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Rowling hints at Potter encyclopedia May 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books.
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Whatever the fate of Harry Potter in his final book, one thing seemed sure: there would be a parting of the ways from J.K. Rowling.

Now, however, it appears that the seventh volume in the series may not spell the end of their relationship after all. The multimillionaire writer is believed to be preparing for one last look at the world of Harry, Hermione, Dumbledore and Voldemort after the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in July.

Using background notes from the past 10 years, Rowling, 41, is set to compile an encyclopedia of wizardry. It would cover figures such as the founders of Hogwarts school, along with elaborate genealogies of the main characters, and provide a chance to flesh out other figures who merit only a passing mention in the books.

Despite saying it was “highly unlikely” she would write any more Harry Potter novels, Rowling has written on her website, JKRowling.com: “I might do an eighth book for charity, a kind of encyclopedia of the world so that I could use all the extra material that’s not in the books.”

Her agent, Christopher Little, said Rowling had “retained all the rights in the Harry Potter series”, including any companion books “which she may indeed write herself”.

The prospect of an authorised Potter encyclopedia will have fans and booksellers salivating. Sales would almost certainly rival those of Deathly Hallows, which has advance sales of 1.5 million on the internet store Amazon alone. It is tipped to set sales records when it goes on worldwide sale on July 21.


Girl’s website gets 40 million hits May 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Media.
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More than 40 million people have visited the website set up for a four-year-old British girl who disappeared two weeks ago during a family holiday in Portugal, its organisers said today.

“Keep looking!” implored a message on http://www.findmadeleine.com, which was launched on Wednesday as the hunt for Madeleine McCann snowballed into an international cause.

Pledges of donations were meanwhile flooding into a fund which was launched with the website to raise money to help her parents Gerry and Kate McCann continue searching for their daughter. Leading businessmen, sportsmen and individuals had by the weekend offered rewards totalling more than StgPounds 2.5 million for her safe return.

Michael Wright, speaking to a news conference in Portugal, also said that posters bearing Madeleine’s face will soon appear across Europe, citing help from individuals, small firms and multinationals. British television channel Sky News said an airline and a major restaurant chain were among the multinational firms that had offered to put up posters of the missing girl at their premises across the continent.

Relatives fear that the girl’s suspected kidnapper or kidnappers had already taken her out of Portugal. Madeleine disappeared on May 3 from a hotel bedroom in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where her family was holidaying. Her parents were eating in a nearby restaurant while the girl slept with her twin siblings.

Portuguese police said yesterday they were still gathering evidence but did not yet have enough information to make any arrests. Police on Tuesday identified a 33-year-old British man as a formal suspect but said they did not have enough evidence to charge him with any crime.

A house where the man lived in Praia da Luz has been searched by police several times. The media has identified him as Robert Murat, who in an interview with one television station protested his innocence.

Aphrodisiacs that really work > Recipes II May 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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VEGETARIAN MAIN COURSE > Asparagus and Avocado Wraps. This sumptuous dish blends asparagus and another aphrodisiac, the avocado that has been associated with sexuality throughout history. The Spanish found avocados so obscenely sexy, that Catholic priests forbade them. The creamy fruit has a high content of folic acid, as well as vitamin B6 and potassium, and is said to boost immune function. Use brown basmati rice for this dish as it has the lowest GI score of all the types of rice.

Ingredients > Serves 2
4 asparagus
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1 tbsp lime juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
125 /4 oz of cooked, cold brown basmati rice
3 tbsp plain, low fat yogurt
3 whole wheat tortillas, 10″ in diameter
a handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped
2 tbsp chopped red onion

Method >
In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring 2 inches of water to the boil. Steam the asparagus until just tender, about 6 or 8 minutes. Remove the asparagus and immediately rinse in cold water to stop the cooking. Drain thoroughly. In a small bowl, mash the avocado, lime juice, and garlic into a coarse puree. In another small bowl, stir together the rice and yogurt to mix well. Heat a dry large frying pan over medium heat. One at a time, heat the tortillas in the pan until softened, about 20 seconds a side. Lay the tortillas flat on a clean work surface. Spread the avocado mixture equally among the tortillas. Top each with an equal amount of the rice mixture, asparagus, coriander and onion. Fold in both sides and the bottom of each tortilla over the filling, then roll to close. If made in advance, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to one hour. Return to room temperature before serving. To serve, cut each wrap in half crosswise. Serve with a crisp green salad.

