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We have recently gone from taking turns in cooking dinners from scratch each weeknight to me batch cooking on the weekend for a few hours and this meaning that we cook about once during the week and we have stuff for lunches.

I'm curious how other people eat in the evenings. 
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Let me start by saying I've got an excellent Kenwood mixer/processor/blender and a myriad of attachments.  I also have a slow cooker.  When I heard about this new amazing continental thing called a Thermomix or the local equivalent of a Kcook by Kenwood, I was interested to find out how these things could 'revolutionise my kitchen'.

Both of these consist of a heated bowl which can chop, blend and heat at the same time.  The Thermomix costs about £800.00 and the Kcook about £200.00.

I've spent quite a while looking at the recipes and I don't really get the time saving angle of it.  You still need to be there to put the stuff into the thing.  You might have one less pot to wash but that's it.

Am I missing something?
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Further to this, the very helpful input I got has led me to a reduced (and probably saner) menu

Potato, Prune and bacon cake
Vegetable terrine (V)

Cucumber amd mint salad (V)
(Bread, butter, humous, pate and tapenade will be served)

Salmon en croute
Spanakopita (V)
Tomato salad (olive oil and sea salt)(V)
Roasted artichokes (V)
Hasselback potatoes (V)

Charlotte Royale
Clafoutis aux Pruneaux
(Served with cream)
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I'm looking for some input on a menu I'm planning.  Please assume you are either vegetarian or have no dietary requrements. (NB If I did have someone with other dietary requirements I would of course adjust accordingly).  This is a summer menu so is light on purpose.

Salmon and white fish terrine wrapped in spinach
Vegetable terrine with goats cheese(V)
(Bread, butter, humous and tapenade will be served)

Salmon en croute
Spanakopita (V)
Courgettes with curry spiced oil (v)
Asparagus in butter (v)

Charlotte Royale
Clafoutis aux Pruneaux
Tarte aux pommes
(Served with cream or a chocolate sauce)


Jun. 13th, 2016 08:50 pm
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So I walk into Boots with an idea of finding a nice soft baby brush to brush Mira's tummy because she likes having her tummy stroked but the metal comb we have would hurt her.

Assistant in Boots is walking through the baby aisle and sees a lost looking person and offers to help.
She shows lost person to a plastic baby brush and comb set.
Lost person says - Oh thank you, but no, it would hurt her tummy.
Assistant goes off to help someone else.

I re-run the conversation in my head but from the Assistant's side.  There are other chemists I can go to while I live in Birmingham, possibly for several decades.
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Have read it and will soon re-read before I properly review.  Nice story, liked the theme of the outsider, the alternative concept to the identification of disease, found the ending a little trite and I like Fuzzy.

But even though it was written in 1960, WHERE ARE THE WOMEN?
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A random though hit me today.  Many do but this one stuck.  In this day and age do we really need a bath in our homes?  I have had one bath in 8 months.  My mother has used her bath twice in twenty years but despite a tiny bathroom which necessitated a corner bath to make it fit, refuses to remove it and put in a far more practical walk in shower..

And as I am a rational person I asked myself if I would buy a house without a bath? Nope.  Despite the space they take up, I am emotionally attached to a bath.  I want a bath after a really bad day.  I know that if I have a messy job to do like bathe a pet, bleach/dye something large or dissolve a corpse at least I will have a contained space to do it.
[Poll #2035327][Poll #2035327]
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Since we have started being more sociable in our new house, I have started to pick up some tips that make this easier because when you have a number of guests round, you really don't want to be messing around with food.  I have developed a number of habits and divested a magnitude of guilt  Using this method, I can comfortably cope with up to about 14 people coming over for gaming.

