Tuesday 27 December 2011

Broken legs in Andorra, aka To Hell with Cholesterol!

Broken legs in Andorra? Yeah, that's Cockney rhyming slang for broken eggs with chistorra, and yeah, I've just invented that, the slang, I mean. :-)

Cheese-toh-what? Well, that's a type of sausage that hails from Navarre, in the north of Spain. Wikipedia tells the story better than I can, although my images are better. And the Spanish will tell you I haven't got a grandmother. :-)

Broken eggs is a literal translation of "huevos rotos"; the recipe being "Huevos rotos con patatas y chistorra". The recipe I'm publishing here wasn't copied from anywhere else; I've sampled (or stuffed my face with, depending on who's saying it) the dish in restaurants several times, and it doesn't look too complicated. The advantage of doing it yourself is that you can do it the way you like! This post is dedicated especially to Phil Wade, a sucker for fry-ups!


Measurements are approximate (I use my eyes more than the scales) and are given for 1 abundant portion (with leftover for supper); multiply accordingly by the number of portions you want to prepare for.

600g potatoes
50g chistorra
3 eggs
oil for frying and 1 tablespoon of olive oil
sea salt

1.   Prepare all the ingredients. Slice the chistorra thinly. Wash, peel and cut the potatoes into long pieces (chip-shaped). Soak them in water. Drain them before frying.

2.  Place the sliced chistorra on the frying pan without any oil. Heat it over a small to medium flame and watch the fat ooze out! Lovely! Tip: Occasionally, scoop the excess oil and pour it into your deep-fryer. I like the sausage really well done, i.e. melt as much fat away as possible.

3.  Heat abundant oil in a deep frying pan, or a deep-fryer, if you have one. When it's hot enough (when you see steam floating up), put the potatoes in. Watch your hands! Occasionally, turn them over. You'd want the chips to be done, but not too done, or they'll be too dry.

4.  At the same time, heat a tablespoon of olive oil (if you can afford it) over a small frying pan. Heat it on a lowish flame (on my glass ceramic induction hob, I do it on mark 4). Break the eggs into the pan gently, avoiding breaking the yolks. You want them sunny-side up, and you want them slightly under-cooked. The heat of the chips will cook them further.

5.  What you're aiming for is for the three ingredients to be ready in about the same time. Practice makes perfect! When they're done, place the chips onto a deep bowl. A mini-wok is great. Sprinkle a little (only a little) sea salt over the chips. Add the chistorra. Tip the eggs over this mix, oil and all.

6.  With two forks, start breaking the egg yolks roughly, and toss the mixture. Serve immediately, straight from the bowl with some warm sliced baguette, if you wish.

7.  However, if you're one of the finer creatures on this earth, or your guests are, you can dish it onto a plate, like this.

Enjoy! The photos are available from ELTPics, or with a reasonable fee, you can have the higher resolution versions to adorn your greasy café! ;-)

Thursday 22 December 2011

Best 7 of 11 stitched up

Just as you thought it was safe to store away all your PCs for the festive break, along comes yet another tool to help enrich your browsing experience. Will it? Or will it stay stitched up? Take a look at a quick Stich.It of the best 7 of 2011 of this blog. If you disagree, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday 19 December 2011

Two For The Price Of None

Where were you last Saturday 17th December 2011 from about 09:00 until 15:00 GMT? Seriously, if you were not doing anything you couldn't postpone such as looking after the sick or the young, or earning your daily bread, and you're a so-called educator, unless you are already a top-notch guru, I really don't understand why you weren't present at one, if not both, of the two free webinars held that day. Did you miss my post on The Lonely Teacher Blues? Oh, all right, include being in the "wrong" time zone as a good excuse, too, although there were a few dedicated attendees from the other side of the ocean, such as Ecuador and Brazil, where even the birds and the roosters were still asleep.

This is apart from the omnipresent Shelly Terrell, who was moderating the iTDi webinar in spite of it starting at 4am, her time! She has trouble saying 'no' at the best of times, but I guess it would have been even more difficult to refuse the chance of moderating such great thinkers and motivators as Luke Meddings, Chuck Sandy, Marcos Benevides, Scott Thornbury, John F. Fanselow, and Steven Herder, who was also co-moderator.

