Absolutely Nakd

We tried some delicious ‘Nakd’ bars recently and decided it might be cost-effective to make our own. Good Nakd bar recipes are easy to follow and require absolutely no cooking. It’s all just chopping, blending and pressing, and then letting them set in the fridge till they are the right consistency.

We may be upgrading our equipment soon, although we won’t be spending a fortune. But we managed to make a batch of Nakd bars using just the following rudimentary gear. First, a Crown single-blade stick blender (made in China!) that we bought probably over ten years ago. It is a mere 180 watts power and the specification plate says that you must not run it continuously for more than one minute. Oh, so that’s why Shana thought the handle felt a bit warm after ploughing through half a packet of Whitworths ultra-gooey stoned Sayer dates this afternoon πŸ™‚

Meanwhile, I was doing an impression of someone trying to start a petrol-engined lawnmower (or perhaps a jetski outboard motor?) as I got to grips with a more recent purchase of ours, the Zyliss Easy Pull Food Processor. (No money-grabbing afiliate links there, btw, so just click merrily away. )Β  You may pooh-pooh the little Zyliss, but actually it’s pretty robust and certainly saw off a packet of cashew nuts with barely a second glance. Fifteen English pounds well spent, I’d say.

Other ingredients we threw into the mix were a pinch of Food Thoughts natural cacao poweder, and a weeny drop of Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Madagascan vanilla extract.

I churlishly calculated at one point, that after my exertions with the Zyliss, the calories I would consume from the bars we produced would result in simply recouping the energy outlay. I could have been wrong though, because we reckon we churned out the equivalent of about seventeen of the commercially made Nakd bars. All in all then, we are, as Rockefeller once said, ‘quids in’. Definitely ready for a good sit down though. (Maybe we should rename them ‘knackered’ bars?) πŸ™‚

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Sofa so good

Our new sofa arrived this afternoon. (The delivery van turned up at virtually the same second as the other van which was bringing our online-ordered groceries, but fortunately nobody got in anyone else’s way and comic scenes full of pratfalls and stunt collisions were thankfully avoided.)

The sofa delivery men had our new tasteful charcoal two-seater up the stairs and in the house in less than a couple of minutes and weren’t even out of breath.

Put us to shame, they did πŸ™‚

So, about our old sofa then, as you are doubtless dying to know.

You can see the old settee if you look at Smoky’s gallery of pictures (just click on the link at the top of the home page). It was a green tough-as-old-boots two-seater with a relatively high back compared to most modern sofas. Firm but comfortable cushions and big chunky bun feet almost as big as your head.

It had started to smell a bit musty, according to Shana. Well, we had owned it for fourteen years, and it was pretty old when we bought it in 2003. We had just bought Ezra the inflatable skeleton (who we still have). One of the blokes who delivered the old sofa wanted to take Ezra home with him but we politely declined.

Tired of the musty aroma, Shana ordered the new sofa last week, and we put the old one out for collection by the local recycling depot.

I make it sound so easy, don’t I?

What actually happened was this. First, we huffed and puffed and almost destroyed the door frame trying to heave the old sofa out of the house. Then we dragged the green beast down a flight of concrete stairs towards the outside world until we got to the last door in the communal area between the two blocks of maisonettes where Waffle Towers is located.

Since we moved here in 2007, the main entrance door has been changed. Not only must you now be a weightlifter to stand any chance of hauling it open, but the door is actually narrower than the flimsy one that used to be there.

What I mean to say is, we got stuck. Almost permanently wedged in the doorway.

At one point I went back upstairs to fetch a ripsaw, as I was convinced that the only way we would get the sofa out would be to dismember it.

Luckily, Mr Saw was not required. While I was upstairs Shana had done some rapid mental trigonometry and worked out the correct angle at which the sofa could be made to leave the building.

So gold star to Shana. And what happened next?

Well, the very next day, just before lunch, a big green dustcart turned up and two he-men in hi-vis jackets he-manhandled the doomed sofa to the back of their truck. At the push of a button Biffa (for it was indeed that very same Dustcart of the Apocalypse) ate my sofa.

They came back ten seconds later for the cushions. And the truck ate those too.

Then, with barely a burp, it rumbled off into the distance, leaving only a faint whiff of mustiness to linger in the air.

‘Farewell, old sofa,’ I thought. ‘Rest in pieces.’ πŸ™‚

Slaver

An excellent and unusual word appeared on the table during tonight’s epic game of Lexicon: ‘SLAVERY’. Shana was delighted to have found it amongst her cards.

As most of our readers (that’s both of you, then πŸ™‚ ) will know, ‘slavery’ is usually pronounced with what is called a long ‘a’, as in whale, kale, or ale. And it is usually linked with the heroic efforts of Little Billy Wilberforce to outlaw it.

I, however, took one look at Shana’s offering and set off upon a road entirely less frequently traveled.

‘”Slavery”,’ I said. ‘What a super word!’

I had, as if you hadn’t guessed by now, deliberately pronounced (spat out, if you prefer) the word with a short ‘a’, thus alluding to the adjectival form of the noun ‘slaver’, with a totally different meaning: that of drooling or dribbling saliva. Many dog owners will be familiar with their slavery or slavering pooches. Some older cats also slaver at times, but I’m afraid I just can’t bring myself to believe such nonsense πŸ™‚

So there we are: Shana showing her social conscience, and I showing my preoccupation with dribble. Like to have seen old Wilber trying to ban that for sure πŸ™‚

The curious tale of the Cornish pasty on the radiator

‘Why is there a Cornish pasty just below the radiator?’ asked Shana, who was sitting on the living room floor, dazed and contused.

A fair question, I thought, noting also her concerns about randomly scattered boiled new potatoes, one or two nestled comfortably by the maze of wires under the computer desk. And sharing her puzzlement at the row of garden peas lodged between the living room wall and the radiator pipework just above the skirting board. It struck me that the peas were lined up rather like a row of green balls ready for a snooker player’s trick shot.

Thankfully, this evening’s meal had included no gravy. (Big phew! there πŸ™‚ ) Β And the little helpings of butter that had adorned the potatoes had hardly had time to melt before disaster struck, and so were fairly easy to clear up.

If you had just walked in the scene would have been a little like that on the ill-fated Marie Celeste, albeit a Marie Celeste manned by very messy eaters and with two of the scurvy crew (viz. Shana and I) still on board.

It’s a bit like one of those Sherlock Holmes locked-room mysteries, this, isn’t it? I bet you can’t wait to hear how this sorry scene came to be.

Well, it’s all quite prosaic, alas. We had just sat down to a late afternoon/early evening meal, when Shana decided to fetch a cushion from another part of the living room.Unfortunately she tripped over my foot, which had been so inconsiderate as to be on the end of my leg and also directly in Shana’s path. I am now designated as a human trip hazard and shall hand myself in to Health and Safety later this week, to return only when clad entirely in Shana-resistant padding.

Anyway, Shana now has more bruises than a crate of dropped apples, and feels like she’s been cage fighting with a grizzly bear.

I helped by clearing up the food debris and by wiping the floor with antibacterial wipes and doing lots of brushing. Then I checked on how Shana was faring. You may argue that I got my priorities wrong, but I contend that bumps and grazes always improve over time; whereas some of our floor covering was from an end-of-line selection and may very well be irreplaceable.

Anyway, I did make an excellent pot of tea soon afterwards, so I’ll have my gold star and nursing badge back, thanks all the same.

Tomorrow, I shall be wearing a hi-divisibility (sic?) jacket in order to be more noticeable. And Shana will be trundling around with the aid of a pair of those little stabiliser wheels that three-year-olds have on their bicycles.

Because you can never be too careful, can you? πŸ™‚

The Old Grey Kitty Test

Our ten-year-old mackerel tabby, Smoky, enjoys rubbing his jowls on all manner of different surfaces and textures. A lot of cats do this. They can deposit and collect information in this way and it presumably also feels quite nice on their whiskers.

Smoky recently acquired a piece of flexible corrugated cardboard (packaging from a parcel, I think) which measures about 18 by 36 inches. He likes to sit on the corrugated side (it’s smooth on the reverse) and today he also, during one of his bouts of preening, began licking the corrugations.

To my ear, Smoky licking corrugated card with his rough feline tongue sounded like nothing so much as one of those washboard homemade instruments that were popular in the 1950s. I must therefore conclude that Smoky has now invented…

Cat Skiffle!