I tried one of Jack’s delicious recipes tonight, the CCK burger! After a rather heavy day, calorifically speaking, at work, I fancied something meat free, fresh, nutritious and cost conscious!
So I picked Jack’s recipe for the CCK burger and made enough for four good sized burgers, two of which I cooked, with the remaining two chilling in my (very ill fridge) for tomorrow. Please click on the link above for the recipe and many others, or follow it here:
Ingredients, makes 4:
1 carrot, grated, 5p (from a 1.25kg veg pack average 20pcs, £1)
1 onion, finely chopped, 5p (from a 1.25kg veg pack average 20pcs, £1)
Handful of coriander, finely chopped, free (window ledge)
Teaspoon of cumin, 2p approx (80p/46g)
1 can kidney beans, 21p
Splash of oil, 2p (£4.50/3l)
Teaspoon of flour, 1p (65p/1.5kg)
1. Drain and rinse the kidney beans in cold water to wash away the ‘tinned’ taste. Put in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then simmer for ten minutes to soften.
2. In a separate pan, add the finely chopped onion, grated carrot, cumin and coriander. Drizzle a little oil over and cook gently on a low heat to soften.
3. When the kidney beans have heated through and softened, drain and add to the carrots and onions. Mash together with a masher or a fork until you have a smooth-ish purée (like a mashed potato consistency). Stir in a heaped teaspoon of flour.
4. Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. With floured hands, shape some of the mixture into a ball, about the size of a golf ball. Place in the oil and flatten gently with a fork to make the burger shape. Cook for a few minutes on one side, before turning over gently. They need to be handled with care while cooking as they can be quite fragile!
5. When cooked on both sides, serve hot.
I ate mine with a tin of plumb tomatoes (36p) and added a little additional olive oil and basil on the side. Delicious!
When cooking tomorrow’s two burgers, I think I will add a clove of garlic to the cooking oil and may sprinkle on a dash of lime juice and Tabasco sauce for the Mexican version! Viva!
Back from the pub this evening and in a beautifully clear sky, slightly windy but warm, above the moon, was the brightest object. I thought it may be Saturn but a check of my astrological devices and books showed it to be Jupiter!
After some clumsy fumblings with the telescope of joy, I managed to train my eyepiece in the appropriate direction and was rewarded with seeing the most spectacular view of Jupiter and it’s four brightest moons, the Galilean moons, aligned in this order:
Ganymede, Io – Jupiter – Europa, Calista
It looked something like this.
The cloud belts of Jupiter were clearly visible and although the above image is somewhat enlarged, it gives a close approximation of what the gas giant looks like through my rather modest telescope.
I’m thrilled to have seen this near neighbour of ours, a mere 483,426,785 miles distant!
So criminal and Sex Pistol Ronnie Biggs has snuffed it. About time.
I’d agree with the sentiments of the The Economist with this obituary of Biggs.
RONNIE BIGGS, an armed robber, liar and absconder from justice, died on December 18th. From the reaction of some commentators, you might have thought he was royalty—the dead man’s ghost-writer, Christopher Pickard, hailed Mr Biggs as “one of the great characters of the last 50 years”.
That was nonsense, of course. Mr Biggs was a small-time South London crook who had been dishonourably discharged from the Royal Air Force for robbing a chemist’s. His notoriety stems from two things, neither of which greatly improve his reputation.
First, after falling in with a group of more ambitious thieves, he took part in one of Britain’s most audacious thefts of recent times—the so-called Great Train Robbery of 1963. It involved a gang of 15 Cockney villains, including Mr Biggs, attacking the Glasgow-London mail train, coshing its driver, Jack Mills, and making off with £2.6m ($4.2m), a staggering sum at the time.
Mr Biggs’s role in the heist is disputed. Some say it was he who brained Mr Mills, who never worked again and died seven years later. But most writers on the crime suggest Mr Biggs played a peripheral and unsuccessful role in it.
