Monday, 21 June 2010

Some stuff. And a request for a recipe.

I got tagged for a meme by this lot, which is handy, since I do not have the shred of an original thought in any part of my head right now.

What experience has most shaped you and why?

Christ, I dunno. Being the child of massively over-achieving, brilliant, ambitious parents perhaps? I am doomed to be a perpetual disappointment to myself and others. And a bit lazy.

If you had a whole day with no commitments what would you do?

I fear it might go like this.

Firstly I would lie awake for the whole of the preceding night plotting and replotting the optimum way to spend my day. Then I would be exhausted and grumpy by morning time. I would pour pointlessly vast amounts of energy into deciding what to have for breakfast, then be slightly regretful about what I had chosen.

I would have a bath, then lie in the bath fretting about wasting precious free time. Then I would get out and mope around trying to decide what to do, and vitally, where to have lunch.

I would spend too much time on the interwebs exactly as I do every other day.

I would lurk around shops with pretty things in. I would wonder whether to go to the cinema and decide against it.

There would be so many places I would insist on having coffee, or drinks in, I would have to spend half of the day peeing.

I would reach the end of the day and wonder how I managed to do so little with it.

Yes. I am not very good at straightforward enjoyment and spend crucial hours worrying about the opportunity cost of any given option. But at least I have bags of self-knowledge! Yay! Who needs fun when you have a brutally clear vision of your own character flaws?

What food or drink could you never give up?

Tea. Because it has a meta-significance way beyond simply being a slightly boring but refreshing hot beverage and without the social lubricant that is tea, my social life, culture and the cohesive structure of British society would fall to pieces.

And salt. Because I had to give up salt for a year when I was 20 and on massive doses of steroids in a vain attempt to stop my hair falling out, and it was one of the worst years of my life, not just because of the hair, but because life without salt is POINTLESS. Just stick me in a field with a salt lick and a thermos of tea and I'll be fine.

If you could travel anywhere, where would that be and why?

I am not at all well-travelled, like, embarrassingly, grotesquely, ill-travelled. Consequently this list is very long and mainly composed of cities - Berlin, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Tokyo.

I would happily settle for going back to Venice though, any day.

Who do you have a crush on?

Oh, but there are so many! Crushes make life fun. Or mortifying. Or a bit of both. And I'm good with that.

1. Children's headmaster - still, and possibly forever, even though he is mean as hell and has hair like a loo brush.
2. Colleague Who Shall Remain Nameless.
3. Ex-Colleague Who Shall Remain Nameless
4. Josh Rouse - so perfectly rumpled and just the right height, and deliciously nerdy glasses, and generally divine and having spoken to him after his gig at Ancienne Belgique I am now hopelessly in love with him.
5. The man behind the counter in BioBar, my local juice bar. He's just comically handsome and a stunning advert for juice.

If you were the leader of your country, what would you do?

This is not at all a fanciful question for me, because I totally could be in charge of Belgium. None of the other candidates have any particularly impressive credentials beyond looking like potatoes. Well, I can look like a potato too, Votre Majesté! My policies:

- Replace all Brussels cobbles with nice smooth modern tarmac, possibly with a rubberised heel friendly coating.
- Make everyone speak Esperanto. It would be more amusing and reduce the problems of linguistic conflict.
- Force Marks & Spencer to open a large Brussels store and make Cadburys take over the local chocolate industry
- Replace La Brabançonne as the national anthem with "Chef une petite bière on a soif".
- Put Fabiola on the national flag and coinage.

I tag the following perhaps slightly lesser known blogs from my blogroll, that are excellent and that I don't think I have tagged before:

I am supposed to add a question, so my question is:

Give me one easy savoury recipe that does not include cheese.

And now I must hobble to work. It could take a while. Do please all answer any of the questions you would like in the comments. It would make me very cheerful.


Lisa-Marie said...

1. Looking after my ill mum when I was quite young. I was very, very grown up as a young teenager, and I seem to have sort of regressed now. Surely most people have given up going out to gigs and getting horrendously drunk/not paying bills so that they can do so when they are 27?

2. This happened to me for two days at the weekend. I read, watched TV, made a roast chicken and some waffles with chocolate, and was provided with lots of tea by mu husband. I also had a short lived fit of organisation and did some tidying yesterday morning. Otherwise know as, I sit about doing nothing. I don't even feel guilty!

3. Tea(Earl Gray) - actually makes everything better. Cheese - all of the best things have cheese on them. Dark chocolate -tastes awesome, good in puddings, relatively good for you! Potatoes - for fish pie, baked potatoes and crisps. I might as well be dead if i can't have them.

