Monday, 13 April 2020

Kiki's Delivery Service

Thought I'd have another go at another Ghibli animation and chose this one. "Made in 1989 and written, produced, and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. The film tells the story of a young witch, Kiki, who moves to a new town and uses her flying ability to earn a living. According to Miyazaki, the movie portrays the gulf between independence and reliance in teenage Japanese girls. It was the first film released under a 15-year distribution partnership between The Walt Disney Company and Studio Ghibli and Buena Vista Home Video recorded an English dub in 1997 for which Kirsten Dunst voiced Kiki." Wiki.

Kiki is a witch and leaves home on her broomstick with her black cat (who she can talk with, but nobody else can) to head for the city to learn her craft. Or something! Not important. She stumbles into a kindly family who run a bakery and take her in, offering her accommodation in return for providing a delivery service (by air, of course) to their customers.

A young local lad is interested in her romantically and has a shared interest in flying, so he pursues her. They get into various scrapes while she's going about her business ending up with a great disaster which she and he have to club together regarding to save the day etc. In amongst all that she loses her powers because of a lack of confidence and has to fight to get them back climbing her personal mountain.

It's all good stuff, very cutesy and animation delightful with a French feel about it. The imagery is compelling throughout - a visual delight, with much thought put into landscapes, cityscapes from the air and angles. Very enjoyable and recommended. Maybe not as deep and meaningful as the likes of Spirited Away, but really nice to watch. Available on Netflix.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Nutri-Q 35650 Twin Omelette Maker

We were looking for an omelette maker as we hadn't had one for years and found this one which has turned out to be excellent! It's a bit like a sandwich toaster machine with two 'troughs' in each of two 'plates' which close together, then cook what's inside.

In this case, omelette mixture of eggs, a dash of milk (I'll come back to that), pepper, a dash of olive oil. Turn it on until the green light on top goes out, indicating that it's ready to cook. This took about 3mins. Open up the clamshell by pressing in the button on the bottom to unlock it, pour the mixture into the two 'troughs' close the lid, clicking the lock, let it cook away for about 6-7 minutes. Lift to check and see when it's nicely browned. They say 3-5 minutes but in our experience, that's not long enough.

We cooked a couple of variations with cheese and chopped-up bacon pieces and they came out beautifully. The ceramic marble-flecked 'plates' are totally non-stick and as long as you use plastic utensils, they'll presumably stay that way. The finished omelettes slip out easily on a plastic spatula ready for the plate.

You can either cook two at a time or just one. We learnt the hard way about ignoring the advice to not fill the 'troughs' too high up as on the second attempt, we filled them too much (to use up the mixture) and it spilled out and onto the worktop. No worries though, as the overspill created scrambled eggs for us! We did also wonder if it might have been because we use a dash of milk - next time we'll not add that.

Only problem was the cleaning. If it hadn't spilt over, we'd have been reporting easy wipe-clean with a fairy-liquid and water soaked cloth - but actually, the spill went into some of the housing between top and plates which we had to use something plastic and pointy to clean out. A toothbrush would do it. So care needed - and unlike us, follow the instructions! If you want to cook scrambled eggs, you just leave the lid open and stir as it cooks. Fried eggs? No problem - crack it in there and whip it out when done!

Dare I say that it's a cracking little machine?! And at only £17 from AmazonUK it's a bargain - and the resulting omelettes taste delicious! Recommended!

Beelink U57 Mini PC

I've been looking at these Mini PC units for some months or even years now and never quite got to the point where I felt that they were ...