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cata

cata
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Member since: 07.08.2001

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      17.04.2002 20:10
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      Nettle and Jasmine shampoo? When I first saw this product sitting delicately on the side of my bath I had to admit I thought that once again the other half in my relationship had succumbed to yet more hair care advertising. Inside the clear plastic bottle that is approximately seven inches tall I could quite clearly see a nettle. Shaking my head I sank back under the luxuriant bubbles of my vanilla essence bath and began to peruse. Along with the normal blurb one comes to expect with such items something caught my eye; this is no normal shampoo this is a multi purpose body and hair-cleaning utensil. Not only does this profess to be a fine shampoo containing Tea Tree Oil, Vitamin E and Nettle thus creating a highly effective PH balanced shampoo that is ideal for soothing and clearing scalp and skin conditions. (Dandruff) it is also a enriching wash for use in the shower or to give oneself a long relaxing soak but at the same time improve ones skin condition. Now unlike other wash in and rinse off products this recommends you wash in and leave for between three and fifteen minutes depending on the severity of your skin condition the thought of relaxing in as bath for fifteen minutes while the gentle soothing action of the shampoo runs its course was definitely appealing so I decided to give it a whirl. Now when interrupted with the cry you have been in their ages I could reply I am letting my shampoo take full effect. “Bliss” Well “Bliss” it was a small amount lathered up into a rich foam that made my head feel really fresh without any of the ‘Zing’ I have come to associate with ‘Mint’ based products. Relaxing the full time that was recommended I then washed off the shampoo to be left with a soft clean and heavenly smelling head of hair. They recommend you complete with their natural camomile conditioner but on this occasion I chose not too. However the next day I thought I would try the s tuff in the bath as well as a shampoo and I must admit it was a most pleasant sensation along with its bath and shower attributes due to the rich lather I found I could obtain from this product I decided to use it as a shaving cream and it produced an excellent result leaving my skin soothe to the degree of a babies bottom after it has been freshly talced for a fresh nappy. So girls you could use this if you shave your legs safe in the knowledge they will be baby soft when you have finished. Is it worth the money an emphatic yes, talking of money I never get the price box thing right so it costs about £4:50p from Superdrug but recently it has been on offer at £1:99p I hope this is an offer and not a prelude to a deletion. At full price it is costly but it is an excellent product and smells nicer than most other dandruff shampoos. Big plus Nirvana products are not tested on Animals. Cata ®

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      • Top 10 Singles / Discussion / 1 Reading / 39 Ratings
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        13.04.2002 03:44
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        My top ten singles? Well I suppose I could look at my minimal collection of singles and list those, however that would prove to be very embarrassing and not really at all reflective of my real choice of top ten singles. Briefly I suppose I had better explain, the first single I ever bought was ‘Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep’ by a group called Middle of the Road. Why I bought it I do not know. Well actually I do I was fourteen and the girl singer wore hot pants need I say anymore. In all I suppose I must have bought very few singles in my life and only a few of them are what I would call classic singles and most people would not call them that at all. For your entertainment and delectation I will list ten worst ones before starting my real top ten list. Although I can’t promise that to be of any startling quality, singles are not my favorite form of music I much prefer the depth that comes from listening to album of songs by the artist. Dodgy Top Ten Singles. 10. Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep - Middle of the Road. 9. Magic Roundabout/Funky Moped-Jasper Carrott 8. Sister Friction -Haysi fantayzee 7. Love me like a Rocket - Kate Garner 6. Jungle Jenny - The sensational Alex Harvey Band 5.Physical - Olivia Newton John 4. Puppet on a String - Sandie Shaw 3. Express - BT express 2.The Hustle - Van McCoy 1.Je T’aime - Serge Gainsbourg Apart from Je T’Aime wich afterall is a classic I cannot believe I have any of these records in my collection I can explain some but not all. Numbers 8 & 7 are the same person and I thought she was dead sexy at the time, she is now a photographer and has worn extremely well, at least now she has got rid of the dreadlocks. Number six an aberration by a super group but it was a great joke record really. Number Five can only have been for the video, number 4 to 2 no idea at all they must belong to somebody else. Numbe r ten already explained lastly then number nine, no excuses but it was considered funny at the time guess you had to have been there. Now down to business all of theses records I have bought and they represent the best from my collection of singles as opposed to my favorite ever singles many of them have led me to buying the album they came from rather than just buying the single when it was released. These will not be in any particular order but merely a listing of what they are and why I bought them. Choice one is Sylvia by Focus, for a short period of time Focus were the in group, they were radically different to anything else on the music scene in Britain. Sylvia is taken from their third album called Focus Three however the reason I bought this particular single was for the b-side House of the King. Jan Akkerman wrote this rather than Focus as a group and the sound is almost a medieval song that is full of joy and happiness. No words just glorious music that lifts the soul and spirit and takes us onto a higher plane. Next a piece of Spontaneous Combustion taking the music of Khachaturian and arranging it for themselves in a double a-sided single is the song Sabre Dance. Produced by Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame this is a burst of pure high-energy guitar driven rock. Even the sleepiest old duffer could not fail to get up out of their chair and shake their booty to this piece of thunderous music. My next choice is in fact an ep by Nazareth a Scottish group with a bluesy edge much of their work at this time was produced by Roger Glover of Deep Purple fame and driven on by the vocals of I believe Dan Macafferty. The tracks on this ep act like a little greatest hits album containing their biggest hit Broken Down Angel, plus Love Hurts a version of the Jim Capaldi classic. This Flight Tonight and Hair of the Dog. All in all an ep to satisfy must rock fans. I was not a Doors fan but in 1971 I purchased a subli me piece of music that made I believe number thirty in the charts at the time. The song was Riders on the Storm from the album LA Woman and for me is the best song Jim Morrison came up with. Even now on a cold wet night I will play this song and get shivers down my spine. The b-side was Changeling also from the same album but for me does not come close to the beauty of Riders. Tubes, does anybody else remember them? Well I bought their record White Punks on Dope, why because of the b-side really that contained two tracks What do you want from life and the wonderful ‘Don’t Touch Me There’ Oh the smell of burning rubber need I say more, classic song from a strange ensemble brilliant fun and certainly not to be taken seriously as so many people did at the time. Drivin piano, Overend watts on bass, Ian hunter on vocals the song All the way from Memphis. Mott the Hoople in full pomp a glorious song by a band in full flow. The b-side the reflective ballad of Mott all in all a great three minutes of entertainment that sums up the band superbly. Live Mott were fantastic and this single shows them at their best. Edgar Winter Group and Frankenstein a hard driving instrumental that hits the spot. Swirling wildly from the start and having a false ending that caught many a dj out in their time. American band and little success over here but one of the all time great performances by a much under rated performer. I never played the b-side much the main song leaving us too breathless after hearing it. My next choice is by a Hard Rock band who took their name from literature, it is of course Uriah Heep and the song is The Wizard not a typical Heep track but simply superb. This track probably is one of my all time favorite songs and I eventually bought the album on Cd so I could listen to it again now I no longer possess a gramophone player. (Sad Day) The b-side is Gypsy a more typical Heep song hard driving rock but for me the a side has it all. Great Tolkeinesque lyrics a strong melody and excellent performance by a band who are still going strong today. David Bowie, well I own nearly everything the great man has produced so he has to be in here somewhere. However it is an ep of Brecht songs that I have chosen. With his performance of Baal Bowie proved he was far more than Ziggy Stardust or his other persona. Not to every bodies taste but a single or rather ep that shows a performer really performing. It brought Brechts work back to public attention and made many people there is far more to music than the plastic incantations that most pop records spew out. My last choice is by Kate Bush and is Experiment IV the b-side is a new version of her big hit Wuthering Heights but both records deserve their place in my top ten list. On experiment the most noteworthy thing is the performance of one Nigel Kennedy on Violin one of his early efforts in the pop market rather than his more normal classical efforts. Experiment IV is really a forgotten Bush song and really deserves more airplay than it received at the time. In all it was too different for the radio stations at the time and did not really fit into their cozy niches. So there you have it I can’t pretend they are my favorite ever singles but they are ones I happened to have bought. I rarely play any of them and only a few I own on cd. Truth be told I probably would not really miss any of them if I never heard them again, except the Brecht and maybe Bush songs. take care happy listening Cata.