1. Plan it on the kitchen whiteboard and tick off when done.  Start with an empty dishwasher and empty bins.  Feed the cat beforehand and have a pot of coffee on.  Have a good stock of disposable wipes/kitchen roll/bin bags.
2. Take everything out of the fridge which I intend to use and group into recipe clumps on the worktop.
3. Buy chopped onions/pre chopped veg/grated cheese the day before.
4. Buy pre rolled pastry and bake a quiche.(Fry the veg, stick on the pastry, top up with beaten egg/cream and grated cheese, bake).  And if I have pastry left over - jam tarts.
5. Depending on attendees make the same meal work for them all:  A vegan butter nut squash soup, have cream on the side and bacon bits.
6. Any guest who turns up and asks if they can help will be taken seriously.  (Last poor victim ended up frying halloumi, making popcorn and assembling meringue nests and also later playing with cat to keep her occupied (the cat that is)).
7. Own 2 slow cookers and limit the people coming near the stove, getting under your feet and spilling soup on the cooker.
8. Meat eaters: To a large slow cooker add two raw lamb shoulders, a jar of very good quality pasts sauce (Zest) and a bag of good   quality frozen veg.  Come back 6 hours later and pick out the shoulder bones with fingers.
9.  Partially assemble salads and leave the dressing as something people can add themselves.
10.  Breadmaker - have two or three bags of mix in reserve and know they take 2 hours on rapid and serve it hot.
11.  Carpet bomb the place with coasters and mats.
12.  Have a designated dead bottle space.
13. Frozen to oven pain chocolait/croissants are an excellent cheat.

Beyond that I try to keep the cat off the dining table (because she'll walk around displaying her butt), keep long hairs out of the food and always use a temperature probe so you don't poison your guests.

Anyone got any other lazy tips?
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Thanks very much to everyone who replied.  I'm trying to concentrate on post 1950 stuff.  And I'm not too big on plagues and zombies.  I'll start with James White because most people named him.

Here's the list so far:
James White (Sector General series - 12 books) Various short stories
Greg Bear (Blood Music)
Daniel Keyes (Flowers for Algernon)
Geoff Ryman (The Child Garden)

Michael Blumlein (Tissue Ablation and Variant Regeneration)
Alan Nourse (Star Surgeon, The Mercy Men, Contamination crew, Bladerunner)
Piers Anthony (Prostho Plus)
John Varley (Steel Beach)
T. J. Bass (The Godwhale)
Lois McMaster Bujold The 3rd & 4th of the Sharing Knife series have "major character learning medicine" as a major plot thread
Mikhail Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog.
James E Gunn The Immortals

Novelette/Short stories:
C. L. Moore & Henry Kuttner); "The Little Black Bag
Elizabeth Moon "ABCs in Zero G".
Bernard Wolfe (Limbo)

And here's what the SF encyclopedia page gave me
And it did lead me to a book of short stories called: Great Science Fiction about doctors
Walter M Miller Jr's "Blood Bank" (June 1952 Astounding),
William Tenn's "Down Among the Dead Men" (June 1954 Galaxy),
Cordwainer Smith's "A Planet Named Shayol" (October 1961 Galaxy)
Larry Niven's "The Organleggers" (January 1969 Galaxy; vt "Death by Ecstasy" in The Shape of Space, coll 1969)
Caduceus Wild (January-May 1959 Science Fiction Stories; rev 1978) by Ward Moore and Robert Bradford
Dr Adder (1984) by K W Jeter,
Resurrection, Inc. (1988) by Kevin J Anderson,
Body Mortgage (1989) by Richard Engling
 Crygender (1992) by Thomas T Thomas.
The Madman's Daughter (2013) by Megan Shepherd.
Joe Haldeman's Buying Time (1989; vt The Long Habit of Living 1989).
Raymond Hawkey's thriller Side-Effect (1979)
F M Busby's The Breeds of Man (1988),
Thomas M Disch's The MD: A Horror Story (1991)
Charles L Harness's The Catalyst (1980)
Kate Wilhelm's Welcome, Chaos (1983).

Already read
Bujold's Ethan of Athos and Falling Free both have strong themes of reproductive medicine and related genetic manipulation.

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For reasons that are beyond me, I watched 8 seasons of L&O:SVU over Christmas.  Here is what I have learned.

That white Christian extremists are the most satisfying bad guy.
That just about everyone has a hit in codis.
That most episodes will have a 'let's dispell a fallacy' section is the form of an info dump.
That the coroner always has perfect hair.
That Jeremy Irons and Robin Williams guested in it.
That Olivia Benson will never be happy in her life.  Every time someone so much as smiles as her they due for a good old fashioned smiting/killing/jailing/suiciding.  Bloody hell girl get out of the job 'cos misery is all that's in the post.
That her partner Elliot finds it hard to pass an episode without at least two accusations of police brutality.  Possibly that's why he gets shot about twice a season and has two emotions.
That ICE T can act, as long as he's playing a street wise thug with a limited emotion range and vocabularly.
That Munch gets all the best lines.
That the majority of perps or humps get 25 to life up in Sing Sing and nobody nice ever goes to central booking.

