some days are worse than others, this is one of those days
Well, today isn’t going so well, it’s been lashing it down with rain, I’m suffering from insomnia, and I’d really rather not be trapped in my garret all day. On the other hand, there isn’t really anywhere to go any more, because I still can’t see my friends, travel is still very difficult, and going anywhere risks being placed in self-isolation, possibly in an expensive hotel.
I need to make the best of things, and lot let myself become depressed.
Hopefully you guys are all doing better than I am.
the sea is angry today
beer is made by fat men, but wine is made by Gods
wine is poetry in a bottle
live to eat, don’t just eat to live
when your world falls apart
eat a tub of chocolate ice cream
ask not what you can do for your country
ask what’s for lunch
time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so
my wife cooks with wine
sometimes she even adds it to the food
when your world falls apart
drink Guinness and let the world fall out of your bottom
all major food groups, beer and bread
when did Mary Poppins say that the English can’t eat meat?
the fish and chop van has arrived!
Here in England the government, its bureaucrats, and unelected busybodies are never happier than when they are telling other people how to live their lives. Now the overweight and unhealthy-looking Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed an overweight and unhealthy-looking ‘restaurateur’ Henry Dimbleby to be the national ‘food czar’ with the task of getting Britons to eat healthier.
Dimbleby’s big ideas include a 6% salt tax to go along with the 18p per litre sugar tax we’re forced to pay. (a Big Mac would increase in price by 20p just because of all the salt in it) The same guy wants a meat tax, ‘in order to save the planet’, and aims to cut the consumption of dairy products by 20%. There is also likely to be a tax on saturated fats. (butter, lard, suet, cheese, ghee, and palm oil are all targets for new taxes)
Meanwhile the government here is spending £100 million on an anti-obesity campaign ~ they should look at their own waistlines first.
In another move the government here has banned fast food advertising from the television before nine-o-clock in the evening, when all good children should be fast asleep in bed.
And, the Prime Minister’s latest wife Carrie Johnson, (nee Carrie Symonds), wants to takle fish suffering, including protecting their mental well-being, by banning fishing.
The arrogant stupidity of some people appalls me.
Some say that all idiots went to Eton College and Oxford University. And that the experience warped their brains. All I know is that if you look at any really facile, incredibly stupid idea, then some Oxford University Graduates will be behind it.
can’t have salmon for dinner
the mental well-being of fish is at stake here
if you can make it down to the pub
the pub will make it up to you
Now that lockdown has been eased somewhat, people are starting to eat out again, and one of the great English traditions is the pub lunch.
Unlike in a lot of countries, English pub food can be excellent, and I’m not just talking sandwiches here. Although traditional English pub grub does include the hot beef sandwich, along with steak pies, shepherds pie, and the classic fish and chips.
Fish and chips in an English pub should be either cod or haddock, together with thick cut ‘homestyle’ chips, and perhaps mushy peas, (which if you’ve never seen them look a lot like guacamole).
On Sundays a good English pub will undoubtedly serve roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, along with at least two vegetables. As well as roast beef roast lamb and roast chicken are also popular here.
Or there is that other English Classic dish, toad in the hole.
The key thing is to find a really good pub, and if you don’t know one in the area then just look for a church tower, and there will undoubtedly be a great pub nearby. If they serve it, then try the chicken and leek pie.
Some English pubs have been there a very long time indeed, truly medeval.
in a pub drink beer
unless you’re in the West Country
where the cider is usually good
a good Yorkshire pudding should be deep and wide
Here in the North East of England some say that the measure of a woman is if she can make a good Yorkshire pudding. That says a lot about northern men.
The humble Yorkshire pudding is a thing of beauty that delights the senses. This comprehensive how-to recipe is from Delish magazine, they say it’s the only Yorkshire pudding recipe you need to know.
Delish Yorkshire Puddings
Now from food columnist Felicity Cloake we have how to cook perfect Yorkshire puddings.
Perfect Yorkshire Puddings
As an alternative to a Yorkshire pudding we also have classic Toad in the Hole; Yorkshire pudding with sausages. From Jacqui at Recipes Made Easy we have this recipe one of my favourite midweek meals.
Toad in the Hole
roast beef and Yorkshire pudding
a classic combination
redolent of Mediterranean mists and sea-dew
Rosemary grows wild on the shores of the Mediterranean, and is widely cultivated in the more temperate areas of Europe and North America. This glossy shrub can be seen in decorative borders, kitchen gardens, herb gardens, and physic gardens, wherein medicinal plants are grown.
In Greek mythology rosemary is said to have been draped around the otherwise naked figure of Aphrodite when she came out of the sea. A more Christian legend is that the Virgin Mary draped her blue cloak over a white rosemary bush while she was resting on her way to Bethlehem and the flowers turned blue. The shrub was henceforth called ‘the Rose of Mary’.
Most decent cooks are familiar with this herb as an addition to meat dishes, lamb in particular. However, it can be used judiciously as a seasoning to a wide variety of recipes; soups, casseroles, salads, and stews. Use rosemary with chicken and other poultry, game (especially as its strong flavour enhances the strong flavours of game dishes), lamb, pork, beef steak, and fish, especially oily fish. It also adds flavour to otherwise bland grains, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, and greens, (especially good with spinach).
If you a drop of strong drink, then perhaps try this rosemary pomegranate grilled meyer-lemon sparkler. But beware, it’s much stronger than it looks. For some reason rosemary adds a lot to the taste of pomegranate juice.
Rosemary also goes very well with gin, try putting a sprig of the herb into a fresh bottle and letting it stand for a week or so.
A rosemary gin fizz is a very refreshing, if potent drink.
The main active ingredients in this herb are tannin and saponin. (There is also a little thujone, which is the active ingredient in wormwood, used to produce real absinthe.) Technically this adds up to rosemary being good for the immune system, blood circulation, reducing cancer forming free radicals, as an aid to digestion, enhancing memory and concentration, (especially after a stroke), staving off eye problems, and staving off aging of one’s brain, (dementia).
Rosemary can have a beneficial psychoactive effect, it will not get you very high, but it will make you feel both relaxed and alert, at one in the same time. As a sleep aid it can give you wild dreams. (Actually rosemary is a very mild ‘legal high’.)
Rosemary is best gathered in spring and summer, but as an evergreen it can be collected fresh at any time of the year. It dries very well.
the flowers are very much favoured by bees
I know of a place where the wild thyme grows
Thymus Vulgaris, garden thyme, is one of the four great medicinal and culinary herbs; parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme….. A herb is a plant where the leafy green and flowering parts are found useful in cooking and natural medicine. Whereas, a spice is produced from other parts of a plant; seeds, bark, roots, fruit…. Ergo ginger is a spice, whereas the ash tree is used both as a herb and a spice.
Trust me, thyme is most definitely a herb and an important ingredient in Mediterranean, Indian, and Caribbean recipes. Thyme is also a basic ingredient in perfumery.
In medicine, thyme should be treated with caution because, like all herbs, it contains some very powerful and complex chemicals, especially thymol. Interestingly the antiseptic thymol is a major ingredient of Listerine mouthwash and most alcohol-free hand sanitisers.
Other major and powerful compounds found in the common or garden thyme are; borneol, carvavrol, eucalyptol, menthene, thymene, and tannin. The major effects of these compounds are; antibiotic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, balsamic, carminative, and soporific. (Balsamic really means ‘elixir’)
Thyme tea, (usually made with dried leaves), is calming, helps most people to sleep, fights off coughs, reduces inflammations, and much reduces embarrassing night-time flatulence. As with most natural herb teas women of child-bearing age should take care as it increases blood flow to the uterus. Thyme in wine is good, and I use sprigs of thyme in both olive oil and apple cider vinegar, (makes a fabulous salad dressing) Thyme tea is a potent female aphrodisiac. Thyme and marijuana cookies should be treated with very great care indeed.
A sprig of thyme under the pillow is an aid to calm sleep, and a good bunch of thyme in your bath will help kill off very nasty things like toenail fungus, athletes foot, and the hookworm ancylostomiasis.
