Saturday, 31 December 2011

Eggs is eggs and other reductions.

Following the brief foray into healthy eating (see my previous post on dhal), I have reverted to mainly eating pork pie, microwaved leftover roast potato's (on which I have burnt my mouth badly), crisps, Stilton, tongue and chocolate biscuits. I have also been diligent in maintaining my generous daily alcohol intake. It all needs eating and I'm your man.

Worryingly, my blogging career was almost cut short yesterday due to one of the dogs knocking a glass of cider over the laptop. Dave claims that it was I who spilt the cider due to being slightly tipsy, but I know this to be untrue.
Dave's first response was to get the vacuum out and suck at the keyboard with his deluxe crevice tool attachment like something demented. Unsurprisingly, it's the first time that he's had the occasion to use it.  
In the confusion, and as he turned on the 'turbo boost' setting, several of the keys were sucked up so I spent half an hour this morning sifting through the contents of the hoover bag (which seems to contain just my hair and nothing else) looking for 'H', 'W' and '7'. I'm not sure that I have put them back in the right places, but I am just grateful not to be going to PC World or somewhere equally depressing in order to hand over a few hundred quid for a new laptop.The emergency hoovering and a night spent upside down drying out on the boiler seems to have done the trick.


Dave and I went into town today and got a few bargains including some streaky bacon from Morrison's 'The Best' range reduced from £2.84 to 99p, a big bag of reduced asparagus for 55p, again from Morrison's, and two dozen eggs from Aldi.
Note free elastic bands-always handy to have.
I say 'eggs' but these aren't just any old eggs. These are 'New Merevale Specially Selected Omega 3 Enriched British Free Range' eggs. If they add any more words to the description they are going to have to make the box bigger. This 'extreme describing' seems to be a trend in marketing foodstuffs and is starting to get quite comedic. The snappily entitled 'Sainsburys Freedom Food Endorsed Corn Fed West Country Boneless Skin On Woodland Chicken Breast' being one of my current favourites.


Anyway, they were reduced by 50% making them 65p a box. There were loads of them and they still have a week before they need to be used (not that I take any notice of this type of thing), although the 'display until' date was today, hence the reduction.

I've got to admit that I have never had an 'Omega 3' egg before so I'm both nervous and excited at the prospect. Well, it's something new to look forward to in 2012.

Some people think that rooting around in the 'reduced' sections in supermarkets has a stigma attached to it. To me it says  'I would like to minimise the amount of my money that I am handing over to this massive organisation that generates huge profits for its shareholders'. Take a moment to think about what the supermarket would like you to do. They would like you to buy the product at full price. Don't let them win.

We went into Julian Graves as they normally have lots of good reductions at the end of each month, but today reductions were thin on the ground. They had Macadamia nuts reduced to 20p a packet, but these are the only nut that neither Dave or I like due to the fact that they taste like candles.
I didn't leave Julian Graves empty handed though, as they had rhubarb and custard sweets on a paper plate for customers to try. I tried one and took 3 more for later. Being 44 I already had a pretty good idea of what a rhubarb and custard sweet tastes like, so it was a spurious move on my behalf, but like all criminal masterminds I had a defence ready if challenged. Early onset dementia.

Anyway I will 'sign off' for 2011. Happy New Year to everyone.
Bacon wrapped asparagus with soft boiled eggs coming up...

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Just what the doctor ordered.....

For yesterday's dinner we had lentil dhal. I've been making it for years and it's the ideal antidote to rich Christmas food. And it's cheap.
The recipe varies each time I make it, as it depends on what I happen have mouldering in the fridge at the time.

DISCLAIMER:
If it wasn't for Dave's extreme Indian food addiction I would have none of these fancy spices to hand. You can cut out all of the spices and just fry up (in a generous amount of oil-that is important), an onion and some garlic, and about 3-4 heaped teaspoons of any curry powder and add it to the cooked lentil mixture at the end. I guarantee that it will taste good. Unless you have some really ropey curry powder.

