Archive for June, 2011
As you may have seen from my post last June (Bacon + Chocolate = …?), I attempted a recipe which some of you wouldn’t dare go near. That was of course the now infamous ‘Bacon Brownies’. Even at that point I had made them for a number of occasions, some by special request. I took some to Ian Nunney’s (http://ian.nunney.me.uk/) annual summer Barbecue last year, and they went down a treat. So much so, that I was asked this year to make some more.
Now I believe that cooking should be about experimentation. Yes you may need a recipe as a starting point, but you don’t need to stick to it 100%. Try to vary some ingredients, add something different, or swap for alternatives. You don’t have to stray to far to end up with something just as good, if not better. Clearly I was going to try that here, to ‘spice things up’.
I made 4 batches this time round, each based off the original recipe yet each different. For each batch I used different combinations of Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar, Light Brown Muscavado Sugar, and Caster Sugar. Don’t ask me to tell you how much of each, because I can’t. I just made sure each batch had 12oz/360g of sugar in total. I changed the chocolate around a bit, using dark/plain chocolate for 2 batches, and milk chocolate for the other two. I also used more bacon, with around 8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon in each.
Now came the good part. Having cooked with mixed spice before, I knew it would work well. So to one batch of milk chocolate, I added two teaspoons of mixed spice. Taking my cue from a ‘chocolate chilli cake’ I once ate, to a batch of the dark/plain chocolate I added something much stronger. One teaspoon of Cayenne Chilli Pepper. Now while not to everyones taste, I liked how this turned out, as did others at the party. It gave a deep warm spiciness followed by a kick of chilli. Next time I may use less or milder Chilli Pepper, but the idea was good.
As expected, the brownies were once again well received, in all their forms. The mixed spice ones became a new favourite, perhaps because it masks the bacon slightly for those who are unsure but still want to try them. I did get one piece of advice though, from Skalligrim Ericsson and Fenris Sais Saionnai, Vikings of the Bifrost Guard (http://www.bifrostguard.co.uk) :-
“This needs more Bacon”!
Ok, so it’s been a few days since I installed the Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools (http://developer.windowsphone.com). Fortunately getting the ‘Hello World’ app going took all of about 30 seconds. You load up Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, create a new ‘Windows Phone Application’ project, and it’s basically done for you. Change one of the auto-generated text fields to ‘Hello World’, deploy the app to your phone, and you’re done. You don’t at this point need to know any code!
Although I didn’t have much time to play, this wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted something more to at least write some code and make use of some of the phones functionality. As mentioned in my last post, I went after the Accelerometer values. Although the API for this will be changed/improved in Mango, an API exists in Windows Phone 7.0 to do this. All I did was create three TextBlock objects to display the X, Y and Z axis values of the accelerometer on screen. I had planned to do the same with the Compass, as the ideas I’ve had could use this, but unfortunately no API exists yet. Not until Mango.
I’ve spent some time sketching out my ideas on paper, fleshing out the first app I want to write, using the accelerometer as the main input. While this app, if you can call it that, is very basic, I think my biggest challenge will be the design and interface. I’m not a designer, able to come up with good visual ideas, nor any good with design tools. Making something work is the easy part. Making it look good – almost impossible! Anyway, stay tuned for more.
It was inevitable. In this world of smart phones, and as I own a Windows Phone 7 handset too, getting into App development was going to happen. It just took a lot longer than I thought.
But over the past few weeks, the desire has been building, although without an idea. Then I had a couple of thoughts, which slowly grew into ideas, and eventually a concept I can work with. It’s only for a simple game, but it will be a good starting point, to quickly move on from the obligatory ‘Hello World’ app I will no doubt write. The core will make use of one of the pieces of hardware more unique to a phone, the accelerometer.
So I’ve finally installed all the necessary development tools, and have everything ready to get started – having overcome the first hurdle. I don’t want to give too much away right now, but chances are I will make an effort to blog my progress, so check back here to see how I’m getting on. You may even find snippets of source code or sample applications which could help you out developing your own application or game.
If any of you are interested in developing apps or games for Windows Phone 7 devices, check out http://developer.windowsphone.com. There you can get all the tools needed to develop apps, including a version of Visual Studio 2010 Express just for Windows Phone 7 development. Oh, did I mention, these are FREE! There are costs if you want to publish your apps on the Marketplace, where you have the option to charge money for your app, but these are reasonable.
Go on. Do it. Become a Windows Phone developer today!