cooking for men (wddc): gnocchi on the oche

The first posting on cooking for men who don’t do cooking, for ages and ages.  It’s based on what used to be my least favourite pasta, the rather filling gnocchi, and it includes three varieties of cheese (one mild, one smelly, one salty), plus unloved spinach and some prosciutto. It sounds totally unpromising but this is my wife’s signature dish and trust me fellahs it’s simple to cook and if your guests are hungry and kind of have a hankering for things that look and taste utterly Italian, they’ll love it…and you. So fill up a glass of cool wine whilst I take you through the ingredients.

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eurovision and the apricot stone

C wasn’t feeling at all well yesterday so I ended up watching TV alone last evening and found myself zapping across the channels in search of something – anything – interesting to watch. And I chanced upon the Eurovision Song Contest. Oh boy I know it sounds desperate but it was a not the worst thing I’ve ever, ever seen.  That said the UK’s entry was a dire little ditty penned by those hit-makers from the 80’s Mike Stock and Pete Waterman and sung by a Rick Astley look-alike, 19 year old Josh. It sounded like something Rick might have recorded and rejected back then as a B-side. Perhaps you won’t be surprised that  our entry came in a very creditable last. At least we got a whole 10 points this time. That being the total number of points cast by the voting public from 25 countries.

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Laws…out and down

And so it’s taken just the 3 weeks for the first scandal to hit the new Government following the resignation tonight of David Laws the Chief Secretary of the Treasury. He’s been caught fiddling more than £40,000 in expenses claiming for rent from the tax-payers’ purse paid to his long-term live-in lover James Lundie, who he claims is not really his partner because they have separate bank accounts. Ah somebody should presumably tell all those married people with personal accounts that their marriages are annulled then.  This guy is, er was, one of the ‘stars’ of the Lib-Dems and clearly a clever bloke  having been tasked by Cameron with leading the fight on reducing Ministerial overspending to help the new coalition Government meet its budget reduction targets. It’s reasonable to assume that he understands finance and fiscal propriety and yet most of today we were being asked to believe that this guy wasn’t breaking the clear Parliamentary rules about claiming expenses from spouses, family members and partners. Yeh right. And not only has he been knowingly doing this for years, this is the Minister who over the last week or so has been telling the country how to act with more fiscal responsibility.  How on earth do these people sleep at night?   Continue reading

we had juninho; who’s got mourinho?

Well after some whither and hither, it looks certain now that the special one’s off to Real Madrid. I’m always reluctant to say I told you so (ha!) but  I really did you know back on 21 September 2007 in the surreal bit of crystal ball gazing blog entitled ‘Forecasting’ ( Alright so I was a little premature, possibly not for the first time, but he got there in the end. It might just be the best signing Snr Perez has made. Will this preoccupy him enough to stop him angling to replace Sir Alex now? I doubt it but with luck he could raid the Chelsea and Liverpool locker-rooms now. Come on Jose go do your stuff.


ps congrats to my long-suffering mate JP as Millwall finally won a play-off final match today to secure a place in the Championship. It won’t be long before Blackpool are back there but let’s enjoy the moment eh J!

tangerine dream

Oh blimey, Blackpool FC only went and did it, didn’t they?  Winning promotion to the Premiership when all the pundits were saying it would be an unfortunate  outcome for the Premiership (or an embarrassment if you listened to  Talksport’s intellectual giants). Well up yours Mike Parry because the Seasiders will be rubbing shoulders with all of England’s footballing top dogs next year  so get used to it. Continue reading

you know you’re getting old when….

It used to be when policeman start to look young or when you realise that you’re older than the PM. Well for me those milestone days are long gone. Jeez there can’t be a single member of the Cabinet who’s more aged than me, well except for Vince Cable. Though he looks 10 years younger than me. Anyway I know I must be getting old because today our youngest daughter, the baby in our family, the beautiful S is 30 years of age. 30!!! It shouldn’t be true but it is. Ah well. We’re hosting all the family for a barbie in our tiny Teddington garden later this afternoon then on Saturday S’s having a rare old bash at some trendy venue in Hoxton/Shoreditch way, organised with sister E. It should be a blast and more than a little poignant for C and I. Our girls are really all grown up now and we’re very, very proud of them.


nuke the duke

Look, I go away to Italy for a couple of weeks and I come back to discover that, in my absence,  ITV have only gone and topped themselves by creating the ultimate in televisual hell.  Yesterday, quite by chance,  I stumbled across the horror that is the David Dickinson Show. How can I describe it? Think Potnoodles, Hear’Say, Blue Nun, Woolworths and Kiss-Me-Quick hats.  It’s like the TV equivalent of the cross-over car that’s actually a shitbox. It’s a chat show with antique valuations with lots of audience participation and special guests, including a ridiculous game show called Seal the Deal, all hosted by the Duke of Orange on a set that looks like it was made out of packing crates and a few light bulbs. I think it might be on everyday in the graveyard slot; 3pm on ITV 1. It must be  available on the IPlayer. If you can bear it, go and check it out. If you can tell me of a sadder, more hopeless attempt at fusion-format TV I’ll send you some of our very own olive oil grown, pruned, picked and processed with my own fairly gnarled hands.  Nothing you can suggest can out-crap this pile of tat.


season’s end

Well the football season’s almost over. I’m heading to Wembley on Saturday to see if tiny home-spun Blackpool, the team I supported as a boy, can do something verging on the incredible by winning the Championship play-off final against Cardiff to secure a place in football’s top-table, the mighty Premiership. Though, if truth be told, it’s not been a vintage Premiership season.

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