Archive for November, 2012

I once dated a man who’s name I didn’t know

True story.

It happened about five years ago. I saw him every day when I was at work and thought he was utterly beautiful. When I was at work I had a name badge on.

For about a year, I smiled and tried to start conversations. For a year, he smiled politely but didn’t respond. Then one day I went to get some photos developed and he was standing there in the shop! Thankfully, the photos were of friends and I at a party so I looked presentable enough.

When I went to pick them up, he finally responded to my advances and chatted a little. The chatting developed over the next few months until he finally asked me to go for a drink. He’d been saying my name when talking to me for quite a while by this point. Obviously, having a name badge on made it easy for him. But by the time we were going for a drink, I realised I didn’t know his name and we had been flantering (flirty bantering) for too long for me to now ask him.

When he gave me his number he just wrote it on a peice of paper, without his name. Before our date, I tried going online to the website of the shop where he worked but there was nothing about staff names. And so I went for a drink with a man who’s name I did not know.

When the man gave me a gentle kiss goodnight at the bus stop, I still did not know his name. When I saved his phone number under ‘Man,’ I still did not know his name. When we text back and forth to arrange a second date (which we did not end up going on), I still did not know his name.

When he disappeared off the radar altogether for a year or so, then showed up back at my work needing someone to talk to and saying he’d been married and divorced in the past year and struggled with alcoholism, I still did not know his name.

When he cried a little so I took him somewhere quiet to sit and gave him a hug, I still did not know his name.

When he asked me what he needed to say to prove he was still interested (I, unfortunately, no longer was), I still did not know his name.

And now, while I’m remembering how odd that all was, I still do not know his name!

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In honour of a special birthday

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It is one of my favourite people’s birthday today. She is 5 years old and probably one of the funniest people I know. The funniest thing I remember her doing is on New Year’s Eve last year.

Because Mummy had said she could stay up until the final countdown to midnight, she was told her and her younger sister must have a nap during the day. She agreed but obviously the excitement of the whole day made sleep difficult. They went upstairs and promised to go to sleep. For the next fifteen minutes, the sound of footsteps dancing about was all too clear on the ceiling. Giggles trickled down the stairs and the little singsong voices were quite clearly awake and playing a game.

After the fifteen minutes of fun, they both descended the stairs, serious faces on, and announced to Mummy, “Mummy, we’ve been asleep for ages. For TWO HOURS!”

“Have you really?” asked Mummy, suspiciously.

“Two hours!” she repeated, putting up two of her fingers, for emphasis.

“Ok,” said Mummy.

The day continued on and it came to the evening time. We were watching Ice Age, everyone cuddling on the sofa. And that’s when the tiredness-induced meltdown happened.

There was this scene where we see some eggs, unguarded, in a corner somewhere. There are big booming sounds, footsteps of an approaching dinosaur. And my favourite little birthday girl had an utter freak-out.

“Ah! Ah! I’m scared! Turn it off! TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFF!

We said soothing things like, “It’s ok. We’ve turned it off. Look, it’s just the normal TV. Oo, Spongebob Square Pants is on. We like him. It was only a silly dinosaur, he can’t hurt you.”

It didn’t matter! It didn’t matter that the dinosaur was inside the TV, she was scared and that was that. She wasn’t interested in Spongebob Square Pants. In fact, she wanted the television off altogether. She was terrified! She cried uncontrollably and as we all watched in confusion, cuddles from Mummy eventually soothed her a little. She gulped big sobs down and rambled on, the words hardly decipherable, until suddenly, in a fit of confession, she sat up and announced to her mother:

“MUMMY! WE DIDN’T GO TO SLEEP FOR TWO HOURS! WE WERE PLAYING GAMES! I’M SORRY!”

Probably the best voluntary confession I’ve ever witnessed.

Shortly after this, at 9.15pm, we sneakily wound the wall clock forward and said it was midnight soon, then all stood, counted 10 down to 1 and had a big ‘celebration’ before sending poor tired child off to bed.

