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Messages - Amie

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The Coffee Shop / Re: I'm not ready to give up on MWC
« on: January 08, 2018, 10:07:15 PM »
Jameela, I don't think bringing new faces to the forum is the primary issue (though obviously that's a good thing too).

We have / had many many active and devoted members and moderators. What we need is to get rid of the spam, and for the moderators to be returned the tools they need to moderate (like being able to delete spam posts - though hopefully so few would get through that that would not be the primary task).

The Coffee Shop / Re: I'm not ready to give up on MWC
« on: January 08, 2018, 03:55:03 PM »
I keep checking in too.

The Coffee Shop / Re: Sourdough
« on: December 28, 2017, 10:51:02 AM »
I think you may have achieved perfection :)

The Coffee Shop / Re: The MWC Bar/Red Barren Bar
« on: December 27, 2017, 11:09:52 PM »
I guess some parts of Yorkshire are so monocultural that they describe anyone not of European origins as black? I remember hearing occasionally Indians and Pakistanis described as black when I lived in Leeds many years (decades) ago. (and come to think of it, I was described as "half-caste" by some Leedsians back then - though they meant half Indian. No one in Yorkshire had ever heard of Armenia, pre-Kardashians, so I just let them run with it  :) )

Anyway, not a problem obviously, just a little weird.

The Coffee Shop / Re: The MWC Bar/Red Barren Bar
« on: December 26, 2017, 01:41:34 PM »
Strange thing happened to me today - a woman referred to me as "black". Really really strange, because I don't look like someone of African heritage at all.... people usually think I am Latina (and even, compared to most Latinas I am pretty fair-skinned)

I wonder if this woman has never met a black person? She's lived all her life in extreme rural Yorkshire, so I suppose while it's unlikely, it could be possible (this came about directly after a comment about Meghan Markle... so maybe she thinks all people whose skin is the same shade as Meaghan Markle must be black?)

The Coffee Shop / Re: Weird Christmas stuff
« on: December 19, 2017, 08:56:41 PM »
They drive me nuts every year :)

I don't mind giving the money to their kids (I used to try to buy their kids gifts, but one year I bought something one of my nieces didn't like, so the next year they said "buy something pink and Barbie". But I bought the same thing as her parents, and it was supposed to be her "big gift" and she had two, so from then on they said, "just give us money")

The thing that annoys me is having to think up presents for myself. Saying, "I don't need anything" is not acceptable. My husband has four siblings with families and each ask each year, "what do you want for Christmas" and I have to come up with the exact thing (preferably purchasable on Amazon). My MIL, though she's a lovely lady, does the same. This year, when I said, "I don't know", she said, "well, could you buy yourself something and I'll give you the money after". Last night my husband was stressing because one of his sisters sent a text during dinner, and I didn't want to break off and wrack my brains to come up with something (I think from now on I'll just say Amazon vouchers. So I can give each of their kids 50, and they'll all give me 50 vouchers for myself, and the net effect is that I've had to buy myself vouchers that I don't want, which seems a bit unnecessarily laborious)

They see Christmas gift giving as a chore to complete, and the feeling rubs off on me. Le sigh :(

The Coffee Shop / Weird Christmas stuff
« on: December 19, 2017, 01:49:58 PM »
My husband and I are having a debate as to what is "normal" Christmas giving behaviour. I'd have put this as a poll, but polls aren't so easy to do on this forum anymore. So tell me, which do you think is normal:

A) your in-laws phone you a month before Christmas, asking what you want, and requesting cash for their kids (the item you request must equal the amount of cash you send to their kids, more or less exactly). They then continually harangue you until you come up with an answer ("it's okay, I don't need anything, and I'm happy to give your kids the money you have requested anyway" is not an acceptable answer)

B) you just buy things, and try to put some thought into it, and hope you pick something the other party will really like, but you want to surprise them, and don't want to put pressure on them, so you don't ask what they might want more than once (if at all)

C) you agree not to exchange gifts, because neither party really needs anything, and the purpose of Christmas is getting together and having a happy time, not presents

D) something else.

My position is that B and C and possibly D are normal, whereas A is a colossal waste of time and makes Christmas into a stressful chore. If I have to spend 30 on you, and you have to spend 30 on me, then why not just go for C and decide for ourselves whether we want stuff?

