e the blog o' moosh

Monday, January 22, 2007

I do recycle. I just resent the fact that the bins are so big.

Inspired by marveline, here is my first in an occasional series of recipes:

Chicken and Leek Pie

You will need:
  • 2-3 chicken breasts
  • 1 leek
  • A handful of mushrooms
  • Packet puff pastry
  • Some white wine
  • Garlic/Tarragon if you like it
  • Chicken stock cube

  • Big pot or wok
  • pie dish
  • rolling pin (if you don't have a rolling pin, use the wine bottle before you open it)
  • pastry brush (or your fingers)

This should be enough to serve 4 polite people or 2 troughers.

  • Take the pastry out of the fridge now, or you'll regret it later. Leave it near where you are cooking so it softens up a bit.
  • Take the chicken and cut up into cubes. Some more accomplished chefs might call these "bite size morsels".
  • Take your leek and cut up into round slices.
  • Take a couple of mushrooms and slice those bad boys up into small chunks.
  • Heat a tiny splash of oil in your pot.
  • Chuck in the leeks and stir them up a bit til they start to go soft.
  • Add a bit of garlic if you like that sort of thing.
  • I also add tarragon at this point, but only if you like it (some people, inexplicably, don't).
  • Chuck in the chicken and make it go white.
  • Add the mushrooms.
  • Crumble in a chicken stock cube.
  • Once all this looks like it's browned, splash a bit of white wine in there, maybe a wine glass full.
  • It will look a bit runny, but stick with me here. Stir it all up and then leave it to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until most of the wine/stock has been absorbed.
  • Whilst this is happening, you could go and watch telly, have a dance round the living room to one of the many hits of Wham! or you could be sensible and get the pastry ready.
  • Put the oven on to about 180 degrees or so.
  • Get your dish you are going to put the pie in and roll out your pastry so it's the same rough shape but a bit bigger round the edges.
  • If you want to add cream to make your sauce creamy, add a few dribbles now.
  • Once the pie filling (that's the chicken and stuff, dullard) is ready, stick it all in your pie dish and then even it out.
  • Lay on the pastry and crimp the edges on to the edge of the pie dish. If you're a fancy pants, you could score a pattern in the top of the pastry, perhaps a trellis effect, a loved one's name, or an etching of a stoat in flight. Put 2 little vents in the middle with your sharpest knife for the steam to escape.
  • Stand back and cast a loving eye over your pie, as it were. Then grab a mug an egg and a fork. Your partner may look at you with a worried expression, but ignore this, it will pass. Crack the egg in the cup and beat it up a bit with the fork.
  • If you have a pastry brush (and if you're married, you will inevitably have 4 of the blighters), brush on the egg mixture on your pastry. If you have no pastry brush, just pour it on and kind of smear it all over the pastry with your fingers. It has the same effect and is one less thing to wash up. Make sure you get all the pastry covered so it goes that nice shiny way in the oven.
  • Put your pie on a baking tray before you put it in the oven. Now, I am not the sort of person to follow that sort of order in conventional recipes, but trust me, my friend - your pie WILL spill over the sides of the dish and you don't want to be cleaning charred pie remnants off your cooker from now til Christmas.
  • The pie will take about 15 minutes or so to cook - just look and when it looks nice and brown and your pastry has puffed up nicely, then it's ready. If you like your pastry soggy, then obviously take it out a bit earlier. If it's black and smells funky, you've left it in too long. If you do encounter this, place the entire dish in the bin and head to the chip shop.

I serve my pie (ooh la la) with potatoes of some sort, possibly croquettes, and sweetcorn.


posted by Claire @ 1/22/2007 07:08:00 pm | 2 comments | links

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Thursday, January 18, 2007

I know that I can walk into that exam and pass it easy.

Originally uploaded by mooosh.

