Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Coffing up the patriarchy

Watching the last episode in the season of Girls today I was dismayed to hear Jessa instruct a whimpering man to "BE A MAN".

Don't you mean be an adult Jessa?

She meant he needed to take responsibility for the situation. When people say someone is being a girl, they mean child. Shying away from a hard, scary, dirty situation. Man equals strength, pride and mastery.

Coffee is something men seem to have stolen as one of their own. Dark, strong, gives you a headache, yeah tough guy. I practically ground those beans myself with my huge strong feet. And only my large flared nostrils can take in that heady scent. Hey lady, careful, it might knock you out.

I was getting a coffee at a van a little while ago and the man said "ooh what about a mocha?" and because I'm polite I took it. But I just wanted a coffee! I can drink things without the inclusion of chocolate and nailvarnish you know! or whatever mocha has in it.

Coffee should just be for adults. Unisex. Men already own beards and bikes and vinyl and bookshops, and all tools, beer, lawnmowers, and fountain pens and sticky ribs, and oxford shirts, and ten eggs, and hunks of bread and dripping, and pies with a whole chicken in it stuffed inside a goose stuffed inside an ostrich, and animal fat.

I'm going to start reclaiming all strong flavours as unisex adult. I'm going to make a dish of anchovies, olives, gherkins, chilli, soy sauce and capers crushed with a hammer, then marinated in beer and served as a stew on crusty bread. MMMMMMM.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


This morning I asked Louis what he'd like for dinner. "Something healthy please."

"What about fish?"

He looked at me. "Or why don't I just eat my own phlegm."

Oh. Rude. Just a suggestion.

"No, no hurt eyes- I mean because i've got a cold."


Bouncing back, I made what Ottolenghi deemed good winter comfort food. Carrot, cucumber, mangetout cut into matchsticks. Broccoli sliced very finely. All steam cooked in a miso, soy, sugar, water brown sticky mix. Sushi rice for the veg to lay their heads on and a drizzle of sauce (crushed toasted peanuts, sesame seeds, white rice vinegar, groundnut oil).

In the park about 6pm I started talking to a fellow Mum. She said she'd better get back to do her kids tea. "What are you making" I asked conspiratorially. "Spicy chicken. They always complain but they like it really"

I really like to agree with everyone but I found empathising with her over them a challenge. Mm the same boring animal flesh with chilli on they get every week. Sounds great. Instead I did what a lot of adults seem to do and without acknowledging what she had said I changed the subject to myself.

"Mine just wanted something healthy so that's quite easy. Just popped an Ottolenghi on. Can't go wrong!"

Fake bake

Louis made us a delish lentil bake with carrots, roast potatoes and purple sprouting broccoli. My only problem with it was that I couldn't stop eating it. 

In the kitchen later when I was meant to be washing up I kept picking at the leftovers. 

"Will you take this away from me please?" I called out mournfully. 

"Why don't you try exercising some self control?"

Sad face. 

"It'll expand in your stomach and you'll feel bad then."

"You'll feel worse in bed later if that happens. It's within your interests to physically stop me I think" I replied. 

But help didn't come.

The next day poor Louis was poorly so was home whilst I worked. About midday he emerged blinking in the light for some nourishment. Uhoh. I had been looking forward to the leftovers as lunch. There wasn't enough for two.

"Don't you know you're meant to starve a cold my sweet? I'd get back to bed if I were you and not eat all day."

"Really? But I'm hungry. "

"Yep. Trust me. I'm 1/4 a doctor remember."

Sunday, 22 March 2015

We knead to know

This dessert or tea time thing is causing some problems. I texted my housemates asking if they wanted a veg roast on Sunday and S replied saying we could have the hot cross buns she was going to make for dessert. Hmm well.

Luckily she's on to this and swiftly messaged again "Fran, can you ask your Grandparents if that's appropriate pudding food?"


"What about as bread and butter pudding?"

Ah yes. She gets it.

In the end we settled on an afternoon tea of buns and butter. They're being made right now. Mmmmm.

The recipe is approx: Boil milk, add butter, cool, put flour salt sugar yeast into a bowl making a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter, then egg. Mix to sticky dough, knead until elastic for five minutes. Cover with oiled cling film, rise in warm place 1hr. Tip in spices and orange and lemon zest and mix. Leave to prove itself for an hour. Divide, shape, cook. 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Can I please desert you now?

My house mate recently had the MOST traumatic experience.

No, it wasn't that a man offered to cook at our flat for her on only the fourth date. Gross.
No, it wasn't that he asked her if she'd prefer if he made an appetiser or dessert. "Both you tight wad. And why are you practicing this midweek...?"
No, it wasn't that he texted her asking if she could provide milk and butter. "Alright i'll give you the pound!"

It wasn't even that when he was cooking, our hot plate overheated and wrecked his sauce and her provision of almond milk refused to stick together the breadcrumbs.
It wasn't that he's never heard of a restaurant.

FOR DESSERT he bought, not cooked, a dry old Victoria Sponge from Tesco.

I knew this was the most wrong bit. Wikipedia doesn't mention Victoria Sponge in its comprehensive lists of desserts. I asked my Granny and Grampa if it was an appropriate dessert, and Granny said "Well. Yes, but only if you were using it as the base for a trifle" whilst Grampa looked quite confused and or angry. Bob was apoplectic. And she knows her puddings (not a fat joke, she just does).

I'm going to have to have words with Tindr

Enjoy the drop

I've become a bit of a whippet paedophile. Puppyphile? Yesterday I went to Bob's house for dinner, kidnapping the one I was caring for that day. "Are you sure you don't want to pick her up from Stoke Newington? If not I can only drop her off now. Yes, right now. Only this second. No? Okay. See you another day then".
I was especially looking forward to dinner as I was going to start my blog up again to much fanfare but hush you crowds- I can't properly- as this morning I dropped my brand new iphone down the toilet. I hurried hauled it out and then whilst putting it to absorb in a bag of Arborio rice I managed to drop it again- in the washing up bowl full of dirty water.

So I sit on the bus mournfully despairing that my iphone photos of Bob's feast have drowned. No more are my photos of Bob and Chaz enjoying delicious mozzarella pizza with roast butternut squash and toasted seeds and chilli coriander yoghurt with gluten free brownies for pudding. 

I really needed some comfort to cheer me. OOh what's that rustling in my pocket? One of the whippet puppy owners has thoughtfully cut up some cheddar into little squares in a sandwich bag as training treats.

I ate them one by one. Perhaps they'll train me not to drop phones in water!