Saturday, 1 January 2011

Is it over yet? Ah Good Morning or Hello or whatever it's 2011

Yes more Whiskey please.... Drink, Feck, Arse!

Time for some resolutions, this year I will not say Glake, mong or eedjit..... unless of course I'm provoked.

I will avoid temptation and not watch anything with Katie Price, James Corden or Amanda Holden.... As I already do that and it's good common sense it's hardly a resolution....

I will drop a few pounds ... by buying some shit I don't need on the internet...

Lastly and most importantly... I will not allow myself to be broken hearted by a football team this year. We'll see how long that one lasts.

I include this bit, as the response is worthy of reprinting elsewhere. To explain if you've just stumbled on this. In my year end review I and apparently several other reviews, ripped Gilles and Sue take the Piss a new arsehole, Yer Kieth Telly Topping pointed out that maybe we were being too sensitive. What follows is my response.

On a less flippant note... the conceit of the good life may in fact be a huge conceit on the part of some. In fact I can point the fickle finger of falseness at many I personally know, but the reason I may be somewhat sensitive to this is that We as a family have taken a concious decision some 5 years ago to stop the waste and cut out as much of the so called necessities people seem  to have got addicted to. Our kitchen is prety much gadget free, only a few plug in, and as and when we get a garden space even a quarter as small as on the Good Life, we're planting our own veg at least part of the time. As I mention in my last thing, cutting oneself off from the world like some Amish ( I can insult the Amish as they can't see this and won't send a letter to ofcom) is stupid, Cromagnan man survived by trade while Neanderthals died out cold and alone in caves near Gib. Adapt and change I agree , but the need to recognize that we have gone too far in some regards needs to be respected. Far too many people I know think the automatic dish washer is a right and that all veg comes flash frozen & precut in a zapable bag. These people don't even cook. We don't need four wheel drive tanks to go from home to the mall and back, our larders are empty of great foods we used to eat just a 40 or 50 years ago. That's why I got excited. Plus Sue seemed to just give up a lot far too early so she can dig in her bag of jokes. Oh My I've become a Presbyterian do gooder Well maybe not a bad thing all the time. Ian Hislop proved that these people were a good counter weight to the absolute excess and abandon of the people on the opposite side of the house.

Speaking of compost and veg and horrid people.... Did anybody watch the Nigel Slater bio pic Toast? I never thought Helena Bonham Carter could be that ....common. Thank G-d my gran never cooked by boiling tins in a pot is all I'll say. If she had, I might have grown up gay and resentful. Here EAT the Lemon meringue pie you Bitch! MY ROAST SUCKLING PIG is better than yours! And the Harlequin romance moment when he kissed the guy in the apple orchard was too much. As my wife said, the actual event must have been far too painfully embarrassing to recount.  PRESS HERE FOR APOLOGY if it really happened that way. (To all and sundry in general, generally speaking, I generally apologise for my less than stellar behaviour. There have been reasons, but then again everyone has them...generally. My light and general drivel should in no way be interpreted as a lack of remorse on my part. Sorry - truly I am. )

My head head hurts and I'm tired ......

Apparently my spell check thinks arsehole isn't a word, so I asked it to tell me how I SHOULD spell it. Seems it's spelled Arsenal.

I suppose now is as good a time and excuse to have another cookery related post. I hear you saying Mietek just what do I need for a complete pantry ?  How can I get past the salt and pepper and bacon simili? A good question and one that deserves an honest answer.

The short version is that you need as many spices and liquids as you can lay hands on to make Thai, Chinese, Asian, general Northern European fare and Italian. Here's a nice simple list, if you have what it takes to make a Garam Masala at home, you have a pretty good spice rack. Everything else should be dictated by your own cultural peculiarities. Being Polish, we have a thing for honey, vanilla, saffron, allspice and nutmeg. You'll need several cooking and drinking wines, spirits, vinegars and things like fish sauce or sesame oil. Also dried things like wild mushrooms and the lovely Chinese ones. Other stuff you need to get cooking are replacements for butter when doing kosher or halal . Chief among them are Ghee and of course Crisco. When baking or doing puddings, don't be afraid of the fruits and nuts and earthy spices. Get honey, almonds, walnuts and assorted raisins, prunes and figs.

Ask yourself where your family comes from, and if the answer is not reflected in the food you eat today, get busy rediscovering your culinary roots. Do you live in Cornwall or Northumbria? Try some regional dishes, there's a reason they became popular where you live, I can assure you they are all wonderful and at least as interesting as whatever deeply foreign food you have been eating because its cool. The tragedy that local foods have disappeared almost entirely in some places is down to people being afraid of eating something gross or boring.  Try something fresh from the market instead of the big box frozen place, you'll be surprised at just good it's supposed to taste.

And listen up you modern vegetarians who have taken up the cause but aren't Buddhist or something, try some fresh locally sourced meat that was properly butchered. It's lovely, it tastes great, it's rich in flavours and will blow you away. The rest of you, try mutton, veal, goat or rabbit. All meats that used to have huge favour in the population. They haven't stopped being good, you just don't know how to cook it anymore. Ask your Nan, read a recipe book, ask the butcher at the farmer's market. Too good to eat offal? try some tripe, it won't kill you.

Then there's seafood we don't touch because we're too good for that sort of thing. The UK is full of shellfish, regular fish and other sea sourced edibles that are routinely send en masse shipped to Spain and France.The limited palette of the average person compared to the bad old days of boiled everything and all,  makes the provincial ancestor look like a connoisseur of fine foods. Stop codling yourself and your children and try something gross and icky for a change, like maybe strong or runny cheeses, St Aubin, Charles the 7th, Limberger. Real Cheddar, the strong stuff , not the cheese product wrapped in plastic.Take the £20 you were going to waste on crisps chocies and other assorted things and just this once go to the cheese shop, walk past the bouzouki player and ask the man proudly for some Wensleydale, Red Leicester or Caboc, he may even be able to suggest some other things that go with it.

Then of course you have your drinks section, beer is canny to cook with and even bake with, try a variety, buy some scrumpy, and do try the fruit syrups in water, it's tens times better than any cheap soda you'll find in market. All of these things can be found in ethnic shops and proper markets.

Did I mention baking? Make your own bread, biscuits and cakes, it's not all easy , but it's hardly as difficult as you think it is.  I suspect every library worthy of the name, has a baking section  with any number of recipes that will start you off on a long life of filling your home with the smell of hot fresh bread. Too busy you say?  Not too busy to take 5 or ten minutes at a time spread over two hours to make a loaf or three. You still have time for facebook, telly, a walk. Enough with the excuses, just try it, you'll see how you can suddenly live without the video games or zoning out on rubbish telly designed for the lowest common denominator.

If you only do one thing this year, open your kitchen and your mouth to the world of flavours you may have been missing out on. Your taste buds will thank you and your children will stop being fussy. 90 % of all allergies and food conditions are bollocks, they are just an excuse and crutch used by lazy people to avoid eating anything they find odd, a modern form of hypochondria. For example a lactose intolerant Chinese person is normal, as milk and cheeses in particular are foreign to their diet, a Southern Hindu who hasn't eaten meat of any kind in several centuries understandably has a hard time with beef, but a European who claims peanut, milk and gluten allergies when we have eaten these foods since before Roman times, is complete insanity. Stop making excuses and start eating already, you'll wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

And on that note, I'm off to finish the the cheese and meatballs we didn't eat last night. Slange , bonne apetit, na zdrowie, enjoy the day off and maybe tomorrow you cook, yes?

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