I love snow - and I have not been disappointed this week. On Tuesday, as I sat aghast at the events unfolding on celebrity big brother and knitting bits of blanket, the TV kept cutting out, until it got unwatchable. I screamed at the TV, I flicked it on then off - but to no avail. It was only when I glanced out the window that I realised why - it was SNOWING! There was a light dusting of snow all over the court and I was one happy bunny.

Imagine my dismay to awake yesterday to discover not one molecule left! It had all melted away and I was once again - sad.

And then this morning - I struggled out of bed, to the window - and it was like freakin Antartica out there! An inch or so of snow all over, and best of all, it was STILL snowing! All the way to work, we cast doubtful looks at the sky that it might start raining. But no, it continued all the way to past 11 am, snowing huge fat flakes. It looked like boiled eggs were raining down on us at one point and just when we thought it would never end - it started raining.

However, that lasted only a few moments - and then it went calm and a bit bright - but the important thing is, that at work at least, the snow is still lying on the ground and we're forecast for more. As you can see, the view from my desk has been very pretty today.

Sorry, but snow really does get me going! The highlight of the week, no less! Also this week, Jo has booked us flights to go to London for the day next month - for a bargain total of £2.04 for the 2 of us! I could barely believe it! A bunch of us crafters are going on a jaunt for the day and I am really looking forwards to it. I have my first job interview tomorrow for an age, so please keep your fingers crossed for me! I will post more about that, depending on the outcome of course!

Must go now to pray for more snow!

P.S Don't you love my new blog template?! It was designed by the very talented mar-c, inspired by a shower gel bottle! Thank you marveline!

posted by Claire @ 1/18/2007 05:24:00 pm | 1 comments | links

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

I don't know what happened. It must have gone straight into my junk mail folder.

You never seem to hear about the good that the internet can do. The papers are always full of stories like "Internet pervert ate my hamster" and "Conned by internet scamsters" and never about what joy it can bring to people's lives.

I am not sure that many people know just how big a part in my life the internet plays. To name but 3 important pieces of my life, I have obtained a job, a house and a husband no less, all online. Which is quite an achievement, even in today's modern age.

The 3 most important things in my life have come from my use of the world wide web. The job was procured on good old s1jobs and of course not only was the job found online, but I have become the hostmaster of one of Europe's biggest webhosting companies, meaning my working day is spent - online.

The house was found on rightmove.co.uk, after a chance glance to the right when helping Jo and Ryan move into their flat, over 2 years ago. A quick shufty online and we'd found the flat that we had seen for sale and hey presto, we have nice neighbours.

The husband was slightly more complex and let's face it, the more interesting of the 3 finds. Lee, as you know him, and I met on match.com. We were both over the hanging around bars making eye contact, so took the independently sensible steps of just giving it a go. We emailed a few times through the site, swapped phone numbers and after one (admittedly painfully awkward) phone call, we agreed to meet up in a bar in town. And, to cut a long story short - it was love at first sight and we've been inseperable ever since.

Now, in the paragraph above, you'll note that there is no mention of perversion, freakery or even a whiff of oddness of any sort. We are just 2 ordinary people and now, we are just 2 ordinary very happy people. No discovering a hidden wife and children, a recent sex change or a cleaned-out bank account and an empty house - no weirdness. Why do the papers never report on that?

Anyway, the point to this is - any singletons out there who are too scared or shy to give it a go - just try it. You never know, you might find exactly what you've been looking for.

posted by Claire @ 1/13/2007 06:05:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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There is milk in the house, we just don't know where it is.

Would you believe it? I have only been and done it!

Finally, after over 10 years of being a big scardey cat, I've had my ears pierced. Not exactly achieving a cure for the common cold, I grant you, but for me it's been quite a big deal! And certainly the start of what I hope to be the year I make the most of things. And the end of people being stuck for what to buy me for birthdays.

Today was such a fun day, despite the truly atrocious weather we are experiencing at the moment. Jo and I had designated today charity shopping day, so we set off after a long lie in our respective pits, stopping off first at China Town. To say China Town sadly does not describe the true nature of it - it is essentially a shed and a restaurant, it's no San Francisco, that's for sure.

