Haggis update

No pictures of the haggis - sorry. I clean forgot. But it did taste rather good - if you bake them in the oven for an hour, wrapped up in foil, they go all crispy inside (as opposed to the slightly watery version you get if you boil them). Ooh, and crannachan wasn't bad either - a bit chewy with all that pinhead oatmeal (and incredibly filling), but the raspberries worked their magic. But the star of the evening was a haggis, tatties and neaps pie, from a Yorkshire company called I's Pies. A complete dinner all in one dish. How cool is that?

Anyway, for my next trick, I'm going to have to try this recipe from Who Wants Seconds? - Puy lentil salad with feta cheese. Sounds lovely, and again, I'm seduced by the pictures. Must stop drooling. Although the burgers are calling from today's Times...maybe the two together in a pitta bread?


25th January=Burns Night

=haggis! (Although, sadly not a Macsween one this year.) And neaps, tatties and the rest of the works too, of course. And probably some whisky somewhere along the line, I would guess. Tonight I'm also going to try out crannachan for pudding for the first time. It sounds a doddle. Anything that involves blending a few raspberries and whipping a bit of cream can't be that hard. Will report back later (maybe even with some photos, if you're lucky).


Ooh, I could crush a grape

If you've ever fancied having tea with Stu Francis (special requirements: a bunch of grapes - this'll mean nothing to you unless you were a child of the 1970s and watched Crackerjack), then check out Supper with the Stars. Can't quite work out if this is a piss take or not, but if it isn't, I'd love to know how much they charge...

Oh, and while you're about it, have a look at the Hitman website. Absolutely nothing to do with food (although I guess it could come in handy if you had a terrible meal out somewhere and wanted revenge...), but ridiculously funny.


Water water everywhere...

Can you believe we spend £1bn a year in this country on bottled water? When you can get it free (well, apart from your water rates, that is) from the tap. And for all those of you complaining about the stuff in tap water, you can always go and buy a water filter. It's still a damn sight cheaper than Volvic.

Oh, and on a GW-related note, February 2006. FEBRUARY 2006. It's just not fair...


Pegg on the brain

I made muffins yesterday - carrot, walnut and marmalade muffins to be precise. Don't worry, they taste far better than they sound. They even have raisins in and everything. But now I have the line that Simon Pegg says in Black Books in my head - you know, the bit in series three where he's the evil bookshop owner welcoming Bill Bailey to his new job and telling him he's a valued staff member - "Muffins are for customers". If you say it fast, and in an evil tone of voice, you'll be just about right. You have to imagine the look of panic on Bill Bailey's face too. And I definitely want one of those rotating muffin machines, that looks suspiciously like an automatic cd rack. Would look fantastic on my desk at work...


Exorbitant beans

Jamie Oliver's in trouble for charging £7 for a dish of baked beans on toast, which used to be served at his restaurant in London, Fifteen. OK, so it was ciabatta bread, and olive oil, parmesan and rocket were mixed in with the baked beans, but £7? £7?? Just goes to show you Londoners really will pay anything...if you tried that in Newcastle you'd get laughed out of town.

In other news, not content with the Virgin Mary's picture on a toasted cheese sandwich, a bar manager in Switzerland is trying to convince people that he's got an oyster shell with Jesus' face on it. Whatever next? Answers on a postcard, please.

Ooh, and before I forget, here's 100 things we didn't know this time last year. Aside from a group of rhinos being called a "crash", I particularly like the fact that herrings "break wind to communicate and keep the school together".


Toast. And Marmite.

I'll start off in a vaguely intellectual manner (as opposed to my usual meanderings), with a startling fact that I heard on the Radio 4 Today programme yesterday morning. Apparently, honey has now overtaken marmalade as the spread of choice at breakfast. More money is now spent on honey of various types than all the thin shred, thick cut and Dundee marmalade put together. What, not everyone eats Marmite first thing in a morning? I thought it was obligatory? Ever since I was small I've had Marmite on my toast. Every day at university I used to line up in the breakfast queue, clutching my Marmite jar (and I wasn't the only one) to spread on the beautifully lukewarm toast that Mary the Toast Dragon doled out (two slices if you were lucky, three if you smiled and four if you were over 6ft tall and played rugby). And it's continued ever since (although, obviously, I don't have Mary the Toast Dragon in my kitchen supplying lukewarm toast anymore. Which is probably a good thing). Even my cat likes the corner of the toast with a bit of Marmite on. What's wrong with you people?


Sage (Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme)

Lunch at the Sage Gateshead cafe today - they make a storming carrot and orange soup, and a pretty good hot chocolate. It's expensive of course, but you're partly paying for the ambience, the magnificent building, and some fantastic views across the river Tyne to Newcastle city centre. Definitely worth it.


Bits and pieces

Some links for you to have a look at. Was going to do the usual cynical comments, but I'm knackered, stuck at work and fed up with proofreading. I'm afraid cynicism has turned to aggression, and I can shout at the screen a lot if you like... Anyway, here goes:

  • Some pictures of lovely lovely airline food
  • A weblog about cafes, and more specifically eggs, chips and beans
  • Vests. Apparently they are the new hip thing for men. Don't laugh. Tony Blair was spotted wearing one this week.

I thank you.


Good intentions

For those of you on a detox, here's how to create smoothies, with some very good tips. I especially like the one about using frozen fruit to make the smoothie creamier...it all sounds a doddle. Which is a very good thing, as we're about to buy a blender and try this out for ourselves. Doddles I thoroughly approve of. Fiddly, finicky stuff (cleaning a juicer, any Gary Rhodes recipes, stuffing walnuts) I can't be arsed with.



I'm sat here looking at the Olive calendar, which has clams with linguine as the main picture/recipe for January. I don't even like clams, and it's making me hungry. See, food porn. It gets everywhere, when you least expect it. One minute you're happily typing away, thinking of nothing in particular, the next you're thinking the clams look particularly fantastic, and wouldn't it just be good to try one. That way lies the slippery slope...

I know I keep referencing the wonderful Nigel Slater, but I just had to link to his latest set of recipes for porridge. He really is a man after my own heart. You can't beat a steaming bowlful of porridge for breakfast - I like mine with raisins in, and drizzled with a little bit of honey. Fab.


Happy New Year!

Having finally taken off my invisible hangover hat, I'm feeling much better. Blame curry, slightly too much alcohol, and dancing til 3.30am. I was fine this morning as well, only to slump badly at around 4pm. Ah well. Not enough bacon and eggs (whatever anyone says, the best hangover cure around).

So it's 2005. I've not made any resolutions, as I'm resolutely crap at keeping them. Yes, I do want to try and cook some more adventurous stuff from some of the millions of recipe books I have, but then I keep trying to remind myself of that every couple of months anyway. All I do know, is that there will definitely be more pies...and several more blog posts.