Pumpkin Publog

Sep 04

BBC on fine form today.

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BBC on fine form today.. “When the beverage has boiled to a certain level, it sparkles and gives explosive-like rumbling sounds when you open the pot.”. The Brown Wedge’s Vic Fluro once invented a cocktail he called the Al-Quaeda, I believe it involved all flavours of Aftershock mixed together. No, I wouldn’t either.

Sep 04


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I was just going to have a frozen pizza. It was late after all. But then the “frozen pizza wretchedness” overcame me so I went for the store cupboard instead. Hmm, I though. Lentils and butter? I put the lentils on and head for the butter, knowing that in ten minutes I would have something comforting.

Then I saw the carrot. It got chopped and sprinkled in. And half a sorry looking red pepper. Spark up another ring and get that flaming. Suddenly it all seemed a bit more complex. A bit of onion, garlic and a couple of well chopped mushrooms might also help. The onions, mushies and garlic got lightly sauteed in butter till golden and mushy, this got dumped in the lentils which was stirred until it all became a moist, sloppy mess.

Flatmate’s dying basil got one last hurrah. Ripped leaves sprinkled in the mush, a big hunka hunka melting butter and in the bowl. A few mouthfuls confirmed that it was indeed nice, but was more of a pate than anything else. So I toasted some bread and got down to the business of watching Love And Death. Ten minutes, and better than any frozen pizza.

I really, really have no leftovers now though.

Mis-placed loyalty

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Mis-placed loyalty

The All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group held their Labour Conference bash yesterday. There was a free bar, with very nice nibbles and canapes.

The Group’s chair noted that whilst there were issues like ‘Binge drinking and stuff like that’, he wanted to draw out attention to the fact that at UK diplomatic functions and receptions, Her Majesty’s Government don’t serve beer – let alone British beer – unlike the French and German governments.

It was high time, he cried, that the state got behind British beer. And high time too, that the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group did the same, who held this do in a Walkabout.

Sep 04


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1. Pinch off the top of your plant after 4 sets of leaves to make it more bushy and less beanpoley
2. If you buy cheapo compost from Poundland, you will get a bonus crop of mushrooms

Sep 04


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The French market held in Glasgow on Saturday as part of the Merchant City Festival looked promising. A long row of colourful stalls stretched the length of Candleriggs and only the addition of a couple of peasants walking around carrying live chickens by their feet would have made it more authentic. They were even selling gaudy homewares (glass roses in rainbow colours, mmm) and items of clothing nobody in their right mind would purchase.

Strictly following my mother’s marketing technique, I trailed round every single stall before making a purchase. There were Breton cakes, steaming pots of proven’ale potatoes, shiny red tomatoes, tubs of pure pork brawn and interesting vests that looked like they should fit a baby, but which magically expanded to the kind of size which would cover the chest of the average lady. I bought none of these, but I did acquire the following: six figs, three peaches, four almond squares, two chunks of cheese, some pat’ de campagne and a wild boar saucisson.

The saucisson stank out the bus on the way home and by the time I got it all into my kitchen, my mouth was watering. I’d picked up some bread from my friendly local organic baker, so I thought the pat’ would be a good start. It was a reassuringly coarse, chunky looking thing and the lady had given me the slice off the end which I, in my naivety, had thought would be the choice cut. You see, I’m the kind of girl who likes the crust of the bread, the skin on the custard and blackened sausages. Oh dear. This stuff was so overcooked I couldn’t even squish it onto the bread and the dark edge tasted like gravy browning. I had a go at a couple of figs for dessert, but they were dry and sandy and tasted of nothing.

By this point I was feeling suspicious about the standard of produce I might have bought from the other stall holders, so I had a taste of everything to check I hadn’t been ripped off. The saucisson was so garlicky I couldn’t have known whether it contained wild boar or swamp rat. The almond squares were sweet and crumbly, but I soon realised that only their shape differentiated them from the almond fingers you can buy cheaply from any supermarket. The peaches were enormous and juicy, but almost tasteless. Only the cheeses were good – 250g each of Tom de Savoie and Comt’ – but I’d paid six quid for them.