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          31.03.2002 03:19
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          Tenby is situated in Pembrokshire just after Saundersfoot, Amroth and Pendine on the glorious South Wales coastline. Although this review is to be about Tenby in the main I feel I will have to mention a few brief things about the other places I have mentioned. Although from Carmarthen you can go to Tenby by main road a more rewarding journey is to follow the coastline as closely as you can, this means turning off the main road and heading into St Clears as your first point of call. Here you will soon find a local craft outlet that will be selling locally produced artwork and crafts of the region. This promises to be an excellent place to visit and to purchase a quality reminder of your holiday in South Wales. The town itself is split into two halves with the shops being separate from the main residential area. Passing through St Clears you head down the coast to Laugharne, here you find a derelict castle which is well worth a visit if only for the stunning views of the estuary available from the castle walls. Close by you will find several eating establishments such as tea rooms and the local fish and chip shop. Two pubs also reside on the town square for those of you that prefer a more refreshing break. There is a gift shop right on the square that offers an array of gifts but this tends to be more of the standard type of holiday gift than locally produced crafts. Just up the hill from the castle you will find a silversmiths and if open his work is well worth a look, being reasonable priced compared to shops in London etc. Leaving Laugharne you head west past a few small villages before reaching Pendine. Here you find a small resort not on the scale of Tenby but perfect for those that appreciate a beach holiday. Those of you that just want sand and little else will find Pendine the place to be. The beach is excellent and very varied. The main part is very long and when the Ministry of Defence part of the beach is open enables you to walk to Laugharne. Approximately ten miles so for dog owners or people who like to ramble it certainly helps you to walk off your dinner. The other side of the beach for me though is the place to be, here rock pools abound and your children can spend hours catching fish, crabs, prawns and other marine life. Again if the tide is right you can walk round the headland and reach two other beaches with vast expanses of sand and hardly anybody one them. This Good Friday I walked from Pendine to a place called Marros and after leaving Pendine beach I saw a total of ten other people due to the fact it is hard to get to. However if you make the trip either by beach or overland you are rewarded with vast beaches with a variety of marine activity and a petrified forest to keep yourself amused. Or if you prefer sunbathe to your hearts content. Pendine itself offers two pubs several fish bars and cafes along with a small amusement arcade for those of you that need flashing lights to ensure a good holiday. After Pendine we head further west passing through Amroth a long straight road with house and a few shops on the rightside of the road and the sea to the left. again here you get a fair beach but if the tide is in it is far rocky than Pendine so is not as much fun for small children. Saundersfoot is next and here you find the town set behind the harbour that dominates the town itself. A reasonable size beach that can get very crowded on hot days but here you get more in the way of a typical seaside resort. amusement arcades take-aways etc abound and those shops that sell the sort of merchandise that looks so good while you are away but when you get home you consign to the bin straight away. Saundersfoot also has many eating establishments and without doubt the finest one has to be the ‘Royal Oak’ public house. Here you find an extensive fish menu and the presentation is very good indeed. The next stop is Tenby, this is a seaside town it only really come to life from April onwards when you find all the shops opening up again. |During the winter it is a sleepy place and a joy to walk around, however during the summer months parking becomes a major problem and it is best to leave your car at your guest house and commute on foot. Parking by the sea front is very rare and not worth the effort you would have to put into it. The town offers a myriad of gift shops and has several that are well worth looking round, especially if you are looking for something a little bit different. There is a Smiths and a small Woolworths so for those of you that cannot do without them they are both in town however you will not find a department store or indeed a Marks & Spencers. Several of the shops in Tenby are Pound shops were everything costs a pound or of a similar type. You will find every choice of restaurant you could want in Tenby but unfortunately for those of you who have kids with a MacDonalds fetish you will not find one her indeed from Carmarthen the next MacDonalds is on the outskirts of Pembroke. Although the choice is varied I have yet to find a standout restaurant or Public house in Tenby, you get a basic fare and kids are well catered for with a wide choice of meals aimed at them. However if you are expecting gourmet food then Tenby is not the place to be. The beaches are what makes Tenby special for the holiday maker with children. Miles of golden sands on two sides of the bay, the south beach being the longest and when the tide is out the best for families to relax and unwind. The North beach has the harbour and is smaller than its sister but for me the way the tide comes in for me makes it by far the best beach to be on. There are many rocks that children can climb on while the tide comes in around them but the water remains shallow and safe for them to wade through. You also get the joy of seeing the harbour slowly fill with water till all the boats are floating merrily away. For walkers there is a good walk round the town which enables you to take in all the sights without too much effort. With ease even a wheel chair can make it around the sea walk and the views from the promenade are very good especially at sunset with a high tide. All in all Tenby offers a good holiday for people with children and for the elder elements of society, I would not recommend it for those of you looking for wild nightlife it just does not happen in Tenby. Or at least not very often unless you count the bingo. No the joy of Tenby is it’s beaches and the fact that just beyond it is some of the most beautiful countryside in the United Kingdom. Tenby makes a good holiday centre for those that just wish to chill on the beach or for those of you that wish to be more adventurous. Close by is a vineyard that you can walk around before sampling the local produce, also several places offer pony trekking and close by is a theme park called Oakwood. Here you will find the largest wooden roller coaster in the country along with many other rides. Also close by on a Sunday you will find a large car boot were people come from miles around to sell and buy. So all in all I would recommend Tenby for those wishing to experience the beauties of South Wales and for those of you with small children. Cata®

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          • Room 101 / Discussion / 1 Reading / 35 Ratings
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            21.03.2002 01:37
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            I have only just seen this particular category on Doo Yoo and immediately thought that this would be a good thing to write. Things I would like to get rid off, oh my there are so many this is going to be a very long list. Plus the scope to upset people like the venerable Ann Robinson means that this is far too good an opportunity to pass up. Even now sitting here I can imagine allsorts of people exclaiming how dare he put that it has the man no idea. So were to begin what should be the first thing on my list or indeed how many things should I consign to oblivion and who on Doo Yoo is going to take the most offence even though none is intended. Perhaps that is my first thing to consign to Room 101 my fellow Doo Yoo‘ers who take everything far too seriously, those of you that take an opinion and down rate due to some imagined slight or due to the fact the opinion just does not fit into their own cosy viewpoint. However No I feel that they have a valid viewpoint and do not really deserve to be banished to oblivion. Okay then ‘Churners’ surely they should go but then again I feel that even they can serve a purpose and think back maybe even some of our now most respected writers began life in a somewhat churner frame of mind. Murderers, child molesters etc perhaps they should be consigned to Room 101 but then again no, in retrospect Room 101 is not really for the likes of them and were they finally end up is hopefully their final punishment suitable retribution for their crimes. Okay a more light hearted feel ‘Sponge Puddings’ of the tinned variety I could quite cheerfully consign them to Room 101, except there is a problem there. I have already consigned them to the dustbin of life (see earlier opinion) and have no great desire to rummage around to get them out merely to dispose of them all again. Pop Idols now they would be a choice contender, ditch Will & Gareth to were I need never hear of them again, but is that really fair? It is not their fault what has happened I could not in fairness do that to them I would have to look beyond to the people that came up with the idea in the first place and ditch them instead. Trouble is they have bought joy to so many people that I do not feel I have the right to dispose of something that has given joy to so many. Okay reality Television aka Big Brother etc lets get rid of them, then again Brian was a laugh and Helen made everybody feel so clever that the badness is outweighed on reflection and who knows the new show in a new setting maybe even more fun keep them afterall. Celebrity Chefs, Hate them all with their patronising ways and the way they think that they are all so special but once again, some of the recipe’s are great and if you can ignore who presents the show and you change the recipe to suit they are worthwhile. Of course Deila doesn’t enter this category she not being a Celebrity Chef she is in fact more of a religion. Same goes with all the House doctor shows and Garden programmes they can all be annoying but all can be so useful so end up deserving to stay alive and avoid the trip to Room 101. I mean just looking at Linda Barker makes changing rooms worthwhile although Lawrence does nearly tip the balance the other way. My ex-wife now there’s a thought, consign her to Room 101 so I never have to hear from her again, but then again she is the mother of my children and because of that I would have to keep her out of there. Now I am a Chelsea fan so perhaps putting all the other clubs in there would ensure victory but then again it would become boring and I would of course lose the feeling of joy such results of 4-0 against Spurs can give me. Not forgetting the 3-0 trouncing of Manchester United earlier this season. So on balance even they will have to stay out. There must be something I would consign to the r oom? You know I do not think there is I like life just the way it is and I feel everything serves a purpose (even Dyson cleaners) so perhaps the only thing I will actually consign to the room is Cata® You see I am no longer sure if I have a role to play, boys growing up, Fluff well on the road to recovery perhaps the time has come to put myself in room 101 and just fade away.............................................................................. ........................................................... .............................................................................. ................................................................... .............................................................................. ................................................................... .............................................................................. ................................................................... .............................................................................. ................................................................... .............................................................................. .... NO WAY if everything else is staying out so am I. I know I’ll put Room 101 in itself so it no longer exists and nobody need wrack their brains as to what they want to get rid off. Live long and prosper Cata®

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              23.02.2002 22:21
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              How anybody can bring himself or herself to eat a tinned steamed pudding is beyond my comprehension. They are bland lacking in substance and above all hard to actually open and get at anyway. I know we are living in a throwaway society and the art of cooking seems to be a failing art form. Yes art form cooking done properly is an art form and I feel should qualify for the Olympic Games. Surely in the winter games a perfect ice cream or sorbet mixed to perfection and tasting sublime could be marked by a panel of judges and gold medals etc be awarded. Of course in the summer games hotter foods would have to be prepared in keeping with the summer heat. Back to the subject in hand tinned sponge puddings, I adore sponge puddings and wish I could recommend the tinned variety but I can’t. They are just not worth the space in your shopping trolley let alone parting with cash for them. No pass the pudding to either the left hand-side or which ever way you prefer to pass it the answer to your tinned pudding problem lies with you dear reader. MAKE YOUR OWN I can see some of you shuddering with fear............make my own Cata must be mad. Well yes I am mad but I am normally pretty harmless. Here goes take 2 oz of margarine, 2 oz of caster sugar, 4 oz of self raising flour, 1 egg 1 tablespoon of milk. Take a one pint pudding bowl, for those of you that are unsure nip to the pub, borrow a pint glass and test out your bowls and another bowl to mix the ingredients in. Bung all the ingredients into the mixing bowl, please remember to remove the shell from the egg, this is essential and is the hardest thing you none cooks will have to do. Mix them altogether till you have a creamy paste. To do this use a wooden spoon or for the more advance an electric beater. Grease the inside of your pudding bowl, not the outside or it will become slippery and hard to hold, add the mixture and cover with some foil. Steam for one and a half hours before serving with the sauce of your hearts desire. How to steam, put your bowl into a saucepan fill with water until halfway up the bowl not pan, turn heat on to reach boiling point, place lid on saucepan and voila you are away. Just be careful that you do not boil the saucepan dry. The cooking time does not really matter if you steam for one and a half hours or three, alternatively you can do this part of the cooking in a micro wave but I do not like the way the puddings come out then. reheat them by all means but stick to proper steaming to cook. For more adventurous people put golden syrup in the bottom of your pudding bowl and when steaming is complete you have a gorgeous golden syrup sticky pudding. Other exciting ideas can be to add currents to make the pudding into a spotted dick or as Tesco’s would prefer a Spotted Richard. It’s so simple anybody can make a steamed pudding rather than suffer what is served up by Heinz inside their tins, go on try it you can do. As an after thought imagine the fun if while curling our brave lasses and lads had to whip up a culinary treat at the same time, perhaps mixing drinks would be a good idea for those competitors on the luge and skeleton. Lastly more about Heinz tinned puddings, they are of such a bad consistency that they beggar belief. The look and taste rate very poorly and I can say that a less appealing pile of sticky mess has never before been on my plate. How a top manufacturer can produce such a culinary disater is really beyond me. Nastily packaged and with no thought to making the dish appealing in any shape or form. My last suggestion would be to buy their microwave brand instead that at least is a passable pud. Cata®

