Archive for December 10th, 2007

The new BBC homepage
Lots of this about the internet up your ego , keith , and martin B. But now it’s officially visible and I’ve had a play with it, here’s my thoughts, God it’s weird to experience this from the outside.

• I like the bigger promos, the mixture of picture promo (are they still called that?) and traditional.

• In many ways it reminds me of a fancy version of Gateway – the BBC’s Intranet – which also had fold up/down sections.

• I’m not sure about the all page colour change – but at least it gets away from that f**king cyan/blue

• I like the ‘display options’ thingy, High viz, comfort, increase text size, fully customisable – content and layout are separate.

• I’m glad the hideous logo’s gone, after 4 years! That was some of the worst designing I’ve ever seen (I’m looking at you Fitch!) and I hated it from the moment I saw it. At the time anyone who objected to it was taken outside by Marketing stormtroopers and shot through the head.

• The Sin Bin has gone, the daft double search has gone, the contains-no-tools toolbar has gone. Hell it’s all gone, Finally. I love it because it’s a clean break, it’s all new. It seems to be based on functionality and users needs rather than empire building, marketing and which petal head has the biggest genital organ. Maybe this is because dept heads aren’t there anymore, are they? Isn’t it all ‘Vision’ now?

And now to my only real criticism, and it’s this. The BBC could, and should, have done this two years ago. I also wonder what this project was like to work on? Was it fun? Were their tears? Did the opinions of tech, editorial or design fall on deaf ears or were they headed? Was it run like the iPlayer project by external powerdroids or was it a small agile team of talented people and Sven style light touch management? I want answers Beeb people!

Powered by ScribeFire.

Scouse for tea.

Scouse, buttered cabbage, olive bread and glass of beer

Show me a more tasty and easier dinner than that? I made it yesterday in my slow cooker, cooked it all day, then let it cool and in the evening put it in the fridge. When I got home tonight I just had to heat it up. You’ll hear a lot of talk about owning a slow cooker and returning home to a house perfumed with heady scents of long cooked stews and sauces, and that’s fine…

..however the reason I cook it and then let it cool the day before is two fold. One, I can keep an eye on it, two: things always taste better the next day, when the flavours have set. Another reason is that you might not make it home. I was once out with some friends, and it was one of those quick one’s after work that was just turning into something crazy when a colleague announced he couldn’t get another drink in because ‘he had to go home and turn his slow cooker off’. How we laughed! No one wants to be in that position.

So – Scouse, the iconic stew of Liverpool that gives Scousers their name. Like seemingly everything these days there’s a 100 different variant recipes on the internet, here’s some of them:-

Liverpool City portal – Neck of Lamb or Beef, potatoes, carrots
Ciao – Minced beef ? Wtf! But at least it’s got pearl barley in it
Recipe Source – Beef, potatoes, carrots
Merseyside today – Beef or lamb, cabbage and tomatoes?!
Sugervine – Beef and lamb
The Foodie – Beef and lamb, thyme
UKTV Food – Beef, carrots, potatoes, red wine?!!
Recipezaar – lamb potatoes
..and some guy on Youtube who cuts his veg with a carving knife.

Wikipedia and the scouser tell tales of the etymology of the word. The other thing you’ll hear is ‘each family has their own version’, but I just wonder how many families in Liverpool sit down to a bowl of scouse these days? William Black couldn’t find any in his ‘The land that thyme forgot‘, though he describes it as being made with silverside. Also perhaps unsurprisingly there’s no mention of it in my copy of Larousse Gastronomique, though much is made of other country’s ‘poor folk’ dishes – pah!

For me scouse has got to be made with lamb, if only to maintain some geographical continuity. To the west – Irish stew, made with lamb. To the east, Lancashire hot pot, made with lamb. But then if a ‘born in the shadow of the Liver building’ scouser makes it with beef, who am I to argue?

Well, for what it’s worth here’s my version. (makes enough for two in my slow cooker)

150g (two bits) lamb neck fillet cut into chunks
1 large carrot cut into chunks not rounds (I hate carrots shaped like 50p’s)
1 parsnip into chunks like the carrot
1 small potato cut in chunks
handful of pearl barley
1 glass of water
1 glass white wine (yeah I know not trad, but hey)
Salt & Pepper.

Method: I sweat the onion and the veg chunks in a little butter to get them going. Then seal but not brown the lamb. Pop the lot in a slow cooker, put a clean tea towel over the top and leave for ages.

Serve with cabbage shredded fine, boiled quick, and then wilted with a little butter and loads of pepper. Or if using red cabbage, white/red wine vinegar and a little all spice.

And to watch while eating this, maybe the new video, Home, by Amsterdam, Liverpool’s finest band. Who I last saw two years ago at the Borderline.

Powered by ScribeFire.

This blog is no longer being updated

I've left it here for historical purposes. Please visit my new blog at


These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
December 2007