Things That Make You Go… Hmmmm

Recently Antonia and Megan tagged me for a “Seven Things Meme”.  I’ve completed this one a couple of times before but memes are great for weeks like this.  They’re fun and they don’t require a lot of thought.  So here I go again.   

1.  As I’ve said before, I sleep walk fairly regularly.  In my most recent sleep walking event a tortoise scuttled out from under my pillow snapping its jaws at me angrily.  I leapt out of bed and began shouting on D to come help me deal with the creature.  He did so but then had to go back into the livingroom and explain to his beer-drinking, ski-DVD-watching friends why his psycho girlfriend was screaming about reptiles in the middle of the night.  🙂

2.  I once deeply offended a stranger at a wedding.  I’d had too much champagne and when the farmer sitting across from me at the table declared that his grandfather was a Westie I almost wet myself laughing.  He meant “from the western isles of Scotland”;  I couldn’t stop thinking “West Highland Terrier”.

3.  Whilst living in a small town in northern Japan, strangers (mostly teenage girls) used to shout “chisai kao” at me in the street.  Chisai kao means small face.  It was odd but I quite liked it for a while.  Then I got irritated that I couldn’t go anywhere without being shouted at in the street.  Being called “small face” was one of the reasons I left Japan.

 4.  Another time in Japan I went to a nearby lake, Shikotsuko, and asked another foreigner to take a photo of me and my friend.  After he’d had done so we chatted and I discovered that, not only was he also Scottish, he was my best friend’s boyfriend’s next door neighbour back in Aberdeenshire! 

5.  I’ve been 5″10 (178 cm) since I was 13.  In my teenage years I hated it and used to read medical journals hoping to discover an operation to make me shorter.  I now love being tall as, being very nosey, it enables me to see more of what’s going on.

6.  My best friend’s brother is called Matt and he’s married to a girl called Kat and they used to have a couple of lodgers called Nat and Matt.  AND three out of the four of them had birthdays on February 14th.  Really.

7.  Eating dinner together every night is helping my family through a tough period.  Last night I made macaroni cheese for the first time since Home Economics class in High School and we ate it with toasted white bread.  It took me right back to my childhood. 



Last month I was tagged by the lovely Pat  asking me to list eight things that make me happy.  Only eight… 

Rather than think too hard and assuming you already know that D, family and friends make me happy, I’m just going to write down eight random things that make me smile. 

  1. Eating things from my garden -I get a real kick from popping out into the backyard and picking some herbs or vegetables or berries for lunch.  Last year was my first year growing.  Does the novelty wear off I wonder?
  2. JCB Song – If you have never heard this song then listen to it now.  It’s WONDERFUL!  Cannot tell you how many times I have jumped around my livingroom singing: Said I’m Luke I’m five and my Dad’s Bruce Lee, drives me round in his JCB…
  3. The Christmas Irn Bru Advert – To find this funny you must a) have seen the original “The Snowman” and b) have an evil side.  🙂  The really cool thing about the ad is that all the sights you see in the background are in Scotland.

4.   Dogs – All of them. I can tell you are all terribly surprised by this one…

5.   My New T-Shirt –It may be the stupidest thing I have ever seen but it makes me giggle.


6.   Friday nights – A new recipe, a bottle of wine and a West Wing DVD.  Goodness, how my idea of a great friday night has changed!

7.   Karaoke – Almost didn’t admit this.  It is a little embarrassing but, after a year in Japan, I have absolutely no shame when it comes to singing badly in front of large groups of people.  Surprised some of my friends still speak to me at all.

8.   Snow – It’s pretty, it’s fun, it hushes the world and it sometimes gives me a day off work.  What’s not to love? 😉

I’m going to tag the Davidson family (who’ve just moved to Egypt and are new to the blogging world); Pille (I’m wondering if ski-ing would be in her list); Peter (a newly discovered blogger)  and Lucy (’cause I always love to read her memes).  As always, take part only if you’re in the mood.  🙂

PS I’ve just discovered that Stephanie at Dispensing Happiness is hosting the next round of Blogging By Mail.   Joy!  Last time was fantastic.  Cannot recommend joining in more!

REALLY Good Ribs

 I write this next post rather sheephishly.  A few months ago Katie and Lindsay announced a new blogging event:  Seasoned Eating.  Those who registered had to send a herb or spice to a fellow blogger along with a recipe using the ingredient.  As excited as I was about the event, when I received my weird smelling package (hickory salt) from Peter  at Kalofagas with a  recipe for roasted ribs I was in full-on Christmas mode followed by holiday-mode and I totally missed the submission date for the spice posts.  My apologies to you both, Katie and Lindsay

It was truly my loss though for these ribs are FANTASTIC!!!  Tender, spicy and flaking gently off the bone, I was literally groaning in happiness eating these this evening.  There is no going back.  🙂

In the following recipe the amounts are unspecified.  This is because I’m not entirely sure what to recommend.  I had a small rack (300g) to myself for dinner tonight but I didn’t eat anything else other than steamed greens.  I reckon this amount would do two for a starter though.  And the spices should be delicately but evenly spinkled over whatever you are cooking. 

