Monday, July 26

Sweet, sweet superfood...

I say potato, you say potatoe. You cannot spell.

Here is a delicious thing:

Scrub your sweet potatoes but leave the skin on. Cut ’em into big chunks. These were kind of unwieldy, but I like that. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Don’t be scared of the chili powder – it gets into the skin and gives a depth of flavor that I cannot begin to describe here. [Imagine licking a brick from a pizza oven.] Shake it all about and bang it in the oven for twenty minutes on hot. After twenty minutes, throw in a sliced onion, stir about, and leave for another twenty, twenty-five minutes.

Add fresh baby spinach. Washed. Thoroughly. Do you know how many bugs come out in the second rinse?

Crumble some feta. Never enough feta. And more pepper.

I forgot the kalamata olives, but boy would they have been good here.

Saturday, July 24

A brief note

As a schoolboy I'd always come home and ask my mum what was for dinner.

Her reply?

'Air Pie and Windy Pudding'

Diary of a morbidly obscene biscuit addict


It is time for me to take a good hard look at myself. Why do I eat so many biscuits? Why is just the one or two never enough? Why are all the best biscuits the most unhealthy, artery clogging, weight scale shattering objects of brilliance?


So it comes to this. Only my third entry and the breakdown is already upon me. I even ate a chocolate bourbon the other day. I don’t even like chocolate bourbons! And listen to me! Are there any other types of bourbons than chocolate ones!? NO! I have clearly taken leave of my senses. I am having a biscuit crisis! CRISIS!

This stark realisation of my precarious position only became startlingly aware to me after I gratefully received one of those wonderful biscuit selection boxes, the ones that include the rare but delightful Happy Faces. Surely the most accurate embodiment of a consumable to express the joy of it’s delighted consumer. (That sentence just doesn’t look right, but I’m lazy. It stays.)

I stared in delight at the wonderful collection of delights in front of me. This was like staring at the contents of a really cheap Pandora’s Box. But maybe that’s the whole problem. Maybe that is my horrible Sisyphean task. To eternally eat these ghastly biscuits in order that no one else hast to. Am I some kind of vile guardian to society’s health and prosperity? No. That is delusions of grandeur. I am just a filthy glutton with no willpower, destined for the third circle.

Ugh! The crisis is surely upon me, just look at that last over indulgent paragraph! Not one, not two, but three references to Greek or Roman mythology. I’m here to talk about biscuits god damn it! These are black days.

Anyway, I’m supposed to be confessing something aren’t I? Well the truth is I don’t think I actually like biscuits all that much. I just eat them because they are there, and because I’m so miserably malnourished that they constitute a viable food group. I would eat carrots if only they looked and tasted like biscuits. But that would make them biscuits, so I’d be right back to square one.

Christ, you’re bored of reading this now, and I haven’t actually confessed to anything that you can really get your teeth into, like a Garibaldi. Sorry.

Still, I left one Happy Face in the box. All is not lost. (back to the mythology again, what a pompous pseudo-intellectual prick I am.)

Fig 1. Fuck my hat! That’s not a happy face! If biscuits could give you a nasty dose of the clap, that’s the face it would make afterwards.

Wednesday, July 21

This year's harvest - part 1

For the first time in a while I've had some time to think about gardening, and as a result the prospect of having some home-grown vegetables to eat seems pretty good this year. In order to not over-stretch our ability to attend to plants, I decided to concentrate on 3 vegetables: tomatoes, courgettes and cucumbers.

Pretty much every year for a while I have grown tomatoes, with varying success. Last year, for instance, was not very productive (a combination of a wet summer and too little time to concentrate on vegetables), but previously we have had enough tomatoes to make pasta sauce and store it (for a little while at least). Unfortunately, since the arrival of the dog, we've had to give up the best tomato growing flowerbed as that is where he prefers to sit. But there are other areas of the garden which seem to do ok. This year we have 'Shirley' and 'Juliet' in some pots on the corner of our yard (as pictured left). Last year I bought some hanging baskets and tried out growing tomatoes in one, which seemed to work (runner beans, however, do not). This year I bought a variety of tomatoes specially suited to hanging baskets and so far there is lots of fruit.

Courgettes & Cucumbers:

For the first time ever I have successfully grown
some plants from seed (a big bonus of having windowsills at last - woo!), both cucumbers and courgettes. I have grown courgettes before, fairly successfully (again, the last couple of years have been rather wet, and there have been mould issues), but never cucumbers. The main impetus behind this addition is to make pickles. We go through jars of pickles like nobody's business in this house, so it seemed sensible to try creating
our own. Wary of slugs - which plague our garden - I decided to put some of the courgette/cucumber plants outside, and keep some inside (the first photo of this post is our view from the kitchen sink). Despite not quite managing to re-pot over half the plants, they all seem to be doing ok, or more than as the cucumber plants in particular are taking over every space they are in, with their curly tendrils reaching out to grab anything they can. The most exciting thing is that we now have our first cucumbers showing up - teeny and prickly at the moment, but hopefully they will manage to get big enough to pickle.

I will be back with further news as the plants progress (and the pickling begins). Watch this space!

Monday, July 19

Sloe Gin

On a walk this weekend I noticed the Blackthorn bushes from which we picked lots of sloes to make sloe gin are looking heavy with fruit, which bodes well for production of this king of drinks in the autumn.

In preparation for that time (around September/October - after the first frost if you can wait that long, I don't think we did. I seem to remember picking them when they looked ripe), here is the recipe we followed which worked very nicely. We picked our sloes, froze them for a while, then defrosted them and added them to gin with some sugar in the amounts that the recipe suggests. Needless to say it was very much worth it - so get looking for those sloes in readiness!

Thursday, July 8

Solo Celebration!

Today sees the end of that marvellous tyranny which has been my wife's Phd - congratulations Doc!
Naturally, this is cause for celebration, but unfortunately, I'm at home, on my own, all day. Not that that's enough to stop me. So, in honour of Lucy's big brain, I made some curry.

Onions, garlic and ginger are fried in butter, with turmeric, chilli powder and salt. Then some sliced tomatoes are chucked in, followed by some minced beef. That's all cooked gently for about half an hour under a lid, then some peas are thrown into the mix, then there's a bit more cooking while I rewind a video. The fabulous Savitri Chowdhary  suggests eating this keema with flat-bread and vegetable sides. I, being English, can't resist a bit of 'the usual' with my curry, so pile my plate with plenty of keema, alongside a mound of nice clean basmati rice, some wholewheat flatbread and of course a popadum or two. Then I sit and watch a documentary about Edward Said with my dog.
Who says I don't know how to party?

Monday, July 5

Fourth of Juillet

Hamburger + Boursin = oh so delicious.