Tag Archives: food

Reasons to be Cheerful #63: Pancake Day

4 Mar

simpsons moving

Shrove Tuesday, much like Easter and Christmas is one of the predominant reasons that I am glad to live in a Christian (kind of) country. Much as the ideas of forgiveness and loving thy neighbour (obvs depending on fitness) appeal to me, neither of them really go with a lemon and sugar topping. So on today, holiest of days (well, in the top five anyway), I would like to share my reasons to be cheerful.

1. Pudding For Dinner

As someone who likes to prioritise stomach space by eating sweet before savoury, the one day of a year that elevates the best bit of dinner (aka the pudding) to the top of the pile is one that chimes well with me. And anyway, eggs and flour are pretty savoury so actually, a pancake covered in nutella, banana and ice-cream is just like dinner and dessert in one.

A well-rounded meal

A well-rounded meal

2. Let’s You be Quasi-Religious

For all the spiritually-curious who can’t or won’t commit, events like pancake day and the subsequent month of Lent are the perfect opportunity to broach the religious path with a non-too distant endpoint in sight. Stuff yourself silly, give up chocolate/bread/fags for a month and then when you decide that God’s not for you, noone will judge (or care). So much easier than reading the bible. And you don’t have to get up early on a Sunday.

For the love of Jesus?

For the love of Jesus?

3. It’s a Great Excuse For a Diet

Personally, I don’t go for the fad style of diet, but I think it’s fair to say that that statement either makes me a liar or a member of another minority. What I do know, is that wanting to be a size 10/8/zero isn’t enough motivation for most non-pro-ana people and this is why Mondays, new years, imminent meetings with exes and Lent are all popular diet starting points. I’m pretty sure that the original aim of Lent wasn’t to achieve a flat stomach through the self-denial of carbs, but whatever. If it works, it works.

4. Pancake Making is So Much Easier than Proper Baking

Before people start griping, I am aware that frying a pancake is not baking, but I’m going to go ahead and conflate cakes with pancakes anyway. They both include the word ‘cake’ and they both include flour and eggs. What more do you want? Anyway, the point is that baking a cake is hard. Even though Mary Berry is a great inspiration, her haloed and snazzy-jacketed image alone does not negate the bloody complicatedness of doing a cake from scratch. Pancakes though, are easy. They don’t even need to look nice. Rustic works as well as the next. Just drizzle a bit of chocolate a la Jamie Oliver and you’re basically a pro.

God in a Zara jacket

God in a Zara jacket



Reasons To Be Cheerful #39: The Great British Takeaway

25 Jul

Before the spurt in culinary activity initiated by Jamie Oliver and co., Britain was seen as a nation that was almost without a mainstream food culture. I say ‘almost’ because the ever-present exception has to be the takeaway. Granted, most of the nation’s favourites – including those loved by skinheads – are confirmedly foreign, but as with Kylie Minogue, we have adopted them and made them our own. Reasons to be cheerful then…

Rice, spice and all things nice

Rice, spice and all things nice

1. Variety

is the spice of life, yes, but what of those of milder tongue? Well, not to worry because as well as the leader of the bunch (Indian, obvs) there are fish and chips, Chinese, pizza and Turkish; and that’s just the start. To live in a country where on a mere whim, you can opt between at least five types of international takeaway; well, that’s when you realise that maybe Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t such big mistakes. It’s when you feel good to live in a democracy.

2. Meal Flexibility

If you’ve never woken up with half a pizza, the best part of a saag aloo or even just naan bread and a bit of dipping masala in your fridge, then you’re either a liar or really really fat. The great news is, these leftovers are ideal breakfast or lunch fare (depending on what time you get up). Yes, you might feel a bit of self loathing as you wolf down last night’s pizza with congealed bits of pineapple flaking all over the place, but be honest. You bladdy loved it.



3. Community Links

If, like me, you have a favourite local curry house/chippie/whatever, then you will know what it is to be part of the local community. You may never have seen your neighbours, or you might be avoiding them because they have a brood of offensive children, but you do know Paz who takes your orders at the local Indian. You might even have a special relationship because of that time you called Paz every 10 minutes after an hour’s waiting to enquire on the progress of your delivery; and then when it finally arrived he let you pay just a fiver for £20’s worth of food because he’s a bit scared of hysterical, hungry women. A friend to for life.

4. Widening Horizons

Who says you have to own a Le Creuset set to be an experimental eater? Down at the kebab shop you can choose between around 30-50 options on any given night. Whether its doner kebab or shish kebab; chapati or Peshwari naan; thin crust or thick crust. THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER. TO EAT.

Forget Ottolenghis

A la carte. Right here


Reasons To Be Cheerful #23: Fashionable* Cooking

30 Apr

*Just to clarify, I don’t mean cooking whilst wearing the season’s latest trends. But I should think that’s fairly obvious.

What I am referring to is the indomitable rise for some years now, of imaginative and inventive cooking within our great isle. From Jamie to Rachel Khoo to you there, reading the Guardian’s Ottolenghi recipes. We’re all bang on the cooking trend. Here’s why we should appreciate it:

1. The ‘Cave Man’ Effect

This one is for the ladies. Sorry if that sounds like the beginning of a girl power anthem, but please, bear with me. While the kitchen has traditionally been the domain of women, these days it’s hard to move for a man who isn’t experimenting with his food processor. Granted they’re not all whizzing up the French fancies of the Great British Bake Off, but building an outside pizza oven? Check. Aping Paul Hollywood (circa Bread, not GBBO), double check. Thankyou men. We’ll wash up.

Get. In. There.

Get. In. There.

2. The Fitties

I’ve already mentioned Paul Hollywood, and I’m going to do so again. No apologies. Personally, I’m not attracted to the baker’s strange combination of adolescent hair, perma-tan and constant scowl, but the masses (aka, the Daily Mail) have dubbed his show patisserie porn. Other heartthrobs include Nigella (obvs), Gizzi Erskine and the Fabulous Baker Brothers. Supermodels-cum-chefs – you’re not getting a mention.

Just get out

Lorraine Pascal: Just get out

3. The Falling Cost of Eating Out

My mum loves to bemoan the ‘fact’ that in her day eating out was a rarity, whereas now we’re all at it 24/7. And while the proliferation of cheap restaurants selling quality food probably has something to do with this, I’m also reckoning on the cost of your average Jamie Oliver recipe. More often than not, by the time you’ve bought the bag of bay leaves (of which you’ll use one), smoked paprika, preserved lemons, obscure fish you’ve never heard of, ETC; you could have purchased and eaten a tasty burger at a shared table with a cocktail served in a jam jar, at least three times.

4. Discovering New Ways To Eat


As well as introducing your palate to the cuisines of Ethiopia, Timbuktu and the Scilly Isles, the foodie frenzy has shown us how to be uber resourceful. I’m talking jam jars as glasses; greaseproof paper instead of linen napkins; sporks (less trendy). After all, who doesn’t appreciate the healthy feeling you get when wiping your greasy hands with the scrap of kitchen roll that just graced your greasy lips?

(REASONS TO BE PISSED OFF: The perennial presence of Jamie Oliver and his whole family. Just who is buying Jools’s cookbook?)