Category Archives: Food

Eating Out

A very good evening from the Lifestyle Support Guru! Whilst I realise that it is not too long since I offered good advice on watching football and gardening (and hiring a slave to tell you that you are only human and to pour your wine), I felt that I had also learned some other useful lessons this week which needed sharing. These ‘extra-curricular’ nuggets of knowledge have been earned the hard way – by eating out. This activity is something in which I indulge purely for purposes of research, as you know, because I care about you, beloved believers, and because YOU’RE WORTH IT!
DAY 1 – LUNCH
Meet with a friend (I’ll call her Debbie for the sake of anonymity) for lunch and find that there is a mutual friend lunching in the same pub. His reason (who needs a reason for eating out????)? ‘SHE’S gone out for lunch, so I’ve decided I’M coming out for lunch.’ All this is stated in a very defensive tone. Lesson? If SHE’S gone out for lunch, she’ll be more than happy that YOU have, too – it means she won’t have to worry about cooking for you when she gets home (and PLEASE, devoted devotees, don’t reach for the ‘casual sexism’ button – you all know what I mean, and the roles can be just as easily reversed!).
DAY TWO – BIRTHDAY MEAL

dancing octopus

dancing octopus

Meet with some friends to celebrate the (belated) birthday of one of them (of course, the birthday wasn’t belated, but the celebration was, but how could the LSG write ‘to belatedly celebrate…’ and thus split an infinitive, which would break the LSG’s pedantic heart, but I digress …), arriving at the restaurant before the friends do, thus giving you the chance to study the other diners, a favourite activity of the LSG because it affords SO many opportunities for humour (or ‘taking the ‘p—s’). Couple in their mid-thirties, probably trying to recreate their recent holiday to Greece, have ordered Greek beer and wine (nothing wrong with that) and, when the owner pours their drinks, the male (although he – or she, or they – could just as easily have been trans, cis, questioning, whatever you like, demonstrating that I am fully inclusive, diverse, and non-judgemental) half of the couple says ‘Yamas’ (Greek for ‘Cheers’) and raises his glass, to which the owner replies ‘Yamas’. ‘Oh,’ exclaims the LGBTQI (for I have decided that I must now include all possibilities), ‘do you speak Greek?’ This is asked in all innocence in a restaurant called ‘Steliano’s and Sappho’s Greek Restaurant’, with posters of Greek islands, a menu consisting of purely Greek items, a drinks list of Greek wines/beers, and an owner who could only be Greek, based on accent and looks alone, and a notice telling customers that this is the ‘oldest restaurant in Derby, going strong for 33 years’ (I feel, however, that the Dolphin Inn of Derby may dispute that claim, since it says it has been around since 1530 – or is that 15.30? Whichever, the food must be getting cold.).
DAY TWO, cont’d
The friends arrive and you decide that you may now take your jacket off (since you wished to look a bit ‘dressed up’ for the arrival), but it is WITH HORROR that you realise that, although you ironed the jacket (linen, so a necessary evil), you completely forgot to remove the labels – this was in case you decided to return it after ironing and trying it on. THANK GOODNESS, the friends were so absorbed in removing their own items of clothing (only the outer ones, of course) that they didn’t spot the labels on your own items. (I should just like to point out that the linen items were bought in a SALE!)
DAY THREE
Another lunch – the sacrifices I make simply to write articles to amuse and entertain my adoring acolytes – and all I have to say is that it was GREAT FUN! Everyone should LUNCH! (I know this makes me sound like a Tory MP who’s never travelled beyond the M25 – believe me, I’m NOT!) Lunch is WONDERFUL! Lunch is for EVERYONE, even if it’s just a sandwich on a park bench or a Pot Noodle on a rainy Wednesday afternoon – LUNCH makes the heart feel lighter!

PS I still haven’t removed the labels!

An Alternative Existence

I had a lovely lunch today with my very good friend, BFG (Bazza the Friendly Geordie). Apparently, her husband, BSG (Bazza’s Shy Geordie), would have joined us but when he dropped BFG off at the restaurant, he plaintively informed her that he ‘hadn’t been asked’. Mortified, faithful followers, mortified!

