Friday, August 26, 2011

Ever Wonder About Coffee Roasts?

A quality coffee post by enderrr:
Yes, folks, this is a coffee post. At least once a day someone comes in and asks me which different roasts we have, or tells me they’d like a cup of the dark roast because they ‘like strong coffee’. I politely tell them we have ‘medium’ roasted coffees exclusively. Why? Unlike many shops, we buy our coffee from a roaster who cares about quality, flavor, and integrity. This is not true with all shops, for many reasons (some valid, some not). However, we are lucky enough to work with truly specialty coffee. So, what exactly are the differences between roasts?
A light roast is characterized by a 426-435 degree rumble tumble in a roasting drum, and can last as short as 3 minutes. Roasters will listen for what’s called “first crack”; when the bean itself reaches about 405 degrees internally, it makes a soft cracking sound similar to popping corn (but softer in volume). These coffees mostly accurately present their origin flavors, and are put to excellent use in cuppings.
From 435-440 degrees, the beans will be classified as a medium roast. Roasted this way, a coffee will still be able to show off many individual characteristics of origin, as well as process and method of roasting chosen by the roastmaster. For this reason, most true artisan coffees are medium roast. They are sweeter, smoother and more balanced in acid, aroma, and complexity than any other roast.  ... 
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For the rest of this fascinating article CLICK HERE

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Roman Sweet Cheese Cake

This blog post is from:

Sweet Cheese Cake but not as we know it....

You will need:
130 grams plain flour
250 grams ricotta cheese
1 egg
4 bay leaves
4 tablespoons of clear honey
Serves 4

Libum to be made as follows: 2 lb cheese well crushed in a mortar; when it is well crushed, add 1lb bread-wheat flour or, if you want it to be lighter, just half a pound, to be mixed well with the cheese. Add one egg and mix all together well. Make a loaf of this with leaves under it, and cook slowly in a hot fire under a brick
Cato on Agriculture 75

Cheese was generally salty in Roman times and while the recipe above does not state it, other sources for libum contain honey. The combination of a salty cheese and a honey finish would not go down too well; as such, a soft-cheese substitute has been chosen to make a ‘sweet’ cheese cake based on the recipe above.


• Sift the flour into a bowl. Beat the cheese until smooth.

• Combine the flour, cheese and egg into a soft dough. It will be quite sticky.

• Split the dough into 4 and place on a grease-proof papered baking tray.

• Place them in the oven for 30 minutes, oven setting 220 degrees Celsius, until golden brown on top.

• Score and pour warmed honey over them.

• Leave to cool for 10 minutes and serve.

Recipe formed part of Bel's Tuesday Timetable event - What did they eat?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Original Fallout

PC gaming is a completely different beast when you’re used to PS3 gaming.

I am currently playing the original Fallout on Steam. And I must admit, I was lost at the beginning. The concept of Taking Turns during battle eluded me. (“Why can’t I just kill this rat?”)

I also didn’t understand how to explore the map. I went directly to Vault 15, couldn’t find a rope, got ganged up on by five radscorpions and died without having saved. At all.

This turned out to be good, though, because the next time around I found Shady Sands, which led me to Junktown and The Hub. And I haven’t even been near Vault 15 yet. I also picked up Ian as a companion, which has saved my hide several times.

The pace of this game is…well…sedate when compared to Fallout 3 or Fallout New Vegas. It’s mental rather than physical.

For something more action-oriented on Steam, I tried Team Fortress 2.

You’d think someone who types all the time would easily adapt to using the keyboard as the game controller.

You’d be wrong.

I am laughably inept at remembering which keys move me and which change my weapon. I’m going to get a mouse and see if I do any better.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why Het Romance Is Boring

I've got a theory about this.

I know a lot of female readers who have switched to male/male romance, not just because two hot men are better than one, but because they're finding het (male/female) romance boring. Not that the plots are slow or the same or whatnot, just that they don't care that much if the couple get together.

This is my theory: Sex ruins suspense.

Back in the day, love really was a battlefield for a female. Examine Jane Austen's stories carefully - there's a lot of quiet desperation there. If a woman couldn't find a husband, she was doomed to a life of dependency on the kindness of others--family, friends--and that often meant poverty.

She couldn't introduce herself to a man (a mutual acquaintance was required) and if she tried seducing a suitor not only her reputation but the reputation of her entire extended family could be ruined. She might be shunned socially, cast out of her family, and end up dying on the streets.