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A walk in Woolton (part 2)

Good morning all! Today it’s time to get back to Rambler5319’s walk around Liverpool. Enjoy….

You remember we finished last week (21.11.12) having come along the narrow path called Mill Stile and were just about to turn right into Church Road.

There wasn’t time to visit but, if we’d turned left and walked just over a quarter of mile up the hill, we’d have come to Reservoir Road. No prizes for guessing what is there – yep a storage reservoir, one of a number around the city. Liverpool’s water requirements, like many other expanding & industrialising cities, grew substantially during the 19th century.

Sadly, in this case, the residents of the village of Llanwddyn in North Wales were forced out of their homes in 1889 to help satisfy that need. They’d had to watch the dam across the River Vyrnwy being built knowing the end was coming.

The reservoir formed behind the dam was named Lake Vyrnwy which then became a water source for the city. Calling it a “lake” makes it sound just like a natural feature of the landscape. It gives no hint of what had been sacrificed in the name of progress: the village parish church, 2 chapels, 3 inns, 10 farmhouses & 37 houses had disappeared under the water. (The 1851 Census shows there were Welsh people living in the Woolton area. I wonder if any worked on the reservoir building and its tower not realising the background to it.) The lake can hold 13 million gallons of water when full and its surface area covers the equivalent of 600 football pitches; and it still supplies the city today. If the water in the lake was petrol and you got about 35 mpg you could drive from Venus to the Earth and all the way out to Jupiter and still have some left over! Anyway, back to Earth, and after turning right, a little way down the road we come to St Peter’s Church.
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A chapel was first built on the site in 1826 but, after population growth over the next 60 years, a number of wealthy merchants gave the money for a new church building which opened in 1887. Sandstone from the quarry was used as it was literally on their doorstep.

We’re visiting the church hall across the road first as this is famous for being the place where, at a church fete on 6th July 1957, Paul McCartney met John Lennon and the Quarrymen.

There are a couple of photos from that date (showing the group on the back of a lorry) at this website http://www.beatlesbible.com/1957/07/06/john-lennon-meets-paul-mccartney/.

Here’s the Church Hall:
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And here is a close-up of the plaque under the middle window. This is the actual place where the two guys met:
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Now cross over the road to St Peter’s Church. It is also famous because in the graveyard is this headstone:
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Just read down the names on the headstone. Can you see it? Now you know where they probably got the idea for the name Eleanor Rigby which appears in the lyrics of the song. McCartney later admitted the choice of names in the song was probably a subconscious remembering from the times spent in and around the graveyard. This was half of another Beatles double A-side with Yellow Submarine on the other. It reached No.1 in Aug 1966 and stayed there for 4 weeks.

Can you see the name John McKenzie in this next picture?
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(There is no suggestion that he was a priest but I think poetic licence took over when McCartney wrote the lyrics.) If you know the song Eleanor Rigby, there are a few lines in it about a Father McKenzie:

a) Writing the words of a sermon that no-one will hear

b) Darning his socks in the night when there is nobody there

c) Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave.

You need to look left and up slightly, in between the vertical stems of two crosses, for the lightish brown stone. (It’s 3 rows back and the only other one you can see with an inscription.) That stone has the Eleanor Rigby name if you can enlarge the pic.

Continuing down the hill the first turn left is Mason St. Here we find a cinema called the Woolton Picture House. You can just about see the name above the doors although the protruding metal framework prevented me getting a clear pic of it:
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It has a very interesting history dating back to 1927. In the world of films, The Jazz Singer released in Oct 1927 (starring Al Jolson) is considered the first talking picture film; and the first words spoken were, “Wait a minute, wait a minute! You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” I wonder if it was shown here in Woolton after the place opened in Dec. Here’s the close up of the plaque on the wall just to the right of the cinema entrance:
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It is one of the old-fashioned style single screen cinemas and as you can see from the pic, “the oldest surviving cinema in Liverpool.”

