Something New Every Day

A record of doing a new thing every day in 2011

Hotpot (296/365) Sunday October 23, 2011

In honor of the passing of Betty from Coronation Street - and the nights drawing in - I decided to make a veggie Lancashire Hotpot on Sunday.

I’d never done one before, but it was very easy. Basically brown up some onions and Quorn pieces, put them in a cassorole dish with vegetable and stock, cover with thinly sliced potatoes and leave in the oven for a couple of hours on a low heat until done.

It was really nice, and will definitely do again.


St James’s Park (295/365) Saturday October 22, 2011

Yesterday we went to the Newcastle v. Wigan game at St. James’s Park, the first time I’d been to a Premier League game there (only been to a friendly there before).

We were in the Sir John Hall Stand behind the goal as you can see from the photo I took before the kickoff. It was a decent atmosphere despite there not being many away fans there, and if the game wasn’t a great one, Cabaye’s winning goal was a cracker to keep Newcastle in their surprising top 4 position.

St James's Park

Turner Prize Finalists (294/365) Friday October 21, 2011

It’s a big coup for the North East to get the Turner Prize exhibition at The Baltic, and yesterday was the first dayit was open to the public we went down to have a look.

It was full of TV crews and radio interviewers which we managed to avoid (although disappointed not to be in the background on the local TV news) and the finalists’ shows were interesting and thought-provoking - despite some of them being basically nonsense.

I’ve added my reviews on Twitter already so won’t repeat them here, but I’ll be very disappointed if George Shaw doesn’t win.

The Baltic


HP Guinness Sauce (293/365) Thursday October 20, 2011

I’m still trying out new brown sauces to replace my “hard to get in the North” Sainsbury’s version, and yesterday I tried out HP Guinness Sauce.

Wasn’t certain what to expect, but it was actually pretty good. A little fruitier than a usual brown sauce, so definitely different but tasty all the same. That should probably last me the year now :-)

NAS in the house (292/365) Wednesday October 19, 2011

Since I had to move my router out of my home office, it’s been a pain running my Windows Home Server as it only works with a wired connection. Therefore I decided to rejig things a bit, and bought a USB NAS adapter which means I can simply share an external hard disk and printer on the network without needing a server.

I bought a little box from Addonics, which works quite nicely. It was simple to setup, and all our connected PCs are now hooked up via it. The only drawback right now is the USB hard disk that holds our music and photos backup can’t be added to the Windows 7 libraries without being synced locally, but that’s probably a good thing as it’s never bad to have too many copies I guess.

Wrote Weight Tracker App using Facebook Open Graph (291/365) Tuesday October 18, 2011

I had a load of fun yesterday hacking out a website/app that uses the new Facebook Open Graph.

If you’ve been following closely I’ve been pretty obsessed over the last few weeks with both dieting and tracking my weight online. I’ve been looking for something to integrate into the new Facebook Ticker and the Timeline, so I wrote a Weight Tracker App to do just that.

Following the Open Graph tutorial I managed to get my actions and objects set up reasonably quickly, and from there it wasn’t too much effort to be able to post weights on given dates into both the ticker and my timeline. Hurrah!

Next I wanted to pull the data back from Facebook and show on a graph. The FB API call was easy enough, and I decided to use the Google Graph API for the graphical part. What took the longest time was getting two asynchronous Javascript APIs to work together reliably, and I think that now works OK.

I’ve submitted my app to Facebook for approval, but they said that won’t happen until the Timeline comes out of beta. What that means is I don’t think you can use the app yet so you’ll have to take my word for it - although I think I might be able to add people as testers etc. if you really want to try it.

Emergency Gas Callout (290/365) Monday October 17, 2011

Something a bit surprising yesterday.

In the morning Hilary had smelt a small gas leak if you put your nose right next to the pipe leading into the fire in the front room, even though it was turned off.

We thought we should phone someone up just to be safe (the new bit), so I called nPower and told them what was happening. As they said, any gas smell however small is an emergency, so surprisingly someone came around in about 20 minutes.

He managed to fix it immediately just by playing with the tap, but he turned off the whole connection to the fire as we never use it, and also replaced the regulator in the meter it was a very old one that went back to the “town gas” era!

A much more exciting day off than expected.

Quorn Steak Strips (289/365) Sunday October 16, 2011

On a staycation this week, which means almost certainly my new things will be a combination of food and computing experiments (no change there then).

On Sunday I used some Quorn Steak Strips in a lovely stir fry I made, something in the now quite extensive Quorn range I hadn’t used before. To be honest they weren’t much difference to other Quorn pieces, which means lovely! Would go great in fajitas I think.

Poached Pears (288/365) Saturday October 15, 2011

Needed something nice to eat on my Saturday feast day, and the day before we’d been watching Nigel Slater on TV do some poached pears covered with cream, crushed biscuit and melted dark chocolate. That fitted the bill nicely, so we gave it a go.

The pears were poached in some sugared water plus a bit of vanilla essense, and turned out very nice, quite light but tasty.

The better than usual presentation you can see in the picture was down to Hilary, who drizzled the melted Green and Blacks chocolate over the top in a very artistic way!

Poached Pears

Beans on Mustard (287/365) Friday October 14, 2011

I posted about my mustard obsession before, but as part of my ongoing diet it’s been a while since I’ve incorporated it in a new way. However on Friday I added mustard to the toast that I poured my baked beans over for the first time.

Such an obvious thing to do, and it added a nice zing to what’s been a pretty common meal over the last 9 weeks. Now I’ve done it once, I can’t imagine eating beans without mustard now.