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                20.02.2002 03:07
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                This is a brief very brief version of events and how counselling helped me cope. I haven't rated it star wise as it doesn't really apply. It swings from one star to five stars depending on your mood. How to start? As many of you will know my daughter Charlotte died suddenly last year aged eight. At first when she died I went onto a sort of autopilot, here but not really here. Then life improved indeed life has to go on or it would just be an endless downward spiral. Not me I was strong and kept my feelings under a tight control. However all was not well and I began at first found myself waking up in the small hours and being unable to go back to sleep again for many hours. Then in the morning I would not want to get out of bed and when I did I would feel tired and listless. Then I develop a loss of attention, I could not be bothered to finish something that I had started, leaving jobs half done and finding life in general too much to cope with. Being by the sea I took to spending hours wandering the coastline. Something I love to do, but this time I would be unaware of my surroundings, often gazing into space without being aware of my surroundings. I developed aches and pains, especially in my arms and across the back of my neck, finally I reported to my doctor for help. STRESS As soon as I heard the words I thought here come the drugs. Take two of these and you will soon feel better old boy, trouble sleeping take these as well they’ll get you off to sleep without any problems. I sat back and thought how to I argue against this course of action. To my surprise my doctor did not make this suggestion, she instead thought that a visit to the local bereavement services counsellor would do me more good than any tablets. At first I was unsure what to say I was so sure that I would have been fobbed off with a course of tranquillisers that I was taken by surprise. However I pulled my thou ghts together and agreed that such a course would be better for me than any use of drugs. What happened was a preliminary appointment to ascertain if I would be a suitable candidate for such a course of action? This took place in a house adjacent to the hospital grounds and in very calm surroundings. A nice garden to look out over and a choice of books and magazines to read while you were waiting. The interview itself was a face to face affair with a box of hankies close at hand. I had to describe my life and feelings for the period surrounding Charlotte’s death. Gosh it was hard, all the old feelings came flooding back and I broke down in tears, I was saying things I had thought but kept bottled up and I felt sick to my stomach. At the end of my hour assessment I was told I was suitable for help and the fact I had turned up was proof that I wanted help as much as anything else. Next I was informed how it would work and when my first meeting would take place. I was also warned that I would feel a lot worse before I felt better. Sure I thought I feel bad already it’s not possible to feel any worse, still I thought time would tell. My first appointment was made for a week’s time and the night before I got very tense and ratty. In fact I got down right nasty and only due to the fact my partner is very understanding did I manage to make the appointment the next day. Now this time I had to meet my counsellor proper, the first assessment being carried out by the supervisor of the service. It was a funny feeling as the introductions were made and I was unsure how it would all pan out. However the counsellor of course is fully trained to cope and put me at my ease. Again I had to relate my feelings but this time in more depth and it covered not just the time of Charlotte’s death but my whole life. It is not an easy thing to relate and again the tears flowed readily and much use of the hankies was mad e. The meetings are scheduled to last an hour and this one flew by, before I knew it the time was up and I had to tidy myself up and go down to face the great outdoors. I arranged the time of the next appointment and the counsellor advised me to go home and have a rest. I will admit I was puzzled by this advice but I soon found out why it had been given. I left the house and turned towards town to meet my lift, when I realised that I was walking in a stupor not really aware of what I was doing. Pulling myself together I met my lift and got home, by now I was cold and shaking and felt like I was going into shock. I decided to have a hot bath to revive myself and although it warmed me up I found I was so tired all I wanted to do was curl up and sleep. Being of the male persuasion this I did and found that when I awoke I felt a whole lot better. That night I slept through for the first time in ages and it certainly made me feel better about myself for the next few days. However the effect wore off and soon I was back in the old routine. The same thing happened before my next meeting I picked an argument with my partner however by now she was expecting it and gave me short shift. The next meeting followed on from the first but with the counsellor bringing her input in to the conversation rather than just listening to me. It helps you to look at things from a different perspective and is designed to make you think about things in a different way. This time we discussed my dreams and possible interpretations of them and how I could use them to help heal me. If you like planning my dreams for the night to help me feel more at peace. Colour therapy was discussed and how colours can help the mind and body heal, now I have read some of the opinions on dooyoo about this and found it strange that a National Health Service person was promoting such alternative treatments. We discussed colours and I told her how I had just decorated my hou se and I was informed I had chosen the best colours for healing myself that I could have done. Other meetings delved further into dream therapy and the meaning of what I had dreamt, it was truly a refreshing approach to helping me come to terms with my grief. Power animals were discussed and I was not made to feel stupid when I said I had experience such a phenomenon. My animal seems to be a silver fox if anybody is interested but I also see a black panther but that does not seem to friendly to me. Anyway I digress, the basic thing is that the old saying ’It’s good to talk’ is true, I found that by going for such counselling I found a peace within myself that has enabled me to continue with my life. I have made a complete career change, moved to a new part of the world and got on with my life. Drugs were not a choice I would have wanted to follow but talking is certainly a great way to aid oneself. It isn’t easy and it really does bring you down lower than you would believe, in my case however it helped me and now I feel I can face the rest of my life an go forward and make my little girl proud of me and what I achieve. Cata®

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                • Hours... - David Bowie / Music Album / 0 Readings / 31 Ratings
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                  06.02.2002 02:18
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                  Hours? This is an album that can take hours for the listener to really understand what the great man is going on about. I have glance at some other reviews on DooYoo of this album and feel that many reviewers have rather missed the point. Hours is not one of Bowies best recordings in the sense that Ziggy Stardust was, it is however his most musical, full of musical surprise's and tunes that work their way into the listeners head in a very invidious way. For fans of Bowie in his pomp and by that I mean the era of Ziggy & Diamond Dogs this is not the Bowie album you would want this is an album for a different audience, dare I say it a more mature listener is required for this musical offering. One review said that they felt that others would make a better hash of many of the songs, I must point out they have never been known for the musical variation that Mr Bowie has used through out his long career. Track Listing: Thursday’s Child, Something in the air, Survive, I’m dreaming my life, Seven, What’s really happening? The pretty things are going to hell, New angels of promise, Brilliant adventure, The dreamers. Now at this point I feel I should point out this is not a rock album, this is a new style yet at the same time has echo’s of Bowies past works ever present. As I have already stated be prepared to really listen to this album, let the songs bathe you as though you are being immersed in warm milk. These songs are your friends and given half a chance, some will grow to be your best friends. For those of you with Bowie pre conceptions throw them out settle back and learn to understand. The album kicks off with the first single taken from the disc, ‘ Thursday’s child’ a soft and gentle song that begins the process of immersing you in a sense of a new beginning. All that has gone before can be expunged if only you ‘Throw me tomorrow ’ This is a song about a man who is going to change his life, hopefully for the better. Something in the air, a classic song about a relationship that has run it’s path, all that you are left with is an empty room, the dance of romance having lingered too long. Again a song about change but this time the emptiness that a broken relationship leaves behind itself. Survive follows on and is a sister song to Something in the air, it follows on the theme but this time it is his regret at asking his love to go. It is a song of passion lost and the lack of love that he now finds in his life. However it is ultimately a song of hope with Bowie crooning the fact that he will Survive no matter what. If I’m dreaming my life, takes us further along the journey. This is an explanation to others of his life and how he feels. It is as though his previous life was nothing more than a dream. Was he truly in love with a girl or was she merely a figment of his fevered imagination? For me this next track ‘Seven’ is the standout track on the whole compact disc. Not only is it the most accessible track on the disc it ties together what has gone before and ties the story to its central theme. It can be perceived in many ways, a cry for help? Or perhaps a celebration of a life lived under his own rules rather than being dictated too by society norms. ‘ I forgot what my father said I forgot what he said I forgot what my mother said As we lay upon your bed A city full of flowers A city full of rain I got seven days to live my life Or Seven ways to die.’ Is this a song about regret or is it about hope you decide it can mean what you want. Is it a cry for help before potential suicide, or is it a song of a man remembering what his friends and parents told him in the past. For me it is a song of regret that his parents and brother where in fact correct but he now has t he chance to turn it around or indeed end it all. It is a song very much of remembrance of times past and the realisation that he himself has to sort his life out for the future. What’s really happening? As it says in the title it is a plea for somebody to tell him what is happening in his life. Is it time to face the past and move on or are we all destined to fall in to the quagmire of despair never to recover. The pretty things are going to hell, is an up tempo rocker which almost is out of context in the album however it works really well. Some people have written it is a throwback to the song Pretty Things on the album Hunky Dory, however I feel that the song title is merely chance. This is a song of paranoia a song of betrayal and no matter where you hide he will find you. Yes the pretty Things are going to hell but the pretty things in the song are those people that he perceives as betraying him. New Angels of Promise, a song of sharing, a song of need, a cry for help but one that believes there is help out there. Brilliant Adventure is an instrumental The Dreamers is a song about a man who is searching for something, a lonely man, a frightened man, a shallow man. A man who feels alone and is the last of the dreamers. Overall the tone of the songs in ‘Hours’ is one of depression and sadness at lost love. It however is at the same time enlightening and full of hope. Life sucks but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Musically it is not at the cutting edge of Bowies music it is beyond that, it is an album of sublime music and themes that deserve to be listened to. As I have said before it is not an album for the Bowie lover of Ziggy era it is for music lovers of all ages who appreciate the finer musical items in life, not for people who want crash bash in your face music. You have to sip this music slowly and learn to experience it, if you do those of you that profess t o dislike his music will be pleasantly surprised. Cata®