Downhill again from here and turn right at the bottom. Just along on the right is something which looks a bit strange. Here it is:
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It seems to be a sunken car park but the sign, just inside the sandstone post at the other end on the left of my pic, tells us we’re in what is called Lodes Pond. It did have water in it at one time which explains the stone banks around the U-shaped floor. Apparently, after a dispute with the Lord of the Manor the local district council ordered that the water had to be, “kept in perpetuity for the use of cattle”. So essentially it was a huge cattle watering trough.

Check out the pic on Flickr from 1936 (taken from a similar position) when it was full of water: http://www.flickr.com/photos/68767304@N03/8121915910/sizes/l/in/pool-1435847@N20/

I noted one of the small terraced houses behind where I took the photo from has called itself Lodes Pond View. With the absence of any water in the “Pond” I suppose its added value potential in any future sale will be somewhat limited as it actually looks out on to a car park.

Crossing the road and heading towards the traffic lights we come to a pub called The Coffee House. On the side facing us is a date stone showing 1641 as you can see in this photo below. Jeremiah Horrocks, the famous English astronomer, with connections to Liverpool’s Otterspool Pool Park (just 4 miles away) died the same year it opened; the future Charles II was just 11 years old; The English Civil War started the following year; and Liverpool itself was under siege by the Royalist Prince Rupert in 1644 so perhaps Woolton’s two known Catholic supporters at the time would not have gone in for a drink.
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We continue walking a little bit further and on the left we come to a small shop on the corner called The Liverpool Cheese Company.
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Naturally it sells cheese but there are so many types it’s hard to know what you might like. Here’s just one of the display cases.
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Some years ago the owner recommended a particular type for me to try. Now I’m not a blue cheese person especially after trying some Danish Blue once but he convinced me to try a piece of Shropshire Blue. It’s sort of not quite what you expect a blue cheese to taste like and I was pleasantly surprised. Anyway I tried some and have returned a number of times to get more of it.

Here’s the piece I got today:
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In addition to cheese, a number of other products are available. A few years ago the shop posted an order for me which was a present for someone. It was a piece of a cheese called Stinking Bishop. The Telegraph newspaper reported it had been voted Britain’s smelliest cheese in 2009. It was mentioned in the Wallace & Gromit film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit(2005) and apparently sales rocketed by 500% following the film’s release.

The shop also can make up presentation baskets with wine, cheese & other items they stock. Check out their website: http://www.liverpoolcheesecompany.co.uk/. It’s really worth a visit to see everything on offer including advice on how to wrap & store cheese.

Click on the cheese section and there are 13 pages of the different types on sale. There have got to be loads there you’ve never heard of. Anyone know these: Allerdale Goat, Snowdonia Pickle Power, Sykes Fell Ewe, Inglewhite Smoked Goat, Gabriel Blue EweorShorrock’s Strong Lancashire Bomb?Just looking at the names conjures up a desire to try them. Imagine that after dinner conversation when you say, “Have you never tried Snowdonia Pickle Power?” and, following blank looks all around, you then launch into a glowing report of how wonderful a cheese it is.

Btw I wouldn’t recommend the Stinking Bishop variety unless you have a very strong constitution. Also it needs careful storage as the smell can affect (infect?) other items in the fridge as the person to whom I sent my gift told me what some other items tasted like after the cheese had been in there.

Despite the presence of a large supermarket just at the back of this shop and another one close by there is a dedicated bunch of loyal customers who keep coming back here for the service they receive and the varieties on offer which they can’t get elsewhere. I have on occasion had to queue outside on the pavement as it’s been packed inside.

Over the road, just beyond the traffic lights, we come to the village cross. Local history records say the cross was erected around 1350AD by the Knights Hospitaller; they also built a water mill in the area early in the 14th Century. These men were a group of monks and knights, recruited from Western European nations, who protected the routes to Jerusalem used by pilgrims to the Holy City. They took the monastic vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. However, they added a fourth vow which bound them to protect pilgrims and fight any attackers.

They had been given the village of Woolton and its lands, around 1180, by the constable of Chester under whose control the area was. This land was rented out to tenants but upon their death the heir would have to pay the value of one third of that person’s “moveable” possessions; that would be stuff like cows, ploughs, stools and cooking pots.