Single-motherhood was practically a fate worse than death, right up to the last few decades of the 20th century. Families that could, hushed it up by sending the woman away - saying she "went west for her health" or some other months-long, far-out-of-town vacation where, by the virtue of distance and anonymity in a new area, she could secretly give birth and give up her child.

Love, romance, marriage - these were life and death decisions for a woman. There was danger involved.

This isn't the case any more. Women need men like a fish needs a bicycle, right? ;)

A single woman can have everything on her own--a career, a child, her own place in society, success, happiness. She can have sex with whomever, whenever.

And since sex sells, the heroine is often required to have glorious sex every other chapter.

However, if you have a romance book where the conflict is: The sex is fantastic but do I really love him? You don't have any urgency. It's mundane. There's no danger anymore.

With male/male romance, the love itself is the danger.

Just by existing, it could threaten the welfare and future of the men involved, and their families - and extended families if the book is historical. In fact, the mere love itself could lead to jail time or death--right up to the last few decades of the 20th century (and even later).

So with m/m romance, the reader is actively engaged in cheering for the couple to succeed, hoping that, against all odds, despite all the blocks society placed in their way, they find their Happily Ever After.

There can still be hot sex, but many readers like the Forbidden Love aspect best. The longing looks. Breathless meetings. Fleeting touches.

The way het romance used to be written.

So anyway. That's my theory.

And the fact that two hot men are hot. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bioshock Dead Cats

I'm playing Bioshock (the first one) on my PS3. I'm trotting around. Shooting stuff. Evolving. Y'know how it is.

And I notice there are a lot of dead cats strewn about the place.

Not in piles or anything. And not gory, either. In fact, unlike the people, they look completely fine. Like they just tipped over and fell asleep. There's generally one per floor/section of each area, so if you scavenge--and I scavenge like a boss thanks to Fallout New Vegas--you're going to find a bunch of them.

They're never labelled "cat." If any word comes up at all when you put your reticle thing on them, it just says "corpse."

So I started to think, I wonder if one of the game's developers likes cats. Maybe has a cat like that. Because it's one specific black & white cat.

I can totally see someone sticking their own cat in a game. Probably because it's the sort of thing I'd do. (I did put my pug in a book, after all.)

So as I was sitting through the credits--yes, I sit through all credits, film ones, game ones. What? They're cool.

Anyway, I was sitting through the credits and I saw one fellow thanked his wife and his cats.

The quotes weren't attributed, but I totally want to ask this person if they are responsible for the prevalence of cats in Bioshock.

And thank him for a job well done.  :)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gobeur Strikes Again

It’s like someone - Cass? - snuck up on them with a camera. Luv Arcade’s surprised look! XD

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kindlegraph - Kindle Autographs for All

Yes, thanks to Kindlegraph, I can now personally autograph your Kindle copies of my books!

To request a personal signing, go here:

Friday, August 5, 2011

More Gobeur Arcade/Vulpes

I just love these two together (obviously).  :)   Gobeur clearly has a window into my brain....

I should start wearing my tinfoil hat more often!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

All About Me or Coffee Questions

A friend on Tumblr asked me to share my coffee opinions (being the coffee minx that I am), and I thought y'all might be interested, too. So. Let's talk coffee:
Favorite roast: I’m a breakfast roast (light/medium) gal.
Favorite at-home brewing methodKEURIG keurig keurig keurig (this should be said like “GARY”* - one word to rule them all). I used to have an industrial one but since then I’ve had to make due with the home versions and I wear them out in 1 year. On my third machine now. You might think this means I drink too much coffee. You would, of course, be wrong. ;)
Coffee partners: Cream and sugar. Always take my coffee with cream -if I can get it, otherwise milk - and sugar. When I was dieting (bwahahahaha) I tried sugar-substitutes but they make the coffee taste funny.
What Fancy-schmancy Espresso Drink Would You Be?: Hmmm…. Latte Macchiato with caramel or cinnamon. Hot, sweet, and frothy. :)  Or a Mochaccino with a strong chocolate-y flavor, as that is the best mochaccino to be. 
Favorite store coffee: Dunkin Donuts. And not just because I can give you directions to my house from three different Dunkins in my neighborhood. Dunkin Donuts. They’re EVERYWHERE.
So - what would YOUR answers to these questions be?

*It's a Fallout thing. Sorry. Into almost every post a little Fallout must...fall.