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                  • Radio Times / Magazine / Newspaper / 0 Readings / 37 Ratings
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                    11.01.2002 22:50
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                    I have to hold my hands up and admit I am rather a sad person; each week without fail I eagerly look forward to the new edition of the ‘Radio Times’. There is just something about it that reminds me of times gone by, a time when life was much simpler and television did not rule peoples lives the way it does now. Before I tell you what I get out of this magazine, I call it that rather than a listing mag due to its content, I had better let you have a brief synopsis of what you get for your money. Firstly it is a television and radio programme-listing magazine that informs you when and where your television programmes can be found. Not only that but for those of us with video plus video machines it produces the relevant numbers required for the less technical minded to programme their video recorder. A sad fact that for most of us it is our children that know how our electrical gear works, mum and dad being caught up in a web of knobs and buttons that they can barely see let alone understand what they do. Back to the magazine, it costs an enormous 85pence which when you consider the multiply television guides available puts it right at the top of the tree. What it does do is ooze class and a certain authority that lesser guides just do not match, however worthy they maybe. To appear on the cover of the Radio Times used to be a sign that you had finally made the big time, however recently this no longer seems to be the case and it no longer carries the Kudos that it used to. Indeed many years ago I was the double of Eddie Shoestring the private investigator from radio West, his appearance on the cover of the radio Times is my mothers only photograph of me from that era. So I can have a small claim to fame that I have nearly appeared on the cover of the Radio Times, (not the Rolling Stone aka Dr Hook but nearly as good). The magazine kicks off with Highlights of the week and a guide where the guides for Films, TV and Radio start. Along with a brief listing of regular features or star interviews. Over the page once you are past the advertisements we come across the readers letters pages. These are fun as people can get very frothy over what they have watched or listened to. You also get here the editors comment, sometimes it can be thought provoking other times he merely points you to items that are in the current edition. Here you also get the many ways we can contact the magazine. These include Post, E-mail. Dictate a letter, a normal telephone number and finally a fax number. Surely apart from the provision of pigeon post an extensive list that most people should be able to contact the magazine. You also find in these pages requests from program makers for people to help with the making of certain shows, so if you fit the bill you may well find yourself ending up on television. The next segment is dedicated to more advertisements and the features of the week. Not only do they have regular contributors, ‘John Peel’ being my personal favourite but they have features about either celebrities or new programmes. A weekly star questionnaire can provide some very revealing answers. Delia Smith is currently providing a weekly recipe but there is a regular change of Chef so the weekly recipe is always worth a look at. For soap lovers there is a review of what is going on in the soaps, for me that is all I need to keep up with what is going on in the various, Square ands Streets that seem to dominate our viewing pleasure. More adverts but this time it is for the RT Shop this week it is for a health orientated person but they try to offer good value for money and quality merchandise. The Viners three-tier steamer and the Prima juicer looking the most interest to me. Crosswords if you are like Binty you will be addicted to them, here the prize is a Collins dictionary linked with a word finder competition, here the prize is a copy of Trivial Pursuit. For the less competitive there is also an easy version. My puzzle of choice however is the track-word where you have to make words out of the available letters and rate yourself accordingly. Then we come across the film guide here you get a review of the Film of the Week, followed by a film planner; this lists the films that are on each day with a ratings guide beside them. I must admit I do not use this page other than to quickly scan to see if any film name jumps out at me. The next few pages are dedicated to brief reviews of the films being shown that day on terrestrial channels. The reviews of other films broadcast on digital and cable have their own review page just after the terrestrial pages; this however is not fully comprehensive and could be improved by better coverage. Also with the film pages is a brief summary of a films stars career and Barry Norman’s review of a film being shown sometime that week. What you do get is a brief review of any pay per view films on offer and if you feel like hiring one it may well be worth checking the review if you have not heard of the movie before. The section finishes with what’s hot at the cinema and on video, listing the current top five in each section. This week it is page 58 before the programme guide kicks in; each day of the week is treated the same way with eight pages given over to each days viewing. Each day starts with Today’s choices the programmes that in the view of the magazine are the best on offer that day, along with a brief review of the best of the rest. The page finishes with the Pick of that days films giving you a rating, channel and time of viewing, along with a indication of what the films type is. The next page deals with morning and afternoon viewing on terrestrial channels, that is BBC1, BBC2, ITV1, Channel 4 and Channel 5. The next two pages deal with the prime time television and nighttimes viewing here the programmes g et usually a more in depth indication of what the show is about or type of programme. Films have their own sign to help them standout and choice programmes are also highlighted. On this page down the left-hand edge I also have a listing for the days SC4 programmes and at the bottom regional variations for the ITV channels. The following pages deal with selected digital and cable programmes such as Sky 1, UK Gold and the various Sports channels, the listings are mainly restricted to time and programme name with a single sentence review. For many of the channels you are given video plus numbers but not for all but they do put them on for most of the listings printed. The last two pages for each day are given over to digital and cable films, you get a planner by channel and a films guide by time. The closing section is given over to a radio guide, here you get a national and local frequency listing for the various legal radio stations Along with that your own local radio station programmes are listed by day very briefly along with other local BBC stations that are covered by your regional copy of the Radio Times. The day to day listing of the radio shows follow the style of the TV section very closely with choice section and then a listing of programme being broadcast for the following channels. BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio Two, BBC Radio Three, BBC Radio Four, BBC Radio 5 Live, Classic FM and the BBC World Service. The magazine closes with ‘My kind of Day’ a brief review of a persons normal working day. This can offer a fascinating insight into a persons lifestyle and can be one of the most interesting parts of the magazine. Overall in my opinion the Radio Times is the best TV guide available, yes it is expensive compared to other listing magazines but it is very comprehensive and an excellent read. It keeps me informed of the latest goings on in the world of soap enabling me to talk to Binty and Fluffy Slippers. Talking of Fluff for those of you that are interested she is getting better and has decided to stay with me to continue her recuperation. That is part of the reason for my absence from dooyoo for the past two months, trying to work cook and run a home for two women takes it out of the best of people let alone poor old me.

