Nick (nickmurdoch) wrote,

September 2016

In September I made my own sourdough starter, attended PyCon UK, visited a fire garden, walked various places, and made bourbon biscuits.


On the first weekend of the month, I took an empty jar, added some flour and water, and walked down to Foots Cray meadow, where I waved the open jar about in the open air for a bit.

A few days later, the mixture had bloomed!

Making sourdough starter is as simple as that; you don't strictly need to go anywhere special for the wild yeasts as they're literally everywhere, but I had the notion that it was more meaningful to have a mix started from somewhere of nostalgic value to me. When I was young I'd cycle to Foot Cray Meadows every weekend to relax.

The starter itself makes a pretty good loaf:

Though my absolute favourite use for it is in savoury pancakes (more on that later).

London Loop walk

I realised that I'd completed the first two sections of the London Loop orbital walking route just by virtue of having done various walks around my current and past local areas, so I decided to do some more of it. Writing this in December, I've lost track of which parts I did when, but I'm currently half way through section 5, at Whyteleafe. It's been a good set of walks so far, much better than the South East London Green Chain. One particular highlight was walking on some deserted country road and finding a goldmine of perfectly ripe blackberries.

Bake-off 2016

Here are some things I made for Bake-off this year, including October's stuff.

Bourbon biscuits:

Chia seed scones:

Sourdough pancakes, stuffed with mushrooms:

Thai curry pies, which we will never speak of again.

Poor Knights Pudding, an authentic Tudor dessert/breakfast recipe:

Sweet artichoke Pie, another tudor recipe (sans marrow).

Fire Garden

I noticed that Carabosse had an installation outside the Tate for the anniversary of the Great Fire of London, so I went along to that. I'd previously seen them in 2014 at the (then still-intact) Battersea Power Station, and they were awesome there.

A lot of the set peices were the same, but they looked very pretty from the far side of the Millennium Bridge:

St Paul's Cathedral was also lit up with a nice effect:


I attended PyCon on Saturday and Sunday for the first time and it was rather great!

The talks were generally of excellent quality, and everyone was super friendly. Two particularly nice things of note for me were the presence of an IRC Slack server, which made introducing oneself and organising collective mealtimes a lot easier for introverts; (introverts, at a programming convention? Surely not!) and a quiet room for people to go if the crowds were getting too much. The organisers really had thought everything through.

Here are some of the talks I went to:

Folklore and fantasy; Introducing MetaClasses; Deep Learning with TensorFlow; Fast Python? Don't Bother!; the National Cypher Challenge; Children's Day Show and Tell; An Arabish Lesson; automatic English text correction; An adventure in exploitation; PiNet; Why /dev/random is a horrible idea and other problems you didn't know you had yet; Addition: well, that escalated quickly!

It was also my first time visiting Wales, so I made sure I had some Welsh Cakes.

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