3
Nov 04

Did you miss

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Did you miss this game?

Then you missed possibly the game of the season, amazing stuff, end to end at such a fast pace it made a typical premiership game look like a 7 inch single playing at 33 & 1/3. And to cap it all, a fantastic winning goal by the buck-toothed wonder that is Ronaldinho.

3
Oct 04

In search of Squirrel – Part two

Pumpkin Publog6 comments • 3,054 views

In search of Squirrel – Part two (warning, contains graphic images)

Some of you may remember this article I wrote some time ago about my “failure” as a vegetarian and my quest for the different. Well, I’ve done it. Squirrel had become a bit of an obsession, I’d chased up all sorts of alleys (Julian Barnes never replied to my e-mail either) and I’d become somewhat resigned to not getting squirrel unless I paid a Kings ranson for it. I had been offered squirrels at 15 pounds a pop by a butcher on Borough market, but thought that was rather an exorbitant price to pay for what was essentially vermin.

A couple of months ago mother-in-law, who of course had heard about my quest, phoned me up to tell me about an article she’d heard on the radio, about a butchers in Ludlow that sold squirrel. Unfortunately I forgot the name of the butchers almost as soon as I’d got off the phone, and nothing more came of it.

Go forward two months though, and i got an email from The Wife – ‘squirrel obtained!!!’

17
Aug 04

Finally, we got to visit what had come to be something of a holy grail for us in culinary terms…….

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Finally, we got to visit what had come to be something of a holy grail for us in culinary terms…….

Vicky’s birthday seemed the ideal time to visit …..St John, Fergus Henderson’s house of great repute. There’s nothing flashy about this place really, a whitewashed former warehouse, a bar and tables onthe ground floor and a restaurant on a kind of mezzanine. There’s not a lot to talk about here, so, on with the food (but in the mean time, props to the nice fuzzy haired barman who let me sniff various bottles and told us funny stories) anyway, starters.

Vicky went for the signature dish, roast marrow bone and parsley salad; four chunks of veal shin bone roasted at very high heat served with a salad of parsley, capers and onion with two big slices of posh toast and a pile of grey sea salt – this was just gorgeous, hot, deeply savoury and just gooey enough to mnash onto the bread. I had the only duff note of the meal unfortunately in the deep fried pig skins with dandelion, it’s not as if these fancy scratchings weren’t tasty, quite the opposite, I just fear they hadn’t been cooked long enough as the top was the right amount of crispy, but the lower areas? More like a pork wine gum, in fact it took more than a few minutes to pry it away from my teeth, still tasty mind and I only left one little piece uneaten. On the side of this, we spied the razor clams, and couldn’t resist a couple, and weren’t disappointed, two huge molluscs, swimming in very good oil with a touch of garlic and parsley – fresh and rich at the same time. This was all accompanied by a half bottle of Musacdet sur lie which was tasty, good and fresh, kind of crisp, you know the kind…

Onto the main courses, for which we had a bottle of Irouleguy which made me believe those awful wine critics who describe wines as flinty, I always thought they were talking bollocks, not now, I understod exactly what they meant (we had had a pint each and a gin and tonic each before the restaurant, you can see where this is going can’t you?)

My main was possibly the tenderest flesh it’s ever been my pleasure to eat – three lamb’s tongues, poached and sliced in half, on a bed of salad greens, french beans and a dressing that was full of, but not too full of anchovy, this set off the sweet, melting soft tongue to perfection. really, words can’t fully do justice to how tasty it was. Vicky’s was just as good – sweetbreads – crisp on the outside, almost liquid on the inside, kind of like a savoury truffle, accompanied by shallots and chunks of proper bacon, the sort that’s never been injected with water, hasn’t seen vacuum packs and definitely tasted like it was from ecstatic pigs. Along withthis were some simple chunks of potato, boiled simply so they had a fudgy texture, the perfect accompaniment. We had veggies too, a bowl of potatoes (they looked like anya’s) were plainly presented but cooked well and tatsed almost nutty, and a bowl of runner beans, something which I hated as a kid but here were so tasty you had to keep going back for more.

