4th June 2011
June is here. Summer is here. I’ve resigned from my job. The garden is looking lovely and my fruit and veg are coming along nicely. Can it get much better than this? Only time will tell…
This week I’m going to have a rant about YouTube. Or to be more precise, a rant about the trolls and ignoramuses that wander around YouTube making comments that they would not make if they didn’t have their mask of anonymity.
Every morning I open up my YouTube account and there can be anything between 12 and 30 comments posted during the previous 24 hours. I would say that 95% of those comments are OK to publish, but some are not. Some people take the opportunity to post comments which are rude, offensive, ignorant, nationalistic, anti-islamic, anti-women… and quite frankly I’m tired of dealing with people like this. I run a COOKING channel, so I’m going to change the Rules of Engagement.
Up until now I have allowed anyone to comment on my videos. Those who post offensive comments get blocked from making further comments and their comments are removed. However I’m aware that many children watch my videos so I’ve decided, somewhat reluctantly, to carry out some censorship on the comments. Henceforth only “YouTube Friends” will be allowed to post comments freely, while others will have their comments moderated. I’ll also work through ALL the comments on my videos and make sure that they are the kind of comments that I’d be happy for kids to read. I will no longer allow bigots, trolls and people with an axe to grind to use my videos and my channel to air their poison. So if you are reading this and you want to comment freely on my videos on YouTube, please make sure you have pressed the “Add as a Friend” button!
On a much lighter note Man and I went out for lunch yesterday. The village we live in is not short of eateries/snackeries and it is a 5 minute walk for us to be on the High Street. High Street – a narrow one-way street with shops on both sides. We have been several times to a little café run by a Columbian lady – Presteigne is an amazingly cosmopolitan place! Never mind those who come here from different parts of the UK to enjoy the peace and quiet; we have a flower shop run by a Canadian, a Spanish Deli, and a newly opened Fish and Organic Produce shop. There are 2 mini supermarkets – one run by an Asian family – an electrical store, an old-fashioned butchers, a cake shop, a hairdressers, a pharmacy and other assorted shops and services! Not bad for a village with a population of about 6000 people.
Back to the lunch. The café is small but always busy. The food is simple but nicely cooked and the service is lovely. My “pot of tea for one” came with teapot and pot of hot water, enough for 4 cups of tea. I decided to have the Egg and Mushroom Sandwich – I was slightly intrigued as to what this might be. I was not disappointed. Poached egg with a runny yolk and sliced mushrooms sautéed in butter. Oooooooo yeaaaahhhhhh!
I think I’m going to take advantage of this nice weather to take my bicycle for a short ride. Until next time…
Cat takes a nap
What a horribly wet and grotty day – just right for staying indoors and doing some baking. Cat certainly has no plans to go anywhere today and is sleeping in a rather strange pose on the sofa. Nonetheless I shouldn’t complain. This rainfall is great for the garden and my ever-growing fruit and vegetables. I’ve already picked over a kilo and a half (3 lbs) of blackcurrants and they are in the freezer waiting for the raspberries to ripen. There are more blackcurrants to come and I can imagine a few months of eating one of my favourite summer desserts… Summer Pudding! Watch out for the recipe in the coming months.
Last week I had a rant about people posting offensive comments and that I was going to allow comments by YT “Friends” but others would have to have their comments approved. It has meant that I have to spend a little bit more time processing the comments and I certainly have to be more disciplined in making sure I approve comments on a daily basis whenever possible. However I am happy to report that I feel better now that I can censor comments before they are posted. I still have a long way to go to remove existing offensive comments but I’ll get there in time. And in case you are wondering… I’m happy to approve negative comments providing they are not offensive or totally “off-topic”!
Word is getting out that I’ve quit my job. There has been no official announcement yet at work but it seems as though most people that I have some kind of connection to have heard the news. My contract officially ends on the 31st August but I still have a number of days vacation to take before then. Assuming I take no vacation in June or July this means that the last day that I work for the company will be around the 15th August which this year will be the middle of Ramadan when I usually pay my Zakat. Alhamdulillah!
My team will have their new bosses from 1st of July and I’ll be on “Special Duties” from that time. In reality this probably means that I’ll get a series of mind-numbingly tedious tasks. That’s fine – I only have to endure the metaphorical equivalent of toilet-cleaning for about 6 weeks. My heart goes out to those who have to endure such conditions for considerably longer. But I do feel slightly strange being “in limbo”; I can’t let go of the past yet or get fully involved with the future, even though I am ready to do so.
My mother is back with us for a little while. She had to go back into hospital to have her new shoulder “repaired”. It’s nice to have Mum around for a little while again, but it also gives me an opportunity to take a break from eating curries! In the last 10 days I’ve eaten two Rogan Josh, a Prawn Patia, a curry I found in the freezer one night which turned out to be leftover Chicken Brummie Masala, and on Friday night I was in Lichfield at a very nice Indian/Bengali restaurant with the imaginative title of “The Lichfield”.
The Lichfield is a small and friendly restaurant which has a good menu and serves tasty food. Mr B, Ms G and I went there after some campanological activities. We each had a different dish for starters and main course, but all of them were very well presented with carved vegetable garnishes. My Prawn Balti was not too spicy and I’m pretty sure that the accompanying nan used egg in the recipe. You really can taste a difference!