4. I've only been round all of the Uk, Ireland, Poland and France, so I'd like to go everywhere else please(and to all of those again).

5.My husband. It hasn't gone away, despite 2 years of marriage and 4 of living together. This is not what I was expecting.

Robert Pattinson. I loved him even when he was Cedric Diggery in the Harry Potter.

Brian Fallon and Matt Skiba - I like punk boys (perhaps this is why i still fancy my husband)

Bruce Sringsteen. Still hot even if he is about 60.

6. A better job than the current government are. Id remove all of the useless managers they put into our national services, at least half our defence bill and give people ever second friday off. My freind Katie and I also decided we'd have to have a national cheese day once a week. I like cheese.

Recipe - Fish pie
1 piece of salmon and cod per two people eating
handful of prawns
pint of milk
bay leaf
onion (peeled and quartered)

25g butter
25g flour

large potato per person
big bit of butter

chuck all of first lot of ingredients in pot. bring to boil till fish is cooked(5 mins ish). Drain, saving milk, and remove bay leaves and cloves. put all of the fish and stuff in a pie dish.

Peel potatoes and put on to boil.

melt 25g butter in pan, stir in flour to make a roux,add fishy milk and stir really quickly so it doesn't split. when it's thick (10 mins ish) pour over fish.

drain and mash potatoes with butter. top fish mixture with it. drag a fork over it to make it pretty.

bake at 170 for 30 mins, till potatoes are a big golden.

Bryony said...

1.being a mother - lame but true.

2. I'd swim as much as possible - preferrably in Biarritz in the surf. and dark chocolate - why is everything caffeine related? (when I was pregnant I craved salt and ate loads of peanuts - resulting offspring is addicted to the stuff and has been flogging packets to his friends at school on the one day they have chips)

4. New Zealand please - and I've never seen Lord of the Rings

5. Sean Bean when he was hot.

6. I am not a posh boy so would be bound to make a difference.

chop chicken breasts into bite size chunks - dip in egg then roll in an equal mix of flour and polenta with a pinch of chilli - shallow fry. Home made chicken nuggets - delish.

From Belgium said...

1. Motherhood
2. Sleep
3. Coffee, cheese, pasta
4. My father dragged us halfway around the globe for his job and we visited the other half when on holiday's, but somehow never made it to the South of France, thus : the South of France.
5. The list is too long
6. Start a war with France over wether the fry is Belgian or French in order to divert to public from the crisis.
7. Coffee shake : Mix vanilla icecream with cold coffe, pour in pretty glass, add straw, enjoy.

Sewmouse said...

Wash and dry 4 thick-cut pork chops.

In a frying pan, brown chops on both sides using a bit of olive oil.

Sprinkle tops of chops liberally with ground ginger.

Place 2-3 tablespoons of plum preserves (jam) on each chop, cover and reduce heat.

Simmer for about 20 min, turning chops over once.

The leftover sauce from the jam that is in the pan should be poured over the chops when serving.

Anonymous said...

Cherry Chicken:

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (4 pound) whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dusting
1 (15 ounce) can pitted dark cherries packed in water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 orange - with peel, quartered and thinly sliced
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat with flour. Fry in the hot oil until browned, turning as needed. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for about 25 minutes or until meat is tender and juices run clear.
Remove the chicken from the pan, and pour off all but 1/4 cup of the drippings. Return to medium heat and stir in the cherries, reserving some of the cherry liquid for later. Stir in sugar and bring to a boil. Dissolve the cornstarch in the reserved cherry liquid, then stir into the pan. Cook, stirring gently, until thickened.
Add orange slices and almonds to the skillet, then return the chicken pieces to the skillet. Spoon sauce over the chicken to coat, and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with rice and some veggies - yum!


Anonymous said...

Chocolate cobbler. No cheese.

But if you're looking for more dairy free recipes, check out

Bryony said...

I should have added , if you want a really good read of a cook book with real suggestions (including dial-a-pizza) try Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries. Can I add him to my crush list too?

Alison Cross said...

1 - Shaping Experience - becoming a mother and just bloody well having to get on with it, even though for 4 miserable years, I just wanted to hand him back and resume my old life. Always, always loved him though :-)

2 Day with no commitments - probably tweet, read blogs, drink pear cider and read magazines.

3 - I could never give up - cheese and onion crisps.

4 Travel - I would love to go to Japan to experience the exquisite attention to detail that they seem to put into EVERYTHING. Kyoto for the cultural Japan....but wouldn't want to be eating some live fish or anything *shudders*

5 Crush - once confessed to colleagues (and hubby) that I found the local countryside ranger (at least 15 years older than me) strangely attractive. Now, 10 years later, he is still referred to as 'your boyfriend' by colleagues and husband.