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                    • Top 10 Albums / Discussion / 0 Readings / 60 Ratings
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                      23.11.2001 02:31
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                      For ages I have thought about putting down my top ten albums or compact discs till now I have never got around to doing so. Why well so much depends on my mood and the type of music I want to listen to. It is certainly no good listening to some of my collection if I am feeling down or depressed as they would only further my mood. Likewise even the records that I am about to list on some rare occasions I find I just do not want to listen to them. However what they all share in common is the fact I return to them again and again. None of the discs I shall list are in any particular order I am afraid I would find that too hard to do and by the time I will have finished I would probably have changed my mind. Number 1. Lets kick off then, my first choice is by David Bowie, now with this man I have everything he has released and indeed some he never has. I could probably fill my top ten with his output, however I have decided to be restrained and restrict each artist to one mention only. Bowie’s album ‘Hours’ one of his newest nearly made it to my list, it is currently my most played Bowie album. Of course Ziggy Stardust an absolute classic album deserves a spot, partly due to the fact I own it on tape, two vinyl albums and two versions on compact disc. It is probably his best known album but it is not my final choice. For dark depressive days I listen to ‘Low’ a superb and much under rated disc, no my choice for my number one Bowie album has to be ‘Hunky Dory’. Hunky Dory: Eleven tracks of classic songs each one superb and an album that hangs together so well, before his pomp and glory days. Hunky Dory was the release before ‘Ziggy Stardust@ and as such was rather lost in the hype and hysteria that surrounded Bowie after that release. It starts with the track changes, a song with a stuttering start and a song that was to perfectly sum up the transformation that Bowie was about to undergo. As an album it only contains what is considered a Bowie classic and that is ‘Life on Mars’ however that does not due justice to the album as a whole. Changes can be used to sum up Bowies whole career but it contains for me one of Bowies finest songs ‘Quicksand’. I bought this album before Ziggy Stardust was released having seen Bowie performing in concert locally to were I lived. Later on in life I was to die my hair bright red, have the spiky ‘Aladdin Sane’ haircut and get suspended from school for being outrageous. Hunky Dory was the album that started it all for me and because of that it finds a place in my all-time top ten. Number 2. A friend of mine one night asked if I wanted to go to a concert in London with him the next night, all paid for as it was his birthday party and being free I promptly said yes regardless of who we were going to see. He did tell me but at the time I had never heard anything by the group so it meant nothing to me. My friend assured me they were ace and I would love them, he had three of their albums and eagerly was awaiting the release of their next album. The concert was at Earls Court not the most cosy of places to host a rock concert but on the night it seemed like the band was playing live in your own sitting room. They dominated the arena and even though I had not previously heard any of their music I was totally won over. The concert lasted four hours and when it was over I felt exhausted by the sheer excitement of it all. I went out the next day and bought all four albums, the fourth being released the day of the concert. The album I have chosen to represent them is probably the most commercial they ever released but that is no reason to exclude it. It also contains their second most famous song; the album simply named Led Zeppelin II. Nine songs of bluesy rock, fronted by the powerful vocals of Robert Plant, surely one of the all time great vocalist of t his style of music, the incomparable Jimmy Page on guitars, John Bonham on drums and the under rated John Paul Jones on bass. Together known as Led Zeppelin the loudest proudest group of their era, an outstanding live act that transferred their magic to disc unlike so many great lives bands of the age. ‘Whole lotta love’ is the best known track being the theme tune to ‘Top of the pops’ for years. The album starts fast and rarely lets up the pace for me ‘Heartbreaker’ is the track I like the most along with ‘Ramble on’ an album that should be in every music lovers catalogue. Number Three. My next choice again I saw in concert but not before I owned several of their albums, my choice from them is special to me for several reasons the main one being it was bought for me by my father. Now let me explain my father likes classical music and never played anything else, although I have since discovered a passion for Jazz but when I was growing up he was a solid classical man nothing else would do. So I was amazed that my father off his own bat had gone to a record shop and purchased such a record for me. I had first the album or parts of it on the BBC world service in the wee small hours when I should have been asleep. My father had come in having been disturbed by the music but instead of ranting at me he had asked who the group was and what the album was called. He then stayed and listened to the end of the program and left saying he thought they were very good. This group has also undergone many changes in personnel but at this time they were growing stronger by the day with a wider and wider audience. The album is ‘Selling England by the Pound’ the group is Genesis. This was Genesis when Peter Gabriel was the lead vocalist and before they became a more singles orientated band under the vocals of Phil Collins. Not that I dislike that brand of Genesis it is just to me the albums that Gabriel sang on was the time that Genesis were at their greatest. An album of constant change summed up neatly in the words to ‘Firth of Fifth’ my personnel number one track closely followed by ‘The Cinema Show’ The single taken from this album was ‘I know what I like’ a song that made surprising inroads into the charts for such an albums orientated band. Why do I like this album so much, well at one concert broadcast live on the radio at the end of the long piano introduction to ‘Firth of Fifth’ Tony Banks went wrong stopped, apologised and then started the whole song again, Genesis as a group had a reputation for wanting to be perfect in their live performances Genesis at this time was as follows, Phil Collins-Drums, Michael Rutherford-Bass, Steven Hackett-Guitar, Tony Banks-Keyboards, Peter Gabriel-Vocals. As I said my father bought me this album and on rare occasions he would borrow it claiming it was a very good album to test the response of his loud speakers. Number Four. I had been an avid fan of the ‘Housemartins’ so it was no surprise to me when I discovered I also liked the ‘Beautiful South’. To be in my top ten I have chosen their second album ‘Choke’. I think they peaked with this album which is full of acidic lyrics topped off with a selection of first rate tunes. Paul Heaton is the driving force on this particular album but the voice of Briana Corrigan is used to good effect as well. Three David's, Messrs Stead, Hemingway & Rotheray along with Sean Welch make up the rest of the line up and they blend together sublimely to produce an album that is both easy to listen to along with some of the best lyrics they have produced. I have never seen them in concert but was lucky enough to see the ‘Housemartins’ soon after they came to prominence, the main reason for selecting this album it is just chock full of fine tunes by a much under rated song smith. Number Five. So what is my number five choice? The halfway stage in this selection, well the answer has already been written. So by Peter Gabriel his fifth album and the first to be called something other than plain old Peter Gabriel. It is an album that hooks you from track one and does not let you go until the closing notes of the last track. Most artists have a seminal album and as far as chart concerns count for anything this was Gabriel's. Single after single was spawned by this album along with award winning videos. I had already got all his previous releases and this album still managed to shock me with its simplicity yet stunning production. The hits as I said came thick and fast with Sledgehammer battling it out with Don’t give up for the title of standout track. The latter being performed with Kate Bush sharing the vocal duties, further cementing a friendship that has lasted their mutual careers. This album was co produced by Peter and a certain Daniel Lanois who of course went onto achieve fame and fortune as producer for U2. Gabriel I have seen many times in concert both in his Genesis days and as a solo artist, his live shows like his albums being consistently of a high standard. Number Six. Many years ago whilst still a whippersnapper I was listening to the radio, when I heard the most fantastic music issuing from the loud speaker. I was absolutely dumb struck and listened to the entire concert in a bid to find out what it was I had just heard played. Disappointment struck when the announcer at the end of the show failed to inform me as to who or what had been playing. It was the next morning when I told my father about it and he informed me that it was Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto and it had been played by Kyung What Chung on violin and it was the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. I have had in my life many copies of this particular piece of music but it has never captu red my imagination again as it did that night. I would say that at least one of my other copies of this music is superior but it does not contain the magic of the first time I had heard it. On the cd you also get Mendelssohn’s violin concerto another fine piece of music but not so lush or romantic as the Tchaikovsky version. released onDecca410 011-2 Number Seven. My next choice is again classical and this time contains two pieces of music that I adore, released on Decca yet again no 417 613-2 it features Vladimir Ashkenazy on piano and he performs Rachmaninovs piano concerto number one, plus Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. The opening bars of the piano concerto are absolutely brilliant and even die-hard classical music haters would be hard put to deny the beauty of it all. Then Rhapsody on a theme (known by some as the south bank show) this contains the most romantic passage of music ever written in my opinion. For those of you planning romantic dinners this piece of music would be the ideal dinner compliment. This piece of music has many happy memories for me but known I can really share with dooyoo members, well unless we get an erotic writing section. Number Eight. Picture the scene, four lads out of their boxes on a mixture of things, mainly the sheer joy of being alive, the world’s loudest heavy metal band at the peak of their lives. A packed house, sweaty and absolutely buzzing. The lights go down and the dull throb begins and then bursting onstage is Deep Purple, wreaking their own brand of mayhem, Space Truckin shakes the Rainbow theatre and the crowd goes berserk. The Rainbow was a brilliant place to see bands, consisting of two levels, the balcony although you could not get to the front of the stage gave you a perfect view and also the chance to run from one side to the other by balancing on the rail. Looking back it was foolhardy but at the time you felt you could fly. The songs came thick and fast and although not all appear on my album choice it is the closest release that you can get to capturing the magical event. The album is Made in Japan a double album of only seven tracks but what tracks and what memories. My only doubt about the album is what is left out, it could have been so much more but we have to make do with what we have. Number Nine. My next choice is a rare thing a retrospective collection, a greatest hits really not something I am really keen on but in this case I make the exception. The time is the mid seventies the era of glam rock, the place is Hammersmith two bands are performing, the support band, yes support band is Queen. They play a blinding set of the best music I had heard for sometime. Songs like Liar, Keep yourself alive and Seven Seas of Rye had set the evening up. The main band was a group called Mott the Hoople fronted by Ian Hunter. Mott had benefited from an association with Bowie, he had given them a single ‘All the Young Dudes’ and produced the album of the same name for them. An album alas I no longer own or I would have put it and not this choice at number nine. The concert had already been brilliant it just got better, Mott were in full pomp and played hit after hit, the crowd frenzy just grew and grew and the time got later and later. Bowie was in the wings and came on to sing along with All the Young Dudes, still the time ticked on. Concerts had to finish at midnight due to bye laws but Mott carried on, their was announcement saying the show was over and still they played on, eventually the safety curtain was bought down with Ian Hunter and the band still playing. Not until the power was cut did they stop and the crowd tumbled out into the night. I got home at 4am tired but over the moon. A great concert from two great bands either album could have made this top ten but I give it to Mott retrospective as they were the headliner and literally did bring the curtain down. < br>Number Ten. Last choice and about two hundred possible choices, I will plump for Moondance by Van Morrison. Morrison has a voice of mellow honey and it is at its peak on this selection of songs. To be honest it could have been another of his albums Van Morrison, His band and the street choir. Both are brilliant and chock full of great songs, Moondance just has my favourite song on it. However I said I was flexible and prone to change so in a last minute change of heart the album that takes tenth position is Van Morrison His Band and the Street Choir. This album is so full of class it positively begs to be played and once heard is never forgotten, my personal picks are ‘I’ll be your lover, too, and Blue Money. However the whole album is strong and I could have easily picked two others. I spent sometime in San Francisco in the seventies and Van was extremely popular and he makes it in as my last choice as he brings back so many happy memories of West Coast living. So there you have it, on another day the choice would be totally different, I adore Oasis but could not put them in the top ten at the moment. No U2 yet I have everything they have produced and always play them. No Jazz and I have a vast jazz collection, Grover Washington and his album Winelight surely deserves some sort of recognition but not this time. Mahler, what can I say a truly great composer and I am surprised his Forth symphony is not in my list. Oh so many far too many to mention this is how it came out best not to meddle. The Top Ten rehashed: 1. Hunky Dory next best Ziggy Stardust.(Bowie) 2. Led Zeppelin II next best Led Zeppelin I. 3. Selling England by the Pound next best Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.(Genesis) 4. Choke next best Welcome to the Beautiful South. 5. So next best Us.(Peter Gabriel) 6. Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto. 7. Rachmaninov piano concerto no one, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. 8 . Made in Japan next best Machine Head.(Deep Purple) 9. Mott the Hoople Retrospective next best Queen. 10. Van Morrison His Band and the Street Choir. Oops got two lists here but I beg your indulgence.God I missed out Kate Bush how could I.................................. Cata®

