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Thursday, 31 July 2014

Burgermeister! Das bin ich!

I'm not one for a regular burger diet but you know, once in a while. These were easy to cook and very tasty 4oz burgers from The Co-operative. Simply fried and topped with Leerdammer Original cheese and dropped into bun with a baby leaf salad, thinly sliced tomatoes and a few black olives. Super tasty.

I have to say I did struggle to eat all of these burgers but I did it. I am the burger master!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

An afternoon in the sun. Bresaola beef and beer.

Today is the first day of a ten day holiday. Hurrah!!! I can't afford to go away but I do have plans.

Today I have caught up on a bit of clothes washing and clothes ironing and have the weird satisfaction of seeing several ironed shirts hanging in a line to dry off and the pleasure of a sunny day to let the rest of the ironed washing dry outside on a clothes hanger. The ironed shirts in a line has an under current of Gatsby of The Great Gatsby. Although I doubt whether Jay Gatsby would ever have considered a job at Tesco.

With the German radio station Die Neue Welle streaming radio on the background I have enjoyed a few beers and continental lunch of brie, pitted dry black olives with herbs, Bresaola beef and Serrano ham, chorizo and salchichon. For those unfamiliar with Bresaola beef, as I was until today, it is topside of beef infused with spices and extracts of black pepper and garlic and then air dried in Northern Italy, developing it's exceptional flavour. I brought it from the Co-Op store in my village. It had a light delicate flavour of pastrami. If I am honest I would say that I would have preferred the more dominant peppery and slightly wet taste of the thicker cut pastrami. More satisfying to the palate.

I am not a big eater of bread but I was tempted by the beetroot and apple bread from the Co-Op for £1.59. Best eaten on the same day I really quite enjoyed this bread and its subtle tastes of beetroot and apple and the crust was just enough to bite through without fear of tearing into one's gums.

Next door's cats posed for a few photos and then fell asleep in the sun. A good Sunday far removed from the usual Sunday that I work in the Tesco supermarket.

Harris stretching in the sun.

me enjoying a cold beer

Mdme Soufie in the shade.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Japanese style stir fry for a change.

I have been trying to eat more healthily of late and due to the fact that I have a lot on regarding my writing commissions and creative commitments this month I have been looking for tasty and quick options. In this regard I have made liberal use of my wok and whacked up a few yummy stir fries. A pack of stir fry veg can last two days as can 'straight to the wok' noodles. Boneless chicken pieces appeal not only to me but also the cats next door as they enjoy a titbit from Uncle Phil. Plus I got a bargain from my Local Sainsbury shop in a reduced pack four pork an pepper kebabs for £2.50. I got two good meaty stir fries out of that! Plus an almost out of date pack of mushrooms added bulk and a packet of Tesco's finest Japanese style stir fry sauce ( intensely flavoured Japanese style stir fry sauce combining Japanese 7 spice with zesty orange, sesame seeds and soy sauce.)

It certainly makes short work of the alternatives in preparing an evening meal and gives me some variety.

Monday, 14 July 2014

A beer and taking time out to glance at the flowers.

Midday I sat outside my house with a cool San Miguel  beer from the fridge and watched the energy saving flowers prefer not to sway. My bare feet suffered the heat of the path, lifted up and suffered again. A fervently keen trilogy of bumble bees landed on the lavender and took off again, each seeming to know what the other two proposed to do. The aged rosemary bush practically vibrated in the heat. The washing I had hung out only an hour ago was now bone dry. Soufie the cat lapped eagerly at her bowl of  tepid water. She ignored the small dead fly in the corner.



Lunch at Wagamama in London and time spent with a well known playwright.

Howard Brenton
This time last week I had the privilege of being invited down to London to interview the playwright Howard Brenton for the high quality amateur theatre magazine, Sardines. Time was short and I arrived at St Pancras, fresh from a two hour train journey from Nottingham and took the most direct route possible on the underground to the river Thames. I had never been to The Globe Theatre before but had a rough idea where it lay. The south bound Northern Line took me to the London Bridge station and I exited through a closing market and made my way out on to the Thames embankment via throngs of people and an old ship in dry dock. The area looked very thriving. After a brief call on my mobile I met up with Paul Johnson, Editor in Chief of Sardines magazine. Despite the title the magazine has nothing to do with food but takes its title from a running gag in the comic- play Noises Off. As I suspected from our numerous phone calls he was a very nice, intelligent fella and great fun to be around.

Paul and I had a short meeting to discuss the forthcoming interview. We sat next to the cafĂ© bar at The Globe and then we headed to the box office to announce our presence and shortly afterwards had a very pleasant interview with renowned playwright Howard Brenton. Full interview can be read in the August edition of Sardines.

Pleased with the interview, Paul and I headed off in search of lunch. London was particularly busy due to the Tour de France event that day and even though we were a few miles away from the main action the crowds were evident. After perusing a few places along the riverside we settled on Wagamama's. This was the branch at Clink Street - Bankside. I hadn't eaten at this establishment anywhere in the country before so the menu was new to me and because of our convivial chatter it took me a while to decide on what to eat. To start off we ordered a couple of chilled beers. It was a hot day and a good choice. Neither of us were bothered about starters as such. Nor were we bothered about slurping up steaming bowls of noodles either. Something more, how shall I say - dignified - was preferred at this, our first, casual and relaxed business lunch.

After some deliberation I settled on the chicken raisukaree; an unctous stir fried chicken and vegetables in a coconut and lime curry sauce, augmented with mange tout, peppers, red and spring onions served on sticky white rice and garnished with red chillies, coriander and lime. Paul went for the chicken katsu curry - a bread crumbed chicken breast deep fried in panko breadcrumbs and served with sticky fried rice, garnished and dressed with mixed leaves and red pickles.

chicken raisukaree
Due to the ginger and chilli in my meal (exacerbated by the fact I had the remnants of a head cold)  I developed an irritating cough that was only halted by a very enjoyable dessert of coconut reika ice cream; three scoops of dairy coconut ice cream topped with a fresh, tangy mango sauce and very edible and crunchy toasted coconut flakes. I discovered that, as well as being a popular Wagamama  dessert, reika is a Japanese word used for chilled sweets or ice cream. The tangy mango sauce was so rich and tasty it remained on the palpate long after the ice cream had dissipated.

During lunch I showed Paul an image, on my tablet, that I had taken of a dish I had made recently of fresh rope grown mussels cooked in a Mediterranean style with lots of garlic, onions and tomatoes in a white wine sauce and fresh coriander. He seemed impressed and I was forthcoming about this blog and its contents and origins. Over lunch was a good time to chat and get to know each other better.

Sardines kindly paid for the meal and Paul and I took a stroll towards the London Eye and Paul headed home via Waterloo as it began to rain. I headed off to familiar haunts around Covent Garden and Piccadilly and took a few photos before returning to St Pancras and the train home.