6 If I was leader of the country, I'd probably be piano-wired from a lampost before I could shoot a single scumbag.

7 Sadly, I have no cheese-free recipes due to me not being properly house-trained yet.

Anonymous said...

Eggs with sauteed vegetables (good for breakfast, brunch or dinner)

Saute some diced vegetables of your choice in olive oil and a bit of butter (today was tomato, broccoli, spinach, onion and mushrooms). Saute a few minutes. Top with poached eggs (or fried or scrambled), a bit of cheese if you like (TOTALLY OPTIONAL) and serve with buttered toast points. Great with tea; better with champagne!

Anon C/Kalgon

ganching said...

Oh a meme. I will need to go and have a think about this. (Thanks for the kind words)

Mine said...

Easy Chicken

Chicken thighs (boneless)
olive oil
Salt and pepper

To as many thighs as you think you can eat, add 1/2 tablespoon oil per thigh plus 1/2 teaspoon each cumin & paprika per thigh. Add salt and pepper to tast (couple of shakes is good). Easiest way to do this is to tip thighs into plastic bag then add oil & spices. Twizzle end closed & massage thighs so marinade penetrates. Leave for a bit (an hour is good but it can be as short as the time it takes to throw a salad together) Grill or barbecue thighs on both sides till done, brushing occasionally with excess marinade. Serve over salad or couscous or rice or just eat (but over something is best because the juices are yummy)

Anonymous said...

Easy recipe in 5 minutes;

Lots of big brown mushrooms in thick slices.
Toss around in olive oil with lots more garlic slices.
Put lid on saucepan so they wilt rather than crisp.
Lots of salt and black pepper.
Eat! (watch out for messy but delicious juice everywhere)
Also, do more than you think you'll want as everything smushes down smaller, and everyone else in range will come running wanting to share this!

rowena said...

i saw le grand jojo in concert in marbehan and i'm ashamed to say it was possibly one of the best concerts i've ever seen.

Nimble said...

God it's hard to think of a savory recipe I like that doesn't involve cheese. But after intense mental effort, here's one: Salmon Patties. Canned salmon and mashed potatoes (can be reconstituted instant potatoes!) with an egg and a few seasonings. Form patties on a skillet and toast on each side for a few minutes. Mix up some mayonnaise/mustard/dill to go with. I could eat them every night.

Marion said...

Ok. Just because I'd like to know what you're like when you're cheerful :-)

1) I guess becoming part of a couple.
2) It happens fairly often, so I don't think I am qualified to answer; I usually make semi-plans that are not fun (housework, shopping), half-execute them until I get bored with them, and end up baking something or watching television. Or both.
3) Tomatoes. Now I'm worried I jinxed myself!!
4)I don't really mind the destination, but I would like to travel in June.
5) Basically any guy who stays near me for more than 30 minutes, provided he is not dirty, extremely ugly, or very beautiful.
6) Resign. And probably run away.
A recipe: Make pie crust, roll it, put it in the pan. Spread the raw crust with Dijon mustard, add sliced tomatoes, cover with eggs (previously mixed with milk, salt and pepper), add basil, thyme and/or other herbs. Put in the oven for more or less 20 minutes.

kathycastro said...

Well, my dear Waffle...

Day w/no commitments: If the last 17 months are any indication, I would wake around 9, fool around on the computer for a couple of hours, rise and shower some time between 11-12, leave the house to collect some lunch from somewhere, mooch around some shops, feel guilty, return home, perhaps nap, and watch some TV with the computer in my lap.

I could never ever in a million years give up proper chocolate cake (American style).

I have loads of unsuitable crushes. Ex-colleague. Friend's husband (crush pre-dates their meeting). The owner of Aglio e Olio on the Fulham Road. Boris Johnson. I could go on, but I'll spare you.

If I were the leader of my country, I would have a stroke from the stress and promptly die, I suspect, before I even got around to outlawing French pedicures and vegans. I find it amazing that anybody at all sane wants to do the job.

Savoury recipe sans fromage: I had to really wrack my brain for this. Virtually everything I love (except chocolate cake) contains a *lot* of cheese. However, I remembered my go-to summer dinner party fave, and offer it to you: Lemon chicken skewers with the best damn peanut sauce evah. Enjoy!

Antonia Cornwell said...

Recipe: Beans on toast.


Lovely chicken with chili and basil. So easy. So delicious. Also really lovely and soothing (and also Ottolenghi): Green pancakes with lime and chili butter

Or poached eggs on toast with a slice of jambon blanc- you know, the Frenchy one that is never slimy. If I were there I would roast you a chicken and make you nut ice-cream.