Pumpkin Publog

Jan 05

diet a success: dieter scarily skeletal etc

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diet a success: dieter scarily skeletal etc:

possibly the best aftermath-offshoot of the south beach diet is that i am allowed ALL THE SHELLFISH and FISH i can eat!! (well, it doesn’t quite put it like that, but i am supposed to eat allowed stuff till i am satisfied PLUS no marine life is off limits so what am i sposed to conclude eh?)

ANYWAY: the good bit is that i can finally get my head round fish recipes, which i have hitherto found daunting. this is bcz i teach myself from books, of course, and specialist “fish and shellfish” recipe books tend to assume
i. that all fish ever are easily available (when actually fishmongers are almost all local-shop-for-local-tastes), and (contrariwise)
ii. local-type “ethnic” recipes are what we are after (which of course means hunting down very specific ingredients you will only ever use once) (or at best once in a very long while)

this is the main one i have: basically it is over-ambitious and fiddly for a relative beginner, in that it includes a complete ethnobiology of EVERY FISH EVER (organised as per marine and freshwater science), plus nicely pictured and yummy-lookin recipes which mostly fall at fence two AFTER you have have set yr heart on them!! :'(

what i actually need is more like “digested world rules-o-thumb for say mackerel and mackerel-type fishes” – in this case, the rule being HOW TO DEAL W.the oil of the OILIEST FISH ALIVE – “given what you have in yr kitchen” (and what you shd stock up on, viz LEMMINGS, DILL, blah blah): my approach at the moment is to go into a fish shop (my local is turkish and eschews signage), say i want [x] of those plz, then ask after what they are called, then look em up when i get home and improvise

anyway swiftly onto stuff i can now more or less do by heart which is good:

A: skate wings in a black butter sauce:
i. poach skate wings in water for 10-12 mins (plus pinchosalt and dash of red wine vinegar); set aside keepin warm (w.capers and fresh parsley)
ii. melt chunk of butter until it foams and turns brown – pour over waiting skate
iii. reduce three dashes more red wine vinegar in butter pan to two-thirds of self, drizzle over skate etc
iv. this goes nice w.spinach (and yes black butter sauce is way off in the not-really-allowed part of my diet) (ps skate bones can’t be removed, they form a dense fan, but the flesh just falls off em so easy to take out by hand and v.hard to swallow)

B: seabass baked in a salt crust
i. clean but don’t descale a big seabass (u needn’t dehead it either, though my dish wz too small so i did)
ii. flavour seabass tummy w.eg dill and parsley, then totally bury in rocksalt
iii. sprinkle dashowater over lump in salt and bake for 30-odd mins
iv. break crust: the salt has turned the fishskin to dry paper, which peeels open nicely – the fishflesh = lovely eatable moist consistency, perfect to consume while watchin an overlong doc abt krakatoa
WARNING: this is likely expensive (seabass prices seem to vary wildly) and a bit wasteful of rocksalt, since it is full of skinbits so you can only really reuse it in fishy dishes thereafter

C: i think i hate sardines

Jan 05

Brandwatch Special: Girls Allowed

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Brandwatch Special: Girls Allowed

I suspect marketing people are a bit divided over Yorkie’s now-quite-long-running “NOT FOR GURLS” campaign. Innovative? Yes. Patronising? Probably. A joke worn thin through repetition? Well…. Schoolboy humour? Now that we call can agree on.

So no surprise then that Yorkie are now teaming up with that British institution most known for its clannish masculinity, the Isle of Man. And no surprise that the Isle of Man turns out to have a sense of humour very similar to that of our friends at Yorkie. For students of the “just a bit of fun” element in British public life this is a rich picking indeed. For women on the Isle, I suspect it’s just business as usual.

Jan 05

In La Porchetta on Saturday I reverted to type

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In La Porchetta on Saturday I reverted to type and had one of my favourite pizzas, Pizza Speck. It is a simple, crisp dough which has gorgonzola and speck ham on it. No tomato, nothing else. Quite salty truth be told. Not very vegetably.

And then it dawn on me. This was the poshest cheese on toast you can get. No, not even cheese on toast. It was ham & cheese so it was just a posh open Croque Monsieur. But then the hierachies of breeding started to confuse. Can a pizza be posher than something French, even if it is the staple of French truck stops. Where does Welsh Rarebit come in this genealogy (low down one suspects).

And then the pizza was eaten so I stopped worrying.

Jan 05


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After once seeing a certain chocolate bar in the shop round the corner, and then never seeing it again EVER in my life (expect me to blog the full story when I have access to a computer at the same time I have access to several bottles of red wine), I have learnt when finding such menko foodstuffs as the below, to 1) purchase and 2) GIVE EVIDENCE. Thus, I present to you: Lion Original Sports Mixture. I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS ANYWHERE. Does it only exist in Stamford Hill?

I thought I had had bought the packet into work with me, so I could share the baffling exhortions it behoves you to make on the back, but it appears not. The only one I can remember is “DUC’E A PINEAPPLE*! So, eat some harsh looking wine gums, then indulge yourself in a game of ultimately unsatisfying duece-duece game of tennis, then. With a pineapple. Marvellous.

I am sure these are horrid

*I don’t know how to do the accent above a capital letter, sorry all.

