This Blog Is Moving

April 29, 2007

I’ve been so impressed with wordpress.com – the site, the software, the user community, themes, widgets and general vibe that I decided to take this seriously!

I’ve gone the whole hog and have setup my own wordpress powered blog at www.exemplaryvisions.com – please join me there! My latest post talks about my transfer to self hosting.

Many thanks to folks at wordpress.com for this wonderful site.

 Cheers,

 George.


Raan

April 20, 2007

I’m a fan of curries, and I’ve had some success over the years making a few. My party piece is Raan, which is basically a “marinade a leg of lamb in a bit of this and that for 48hrs” job which makes a miracle. This web recipe is very close to the one in my old (i.e. 80s) curry cook book.

Takes a bit of time to make the marinade, but then it’s just a case of waiting for it to do its stuff and then putting it in an oven.


Wild Boar

April 20, 2007

Being in agreement with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (I’m not a telly person but I am a proud owner of his meat book, and he is a star of BBC radio4), I do try to eschew the taste lacking offerings on parade at my local supermarket meat isles, preferring to give a more sparse but enjoyed business to excellent local butchers such as Crombies and Saundersons (the latter being where I have bought the family Christmas ham for the last 13 years).

Yet the star of this posting is a local raiser of finest wild boar, Northwood Wild Boar, whose shoulder of wild boar I bought at the Castle Street Farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago. I’d already tasted their splendid wild boar bacon courtesy of pals who live in East Lothian, and my anticipation was rising!

Using our friend the Internet, I found an ace recipe, whose success I attribute to the marinading process (duh -top tip – use marinades!). On my own initiative I also food processed the marinade into a slurry – it didn’t look to me that it would work otherwise?

Not a cheap piece of meat, but then again, it was the star culinary event for that week, all the more enjoyed by sharing it with friends and employing the assistance of a damn fine Portuguese red recommended by another star in the firmament, James Wrobel of Cornelius.

East less meat, buy better meat!


Beer

April 20, 2007

Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to see a posting about beer. As an initial foray into the sensational world of beer, it is my mission to share the wonder and joy that is Weiss beer, one of my favourites being Erdinger. It’s worth following the link just to hear their corporate song. Their Franz Beckenbauer adverts are good fun (contrast and compare with a former UK footballer choosing to endorse zit inducing crisped potatoes rather than a nectar fit for gods).


Drumming

April 20, 2007

Last yearI took the plunge and bought a drum kit. This is an ambition which I believe is primeval; drumming is a necessary response to some deep imperative. It is all very well having had piano lessons as a boy, clocking up Associated Board Grade 6 and a Scottish Higher Grade music qualification at school, and playing with keyboard/synth/midi/computer toys throughout my extended childhood (no sign of that ending), but there is something visceral about thumping a drum kit which no end of Bach inversions can get near to. I’m not against the sublime (as someone like Murray Perahia playing Bach can achieve), but drumming ROCKS!

Ever since I knew who the Who were, and I am blessed in having seen Keith Moon play at the Who gig at Celtic Park in 1976, I’ve been acutely aware of the pleasure drumming gives an audience. Only recently have I had the presence of mind to realise that I could try to be a drummer too. Early days yet, but as Lao Tzu always used to say, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, or in this case, a single paradiddle….


Obsessive Reading

April 20, 2007

While priming my new blog with a set of posts on my reading habits, I noticed a bit of a trend. If I am recommended or otherwise discover a new author, I like to read their work in chronological order and completely, unless, obviously, I take a scunner to them during that process. This has been an alarming trend in my last few years of reading (it can be quite time consuming to scratch a 19 book itch); I am pleased with my serial forays into Price, Dibdin and (so far) Connelly, and a bit less happy with my consumption of Cornwell (though I admit to being strangely compelled by Patricia’s Scarpetta saga, even when it went weird in the more recent books). For some authors it is easier for they have written less; Mo Hayder is impressive – some scary subject matter, but interesting nevertheless, especially the Nanking back-story for Tokyo (I cheated though, I read Tokyo first as part of a 3 for 2 Watersons gamble – you can’t always start at the beginning!).

Some of my literary obsessions are more easily controlled because I have being reading them more or less in sync with their publication; probably no surprise that a Scot of my time and place awaits with relish each new book by Banks, RankinMacLeod and Brookemyre. My latest Sci Fi serial addiction is the work of Richard K Morgan - great stuff!

The other category is authors you’ve read out of order who you know you have to complete. In this category falls Val McDemird (I blame Radio4’s bookclub for hooking me on the Mermaids Singing – seriously nasty and compelling – so I read all her other Tony Hill books and now have to figure out a strategy for reading the rest of her work).

I’ve also read Jeffrey Deaver out of order, but having read a couple of his early ones trawled out of Amazon’s long tail, I’m not convinced I’ll get around to reading all his stuff. The Lincoln Rhyme series is mandatory of course. The computer non-science content of “The Blue Nowhere” made we wince (I hate when that happens – I bet cops wince when they read lousy depictions of police procedure even though the rest of us go quite happily with the flow).

In summary – if you have any clue that an author may be good – start at the beginning and work your way through (works for me when I so choose!).


Kurt Vonnegut

April 20, 2007

As a young teen reader I read Vonnegut avidly, along with my other faves of Philip José Farmer and Philip K Dick. I belatedly realised on the news of his death that I owe the man some serious re-reading, as I probably missed 90% of what he was on about at the time; I remember my mind being tickled, stretched and entertained, but I can’t remember why – I need to report back!

A recent pleasant memory is hearing him on my beloved BBC Radio 4 telling Mark Lawson about his crapness as a Saab salesman.


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