The stench of fish is almost unbearable when you walk in and if I'd had any breakfast I would have surely been in danger of losing it, but we battled on, stopping in the Omni gift shop for some money envelopes and moving on to the supermarket for a browse. I picked up some cooking sauces and Jo bought some stuff for some recipes she is trying out and before we knew it our parking time had elapsed, so we headed back out, stopping sneakily at the bakery on the way out. You can see the fruits of that particular labour over at Cake Tourism.

Once back to the car, we headed down Great Western Road and had a stroll along to the Republic Bier Halle for some lunch (the goulash is recommended). We had a jaunt across the road to Lupe Pintos where I bought some things for going to visit Lex and Tex next week (Tex aka Rebecca is, as my pet name for her suggests, from Texas). We were pretty soggy by this time, so we thought best to press on and get to Partick to our favourite cluster of charity shops, where we hoped to get some materials for our latest ideas. Once we got parked, we made our way to the Sense charity shop where we dropped off our donations and picked up a few great finds.

After a very damp (in fact, damp doesn't do it - sodden) walk along Dumbarton Road, we headed up Byres Road and into Burning Monkey, a piercing studio recently relocated from the city centre. The girl there, altho she was initally duller than a lead pipe, turned out to be very competent and once she'd finished her pot noodle and sterilised herself, pierced me in no time at all. I was most shocked that it didn't really hurt, more just sort of throbbed briefly and then settled down straight away. I am still slightly in awe of my pain-free ears. They just feel pleasantly warm.

We finished our day up with a drink and a read of the Skinny mag in Russells and a sneaky bit of chocolate cake to share. I feel like I've really crossed something off my list of things to do this year! Tomorrow I have planned a trip to the post office to shed my latest load of ebay sales and then ... nothing!

posted by Claire @ 1/13/2007 05:39:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Vests are for old men.

Whilst taking in a drink in a local hostelry the other nite, a drunken, pony-tailed man slurred at me "whairdjicumfae?". For the uninitiated, this is drunken Scot-speak for "Hello there, please excuse my stale alcohol breath, I was just wondering whereabouts you possibly could hail from?".

My reply, through gritted teeth, was "up the road, Maryhill", clearly not being one for blithely giving out personal facts to random drunken strangers in bars (those days are long gone). It took a while to extricate myself from the unfortunate
interrogation, given that the barman, who had all the personality of a stoat's ingrown toenail, took approximately 3 millenia to pour 2 drinks, but it did set me to thinking when exactly did I think of myself coming from Maryhill and not the wilds of Ayrshire?

For those of you who don't know, I've not always lived in Glasgow. In fact, I was born and raised in Ayrshire, which is a county on the South West coast of Scotland, famous for bacon, potatoes and cows. I hail from a small town called Kilwinning in this noble shire, which, it turns out, is famous in it's own right for a few things (other than being the hometown of me, of course). The story of the myriad other places I have lived is one for another day.

Firstly, Kilwinning has a big old abbey, which in a town of 15,000 people is quite unexpected. It was set up by some Benedictine monks or other a long, long time ago. Ashamed to say, the full extent of my knowledge of the abbey is from my
childhood brushes with the law in it's grounds. My grandad's flat was situated right next to the abbey, which was (and most likely still is) surrounded by an enormous, ancient stone wall, about 12 feet high.

Me, my brother and the other kids from the area would climb over the wall and generally carouse in the grounds which were fenced off, no doubt for our own safety. On the opposite side of the abbey ground's was the police station, so most of our forays ended with frantically running across to the point where we could climb the wall and running back up the stairs to grandad's house before they caught us. I remember on one occasion I had my brother's jumper on (it was blue) and I got stuck in the fence and we only narrowly avoided capture. It may or may not have been the same occasion where Andrew got stuck on the spike on the top of the wall by his trousers.