PUDDING > Baked Dark Chocolate Pudding. Sounds very naughty, but there’s good reason for including it. Chocolate contains theobromine, an alkaloid similar to caffeine that has a stimulating effect. It also helps the brain produce the feelgood chemical serotonin. Be sure to indulge in high-quality dark chocolate, it contains large amounts of antioxidants, which help combat toxins within your body. If you can find it, try and use brown rice flour it works just as well as plain flour and has more fibre. This sugar-free pudding also uses Perfect Sweet in place of sugar, which has a very low GI value so its energy is released slowly over time.

Ingredients > Serves 2
100g/3oz good dark chocolate (min 60% cocoa)
1 large egg, separated
25g unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp Perfect Sweet
1/4 tbsp brown rice flour (plain flour if not), sieved

Method >
Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Butter two small individual souffl’ dishes and set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl over hot water, then remove from heat and add in butter, Perfect Sweet and flour. Brown rice flour is used in place of plain flour as it is great for digestion, and tastes just as great. Beat the separated egg yolks and add to mixture, along with vanilla essence. Beat egg whites in a separate bowl and fold into mixture with large metal spoon until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into oven dish and cook until just set (10-15mins), then either serve warm, or allow to cool and reheat. Serve with red fruit coulis and a sprig of mint.

Aphrodisiacs that really work > Recipes I May 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Recipes.
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APERITIF > Pomegranate Passion, will get your evening off to a merry start. However, you don’t have to feel too guilty about enjoying this tipple as it is packed full of vitamins and uses a low calorie Champagne, a notorious aphrodisiac, and healthy sugar alternative.

Ingredients >
50ml vodka
20ml framboise
20ml lemon juice
8/10 fresh raspberries
Seeds from a pomegranate
1 tbsp Perfect Sweet (use instead of sugar as it contains 40 per cent less calories, and has a GI value of just 7)
30ml Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut Champagne (30 fewer calories per glass than normal champagne)

Method >
Muddle fruit. Add all other ingredients except Champagne. Shake and strain over crushed ice into a highball. Top with Champagne. Garnish with raspberry and pomegranate seeds.

STARTER > Oysters with a shallot and red wine vinaigrette. These succulent molluscs are the classic aphrodisiac. Raw oysters are very high in zinc, which raises testosterone production, thus increasing libido. Like some fish, oysters are high in omega-3 fatty acids, considered to increase one’s overall well-being, and are associated with a whole host of health benefits. The vinaigrette contains red wine vinegar, which has the same benefits as red wine for cardiovascular health.

Ingredients > Serves 2
6 oysters
For the shallot and red wine vinaigrette:
65ml/2 fl. oz cup of red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons of finely chopped shallots
1 teaspoons of Dijon style mustard
195ml/6 fl. oz cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Method >
In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, shallots and mustard. Slowly add oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly until mixture is emulsified. Open up the oysters and pour away most of the liquid. Add a drizzle of vinaigrette to each oyster and enjoy!

MAIN COURSE > Lobster and Asparagus Alfredo. For elegance and passion, lobster is a great food as it is classy and will certainly impress your other half. We’ve teamed it with asparagus in this dish, which will seduce the palate with its elegant shape and delicate taste. Asparagus is a strong source of folic acid, potassium, fibre, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin so it is packed full of goodness. Very low in fat and high in protein lobster contains selenium, thought to have cancer-fighting properties, and like fish is high in Omega 3.

Ingredients > Serves 2
125g /4 oz fettuccine or tagliatelle
63g/2 oz asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces
63g/2 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon of butter
94g/3 oz cooked lobster meat, cut into bite-size pieces
80ml/2 fl.oz light single cream
47g/1 oz of shredded Parmesan cheese
Pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
Dash of ground nutmeg
Coarsely ground black pepper (optional)
Green salad

Method >
Cook the fettuccine or tagliatelle according to package directions; drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pan, fry the asparagus and mushrooms in butter for five minutes or until just tender. Add lobster and light cream; heat through. Add cooked pasta to the pan. Then add Parmesan cheese, a pinch of pepper, and the nutmeg. Toss until pasta is coated. If necessary, cook for two to three minutes until sauce is desired consistency. Serve immediately. Sprinkle with additional pepper, if desired, and serve with a green salad.

Aphrodisiacs that really work May 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Drinks News.
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Lots of claims have been made about the magical powers of aphrodisiacs, but do they actually work?

According to a nutritionist there are no foods that will instantly spark desire. But that doesn’t mean that the idea is nothing but myth. Over the ages, particular foods have been given aphrodisiac properties because of their look, taste, texture, smell and, in some cases, their nutritional content.

So, when it comes to creating the perfect Valentine’s meal, you need to take all the senses into consideration. In moderation no foods are bad for you. Rather than depriving yourself, you should be able to have treats now and again, which will make you feel more relaxed, happier and therefore more in the mood for love.

Check out a suggested Valentine menu filed under the Recipes category.