sauce, ~250g
  • Seasoning mix1, ½ cup (metric)
  • Vegetable stock, 1 litre
  • Salt + pepper

Instructions

  1. Generously rub the seasoning mix into the ribs.
  2. Place the ribs on the rack then pour the stock from the corner of the oven tray. Add enough stock to reach the bottom of the rack – you don’t want to submerge the ribs.
  3. Snug a piece of baking paper directly over the ribs and cover the oven tray with a few sheets of tin foil. Seal well!
  4. Put the oven tray in the middle of a cold oven and set to 150℃. Cook for 2 hours.
  5. Once done, take out the oven tray, carefully remove the tin foil and baking paper then remove the rack from the oven tray. Set the ribs aside to cool for ½ hour2. Reserve the rib stock3.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180℃. Put the rack back in the oven tray and paint the top of the ribs with a generous coating of barbecue sauce then put the oven tray in the middle of the oven.
  7. Once the barbecue sauce has caramelised somewhat (5/10 minutes), take the oven tray out the oven and paint another coat of barbecue sauce on the top of the ribs. Rinse and repeat another couple of times until well glazed and super sticky.
  8. Once done, take out the oven tray and tent with tin foil. Rest for ¼ hour. Separate the rack into individual ribs by running a sharp knife down the side of each rib bone.
  1. Use whatever you like. Toast fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a pan then bash up with a pestle and mortar; pre-made barbecue seasoning; random mix of leftover ground spices from your cupboard; salt and pepper! 

  2. If you’re eating later (or another day) you can pop the ribs in the fridge after cooling to room temperature. Make sure bring back to room temperature before proceeding. 

  3. Double-strain this fine liquor then reduce by ⅔. Use as a base for your own barbecue sauce or freeze for a rainy day. 

Veggie chilli

Veggie chilli

This veggie chilli takes a bit of effort and has a large number of ingredients – but it’s tasty (and not watery!)

Ingredients

  • Mushrooms, ~350g, diced (½ inch)
  • Courgette, 1 large, diced (½ inch)
  • Celery, 4 ribs, diced (½ inch)
  • Leek, 1, halved lengthways, sliced fine
  • Red chilli, 2, roughly chopped
  • Ancho chilli, 2, roughly chopped and rehydrated
  • Brown onion, 1 large, minced
  • Red onion, 1 medium, roughly chopped
  • Tomato, 1, roughly chopped
  • Garlic, ½ bulb, roughly chopped
  • Ginger, 4cm, roughly chopped
  • Cinnamon bark, 2 sticks
  • Caraway seed, 1½ tbsp
  • Coriander seed, 1½ tbsp
  • Black peppercorn, 8
  • Whole tomatoes, 400g tin, broken up
  • Mixed beans, 2 400g tins, strained
  • Paprika, 2½ tbsp
  • Smoked paprika, 2½ tbsp
  • Celery salt, 1 tbsp
  • Vegetable oil, ½ tbsp
  • Henderson’s relish
  • Tomato purée, 1 tbsp
  • Harissa, 1 tbsp
  • Coriander, small handful
  • Shot of espresso (or 10ml coffee)
  • Salt + pepper

Instructions

  1. Toast the cinnamon bark, caraway seed, coriander seed and peppercorns in a pan on a medium-high heat until fragrant. Reserve the cinnamon bark.
  2. Add the caraway seed, coriander seed and peppercorns to the mill followed by the red chilli, ancho chilli, red onion, tomato, garlic, ginger and coriander. Add the vegetable oil, ~50ml of the ancho chilli liquor1 and a good pinch of salt.
  3. Blend until a fine paste then set aside.
  4. Put a large pan on a medium-high heat with a glug of vegetable oil. Add the mushroom and courgette with a pinch of salt and cook for 10 minutes until the mushroom and courgette have softened and released a good amount of liquid. Strain the mushroom and courgette then set aside. Reserve the liquid.
  5. Add a glug of vegetable oil to the pan, add the brown onion and leek then cook until the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the celery followed by a pinch of salt and cook for another 10 minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomato purée and harissa then add the cinnamon bark, paprika, smoked paprika and celery salt. Stir well and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir in the spice paste. Cook for 10 minutes until fragrant and just starting to stick.
  8. Add the mushroom, courgette and the beans then stir in the tin of tomatoes. If chilli is looking too dry add some of the mushroom and courgette cooking liquid.
  9. Bring to a simmer then put the lid on and cook for 1 hour.
  10. Take the lid off and reduce to your desired consistency.
  1. The water that the ancho chilli rehydrated in. 

BlackBerry (2023)

Cabined in scope, I suspect the actual events reflect a more interesting story. Glenn Howerton’s portrayal of Jim Balsillie was great.

3 out of 5

Ahsoka S01 (2023)

Ahsoka Tano is an incredible character! Unfortunately the TV show didn’t hit for me. The story was stunted, I dont think the casting decisions worked and the character motivations were opaque.

2 out of 5

Tandoori masala roast chicken

alt text

I like to cook this in advance to serve in wraps with salad, pickled red onion and tandoori masala mayonnaise. Take all the meat off the bone, haphazardly pull apart and wrap in a foil pillow. To reheat, pop in a pre-heated oven set to 180℃ for 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Chicken, 1, spatchcocked
  • Natural yoghurt, 500g
  • Tandoori masala1, 4 tbsp
  • Olive oil, ½ tbsp
  • Mayonnaise, ~4 tbsp

Instructions

Tandoori masala roast chicken

  1. Take a large mixing bowl and add the natural yoghurt, tandoori masala and olive oil. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  2. Use a sharp knife to cut across the breasts, thighs and drumsticks. The cuts should be ~⅓ of the way into the chicken, towards the bone.
  3. Take a deep oven dish and place the chicken flat, skin-side down. Pour over the tandoori masala marinade and use your hands to ensure the chicken is coated all over.
  4. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for four hours (but ideally overnight).
  5. When ready to cook, take the chicken out the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.
  6. Remove the cling film, snug a piece of baking paper directly over the chicken and cover the oven dish with a few sheets of tin foil. Seal well!
  7. Put the oven dish in the middle of a cold oven and heat to 160℃. Bake for 1¼ hours.
  8. Once done, take out the oven dish, carefully remove the tin foil and baking paper then let steam for 10 minutes.
  9. Place a roasting rack in a deep oven tray. Gently transfer the chicken to the rack, placing the chicken flat, skin-side up. Reserve the leftover marinade if making tandoori masala mayonnaise!
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 180℃, put the oven tray in the middle of the oven and roast for ~1 hour or until the skin starts to go crispy.
  11. Once done, take the oven tray out and tent with tin foil. Rest for ½ hour.

Bonus! Tandoori masala mayonnaise

  1. Pass the leftover marinade through a sieve. Reserve the solids and discard the liquid.
  2. Tap the solids into a mixing bowl and add the mayonnaise. Whisk until thoroughly combined.

Green tapenade

Green tapenade

I knocked this together a few nights ago with some forgotten olives, end-of-jar capers and some tired parsley – it came out really well. I wish I had a better photo!

Ingredients

  • Manzanillo olives, pitted, ~160g
  • Flat leaf parsley, stalks removed, a good handful
  • Capers, 1½ tbsp
  • Caper brine, 1 tbsp
  • Lemon, ½, juiced
  • Extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • Salt + pepper

Instructions

Chuck all the ingredients into a blender and carefully pulse a few times until combined but still chunky. I use the mill attachment for my blender.

Spread generously on toast and (if you like) top with baked Camembert.