Chips for a baby?

Now I generally try to keep away from any criticism of other people’s diets. It’s not that there aren’t enough openings for criticism but I realise I’m fortunate in being able to read and so therefore can manage to distinguish between junk and quality. So, if others choose to eat lard for a lifetime, I’m guessing its an informed choice they make and it’s up to them. But today’s news about a baby named after a chip shop and fed on chips and curry sauce has provoked me into a nanny-state type rant. What choice does an 11-month-old have?

The fact that the mother feels the need to fill her face with chips is her own business but is this really the diet to push onto a young child? With a lifetime of obesity to look forward too, doesn’t wider society have the right to step in?

After all won’t the cost to the state of this irresponsible behaviour eventually run into thousands as the health care system swings into action?
And what little girl is going to be proud to be named after a chip shop? The only good thing about this whole situation is that her mum doesn’t live near The Codfather, All Pizzas Great and Small, The Thrill of the Grill or A Salt and Battery.

Red hot passion killer

chili.jpg
According to a survey out last week, men like it hot. And even if they don’t like it hot, they pretend they to in order to impress us fair maidens.
Domino’s Pizza recently commissioned research on this and found five million men in Britain hold bragging rights to how much spicy food they can tolerate, all to impress their dates and girlfriends.
Asking around I have yet to find any females who find this kind of behaviour impressive. In fact my completely unscientific survey seemed to conclude that women find this sort of machismo a total turn-off.
But it did remind me of a story a friend shared from his army days. While competing for how much chili heat each could stand, one wag apparently pursuaded a dental technician to anesthetise his mouth. After shovelling as much unbearably hot stuff into his mouth and beating all other competitors hands down he was declared the winner.
And the point of this display of manliness? Who knows but given the amount of dribbling often accommpanied by a trip to the dentist, I didn’t think it was even worth asking if there had been any romance on the cards with any ladies unfortunate enough to be there that evening.

Sharon’s spicy chicken

I’m sure Sharon doesn’t just eat chicken but the popularity of her last chicken recipe on this blog prompted her to give this one a try. Sadly I wasn’t around when this was served up but I’m sure it was a success.
Serves 2-4 dependant on size of chicken thighs. It is best when marinated over night, then served the following day after cooking.
What you need
4 chicken thighs
1 chopped onion
1-2 finely chopped Scotch Bonnet Peppers (dependant on how spicy you like your food)
1 lime
1 tin chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons of soya sauce
2 teaspoons mixed herbs (preferably fresh)
Some form of infused Olive Oil for the pot
What to do
Score the chicken thighs to allow enhanced penetration of the marinate
Rub thighs with the lime that has been cut in half
Place chicken thighs into a bowl.
Cover with the onion, pepper/s and soya sauce. Leave to stand overnight if possible.
Once marinated remove chicken thighs from the marinate, leaving onions and peppers to one side
Add a dash of oil to a heavy duty pot, then heat
Once hot add the chicken thigh and brown on each side.
Drain off any excess oil/fat
Add the onions, peppers, tomatoes and herbs. Bring to the boil then leave to simmer for 1.5 hours.
Best served with the Jamaican favourite ‘Rice and Peas’ ;o)

Have you got a recipe for me? If so send it with a photo of yourself and tell me who you are. If it looks tasty enough, I’ll try it out.

Foodie in the city

sushi.jpg
Where can you go to get sushi for lunch, hand-made chocolates for tea then the trinity of bread, wine and olives for supper? Manchester of course and while we bid a fond farewell to this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival its worth just taking stock of where the city is at in the foodie stakes.
My weekend shopping excursion was not an unusual city centre eating experience. First off it was a visit to the improved Arndale food market. What a transformation! After browsing the fresh soup, local produce, and fantastic fish stall I crept behind the sushi conveoyor belt of Wing’s latest development – Dai Pai Dong.
A seafood pad thai for me and satay chicken meatballs for Himself were a spicy, freshly cooked welcome break for each of us and I was left wondering why the sushi bar setting somehow lends itself to a feeling of being part of a hidden scene just watching the world go by. Something to do with the film Lost in Translation perhaps? Onwards, and it was time to buy a gift for my mother’s birthday and this year mum was treated to the hand-made delights of Plaisir du Chocolate (well she is worth it) and then rounding off with a visit to the festival’s last markets. It was so heartening to see the queues of people lining up to sample the local produce or elbowing their way to the front of the freshly produced dips stall. Yes, good food in the city centre has become the accpeted norm thanks in no small part to such events as the festival. Here’s to next year’s.

Take me to the candy shop

sweets.jpg
Teeth-clenching nut brittle, gob-smaking stoppers, jaw tiring chews, mojos of all colours and uber-synthetic fruit salads……………what a journey of nostalgia sealed with a twist! But what about the spaceships with their ability to zoom straight to the roof of your mouth without any chance of retrieval?
My return from the back of beyond went via a gem of a shop – Candy Andys – where the experience of being a kid in a sweety shop is open to all ages for just a few pennies.
The dentist-defying haul I treated Himself to on my return (pictured) probably has enough Es to keep him on the ceiling for a week but was worth it just for the shopping experience. I picked, I mixed, I got the big screw top containers down from the shelf and knew again the rummage and wonder of a ten-year-olds’ trip out with pocket money. The spaceships won’t be in for a few days though but even that disappointment has its own silver lining – it just means a return visit is now on the cards.

Postcard from the (food) desert

I write with some alarming news. Fresh food shortages facing east Yorkshire threaten this blog – well food shortages and lack of internet access threaten the amount of blogging I can currently manage anyway.
Having being based for the past week in the small town of Howden I can this weekend report on the culinary disaster that faces its inhabitants. From the deep-fried breakfast bacon to the supplies of only processed vegetables, this town seems to be in the grip of an anti-Jamie Oliver backlash.
But what is it all about? The place is surrounded by good agricultural land, near a major fishing area and a food-producing part of the economy of this country – so why no fresh local produce?
My request for fish “without batter or breadcrumbs” was first greeted with blank stares before being assured that there was no call “for that sort of thing”. A plea from a colleague for potatoes rather than chips, fries or wedges was received like a request for knitted swimsuits and the chance of getting anything “organic” or “free-range”? Sorry which country do you come from?
Faced with this freezer-to-microwave version of hell, some of my fellow students on a training course in this unlikely location seem to think this is a “northern thing”. It’s like screaming into the night to try and persuade these southerners that not everywhere is like this in the north – or even in Yorkshire for that matter.
But sadly that’s the impression vistors will get as long as we all put up with these pockets of hopelessness.
So I’m heading back to Howden for a second week determined to find something edible – if only so that I can forcefeed any southern-based journalists I encounter in a (probably futile) bid to give us in the north a decent press when they return to their bases.
My life through food will be continuing on my return but, in the meantime, please post any recommendations for good restaurants in the east Yorkshire area here.