Ishbel loves this, me, I can take it or leave it but when the boss likes it who am I not to prepare it...
So get your self a decent wee Rack, ask your butcher for the best end
There are many ways you an prepare this, drizzle it with garlic, chopped rosemary and a light olive oil and bake it off but one of Ishbel's favourite ways for me to prepare it, is with a bread crumb and herb dressing.
I was serving this with Dauphinoise potatoes, so let's start there and remember this is just for two;
Pre-heat the oven to 160c/320F
What you will need:
A couple or three large potatoes I used Maris Pipers, but King Edwards are good too
A clove of garlic
300ml /10 ozs double cream
Salt and pepper
Doesn't matter, your preference, peel or not the potatoes, and slice thinly about 1/2 inch thickness
Rinse through to get rid of any excess starch
Arranger in baking dish
Grate the garlic and scrape into the dish with the tatties season with salt and pepper
Mix all of the above
Pour over the cream and mix again topping up to just below the top layer of potatoes, and place into the preheated oven for 1 - 11/2 hours. Check regularly, you may need to top up with a little more cream and also to ensure the cream is not splitting, if it is your heat is too high ans should be reduced
For the Lamb
You can trim the fat off before adding the crust and cooking, if you wish
Preheat the oven to 200c Fan 220c conventional
Make some breadcrumbs, you can
season these with whatever dried herbs
takes your fancy
One decent sized best end rack of lamb
and for this I used two dressings
1 large teaspoon of dijon mustard
1 large teaspoon of elderberry and port jelly
usually I would use just either the jelly or the mustard but being a bit adventurous here!
Spread the mustard on one half of the fat (tip; usually I would brown the rack on both sides before adding the dressings, I forgot as I fell asleep and was pushed for time to prepare for Ishbel coming in!)
I usually at this point just drizzle a tiny drop of light olive oil over the breadcrumbs
and place in the oven
depending on your preference
8 minutes should get you very Pink
10 minutes should get you medium
12-15 minutes for well done
I served this up with some some carrots and soya beans
Thursday, 6 March 2014
Sunday, 2 March 2014
As I understand it if you go into a pub or a takeaway where you find gambling machines you are limited to how much cash you can actually put into these machines which is a few pounds, but in betting shops, as I understand it, you can bet hundreds of pounds at a time.
Also, and in particular to say, takeaways, your time is limited to how long you are in there waiting on your order to be made up and given to you and then you are out of there and of course the amount you can win is also a few pence to a few pounds while in betting shops you can sit in there all day and put as much as you want in, from a few pounds to a few hundred pounds with the returns also being that much greater, possibly!
The debate I have heard this week is about the gambling industry introducing voluntary controls where, when you put the first coin or note into your machine you are given the option to set a time limit and an amount you want to gamble up to. So, you can start and say to yourself that you only want to spend an hour on the machine and you only want to gamble a maximum of £200.00.
I have to confess to only having two addictions in my life that has been detrimental to both my pocket and my health. The first one is the dreaded fags if you haven't guessed it and even now after having been diagnosed with terminal cancer, although I hasten to add, according to my oncologist, my particular cancer is not linked to the cancer I have and my plan was to finally kick the nasty habit when it was thought that it could be cut out and that after the operation I was going to be in hospital for at least three weeks and that then, would be the perfect time to kick the habit, ah well the best laid plans, and all that. So, I have continued to smoke but there is a plan now in effect and the first step is the pharmacy today to buy one of these new fangled electronic fags and try again, but this timeI am I hope, more determined.
The second addiction was booze. I came from a hard drinking community and family, I can only remember seeing my father drunk more often than sober and I can remember well, being more than a tad upset when I was thrown out of one of my favourite watering holes when I was fourteen after been drinking in there for about a year, when a new barmaid started who new, " Hey, you're one of Agnes's kids aren't you ...." And you can imagine the rest. Mind you it didn't help, that Agnes, my mother was in the trade and I used to volunteer regularly to clean and tidy the cellar under the bar and this was at a time when most beers were in 'screw top' bottles in crates and that made it easy for me to go round a crate of beer, unscrew the top and take a swallow and as long as I managed to keep the levels equal and not take too much, I could guzzle a lot of beer in each 'cleaning' session!
I then joined the Army at 15, Junior service and then at 17 transferred to the Regulars and my Regiment was in Berlin. Part of the British Army on the Rhine, shortened to the acronym BAOR, then lengthened by those serving at the time to the 'Boozy Army on the Rhine', as booze in the NAAFI/PX was so, so cheap.
Well, you probably know the rest, got married 76, first child Marie came along in 78 and from that moment I gave up the booze only occasionally to today, having the very odd tipple. I found that relatively easy but the fags, clearly not.