Secondly, and somewhat shamefully I think, Kilwinning is the site of the original Masonic Lodge. The Orange Lodge, as it's known, is up near the doctors surgery that we went to. I never paid all that much attention to it when I was living there. Being a Catholic, there was never much call to, but I have since discovered that Kilwinning has the somewhat dubious honour of
having Lodge number 0. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, see here.

Kilwinning also has, and hold on to your hats here, a castle! Eglinton Castle is set in a big park (imaginatively titled Eglinton Park) which bizarrely also had a food factory in it (I think it's closed now). It was built about a zillion years ago and all that remains is the ruins of part of it now. There is a tower still standing which is closed to the public, but I do recall being taken up to the top of it as a youngster, possibly allowed by my uncle who is a council employee of some sorts. It was a very exciting day to be allowed up there, but a bit scary as it was so high.

Eglinton Castle was inhabited by the De Morville and the Montgomery families and this is evident in many place names around town. In the 1800s, the Montgomery family took the ill fated decision to re-enact a medeival tournament - it was a bit gash, by all accounts and cost them a lot of money and eventually led to the castle being abandoned and falling into the state of repair it
is in today - i.e. there's nowt but a few ruined bits of it left.

In the park itself tho there are still some outbuildings to stumble
across. I remember finding the old ice house for the castle one day with my parents as a child, which was quite a thrill.

Eglinton Park was a favourite haunt of me during my horsey days, as I would sometimes trek from Stevenston to the park for a canter around, and attended a couple of shows there, memorably winning 4th place in the Mountain and Moorland class at a show, despite Misty, my pony, completely showing me up with her randy, on-heat antics. It was also family tradition to go to the park on Easter Sunday to roll our painted boiled eggs down the hill in front of the tower. Did anyone else do or still do that?

Other interesting Kilwinning facts include that Pringle knitwear was first manufactured there and also that Kilwinning had a proud history of wool-making - I had no idea of these crafty facts until I was checking a few facts for this post. Maybe there is something in the water that makes so many people knit down there (or maybe it's sheer lack of anything else to do).

I remember the Wool Sack being the in place to visit of a weekend. My mum was quite the knitter and indeed still is, so we were frequent visitors there. Every jumper we ever wore as kids was knitted by my mum. I recall a grey knitted jumper for school which I took a dislike to for some reason that was left on the back of the sofa next to the hamster's cage - whether on purpose
or not, I can't remember - which the hamster then chewed an enormous, irreprable hole in. I was positively gleeful, but I think I got a skelp on the legs for that.

There are loads of other things I could continue with - the (in)famous football team, the Buffs, the inexplicable intrigue with archery, McGavin park, our very own Byres Road, but I think that is quite enough to give you a brief idea of how decidedly non-Glaswegian I am. And surprisingly, given how keen I was to get out of there the second I was deemed old enough, I am still proud to be from there.

posted by Claire @ 1/12/2007 12:12:00 pm | 1 comments | links

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

What has Rod Stewart ever done except smoke too much?

As per Jo and Elaine ...

I need

  • Claire needs some TOUGH LOVE!
  • Claire Needs a Visit to the Bunny Planet
  • Claire Needs Nine Innings to Win Opening NCAA Game
  • Claire Needs Prayers From All of You She is Very Sick
  • Claire needs to be inspired and feel the model’s personality.

I want

  • Claire wants to remember again when it all mattered
  • Claire wants to win!
  • Claire wants more people to share the American Dream of homeownership by helping aspiring homeowners break into the housing market.
  • Claire wants to sell their father's house

I like

  • Claire likes the bumpy ride.
  • Claire likes it too
  • Claire likes to discover
  • Claire likes to sleep on the bed
  • Claire likes that Sammi is pragmatic and down-to-business.

I hate

  • Claire hates Fat-free cream cheese
  • Claire hates him.
  • claire hates hannahs guts and thinks shes a TOTAL bitch lol!!!
  • Claire hates Hollywood and despises the Hollywood society for its weakness for sensations and gossips
  • Claire hates eating mushrooms and cannot understand other peoples obsessions, in her spare time she campaigns against fungus consumption.