Roasted Pork Ribs

Pork ribs, in a rack (see above for amounts)

Hickory Salt



Ground Pepper

Garlic Powder

BBQ Sauce

  • Use a sharp knife to remove the silvery layer of fat from the ribs.
  • Sprinkle a thin, even layer of each spice/herb over the ribs and rub in well.  Turn the ribs and repeat.
  • Leave to marinate for at least an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 190oC.
  • Place the ribs in a baking tray and cover with foil.  Roast for 1 hour. 
  • Remove the foil and roast for 20 more minutes. 
  • Brush the ribs with BBQ sauce.  Roast for 10 more minutes. 
  • Remove from oven and cool slightly before cutting the ribs up
Thank you, Peter!

Famous Four – Take Two

 When Deb left me a message on my last post saying I had been tagged for a meme I was rather pleased.  Not only because Deb had very kindly selected me to be tagged but also because this is a busy (and rather crap) week and I don’t have much time to cook or blog.  The tag was Four Things… and I’ve actually completed it before.  Rather than let my bubble be burst, I’ve made up my own categories and done another one!  🙂

Four Films I Love

  • Independence Day – Mock me if you must but I love it!  The bit where the dog bounds over the parked cars and into the safety of the cupboard (???) as the alien explosion blasts through the tunnel cracks me up.  Cannot imagine better entertainment.
  • La Vita e Bella (Life is Beautiful) – Funny but utterly heart-breaking.
  • Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo And Juliet – I use it in class every year yet am still floored by it each and every time I watch it.  Visually stunning.
  • Annie – Love the songs.  🙂 

Four Things I Like About Winter

  • Lighting candles
  • Sparkling frost
  • Hearing the local DJ say my school is closed on a snowy morning.  Woo hoo!  Snow day!
  • Christmas Day – Drinking Baileys for breakfast with my Mum; opening presents with my nieces; twinkly lights; cooking my family an enormous roast meal; and screaming at the neighbours whilst we play board games in the evening (Pictionary brings out the violent side of me). 

Four Foods I Don’t Like

  • Mussels – They look weird and they taste weird.
  • Sea Urchin – It was a local speciality in the Japanese town I lived in.  Everyone continually wanted me to eat it and I was too polite to say no.  It was like eating fishy sand.
  • Tarragon – Yuck.  
  • Beetroot – Don’t hate it, just not wild about it.  Lovely colour, mind you.

Four of My Favourite Breeds of Dog

  • Cocker Spaniel – Great ears, great personality.  Rosie is a cocker, not to mention Sam, my family’s old dog. 
  • Pug – Never met one but think they’re hilarious.  D hates them and has threatened to leave me if I get one.  I’m weighing up my options… 😉
  • Newfoundland – It’d be like having a pet bear without the fear of being eaten.
  • Huskies – This is D’s favourite.  I get that.  He’s like a human huskie in some ways.

I’d like to tag Christina, Lucy, David and Truffle.  And, if you guys fancy taking up the offer, I’d like you to tell us four things about any four things you please. 

The Famous Four


I’m doing my very best to get back into the swing of things at school but it’s tougher than I had anticipated.  Probably because I didn’t anticipate it being tough at all.  School ended on such a high last term that I was really quite excited to be going back and expected just to pick up where I left off.  Forgot that’s not how it works.

So, I’m a busy busy bee just now trying whip my classes back into shape (metaphorically speaking, you understand!).  Perfect time for a meme.   Thank you to Sophie at Mostly Eating, Antonia at Food Glorious Food and Celia at Purple Podded Peas for tagging me.  🙂

Four Jobs I’ve Had in My Life

  1. Cinema usherette – The perfect student job: watch films, eat popcorn and, if need be, study by torch in the back row. 
  2. Teacher of English as a Foreign Language – I wanted to live abroad for a while after university.  This seemed like the best option.  I’m a bit of a grammar geek now.  🙂
  3. Summer school head-teacher  – 16 hour days and I still couldn’t get everything done!
  4. English teacher – My current job.  Hard work but great fun and very rewarding. 

Four Places I Have Lived

  1. Hokkaido, Japan
  2. Ottawa, Canada
  3. Turku, Finland
  4. Various locations in the north of Scotland (currently Inverness)

Four Places I Have Been On Holiday

  1. New York City
  2. Iceland
  3. New Zealand
  4. Thailand (see photo)

Four Of My Favourite Foods

  1. Purple sprouting broccoli
  2. Pasta
  3. Blueberries
  4. Black pudding

Four Places I Would Rather Be

I am currently sitting on my sofa with a cup of tea.  So very tired I don’t really want to be anywhere else!  Instead I’ll tell you four places D and I are debating going to next summer:

  1. West coast of the US
  2. Nepal
  3. India
  4. Laos

Realise I’ve been really lazy here by not expanding on my answers.  I’m too sleepy to do so right now!  If you’re curious about anything, ask away!