So, if you weren't there, and have no valid excuse, I repeat, I really don't understand you. However, there just might exist the possibility for you to redeem yourself, and learn something in the process - take a look here for a link to the recording of what you missed.

Right after the iTDi, which stands for the International Teacher Development Institute, came the first ever online version of Teach Meet. A total of 27 teachers (including a significant number of iTDi associates) from all around the globe spoke for about 3 minutes each, sharing their ideas, their projects, and their passion, with those present. Again, I don't understand how you could let such an opportunity pass you by. But, since these educators are so generous and selfless, visit the site for the chance of seeing the recording.

For a taste of what happened that day, watch this super summary compiled by Bart Verswijvel.

My presentation was basically a potpourri of ideas for using Wordle in the classroom, quite difficult to do in 3 minutes, but the bicycle arrived unscathed...I think. The tutorial on how to do what I did, and parts of the slides I used, can be found here. In any case, especially for Marijana Smolcec, I'm sharing the full presentation here.

There is sound, so turn your speakers on! Unfortunately, there is a slight problem - the world isn't perfect, is it? The version you see below is from Author Stream - you can simply press play, and the presentation starts with my voice-over plus you get to see the animations. However, the synchronization is not as it ought to be and some layering effect is lost.

The version below the Author Stream's is on Slideshare - there's no play option, no animations, no sound, but you get to see the background effect as it was meant to be seen! :-)

Were you there? What did you learn from the two webinars? Weren't you there? Why not?


Sunday 11 December 2011

How to overcome the Lonely Teacher Blues

Image by @ij64 on ELTPics;

Teaching is, often, a lonely job. If you're lucky, you get to talk about your problems, exchange ideas, or periodically receive some level of motivation in the staff room. Most of the time, however, you get thrown in the deep end, with only a marker and the coursebook to clutch.

Some seek to fight this problem by attending conferences, and others do courses, but these tend to be costly, and teaching is not noted for a generous pay scale. So, unless some form of backing is available, most of us can't do either of those.

However, the situation has improved tremendously in the past decade or so. As Barbara Sakamoto said in my interview with her, "Get online!" There's a bewildering amount of information and resources available on the Internet, so much so that one can easily get lost. If you're reading this, you're probably among those who are already fairly knowledgeable about the world of blogging, Twitter, and webinars. It is our duty, then, to enlighten the uninitiated.

If you want to know which blogs to read, a good place to start is my recommended blogs list. This list is, naturally, constantly updated. Twitter is an incredible world, but I'd probably need a few hours to explain its ins and outs - why don't you get your school to call me and I could give a talk? ;-) Alternatively, read the articles which I've scooped here.

If you're interested in personal professional development, follow my scoops here, and if you're in need of some motivation, why don't you check out some of the teachers here.

As for webinars... these are getting more and more popular, and it's easy to see why. Most of them are FREE, and you can attend them from the comforts of your own home. Don't you know what webinars are? They are basically online conferences. To attend them, you are sometimes required to register. You will be given a url (the address of a web page) to go to. When you enter this page, you'll be asked to download a small Java file. Follow the instructions from there and before you could get comfortable, you'd be 'apparated' (to borrow a word from J K Rowlings) to the conference room!

Talking of webinars, next Saturday, 17th December is a very special day. Two free webinars are taking place, practically one after another; here's a terrific chance to experience first hand what many other teachers around the world are doing!

iTDi (International Teacher Development Institute) will be running, very shortly, online courses, designed by teachers, for teachers. Their free webinar has already attracted 300 teachers from 57 countries, but they are still accepting people for their waiting list, so don't wait any longer. It's free, isn't it? The webinar is titled "What is a teacher?" For the full line-up of internationally-acclaimed presenters, schedule and registration, go to:  http://itdi.pro/webinar.html
It runs from 09:00 to 13:00 UTC.

Right after that, from 14:00 CET onwards, TeachMeet International start their own exciting event. This promises to be a truly dynamic affair, each presenter being given 3 minutes of "floor" time. Don't miss that either!

For those who are not able to attend either of these conferences, there is a good possibility that the recordings will be made available, but you'd need to be in touch with "us" to know where and when they are released!