Basically it was a form of death duties but at 33%; and all, even the poorest, had to pay them to the Knights. It’s interesting to note from history that in 1187, following the siege of Jerusalem and its eventual surrender to Saladin, they and a number of inhabitants were allowed out of the city provided they paid a ransom. The Hospitallers & the Templars led the first two columns of people to leave having been given a promise of safe passage by the conquerors.

Here’s the cross:
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Just across the road in the window of a newsagents shop was this sign:
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I wonder how much you were paid when you did your paper round. I bet it wasn’t anywhere near £20 ($32) for 6 mornings (7am-7.45am)! Would be interesting to see what the paper boy/girl rates are like in other countries. Anyone from US/Canada or rest of the world help with info to compare with UK?

We continue walking along Speke Road until we turn right into School Lane. Keep walking along the lane until you come to a place where it narrows. You will see this building on your left although I had to go to the other end to take the picture looking back the way I’d come. Unfortunately undergrowth and tree branches obscured both ends:
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What is interesting is the inscription over the door and here’s a close-up.
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If you can’t make it out, it says: “Much Woolton Old School. The Oldest Elementary School Building in Lancashire” with the date of 1610 also inscribed in the stonework. It is believed that the actual building may pre-date 1610 as there is a reference to a bequest made in 1606 to provide a schoolmaster at Woolton. However this and other tangential refs don’t identify this particular building just the area; records from 1608 suggest an estimated population of 130 (29 households) so I’m not sure how many pupils there might have been when it was up and running.

From here it was back into the village and out on the road which would return me to my start point. On the way I saw this establishment:
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Now I confess I know almost nothing about spas; I’d never even heard of one of these. Have you got one near where you live? The website for one in Bangkok advertises a number of treatments that work out to about £60/hour so I guess the UK rates could be higher.

They also offer what seems to be a most luxurious treatment called The Botanical Refresh lasting, if you can spare the time, 5 hours 15 mins!! It consists of the following: Pebble Foot Bath (10 mins), Herbal Steam (20 mins), choice of Let’s Relax or Body Reviver (120 mins), Reviving Foot Massage (30 mins), Two Course Healthy Spa Cuisine & Healing Drink, Aromatherapy Facial (60 mins), Spa Manicure or Spa Pedicure (75 mins). (And yes, it does add up to 315 mins or 5 ¼ hrs.) In Bangkok it will cost you 14,500 Baht (that’s approx £295/$473, so again roughly £60/$96 per hour).

And that was the end of the visit to Woolton – time to head home and a bath (not a spa) for the tired legs. It had been a good walk and a good day. Woolton is definitely an area of great historical interest. Even one guy I met who lived there didn’t know about 2 or 3 things I’d found. There’d been stuff from the 12th century to 1610, from the Victorians to the Beatles sites and right up to the present day. I’ll definitely visit again.

The virus and I

O, virus. You thought you could bring me down, didn’t you? You thought you could ruin me. You spent weeks ruining everyone around me before you got to me.

Well, virus, you had your work cut out with me! As soon as I felt a little tickle and a cough, I ate so many throat sweets, I forgot how to even spell sore throat.

On the advice of work colleagues, I got some echinacea tablets and took three a day to subdue you.

When the blocked nose arrived, I swore off dairy and took decongestant tablets and just about kept it under control. One morning I awoke totally unable to breathe through my nose but that was the only time you managed to interrupt my sleep.

I remembered people saying “feed a cold” and ate incessantly, from morning until evening.

Who knows if any of the old wives’ tales were true but I put my faith in them anyway. With a little help from some Beechams medicine and a bottle of cough syrup, I got through the worst of it without ever properly ‘having a cold.’

I transported all my medicine around with me constantly and whenever you appeared, in even the mildest form, I kappowed you with vitamins, I thwacked you with lemon and ginger tea, I karate chopped you with Strepsils throat sweets. The fight was on. And I was winning.

