Saturday, 27 October 2012

Saturday Foodie Bit! At the change of the clocks.

Snow stops play! Well would
have done if wasn't November
last year!

Who is going to be early for the Sunday Lunchtime Pint?

A time of confusion in the next 24 hours will happen for some.  It is that time of year when we in the UK switch from Summer Time to Winter Time or to give it it's more official term Daylight Saving.  So if you haven't figured it out yet the clocks go back an hour.  So the pub opens an hour later (still same time but on winter time clock).

Have been spending Fridays recently, when there has been no work on, delivering my 70+ year old father (and mother) to Bury St. Edmunds for appointments.  Opposite the destination is the Greene King brewery.  Haven't really been inside yet but will do so at some point in the next few weeks.  The whole process of driving to Bury and waiting around for an hour and a half does not really give enough time to take the tour and sample the brews (driving and drinking being a non starter as well).  So the traditional Sunday Lunchtime chat and sampling of the brews in the Royal Exchange.

Had a wander around centre of Bury St Edmunds again.  There is a brew/wine making shop off the market square  that I have used before.  Angel Hill has a few butchers and obligatory pasty franchise shop.  A few pots and pans shops but not a lot of delis or shops selling local produce.  This is a great shame since Bury St Edmunds is at the heart of an area where great food is produced.  There is a market on Wednesday and Saturday, but yesterday was Friday!

So with the prospect of snow in the UK (hence the picture) I am going top share a not so Suffolk recipe but one from Sicily!  Still try to think winter is not here! I used Google Translate to share a starter last week from the Montalbano cook book.  My Italian is not great but we have enough latin based words in the English language to have a stab at the meaning.  Looking through the recipe book using Kindle Desktop I have selected a first course.


Pirciati ch'abhruscianu

Ingredients: (for 4 people)
400 gr. of pirciati (typical Sicilian pasta) or penne
80 gr. grated pecorino cheese
1 onion
4 cloves of garlic
4 anchovy fillets in salt
1 hot pepper
10 gr. of chiapparina (capers purposes)
40 gr. black olives
1 sprig of basil
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a frying pan with oil, fry the onion and garlic finely chopped. Add the anchovies, chilli, chopped, capers and olives. Cook the pasta in salted water, drain and toss with the sauce. Add the cheese to each dish, a few basil leaves and a sprinkling of black pepper to taste.

Campo, Stephanie (2010-04-08). The secrets of the board of Montalbano. Recipes by Andrea Camilleri (Italian Edition) (Kindle Locations 725-726). The green lion Editions. Kindle Edition.

The recipe could also be a light lunch.  What I like about this the fact you can all of this in a British supermarket with out too much trouble (even Anchovies most of the time!).  Also it does not have the supposedly essential Italian ingredient,  pomodoro or tomato!

May share a Suffolk recipe if this weather keeps up! 


Saturday, 20 October 2012

Sunday Foodie bit: Montalbano's Octopus!

The octopus. It's in there somewhere!

Dinner for Eight?

Montalbano, the Sicilian detective series on BBC4 as mentioned in the last blog is interpersed with culinary diversions.

The appreciation of the Octopus comes across many times in the series.  Octopus is not really a very British culinary delight.  Catching the Octopus is an experience as shown by one of the more robust British TV Chefs Gordon Ramsay. 

 I have tasted something similar to the recipe below in Greece. Octopus is not something you get on the average Tesco Fish counter.  Whether this recipes works equally as well with squid needs to still be investigated.  

So a translation of the recipe featured in the books about  Montalbano's exploits.  Wonderful what you can do with the right tools and Google Translate!

Octopus to Luciana

Ingredients: (for 4 people)
750 gr. with octopus
3 cloves garlic
juice of 2 lemons
olive oil
salt and pepper.

Clean and wash the octopus. Boil in salted water already boiling, for about one hour. Drain, cut into small pieces and toss with lemon juice, olive oil, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.

Campo, Stephanie (2010-04-08). The secrets of the board of Montalbano. Recipes by Andrea Camilleri (Italian Edition) (Kindle Locations 511-522). The green lion Editions. Kindle Edition.
Very simple, could easily be tapas, a meze or a addition to a salad!  But first catch your Octopus! 

