April 30th, 2006
|04:06 pm - Football, Electricity, Cookies|
Hello, LiveJournal. I have had some good ideas for posts, but am finding it difficult to turn good ideas for posts into posts that I am actually happy making. daweaver pointed out this really good article on friendship, blogging and obligation, which would still be really good even if it didn't have gorgeous pictures. Perhaps part of the reason ducks are cute is that the shape of their beak makes them look as if they're smiling all the time.
I am a fourth-generation fan of Sunderland football club. (Dad supports them, so did his Dad, so did his Dad. The first generation of Dickson Sunderland fans were blatantly glory hunters because the team was one of the best in the country at the end of the 19th century.) However, it's delightful to get caught up in the current hoo-ha regarding Middlesbrough football club having reached the final of the pan-European football UEFA Cup. Trying to explain the significance of this accurately to US folk is tricky; the closest comparison I can concoct is a college basketball team reaching the final of the NIT post-season event, but a lot better - for instance, suppose the NCAA college basketball tournament only took 16 teams instead of 64, so there was the potential for a team who weren't in the NCAA's 16 to be really, really worthy of respect.
My woes with trying to pay for the electricity I use at this flat continue to develop. Finally I have a bill for my first 3½ months' electricity, but it is for £483.47, which I believe to be wrong. I think they are billing me for a lot of electricity used before I moved in; I have a meter reading from when I moved in, which isn't what they used for the bill. Unfortunately it wasn't explained to me that the electricity meter has a reading for normal-tarriff electricity and a reading for cheap-tarriff electricity, so I feel a lot less confident about claiming that their numbers are incorrect when I only have one of the two readings I need to suggest what the numbers should have been. I'm fairly confident that my electricity bill going forward should be of the order of £45 per month, which is simultaneously a lot (I may well move supplier if there is a better alternative) and just about believable considering it's an electricity-only apartment and the amount of heating needed in summer and winter varies. I have a nasty suspicion that the accurate figure for the cost of the electricity I've consumed to date may well not be £483.47 but could well be somewhere around £300; I had my £2-per-day-even-on-half-speed fan heater running a lot of the time this winter.
On a happier note, I followed the recipe Meg showed me to make some chocolate chip cookies last night and they broadly turned out rather well. Towards the end I added sultanas, lemon juice and lime juice and the results turned out really to my taste. However, the edges of the cookies were browning and even burning before the middle of the cookies were properly cooking through. Would turning the temperature of the oven in which they were cooked down from the recipe's recommendation, but cooking them for a longer time, help? Is there a better technique than simply spooning misshapen blobs of dough onto a flat baking tray to ensure relative evenness of cookie thickness throughout the biscuit and so even out cooking times? Would using a muffin (or small Yorkshire Pudding, etc.) tin instead help?
In general, I am a bit fed up, not least because there are far too many people I care about to whom inexplicably, unfairly out-of-their-control bad things are happening. RAR!
Current Mood: restless :-/
Current Music: "The Key, The Secret" - Urban Cookie Collective
That's a good point about the type of oven -- convection ovens have to be turned down by 10-15 degrees Centigrade as compared to gas or standard electrics. But those types of ovens aren't very prevalent on my side of the pond; is it different over there?
Being truthful but embarrassingly ignorant, I'm not sure. Certainly there are no obvious fans, but there is definitely more of a fan noise when the oven is in operation than for our gas oven at home which I am fairly sure has no fan. That may well be the key - or, at least, sufficient reason to keep experimenting by turning down further.
The cookie dough was really quite stiff and prone to sticking to the whisk; far stiffer than when Meg made it. Accordingly, getting it onto the tray in any sort of useful state alone was quite a challenge, and using a spatula would seem most unlikely without the dough sticking to it. (I have a vague suspicion that rinsing the spatula off in hot water between cookies would do the trick.) I am idly wondering whether piping it onto the baking tray through an icing bag with a really thick nozzle might work. The tray wasn't greased, either, and that too may be worth a shot. (What would you use? Butter?)
Thanks for all the tips - much appreciated! I rather enjoyed making these cookies and may well make some more. A charity bake might even be in the offing, more likely targeted at work, but believe it when you see it.
I downloaded "The Key, The Secret" last night, having been reminded of it by a load of '90s music on the radio. Not quite as good as I remember - but whenever are these things in practice? - but still a pretty dreamy track.