Manna

21/1/13 18:26
benicek: (sunset)
I was talking to a Sudanese doctor at work today. He was telling me how absurd it is that countries like his own, or Somalia, are held back by violence and political chaos, when they could so easily be economically successful. He told me this little story which I love....

During Sudan's 20-year civil war he was conscripted into the army and sent to a camp in the middle of nowhere which was occupied by 3,000 soldiers. He was the only doctor. Sickness wasn't a big problem in the camp but starvation loomed large. The enfeebled government was unable to supply the garrison with a single scrap food and they were stuck there. However, they were saved, because one thing that the camp did have in abundance was mango trees. These trees produced such prodigious quantities of fruit that soon the whole camp was living on them. Day and night the soldiers were eating mangoes. They were eating them raw, making them into salads and even cooking them. Never before or since has he seen so many mangoes consumed in one place. 

"Now imagine" he concluded "what could have been achieved if, instead of fighting a war, we had been exporting mangoes!"
Tags:
benicek: (Default)

Photobucket

I ate slightly more of these than is advisable but, in my defence, they were going cheap.

Funny how we English pretend that snail-eating is a purely French activity. We take them from the sea, boil, de-shell and place them in small polystyrene pots, put vinegar on them and pretend they're not snails really.
Tags:
benicek: (Default)

Photobucket

Plaice, mash and samphire.

Wikipedia tells me that samphire is mentioned in King Lear: "Half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!"
 
Tags:
benicek: (Default)
And so I drag myself reluctantly to work a night shift, weighed down and fortified, I must confess, by a quantity of eaten pancakes.

Happy pancake day!
Tags:
benicek: (Default)

Photobucket

A brace of pheasants in wine. Surprisingly cheap and easy. Pheasants: £7.85, plus wine, mushrooms, bacon and some onions. 40 minutes in the oven. Done.
Tags:
benicek: (Default)
Photobucket

Beemster cheese, from Beemster (funnily enough) in North Holland. I've become a bit obsessed with it since a Dutch friend brought us a wedge as a gift. My parents went to visit him for New Year and brought me back another wedge. Interestingly, Beemster is the oldest polder in the Netherlands, having been drained right at the beginning of the 17th century.

Tags:
benicek: (Default)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

My wife found these mushrooms growing on the grass verge near our house. Being Czech she knows everything about edible mushrooms. I think these are called 'king boletes' in English. I fried them in garlic butter and they were the most delicious mushrooms I've ever tasted. Incredible what you can get for nothing when you know how.
Two more pics here..... )
Tags:
benicek: (aaaaaaaaaarg!)
I'm getting quite good at the bread making now. I baked two more loaves yesterday and another today. Each is successively fluffier and nicer as I have learned, by trial and error, exactly how long to bake them and how much sunflower oil to use to make the dough looser.

I fell asleep this afternoon and dreamed that I could see the baby struggling in a large pile of flour, but was unable to help.

Maybe I'm overdoing this bread thing.
benicek: (Default)


I blame
this brewery: www.pivovarbenesov.cz
 
Founded by Archduke Ferdinand himself about 15 years before he was assassinated. Really wonderful beer. They even do a 'polotmavé' (half-dark) one called 'sedm kulí' (seven bullets), which you can see here, because that's how many times Ferdinand and his wife were shot in Sarajevo. Nice.
benicek: (Default)
Absinthe is horrible, even watered down. That's the last time I try that.
Tags:
benicek: (Default)
While waiting for my mother in Dorking today, curiosity and greed drove me into this tiny place for tea and sandwiches. Now, tea shops in England are a nice but often pretentious, overpriced affair. They are usually run by pleasant women-proprietors who remain proudly aloof from the franchise chains that are sterilising our high streets. But the tea is often somewhat on the mean side. A solitary bag floating disconsolately in the standard Hong Kong aluminium mini teapot, with 'free' hot water to top up. Hardly worthy of McDonald's, let alone up to George Orwell standard. And the sandwiches do tend to be mean too. Thin and small and disappointing; sort of stuck in the 1950's, before food rationing ended.

Well, not Hasketts in Dorking, Christ no. They spoon your tea from big antique caddies which they heave down from a shelf; big spoons, extra strong. Strongest I've ever had anywhere. And then a big woman makes you a massive plate of 3 inch thick egg and cress sandwiches, places it before you and goes back behind the counter, satisfied that she has defeated you.....which she had.
Tags:
benicek: (Default)


I derive great comfort from these three objects. I understand that smokers are comforted by the very act of lighting up, and heroin addicts by the very act of drawing up needles. This must be the same thing.
Tags:
benicek: (Default)


I think it turned out rather well :-)  Complete with two old 3p coins. The blue brandy flames don't show up in this flash photo, but they looked pretty cool.

(see 31st October for the 'making of')

The jumper was a present from my sister.
Tags:
benicek: (Default)


Last night's dinner. I get them delivered every Wednesday and it has become customary for me to invite fellow student nurse [livejournal.com profile] raywelly around to help eat them. He had the biggest trout last night, incidentally. I have to admit that it's a bit of an all-male affair, as the wife eats fish only tentatively. Ray and I normally finish hers off and fight over the head like two crazed bears. It's fabulous.
Tags:
benicek: (Default)

I can't really get into Halloween, which seems in this country to be just a lame prelude to Guy Fawkes night. However, what with all the plastic bats and skulls in the shops for the kiddies, I was quite entertained to see this real bat in our building. Eric and I were getting quite excited about it last night. I think it is a plecotus auritus, or brown long-eared bat. All bat species are endangered in this country but hey, who cares, we need those carparks and malls.

Anyway, forget Halloween, it is time to look forward to Christmas. I had come to hate this festival, which seems mainly an excuse for TV advertising to brainwash families into buying expensive shit for their kids....but that was before I got a kitchen. Ah yes, now I am lord of my own tiny hearth! Last night (in between bat interruptions) I set out on the first stage of making a fabulous CHRISTMAS PUDDING. See picture below. Yes, I used more than half of that bottle of French brandy. I'm using a BBC recipe similar to this one, but with figs and apricots and far more brandy.

Tags:

June 2017

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
1819 2021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Page generated 26/7/17 00:34

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags