Koldskål!

I’ve been trying to radicalize Leggy to the ways of the Danes. This has included teaching him how to say bad words in Danish like “Røv”, “Knep” and more useful stuff like “Øl”. In the food department I started out slow with Danish meatballs (Frikadeller). We then moved up to Grønlangkål with ham and caramelized potatoes. Grønlangkål is kale that has been boiled for a few minutes, then chopped to death and in the end put in a cream heavy white sauce.

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Yesterday we had that one summer day you seem to get in Scotland so my inner Dane came jumping out demanding koldskål. This is a slightly weird Danish dish that is traditionally eaten in the summer. Those warm nights where you don’t feel like playing Gordon Ramsay in the kitchen you can buy a carton of Koldskål, a bag of kammerjunker (a type of small, hard biscuits) and pop it in a bowl and dinner is ready.
Now you may be wondering what the heck is this weird Danish contraption that seems to only show up when it’s warm and has a name that literally means cold bowl? It’s is a cold soup made from buttermilk and other good stuff.

I personally can’t remember a summer at home where we haven’t eaten this stuff at least once. In my quest to tell Leggy about the gloriousness of this this food I wikkied it and apparently in the summer of 2013 Arla sold 3,8 million liters of this stuff. Which is rather impressive when you think about the fact that there’s only about 5,7 million Danes. That’s how popular this is.

Now I somewhat naively figured that since I couldn’t buy the ready made variant here that I’d make it myself. I pulled out my trusty Frøken Jensens kogebog (Miss Jensen’s cookbook a treasure trove of Danish recipes) and thought that looks simple enough. That was until I casually mentioned to Leggy that I’d need to get Ymer at the next shopping trip. Clearly the Scots doesn’t have the same appreciation of the finer nuances of dairy because all I got was a blank look and a “Bless you”. My description of, it’s somewhere between yogurt and A-38 wasn’t much help either. Back to wikki!

Then came challenge number two. The recipe called for pasteurized egg yolks. I cornered an unsuspecting Tesco worker, which these days is getting harder and harder. I suspect I’ve worked up a reputation for being the one who asks for all the weird things they’ve never heard off, much less carry. First was the German nougat and cardamon powder for Christmas biscuits, then potato flour, a non modern can opener and now the pasteurized egg yolk. I could find pasteurized egg whites but no yolks.

In came the lovely RooBeeDoo with a link to a site on how to do it yourself. All you had to do was add lemon juice and water, microwave it and whisk it every once in a while. Sounded simple enough. Of course that went as wrong as it probably could go.

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A call later to the mothership and I was using yogurt instead of ymer and used eggs that I had poured boiling water over in the hopes that I wouldn’t kill Leggy from exploding arse.
So if you want to try it out here’s the recipe

Koldskål

4 pasteurized egg yolks
6 tablespoons of sugar
8 dl Buttermilk
3 dl yogurt
The seeds from one vanilla pod

Whisk the sugar and egg yolk together until fluffy and airy.
Mix in the buttermilk, yogurt and vanilla seeds.
If you want you can even add a bit of lemon zest.
Leave in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Here served with strawberries

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Lawnmower Man

It’s been raining for a while. Add together 18 hours of daylight every day and constant watering and the lawns are a rabbit buffet that will never run out. I need more rabbits.

Today wasn’t too bad so I wheeled out the lawnmower. A petrol one, Briggs and Stratton engine for those who care. It had been playing up lately so I bought a carburettor fixing kit and sorted it out. It cost less than £3.

I’ve fixed car carburettors before (back when they existed), both fixed jet (Cortina, often) and variable jet (Mini). The primitive lawnmower one was easy. It really is very primitive indeed.

It ran perfectly… for about 15 minutes. Then it died.

Took out the spark plug – covered in soot. Okay, fuel mix is too rich, how do I adjust it? Answer – I can’t. This little carb has no adjustments. Cleaned and regapped the plug and it fires up, then stops. Brrm-brrm-nah.

Well, buying a completely new carburettor will only cost £20. I could give up and do that. I could, but it would be an admission of failure. This primitive little engine really doesn’t have that much to it.

So off I went to YouTube for some help. It’s full of videos about the exact same problem, it seems to be common. The one tip I found that nobody else mentioned is that the gasket can creep back between the two fixing screws at the back of the fuel tank. A score line in the tank there will help it grip. Also, fit the O-ring and plastic retainer to the carburettor, not the air intake manifold. Nobody else mentioned that one.

Tomorrow I dismantle the mower again. I will try not to give in and just buy a carburettor but it’s a race against time here. The grass is fast reaching the point where it wipes your arse as you cross the lawn and I really need to mow the drive. It’s starting to look like something David Attenborough would drive along.

So this thing has had a carb overhaul, a new air filter and spark plug, a new paint job (courtesy of Son who rescued it from its final rusting place in the shed) and it worked well for a while. Now it has decided to be a difficult git.

I think the grass has bribed it.

Mark Ellot Month

I’ve been trying to learn Danish and CStM has been learning Welsh. The common ground we have is the frequent exclamations of ‘What the hell is wrong with this insane language?’

Welsh, of course, is a sensible and logical language . Danish makes no sense at all.

When I was growing up, 3:30 was ‘half past three’. Easy. There was a momentary hiccup when I came to Scotland where they don’t have time to say it all so they just call it ‘half three’. I soon got the hang of this because leaving out the extra word saves whisky drinking time.

In Danish, 3:30  is ‘half four’. Not half past. Halfway to. This has caused a little confusion.

Worse, when you want to say 3:25 you’d say either ‘three twenty-five’ or ‘twenty-five past three’, right? Not the bloody Vikings. They say ‘five minutes to half four’. No wonder they all buggered off in ships all over the world. They weren’t raiding, they were looking for a sensible language.

If I am asked the time in Denmark I’ll just show them my watch.

The number system… Oh I’ll leave that for another time. My head hurts.

It’s Mark Ellot’s turn for publication again this month. His collection of short stories, ‘Blackjack’, is now in format for print and awaiting cover images and final checking. Two weeks tops before this one is finished – and it’s mostly thanks to Roobeedoo giving it a first pass while I was working on Margo Jackson’s ‘The Mark’.

It’ll be a touch over 200 pages so around the £5 mark for print again. Cheaper for the eBook, naturally. I was going to say ‘about half that price’ but the Danish stuff in my head says ‘No, they’ll think you’re planning to charge a tenner!’ It’ll be around £2.50-ish.

The cover image will be constructed by me, and this one should be a good one. I have proper photographic background sheets now, and all the bits needed to put the cover together. I’m gradually becoming a cover art star – I’m on the first Underdog Anthology and on Margo’s cover too. One day my face will appear, probably on a Halloween one.

Meanwhile, Mark Ellot’s  ‘Ransom‘ has had a makeover. New front cover and interior typos fixed. Amazon have, at last, updated their sales copy so if you have one with the old cover it’s now officially a rare book. If you have a signed one with the old cover, then when he gets famous you’ll be rich. If he keeps this up he will be, so encourage him!

Here’s the new cover, much the same as the old cover but with the mundanity extracted and a bit of drama added :

Monochrome apart from the computer screen. I like it, at least I like it a lot more than the old straight office shot. The cover for ‘Blackjack’ will be in full colour, not least because I’m using my fancy inlaid table for this one. I have to do a lot of work to shine up this table but I think the worn look will be best for the cover. It’s meant to be a well used card table.

I’ll have more books in Dutch coming up and more in English, maybe even one in Danish if I ever get the hang of the language that Satan still chuckles about inventing.

Don’t forget the Halloween Anthology. Number ‘Tree’ 😉

I’m scouting for stories for that one now. Treeskull is definitely a go and I want to be ready ahead of time so I’m looking to close submissions on October 1st at the latest. Send them in around August/September to be in it. Halloween based, no need to force in trees or skulls. I’ll take care of that.

Number Four could be a Christmas one, if I get enough in. There are some already, from the failed one last Christmas. I could probably fill it myself with re-used stories but I don’t want to be the main event in these anthologies. The whole point of Leg Iron Books is to publish new authors, make them famous, and hope they remember me when they are lounging in their infinity pools in Barbados.

I don’t want to be famous but I’d quite like to be rich. Please help this man become a capitalist.

 

Home again and back to work

I’m back from a short trip to Denmark where I saw a very tall (well over six foot) Pikachu carrying a half full bottle of Famous Grouse along the street. Later, that same Pikachu pushed a fifties gangster on a swing that looked like a spider web. There was a violin case involved.

At that point, I started drinking. I thought, if all that shit starts to feel normal, that’s when I’ve had enough to drink.

Before that I went out in the sunshine. I know, always a bad idea, but living in Scotland you forget how dangerous that is. I now look like a representation of Phantom of the Opera produced by the white chocolate version of Cadbury’s Flake. I am Captain Flaky, the Incredible Disintegrating Man. The day before I was King of the Lobsters. It’s the destiny of all gingers, even when the ginger is grey. Sorry, young Gingers, but the night life is the only one for you. Forever. Stay out of the sunlight. It will destroy you.