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                      • Cats in General / Pet / Animal / 1 Reading / 46 Ratings
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                        15.11.2001 23:16
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                        Moggies love them or hate them there are loads of the furry creatures around in the world. My particular tale concerns only two of the aforementioned creatures. They go under a pseudonym in this world and that is Tango & Cash. What their real names are I have no idea but no doubt it would match their personalities perfectly. Let me set the scene after the death of my daughter I promised her that I would get myself a kitten one that was lively and a scamp, so it would remind me of her. If you like it was to replace her for me by bringing new life into my circle of existence. It didn’t work out like that I ended up with two cats and both of them were Toms. Still they both live up to her memory by being as lively as anything and talk about scamps; those two certainly are that. Anyway as I said I promised Charlotte I would get a cat while talking to her in the chapel of rest and I know she was happy because she was smiling at me. One month after her cremation I contacted the local cat rescue society and was pointed in the direction of a keeper who was minding several cats at that moment. The ones who were ready were twelve weeks old and consisted of four brothers. Now I had gone along with the intention of only taking one cat but when I saw them my heart melted and a snap decision was taken to take two. This I reasoned would give each kitten something familiar and also a friend for life. The four were all cute but Cash was my first choice not only due to his wonderful colouring, Sandy and white, but his personality. The second was a toss up between the most adorable jet-black kitten and a ginger and white Tom. I wanted the black cat he was an inky velvet with deep blue eyes, however he was as scared as a church mouse and it was his ginger brother who lay on his back and asked for his tummy to be tickled that won the day. So I made a donation and departed with the two kittens of my choice in a cat basket, not a sound was heard, no plaintive mews at all just a stony silence. At home I left them in the basket to get used to the sights and smells and then after a while open the basket. They did not come out at first then cautiously they did, together as though joined at the hip. A quick trip around the house and then straight behind the sofa and no more was seen of them that evening. My partner and sons were concerned and worried that they would never come out, I knew better and sure enough late at night two little noses cautiously poked their way around the corner. Sitting still we watched as both kittens approached us and began to sniff my hand, then they trotted off to their basket and looked inside. It was then Tango discovered the food and with a meow to alert Cash began to tuck in. I was relieved I now knew they would be fine. Over the next few days we learnt to live with each other, the kittens were skittish at first but soon accepted that we belonged in the house just as much as they did. They played happily with each other and would allow themselves to be picked up and petted but they still would not jump onto a lap of their own accord. Then it happened, Binty squealed with delight as Cash took the plunge, he leapt up and settled down firmly on her lap purring away as though his heart would break. Tango immediately followed suit and snuggled down alongside her Binty was in heaven her cats did love her and her own little purr box immediately went into overdrive. Strangers coming to the house was another test for the twosome at first they would hide but on one glorious occasion a visitor known to some of you was accepted straight away, indeed you would have thought that she was one of the kittens from the way they took to her. This person is known to dooyoo members as Fluffy Slippers, perhaps it was her slippers that attracted them but they certainly thought Fluff was a person to know. Binty was quite jealous as her cats spent the evening spread eagled over Fluff and generally acting as if she was their long lost buddy. As time passed the cats took over more and more, now when I go to sit down on my chair if a cat has made it before me, they make it quite clear that they have no intention of moving and I had jolly well better find another place to sit. Their mealtimes are sacred, to them anyway, they will wake up as the clock turns feeding time and demand to be fed, they have been known to sulk if fed late. Now I live near a farm and the cats think this is heaven indeed, they spend hours with the cows hunting them, the sheep however do not seem to hold the same fascination. Both cats are very similar but Cash is definitely the boss of the two when push comes to shove. Cash spends longer out in the evening, Tango prefers the lap and the chance of nibbles, Cash the call of the wild. It was this call that has lead to his wounding, the other day he came in very cautiously as though he was in trouble. I believe the word best to describe him was that he sculked in. When he was stroked later on he hissed when the stroke reached his flank, putting it down to bad temper we thought nothing of it. Then the next night I saw a lump of fur was missing and he has what looked like a claw mark on his rump. It was very small and didn’t seem to worry him so we decided to leave well alone. The next morning when he came back from his morning constitutional I was aghast to see his minor wound was now a gaping hole. The wound that looked no more than a minor cut had split and now was a flesh wound some inch in length and about a half inch across. It was bleeding and he in general was feeling very sorry for himself. This was a Saturday but luckily for us our vet runs a normal service at the week ends. Now we do not have a cat basket so Cash was wrapped in an old towel and taken by car to the vets. Now mindful that the first time he had gone in a car after arriving he had an unfortunate accident and stunk the car out. It was with some trepidati on I sat with him on my lap while Binty drove us both to the vet. Luckily there was no repeat and we made it unscathed, the vet was out on an emergency call so we had to leave him being told we would be phoned when cash was ready for collection. Two hours passed then the call, he was ready for collection and yes he was fine. We got to the vets really quick, Binty was keen to see her darling but when she saw him she was shocked. He now had a big bald patch where his fur had been shaved and the wound had been cleaned but not stitched as the wound was the result of a bite that had gone septic resulting in an abscess. The reason for the change was the abscess had festered away and when I had first seen it was like a white-head not yet ready to burst, the next day it had erupted leaving the open wound. Poor Cash looked really sad he had had an injection but was now going to have a course of tablets and cream put into the open wound each night for the next five days. I do not know how many of you have given tablets to cats but if you haven’t it can be nigh on impossible, to my intense joy apart from one or two struggles Cash has taken his medicine like a man. No struggling just a resignation that this was doing him good and so he better just get it over with. It was the wound washing and cream he really hated and would do his level best to avoid. His brother Tango seemed to realise that Cash was not right and began to treat him with great care, on a few occasions did he give into temptation and rough him up. As I type |Cash has finished his medicine and is now picking fights with Tango of his own free will. He has recovered his bounce and to Bintys joy will again jump up for lap time when he wants. Now these two creatures were rescue cats and cost me a £10 donation, since then they have cost me considerably more with their jabs and sundry vets bills. I feed them Hills science diet which is a dried food that certainly has given them he alth and vitality. Although both will try and eat anything that comes within their grasp, only yesterday Tango knocked over a vase of flowers and while I was mopping up after him, I looked up to see my sandwich disappearing fast. Did they change our life? Yes even in little ways, I used to have ornaments on my window sills alas no more, they come first when we come home they want attention. In the morning we have to feed them before anything else happens. They get into my paints trash my papers cause chaos and disaster at every turn do not let me cuddle Binty because she’s theirs in the evening but most of all they rule or at least they think they should. Bit like having two extra teenagers in the house really, sulky aloof but really loveable just only on their terms or else. My parents have two British Blues along with a Tabby, the Blues are a well known breed but I can honestly say that my two moggies have given me just as much love and fun as my parents have received from their breed cats. One last thing, I mentioned Fluff and the kittens last week she and her hubby came to visit, her slippers received a severe mauling and at bedtime from her room came a sudden shrieking as Tango and Cash ambushed her as she got into bed. I can tell you the sight of Fluffy Slippers in her nightie with two cats attacking her feet will live in my memory for a long-time. Moggies as I said love them or hate them mine are part of my family and are here to stay. Cata® One last thing both boys are due at the vets shortly for the snip, hopefully they will remain lovable rougues afterwards but I will not be taking them to the vets for that. Binty will have to do that dastardly dee all by herself although Fluff has agreed to come over to go with her. :>)

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                        • Bombay Saphire Gin / Spirits / 1 Reading / 48 Ratings
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                          07.11.2001 21:33
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                          BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Even its name is enough to send a shiver down my spine, ah what sweet, memories I have of this drink. Instantly I am transported to the banks of a river, the sun is beating down and the day is nigh on perfect. The hamper is packed with allsorts of goodies, the finest cheeses and of course a box of luxury chocolate but nestled on top of everything is a bottle of blue gin. I refer of course to my first ever bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin. It was the sort of summers day when the only sounds you can hear are the sounds of summer, the crickets sang and in the distance I could just make out the sound of leather on willow. Meanwhile the river lapped gently at the bank making a soothing noise that was enough to lull and soothe the most troubled brow. It was in these circumstances I was introduced to the finest gin I have ever tasted. What is Bombay Sapphire gin? Well it is produced by ‘The Bombay Spirits Company’ and is what is commonly known as a London Dry Gin. It is produced in England despite its name and is distilled from 100% Grain Neutral Spirit following a recipe first used in 1761. The Look: This spirit comes in a clear glass bottle which allows the blue colour of the gin to shine through, making this an intriguing bottle to add to anybodies drinks cabinet. The label has a picture of Queen Victoria on it; this is coloured in gold and a tasteful blue the backing is creamy white thus ensuring that the label is both eye catching and informative at the same time. The back of the bottle gives a brief synopsis of how the gin is produced along with a list of the botanical ingredients used in the manufacture of the gin. On the flanks of this bottle etched onto the glass are small pictures of the herbs and spices used five to each side thus making this bottle even more unique in appearance. Production: As I have already informed you this gin has a unique flavour all of its own, thi s is a result of the botanical flavours used in the manufacture, along with a unique distillation process only used by the makers of this gin. How it differs is unlike say Gordon's gin here the herbs and spices are not boiled together with the spirit, with Bombay Gin the botanicals are placed into a copper basket and the spirit distillation is passed through them. This infuses a delicate flavour to the spirit, which are both cleaner and crisper giving a far more balanced taste. It also results in the finished product being lighter in appearance and certainly purer in taste and substance. The spirit itself is 40% proof for those of you that such things are important. Available now in most booze outlets the last price I paid was £17:50p a fair price for this drink although I have seen it cheaper on some occasions. Botanicals: As I have already stated there are ten botanicals in Bombay Sapphire and they are as follows, Almonds from Spain, Lemon Peel from Spain, Liquorice from China, Juniper Berries from Italy, Orris (Iris Root) from Italy, Angelica (root) from Germany, Coriander (seeds) from Morocco, Cassia Bark from Indo China, Cubeb Berries from Java, Grains of Paradise from West Africa. Okay the really important bit, like most gin it is best with a mixer, I prefer plain tonic water but then I am a boring old reactionary. However this gin tastes particulary good with just ice cubes and sipped slowly. Mind you however you like it is the way to drink it as far as I am concerned. For those of you that like gin then this one is right up there with the best on the market, for those of you that claim not to like gin then do yourselves a favour and try this one you will be pleasantly surprised. As for me back to that riverbank and the young lady I was with ah memory what wonderful things they are. Cata®

