I am developing a new list. I call it the ‘Irritating List of Annoyances’, or ILA. The ILA currently comprises:
- Our intermittent leaking roof. How can a bloody roof leak intermittently? How does it do that? Why does it not leak when the roof man comes round to investigate? And then start leaking once he’s gone, and it isn’t even raining.
- The Highways Agency. They decided that to ease the traffic problem on my way to work they would make the road narrower. Yes narrower. The reason? To make more space for the pedestrians. But there aren’t any bloody pedestrians because the road is a dual carriageway and no one walks.
- Squeaky noises from the car. I hear a noise and noises = £££s. But was it a noise from my car or the old banger in front? Has life come to this? Listening out for noises and then cursing other people for having noisy cars?
- BBC Weather forecasters. No one has any idea what the weather is going to do. But some people get paid for not knowing.
I will add to my list as time goes by. Then I will publish it and people will buy it and I will be rich and drive my car straight into my roof and that will deal with a lot of the things that annoy me.
Food doesn’t annoy me.
Some time ago I decided to try out Pork Steamed Buns. They were delicious but I had to eat all of them because the wife is vegetarian and the children were indisposed. So I thought I’d try a vegetarian version, with mushrooms replacing the pork. Maybe they’d turn out better, maybe not.
The World Cup is nearly over. And I have lost interest. The two teams any self-respecting England supporter should despise (Germany and Argentina) are playing in the final on Sunday. Why are they despised? Too painful to explain. If you don’t know, you don’t need to know.
Nevertheless, I read something quite funny the other day. (If you hate football, and you aren’t English, you might as well skip this bit because you won’t get it or simply won’t care).
Gary Linekar, our very own ‘goal-poacher-extraordinaire‘, once said:
‘Football is a simple game: 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.’
And we Brits (technically we English) know this is true. But it’s okay. It’s still fun to watch other teams, and their supporters. Some of them think they are good enough to beat the Germans. Take Brazil. Well they found out didn’t they. Or the French. Now they played Germany just the past week, and they probably thought they had a chance. But they didn’t. German efficiency stretches beyond Vorsprung durch Technik.
But the French need not worry. They can cook. Germany is only famous for big chocolate cakes covered with cherries and pickled cabbage served with sausage. The French come up with all sorts of amazing things. Take mushroom millefeuille.
These are essentially big vols-au-vent, you know those morsels of ‘wind-blown’ lightness served up during ‘80’s dinner parties.
I found this recipe in The Sunday Times. It’s a Marcus Wareing creation. He’s a chef who is described as a ‘perfectionist’.
In my mind that means he is incredibly scary and has no sense of humour. I suppose you can’t have a sense of humour if you are a professional chef. I mean think about them – Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Raymond Blanc – they aren’t exactly a laugh a minute are they; in fact, even with that happy-chappy exterior, you know Jamie Oliver didn’t build a multi-million pound empire by calling everyone ‘mate’.
And now it turns out that our very own Nigella has been cooking up more than just chocolate soufflé. I personally find it hard to believe that she was whacked out of her head whilst presenting Nigellissema, but it might go some way to explaining why she has a permanent look of bliss on her face.
Anyway back to Marcus, a very serious chef who doesn’t smile. Here is his Mushroom Cobbler.
I just remembered that while I was stuck on that plane last week coming back from being an international businessman (shame I don’t get international businessman pay BTW) there was a salesman sitting behind me next to an English undergraduate.
I know this because the guy didn’t stop talking from the moment I sat down until the moment I got up, opened the rear door and threw myself out at 22,000ft.
Okay I didn’t do that but honestly I would have rather been stuck next to a 300lb screaming monster-baby. With a bad vomiting bug.
Now this guy couldn’t stop talking because a) he was a salesman and b) he was nervous (probably because of the dodgy engine; see the last post). But he was scaring the hell out of the student. She was laughing in that hysterical way you would do as someone explains to you that the reason they say get into the ‘brace’ position if you are unlucky enough to be in an airplane disaster scenario isn’t to try to save your life, it’s to try and keep your teeth in your face so they can identify your body from dental records. Nice.
That guy was an arsehole but his buddy was worse – some kind of Eastern European who was trying to chat this girl up by explaining that his girlfriend had left him and that he was looking for love because he had ‘biological needs’. Really? Keeping looking mate you’re going to be in it for the long haul.
Anyway, after a particularly stressy work week I decided to unwind with a serious dose of cooking. I decided to try Coq au Vin again. This time with croissant!
So now that I am in my 43rd year thoughts of mortality loom. Eat less. Move more. That’s the secret to a longer life.
But I might be wasting my time. To quote Michael Fitzpatrick (I’m not convinced I can work out who he is but anyway):
“The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The French eat a lot of fat and also have fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
The Japanese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans. Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. What kills you is speaking English”.
With these words in mind I proceeded to create the most decadent dish I could think of – served with vast quantities of red wine: