Salad Dressing

Covid-19 Day 16

Salad Dressing

Prep Time5 mins
Course: Salad


  • 400 grams Highlander Lite Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 170 ml White Wine Vinegar


  • Sift mustard into condensed milk
  • Add vinegar to mix and stir
  • Refrigerate
  • Add milk to thin to pour-able consistency

Unicorn Crisis

Covid-19 Day 15

The Unicorn Crisis
(The Hidden Academy #1)
by Jon Rosenberg (2011)


Someone has summoned a Unicorn to a field south of Stratford-upon-Avon causing David Ash’s day to go straight to hell.

Now he has to confront shotgun wielding drug dealers, murderous strangers and psychotic fairies and all to find out who stole one of Oberon’s personal pets. He better do it soon, or it will mean an all out conflict between The Fairy Court and The Hidden Academy.

When I started this book, it seemed to be a comedic fantasy, given the sharp dialogue and absurd situation. However it turned out to a an urban fantasy, similar to Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files or Mike Resnick’s ‘Fable of Tonight’ series.

The writing is good and engaging. However it does drag in the middle and bringing this 102k words down to the 70-80k mark would have helped with the pacing.

So an OK read, but a very familiar story structure and resolution.




Choc Orange Muffin

Covid-19 Day 14

Chocolate Orange Muffin

Servings: 12


  • 100 grams Sugar
  • 100 grams Butter
  • 1 Egg
  • 40 grams Orange pulp
  • 200 grams Flour
  • 20 grams Coco Powder
  • 60 grams Orange Juice


  • Melt butter with sugar.
  • Add eggs & milk. 
  • Sift flour, coco powder & baking powder and add to mix

Heart Whisper

Covid-19 Day 12

Whisper of the Heart is a 1995 Japanese animated romantic coming of age drama film directed by Yoshifumi Kondō and written by Hayao Miyazaki based on the 1989 manga of the same name by Aoi Hiiragi.

It was animated by Studio Ghibli.

It was the first theatrical Studio Ghibli film to be directed by someone other than Miyazaki or Isao Takahata.

Whisper of the Heart was Kondō’s only film as director before his death in 1998. Studio Ghibli had hoped that Kondō would become the successor to Miyazaki and Takahata.

This is a teenage romantic story. Very simple and straight forward. Despite the indications from the poster it is mainly set in the modern real world with a few mystical elements.

Despite it’s success at the time, it has not aged well and would be one of my least favorite Studio Ghibli films.



Pom Poko

Covid-19 Day 11

Pom Poko is a 1994 Japanese animated comedy-drama fantasy film directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli.

It’s the story of Raccoons battling development outside Tokyo. They have magical abilities, being able to transform into other animals and even humans.

If feels like a vast saga over generations. There are factions that don’t agree and go to war. Heroes emerge to take on the Humans and mystical Raccoons are sought out for a final battle.

I do like the story, as you never know where it is taking you. Will the Raccoons somehow overcome the odds. It seems unlikely.

Unfortunately the story is so ambitious and at times lumbering that it needs a narrator to explain the backstory and events taking place.

So while a good film, the themes of environmentalism, nature, destiny and pretty much everything does overwhelm the story at times.

There isn’t much about the film on-line and it’s probably not one of the favorite Studio Ghibli films.






Chocolate Brownie

Covid-19 Day 10

Chocolate Brownie


  • 200 grams Butter
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 150 grams Sugar
  • 130 grams Flour
  • 100 grams Cocoa


  • Melt butter and sugar, add eggs. Mix with dry ingredients.
  • Put in rectangular tin and bake.


Based on

Brooklyn 99 S3

Covid-19 Day 9

The third season of the television sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine aired from September 27, 2015 to April 19, 2016 with 23 episodes.

Following the kiss that Jake and Amy had, the two decide to pursue a real relationship. The 99 gets a new captain, Seth Dozerman (Bill Hader) who dies of a heart attack after seeing Jake and Amy kissing. The Vulture assumes command of the precinct, but Holt takes it back.

Charles begins a relationship with an art curator who was framed for insurance fraud. Terry’s wife gives birth to their third daughter, Ava, on Thanksgiving. Rosa breaks up with Marcus and begins a new relationship with Adrian Pimento, a detective who’s been undercover for 12 years. At the end of the series, Jake is forced to go to witness protection in Florida.

After three seasons of the same characters, they start to get a little stale and annoying. On Michael Schur’s other shows, characters changed and grew. In Parks & Rec Lesley Knope ran for office, and in The Good Place, everyone changed, almost every episode. But here the same joked get mined again and again.

At least they do have a plot arc through the second half of the series. But it’s not enough to redeem the show.

So it’s goodbye to the Nine-Nine.


Evil Machines

Covid-19 Day 8

Evil Machines
by Terry Jones (2011)

How do you feel about your phone? Or your car? I bet you don’t think about them much, except when they go wrong.

But what if they go really wrong and turn properly bad…evil, even?

This is a set of 13 tales. At first it seems that each short is individual and stand-alone. However it soon becomes apparent that the tales are linked. Machines are taking over, and not in a Skynet way. In this world the machines already tank, and scheme and plot revenge against humanity.

Just as entertaining as all of Terry Jones’s other books. Written with clear and simple prose, this can be read and enjoyed by anyone.


Yes Man

Covid-19 Day 7 (One Week in)

Yes Man is a 2008 comedy film directed by Peyton Reed, written by Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul, and Andrew Mogel.

It stars Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel. The film is based loosely on the 2005 book of the same name by humorist Danny Wallace, who also makes a cameo appearance in the film.

Although I hadn’t seen this film, I knew kiwi Rhys Darby was in it. The film also stars Bradley Cooper and Terrance Stamp.

Another example of an old guy (Carrey was 46) and young woman (Deschanel was 28) comedy romance.

Carrey plays Carl, a banker stuck in his ways and needing a jolt to get him out of his rut. It comes in the form of a club/movement ‘Yes Man’. So when Carl starts saying ‘Yes’ to everyone you know things will go wrong, and they do, but it gets him a new romance and outlook on life.

Carrey is his usual frenetic self, goofing around and having fun. However it’s Deschanel who anchors his character and the film.

During the end credits the characters put on Rollerman Suits and take off down a highway.