And now, virus, little sad virus, it is you who is regretting our meeting. You should never have arrived here. You should never have taken me on. For, instead of ravaging me, keeping me awake at night and making things unbearable before moving on to your next victim, I have stopped you in your tracks and struck you down.

Virus, your reign of terror stops here! I am equipped with echinacea and you shall not take me!

On chocolate

More Nanny Rhino today…

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I’m not one of those girls who’s mad on chocolate. I like it, don’t get me wrong. But whenever I think of chocolate lovers, I think of a girl I went to secondary school with, Gwen, who would go around the common room in sixth form, asking if anyone had chocolate with them and could she buy it from them. She’d be brandishing a fifty pence piece to back up her request and asking around desperately. At the time, I was a bit young to wonder why she had such a thing for chocolate. I just thought it was a little strange.

 

Alternately, a girl I went to junior school with, Louise, was allergic to chocolate! Allergic! It’d be a pretty sad existence if you couldn’t give in to the odd chocolate moment.

 

When my brother and I were younger, I distinctly remember being a massive fan of Yorkie bars. It was always my favourite. If we got given 50p by a generous relative, we would scuttle off to the sweet shop around the corner and giggle excitedly, while we looked at all the sherbet sticks and flying saucer sweets and fried egg sweets and Mr Freezy flavoured ice sticks. A lot of the time, though, I’d get a Yorkie. Now I think about it, I fear I may have been wasting a fantastic opportunity for potential sweetie-induced happiness. I just wanted a big bar of solid chocolate. Then Yorkie brought out these adverts on TV which said, “Yorkie! Not for girls!” So I had a little-girl-tiff and stopped buying them. I switched my allegiance to Dime bars, which were about half the price anyway, and shook my proverbial fist at the the Yorkie makers, knowing they’d notice my missing custom and regret their silly no-girls advert.

 

Speaking of chocolate, actually, there are lots of new weird and wacky things happening with chocolate, which take inspiration from it’s original use as a savoury drink, mixed with chilli, when first discovered and drunk in South America. So chilli chocolate bars abound the shelves of high end delicatessens or your local Whole Foods. I like the idea of liking chilli and chocolate together. I have tried, and failed, to get myself to like it. I just cannot stand the prickly heat in the back of my throat after I have swallowed a lovely mouthful of sweet melty chocolate. My senses scream at me to stop. It is just wrong, I’m sorry for those of you who love this combination.

 

Another thing which doesn’t work for me is chocolate pasta. I had originally thought that it would be great with something savoury. A friend told me he had it with a veal dish. Great, I thought, let me be gourmet and get into this chocolate pasta scene! Then someone told me that I had it all wrong. Chocolate pasta was a dessert and I must warm some cream up, add walnuts, cook my pasta and then add it to my warm cream and walnuts, mix around and then serve up, as my dessert. Ok, I thought, that sounds interesting, I can do that.

 

And I did it.

 

And it tasted like…. pasta with cream and walnuts. Normal regular pasta with cream and walnuts. In all honesty, cream and walnuts are not my usual accompaniment to pasta so I put it aside, disappointed. All that anticipation, all that planning… and it just tasted like regular pasta. Maybe I got it from the wrong company. Maybe I should have looked around for a really great quality one or asked for recommendations. Anyway, that’s the end of the road for my chocolate pasta journey, I think.

 

Now, another chocolate thing that I have reached the end of the road with is chocolate mousse. Not eating it! No, I am of course still eating it. Making it myself at home though, no more! In the early days of cooking in my kitchen, I didn’t have an electric whisk so I whisked my egg whites by hand. I would get severe arm ache and give up before it had quite finished being whisked. I’d just keep on with the recipe, in blind hope that it would be fine. It wasn’t. It would come out to dense and hard, instead of soft and fluffy. I tried it a second time, having convinced myself that the eggs must have been rubbish or something. The same thing happened. So I stopped making chocolate mousse. Maybe that’s silly, because now I have an electric whisk so I could try it again. I think I have a mental block with chocolate mousse now though.

