Monday, 20 August 2012

Photo posting in blogs

A lot of people have trouble with Blogger because after a relatively short while it will ask you to pay for the option to post more photos. There are easy ways round this, particularly if you already pay for a photo hosting system such as Flickr.

So, for example: If you go to one of your photos on Flickr (not your stream - an individual picture) you will find just above it , a pull-down menu called 'share'. Pull down the little pointer on the right and it will offer you a number of options including 'grab the html/bbcode'. Copy the code (right click, copy) all the way from <a to /a> and return to your Blogger post.  Make sure you are in 'Edit HTML' and not 'Compose' and just paste the gobbledegook-looking stuff into the text box.  Now switch back to 'Compose' and you should have a photo. You can resize it or move it right, left or centre, just the way you normally can.

That's how I did this:

You'll find it links back to a Flickr site called HistoryAnorak. I have permission to use HA photos but you can only use them if you ask nicely!

Now suppose you've found a photo somewhere else. Is it free to use or is it copyrighted?  Have a look here. Pick a photo from the list that says "random free use photos" and click on it. Now right click on the enlarged version and click on the bit at the bottom of the menu that says 'properties'. That will give you another box that has 'address/url' somewhere near the middle. Copy that URL all the way from http: to .jpg (or however it ends) and click 'OK'.

Come back to your post and click the little picture icon to insert a photo. It will offer you a number of options, the bottom one being 'from a URL'. Click on that and paste the url into the box that appears.  And you should get this:

Monkey by Monica Galante

If you chose the cute monkey. Otherwise you'll get whatever you chose.   Happy photo pasting!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Borsch - an East European treat

Borsch in dish

Beetroot is plentiful right now and you can pick up huge bunches of it quite cheaply. This traditional East European soup is a lovely way to use it.

You will need:
Carrot (or swede)
Onion (or a couple of shallots)
Chicken stock
Lemon zest and juice
Plenty of black pepper
About a teaspoon of oil
Sour cream (or yoghurt) for serving
Peel the vegetables and chop them (quite chunky will do). You'll need to be careful with the beetroot because it'll stain your hands. Wash your hands straight away in plenty of cold water.

Put the oil in a pan and heat it, add the vegetables and sweat* them for a couple of minutes. Everything will go beetroot colour - don't worry. Add the chicken stock, black pepper, lemon juice and zest and the dill and PUT A LID ON THE PAN! Bring to the boil. As soon as it boils, reduce the heat and let it simmer for an hour or so. Check from time to time to make sure it isn't reducing too far. 

When it looks like the second picture and the veg are very soft, allow it to cool and put it through a food processor or liquidiser. Test for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Warm it up and serve it with a swirl of soured cream or yoghurt.

*Sweating vegetables just means cooking them for a few minutes in oil, over quite a high heat, until they start to look shiny.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Something healthy

Stuffed tomatoes
It isn't always easy to get enthusiastic about eating healthily but we all need to make a bit more effort about it. So one way to improve the attraction is by making your meals look attractive. We eat with all our senses - not just taste. The look, smell and feel are important. Even sound can contribute - think sizzling dishes in your favourite Chinese or Indian restaurant.

What you have here is the ingredients of a cottage cheese salad. Lettuce, tomato and cottage cheese. But the cheese has been tarted up slightly with some herbs, black pepper and a dollop of low-fat yoghurt. All it takes is a bit of time.