Will tag four bloggers that I haven’t tagged before: Little Mainyacha; Holler at Tinned Tomatoes; Amanda at Figs Olives Wine and Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe.  Apologies if you’ve already completed this meme.  🙂

Warning – Risk of Woman Popping with Happiness


OK.  Not only have I just got back from an amazingly good holiday visiting friends in Sweden and Finland (pics and stories to be posted tomorrow); and not only have I returned home to a newly decorated bathroom (thank you Mum and Dad!); and not only did aforementioned father find a big patch of chanterelles in the local forest and take me there on my way home to pick a bucket full; I also returned to Inverness to discover that my BBM package has arrived!

For those of you who haven’t heard of BBM, I’ll explain.  Blogging By Mail is an event where bloggers send out parcels to another participant.  This BBM was about our favourite things.  I sent a package out to Mevrouw Cupcake earlier in the summer.  And today I received my package from none-other than the organiser herself, the lovely Stephanie from Dispensing Happiness.  I was very honoured!

And, my goodness, what a package it was.  🙂  The care she obviously took in selecting the items and making links with my own blog was really touching.  Plus, Stephanie’s favourite things were explained in detail in a hand-written nine page letter on the coolest writing paper I’ve ever seen! 

 Without further ado, I’ll share my gifts with you all.

 Lots of gorgeous chocolate, including Endangered Species chocolate which donates a portion of the profit to animal charities.


Delicious dried raspberries (which I didn’t even know existed) and pop rocks!  Haven’t seen this sweet since I was a kid!  According to Stephanie, if a dog licks this candy the results are hillarious!



One of Stephanie’s favourite recipes, Persian Rice with Pistachio and Dill, complete with the some pistachios to make it.  Can’t wait to try this out.  🙂  Love both dill and pistachios!



A beautiful herbal tea (which I’m drinking right now and loving) and a bottle of Italian vanilla syrup for adding to coffees, sodas, even champagne! 



Some very swish home-made jam made with Concord grapes and fresh thyme.  Going to have this on my ryebread for supper tonight!



A mix CD which, though I only know one song on it, sounds great.  It has music from Buffy the Vampire Slayer on it – it must be good!  A book by Stephanie’s favourite author and a copy of Vegetarian Times, both of which I’m looking forward to getting stuck into. 



These little pecan crackers are soooooo good.  I’ve eaten them all already and I only opened the package a couple of hours ago!  The Chipolte peppers are something I’m not familiar with at all.  I can feel an experiment coming on!



A wee pampering kit from Burt’s Bees, a company I’ve heard of but never come across their products.  Being an absolute sucker for anything that makes me soft, I love this!

And finally, my favourite….


A puppy of my own!  Stephanie read how much I wanted a dog and how much I loved having Rosie here.   She has four dogs and this little fella looks like one called Donegal.  So Donegal he shall be too!



I have been tagged twice in the last few days. Once from Brianna at Oishii and once from Holler at Tinned Tomatoes. Never been personally tagged before so this is quite exciting!

It’s perfect timing too as I’m very busy with weddings (not mine!) and whatnot at the moment. Discovered that memes are ideal for hectic times or lazy days. Will complete Brianna’s first and leave Holler’s for a busy/lazy day in the future.

Seven Random Things About Me

1) I sleepwalk regularly.
It’s like I’m hallucinating. My eyes are always open and I am fully aware of my surroundings but there are other things there. For example – babies stuck behind radiators; red rabbits abseiling from the ceiling onto my face; dead mice/multicoloured octopuses/various other beasties in my bed; peacock feathers growing out of my pillow; half full pint glasses hovering above my head…
It’s pretty distressing when it’s actually happening but the entertainment value I and others get recalling what I’ve done MORE than makes up for a little hysteria! 

2) Other than Scotland, I have lived in Japan, Finland and Canada. Very happy to be back in Scotland again but know that those itchy-feet may strike again!
If they do I’d like to live in Sweden or Spain for a while. 

3) I have very long toes. My cousin used to call me finger-feet. 

4) I sneeze repeatedly when I’m full up. It’s a little embarrassing in restaurants. 

5) Though I rarely watch scheduled TV, I enjoy cooking with DVDs playing in the background. Favourite box-sets include The West Wing, BBC version of Pride & Prejudice, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Six Foot Under. 

6) Dogs make me incredibly happy.
Last month I made the decision not to get a dog and, though I know it was the right decision, I am still upset about it. As much as I want one I know it would not be fair to the dog. I’d be away all day and my work is 35 minutes away from my home. Not enough time to pop home. Sigh. 

7) I was a vegetarian for 10 years. A hangover and a bacon sandwich led to my downfall. 🙂
Still don’t eat a huge amount of meat but not because I think it’s unethical. I simply love vegetables! I am quite fussy about where my meat comes from though and buy local/free-range/organic/outdoor bred meats and MSC approved fish whenever possible.


 Not sure who has completed this already.. I tag Deb at Key West Wine and Garden, Lucy at Nourish Me, Anh at Food Lovers’ Journey, Patricia at Technicolour Kitchen and Nora B at Life’s Smörgåsbord.