Rare treat

Just about the only benefit (other than the highly dubious one of ‘getting some exercise’) of spending hundreds of hours chasing your farmer friend's cattle across field and moor is that, every once in a while, you get to eat your arch-nemesis:


Two sirloin steaks formerly known as ‘Daisy-May’ yesterday.

Daisy-May had it coming, believe me.

Best steaks we ever ate. (And I'm not just saying that.)


Compare and contrast:

Guardian (10-Dec-2014): Marmalade: Paddington’s favourite conserve makes a comeback
The success of the Paddington movie is good news for marmalade: sales are up, more of us are making our own and a new generation is even drinking the stuff.

Guardian (24-Feb-2017): Marmalade in decline as Paddington struggles to lift sales
2014 film brought only a slight boost to the bear’s favourite spread, which is now mainly the preserve of older people.

Wotsit all about?

You might remember that, the last time I visited York, I was shocked to be served a burger which had been skewered to a plank of wood with a steak-knife.

I was back in York this week. As you might expect, I was apprehensive when I ordered a burger for lunch. You can imagine my relief, therefore, when the burger was delivered on an ordinary plate, without a stupid steak-knife sticking out of the top of it.

But then I bit into my burger…

Weird burger

…No, your eyes do not deceive you. My burger had been topped with Cheesy Wotsits.

The dirty bastards.

Lentil arithmatic

As yesterday was the last day of Lent, Jen and I decided to celebrate by eating lentils.

Although we both quite enjoy the taste of lentils, we don't eat them very often, and had never cooked them before. But somehow we managed to muddle through, transforming what might have been a relatively inoffensive vegetarian dish into something rather spectacular involving pancetta and pork sausages. In a word: absolutely delicious.

It was only as I was tending the simmering lentils that it occurred to me I had no idea what a lentil plant looked like. Lentils are pulses, so I guessed they hatch in some sort of pod. This morning, I verified my hunch on Wikipedia:

The lentil (Lens culinaris) is an edible pulse. It is a bushy annual plant of the legume family, known for its lens-shaped seeds. It is about 40 cm (16 in) tall, and the seeds grow in pods, usually with two seeds in each.

Whoa! Hang on a second! Two seeds per pod!? Have you seen the size of a lentil? They're not exactly filling. I reckon I ate at least a thousand of them last night. That's 500 (presumably minuscule) pods to shell. 1,000 pods, if you count Jen's portion. Who in their right mind is going to cultivate those? You'd have to be bloody nuts.

According to the same Wikipedia article, lentils were invented by aceramic Neolithic types in the Near East. I can't help feeling they might have spent their time more productively actually coming up with ceramics, then perhaps moving on to pancetta and pork sausages.

(Don't get me started on Brazil nuts.)

My super-hero name

Last night, I dreamt I went to inspect my handiwork in a palatial, L-shaped room that I'd stripped of wallpaper the previous day. To my dismay, I discovered that, while I had been away, someone had re-papered the walls and ceiling with a hideous, embossed Anaglypta. The re-papering, I realised, bore all the hallmarks of the Incredible Hulk.

Passing down a long passageway, I came to a door behind which I could hear voices talking. I knocked and entered, only to discover that I had interrupted an earnest conversation between Tony Stark/Iron Man (played by Robert Downey Jr), Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), and Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson). All three were wearing civilian clothing, rather than being ‘suited up’ in their super-hero garb, but it was obvious even to me that some dire emergency was afoot.

Clearly wishing to get rid of me, Tony Stark informed me that he needed my help on an important mission. He handed me a small metal container, about the size of a tin of shoe polish, but without any of those stupid twisty things on the side to help you open them. As you might expect from the creator of the Iron Man suits, the container looked indescribably cool in gleaming, gun-metal grey—although I was secretly a bit disappointed that he hadn't thought to throw a little hotrod red in there before he got Jarvis to render it. Tony explained that he was supposed to be cooking an extra-special paella for all the other Avengers, Nick Fury, and the senior agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. that evening, but that he was now in a bit of a rush, so he needed me to get started on the rice. He had, he said, already made some of his extra-special chicken stock, which I would find simmering in the kitchen. All I had to do was introduce the stock a few spoonfuls at a time into the rice, the requisite amount of which I would find in the cool, metal container. At this point, Natasha Romanoff gave one of her secret little smirks and made her excuses to leave before the only ‘girl’ present was also roped into cooking duties.

I looked down at the cool, metal container in my hand, thinking that it couldn't possibly contain enough rice to go round—especially if Dr Banner transformed into the Hulk—but Tony Stark assured me that the rice was a very special form of genetically modified rice invented by Stark Industries, and that there would be plenty enough for all. So, I headed off to the kitchen to make a start on the paella. And then I woke up.

Our superheroes eating

I don't think helping Tony Stark to cook paella for his super-hero friends and S.H.I.E.L.D. colleagues quite qualifies me for enrolment in the Avengers Initiative, but I do now at least know what my own super-hero name is:

The truth is, I am Rice Man.