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I got this undercounter fridge when I moved to a small unfurnished flat and it suited my needs perfectly well. It cost me at the time more or less the price that they're asking for it now (£119.94 ). For a bit more I could have gone for something bigger but I had a space under the counter to fill in and I didn't want a big monster in my tiny kitchen.
It's got a freezer compartment, which is always useful, but naturally, don't expect to be able to fit a lot there. Maybe a bag of frozen chips and one or two boxes of burgers. It also has a compartment for salad and a bottle rack in the door.
When I bought it, it had a bit of a funny smell (plastic) but fortunately it went away after one day or two.
I had to sell it when I moved out of the flat, as I wouldn't need it anymore. Therefore I only had it for one year. During that period I had absolutely no problem with it though. It was exactly what I wanted, it had all the basic requirements and it was delivered by Argos in excellent condition.
It might not be the best quality that you can get, but it surely does the job for you if you live alone in a restricted space.
Details from Argos website:
Argos Value Range White Undercounter Fridge - Exp Del.
* This item includes our Express Delivery service. Usually delivered within 2 working days.
* Energy efficiency rating: A.
* Storage capacity 3.18 cu ft.
* Net fresh food storage volume 80 litres.
* Net frozen food storage volume 10 litres.
* 1 shelves.
* Bottle rack in door.
* 1 salad crisper compartment.
* Reversible door.
* Manual temperature control.
* Size H84, W48, D50cm.
* Energy consumption: 146kWh per year based on standard test results for 24 hours.
I can't say that I had heard about the Michel Thomas method before I started looking for Dutch courses with audio CDs on the internet. I had absolutely no knowledge of the Dutch language but I was impressed by the praise given to this methodology.
The concept is actually very simple. You don't write anything, you just listen, think, answer and check if your answer is correct. You are part of a class with 2 other students who are exactly on the same level as you (in the case of the foundation courses you start from nothing). Many times their mistakes are your mistakes.
The teacher introduces new words and the questions are something like: "How would you say in Dutch 'It's not very difficult, is it?' " Instead of dropping huge amounts of new vocabulary at each time and making you build completely new sentences that you would immediately forget (I would, at least!!) the same words are used quite often and this helps you to memorise them better. Therefore you'll not learn a huge amount of vocabulary, but what you'll learn you will remember. The structures will be assimilated in a natural form and really without much effort.
I did have a lot of fun with this course and I'm about to start the advanced level now. You can just lie on your couch and relax. You'll be surprised that you can actually translate into Dutch (or any other language available on this collection) all those sentences that the teacher asks you too. And whenever you're tired or have something else to do you just pause it and go back to it later.
The CD box (8 CDs) brings a booklet with all the vocabulary taught in the course and i find this quite useful too.
On Michel Thomas official site you can download for free the 1st hour of most foundation courses. http://www.michelthomas.co.uk/soundclips.htm That's what really convinced me. I loved the first hour so much that I couldn't wait to get the rest. Just give it a go! :)
If you choose to buy the CDs they're much cheaper on Amazon than on the official site though.
Hi everyone! The cookie cake is one of my favourite desserts. It doesn't go in the oven and it's not difficult to make. I hope you give it a go!! :)
1 can of condensed milk
the same measure (can) with normal milk
1 package of Marie cookies (or Rich Tea cookies)
1 carton of whipping cream
1 table spoon sugar
Chocolate (to sprinkle)
I would suggest you to start with this...
- Make strong coffee (I normally need the equivalent to 2 big cups)
- Separate the egg whites from the yolks
1/ Mix the condensed milk with the milk and the egg yolks (be sure that you mix it very well). Pour it into a pot and put it in low fire always stirring until it starts boiling.
2/ Dip the cookies in the coffee (it should be a bit cooler by now). I normally use a small plate for this.
3/ On a plate or on a tray put alternate layers of cookies (after dipping them in coffee) and the cream that you previously made on the first step. Make sure that the top layer is cream.
4/ Whip the whipping cream with the sugar. Then beat the egg whites to (form) stiff peaks. Add the whites to the cream and mix it.
5/ Pour the mixture over the layers of cream and cookies. Grate some chocolate (as much as you want) and sprinkle the cake with it.