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                          • More +
                            24.10.2001 01:38
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                            Laphroig is one of the most richly flavoured whiskies found in the world, as some of you know it is not my personal favourite but it rates right up there. The standard bottle most commonly found in the shops is the ten-year-old whisky and it retails for around the twenty-pound mark. It is fermented to 40% volume and is available in 70cl and Litre bottles. The bottles themselves are plain indeed, no fancy labels or strange shapes for this malt. No a simple green bottle with a white label that simple announces what the bottle contains. Its cardboard sleeve is similar, plain white with green bands at both the top and bottom. The name and a black and white picture of the distillery as seen from the sea. Laphroig pronounced La-froyg, is single malt and is island malt coming from the isle of Islay. This is not a malt for the faint hearted its full flavours being very strong and to some far too over powering on the palate. Diehards will drink it neat, while some less brave souls will take their tipple with a splash of water. As a personal note I will admit I take mine with a splash finding it releases the nose of the malt and then the full taste onto the taste buds, but whatever you prefer is just fine. Laphroig is a Gaelic word and means “the beautiful hollow by the broad bay” Its colour is full and golden, while the nose of this whisky is peaty with a hint of seaweed. It is a oily drink that clings well to the glass leaving behind tears, that helps with the long lingering taste and smell of this particular malt. Its unique flavour comes from the malted barley being slowly smoked over Islay peat fires, this smoke is what gives the whisky its taste and flavour. This along with the sea air where the whisky is stored gives this the fullness and richness of taste only obtained by Laphroig. The distillery was established in 1815 and has been produced by local people since those days. They are the proud holders of the Prince of Wa les Crest for being whisky producers to his highness. They like many other distilleries run a whisky club this one though is slightly different from many. Here you register claim on a plot of land on the Islay; this then entitles you to claim ground rent for the plot. The twist you have to visit the site in person to claim your rent, a dram of Laphroig. Unfortunately you cannot let your rent mount up it has to be claimed each year. So no chance to claim a full bottle after a few years. With this right to a free dram you are also supplied with a loan pair of Wellingtons, headgear against low flying geese, hip flask, life belt and an anchor. This is in case you are blown out to sea on one of the windy days. You can register your claim either by post or on-line at www.laphroig.com. The postal address is Friends of Laphroig, Laphroig, Port Ellen, Isle of Islay, Argyll, PA42 7DU, Scotland. As I have said before the most common malt is the ten-year-old version, you can however find older bottles and the thirty-five year old malt is particularly fine. Also available is cask strength Laphroig, this is absolutely gorgeous but only for the true whisky lover. Those of you that put lemonade or coke into your whisky please refrain from trying this. Slainte mhath, Good health. Cata®

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                              23.10.2001 01:38
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                              Over the years I have always made bread the traditional way, kneading and pummelling to my hearts content, spreading flour liberally over the dough kitchen counter, the floor and of course myself. Usually resulting in a fine white misting and the knead (sic) for me to use Head and Shoulders shampoo. Now however things have changed in the Cata kitchen, after years of vowing to stick to traditional methods I have acquired a Prima home bakery. Why didn’t I succumb years ago, it has changed the way we prepare bread and certainly the clean up time is a fraction of my previous efforts. How did it happen this conversion on the road to Damascus? Well actually it was on the road to Tenby, I was doing Christmas shopping, yes I know it’s still early but Binty and I like to get the present shopping out of the way early. We walked past an electrical shop and there in the window was a chrome bread maker an AB9 and priced below its smaller white brother. Intrigued I entered the shop to check the price, knowing full well that a pricing error had occurred. No I was informed by the very un-informed assistant that was the price. I then asked several other questions all of which the assistant could not answer, due to the fact they had not a clue what the machine actually did, before I decided to buy. Well it was priced cheaper than its sister model in the shop which I knew retails at £49 normally and this flashy chrome thing I had seen before at £129 so being of the frame of mind that for £39 it was a bargain even if I never used it proceeded with the purchase. On getting it home I did that rare thing amongst shoppers and purchasers of electrical equipment. I read the instructions, these are written clearly and are very easy to follow but I would recommend everybody read them for the hints and tips as much as anything else. Then it was onto the first loaf, I decided that I would be better off making a basic loaf to start with, well better to practice than jump in the deep end. Besides if the basic loaf works well everything else is really a variant of it. The recipe is in the instruction book and I decided to make a two pound loaf as my first effort the ingredients are put into the machine loaf tin in the following order. Water 310 ml, Strong white flour 560 g, Salt 2 tsp, Dried milk 2 tbsp, although this is optional. Sugar 2 tbsp, butter/oil 3 tbsp, Dried sachet yeast 2 .5 tsp ( one sachet) The instructions then told me to set the machine to 2lb loaf, choose the colour, (light to dark) I set medium. Set the programme to Basic and press start. Immediately next doors dog started to bark, oh no I thought it’s just like Sue Magee said. To my relief I realised it was the postman and not an adverse reaction to the bread maker. My two cats merely sniffed at it and passed on by. No apart from a whirring noise the machine is almost silent and preceded to do what it does very quietly in the corner for the next three hours until it beeped to inform me the process was complete. The next stage is probably the hardest part of the whole process, removing the loaf from its tin without either burning you or shaking so hard the loaf flies across the kitchen. On occasions you find the dough blade stays in the loaf, a small incision in the underside of the loaf ensures that this drops out easily. So far no matter what type of loaf I have tried to produce this machine has turned out a perfect loaf for me. You can freeze your loaves but to me this defeats the object of making fresh bread. I find that wrapping in a plastic bag and being left in my store cupboard the perfect way to look after my loaves. They have been fine for up to three days without any problem. I can’t say if the bread would last any longer because it has always been eaten by then. There is a wide range of r ecipes in your instruction book but they do recommend people checkout the Internet for more recipes. They helpfully leave their own web site from which you can order spares and download other useful tips on how to make the most of the bread maker. Now this machine is not just a bread maker, it also makes Jam and can be used to bake cakes. Of course you are not restricted to the shape of loaves the machine makes, by using the dough mix cycle you can produce perfectly risen dough which you can then shape to the design you fancy and bake in your normal oven. I must admit now that I used to sell these machines and on one occasion one was returned to us, as it did not bake buns as shown on the box. Apparently the customer thought it would make individual buns and croissants for her. You can also mix pastry in the machine instead of using a food mixer or dare I say hands. In all their are eleven different programmes with my machine all of them are useful although to make a good loaf you can just stick to the one programme. There is a timer delay function so you can wake to a freshly baked loaf if you wish, or return to one after a hard day at work. So there can be no excuses that somebody does not have time to make bread even with a machine. The instruction book was clear and easily followed although I have found one or two errors in it they are however very obvious and do not cause any real problem with making bread. Since I bought this machine I have not bought any bread of any type making all that we need, it is not hard to do nor is it time consuming. After a while you do not even bother to weigh or measure your ingredients, the most fun is trying new recipes and producing something that is fresh and full of flavour. It is far cheaper than buying bread from a shop and has to be far better for you. To date I have made several different types of white bread, cinnamon bread and today my greatest triumph so far a perfect malt loaf. To some of you that may not mean much but to me a perfect malt loaf is a thing of beauty to be treasured and loved. I wish I had bought one of these machines earlier as it rates right up there as one of the best kitchen items I have ever bought, one of its big advantages is that everybody eats what comes out of this machine and may bread is now fresh and wholesome. I am now moving on and my next loaf will be delicately flavoured with a fine Scottish whisky. Happy Baking love from Cata® xxx