To find yours, just go to Google and type yourname needs and see what comes up.

posted by Claire @ 1/11/2007 01:45:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Three minutes is a long time in football.

5 things I would rather be doing right now

  1. Cleaning the mould off the bathroom wall
  2. Crawling over broken glass
  3. Slicing 1000 onions
  4. Buffing a silver teapot with a sloth's nut sack
  5. Ironing the contents of the Hilton's linen cupboard

posted by Claire @ 1/10/2007 04:10:00 pm | 2 comments | links

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I have no doubt that you know all the answers. You seem to know everything.

Leonard Sock Monkey
Originally uploaded by mooosh.
Well, 2007 is shaping up to be a year of highs and lows already and we're not even 2 weeks

in. The first high was concerning our longed for move to the States. My mum arrived back

from Cincin with news that Anne and Jim are over the moon about our plan to try and move

there and are indeed pulling out the stops to try and ensure our passage there permanently.

We will know more after we have been out there to visit in April/May, but that is very exciting news that we have allies in our battle against the immigration grinches!

Next was the low point of returning to work, only for my laptop to die and for me to lose all my favourites - bookmarked patterns, funny blogs, etc. I also lost all my RSS feeds as I didn't get a chance to back everything up before my laptop went bye byes. So any readers with blogs, please let me know your link so I can re-add it!

Then some other job news which may or may not come off, which I will write more about when I know more - changes are afoot, that's all I am saying for now.

My first attempt at a sock monkey went remarkably well and you can see the results over at the year o moosh. His name is Leonard and he's quite a catch, if you like wonky sock related items.

Off swimming tonite, trying to get back into our fitness regime! If I can still walk tomorrow, it will be a miracle.

posted by Claire @ 1/09/2007 04:35:00 pm | 2 comments | links

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Yeah, but how can they justify charging so much for soft drinks?

I have a new project for the new year. I have decided to keep a record of my year in photographs, by taking (at least) one photo a day and adding it to a new blog I've started here. Normal service will continue here, but you will be able to see a photographic record of the year also!

posted by Claire @ 1/03/2007 12:51:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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Meet Pedro, the racist raisin!

Lucky Green Cat
Originally uploaded by mooosh.
Whoever thought up working for a living is clearly a madman.

Anyway - new year was very uneventful chez moosh. Lee was working nite shift, so I decided to stay at home and not venture out into the apocolyptic weather that was raging outside. I wrapped myself up in my jim-jams and new slippers and did the miso funky accounts and watched tv, sipping on a fine vintage 2006 Irn Bru. Classy AND rock and roll, that's me.

The rest of the new year revolved around eating and seeing mum whilst she was here on her whistlestop tour of her children. We all got together on new year's day at Andrew's in Blantyre and ate steak pie and Polish cake before she flew off again back to Suffolk yesterday. She was here long enough to tell us some VERY exciting news from America which I will blog about seperately later and to buy me some waterproof footwear in the form of some lovely brown boots - all my shoes are so impractical for this weather!

Yesterday also heralded my return to the working world, a day before every other person in Scotland. January 2nd is a public holiday in Scotland only - the rest of the UK has to go to work. I think the idea behind it is that the Scots like to celebrate NYE a lot more than Christmas and therefore need 2 days to recover from their hangovers before attempting to re-enter the commercial world. However, the company I work for sadly does not adhere to the Scottish public holiday system, but the English one for some reason - meaning we get an extra day in May or something - which was little comfort yesterday morning I can assure you at 730 am.

I got to work yesterday only for my laptop to finally grind to a halt and refuse to have anything more to do with me. It spent most of the day with my boss, being nursed back to health and it's now back in action and quicker than ever before - new year, new installation of operating system, new happy me!

I leave you with my lucky green cat in the hope that it will bring you some good luck this year too - go on, rub the screen. It might just work!

posted by Claire @ 1/03/2007 12:30:00 pm | 0 comments | links

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