Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter stories

And the son of man hatched from a chocolate egg which dropped serendipitously on to the lap of the Madonna as the easter bunny hopped by.

Well, Somerfield got it wrong ;)

(For those who don't know Somerfield is a UK supermarket chain.)

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

When work comes home

For the last year, autistic spectrum disorders seem to have become a running theme in my working life. I worked as an assistant psychologist in a learning disabilities service where there were lots of people with autism. My first placement as a trainee also had a special focus on autism in children. (Apparently, my next placement will be continuing in this vein.)

That's great - I like working with people with autism. Its interesting - and its certainly different! Although, I must admit, ADHD is still my passion, increasingly so as I've recently met some people who are engaged in some really constructive dialogue which seems to go far beyond the shallow "Is it real, is it made up?" fighting that seems to dominate the field sometimes.

However, I have found out one of my cousins is being assessed for autistic spectrum disorder. This is a big family secret, so naturally, everyone knows. Of course, everyone is forbidden to talk to me as I "know too much". Consequently, the phone has been ringing of the hook.

It does feel wierd to be giving "advice" to family members - especially when its all such a great big secret. Apparently, I did not email my aunt lots of reading materials to pass on to my other aunt. No no no - she found them on the internet somewhere, definately not from me, because, I do not know.

I love my family - everyone talks about the elephant in the room to everyone else, but pretends no-one else knows about it. Honestly, family therapy with my extended family would be an absolute raucous, perhaps I will suggest it.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Partner dude left me alone for the weekend - apparently a stag weekend was more important than me :(.

I decided to cook him a roast dinner as a surprise for when he got home, a major surprise as I seldom cook roast dinners. However, that might be about to change thanks to Nigella.

I made this little beauty - beautiful because it takes about 5 minutes preparation and then you forget about it while it cooks for 2 hours, filling the house with the scent of lemons and thyme, finally to be rewarded with the most juicy, tender chicken pieces when it is time to eat.

I also managed some perfectly roasted potatoes thanks to Delia, although I used olive oil rather than lard or dripping and didn't bother putting the baking tray over the hob - I just put the potatoes in and coated them quickly!

Some lightly steamed fine asparagus on the side made it just perfect.

Now I'm eating the left over chicken and beautifully sour/bitter lemon pieces for lunch. Perfect. It feels like spring is here at last!

The recipe, from Nigella online.

1 chicken (approx. 2-2.25kg), cut into 10 pieces (I used 4 big chicken breasts)
1 head garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
2 unwaxed lemons, cut into chunky eighths
small handful fresh thyme
3 tablespoons olive oil
150ml white wine
black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3.
Put the chicken pieces into a roasting tin and add the garlic cloves, lemon chunks and the thyme; just roughly pull the leaves off the stalks, leaving some intact for strewing over later. Add the oil and using your hands mix everything together, then spread the mixture out, making sure all the chicken pieces are skin side up.
Sprinkle over the white wine and grind on some pepper, then cover tightly with foil and put in the oven to cook, at flavour-intensifyingly low heat, for 2 hours.
Remove the foil from the roasting tin, and turn up the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6. Cook the uncovered chicken for another 30-45 minutes (I checked mine after 20-25 minutes and the breasts were done - perhaps they do more quickly than other chicken pieces, so I just recovered it with foil while the potatoes finished off, to keep them from drying out - the lemons were carmelised at the edges too), by which time the skin on the meat will have turned golden brown and the lemons will have begun to scorch and caramelise at the edges.

Serves 4-6

If anyone else has a go at this, let me know what you think!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Norn Iron

I lived in Norn Iron (known to the rest of the world as Northern Ireland) for the first 18 years of my life. There are a few things I miss. Firstly, spelga yoghurts. Secondly, dale farm ice-lollies. Thirdly, Maud's ice-cream (suddenly I see a theme...)

However, mostly I miss the Northern Irish sense of humour (aka craic), particularly that provided by The Hole in the Wall Gang. (And, btw, Patrick Kielty was absolutely hilarious before he went to was all downhill from there!)

In fact, partner dude and I got to know each other because he had caught an epidsode of Give My Head Peace late and night and I decided to join him for the next installment. Nothing like laughing at Uncle Andy to get you in a romantic mood...(hmmm, perhaps not.)

Now, thanks the the wonders of youtube I can have a regular intake of Ulster's finest humour, and so can you...enjoy

Part 1 of a whole episode

Part 2 of a whole epidsode

Part 3 of a whole episode

Derek stops a bank robbery

Derek prevents a terrorist attack

Derek argues with God

Derek solves the Arab-Israeli conflict

Derek raises the dead