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Dr. M von Vogelhausen (UK)

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Kirstie's Homemade Home
Kirstie's Homemade Home
by Kirstie Allsopp
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 7.00

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars terrifyingly brilliant, 17 Jan 2011
Like many lost wanderers in this palace of clouds we call life, I have a home but I am unsatisfied with the amount of involvement other homes had in its creation. My home - Vogelhausen Towers to its friends (and its enemies, the hordes of the Termite King) - was mostly made by people. Oh, I used to think as I repeatedly checked the walls for hollow spots whence ambushes could be sprung, if only my home were made by homes! It takes one to know one, so the saying goes, and of course homes make sweet homes. Imagine my surprises, then, when I saw this glorious outpouring of decoratey joy, "Kirstie's Homemade Home", in the leaves of my tea.

I put aside the project I was working on - the insertion of unnecessary commas into the Bible and the novels of Ian McEwan - and began to peruse Ms. Allsopp's craftcraftiness. Wond'rousness abounded. I took on many of the easy projects - chairs made from pencil sharpenings; vases made of other, smaller and uglier, vases; cushions that made sitting more comfortable through an uneasy marriage of time travel and mimickry; candles made of surplus sadness (very important given our straitened economic circumstances); and of course that perennial favourite, marzipan chandeliers, which have made my home both bright and almondy.

If there were any note of caution, it would be the possibility that once your home realises that homes can make things, it could become overconfident and start to make entirely separate homemade homes which it will educate and indoctrinate with its own "home-maker" agenda, which will in turn make other homes that will go on to populate every unoccupied space on Earth with increasingly deranged copies of themselves. But this is a minor risk and the benefits of Kirstie's homespun wisdom certainly outweigh the possibility that all of human civilisation and life will come to an end. All in all, a must buy.

Rayware Dema Simplicity 2 Tier Cake Stand
Rayware Dema Simplicity 2 Tier Cake Stand
Price: 13.46

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars this really is impressive., 23 Nov 2010
I possess many cakes. As I continue to bake, as is to be expected, the quantity of cakes increases. I was impelled to purchase this standy piece of wonderment when I realised that my spongy creations, sadly but precisely stacked from skirting board to sink edge, threatened the natural extravagance of my kitchen manoeuvres.

Since then, the organisation of my cupcake army has been exemplary. The Rayware Dema Simplicity (Ray, for short) even has a built in 2 level system which keeps the officer class - eclair, choux, macaroon, plum and coffee black forest - above the lesser, rank and file - Victoria sponge, fondant fancy, manatee marble.

I like the roundness of it, the way it so closely resembles the firing tip of one of my old laser blasters, pointed up at the sky as if to challenge the god of patisserie. Cake! There are some, small, issues. For the life of me, I cannot find any of the secret trapdoors within it. When I turn my back on it - to talk to Alex the Destructor or his son Crown Prince Edvardicus, for example - I can hear the muffled voice of John Barnes explaining the properties of the proton.

I liked this product so much I purchased several, and then I purchased a cake stand stand, which is shaped like a swan, or the later stages of your career (when you are finally readmitted into the world, having solved Jasper's Infinite Maze). A must buy! Help!
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2011 5:20 PM BST

Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home
Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home
by Nigella Lawson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 13.00

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nigenius!, 9 Nov 2010
Nigella! Food! Preparation! Reading. A book for the purpose thereof (therein? Theremin?) I knew today was going to be a good day when I woke up to find every surface in my bedroom had been covered by a thin layer of gold. And so it turned out to be, as I also received this little cardboardpapery box o' tricks via that nice postman (who may not actually be a postman. Why, for instance, would he wear leggings?)

As boldly as a reanimated madeleine, Nigella tells us up front (which is the best place for telling to be done) that these are meals issuing from the "heart of the home". This, of course, caused a small whimper of concern in the home of my heart (which is, in fact, my head. My brain has no home: it wanders, bewildered, from riverbank, to DFS warehouse, to a place resembling New Zealand). If the recipes are coming from there, I mused aloud, would their place of origin have an impact on me?

Yes! Yes! N... Yes! Everything I cooked from this book in the three hours that I have owned it (although one can never say one owns anything truly for as long as one's evil alter-ego periodically takes control of one's body) has been truly from the heart. The Guinness gingerbread caused all of the paper in my flat to fall in love with everything that was in any way yellow; the pasta Genovese caused time to halt...and zip forward to February 14th, where it remained for several weeks. As for the Chinatown salad, through some miracle of musiphysics, when it was placed on the dining table at Vogelhausen Towers, the clinking sound of the diamond plate on the peanut brittle tabletop stretched out beyond 20 seconds, then 30... and turned into the opening bars of the Bangles' "Eternal Flame". Food from the heart, truly.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 29, 2010 10:22 PM GMT

Jamie's 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast
Jamie's 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast
by Jamie Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 12.99

14 of 88 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A feast!, 3 Oct 2010
Food, food, food. Arise, Sir Nutrition! Imagine meals without the foody centrepieces - madness, like a band that is not broad, or a baby without ice, ice. And yet, sometimes over the last few of my incarnations, I have felt that there has been too much to eat (I am thinking especially of the years when chefs deliberately confused deserts and desserts, and then insisted that we EAT EVERY LAST MOUTHFUL).

