• neil

Day 12 (29 March - my birthday) The Culinary Arts

So today, on the occasion of my 64th birthday, I’m being upbeat.

I’m planning on taking myself dancing in the sitting room after a celebratory meal of lentils and I shall be raising a glass to myself. You handsome beast.

Which brings me to what passes for today’s theme:

Food and drink

I ran out of wine yesterday so I treated myself to most of a bottle of glühwein left over from Christmas and which was hiding at the back of a cupboard. Which Christmas beats me as I haven’t been in that cupboard since I moved in. I added some cinnamon, dried oranges, dried cranberries, dried ginger, cardamom, mace, allspice and cloves - which makes me sound like Jamie Oliver. But it all came from a small M&S packet attached to the bottle. There is no way I would ever have the individual ingredients.

Which in turn leads me to my quibble with

Jamie’s Recipes Like many of us I bought his book ‘30 Minute Meals’, and like many of us I never opened it. Until lock-down.

Am I the only person who starts work on a dish, muddles through the first three or four lines and then realises he only has half the ingredients? And not the vital half.

Jamie blithely list such things as:

  • Fennel tops - which suggests you know when a fennel is the right way up

  • Tender octopus - how do you know? Do you tell sad stories to see if it cries?

  • Cotechino sausage - WTF?

  • Baby squid (keep the fins whole) - Why? They aren’t going to be needing them when they get out the pan.

I just find the whole business so very frustrating and so now I'm going back to basics with

Neil’s Recipe

Festive Beans :

1. Pull ring on can

2. Eat beans (fork optional)

Baking secrets

Today my elder daughter suggested Irustle up a birthday treat and bake myself some soft oatmeal cookies.

So I went online to find a recipe and a text popped up “We use cookies to enhance your experience”.

Which seemed a good start. I very much wanted to enhance the whole lonely birthday experience (Its a good job that tender octopus isn't here).

So I rummaged through the cupboards; a bit of sugar here, a bit there, oooh that’s where the butter was… Mix and add the eggs….. eggs? Eggs?

Yesterday I threw three eggs in the bin because they had been there since Christmas. They hadn't changed shape but I had my doubts. I retrieved two of the three and mixed them in.

But, with a view to seeing further birthdays (which is what confinement is all about), I phoned my sister, who knows a thing or two about food poisoning. And I gained a new neural pathway. Apparently you should put older eggs in a glass of water.

“If they sink you’re in the pink. If they float you’re buggered”

The third egg floated. Indeed, it seemed to want to jump out of the glass. So the bin is now a kilo heavier and I have staved off boredom with a lot of washing up.

My point is, we are all doing new stuff every day now. Yes, my delicate pirouetting is possibly unrecognisable as yoga to the untrained eye and perhaps I would have preferred it if my online supermarket didn’t consider fried bumble bees an appropriate substitute for fish fingers, but at least I’m branching out. You can’t write a blog on the back of fish fingers. Either literally or figuratively.

A friend just phoned to say how important it is to keep upbeat and active.

She told me “You can’t stop living!”

Well, you can.

So………. Stay home and stay safe!



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