But most of all it hit me as I walked home through Birmingham tonight and saw an advert for a movie on the side of a bus:


So in the spirit of ICE-T: Gramps the Five Oh gonna bust yo skanky ass to supermax.
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Can anyone point me towards any good medical science fiction?
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My boss originally trained as a Physiotherapist and since working with her I have learned that everyone should know a Physio.

We recently moved from a loft apartment on the second floor with a lift which we used all the time, to a house with four floors including the ground.  There are 2-3 rooms on each floor so I am regularly moving between floors.  I thought I'd get fitter.  I did, but after about 3 months I also ended up with pain in my inner hips which was sharp and nasty and would hit at all times of day and especially if I wasn't walking properly upright and taking long strides.  I wear very sensible shoes - I regularly get mistaken for a matron.  I am overweight and carry a heavy but well balanced laptop rucksack 2-3 days a week.  I honestly thought I something nasty was brewing.

I spoke to my boss who had had the exact same thing when she moved to a house with a lot of floors.

When you regularly take a lot more stairs you overuse your calf muscles everytime you push off to take a step up.  This massively tightens your calves and shortens the muscles and overbuilds the quads.  This leads to the pain.

It's fixed by simple stretches to lengthen the calf muscles. I'm not in pain anymore.
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I rarely post openly but I think this subject matter requires it. If you have an older relative/friend or are concerned about ageing then please read on.  If you don't, aren't and are immortal with perfect health then you can stop here.

Unless you have had injuries that cause you to learn to walk again on unsteady joints or an illness that affects your ability to walk, you probably haven't thought about how terrifying it is to fall.  Due to old injuries I still hesitate at stairs and prefer to walk slowly beside the handrail and I am still under 40.  The thought terrifies me and I hate the winter.  I recently started working on the strategic implementation of improvements in Older People's Care in an NHS Trust.  The material I've be working with on falls has been startling.

An elderly person falling and breaking their hip has a 30% chance of being dead within a year and a 10% chance of being dead in a month. Source BMJ 2014 .  The reasons for this are various; you're already frail and small ailments hit you hard, let alone a break and major surgery, you end up in a hospital which is an unfamiliar place where you can catch infections, are surrounded by strangers, possibly fall again, the place frightens you, it's difficult to sleep and the food is not what you are used to and you use a strange and shared bathroom.  The single biggest risk factor for a fall is that you have already fallen.

If you have concerns please consider the following:
Know that most fire services will do free fire safety checks on older people's homes
Check the house for trip hazards (rugs on landings are a nasty one)
Check their shoes/slippers fit properly.
If they are unable to wear shoes recommend socks with rubberised grips (these are standard issue in hospitals)
If they report diziness ensure any medications are checked for any cross-reactions.
Make sure the lighting is adequate for someone perhaps with failing eyesight
Immediately fix any worn carpet on the stairs.
Consider bathroom handrails.
An important but often overlooked one is if you notice they are wearing a long dressing gown or nighty that has perhaps grown to big as they have lost weight or have a dressing gown belt on which trails on the ground - sort it by safety pinning the belt to the loops and offer to buy better fitting night clothes.  Also look for mens trouser hems that trail the ground.
All of these things can help prevent a fall.

Most of all - if you notice that an elderly relative has started to have difficulty walking please do not assume it is part of ageing - ask them to see the doctor and ask for a referral to a Physiotherapist.  They really can help with quite a few problems.  Some tremors of the head can be dealt with through exercises to strengthen muscles.  Showing someone how to get up and down from the floor, especially following a fall can help to minimise or prevent injury.  And the Physio can do some basic gait analysis and look at exercises that counter the under or over use of a particular joint/limb.  Physios also run balance class for people who have fallen which concentrate on gentle exercises to improve balance and are vastly sucessfull - so much so that participants love the classes and won't leave.