He failed in his main task, to recruit a train driver to the gang. He was described by one recent chronicler of the heist, Anthony Delano, as an “idiot”—“a small-time South London crook who nobody wanted on the team because he was a weak link”. Mr Biggs was arrested, convicted and sent to prison for 30 years—the trial judge described him as a “specious and facile liar”.
Mr Biggs’s second claim to fame is a little more amusing. After 15 months in the clink, he shinned over a wall of Wandsworth Prison, dived into a strategically placed furniture van, and went on the run.
After a brief stop in Paris for plastic surgery (it cost £40,000 but failed to alter his appearance much), he went to Australia with his wife and three sons, where he blended in among a large population of recent British immigrants, and worked as a carpenter, under the name Terry Cook. With detectives closing in, however, he was soon off again, via a pit-stop in Panama, to Brazil, where he lived for over three decades.
By now penniless—or so he claimed—he lived quietly in Rio de Janeiro. He was discovered through the joint investigations of a British tabloid reporter and a detective—Jack Slipper from Scotland Yard—in 1974. There was talk of extraditing him. Then it emerged that his Brazilian lover, a nightclub dancer, was pregnant, which provided him with a legal case to remain in Brazil.
Thereafter he lived on the offerings of British tabloid reporters, Japanese tourists—whom he charged £40 to attend a barbeque at his house and £25 for a photograph—and visiting British rock stars. Wittily unrepentant, in droll Cockney fashion, Mr Biggs became a minor celebrity, portrayed as a symbol of loveable villainy and working-class defiance; in 1978 he recorded a single, “No one is innocent” with The Sex Pistols, a punk band. But it was still a shame about Mr Mills.
The popular notion of Mr Biggs living it up in the sun was also nonsense, however. He was sick and depressed; he tried to kill himself at least once. In 2001 he was flown back to Britain on a private jet stocked with Marmite and English beer, courtesy of the Sunnewspaper. Mr Biggs, in an obviously scripted statement, said he had been compelled to return to Blighty because he wanted to drink a pint of bitter in a Margate pub once more. In reality, he wanted free medical treatment on the National Health Service.
In any event, he would not see Margate. Over a hundred police officers were waiting for him to get off the plane, and he was promptly returned to prison. When, in 2009, he applied for parole on compassionate grounds, the then home secretary Jack Straw refused his application on the reasonable grounds that he had shown not a shred of remorse for his crime. He was released in 2011 only after it was argued that he was dying.
Fittingly, he managed to postpone that fate a bit, but he was in pitiful condition. When he appeared at the funeral of Bruce Reynolds, the organiser of the train heist, he was doddery and unable to speak. He still managed to flick a “V-sign” at the watching press photographers.
He was to the end unrepentant. Communicating by alphabet board, in July, shortly before the 50th anniversary of the Great Train Robbery, he said: “If you want to ask me if I have any regrets about being one of the Great Train Robbers, the answer is no.”
“I will go further. I am proud to have been one of them. I was there that August night and that is what counts. I am one of the few witnesses—living or dead—to what was the crime of the century.”
For the last two months my (up to) 60Mb Virginn internet connection has been struggling.
In October, I called and underwent the wearisome process of following their script and resetting everything. After 30 minutes of that and them trying to blame the fact that I use Linux on my router and laptop, they checked and came back with; “Ah. There’s a known fault in your area, it’s quite complicated so it may take a couple of weeks to resolve. Hopefully by early November.”
I give it a couple of weeks. Some days it was fine, some days it was diabolical.
I rang again, asking them to skip all the resetting nonsense, just to check their records for my previous call to see how far along the repair was. 20 minutes later, after more pointless resetting (sigh) they said; “Ah. There’s a known fault in your area, it’s quite complicated so it may take a couple of weeks to resolve. Hopefully by early December.”
Early December arrives and this is the speed I was getting two days ago when I complained about it on Twitter sending the tweet to VirginMedia.
A day later, having filled out an on-line form for their Twitter team, I’m now seeing this.
Still only half of my (up to) 60 Mb connection but a lot better.
It goes to show that sticking sarcastic criticism on social media obtains better results than calling the dedicated support line. Bottom line is though, I’m pleased it’s fixed.