I can’t imagine that any market trader worth his salt wouldn’t have a taste of his fruit before buying it from his supplier, let alone putting it out for sale. I really hate to think that some of the stall holders had brought across the goods they couldn’t sell to their regular French customers to flog to eager Brits at inflated prices. I’m kicking myself for trusting a trader who will sell me a rotten bit of pat’ because she knows she can get away with it. Let’s face it, I was blinded by the exotic novelty of a French market in Glasgow. What I should have done is take the bus up Great Western Road to buy exactly the same things from Roots & Fruits and I J Mellis, probably a good deal cheaper. The next time this girl goes to a French market, it will be in France.


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You pay VAT on Crisps, but not on Pork Scratchings. This is, due to my VAT book, because Scratchings are “by-products” rather than a foodstuff in themselves. They are also k-num.

Sep 04


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Every now and then you have a night in the pub which turns strangely surreal. Last nights boys night out was one such magical conjunction. Passing over the tremendous pub conversation, our fortuitous transfer to the Shakespeare’s Head was still remarkable.

The ‘Quin was full, some people were there for a leaving party (so why weren’t they leabing was the oft repeated joke). I’ve been to the Shakespeare’s head, a 1930’s estat pub kind of build that happens to be just opposite Sadlers Wells theatre. It has a slightly rough, seedy air which might turn away the gently curious, but was really rather welcoming. Magnus screwed the first round up (in a charming and generous fashion), seemed to take an age to get the pints of Directors for a reason that became clear instantly. It was the end of the barrel and the mouthful I took was of pure beery vinegar. Thre is a point when a pint goes off where it goes from sour to almost sweet again, and these pints, compared to Tim’s crisp new one, were foul. Barmaid did not even sniff it when we asked for replacements.

But before we could do this a bell went off. Loud, piercing and above our heads. A bloke came over and told us how to turn it off. We did, trying to work out what it was. About an hour later the whole charade was repeated. What was this infernal thing doing. We soon realised. It was the bell for Sadlers Wells intermission. It did not seem the natural pub for them to go to, but there were a few smart dance lovers sipping quick G&T’s who scarpered.

Anyway, our comfort odessey continued with the free jukebox. Sequential and packed with pop it was a bit of a sweet shop for us. So much so that the evening reached the point when a nice man pulled the curtains shut, locked the door and came over to us in a barely conspiratorial fashion to confirm that beers were still availible.

That’s two pubs on one street which I have been locked into now. Arlington Way surely is the pub street of our dreams.

Sep 04

Further to Pete’s comments on a less healthy way to “five a day”

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Further to Pete’s comments on a less healthy way to “five a day” see below for a stall seen on Blackpool’s Central pier. Sorry for the shoddy phone-cam picture, but it was all we had to hand.

That list of choco-coated fruit (note, *not* chocolate-covered) in full:
They also had “fruit kebabs” featuring a range of fruit on a stick, covered in “choco”. I’m afraid to say I didn’t try one, sorry but I was a bit hungover…

Sep 04

Hot Stuff.

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Hot Stuff. who the fuck is florian?
Perhaps this is de rigeur down in Londres, but on my trip to Norwich last week I was amazed/amused to see the latest in vending technology installed at the station… or perhaps the amusing thing was that as soon as someone dragged their squalling kids in front of it to try and purchase some fries, another party, in most un-English fashion, darted over to warn them to stand right beside the machine or their fries would be liberally vended across the station concourse. Extensive research Google reveals there are at least three types of these machines on the market, but this was singled out by the name brand fries on offer.

the revolution devours its own children pt 234523

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the revolution devours its own children pt 234523

M&S just started a new pre-cooked dinners line, “a delicious new range of dishes inspired by modern pub meals” —> and it’s called GASTROPUB, and i’m not going to review it for you

“mark s eats in” by goya