All That Flapping About Has To StopWritten by Holmes Charnley
What a pleasant man that Rick Stein is. Only other night, as I tucked into Mrs Holmes’ latest offering and flicked through channels before settling down with his show (yes, another TV dinner) was I really made aware of this.
Pleasant-ish anyway. He seems a little heavy handed with his ingredients at times -when they’re still alive- for my taste but I’m not overly worried by this. I think that’s just twinges on my part because I’m still feeling guilty about falling off vegetarian wagon. The pheasant shoot he went on recently still sticks in my throat however.
Last night, he was waxing lyrical about an upsurge in nation’s enjoyment of Cornish sardines. When called pilchards, there was no demand, no call for them. But Cornish sardines are a whole different kettle of fish entirely. (Well, no they’re not, they’re same species.) It would appear name change has added romance and flavour.
He quite often enjoys going to source of his dishes. Last night’s programme involved a trawler trip. I just wish he hadn’t pawed fish, held them aloft, whilst they were still alive. The dreadful flapping and bulging eyes were a little off-putting. I think this particular fish was wishing to god it was still called a pilchard. Less demand, more time in sea, it reasoned. Not unreasonably…
I think it’s his evident enjoyment in whole cooking experience that I find so endearing. An obvious enjoyment, whilst remaining wholly down-to-earth is a winning combination. No airs and graces, no nouvelle cuisine, just a man with a pleasant manner and a straightforward recipe.
I was still pondering this today when I came across a snippet of information regarding Jamie Oliver. In many ways, antithesis of Rick Stein. Tempting though it is, I’m not going to unleash on boy. He’s got a lisp, he’s perfect example of a mockney, but it’s all been said before. Let’s leave it. The information regarding Mr Oliver was apropos Sainsbury’s adverts he’s starred in. “Starred” here is operative word. How can someone, though undeniably a whizz in kitchen, become a personality? It seems very strange.
As Stephen Fry said, upon winning Celebrity Mastermind: “The word of epoch: Celebrity.” You can’t have celebrity chefs any more than you can celebrity plumbers. But of course, once bourgeois have sunk their teeth in, logic spirals out of control. They adore posh nosh, therefore we have celebrity chefs.
Asylum Seekers: Now With WingsWritten by Holmes Charnley
It seems inconceivable that a bird table could lead to thoughts about asylum seeking, but this seems to be case.
It all started innocently enough, of course. With winter now upon us, I thought it would be a nice idea to buy a bird table, to bring back memories of a childhood where my parents stuck some bacon rind up on a branch, bought me Observer’s Book of Birds and left me to it.
Whichever hobby they decided on for me, there was always an Observer’s book involved and a hope that I would then get on with it.
Anyway, to local shop for a bird table. Mightily expensive they turned out to be, so rather than a mahogany table, replete with eaves and a foot spa, we returned home with a round mesh with a stick in it and a packet of peanuts. I had attempted to go to counter with bird seed, rather than peanuts. I was calmly informed that seed was smaller than mesh and would merely have left a trail.
Not a problem. Peanuts it was then and by day three, birds arrived. Well, Tit family anyway and that’s more than good enough for me. It really is a delight, and children are as excited as I’d hoped they would be.
Hang on, one second… (“No dear, that’s not a Peregrine, that’s still a Great Tit!”)
So, as I say, we have, if nothing else, been inundated with Tit family. We needed to identify different breeds within this family, so a little bit of research has revealed that so far, we have had a Great Tit, a Blue Tit, a Coal Tit and also a Marsh Tit. No Crested Tit, though. These have grey-brown upper parts, whitish under parts and a black and white head with, funnily enough, a crest on it. These, you see, are only found in Caledonian forests of Scotland and I live in middle of Devon.