 

I did go through a stage of drinking unsweetened hot chocolate not too long ago. It was an unexpected pleasure which grew on me. I used Bournville cocoa powder, steamed milk and vanilla or almond extract. I occasionally used orange oil but it tended to overwhelm the whole thing. Peppermint did the same and almost tasted toothpaste-ish. So I stuck to vanilla or almond. Because it’s bitter, it takes a few times to get used to it but I started really looking forward to my evening vanilla hot chocolate after a while.

 

Another of my favourite things to do with chocolate when I have guests over is a kind of help-yourself thing. I grate a load of dark chocolate, finely chop some mint, mix them together and put it in a small dish. I grate some more and zest an orange in with it and put that into a dish. Sometimes I do one of plain dark chocolate grated. You can play around with what flavours you want to add. Then I get loads of those mini pots of icecream and tell everyone to pick a pot and top it with whatever they want from the dishes of chocolate. Or you could go even simpler, get a huge bowl, half some strawberries and throw in some cherries, then get some dark chocolate and break it roughly into pieces and throw in aswell and get get nibbling.

 

With Christmas approaching, I am guessing my chocolate intake will increase drastically. Not because there is far better chocolate around at Christmas and I will be unable to control myself. It’s more because it will be there, freely available and right in front of my face (of course, I could choose not to stand directly in front of the Christmas chocolate and sweeties aisle at the supermarket but I like it there, ok?). So I will eat it. Because I can see it. Advent calendars, not a favourite or any special memories but a nice reason to eat chocolate first thing every morning. A selection box, again no amazing memories, just that my grandfather used to get us one every year, without fail. But if I bought all those individual chocolate bars in a shop and ate them all in one day, people would judge me, quite harshly I should think. Wrap it in a plastic packet with a fun Christmas picture on the front and call it a ‘selection box’ and it’s suddenly fine! Eat them all, no problem!

 

In Namibia, my friend Lucy and I, used to get a chocolate bar called Top Deck, if we had any spare money. This was an exciting time for us, when it happened. It was white chocolate on the bottom and milk chocolate on the top. It looked beautiful and we loved it, although I’ve no memory of how it tasted.

 

On mushrooms

Yesterday, I found an old skirt which had little pictures of mushrooms all over it and so I wrote about mushrooms for my Nanny Rhino. I am going to share my mushroom chat with you as I wrote ten thousand words yesterday catching up on the days I missed with Nanny Rhino so I am all written out for a day or so.

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There are so many things to do and places to go with mushrooms that it’s hard to know where to start. I’d love to start in Rome, where any restaurant worth it’s salt would be proudly displaying a wooden crate of porcini mushrooms on one of its tables outside. Since this visit and my mass consumption of the fantastic porcini mushrooms, I am struggling with eating them here as they are all of the dried variety, which was fine and nice and lovely, until I saw the fresh ones in Italy. Now I feel differently about dried porcini. I feel a bit sad for them as they are trapped there on the shelf, in a little jar, moisture-less. Without any fresh porcini of my own, I am simply not eating porcini mushrooms. It is a sad state of affairs. Dried porcini are great for risottos though, as you can use the soaking liquids to hydrate your rice. It’s still not quite the same though, is it?

 

My next favourite mushroom is probably an oyster mushroom as I love their shape and texture. I love how wild and uncouth they look, all misshapen and not at all uniform like their little cousins, the button mushrooms. The problem with this could be that people may mistake your oyster mushrooms in your stir fry for a slab of fat off the meat (as happened to me when making a duck stir-fry), so it’s your decision whether you want to run the risk of being thought of as a ‘fat-cooker’.

 

Shiittake are my next favourite, for similar reasons to the oyster mushroom. It is kind of irregular and a dark mysterious colour. They have a great flavour that I love cooking with beef in a stir-fry.

 

Enoki mushrooms, so long and thin and tiny are great for throwing into dishes last minute, for an extra bit of flavour. Their size means they don’t need much cooking before they soften and taste lovely. I love putting them onto a pizza last minute before quickly oven baking it as it adds another element to something with relatively few ingredients.