However, since we touched on ‘ladies’ bits’ (just a manner of speech) during the lunch, it was probably a good thing. We also touched on feminism – in a very genteel way, of course – although I have just remembered that I forgot to tell her about the phrase that DoD (Dai of Derby) came across in a book he’s reading: ‘the insects in the room gave off a genital hum’. We still cannot work out if it was a misspelling or if this man was particularly attuned to the sexual habits of insects. Who knows? Who cares?

Anyway, as usual, I digress. The purpose of my missive to you this evening is to help you deal with the difficulties of dementia, something which is becoming a real problem in modern society as we live longer, and which I know many of you have encountered personally. BFG and BSG are currently going through some hard times with his mother, who is in a nursing home (of necessity, not choice) but I am not here to depress you – far from it!

BFG told me of many instances when she and BSG have laughed and she is happy to share such moments with others, so picture these scenes:
1. The BFG’s mother-in-law’s GP has come to see her (the MiL, not the BFG, of course!) to check her over, but MiL is being a little uncooperative, to say the least. The doctor asks if she likes singing and BSG says yes, so BFG sits holding one hand, BSG holds the other, the GP listens to her chest with his stethoscope while all three are singing ‘My Way’. Even Monty Python couldn’t better that!
2. There is a lady called Doris at the home and she likes to wear a leopardskin onesie whilst standing at the front door charging everyone 50p to come in. She also likes to tell you if you have a ‘cheap’ haircut – apparently, BFG’s hair is cheap (I very much doubt that!).
3. There s nothing that’s much more fun than a reading club (so I’ve been told), especially in a nursing home. BFG, BSG, MiL and Margy, another resident, were sitting enjoying some tea – MiL was shovelling down (BFG’s words) a concoction of cream cake with extra cream in which her tablets were hidden (this is a woman who used to enjoy black coffee with no sugar), while Margy was sitting reading ‘Sex in the City’, the front cover describing it as ‘Jane Austen with frilly knickers’. Margy turned to BSG, whom she thinks is the manager of the place, and said, ‘I don’t think Jane Austen wrote this.’ In the meantime, playing in the background is ‘The Banana Boat Song’. Monty Python, where are you now?
4. The inevitable sing-song – My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, followed by ‘Billy, Don’t be a Hero’ – what a choice! It made us wonder – what will be the sing-songs of choice in, say, 30 years? Will the 80s generation be swaying along with their Zimmer frames to Duran Duran, A-Ha, Adam and the Ants, Take That? I shall be expecting Maggie May, Layla, Streets of London, maybe a little Pink Floyd to hum along to (genitally, of course!).
Sleep well, humming genitally to yourselves!

They Do Things Different in Yorkshire, Tha Knows.

<a style="background-color:black;color:white;text-decoration:none;padding:4px 6px;font-family:-apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "San Francisco", "Helvetica Neue", Helvetica, Ubuntu, Roboto, Noto, "Segoe UI", Arial, sans-serif;font-size:12px;font-weight:bold;line-height:1.2;display:inline-block;border-radius:3px;" href="https://unsplash.com/@inksurgeon?utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=photographer-credit&utm_content=creditBadge" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" title="Download free do whatever you want high-resolution photos from Rob Bates"><span style="display:inline-block;padding:2px 3px;"><svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" style="height:12px;width:auto;position:relative;vertical-align:middle;top:-1px;fill:white;" viewBox="0 0 32 32"><title></title><path d="M20.8 18.1c0 2.7-2.2 4.8-4.8 4.8s-4.8-2.1-4.8-4.8c0-2.7 2.2-4.8 4.8-4.8 2.7.1 4.8 2.2 4.8 4.8zm11.2-7.4v14.9c0 2.3-1.9 4.3-4.3 4.3h-23.4c-2.4 0-4.3-1.9-4.3-4.3v-15c0-2.3 1.9-4.3 4.3-4.3h3.7l.8-2.3c.4-1.1 1.7-2 2.9-2h8.6c1.2 0 2.5.9 2.9 2l.8 2.4h3.7c2.4 0 4.3 1.9 4.3 4.3zm-8.6 7.5c0-4.1-3.3-7.5-7.5-7.5-4.1 0-7.5 3.4-7.5 7.5s3.3 7.5 7.5 7.5c4.2-.1 7.5-3.4 7.5-7.5z"></path></svg></span><span style="display:inline-block;padding:2px 3px;">Rob Bates</span></a>
Rob Bates

Acronyms!

