2015 Blog

Gingerbread Revisited

Back in 2012, I posted a recipe for gingerbread that used vegetable oil instead of butter. Nice and healthy, I thought. I'm not so convinved now. Olive oil is still good stuff, but butter really isn't such a bad thing. (Not as bad as sugar, anyway)

So, here's a revised recipe that uses butter for a nice, dark gingerbread.

    Ingredients:
  • 2.5 cups plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2 teaspoons (0.5 tablespoon) of ground ginger
  • 125g butter, melted (nuke it!)
  • Half a cup of raw sugar
  • Half a cup of treacle (molasses, to Americans)
    Recipe:
  • Heat oven to 180C/350F.
  • Mix the butter, brown sugar and treacle in a small bowl.
  • Grab a big bowl, and mix the flour, baking soda, and ground ginger. Add the butter goop, and mix it all into a stiff dough with a consistent colour.
  • Press the dough into a baking tray until it forms an even layer, about as thick as a pencil.
  • Bake for 10 minutes or so. When it starts to darken at the edges, it's probably done.
  • When it comes out of the oven, cut it into slices while it's still warm and soft. Then allow it to cool in the tray.

Share and enjoy! Too soft? cook it a bit longer. Too hard? Don't cook it for so long next time. Easy! If you like it, buy a book. You'll like it too!

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Spectre

Hurrah, there's another Bond movie on the way. This one is called SPECTRE, now that the copyright issues have settled down for a bit.

I like the Daniel Craig Bond movies, although the fast-cut scenes in some do nothing but remind you you're watching a badly directed movie. Kinda looking forward to this one.

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Sim City Is Dead

EA has killed off Maxis, so we'll never ever see another game with SimCity in the name. Which is perhaps just as well, given how badly the franchise has been messed up by corporate greed. The reason SimCity 2013 failed so badly was because of that greed. It was designed to pull money, via an always-online requirement for single players, microtransactions, and an entire design philosophy that paid no attention to how much fun it was to play. EA seems to have no idea that games are meant to be fun. Like Microsoft and the bungled XBox One, EA found that once they alienate the fans, it's near impossible to win them back.

Anyway, I won't rant much about EA's business practices and their habit of destroying brands. JIM Sterling has done that for me. There's also a writeup on the SimCity debacle on Kotaku. Instead, I'll tell you about Cities Skylines.

Skylines has been released on Steam at less than half the price EA first demanded for SimCity, and I have to say it isn't bad at all. In short, it's probably the best City Simulator available.

It does bear some signs of the small team behind it. For example, I don't recall being told that right-click rotates items for placement, I had to discover it for myself. Likewise, the time accelerator gave me some trouble at first. It has three speeds, indicated by three arrows. I tried to select the speed I wanted by clicking the correct triangle, but instead the whole group acts as a button simply cycling through the speeds. Also, even on the slowest speed, people walk at around twice normal walking speed. It's like they're in an old black and white movie.

So, Sim City is dead. Long live the city simulator!

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