 

Next we have the portobello and the chestnut mushrooms, larger, meatier and better for roasting than their smaller counterparts. They can also hold their own quite well in a pie or vegetarian lasagne with spinach and ricotta.

 

Lastly we have the humble button mushroom, great for general use, fabulous fried in a breakfast, but with less of the qualities that draw me so well to the other mushrooms.

 

Actually, I have a less-than-fantastic memory connected to a portobello mushroom. I was seeing a guy for a few months and we could both see that things were in steady decline. In the height of our excitement while things were great, though, we had booked tickets to go to a literature festival somewhere in the countryside. The ticket had been quite expensive and I had booked the day off work so I was reluctant to give it up. Also the gentleman in question didn’t seem that keen on letting the relationship go, although I knew he knew it was over.

 

He was all up for driving there and giving me a lift and acting like things were fine so I took the lift, slept all the way there and planned other similar tactics of avoidance once there. I thought I’d just potter off and get lost in the crowds. He wasn’t so easy to shake though. It took him hours to finally say he fancied seeing something he didn’t think I’d like and wandering off in the other direction.

 

I found the furthest away corner and went for a long walk among the trees, where none of the fun was happening. I saw a group of people open water swimming and got chatting and generally just soaked up the lovely day. I eventually got back into the foray of people and book stalls and performances and fun and watched an old work colleague doing performance poetry. Here, I had solace. Should the gentleman wander along and want to sit down, I could say I was busily engaged in supporting my friend and paying attention to his performance and apologies but I wasn’t able to have a chat right now. The gentleman did not appear though and the next performer was hilarious so I stayed there. At one of the food stands nearby, I ordered an amazing portobello mushroom burger with halloumi cheese and red pepper. I sat down with my burger, deep in thoughts about life and this tasty mushroom burger. It was such a great moment, there, sitting on the ground, with people milling about, books in hands, intelligent discussion being had all around me, a performer on a little stage not far away and these beautiful purple flowers lining a little garden wall to my left.

 

That’s when the gentleman came along, greeted me in surprise and sat down next to me, ruining my moment. My excuses for silence were none, apart from the tasty mushroom burger in my hands, which required all of my attention. We were stuck together again then, for the rest of the afternoon, until it all became too painfully obvious and, in a quiet late afternoon moment, sitting on the grass, he fell asleep and I sneaked away, got my bag and headed for the nearest main road to find a train station and scarper off back home, away from this awful awkwardness that I should never have embarked upon in the first place.

Another exciting award!

Last week, a fabulous blogger Kindredspirit23, included me in his list of nominees for the Blogger of the Year award! Scott writes a brilliant blog, with fantastic perspectives on life, given his recent serious health issues. There is always something lovely to read there.

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This one is especially fabulous because there are no guidelines on having to give it to a certain number of people. You just give to the people you feel deserve it, which I like. The rules are as follows:

 

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award
2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them
5 You can now also join our Facebook page – click the link here ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Award and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience
6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

 

Now for my post about why I have nominated the people I have. It’s mainly because they are some of my favourite blogging friends and I’d love to circumvent the ocean that divides us and have a cup of tea together. These nominations are like a virtual cup of tea, if you use your imagination….

 

Fitness and Frozen Grapes – The healthiest plates of food I have ever seen, for starters. And because reading about all that running and swimming and cycling kind of makes me feel fit by association.

 

Someone Fat Happened – Because there is nothing that I don’t like on this blog. Plus, I’m trying to get her to say she’ll wear my big ugly purple crocs at her wedding and I figure this nomination might persuade her it’s a good idea.

 

The Waiting – Because the insights of a new mother can be very amusing. As can pictures of babies in funny costumes. And posts called ‘Gingivitis Friday’ – what’s not to love?

 

Eat, Move, Love – A great new blog on the fitness scene. After reading it, I decided to try the yoga class which prompted this post.

The Good Greatsby – There is always space for a nomination for this blog. I often check it for advice before making big important life decisions.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!