By this point we were rather full as you ccan imagine, but not too full for pudding of course, so on we went….. We shared two and they were vastly different; an eccles cake that was packed full of rich, black currants was served with a good slice of proper lancashire crumbly cheese (probably Mrs Kirkham’s) and the two scoops of honeycomb ice cream were rich, sweet and full of that deep sweet flavour that only good honey could give.

Only drinks could be fitted in after this and so we retired to the bar, where I bought possibly my most expensive two drink round ever – a glass of Armagnac and a glass of Glenkinchie came to fifteen quid (with a cigar) and it just about finished us off, we wearily staggered back to the hotel deeply satisfied and over full, possibly thinking we may have had a little too much to drink. Me not remembering getting back to the hotel and Vicky sleeping in her contact lenses may corroborate this.

5
Aug 04

The ubiquitous Banksy strikes again

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The ubiquitous Banksy strikes again

not entirely sure who he’s striking agaist, we’ve always known that judges dress like this under their robes haven’t we? ooh, get you!

3
Aug 04

My favourite views of London

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My favourite views of London

(There’s a few of these so I’m going to write about them across the month)

There’s something about seeing a big city from a distance that’s really satisfying, not only do you get a sense of the size of the place, you also tend to get a sense of the architecture too, purely from silhouettes.

When I first started visiting London I’d get myself on the bus, down from Chesterfield, along the M1. If you were lucky you’d get to travel on a double decker, if you were *really* lucky, you’d get the front seat. So then, there I am, my first trip down, copy of the NME in my lap. Headphones on, sense of anticipation of visiting places that I’ve only read about (you know, the sorts of places that your parents wouldn’t have taken you – the Powerhaus, the Sir Georoge Robey, that aort of place). I’m casually looking around, aware that we’re somewhere in Hertfordshire, ahead of us I see a big bend, and gradually, as we round it, there’s London, spread out all before us like a huge grey carpet covered in bobbles. My breathe is taken away and my mid races at what fun I’m going to have (in the end I think I saw the Happy Mondays at Wembley, but hey, bear with me here).

On the right there’s this weird tower block with a gap in it (this would be Trellick tower then)there, straight ahead is the Post office tower (I still call it that) and to the left, there are a group of tall buildings struggling upwards through the murk (the city). It’s a truly beautiful sight.

Through the years since I’ve watched the view grow as I’ve arrived in London to visit and to live, I’ve seen Canary Wharf scuttle upwards, the Gherkin’s erection and the rest of Dockland go up at a rate of knots, but every time I go round that bend I remember the first time I saw that view, and everything that London’s given me since.

23
Jul 04

Pink pork

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Pink pork in ok to eat shocker!

14
Jul 04

Oh dear, a tale of woe from the copa America

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Oh dear, a tale of woe from the copa America

Let’s hope they keep flying as some of the football has been great. It must be such a burden on a country though, to put such a tournament together, makes you wonder that love of footie apart, why do they host tournaments. In fact, that’s a question that could be asked about a lot of major sporting events, I mean, I doubt if there’s going to be much profit derived from the Athens Olympics. And I know it’s not just about the money, there’s prestige etc, but what price prestige when you’re bankrupt?

13
Jul 04

Further to Matt’s tale of wine temperature

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Further to Matt’s tale of wine temperature

I found this on the usually excellent egullet, it seems that the ideal room temperature is a little chillier than the average UK or US house (which is about 22C iirc).

7
Jul 04

The first tale of glory from Copa America

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The first tale of glory from Copa America

Extended highlights are on Sky every night after games, this one should be watched methinks

5
Jul 04

Where does it start, where does it begin?

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Where does it start, where does it begin?

So, the Euros finished with a Greek victory. Does this mean that the season has ended? Because if so, tell that to the Hibs players who started their inter-two bob cup campaign this weekend