So back to the gambling and the debate of the week which now has the government stepping in and telling the gambling industry that rather than them introducing a voluntary code of practice, the government is going to make them mandatory. Fine, let's make them mandatory, but is this really a way forward to help those who have this addiction? It seems to me that the new rules, whether introduced voluntary by the bookies, or mandatory by government, is a bit like pissing in the wind. Is it not like an alcoholic finally admitting his addiction, joining AA and then being applauded for their courage in finally admitting, coming to terms with it and then joining their first AA meeting, to be told, "just in case you need it, there is tea, coffee and water over in the corner, oh, and there's a bottle of Whisky, there too, just in case ........."
The warning is there on the slot machine and it flashes up on the screen to tell you to put your time/£ limit in, but the button is there for you to over ride it at any time, and unlike the AA meeting there are no like minded people also trying to fight their addiction sitting in a circle willing you on to win the fight and to resist the urge.... It's just you and the machine and the easy button to override your desire to feed your addiction, the machine and the profits of a vastly rich gambling company before you head home to your wife and family with empty pockets and wallets, again. and I suppose that's easy to do when you can bet £100.00 every 20 seconds! (BBC news)
As an aside, at 57, I can report, that I can count on my right hand how many times I have actually been inside a betting shop in my life....... and why are they called shops any way? A shop is a place where you can purchase goods or services, can't see you can do that in these places.... And if you know me you know I don't have five digits on my right hand ........
Friday, 28 February 2014
Thanks for your call on Tuesday in regard to both The County and District Council's initiative in engaging the local populace in regard to determining how best to approach the perceived problem of anti-social behavior in the area.
As I pointed out during our conversation I was slightly perplexed by your apparent assertion that both the District Council and local Police had informed you that there is a major anti social behaviour problem in the area, giving me at least, the impression that this was concentrated in and around the Centre!
As I explained, I have been here since 1999, and I do have the scar to prove it, from where I was attacked by a large group of youths. At that time and up until the last couple of years it is true to say that there was indeed a large problem with local youths in the area and largely centred and concentrated around the Market and shops. It would also be fair to say that we, as a company and the major landowner in the area have to vicariously shoulder some of the responsibility in that, with the configuration of the 'old market' giving the youths who had nowhere else to congregate, a ready 'playground' where they could climb and run about on the market stall roofs and then in adverse weather, take shelter to drink, smoke and do whatever else they got up to under cover of the stalls. This was intimidating to the general members of the public and our own tenants who passed through the centre at all hours.
In addition the Local School, was, in my opinion, badly managed by the then incumbent headmaster and we suffered greatly at the hands of those pupils who did not want to be there, could not go home and from the large number of excluded pupils who seemed not to be given any other option but to hang about on the streets, once excluded, as neither the Local or County authorities seemed to have any firm plan in place to deal with those excluded or to round up those who were truanting. And so, the anti social problems were exacerbated by this too. As far as graffiti in the Centre is concerned, this too was a major problem. Again, we managed this by painting all of our low level walls white, giving the taggers a blank canvas to work on, but as soon as they tagged a wall we painted over it and within three months the taggers were avoiding us completely, so even that problem has been resolved.
All of that is not to say that there are still not the occasional problems within the Centre and with our tenants but these are largely directed at shops, the late night pizza shop has, I am informed, been the target of both anti social and racial abuse, people being refused in selling goods to the local pawn shop who become aggressive, these are clearly serious but criminal matters, well at least in relation to the racial abuse and not normal 'run of the mill' anti social issues.
Since, we took the decision to redevelop the Centre and demolish the market we are largely trouble free with only the odd incident of anti social behaviour to contend with and most of the local populace, including the youths of the area know that we have an extensive CCTV system covering the Centre and we regularly provide the local PCSO's with images from the system, or not so regularly now.
Of course while I accept some of the blame as mentioned earlier this cannot take away from the fact that a large number of parents have no control over their offspring, and society in general, along with the complete lack of direction by central government and local authorities and the pulling back of any involvement in providing youth clubs or direction for children. This, of course includes the lack of direction and support for those parent less able to communicate at any level with their children by entering into meaningful dialogue and are not able even to offer guidance on right and wrong or fitting in and belonging to an inclusive society; all of this has been sadly lacking over the last forty years when it was the case that wherever you went there was at least some form of activity taking place in church and council run clubs in almost every district of the land from John O'groats to Lands End .....
So, while I applaud and recognise any initiative that will reverse the trend of non involvement I don't see that a mobile youth club parked up once a week on our new square is going to facilitate that initiative, particularly when you have the local authorities, 'The .......', only 200 metres away which, seems to me to be pre-eminently situated within the burgh, open every day and night for local community activities, and has the rooms and halls to house youth services located within it, on a full time basis, encouraging both the advantaged and not so advantage youths in the area to participate in activities.....
