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Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Day dinner chez moi. Roast rib of beef and a brussel sprout free dinner.

After a very busy week at Tesco preparing whole salmon and a few mirror carp (Friday 23rd was especially busy) I had an early night on Christmas Eve after watching a Westworld on DVD. Starring Yul Bryner as the dangerous robot cowboy, the film was like the curate's egg - only good in parts. The computers in the Delos holiday resort operations room looked very dated with their spinning tapes and meaningless patterns on the computer screens. It is hard to think back as to why I liked the film and probably went to see it two or three times at the cinema in its original release. Anyhow, early to bed I trotted for a well deserved kip.

On Christmas Day morning I caught up with some clothes and bedclothes washing and ironing and put the oven on to cook my roast beef rib for Christmas dinner. The single bone rib was placed in a casserole with some cold water and some spices including cinnamon bark, cloves, star anise and a couple of bay leaves. I cooked it for two hours at gas mark 5 giving it a basting half way through the cook. I kept my dinner simple with some roast potatoes and a jar of baby carrots and petits pois. The gravy was made with a beef stock cube added to the cooking juices from the joint. A bottle of Prosecco saw me toasting a nice relaxed Christmas Day with Harris and Soufie - the cats from next door. Not a single brussel sprout entered my kitchen.

After dinner I listened to the Together album by Michael Ball and Alfie Boe and I watched the delightful Katherine Jenkins in a Christmas concert. After some French Fitou red wine from the Languedoc region I nodded off like one does on Christmas Day. In the evening I enjoyed another DVD of comedy by Bill Bailey. Part way through I realised I had seen it before but watched him until the end anyway.

During the day I rang my step mum to offer my seasonal best wishes and was also busy on my Samsung tablet wishing my friends a Merry Christmas. My lovely neighbour Jo popped round with some cat food and a few nice presents for me. This year I am cat sitting for a few days to help her out whilst she spends some time with her family in the Wirral. And now on a quiet Boxing Day morning I would like to wish a very 'Merry Christmas' to all my super readers. Phil Lowe

By the way: as well as working I reviewed at least eight Christmas shows in the East Midlands prior to the run up to the Christmas shopping frenzy at Tesco. Most of them are still running so if you are undecided what to go and see do check out my reviews at East Midlands Theatre.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The attraction of a German Christmas Market in Nottingham 2016.

Suddenly the key is word is 'German' at most Christmas Markets and with Nottingham's (better than usual) Christmas Market and attractions this year we seem to have a plethora of stalls that associate themselves with something Germanic. In my mind that is no bad thing as most purchasable things from modern Germany have the stamp of quality running through them. This year the Nottingham Christmas Market on the Old Market Square is full of quality stalls mainly selling food and sweet treats alongside a couple of old fashioned traditional rides like the Helter Skelter and the Merry Go Round. Of course it wouldn't be Christmas in some people's eyes without the large skating rink: icy onlooker to many an accomplished skater and a few prat falls.

Last Saturday I visited the Old Market Square and a few other festive places in the city to photograph the festivities and check out the food. The Curry Wurst and French style German chips (you work that one out) were ausgezeichnet - excellent! The mulled wine was very good value too from the stall near to the Helter Skelter.

Here is a short video slide show I have put together to give you a flavour of my trip into Nottingham City centre and the Christmas Fair.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Those cats eat me out of house and home!

First of all I will say that I was never ever influenced by the 1960s film title That Darned Cat! starring the very manly Rock Hudson and possibly a hot to trot vampish female like the lusty sex goddess Doris Day. I haven't looked this up but it is amusing to think of these stars of yesteryear in this way. Anyway, to what am I referring to in terms of being influenced? Opinions about cats of course!

I have always been a cat lover since the family cat, a Russian Blue called Misty absently trotted into our Lowe family lives mid 1970s and perpetually stuck his pretty in pink tongue out at the world in his later years.  Then there was Peron and Timmy, Titus and Scritchy, Itchy and Titchy and the still hanging on Henry the Eternal Kitten who now lives with my former wife and is stone deaf. The cat, not the former wife.

Regular readers of this blog will no doubt be aware of Mr Harris and Madame Soufie (my add on titles incidentally). They are daily visitors in search of extra fuss, cuddles, stroking and shockingly - food! They are not even my cats. They belong to my very nice neighbour and her house cat flap is the cat parachute to the communal path onto which they land and yowl outside my door. Or simply make pathetic cat noises.


I didn't glue them in place honest!

"I am so starving Daddy Phil!!!!"

They are so used to coming round that my kitchen floor has official status on the Moggy Ordnance Survey Maps charter. A permanent groove has been worn across the floor to their secondary bowls which house crunchy biscuits and a water bowl. Any spare money (laughs ironically) gets spent on pussy treats: slithers of  lean bits of fresh lamb chops; chicken breast; lean pork chops and once in awhile delicate slithers of trimmed sardines. Silver darlings for the little darlings. Harris did puke up some bits of stomach warm sprats the other day but only because he wolfed them down far too quick.

The back of the top of the settee has a special place in the cats' hearts as it is right next to the warm radiator and puurfect for depositing incredible amounts of cat hairs for 'Daddy Phil' to collect via a liberal dabbing of masking tape. Those Darned Lovely Cats! Bless 'em.