If the sun comes out and I’m not ready, forget sunscreen. You might as well baste me. I have the DNA of vampire legends. The sun will turn me to dust, a bit at a time. Fortunately it all grows back. I must look out my sunscreen if this summer is going to be a hot one. Mine is made by Dulux. Factor Total Reflective.

I can’t post a selfie now. I look like an escapee from a leper colony. It’s worse than the time I went to the shop after being at the dentist for a wisdom tooth extraction.

“Yes sir, what would you like?”

“Fooyah, nom slabby nimnimnimnimnim. Skalyik!” It probably makes sense in Danish.

I am never doing that again. I must avoid shops tomorrow if possible or anywhere I might leave a flaky trail. Or meet people. Or be seen.

It gives me a bit of an insight into Margo Jackson’s ‘The Mark’. My facial horribleness is temporary. I know it grows back, it always has. It’ll only take a few days to get back to mildly repulsive. The main character in that book has a mark that cannot be fixed.

It’s coming out this week and it’ll be a mind-buggery for PC and non PC alike.

You will have to read it twice, but it’s worth it.

 

 

Flying polishes

CstM here for a short interlude.

A friend of mine in the nail polish community has started up an online petition, collecting signatures for the cause of getting the Civil Aviation Authorities to review their flight restrictions on nail polish.

Nail polish has been deemed a hazardous material thus you can’t send it out of the UK using Royal Mail. Inside the UK you can max send 3 polishes in a parcel and you have to get through a lot of faff of putting a huge sticker on it proclaiming that it contains nail polish. This is what she’ll try to get changed or at least get answers to why that is. I for one would be a bit more nervous of my “girl cave” that’s filled with bottles of nail polish, if they can suddenly combust or otherwise kill me.

So if you have the time and feel like supporting this endeavour you can sign the petition Here and you can also read more about the whole thing plus the questions that will be asked of the Civil Aviation Authority.

The new stuff

I once knew a guy called Matt White. Really. I never got around to asking if his parents were malicious enough to name his brother Gloss, his sister Satin and the dog Non-Drip. But that’s neither here nor there.

I’ve now finished the internal editing for Margo Jackson’s book ‘The Mark’. It was, as I said before, a quick edit. No changes to the story, it’s sharp and cleverly done. Like the film ‘The Sixth Sense’, you need to read it twice because the clues were all there, you just didn’t see them first time round.

Just trivial little changes to typos (very few) and format. It’ll be about 220 pages or so and will sell in paperback and eBook for about the same as Mark Ellott’s ‘Ransom’. All I have to do now is get the covers ready, and that won’t take too long. It could be available as soon as next week.

Seven months since the first book, ‘The Underdog Anthology’, and Leg Iron Books now has a catalogue of seven books. I’m averaging one a month. Going places. Heading for the big time. There are still my own books, two of which (Jessica’s Trap and Samuel’s Girl) are out of contract with their previous publisher. They’ll need new covers, the old covers belong to the cover artist and I can’t pay to keep them, but otherwise they’ll be republished under Leg Iron Books.

I can also assign the other stuff to Leg Iron Books, it’s not as easy as it sounds but it can be done. I have copyright on the covers of all my self-published ones so nothing will change apart from them coming under the banner of the rook.

The catalogue is going to expand quickly. I have a short story collection from Mark Ellott and another novel from Margo Jackson in the ‘to-do’ list and more from Dirk Vleugels too. There will be a Halloween Underdog Anthology for certain and a Christmas one this year. I’ll make sure of that.

Yes, there is a possibility of science work. I have potential to produce spores for blue-cheese making using knowledge I have from both university level microbiology and ground level food shop work, and similarly the possibility of producing a skin infection cure that will blast the hell out of the current emollients. It depends if they can believe I can really do it. I might do it anyway, neither of them are hard and neither would cost me much to do independently.

That will not stop the publication business. Leg Iron Books is here to stay. I’m 57 years old. A drone would be looking to retire. I’m starting a new business venture while keeping the other stuff going too. Okay, I have to eventually die of something but it won’t be boredom.

I don’t care about fame. I’m not a Kardashian. I would like, one day, to not have to care about money and how I pay the next bill, but I know I am not alone in that wish. There are so very many of us.

I intend to do something about it. I intend to use what I know how to be. I’m a boffin, a backroom boy, not a front man. I don’t know how to be famous so I’ll make you famous instead and let you take the glory. We’ll split the money. You get half, for now. I’ll reduce my cut when it gets too big, I don’t want the tax issues and I don’t need to be rich.

I have been amazed at the quality of writing I have seen and I am surprised no publisher beat me to it. Also quite pleased. A big name might offer to take over a title one day and if the author is okay with it, we should both profit. That’s all good. Leg Iron Books is not the lead singer in this band.

I’m the bassman.