Archive | September, 2011


25 Sep

This weekend saw the Real Food Festival on London’s Southbank – – some good and varied food there and plenty of old favourites. I had a rather nice mackerel bap; perhaps an odd way to eat fried fish but it tasted good. I should have remembered the name of the stall but it linked to whichi is trying to get people eating some of the less common fish. Fried mackerel is really good and there’s no reason you shouldn’t have fried mackerel instead of fried cod and there’s lots of mackerel out there.

I also tried whitebait; I’ve never tried them before because I don’t really like fish bones and as you eat them whole I always assumed they’d be bony. Now I know they’re not! I’d guess they’re just so small that there’s not much bone there.

We wandered quite a way down the river and by Tower Bridge we found a mountain biker stunt team. The 2 riders were pretty amazing; I can’t even balance on a bike but they not only balance on the bike, they do it while the bike’s on a steel rod and much more besides. Some photos –

I’ve been cooking soups this week – it’s great fun to just take a load of different veg and make soup. There are plenty of recipes on the web but I’ve decided that just experimenting can work pretty well. For example, I was going to make carrot and coriander soup but didn’t have any coriander. I do, howver, have Rosemary growing on the balcony so that went in instead. Rosemary goes pretty well with carrots so that’s a soup I’ll make again.

Still experimenting, I thought I’d make a meatloaf this evening. I’d guess they’re normally made from beef (at least, I think I’ve mostly used beef before) but I didn’t have any. I did have 500g of chicken breast in the fridge so I used that instead. A couple of onions, some garlic, the chicken and a tin of chick peas all went in the food processor. The resulting mush then went in a loaf tin with a layer of halved cherry tomatoes in the bottom to make it look good when it came out.

The experiment kind of worked; the meat loaf tastes good but it doesn’t look that brilliant. The tomatoes are home grown and taste brilliant but they’re yellow and that doesn’t look very interesting next to the white chicken. The other small problem was that I mushed it up too much in the food processor; I think it would have been better to have a much coarser texture. Still I can always eat it in the dark – it’s not yet October but it’s pitch dark by dinner time!

Chicken Meatloaf

Photographing it with a flash makes it look even whiter!


Negril, Brixton

18 Sep

I ventured south of the river today and went for lunch at Negril (132 Brixton Hill,London, SW2 1RS)

This is a simple Jamaican restaurant serving really good food at a fair price. The curry platters offer really good value (2 curries a plain rice, rice and peas and a roti) and there’s plenty of food.

It’s not licensed but they do a good range of soft drinks and excellent Blue Mountain coffee.

The “all users” menu in Gnome

18 Sep

In Microsoft Windows there’s a menu of applications; it’s made from a set of icons which can be specific to each user and a set which appear for all users.

The same is true on Linux for the Gnome desktop but the approach is different. The user specific “shortcuts” are stored in the ~/.local/share/applications directory (they’re .desktop files) and the system wide shortcuts are in /usr/share/applications (Note that these directories can be changed but that’s where they are on my RHEL 6 box)

The files are plain text so they’re easy to edit but you can also use the alacarte application to create them.

The sub-menus are a bit more complicated. These are controlled by a file called /etc/xdg/menus/application.menus which is an XML file. If you look at it you’ll see that there are blocks for each menu. Adding another menu just means adding another <menu> block. For example,

<!– Maths –>
will add a menu called Maths. To make icons appear in this section you need to make sure that there’s a “categories=Maths” line in the .desktop files.

It’s pretty easy to do this but it took me ages to find out so I thought I’d write about it in case it helps someone else!


16 Sep

I’ve enjoyed doing the Guardian’s Quick Crossword for many years but it’s now available on line as well as in the paper which is excellent because I don’t buy the paper every day and this means I can do the crossword even if I don’t get the paper.

I find it easier to do the crossword on screen than on paper – partly because you can put odd letters in and hit “check” but also because of all the people who post comments – there are always some great comments and it seems like a really nice group of people.

The crossword appears on line at midnight UK time but no matter what I do I’ve generally fallen asleep before then but there’s a group of people who make a point of trying to get it done as soon as possible after midnight. One day I’ll manage to join them.

Recently I found a link – this is “The Guardian Quick Crossword Comment site for ‘splothering’ – also known as the Cafe” and it’s great fun.

Holiday in Shetland – September 2011

15 Sep

I spent the week 3-9 September in Shetland, staying at Scarvataing in Aith and had a pretty special time.

The journey from London to Sumburgh via Glasgow took a scary amount of time but was uneventful although the weather got greyer and colder as we moved north. Scarvataing is a lovely house right on the voe and with fantastic views – the photos are here and the sunset photos are here – it’s quite a spectacular sunset so I took a spectacular number of photos!

Hello world

15 Sep

I’ve written “hello world” programs on a regular basis for many years so I suppose it’s an appropriate title for the first post here.

Not sure what I’ll put here but I wanted to put links to photos and maybe odd bits and pieces that I can share with the world.

Let’s see how it goes – this could be the last post!