My husband's family are diehards for A. My husband says, "that's how everyone does it, don't they?". I said, "not my family" (they do B or C). So I thought I'd put it to the test: who are the raving freaks, my family, or my husband's family? ;)

The Coffee Shop / Re: Sourdough
« on: December 18, 2017, 04:01:39 PM »
Until Mark mentioned this problem, I always cooked my sourdough in a tin, and didn't realise there was a problem!

Once he mentioned it, it niggled me.

I've tried again, adding gluten to the mix. It's keeping its shape (24h later into the proving, with much stretching in between to redevelop the gluten), but smells like glue rather than sourdough. I don't want to bake it until it has that lovely sour beery  smell.

The Coffee Shop / Re: Sourdough
« on: December 18, 2017, 11:01:00 AM »
I'm still experimenting. Was hoping there'd be a whole host of sourdough experts chiming in with their tips, but I guess I'm out of luck....

The Coffee Shop / Re: Sourdough
« on: December 16, 2017, 10:55:04 AM »
My method is more true to the spirit of sourdough recipes, but doesn't taste sour at all.

Maybe I can get away with proving it longer, to develop the flavour...

The Coffee Shop / Re: Sourdough
« on: December 16, 2017, 09:30:30 AM »
I can't post a pic of mine. It came out really nicely risen, fluffy and yummy - but not sour.

Here's what I did:

On th basis that it's the acid from the yeast that weakens the gluten and makes the bread flop (as learned by googling), I made a few adjustments to my usual recipe to reduce the contact time between flour and acid.

1. I prepared the leaven just before going to bed (75g water, 75g strong white flour, 1 tbsp starter). Next morning it was super fluffy.

2. I mixed all the other ingredients (without the leaven) together (400g strong white flour, 100g string wholemeal flour, 10g salt, 300g water), and left to stand for 1 hour to let the flour hydrate (bowl covered with cling film)

3. After an hour, I kneaded for ten minutes until it was nice and springy. Then I left it fir an hour to let the gluten relax.

4. After an hour, I worked the leaven into the rest of the dough. The difference in texture is very noticeable - the dough seems much less sticky than it normally would at this point - I guess because the acid from the wild yeast hasn't had a chance to attack most of the gluten yet. I left it for 30 minutes, then stretch and fold. Then left for an hour, and stretched, folded and shaped.

5. At this point, I didn't have the volume I'd like, so I put it in a warm (c 40c) oven for 30 minutes. I know a lot of sites say a slow rising in a fridge is best to develop flavour, but if it's contact with the acid that weakens the gluten, I thought a quicker rise might be advisable. Always left to rest with cling film over, to prevent it drying.

6. 30-40 minutes, I folded it twice, tucking the seams under, and put it back in the oven to rise a bit more. It flattened a little, but didn't completely lose its shape.

7. 30 minutes later, took it out of the oven, and preheat oven to 220C. Tucked the edges under the dough ball again to plump it up a little.

8. Popped into a hot oven for I think about 45 mins to an hour (lost track of time, I just kept checking til it looked nicely browned)

9. Hey presto, nicely risen loaf that kept its shape.

The Coffee Shop / Re: Sourdough
« on: December 16, 2017, 09:18:00 AM »
That is beautiful.

I was quite proud of mine, but yours is better.

Review My Poetry / Re: Days of Indictments
« on: November 15, 2017, 04:49:23 AM »
Are they truly lazy Sunday mornings?

I read from the title that there might be more of an air of expectation? Like watching a reality game of thrones, and rooting for Arya or Jon Snow over (name your evil character)

Review My Poetry / Re: Harvest
« on: October 15, 2017, 04:57:13 PM »
I like this. A few comments

whirling beneath his swirling brush
                          in another place, another season.

These lines seem mostly redundant to me. You could argue that the add a little bit of imagery or context, and a tiny bit of rhyme - but these lines seem weak compared to the rest of it, and I don't think they add much that the reader wouldn't infer anyway.

Too, the sheep have lambed. Crows
on barbed wire await their road-kill.

Love this enjambment, like the crows are perched at the end of the line.

How things have changed. I miss
the woman I knew in other days.

A bit tell-y ...

I travel this road a lot. Once, I walked
all the way from this place to the next. 


This sounds like my sense of humour :)

I don't know... I think perceptions adapt. If you write solid stuff, "Mindy" could become the new (name of a serious writer)

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