And so it was that when I saw the title of this latest work, I was excited and hopeful (and slightly translucent, although this was for other reasons) Minute, tiny meals - 30 of the little chappies.

But, BY TOUTATIS! I opened the book, and discovered (not for the first time, nay, you say true) that I had misunderstood the thrust of Jamie's titlewords. They are meals that are only small when compared, say, to the 2.5 metre tall ice sculpture of a diffident walrus that I am constantly honing in my kitchen, or any number of giant redwoods.

So, I reassessed the title. Then I reassessed the spelling of reassessed. Then back to the title. 30 minutes... Thank the heavens, and the stars therein, thought I, for I have, through a peculiarity of birth and some strange, dark plan of destiny, always found myself unable to fill all of my day adequately - no matter how I monkey around with the timetable or procrastinate by counting the lies I tell myself, I am always, and have always been, unable to fill two half-an-hour slots every day. I tried everything to deal with the terrifying loose-endedness. Now no more, no - now I cook.

And what do I do with the food I cannot, must not eat? Well, as everybody knows, food can easily be converted into paper, and I always need paper. Great. So, all in all (in all, in alioli, in alibi), another victory for Jamie of Oliver. Onward, Jasper...To the future!
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 6, 2010 2:26 PM GMT

Ramsay's Best Menus
Ramsay's Best Menus
by Gordon Ramsay
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and interesting; ultimately enigmatic, 26 Sep 2010
This review is from: Ramsay's Best Menus (Hardcover)
When a rumour reached me a week ago that Gordon Ramsay had put pen to paper once more, I had to stop what I was doing. I put down the mallet and switched off the milking machine. "Señor Gordon," I whispered, my voice loud in the empty theatre, "A new book? And I have eyes! Glory be!". I left instructions for Jasper to finish my current project (a bold reworking of Madame Bovary, with the heroine replaced by the various personas played by Britney Spears in her video for "Toxic") and hurried back to the mainland.

At first I was puzzled. The characters are all there - and Gordon again has used the familiar technique of replacing humans with food (which is much more complex and makes for better dialogue). There is clearly some kind of plot, although it is at times hard to make out. It appears to be a novel of war - several opposing factions become clear over the course of the book: the starters, lightly armed but with the advantage of being the first into the fray, led by the bloodthirsty Captain Tempura; the main courses, a band of mercenaries from all over the world, urged on by their figurehead, First Lieutenant Rare-Beef, who can call on the deadly talents of an élite cadre of jus; and finally the desserts, masters of deception, appearing sweet but carrying an awesome calorific punch, and always present at the end of the fight, commanded by the diffident Generale Pannacotta. As with all of Ramsay's writing, all of human life is here, seen through a nutritional lens of foody wonder.

When I reached the end, more questions had been asked than answered. Was the Risotto character a double agent for the starters or a loyal main course? Can one justify flambéing and tenderising, even in a time of war? And what is the plural of jus? I will search for the answers inside my head (which is where everything in the universe eventually ends up). All in all, a must read.

Brabantia Profile Line Lemon Zester - Stainless Steel
Brabantia Profile Line Lemon Zester - Stainless Steel
Price: 6.25

26 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, if uncommon, 24 Aug 2010
August 24th

Today has been passing strange. I dismissed the servants and the overbutler and retired to my laboratory (how vainglorious of me to call it so) to study the fearful yellow wonders I have produced. Yesterday I wrote of their Shape, oval I think I ventured as an apt description, and, let it not be unsaid, their brooding yellowness. With the sharpest of knives I dissected the things, one after the other. Their Flesh is translucent, and in truth so bitter that I could manage only two; but what I priz'd above all was the wondrous solar shine of their Rind. I fancied that I might use a knife, but the Operation was fraught with peril, both bodily and moral. It was at this point that I saw, as one sees in the deepest opiate fug, something hard, and clean, and relucent: the Brabantia. "Glory be!" Said I. With its mineral hardness the yellow beasts, those ...imps... of the fruit Kingdom, they surrendered the out'rmost layer of their skin - which I might call the "zest". "How perfect...for a cake!" I cried; but alas, only Sir Jasper, my hound, could hear me - and he seem'd agitated by the Odeur of the fruitsome intruders. Now all that remains is a name; mayhap "Yellow Oranges". I recommend them for Desserting; and the Brabantia for Zestifying. Amen.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 16, 2011 1:42 PM BST

Spear & Jackson - Traditional Digging Spade
Spear & Jackson - Traditional Digging Spade
Price: 19.00

13 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars also good for untraditional digging, 2 Aug 2010
Jasper does not like the way my garden looks. He cannot speak, of course, but with a series of yelps and the help of an etch-a-sketch, he indicated to me that it was the levelness of the lawn that troubled him so. For months, I tolerated his displeasure as I have tolerated my over-tight socks. And then, one day, as I was following the tracks of a rogue laminator through the lush Etruscan jungle of Derby, I saw a man holding a spade above his head and screaming with laughter.