If you're interested and want to know more about the subject there is currently an excellent free short course on the OU's Futurelearn platform which I can't recommend strongly enough.  It's through the University of Newcastle and is excellent - you can find it here.
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Paging [ profile] doubtingmichael as [ profile] la_marquise_de_says he is the man who knows...

Right - this is a stupid post but I have no other avenue. I sort of feel like the person who walks into the book shop and asks for a book that had a blue cover...

It's all Apple Music's fault. About 6 weeks ago I cam across a great track on their rock radio station and even though I marked it as being a favourite - it doesn't mean I can find it again. It sounded a little like the White Stripes but wasn't. It was about something like being all you can in the lyrics.

The album cover was a black and white image of the lead singer who was a white guy with shoulder length dark hair wearing a white shirt and black jacket. The name of the album/artist was in yellow text in the top right corner.

Can anyone help? Feel free to share. Yes I did try google images and even searching the album cover description.

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There's a management consultant at work who has a rather unusual tattoo given his role and normally keeps his shirt sleeves rolled up.  After two meetings on very hot days I managed to write it down without being seen to do so:

"Ergo Sum Apsolvo Condemnabis Mei"

I have extracted from Google translate: I therefore condem my release or I therefore condem my acquittal.

Can any one out there add anything?
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Now I have moved into the strategy team we get a number of random people coming round with all sorts of ideas.  When I started with the Hospital a few years ago I observed surgery carried out by one of our Thoracic surgeons.  He popped by today to show us a new gadget.

He got me to sit down and gave me a metal oblong with rubber on one side and was about 10cm by 5cm.  You relax and put your hands on your lap holding this small piece of metal and pressing your thumbs into it.  It reads your heart rate (64) and after 30 seconds gives you an ECG assessment.

I have a normal ECG and it took 30 seconds of my thumbs and the surgeon's iphone.

There are times when the future of medicine makes me grin.
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I've had an idea about how to deal with cancelling your cards if your bag/wallet gets stolen.  Even if you can remember the contact numbers for all your bank card, there's a chance your phone has been stolen, it always seems to take ages to get through.  You might be a member of one of those services where you only have to call one number, but that costs.

What if you could have something the size of a button you could clip under the collar of your coat? It would be the size of your thumb print and locked to your thumb print only you would set it up so that when you press it with your thumb and hold it for 3 seconds it will flash green and will have messaged your bank to instantly put all your cards on hold.  You follow it up with a phone call within 24 hours that either cancels or removes the block.

I don't have the connections or wherewithall to suggest this further but if anyone could pass this idea on I think it'd be a very good idea and would save banks/credit card companies money.
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I'm currently studying a Health Sciences Degree with the OU and I work on the non-clinical side of the NHS.  I'm looking for a reliable magazine and I'm not sure it exists:

I want something that covers health science - preferably UK but EU and US are ok.

Here's what I've rejected so far:

New Scientist - Not sure it covers a very wide Science angle)
Health Service Journal - can get this at work and it's too political and not enough science
Nursing Times - Very little science

Any thoughts?
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Has anyone had any experience of using Home Inventory software?

Our books are taken care of through Delicous Library but I'm thinking I'd like to do the rest of the house.  I want something where I can scan receipts, take pictures of the item and have it update across devices.  But I'm also slightly nervous of where that information ends up.

Any thoughts?
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The formatting is crappy but I enjoyed this little puzzle in my new textbook.  It is 'an historical event'.  I got it after a few minutes and found it a really good way to get me thinking about what could cause this mortality pattern.  I expect someone will get it quickly but if not, I'll post the answer tomorrow.

EDIT:  You all know what it is... If you're a bit sunk just ask for the answer in the comments.

Class/Socio Econom. Status TOTAL % Dead TOTAL % Dead TOTAL % Dead TOTAL % Dead
High 175 67.4 144 2.8 6 0 325 37.5
Medium 168 91.7 93 14 24 0 285 58.6
Low 462 83.8 165 53.9 79 65.8 706 74.8
Other 885 78.3 23 13 0 0 908 76.7
TOTAL 1690 80 425 25.6 109 47.7 2224 68

BTW I'm reading this text book (Webb and Bain) for fun after reading Ghost Map about John Snow's work.   The first chapter has me hooked.


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