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Sunday Foodie bit! Sicilian cookery!

The Montalbano Cook book!

I have become a fan of the BBC 4 foreign detective show time slot on Saturday night!  We have had the Nordic detectives of Wallender and the Danish/Swedish female detective with the famous jumpers (name slips my mind).  Now we Commisario Montalbano (have included a non-BBC link as often difficult to access BBC iplayer sites from outside UK), probably the best of the lot so far!

Against a background of traditional Italian stereotypes of  Sicilian characters the island is show cased as a spectacular backdrop.  Probably not on the must visit tourist trail, this is the largest Mediterranean island.  Being such a large island it has a great diversity of climates and soils.  In such an area there is a great diversity of food.  Mixtures of Greek, Arabic, mainland Europe and Italian cooking have washed over the island with the different owners.

Montalbano features many different dishes using this produce.  The main character spends a fair amount of time on food orientated meetings/lunches something that is not seen in many detective dramas.  A cookbook or list of recipes would be great to follow.  The humble aubergine seems to take on a life outside being stuffed, frittered or moussaka-ised. 

So task for the week to find one of the recipes featured in the latest episode and have a try!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Hobbies for 2pointfiveageofman!

Endeavouring to hobby!

The autumn of the dark nights is approaching!  Dominoes and cribbage are no longer part of the pub scene.  Dangerous Book for Boys times might be upon us.  This is a book a few years ago I bought in Grumpy youngish man mode when all the papers were on about lack of outdoor play!  Conkers are they actually banned?  I remember reading as a child a similar book, which we may still have around the house somewhere which was more about indoor games for winter.

A few years ago I bought an Airfix model as a distraction from work.  The theory being that if I had a 3D model to build I would not turn on the computer (ironic now blogging about it).  If I did not turn on the computer I would not wrestle with the digital classroom in an environment ( a certain type of school) that did not really lend itself to the digital classroom.

This time I am going to take the lid off the box.  A  forgotten ship in the history of Britain but remembered in the Space Shuttle Series.  A history of the ship I will delve a little further into a little later in time.  This was a ship in the tradition of scientific research, along with the more famous Bounty and the RSS Discovery.

The idea of a research vessel quite different from the privateering expeditions of Drake and Columbus.  The involvement of the Royal Society in petitioning the Admiralty was continuation of the enlightenment or Renaissance.  It is only historians who like to pigeon hole STEM  ( a new buzz term) into cultural eras shaped by the philanthropists of the arts of that era.

Revisiting this period through this model building exercise is also a chance to revisit some of my interests   Cook was the first expedition to set eyes on Botany Bay.  Jospeh Banks the Botanists on board described many new species and the Latin names of many plants contain the name banksii.

More to follow.

Monday, 1 October 2012

A World view!

My Readership!

For the past 2 years or so I have been blogging.  I have been using blogger and at one point WordPress.  In fact I have plans to return to using WordPress again at the beginning of the New Year.

In that time it has been interesting to see the number of different countries that my blogs have been read in over the years. Some posts have been read by one or two people some by more than a hundred.  

Why do we blog? In my case to keep my interests.  We are flooded by so much information today.  Some relevant, some interesting and some in the category of "where did that come from?".

The digital community has great benefits to understanding of others and communication instantly of new ideas and opinions.  It would be interesting for me if some of you that read my blogs to join me on a Google+ circle.  Google + is starting to grow on me as a subtly different process to to Facebook and Twitter.  Twitter has become almost a ticker-tape of views with very rarely any feedback.  It is starting to become a little congested unless you run something like Tweetdeck you have a fleeting chance of picking up relevant tweets!   

The other blog that I am currently working away at is:

At the moment I am experimenting with learning spoken Mandarin Chinese and Greek.  Spanish is another  world language I am also going to try and master.  A few Google+ hangouts with native speakers would be interesting to participate in.  I will use Google Translate a few times just to see the response to the tool.  We make a sweeping assumption in England that is somebody can't speak English why should we bother to learn their language. Wrong!  For many reasons not least from a point of view of excluding some people. 

In terms of exclusion Dyslexia affects between 5 and 10% of the population in the UK.  At the top of each blog I am adding a link to OpenDyslexic  fonts to redress the access issues!