A very, very good evening to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I am in a particularly joyous mood tonight because I have at last been vindicated in my food of choice (or my choice of food). Let me explain:
This afternoon I went to see the film God’s Own Country with my very good friend the BFG (Bazza the Friendly Geordie), although her husband, the BSG (Bazza’s Shy Geordie), was unable to accompany her because he was repairing a temperamental toilet. In fact, thinking about it, the BSG always seems able to find any number of domestic tasks whenever the BFG is meeting the LSG – a mere coincidence, surely? The LSG was accompanied by DODO, but not TOFU or TT (the Tiny Tyke), although DODO went AWOL before the film, since he didn’t think it would be to his taste – he’s more of a ‘shoot ‘em up’ type (although a calf got shot in the film, but I don’t think he would have counted that) .
I had considered asking TOFU and TT along because the film is set in Yorkshire, TOFU’s current place of residence and TT’s birthplace, but they still have to earn a penny or two while the LSG and DODO can make merry to their heart’s content! And so to the film and the reason for the LSG’s delight. (Enough acronyms there to please any writer of government leaflets!)

Review

God’s Own Country (a sort of northern Brokeback Mountain but with sheep farmers instead of cowboys, and a couple of cows instead of horses) is a little bit like Countryfile on steroids, with nudity, sex and strong language thrown in for good measure, Do not expect a ‘Morecambe and Wise Tour of Yorkshire’. However, I feel I learned quite a few things from the film, such as how to skin a lamb or build a drystone wall.

Pot Noodles

So where does the feeling of great joy come from, I hear you cry. Well, this is the first time IBy Philafrenzy (Own work) [<a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0">CC BY-SA 4.0</a>], <a href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AChicken_%26_Mushroom_Pot_Noodle.jpg">via Wikimedia Commons</a> have ever seen a film that featured… Pot Noodles! Yes, dearest followers, not just one Pot Noodle, but several! A whole bucketful, in fact, which the two young heroes took with them when they went to spend a week in close proximity in a derelict outbuilding on top of the moors during the lambing period.
My only complaint is that there seemed to be a lack of reality in the amount of time allowed for the ‘Pot’ to cook properly – they just poured on the water and started eating instead of allowing the requisite four minutes. I distinctly heard a ‘crunch’ from one of the young men because his Noodles hadn’t softened enough, so to speak. Nor did they have bread and butter, an essential part of the ‘Pot Noodle experience’, but perhaps understandable when eating at a campfire on top of the Yorkshire moors.
So there you have it, Beloved Believers, Pot Noodles on the big screen – is there any greater accolade or mark of respectability, even in a film set in Yorkshire? I leave you with that thought and wish you a very good night.

 

Domestic Bliss

A very good evening

from the Lifestyle Support Guru! As you know, I am an expert in the kitchen, especially when it comes to Pot Noodles or microwave meals – these are the talk of the town! Today, however, I decided to branch out a little and turn the oven on (this is known as a ‘blue moon oven’) so that I would be able to prepare a tasty, healthy and nutritious feast for the sickly DODO.
I had all the necessary ingredients to prepare oven-baked cod fillets and potato rösti. By ‘ingredients’, I mean, of course, that the items had instructions on their packaging. The rösti instructions were fine – put in the oven and turn once halfway through. In case I had misunderstood the instructions, I not only turned the rösti but did a little turn myself in a joyful, exuberant manner, skipping up and down the kitchen, singing ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ (mainly because my efforts hadn’t yet activated the smoke alarm).