Jan 05


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TAB {no, not that kind} UPDATE

It had been settled, an investigation concluded yesterday.
As it was LUNCHTIME, I stayed for two pints and a catfish po-boy (blackened, with tasty remoulade and the most remarkable side of tangy crisps).

The payment system still confused, again with credit card, but just different to what one is used to, is all.

The free jukebox allowed me to confirm my favourite version of ‘Summertime’ is the Sarah Vaughan, so something good has emerged from the whole sorry episode (and not forgetting the po-boy, almost N’awlins-like in quality).

Jan 05


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The scene:
Goose Island brewpub on Clybourn, in Chicago’s “bustling” (if by that you mean ‘full of yuppies buying organic’) Lincoln Park neighbourhood.
The mood:
not entirely subdued, with cheer in the shape of a frazzled homebrewer – to our side – with opinions. he appreciates the CAMRA magazine, fresh from Stockport branch.
Politics at the bar:
seems to be of the leftwing conspiracies variety, if Wednesday lunchtime is any judge. the odd environmentalist and ACLU subber. some inauguration punning. telly showing gridiron and baseball, no cricket, one PPV ad for the FA Cup Tournament, Fourth Stage.
the weather is wintry and gales rage, snow collects.
a reasonable scoop is served [current draughts], of which the juniper tones of Baltic lass Sahti perhaps star. the Christmas Ale is decent too.

Your correspondent exits the scene, avec some haste, after a coupla hours useful supping, late again.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, on waking this morning one cannot recall if the bill was settled.
Did the girl take our credit card?
Where is any receipt?
Can one walk out of establishments like that, without twinge of conscience?

Oh dear.

There are a couple of words that go together well to describe this situation and one of those words is problem.
I think my new name rhymes with Clucking Mule.
Anglo-American booze comparisons: four pints of drink UK equals five pints of drink USA (American jar generally 16oz. as against the Imperial 20oz.). This might explain something about Americans and beer. Also the one food&drink measurement, AFAIK, in which the USA is a world leader in slimline portions. Curious.
A swift return beckons, if only to sort out the tab…

Jan 05


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 571 views

What it says on the URL, really. I like the table format for recipes, there are articles on equipment (knives, boards, etc) which are dry but extensive, how to freeze meats, etc. There are only a couple of article I could find that would be better suited to sister blog PBS, such as Simple Investigation of Cooking Bacon Everywhich Way and a short article onthe scoville (unit of chillli hotness).

(scuse if this has been blogged b4, i did do a google, innit)


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Further news reaches us of badness ahead for Sam Smiths houses. Having watched a fair bit of football during euro 2004 at the Blue Posts, Newman Street, and seen the big screen showing all sorts over the course of our visits, we thought it the perfect place to watch the replay tonight, never too busy, but always a bit of atmos, low likelihood of extreme partisan crowd (unless royal mail fc were playing I suppose). However, as the match is rather important to me at least, I broke one of the fundamental pub laws and PHONED AHEAD.

Viewers, I’m glad I did, as not only are they not showing it, but the big screen has been removed! “It’s our new policy” said the rather sad voice on the end of the phone “no telly and no music.” This has been seen in a couple of other Sam Smiths houses recently as well…

I can only assume that SS are trying to wetherspoonify themselves, which seems like the biggest mistake ever. The wetherspoon backlash is so strong already that they themselves have realised that people LIKE telly and music, which now appear in several of their pubs (not to mention the whole lloyds phenomenon). The joy of sam smiths pubs was, although they were all similar, they still managed some individuality and homeliness and were warm and welcoming places as a result,* a quirky oasis of funny beers and scintilla cola. They are never going to compete with wetherspoons on price to get people through the door, even though they are very cheap. I for one would pay ‘2.00 for a pint of bitter and ‘2.20 for a flatman** (still hardly “london” prices) if it meant the pubs retained what makes them special.

(for any of you interested we are going to The Golden Lion on Dean Street instead, from about 6ish, upstairs probably, UP THE BLEDDY CITY!!)

*three goats heads in oxford possible exception to this, it’s always freezing in there
**TM AlanT

Jan 05


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TESCO’S WILL EAT ITSELF: I was just in the Goodge Street Tesco’s buying myself some prunes. Above the queue for the express checkouts is a television which is permatuned to Sky News. And it was showing a story about…Tesco’s soaring profits pre-Christmas. Being told from a Tesco’s store

Not only was this store within a store disconcerting, it made me question my purchase. Rightly so as when I got to the checkout, the prunes which were price ‘1.22 on the shelf had increased in price to ‘1.24 (admittedly within pay-anyway tolerance). But it is clear from that pricing strategy why they made the soaring profits.

Jan 05

Refurb Update

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Refurb Update

Pre-Christmas I noted that one of my locals had undergone a substantial refurbishment. The Shaftesbury, in Upper Holloway, had been shut for four weeks – which is why I tagged it substantial .On further examination though they have merely lightened the decor, put some pine in (oh no) and put some decking out front. The rather moribund small crowd that used to frequent it appears to have been replace by an equally moribund but slightly smaller crowd. This refurb might be said to have been a bit of a failure.

So what new gimmicks are they trying to woo the punter in. “Free Wireless Broadband” was advertised on the window. The publog has been involved in net in pub trials before (standalone booths) and were not completely sold. Would you drag your laptop to a slight rough pub to browse? It seems unlikely, but as ever a watching brief has been set up.