Tag Archives: food

Garden progress here in North Wiltshire

Tonight dinner was enhanced by the first potatoes from what used to be our rockery. We dug it out a couple or three years ago and made a raised be into with we’ve planted various greens and potatoes. Tonight’s are the result of a potato that I just planted because it was sprouting in the veg drawer. A nice change from some of the shop bought (we were very disappoited with the Jersey Royals this year – almost tasteless).

Earlier in the year we had a great crop of strawberries that lasted us throigh about 3 weeks of enhancing puddings. Not so many coming through now though.

The tomato hanging basket (Tumbler) is cropping like mad and making salads nicer as are lettuce from the garden. The plum and full size tomatoes are flowering, but no crops yet.

We tried Pak Choi this year for the first time and managed to use 4 or 5 in stir fries before they went to flower.

Fennel, garlic, round carrotts and beans all coming along.

We’ll never match Tom & Barbara, but it is a bit of fun and relaxation, the food miles are minimal and it all tastes good, so we’ll be doing it all again next year.

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the power of the media – e.coli and all that

So there I am, networking away after giving an evening presentation, when realisation of the time creeps up on me. I need to get moving. I’ve missed out on the sponsor’s excellent looking buffet, but plan to grab a sandwich at Paddington – it’s a long time since 12 and my hurried lunch.

Farewells said I head out into Kingsway and cross the street heading for Holborn Station and the Central Line. As I funnel into the stream of others squeezing into the entrance I take the free Evening Standard and shuffle through the turnstiles and down the escalator.

A westbound train is just pulling so I dive on, lean up against the partition and open my paper. The news is bad: Mutant e.coli sweeping Europe and the US. Deadly bugs passed on via salad items seem to be the cause and we have 7 victims over here in the UK now. Nasty stuff, and I feel for the folks in Hamburg, the epicentre of the outbreak the paper tells me, as it is somewhere I have visited many times on business and have always been warmly welcomed.

A change of train at Oxford Circus and I get a seat this time. I read more about the outbreak and its implications. All very unpleasant.

Paddington comes up and I make my way through the tunnel and up onto the concourse. I have 10 minutes before the train is due out, so head for the food concessions to find, you guessed it, row upon row of tired looking concoctions (well it is just after 9pm) all embellished with limp salad.

Even if the chance of any of it being likely to be carrying a nasty bug is infinitesimal, ThatConsultantBloke goes home to bed hungry, unable to face any of it, the power of the media having put him off thoroughly.

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for food fans

The Wokingham Wonder and I have started a new blog here on WordPress to share some of our passion for home cooking. We’ve listed a couple of recipes so far and will try and add new ones each week, along with some of the other things we’ve picked up over the years in terms of making life easy in the kitchen and good at the table.

We’ll also provide reviews of places we find to buy food, web sites we think are useful and anything else that we think might help.

Home cooking doesn;t have to be hard, and you can create all sorts of healthy meals if you try. We do, and so can you.

http://forfoodfans.wordpress.com/

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and a nice meal to round off the day

Sole fillet poached in milk with a little salt and pepper, Jersey Royals tossed in butter with a little chopped parsley, our first English (Hampshire) asparagus and cumin spinach. All washed down with a white Rioja and with coffee and baked cheesecake to follow.

Time to flop on the sofa for the evening.

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a nice afternoon in the garden

I’ve had a nice afternoon in the garden pottering about tidying up and getting ready to plant out some new things for the Summer. Plenty of company in the shape of butterflies, bees, assorted birds our local squirrel and most of the neighbouring cats (they’re like a sort of planning committee, calling round to inspect what I’ve done and to give that look that say’s quite clearly that I didn’t have permission to dig there, move that tub or whatever).

It looks as though we’ll have a nice crop of things to eat from the garden and herbs to flavour things with, so a good afternoon’s labours.

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letters to the editor #23 more joys of shopping

Sir

Whilst in our local Sainsbury’s this morning there was an announcment on the public address regarding their range of East Regs. On enquiring whether they also had West Regs I received a blank stare and felt that security may have been about to be called, so refrained from also enquiring after North and South Regs.

I can’t have been mistaken as the annoucement was made, at a far to strident a volume, several times.

Yours faithfully

Surprised of Swindon

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The Joys of Shopping #2 – fun with phrases

So we’re out there amongst the shelves in our favourite supermarket. Maybe some cooked meat? Ah. Cured ham. But cured of what? I mean what did this pig have to be cured of and, having cured it, why then let it die for us to eat? We need answers!

Then there cultured yogurt. Well, you wouldn’t want the uncouth one would you? Just think what that could get up to behind the closed door of your fridge. Coarse sugar in the cupboard is enough hooligan food for any home.

Come on food legislators. These are the issues that are important in food labelling, not messing about over what is or isn’t a sausage.

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the joys of shopping #1

A new theme of blogs, this time on the joys of shopping. Now please treat these rants with an element of tongue in cheek but, as a grumpy old man, these are all things that annoy me to some degree. I’ve blogged elsewhere about standards (“Why bother? No-one else does.” on another of my blogs), and whether I’m right or wrong, this is how I feel.

To set the scene, I’m in a store on a retail park on the edge of town. As I wander around the aisles Elvis begins to croon “Love me tender, love me tr” bing bong “ Will Alan Smith please come to the back door, Alan Smith to the back door”, “’reams come true” etc. You get the picture? Now Love Me Tender is not, by a long chalk, my favourite Elvis song, but this is close to sacrilege and I start getting these urges to campaign for reinstatement of capital punishment. It’s the same with those idiot DJs who talk over the music; if you’re going to play a song wait until it’s finished before inflicting your banal chatter on your audience.

This especially true when I’m out food shopping with the Wonder of Wokingham and we are deep in meaningful conversation about what we’re going to eat when some oik with no idea of manners will interrupt us with some meaningless, to us, announcement or other. If they want Mary Smith to report to the checkout captain, or some such instruction, and are prepared to interrupt the customers with this request, the surely we should be told why? “Will Mary Smith please report to the checkout captain to be shot for interrupting Elvis” does at least give us some explanation as to why we have been so rudely interrupted even if it does not excuse them having done so.

More joys of shopping another time perhaps.

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like Lazurus the combination oven has risen!

Our much loved Neff combination oven, used 2 or 3 times daily since we bought it 6 or so years ago, was found dead in the kitchen on Sunday, having faithfully cooked Saturday dinner and a bread and butter pudding the night before.

But a nice man has just been and replaced an internal fuse and it’s working  again! No big bill for a new oven.

Now all we need is for the Jaguar not to need much work for her MOT tomorrow and it will have been a good week.

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Friday Fortunes

I can’t say that the day started that well; two lots of cash that should have appeared in the bank account didn’t and the postman hadn’t got a cheque in his bag from a third “promise”. The down side of working for yourself is when people don’t keep their word.

On the other hand the telephone has been kind, with three very welcome calls, one about contributing to helping others, a second to offer the chance to do some voluntary work and finally a possible paid job for me to think about.

In between Fay and I enjoyed the sunshine and had a ride out into the Cotswolds, visiting a couple of garden centres, a farm shop and Waitrose in Cirencester.

All in all a good day capped by a mixed grill washed down with some pink fizzy and time now to put our feet up and enjoy a book.

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