One thing that always makes me giggle in Indian restaurants is how some waiters are obsessed with the precise placement of the items on the table. Flower vases, salt and pepper pots, and even your knives and forks can be rearranged several times during the meal by the waiter, sometimes by only a few millimeters to get everything perfectly aligned. This didn’t happen at The Lichfield but I witnessed something that I don’t see often in such restaurants… the staff did not hurry us. We were asked if we were ready for our starters, and also later on if we were ready for our main courses. The service was almost French, by which I mean the better aspects of French service: Courteous and unhurried. It made for a pleasant end to the evening, even if Mr B did eat too much and had to go straight to bed when we reached Ms G’s home!
I was contacted this week by a company asking me to try out their ready-made curry sauces and give them some feedback. A box of samples is apparently on its way! I must admit that I had never heard of this company and it would be unfair of me to tell you about them at this stage. If the sauces are any good I’ll reveal the name of the company. Watch this space.
(Looks out of window) Still raining heavily. I wonder if my cherry cake is cool enough yet?
20th June 2011
I was hoping to write this blog yesterday, but one look at the fruit patch told me I needed to spend some time picking the blackcurrants. I’ve already picked over 3 kg of the sour black fruit and they are safely in the freezer. Now the peak of the currants are ripe. Mum and I set to work…
About 2 hours later we had a a washing-up bowl full of ripe, juicy currants. The only problem remaining was to pick through each and every currant and make sure that it was stalk-free. I have no idea how many currants we picked, but the total weight was 5 kg (11 lb). That’s an awful lot of blackcurrants! This week I’m going to work on two projects – making some blackcurrant cordial according to a recipe that my colleague Sona sent me, and making some jam. I’ll need to find some space in my freezer for the rest.
My fruit and vegetable patch is doing well this year. We picked another small container of strawberries and I notice that the raspberries are starting to ripen. My broccoli is starting to look like broccoli, and even the brussel sprouts are coming along nicely. This is of particular interest because I didn’t plant any brussel sprout seeds. And where is my spinach and cauliflower????
Anyone fancy a curry?
Last week I told you that I had been contacted by a company who wanted me to try some of their curry sauces. Well, the box of samples arrived. I was expecting a couple of sachets of sauce and maybe a packet or two of spice mix. How wrong could I be…
The box was rather large. Inside there were 36 sachets of curry sauce and over a dozen 250g containers of assorted spice mixes! Given that there is only so much curry I can eat in a year I devised a plan…
On Thursday evenings I meet up with a group of friends for some campanological activities. I decided that I would try and recruit them into my Testing Team. Bwahahahahahaaaaaaa! I made a large pile of mini onion bhajis using a couple of teaspoons of spice from the jar labelled “Seekh Kebab Spice”, and I used one of the sachets of “Achari Gosht” sauce with some spuds to make an “Aloo Achari Gosht”. Armed with my tub of curry, some forks, and a bag-full of bhajis I left home for the evening.
After our exertions I produced my goodies and explained why I had become a mobile curry emporium. The bhajis disappeared in a flash and were met with nods of approval. Some people were very apprehensive about trying the curry but nonetheless they succumbed to peer-pressure… The verdict: hot, but very nice. Now was the time to strike my killer blow!
I produced several sachets of curry mix from my bag and asked if anyone would like to take one home to try it. The deal was simple – you can have a free curry mix providing you use it in the next two weeks and fill in a feedback sheet (which I hadn’t created at that point!). Out of the twelve sachets I took with me I only brought one back home. Success!
So now I have Titli’s Taste-Testing Team testing tempting treats! Who knows where this could lead with my new-found freelance status…
Some supermarkets are well laid out. For example, my nearest large supermarket (Morrison’s) in Leominster is laid out in a logical fashion. The biscuits are next to the cakes. The baked goods such as crumpets and bagels are next to the loaves of bread. All the things you might need for baking are in the same aisle. Simple and logical. You might imagine that all large supermarkets are like this, no?
No. There is one supermarket chain that frustrates the heck out of me. Shall I name them? Yes. Sainsbury’s. I don’t know who devised the layout for the supermarket in Kidderminster but it drives me crazy. And it’s not just that branch that I have problems with.
Example. The loaves of bread are in one half of one aisle. To find the baked goods you have to go into the next aisle and find them next to the cakes. The biscuits are somewhere else entirely. They also have an annoying practice of putting some sauces and pickles on shelves above the freezer units and not necessarily where you might ordinarily expect to find them. They have a World Food section on one aisle, but they put all the olives and stuffed vine leaves above a freezer.
Frustration approached maximum on Friday. I wanted some maple syrup. Where do you imagine I might find such an item? Next to the sugars and sweeteners? No. In the baking section? No. Next to the Golden Syrup and treacles? No. In the end I quizzed an assistant. “It’s next to the Golden Syrup”, he said cheerily. I frowned. I’d examined every product next to the Golden Syrup and I was sure that there was no maple syrup there. He led me down an aisle filled with pet food and there at the end of the aisle was a display consisting of rows of Golden Syrup and a few jars of maple syrup. What kind of supermarket displays a product in two different places when one of those places is next to nothing of any relevance???!!!
Perhaps next time I want a light bulb I should look in the chiller section next to the yoghurts…