It was the cod fillets that caused some consternation, however, since their instructions required them to be ‘wrapped in lightly oiled foil, making a small parcel’. A parcel? A PARCEL? (screeched in my head in the manner of Lady Bracknell exclaiming ‘A handbag? A HANDBAG?’ in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’). For goodness’ sake, these are cod fillets, not birthday or Christmas presents. The only time anyone gets anything wrapped from me is when I order something through Amazon and it asks if it’s a gift.

I finally found the foil wrap (on top of the kitchen cupboard), brushed the dust off it, and ‘lightly oiled’ it – in other words, I liberally sprayed some of that ‘one cal’ cooking spray all over it – then lovingly wrapped the cod fillets in it as if they were delicate items of china and placed them gently on the baking tray alongside the rösti before I did my turn up and down the kitchen. (I am considering ‘I Will Survive’ for my next rendition.)

DODO ate everything and pronounced the fish tastier than the fish he’d had in a rather lovely French restaurant the week before! I did another turn up and down the kitchen, this time singing ‘Food, Glorious Food’. I am considering putting myself forward for the next season of ‘Masterchef’ – indeed, I may even aim for ‘Celebrity Masterchef’. ‘Reach for the Stars’, she sings joyfully,
(About ten minutes ago I asked DODO to look up the act who sang this and he dutifully did so, playing it out loud for me on his iPad to check he had the right song… we are now barred from the local.)

Nigella and SClub7, eat your hearts out!

Party Animal Aces It!

Party Party

As Lifestyle Support Guru followers know, I was invited to a pre-wedding party and I could well have made a complete and utter fool of myself by turning up at the wrong time, believing it to be an evening ‘soirée’ before finding out it was an afternoon do. As it was, the LSG achieved perfect symmetry by arriving at an acceptable time – a fashionable 20 minutes late – and leaving at 7.30 pm, the time originally planned for arrival. The only sad point was having to leave half a glass of wine because the taxi to take me home turned up unusually early.

Surprise

The afternoon went well, if you discount the bride-to-be – who has known me for several years, including two as her French teacher – introducing me at one point as Ian. I explained that I had not had any gender-reassignment surgery since I had last seen her and she seemed quite satisfied with that, so I shall simply put it down to one glass too many of French wine (which flowed copiously).

Conversations

It was lovely to see so many people whom I hadn’t seen for many years, including the delightful Mark who made so many French language classes a joy to teach, and it was even fun to sit on the ‘sad settee’ with two other women as we discussed Trump, Assad and North Korea while all around us others were reminiscing about the joys of organising school trips before Elf’n’Safety reared its ugly head. I also had a good conversation with the (Irish) husband-to-be about the likely team choices for the forthcoming Lions rugby tour. This may not have been everyone’s idea of a fun afternoon, but I was having the time of my life!

Airport – WHERE?

I think one of my enduring conversational memories (apart from the sex-change operation) will be talking to a friend and ex-colleague about my plans for a visit to Turkey in the near future, flying from Humberside because, as I said, ‘It’s such a small and friendly airport.’ ‘Oh,’ she replied, ‘I didn’t even know they had an airport there, especially for international flights.’ Her husband gave her what can only be termed ‘an old-fashioned look’ and asked me to repeat the name of the airport. ‘Humberside,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ she responded, ‘I thought you said Ambleside.’ Ambleside is a small village in the Lake District!

Under Lock and Key

I was most impressed when the bride-to-be’s father, when I asked for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, produced a set of keys and said, ‘I’ll fetch you one.’ ‘Wow!’ I thought, ‘This must be something special to be under lock and key, especially since they’d been telling me about the bargain they’d got for 2 euros 10.’ It turned out that it was only under lock and key because it was a party-size box that they had to keep in the garage because it wouldn’t fit in the fridge!

It was a wonderful afternoon and the party was still in full flow when I left, so I could easily have turned up at 7.30 pm and still had a good time! Not a sign of cocoa, slippers or ‘Casualty’!

Thank you, one and all, for a joyous afternoon – may your wedding be peaceful, happy and bright, whether you are the bride, the groom, the parents or just friends!

Gin Cheesecake

PS The gin cheesecake was delicious! (= Cheesecake made with gin and lime)