Thyme of any variety is easy to grow, it prefers a well-drained gravelly soil in full sun. Collect your thyme in spring and early summer. Bees love thyme as the flowers are nectar-rich ~ real thyme honey has all of the properties you can find in the plant.
if you have a scrap of space, grow herbs
Sage is an Important herb, especially for adult women
Like most herbs, common or garden sage is a plant packed with complex organoleptic phytochemicals. These compounds are why herbs are great for flavouring food. Organoleptic means affecting the senses, and as we all know there are a lot more than 5 of those. It’s commonly held that humans have 13 senses, but that list may not even scratch the surface. For example, how do you always know when someone is staring at you? Not only that, the complicated stuff in the plants we commonly use as herbs would also seem to bypass the senses and work directly on the brain to affect a person’s mental state. The unregarded sage, Salvia Officinalis, is chock-full of interesting compounds which would be illegal if you tried to buy them over-the-counter.
As any organic chemist will tell you, if you add chemical compounds together, you will often create something that is more spellbinding, than the sum of the individual effects. That is also what happens when we ingest herbs. The separate ‘drugs’ in herbs are engaging, but in combination they can be enthralling. The unique combination of chemicals in sage has a particularly strong influence upon adult women.
The modern urban man with a bit of a garden, balcony, doorstep can easily grow sage. Like a lot of herbs it it very tolerant of poor soil and sun. Sage also comes in a host of varieties ~ different sizes, colours, leaf patterns, in fact you could make yourself a sage garden. Sage reaches a height of about 2 feet, can be pretty rampant, grows best in full sun in slightly acid soil, pH 5.5 to 6.5, and the old growth should be cut back by about half in early spring. The herbs to grow along with common sage are parsley and clary sage. Neither sage nor clary will grow well indoors.
While common sage, (Salvia officialis), is packed with psychotropic drugs, diviner’s sage, (Salvia divornorum), is so psychedelic that its legality is under consideration in some US states.
Two very important words of warning. Diviner’s sage really is a potentially potent hallucenogenic. Pregnant womenshould avoid clary sage, it can bring on child labour. In fact if you are thinking about using sage for medicinal purposes, then it may be best to have a word with your doctor before you start experimenting.
The effective parts of the plant for culinary and medicinal uses are the leaves and flowering tops, and these are best gathered in spring. The active compounds in sage include; asparagine, borneol, camphene, eucalyptol, oestrogens, pinene, salvene, saponin, tannin, and thujone. Thujone has a very similar effect on the human mind as does the THC in marijuana. If you can get hold of a plant, diviner’s sage, (a.k.a. Mexican Mint Sage), contains a lot of Salvinorin A which targets the brain’s kappa opoid receptors. Salvorin A is the strongest natural hallucenogenic. Basically, sage has similar stuff in it as the wormwood used in absinthe.
Sage is best picked fresh and used straight away. You can easily dry it for use all year around, but dried sage isn’t always as effective as the fresh article. Don’t pick it after early autumn, in fact don’t pick much sage after the flowers have all gone.
Sage, especially clary sage, (Salvia sciarea), is a woman’s herb. The other spices herbs and oils to use with it if it’s to help a woman with anything at all are; cinnamon, geranium, jasmine, sandalwood and lemongrass. Mixing these with a lot of alcohol is not necessarily a brilliant idea unless the effect you are looking for is euphoric desire. In that case, run your lady a tub and add sage oil or fresh sage leaves to the water. Get a couple of scented candles in jasmine or sandalwood. Mix your lady an aphrodisiac drink ~ creme de cacao and tequila are good with sage. Wash her hair and give her a head massage using fresh sage leaves or sage tincture ~ which also treats dandruff. If she’s a smoker give her a sage cigarette, which is also good for asthma.
a sage bed makes a great addition to any garden, or a garden all of its own
All I want is to live a normal life
the beach at Cancun
As we gradually come out of lockdown, some normal things I haven’t been able to do for months have become possible ~ like getting my hair cut, or even booking a vacation.
One of the good things about having been in self-isolation for over a year is that I haven’t spent much money, so now I am almost out of lockdown I can afford to take my friend to anywhere we would like to go.
Should be fun.
this might be the route to normality