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Showing posts from January, 2012

Beware the puff that goes with the pastry

Pie in the sky: blarney on the packet had me fooled What could be tastier than a traditional Irish pie? To be sure, it's a treat that has been celebrated over countless generations from Adare to Youghal. So when I saw in Sainsbury's that it had been revived by a brand called 'Six Hungry Sons', I naturally licked my lips. Pieces of chicken in a rich gravy with a shortcrust pastry base and a puff pastry lid and no punctuation. This is nothing less than Michael's Chicken and Gravy Pie. I'm not sure who exactly Michael is, but I wonder if I'm looking at his picture in the aged sepia vignettes which have been lovingly dropped into the packaging? This is clearly a pie from the old school. As an enchanting story begins to unfold, I get the sense that Michael might not actually be one of the little lads pictured. He sounds more like a roving gastronomical expert, travelling to the corners of the earth to uncover age-old recipes and revive them for countless others t

Bob before Blockbusters

It's not surprising that social media chatter about the death of TV and radio veteran Bob Holness has focused on the popularity of children's quiz show Blockbusters . But as the much-loved host positions himself on the hotspot for perhaps the ultimate in gold runs, it's worth remembering that he had a career before he started playing alphabetti spaghetti. For me, Bob is forever associated with my childhood growing up in London. As a precocious ten or eleven-year-old, I was addicted to the major commercial radio stations, Capital and LBC. My sex education came from Anna Raeburn and the Capital Doctor on 194 metres medium wave and was supplemented by Philip Hodson on LBC, who hosted a show on 'sexual, marital and emotional problems'. Politics was debated on air during endless phone-in shows, the most famous of which was hosted by the irascible Australian Brian Hayes. The guy was a legend back in the late 70s and took absolutely no prisoners. Unlike current shock jocks

The hard man who's all heart

Chest joking: British actor Vinnie Jones asks his mates for a dead body to revive The latest advice for amateur first-aiders is to forget the kiss of life. It's all a bit complicated and too many of us are scared of picking up germs from the unfortunate cardiac victim. As a result, the British Heart Foundation recommends that we should concentrate on chest compressions instead. To promote the message, they've enlisted the help of hard man actor Vinnie Jones, who demonstrates the technique on some geezer he seems to have killed earlier. It's a funny little commercial, but the thing that intrigues me most is this business of doing the chest compressions to the tune of 'Staying Alive' by the Bee Gees. I'd find it quite hard to get into the right frame of mind quickly enough. I would be starting with that funky guitar riff intro. As you can see from the video below, it's just way too slow to have much effect. On the other hand, it's probably better than '