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                              • Olive Oil in general / Oil / Vinegar / 0 Readings / 63 Ratings
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                                15.10.2001 20:07
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                                Although this op is about Olive oil I feel I have to mention the various other types of culinary oils available for the chef. OILS: ----- There are over twenty different types of culinary oils available, these include such delights as avocado and pumpkin seed oils; as well as them there are many varieties of Olive and flavoured oils. Certain oils are best for cooking while others best used for flavouring. Oils that can withstand high temperatures, such as those made from corn, grapeseed, groundnut, or peanut, rapeseed and sunflower are best for cooking. Others such as almond, hazelnut, sesame and walnut oils are more suitable for flavouring foods. Olive oil is of course suitable for both. Storage: -------- Ideal conditions for storage is pretty obvious, a cool, dark, dry cupboard and well sealed to prevent oxidisation. Failure to store in these conditions will lead to oxidisation and the oil will develop a rancid taste. Sound familiar well treat your olive oil like you treat your wine and you won’t go far wrong. Of course this is for long-term storage, the olive oil we buy from the supermarket is ready for use and can be kept out as long as it is used fairly quickly. If you like to make a bottle last for month’s keep it in the dark. Refrigeration may make the oil go cloudy and congeal; this can be easily remedied by bringing the oil back up to room temperature before using the oil. In warm climates it is advisable to keep your oil in the fridge only bringing out what you intend to use that day to clear. This is especially important in delicately flavoured oil, which would otherwise go off very quickly. Grapeseed Oil: -------------- This is a delicate oil, extracted from grape pips. It is able to withstand a wide range of temperatures and has a high smoking point. This makes it excellent for frying foods and is a healthy alternative to use for frying food rather than vegetable oils. It will not turn c loudy if stored in a refrigerator and due to its delicate nature is perfect for most salad dressings, mayonnaise, it can also be used to dilute the stronger oils such as hazelnut or walnut. Olive Oils: Most olive oil is produced around the Mediterranean. Spain is the largest producer of olive oil, the oils mainly being high quality; Italy however is renowned for producing some of the finest quality olive oil on the market especially from the Tuscany and Umbria regions. Greece is another major producer of oils but the quality control is not as high and the oils are not of the highest quality overall. Although some oils produced in Greece rate with the best. France producers a small amount but the quality are high but its output does not come near that of the big three. Extra Pure Oil: --------------- Olive oils are classified according to the level of acidity. The first cold pressing produces the finest olive oil with a maximum allowed acidity level of 1% this oil is labelled extra-virgin. Further processing by heat produces more oil, which decreases in quality and flavour. Fine virgin oil contains a maximum acidity level of no more than 1.5% while virgin oil the level is 3%. Plain olive oil or pure olive oil is made from a blend of refined oil and one of the levels of virgin oil. Olive oil is a healthy and versatile item and it is worth buying good quality oil for your cupboard. To produce some sauces only good quality oil will do or you would be left with an unpleasant taste. Remember however you will need a variety of oils in your kitchen. Extra fine virgin oil can be too strong and the flavour overpowering if using it in some dishes. Adding Flavours: ---------------- Oils can easily be infused with flavours, such as herbs, garlic, spices etc. You need to purchase good quality oil and some airtight bottles or jars. Then place your herb or spices in the container and cover with olive oil. I normal look out for nice bottles throughout the year and come September/October make flavoured oils for gifts around the family. Along with my home made gin and vodka gifts they make an extremely easy gift to make that gives pleasure and are useful as well. (See my op on subject) Shameless plug out of the way I will proceed :>) Chilli Oil: ----------- Two teaspoons of Sichuan peppers or mixed peppercorns. 8-10 dried red chillies. 8 fl oz groundnut oil. 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Heat a pan and add peppercorns and eight chillies, dry fry them for a minute or two on a medium heat. Stir all the time so they do not burn. Reduce the heat to low and pour on the groundnut oil. Leave to cook for ten minutes before removing from the heat and allow to cool. When cold add the sesame oil and stir well. Cover and leave overnight to infuse. Strain the oil through muslin into a sterilised jar or bottle add the two left over chillies. Seal the container and store in a cool, dark, dry place for at least three months. The oil is then ready for use, it gives a lovely warm flavour to your cooking without the burn often found when cooking with plain chillies. Herb and Saffron Oil: --------------------- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 2-4 sprigs of fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon of crushed fennel seed, Generous pinch of saffron strands, 750 ml of extra virgin olive oil. Wash your herbs and pat dry with kitchen roll, remember oil and water do not mix. Lightly bruise them to bring out the flavour and aroma, this is easily done by pressing the flat side of a knife onto the herbs. Put all the ingredients into a sterilised jar or bottle cover with the oil. Seal and shake the bottle well to mix, store in a refrigerator for at least a week then use. This oil does not keep well and is best used up within a month of making. You may prefer to strain the oi l first but you can use straight from the bottle with no problems. Garlic oil: ----------- Peel a couple of cloves insert into the neck of a bottle cover with oil and leave for a week. Use the oil straight from the bottle with no need to strain. You can top this oil up if you so wish, eventually the garlic will lose its potency and you will have to start again. Pesto Sauce: ------------ This is an excellent sauce to be served with pasta, if you have dried the stuff you can buy in supermarkets do not be put off, try making your own for a rewarding experience. In a mortar put 50g of torn fresh basil leaves, tear then rather than chop or cut it improves the flavour and aroma, three finely chopped garlic cloves, two tablespoons of pine nuts, salt and pepper. Grind this mixture with a pestle until you get a paste, add 50g of finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese and mix well. (Again I stress fresh Parmesan is a must the rubber bits sold as Parmesan in pots is a no no here) Gradually trickle over and beat in 100ml of virgin olive oil, use the pestle or a wooden spoon. When well mixed it is ready to serve with fresh pasta. You can keep pesto for a week in a fridge or it is easily frozen, I tend to put it into an ice cube maker and then I have perfect cubes of pesto whenever I need them. Bruschetta: ---------- Four slice of thick country style bread. (I use bread made in a bread maker cut to suit) Two large cloves of garlic, Extra virgin olive oil, Sea salt. Optional Parma ham or ham, grilled tomato slices. Pre heat your grill and toast the bread on both sides until lightly brown, while the bread is hot rub the garlic which you have cut, over both sides of the bread. Drizzle oil over each slice and sprinkle with sea salt. You can top this if you wish with Parma ham or slices of grilled tomato, serve immediately as a starter with a nice glass of Chianti. <br> The best thing to remember it pays to get good quality oil, no matter what type you buy; you will need more than one sort in your cupboard and remember you can mix oils together. A virgin olive oil with a dash of sesame oil make a good oil for stir-fry's and an extra virgin oil with a hint of walnut make a superb dressing for a salad. Using good quality oils improves your cooking potential and improves most of the recipes that call for oil to be used in them. CATA®

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                                • Tea in general / Tea / 0 Readings / 66 Ratings
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                                  11.10.2001 21:01
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                                  Tea, that most evocative drink that is forever associated with cucumber sandwiches and cricket. TYPES:--------------------------------------- There are many different types of tea, both black and green, they in fact all come from the same plant, ’Camellia sinensis’. The differences comes from the area they are grown in and how they are processed. Black tea is the most popular in the western world, have a rich aroma and flavour. In reality the leaves are a dark reddish brown , the leaves are picked and allowed to wither in the hot sun. Then bruised and left to ferment it is during this process their colour, flavour and astringency develop. The leaves are then dried to stop the fermentation process and preserve them. Green Teas have less aroma and flavour than their black cousins, and make a paler brew. The leaves are first steamed straight after harvesting, this retains some of the colour and stops the fermentation process. They are then lightly rolled before drying. Oolong tea is a cross between black and green tea, being semi fermented. It is often used in blends although is available as a tea in it’s own right. Various types:------------------------------- Different teas do have very different characteristics, this not only affects how they are drunk but certain teas are designed for certain times of the day. Assam: this is from \North East India, strong and dark, blended with a Ceylon or an African tea , makes up most of what we call a breakfast blends. This type of tea is best drunk with milk. Ceylon: Crisp and strong, has a glorious amber colour, also best drunk with milk. Darjeeling: this varies in taste, it depends on were it was grown and harvested. Tea from the first harvest, or first flush, is a very delicate tea. The second flush makes a more robust brew. Autumn harvest produces a thicker tea altogether. All types can be bought but most commonly t he teas available in supermarkets are blends of second flush teas. Its delicate aroma and taste make it an ideal after lunch tea, best drunk as it comes without milk or sugar. Scented Tea: Jasmine, Earl Grey both fall into this category, make good afternoon and evening teas are both best without milk and sugar. Enabling the flavour to come through clearly. Lapsang Souchong: A smoke black tea from China, makes a refreshing afternoon drink, again refrain from milk and sugar to enjoy at its best. Gunpowder: A green Chinese tea like Oolong, are very delicate and are ideal after dinner, they contain less tannin and caffeine so are good for digestion. Again do not add milk and sugar as this will destroy any flavour. There are many other teas especially the herbal teas that are now available, all are best drunk plain to enable the flavours to come through. Peppermint is very good for indigestion suffers and rosehip for those suffering from water retention. More on home made herbal teas later on. ICED TEA:------------------------------------ It is very easy to make Iced tea and choose the flavour tea that you most enjoy. It is best to use proper tea rather than bags and use tea best drunk without milk. For this reason I would avoid Assam and Ceylon as they will produce a rather bitter brew. Make tea in your normal way, then when brewed to your taste strain into a jug leave to cool and then chill for an hour or so. Sweeten chilled tea to taste, crush ice and place in tall glasses, add a slice of lemon or orange, add a few mint leaves and pour the tea over them. This makes a refreshing drink which can be made in the morning and kept in your fridge all day. Try giving it to your kids it is a better alternative than fruit juices or the dreaded fizzy drinks. The above recipe can also be used as a great base for a fruit punch, you can also try it in a casserole, for an alternative to your usual stock. If you have a pot of tea such as one of the breakfast blends, try soaking dried fruits in it. Use mixed fruit to make a lovely tea loaf, or prunes to make a fruit compote. RECIPE: Fruit Loaf With Tea:------------------------- 500g mixed dried fruit, 250ml strong tea, Assam or Ceylon, cool and strain. 225g soft brown sugar, 2 eggs beaten, 225g self-raising flower, 2 teaspoons mixed spice, 1-2 tablespoons of clear honey. Method: Put fruit and tea in a bowl and leave overnight, Pre heat oven to 160 deg C, gas mark 3, 325 def F, Line a 900g loaf tin with greased proof paper. Stir the sugar into the fruit and tea mix and stand for five minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure sugar is dissolved. Now add the beaten eggs, sieve the flour and mixed spice together over the bowl and mix well. The mixture has to be nice and smooth. Pour into your tin and bake in the oven for One and a half hours or until a skewer comes out clean. Cover the top of the loaf with foil if it becomes too brown. When cooked remove from oven and while still warm drizzle honey over the top, spread it all over with a pastry brush. Leave the loaf in the tin until cold then remove. To store use foil and a cake tin. Herbal Teas:--------------------------------- You can also make teas or Tisanes from any herb or edible flower in the garden as long as they have not been sprayed with pesticides. Some however work far better giving rich flavours. Herbs and flowers used in this way include, bergamot and camomile flowers; caraway leaves (caraway seeds make a stronger brew); dill; elderflowers; fennel; hawthorn and hibiscus flowers; lemon balm; lemongrass; lemon verbena; lime flower; mint; rose petals or hips; and rosemary. You can also use angelica leaves but diabetics should be careful of their sugar content. Raspberry leaves, useful drink for those about to go into labour . Sage also makes a refreshing tea but should not be drunk too often. This is because it’s antiseptic properties that can cause potential toxic shock. Thyme makes a nice drink to but it is not advisable to drink if pregnant. You can make these brews with either single herb or flower or make a mixture to suit, even adding spices for added flavour. All however make a refreshing caffeine free brew and make a pleasant alternative to tea or coffee. Serve without milk and sweeten with honey or sugar as required. RECIPE Dill Tisane:--------------------------------- Two teaspoons of fresh dill, chopped lightly, four green cardamom pods , lightly crushed. Quarter teaspoon of fresh chopped mint, one small thin slice of ginger. One pint of boiling water, and to serve thin slices of lemon. Warm your pot, then add the herbs and spices to it, pour the water over the lot. Leave to infuse for approximately three to five minutes depending on the strength of tea you wish to get. Longer you leave it the stronger the flavour and colour, serve by straining into a cup or glass, garnish with slice of lemon and decorate with mint leaves. Use honey to sweeten if desired. Enjoy your brews I hope your cup cheers, Cata®

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