I may well pop along to the proposed event, could you remind me of date and times please, out of curiosity, but I fear I am not going to be in a position to offer you any positive help by way of facilities based on the comment in the preceding paragraph.
Sunday, 23 February 2014
Had a good day on Saturday after our first full week back at work, and that was tough.
Even before I got out of the car on the Monday back, I had a female tenant almost banging on my window to tell me what she thought of the contractors we have engaged for the £11 million pound redevelopment of the Centre I manage, which incidentally, mirrored my own thoughts on them, but we are half way through the project so I am stuck with them but that's another story. The week didn't get much better. I had left, having arranged for my plant contractor to discuss with 'god' from head office, the matter of a replacement boiler. He had humphed and hawed over this, about a £12k outlay and decided he wanted to speak to the contractor himself. They met, he told me that he accepted what I and the contractor had said but had decided he wanted to have a full M and E inspection carried out on the plant room. I reminded him that I had been asking for this for years, so fine, get on with it.
I knew when he got it he was going to be even more of an unhappy bunny as the independent contractor HE engaged came back and told him what I already knew; Your plant room is so old even Noah wouldn't have it installed in his Ark and it all needs to be replaced as does the heating system to all tenants offices and we can do this for between £350 to £400k .... I sent him an email and politely asked if I could have my £12k boiler. I think he is still picking himself off the floor
So, the weekend couldn't come quickly enough and apparently Ishbel's week wasn't great either but the bright spot for her was getting back to work and finding that her boss had taken the week off which somewhat extended her holiday feeling, hurrahs all round ....
So, started off yesterday with me getting up after another fitful night but the thing is I think I am so used to them now it doesn't really bother me that much. Had me brekkie, muesli and fresh fruit and then took the goddess that is Ishbel her breakfast in bed, still with no fixed plans in mind. As I pottered about I found vouchers that we got from Ishbel's brother David and his partner Yvonne for Christmas - That holiday just keeps on going for us as we used other cinema vouchers we got from Marie, Peter, Holly and Charlie last weekend to go and see the Monuments Men and the day before that we had a Spa day courtesy of Xmas vouchers from Steve, Jen and the girls - for a meal in Carluccio's Italian restaurant. Normally, we would just pop along to Canary Wharf a magnificent visual and beautiful collection of modern high rise buildings of offices, shopping and landscaped gardens in the heart of the old docklands area of London and eat at the restaurant there.
Yesterday we decided to pop into the West End and Covent Garden, never understood why it is the West End as it is on the East side of London, but never mind. We drove in but it was so busy parking was difficult to find and we ended up in one of the private underground car parks who were shoe horning cars into it, but at least we got parked.
|Ishbel, looking chilled in Carluccio's|
After a short stroll around we dropped into Carluccio's on Garrick Street which, as usual for one of his restaurants was just buzzing and there was at least a twenty minute wait for a table. Not to worry though the food shop, there is one with every Carluccio's, had bar stools and a counter top and you can browse and buy or have a drink..... What do you think Ishbel opted for, clue, it was red and large ....... and while she sipped her wine we perused the menu
After that it was only a 15 minute wait before we were called to a table and settled down. As busy as it always is, service is always prompt and efficient, 2nd glass of wine ordered for Ishbel with a bowl of mixed olives and bread with oil and balsamic. Ishbel ordered the goats cheese, roasted peppers and Parma Ham for starters and Sea Bass for mains I had mushroom and ham soup for starters and pasta with fruit de mere for mains. The food is always excellent. All in all we were in there for about an hour and a half and then it was time for a wander round Covent Garden.
|Apple Market Covent Garden|
If you have never visited this area of London it is so worth it, it is is always thronged with folk visiting the many covered markets and restaurants within the 'Garden' area and there are always street performers littered throughout entertaining the crowds.
|Ishbel's Whittard Tea Caddy|
Ishbel renewed her Whittard's Tea caddy from their shop in the Apple Market and there is always plenty of tea or coffee on the go to taste before you purchase too. We then spent some more time watching the street performers and visiting the various halls but by then I was beginning to wane a little and my bod was beginning to ache.
|(C)Royal Opera House)|
So,we head off through the rear entrance to the Royal Opera House stopping long enough to purchase tickets for a March performance of Tchaikovsky's The Sleeping Beauty by The Royal Ballet, can't wait, then it was back to the car and the short journey home for a relaxing evening.
I should point out that it is probably safe to say that as well as my body deteriorating the deterioration of my mind seems to be speeding up faster..... We went to Carluccio's as we had those £50 vouchers, I forgot to use them. Then today, I popped in to the supermarket for which I had vouchers too ....
You know the rest, but at least I found my way back to the car and home, so at least that is something #idiot