6/ Put it in the fridge and serve it cold. Let it stay in the fridge for at least a few hours as it will be much firmer.
Enjoy it! :)
I discovered Peter James' Roy Grace series when I was living in Brighton, where the action of all these great detective novels takes place. And just like it happened to me with the previous ones, once I got it I couldn't put it down until I finished reading it!
Roy Grace's investigation starts when a woman is savagely raped when entering a room in Brighton's Metropole Hotel. The disturbing details of this horrendous crime remind Grace of a series of very similar crimes ocurred in Brighton 10 years earlier, in which the rapist had shown a fetish for high fashion ladies shoes. When a woman is assaulted in a similar way only a few days later, Grace becomes more and more convinced that "Shoe Man" is still on the loose.
The story moves between the present and 1997, which allows the reader to understand a lot better the relationship that Grace had with his wife Sandy by the time she went missing.
I would recommend it to all the fans of genre. It's absolutely gripping and you'll not be able to put it down until you finish it.
The paperback is now being sold in Amazon for £3.99. I couldn't wait so long so I got a far more expensive hardback edition as soon as the book was published, but it was well worth it! :)
It's so quick and really easy to make and kids (and grown ups!) love it.
For a chocolate salami you'll just need:
100g powder chocolate (Nesquik does the trick)
1 package of Marie cookies (or Rich tea cookies)
How to prepare it:
1/ Mix very well the butter with the sugar.
2/ Add the egg and mix very well.
3/ You can then add the chocolate... and mix it very well :)
4/ Smash the cookies into tiny pieces and add them to the mixture.
5/ Form the mixture into a roll and wrap it in a piece of silver foil.
6/ Put it in the fridge until it becomes hard and then cut it into slices.
It doesn't really require much culinary skill, there's not really much that can go wrong with it and everyone I know loves a nice slice of chocolate salami. :)
I found Reading in Bed in one of my incursions to Poundland last year. I can't say that I had heard about the author before, Sue Gee, and coming from Poundland, the expectations were not immense, but the title caught my eye, as I am indeed one of those who enjoy reading in bed; and so did the basic storyline written on the cover of the book.
The plot itself is not too intricate or elaborate; it's in fact a bit predictable. The story evolves around the lives of two educated middle-aged women, Dido and Georgia. Friends since a very long time, they share the same interests in life, particularly the passion for literature. Their husbands we're also good friends when they met them, at university, and as they grew older and grew a family, the friendship bonds have been strongly kept. However, Georgia's husband has recently deceased (as we soon learn in the first pages of the novel) and she's finding it very difficult to face the solitude in an empty and silent house. On the other hand, Dido's joyful marriage soon proves not to be as perfect as it would give the impression - even to her. The narrative follows both friends as they deal with their particular struggles and anxieties in life, but also their own children (adults), as they have problems of their own, particularly in what concerns their troubled relationships.
Although predictable and sometimes even a bit too cheesy (I'm particularly referring myself to the ending, which by no means I intend to spoil for any of you), it does touch some very emotionally strong themes as bereavement, infidelity and illness, which makes it darker and more powerful than the common chick-lit.
The reader might find odd the absence of speech marks, like I did in the beginning, but once I got absorbed in the reading I actually found the writing style quite engaging. And honestly, it didn't take me much time until I got absorbed, as Gee's writing flows fairly well.
However, there were small things that made me a bit annoyed throughout the novel, like the strictly healthy choices for every single meal described in the novel (a very good example indeed, but a bit too hard to believe) or the stereotyped cultural preferences of the two women, who don't seem to do much more in their spare time than reading and discussing literature, spending holidays in country cottages and listening to Radio 4. It would have been nice to see the two friends going together on a weekend trip to Brighton and spending a small fortune in the Brighton Pier. =]
Many might consider The Barbarian Invasions, a deceiving title. Despite of what the title might suggest, the only kind of violence that this Canadian film portrays is the day-to-day drama of so many human beings - the poignant last days of a man who is terminally ill.
Although Rémy lived all his life as a bon vivant, never turning his back to any of the mundane pleasures that life had to offer, he's now struggling with the idea that he's reached the end of his life without accomplishing much. With the help of his estranged son, Sébastien, he gradually realises how much he has in fact accomplished. Sébastien does his best to forgive and forget his father's past flaws and manages to improve significantly his last days, gathering Rémy's friends and ex-lovers by his deathbed and using all the means he has at his disposal to attenuate the physical pain that consumes his father.
The Barbarian Invasions is not only about the inescapable truth of contemplating and accepting the end of life. The Barbarian Invasions is also an acid critic on political and social systems, bureaucratisation, and a reflection on sensitive themes as religion, euthanasia and the use of illegal drugs.
Not being myself a die hard action fan, I do value these exercises of reflection and these emotional manifestations over what might be a faster-paced film. If you - like me - don't mind a couple of hours of emotional considerations and thought-provoking suggestions, then this might be the film for you.
The Barbarian Invasions (Les invasions barbares) won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2003 and Denys Arcand and Marie-Josée Croze won at Cannes the awards for Best Screenplay and Best Actress, respectively. The film is a sequel to The Decline of the American Empire (1986) that had already evolved on the same characters.
Hi everyone! Today I would like to share with you one of my favourite Portuguese desserts. It takes a bit of time and effort to do it and I would suggest you to have someone to help you doing it, as it will make things much easier and simple.
In Portugal you can find this dessert in most restaurants and some of them will serve you the Molotov with caramel topping, instead of the cream I suggest.
There are many different recipes for this pudding, but I'll always stick to my favourite, my mum's Molotov. I hope you give it a go. If you have a sweet tooth like me, you'll find that your efforts will be rewarded.
Note: This pudding can grow a lot, so you might prefer, for a first attempt, to use only half of the ingredients.
125g sugar (for the caramel)
7 egg whites
1 dessert spoon of raising powder
Butter (to grease the cake tin)
1 cup of milk
7 egg yolks
As you can see from the ingredients list we'll need the egg whites for the pudding and the egg yolks for the cream, so the first thing I do is separating the whites from the yolks.
My mum always told me to start with the CREAM...
1/ Put the milk in a pan, add the sugar, and leave it in the hob until it boils.
2/ Remove the pan from the hob and let the milk cool down a bit. Add the yolks, very well mixed, and mix everything very well.
3/ Take the pan back to the hob and keep stirring the mixture until the cream thickens. Remove the pan from the hob and put it aside. While you're making the pudding give the cream a stir every now and then.
And you can then start your PUDDING... I would suggest that you would grease your cake tin with butter now and preheat the oven to the maximum temperature.
1/ Beat the whites until they stand in peaks. Keep whipping the whites and add 125g sugar and the raising powder.
2/ Put 125g sugar in a pot and leave it in the hob until it becomes brown caramel.
3/ Add the caramel to the yolks, letting it drop slowly as a string while keep stirring the mixture. The caramel drops will solidify immediately.
4/ Pour mixture in a big cake tin previously greased with butter and put it in the oven for 40 minutes inside a tray with hot water. Be careful so that you don't get burnt!!
In the beginning the oven must be very hot, but after 10 minutes put it on the minimum temperature.
5/ Remove it out of the oven, carefully remove it out of the tin into a big plate and after a while, when it cools down, cover it with the cream.
Enjoy it!! =]
Hi everyone! I would like to share with you the recipe for one of my favourite soups. It's a Portuguese recipe that I grew up with and although I can't really find Portuguese "chouriço" here in the UK, Spanish chorizo works as well. =) It's a lovely hearty soup that I really hope you try and enjoy as much as I do!
1 tin of red beans (liquid will not be used)
2 garlic cloves
2 carrots (chopped in slices)
1 turnip (cut in cubes)
1/ Sauté the onion, the garlic and the carrots in olive oil until the vegetables have softened in a pot.
2/ Cover with water and add the turnip, the chorizo, a pinch of salt and let it boil until vegetables are very soft (as they'll be easier to blend).
Handy tip: Don't cut the chorizo in slices at this stage, but make some cuts along it, so that the water absorbs its flavour.
3/ When everything is boiled remove the chorizo, add half of the beans and blend it all well until you have a nice smooth mixture.
4/ You can then cut the chorizo in slices and add it to the blended mixture, together with the remaining beans from the tin.
