I’m playing serious catch-up with my blogging this week. Been doing night shifts since Sunday – all you do is get up, go to work, go home, go to bed – so I just haven’t been in the mood to do anything. This is a mistake as once you lose the momentum it can be quite hard to catch up. Also, whatever joy you had at whatever you’d done is somewhat diminished by time. For example, I had a brilliant time going to see Legally Blonde last week, but what I have to say about it now is different than what I would have said then, being, as it is, tempered by time. Still…
I’d never been to a musical before, and though I had an idea what to expect, singing, dancing and the like, I was amazed by just how much was going on at any one time. If you haven’t seen the movie it’s the story of Elle Woods, a blonde Californian college student, who get dumped by the love of her life because she wasn’t “serious” enough for his ambitions, who then follows him across the country to Harvard Law school to win him back by proving she is the one for him. That’s about it in a nut shell, but there’s so much more to it. Ultimately it’s a whole ‘you-can’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover’ story, with shades of ‘you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to’ and a little bit of ‘you-never-know-where-life-will-take-you’.
But never mind all that, the show, and the movie, are just fun! I heartily recommend you see one or the other. I’ve just bought the DVD to re-live the show watching experience, and I may buy the soundtrack if they do an English cast version (the one on sale is the Broadway production), but that’s partly down to the fact that I’ve got a bit of a thing for Sheridan Smith, who plays the lead. She was Janet in Two Pints Of Lager… and I’ve fancied her ever since then pretty much, so going to see this show was a real treat for me.
One weird thing was realising that, as far as I could tell, I was the only bloke my age there who wasn’t a bit of an uphill gardener. The audience was almost entirely blonde, female, gay, foreign or old (or some interesting derivation thereof) and then me. Not that any of that was a problem, it just struck me as odd. I suppose that’s what you get for doing random new things every week.
Anyway, I loved it. The singing, the dancing, the catchy tunes – “Is he gay… or European?” – the comedy UPS Guy, the prison skipping routine – hats off to them, no one tripped – it was fabulous, and I fully intend to go to more stage shows like that from now on; assuming I can find people to go with me that is (see the Dave Gorman blog report for why that is). Just one of the many ways in which a girlfriend would be handy I suppose.
Right, now to the cooking:
My version of the old classic. The measures are a little sketchy I’m afraid, as I winged it a bit, but start with this and then add some more tomatoey stuff as need be and I’m sure it’ll work out fine.
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
splash of olive oil
1/3 red chili, chopped (optional)
1 tsp Italian mixed herbs, or ½ tsp basil, ½ tsp oregano
175g soya mince
1 tin chopped tomatoes
3 tsp tomato puree
1 tsp sugar
¼ cup hot water
In a medium pan fry the garlic and onion on a medium heat in olive oil for 4-5 minutes until the onion softens.
Add the chili and herbs, mix and fry for 30 seconds, then add the soya mice. Mix again, then add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and sugar.
Add water if required, stir thoroughly, then simmer on medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Serve on bed of pasta.
Y’see, nice and simple, and damn tasty too. The one in the picture was a second mix of the remaining half of the recipe a few days later. I added another tin of tomatoes and more garlic, herbs and puree, as I’d over done it with the mince first time round (225g). But I’ve reduced the amount to use for the recipe, and added some puree, so it should work out fine. If not let me know and I’ll revisit it (I’ve had enough bolognese for now so didn’t fancy testing it a second time in two weeks).
This is also a bit of a work in progress, but not in the same way. It tasted fine when I had it, it’s just the method of preparation that I might work on. I reckon grated onion and potato might work better than chopped, but you tell me.
2 potatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dill
salt and pepper
Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium high heat. Toss in the onion and mushrooms and fry until soft. Add the spices and potato, mix thoroughly, then fry on a medium heat until potatoes are cooked. Serve immediately.
The reason I’m thinking grated potatoes will work better is that it’ll take less time to cook. Also, you might be able to brown them a bit better to get that nice golden hue. Plus, and this is taking it to eleven, you might even be able to find a way to make those nice neat little patties like you get when you eat an English breakfast in a cafe. If you try that maybe eliminate the mushrooms and try mixing the ingredients in a bowl first before frying, that might work.
Ok kids, ciao for now. Well I say that, but I’ve got 2 more entries to write, so really I’ll be right back. TTFN.