"Hold on," I thought aloud. "I could use one of those - the end part especially - to move earth around my garden," I thought to myself. "I should buy one of them from Amazon," I thought, using gestures. Jasper misinterpreted these, and blew his cover to attack the laminator. By the time I separated them, the laminator was a smoking pile of opaque and see-through plastic, and Jasper was...smoother... than before. I have sent him to Dr. Sigfried for unlamination.

On receipt of the product, I used it to dig - it is a digging spade, after all, as the description says. And the earth burst out into the light joyfully at its gentle coaxing, happy to be released from its grass prison; and the hole that was created was neat and calm, and a useful place to lay a trap, or just sit and think. Or do both, although this will require more planning and brazenness.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 29, 2011 2:58 PM BST

Epson Stylus Photo PX710W All In One 6 Colour Photo Printer (Individual Inks, Screen and Integrated Wifi)
Epson Stylus Photo PX710W All In One 6 Colour Photo Printer (Individual Inks, Screen and Integrated Wifi)

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a prince that prints, 28 July 2010
My nephew, Uncle von Vogelhausen, does not believe in birthday presents. So it was that he cajoled me into buying something for myself on my official birthday, and then charged me for the privilege. A little voice whispered in my ear that I should buy a printer; in this way my words would not be trapped, like sad rabbits, inside the dark dungeon of my laptop.

It turned out that the little voice was coming from a tiny record player balanced on my shoulder. But that is a story for another day, aye. I took the printer home and placed it close enough to my laptop so that they could become friends, and retreated to my kitchen to prepare some artichoke tea.

I print, and generally the paper bears a close resemblance to the documents on my laptop. Only once have I had a serious issue; this was when I was attempting to print a series of statements in the first person from the printer's viewpoint, which were mildly self-critical - for instance, "I am the PX710W, and I smell of onions". All of the statements were gone. In their place, in size 36 garamond font, was the single sentence, "I'm going to pretend you didn't send that." Since then our relationship has been perfectly stable, and my words are out in the world, like tiny lettery children. Run free!

Rexel Odyssey Personal Heavy Duty Stapler for Odyssey Multipurpose 9mm Staples Silver - Ref 2100048
Rexel Odyssey Personal Heavy Duty Stapler for Odyssey Multipurpose 9mm Staples Silver - Ref 2100048
Price: 15.28

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a stapling staple, 9 July 2010
Like so many of my, lost, generation, I have long lived in the tiny space at the top of a church tower. Because of the pyramidical nature of my living quarters (I have four of them), I often find that paper gets out of control. I had a fall out with my up-till-now reliable papersitter, which curtailed my social activities. Papercare is an expensive business. Then it came to me. Why had I not thought of it before? Bent pieces of thin metal could be used to corral my errant sheets. What I needed was a stapler. And a jar of jam.

I found the Rexel Odyssey much in the same way as one finds clarity after a hangover has passed; I trained it in the ways of the A4, and its frisky cousin A3. I scared it with tales of the malignant A5. It took a short time, but it learnt a huge amount of things in that time and soon became accustomed to its new area of operation, atop the tower. I can truly, therefore, now say that this is steeple-stapling steeple with a steep learning curve.

So it is then, that the days of looseness are gone; and my realm is dominated by the teasing tightness of the tiny metal masters. I must say that I am happy. I love the >clunk< of staples in the morning. It sounds like victory.

Stanley Blue Strike Hammer 16Oz     1 51 488
Stanley Blue Strike Hammer 16Oz 1 51 488
Price: 7.49

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a big hitter, 23 Jun 2010
DIY is, for me, the only way I can make sense of the baffling jelly of the world. Nothing can compare to the satisfying feeling of a naughty shelf made right, nor the late-night shepherding of fleeing tacks spooked by the proximity of a rogue post-it note.

For many seasons I had relied on my forehead, and a sense of unfocussed righteous indignation, to pierce my boards with nails. I earned the admiration of my cousins, the northern wolves, but my day-to-day gleefulness was downgraded somewhat because of the blazing pain. Oh-no-Aloha.

One day, when I was temporarily Amish, we were raising a barn and, with the power of our minds, popping corn. I was, needless to say, hurting, although this was offset by the savoury, dangerous smell of the cinema. Caleb paused in his labours, and said, "Doctor M, have you no hammer?" I wiped the blood from my brow, and in a flash everything was clear.

I purchased this wee beastie, this prince Hammerlet, truly the master of carpentry ceremonies - the hammer m.c. Much recommended.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 2, 2010 7:51 AM BST

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