5/ Let it simmer for a few minutes and check the seasoning
6/ And there you go; your bean soup is ready to be served
If you want to make the soup a little bit more special you can add some thinly sliced cabbage at the end.
Although without the presence of the emblematic Monsieur Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, And Then There Were None is the considered by many - including myself - to be the best of Agatha Christie. Its initial charm, I believe, comes from the simple but always thrilling premise of the group of complete strangers gathered in a isolated space for what they believe that will be a pleasant and relaxed weekend.
As the plot thickens, the reader soon understands that each one of these apparently nice and polite characters are not as one-dimensional as their outer shells suggest. As soon as it is known that each one of them might have been, directly or indirectly, responsible for someone's death, it also becomes obvious that the weekend will not be as agreeable as expected - even less agreeable when it becomes clear that one of them has gathered the whole group there, with the intention of murdering them all, one by one, as a form of punishment for their past crimes.
In the first chapters it might be a bit difficult to keep track of all the characters and characters names, as all 10 of them (this includes the two servants, that are already expecting the group in the house) are very quickly introduced. However, as soon as the first characters are murdered and the group becomes smaller, more attention and detail are given to the remaining ones, and the reader might more easily set off his/her own conjectures.
I read this book for the first time more than ten years ago and I nearly read it in one go. I couldn't put it away because I wanted so much to know who would die next. If you've read any other Christie novels you know that normally there's only one murder victim, sometimes a couple more, if they happen to "open their mouths too much". Nevertheless, the intended victim is generally only one and the rest of the novel is nearly exclusively about the investigation progress. In this case, although some of the characters unite efforts to try to identify the murderer, the suspicion and fear are always present at an extreme level along most of the narrative, and there is actually a new murder on each chapter (or most of them), which makes it so thrilling for the reader, and so difficult to wait another day to know whodunit. The question - that I'll not spoil for anyone - is... will there be none in the end?
Little did I know about Ben Elton's witty visions of the modern society when I bought Dead Famous at a bargain price at WHSmith a few years ago; and little did I care about Big Brother at that time. I had watched the first seasons for pure curiosity, as most everyone, but by then the show had lost all the interest that it could ever have had. A bunch of stereotypical characters with enormous egos, loud and shallow, expecting to make a living out of their 5 minutes of fame on the telly, despite the psychological interest effect that might have had, was not attractive anymore. It had became a pure freak-show with such eccentric characters that could barely be believed as real! So the fictional world does suit them in perfection; on the other hand, without the Big Brother background, these fictional characters would seem very little credible.
Dead Famous - or should I say, House Arrest - is far more enjoyable than Big Brother. All the recognisable recurring characters are sarcastically represented and their weaknesses and unrealistic expectations related to their brief moment of "fame" are exploited at all length. There's the dumb blonde, the desperate unemployed actor, the muscled lorry driver, the lap dancer, the anarchist... and there is a murder. The reader joins the police investigators that are forced to watch all the tapes with the episodes of House Arrest since the season started being broadcasted, in the search for clues that might help them in the investigation.
Therefore, more than a sarcastic view on modern reality shows, Dead Famous is also a pleasant whodunit mystery novel, a real page turner that will keep the reader amused and eager to know who actually did it.
If you live in a small flat with no balcony and no garden, drying your clothes might become a problem, especially during the colder months of the year. As I didn't have space for a tumble dryer (and I wasn't really interested in buying one) I decided to give a go to the Dri Buddi, despite the mixed reviews in the Argos website, where I got it from.
The Dri Buddi is not perfect; it's a bit too noisy (like an hairdryer), when assembled it looks like an alien spaceship and it's not as fast as I would wish. Although they mention "up to 18 garments" there is really no space for 18 garments, not even close, at least if they belong to a grown up. Be sure that your clothes have been properly twisted before putting them there, as it will save you quite a lot of drying time, be sure that you don't overload it (and, as I said, you'll have to trust your common sense here, as with 18 garments it's not really going to work that well) and it might do the trick for you. Not sure that for a whole family it will work very well, but if you live by yourself you can easily dry 4 or 5 shirts in an hour (the less clothes you put, the easier it will be for them to dry). When you finish, you just dismantle its legs, you fold the big bag and you put everything back in the box.
SO... no, the Dri Buddi is not perfect, but it might do the trick for you!