I took around 10oz of red lentils (because that's what I had) and added some whole spices, in this case bay leaves, cloves, green cardamons, peppercorns and some cinnamon. It doesn't have to be red lentils-any pulses will do. I've made this in the past using a couple of cans of kidney beans, chick peas or even baked beans.



Add whatever vegetables are going off, along with a teaspoon of turmeric. Cover with water (not too much), and bring it all to the boil. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked, about 20 minutes. Top up the water, if required.
In a different pan heat about 2-3 tablespoons of oil and get it really hot. Add the whole spices and put the lid on as they will spit and burn you. Here I'm using  a heaped teaspoon each of mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds and fennel seeds, known collectively as  panch phoran, which you can buy at your local Indian store. If you just have just one or four of these, use them-you don't need all five.


Add a large chopped onion and some garlic and/or ginger, and the powdered spices. I'm using a heaped teaspoon each of  ground coriander, ground cumin and more turmeric.If you are using curry powder, add it now.
Fry on a low heat for about 10 minutes, as this takes away the 'harsh' taste. Add some more oil if it seems a bit dry-it needs the oil to bring the flavour out. Then tip it into the lentil mixture.
Add salt-probably at least a good teaspoon.
You can also add the likes of yoghurt, chilli, tomato ketchup, chopped tomato, fish, prawns, meat, spinach, hard boiled eggs,  peas or fresh coriander at this point. I quite like a squirt of mint sauce. 
Yes, those are sprouts in the dhal.
I know that it looks like something that the cat sicked up but it tastes good, it's good for you, and it's very cheap. If you're feeling extravagant you can stir in some butter at the end.

I've served it with boiled barley, my current grain of choice. It's much cheaper than brown rice, is just as nutritious and has a much higher fibre content. Cook it just the same as for rice (I cook brown rice/barley in the microwave. Put whatever the amount that you want to cook in a bowl, cover with an inch of boiling water and cook for about  20 minutes.)  As I am hopelessly bunged up I have added a can of sweetcorn for added fibre. We live in hope.
Update 6pm 28/12. Still not been. Four days now....

Monday, 26 December 2011

Food Hangover.


I feel quite sick. The smell of boiled vegetables and roast dinners seems to have permeated the entire house and has definitely got into the soft furnishings. That, coupled with Dave's ongoing 'digestive issues' means that the house smells like a 40 bed nursing home at dinner time.
We have two fridges and both are full of cold meat, bread sauce, roast potato's, gravy, pate, stuffing, mashed swede, parsnips, sprouts and cauliflower cheese. The freezer is full and I can't even face eating any more crisps-normally one of my favourites.
Added to this both fridges have decided to go worryingly 'warm' despite the setting being on 'coldest'.  Well, it wouldn't be Christmas without the very real risk of Salmonella, would it?

My stomach feels and looks like an overinflated Space hopper and I can't face the discomfort of wearing real trousers so today I have opted for a pair of Dave's thermal leggings, complete with 'Y' front (handy for storing hankies in). I'm rocking a chic Boxing Day look, let me tell you. Some women may have spent Boxing Day wafting around in a haze of Chanel. Me? well I can't seem to shake off the smell of boiled sprouts and duck fat.


We had a lovely Christmas dinner and it seems ungrateful to moan but I have had enough Festive Fare now. I hate to say it, given my aversion to wasting food, but I can understand why people throw a lot away at this time of year. Once Christmas Day has passed, eating leftovers is a really unattractive prospect that you just want out of the way quickly, like paying the Council Tax or a tooth extraction.
The trick is to buy and cook less and I must remember this next year.

Dave's parents very generously gave us £50 towards our Christmas food shop, which they do each year. That should be ample, but oh no, I had to spend extra on crackers and pate and 1kg of sprouts (for two of us...), and about 8kg of potato's (sprouting shoots as we speak), Quality Street and 600g of Stilton and Cheeselets and double cream as well as part baked rolls (why?), Wensleydale with cranberries, After Eights and for some mysterious reason, a Yule Log.

I'm just glad that I listened to Dave when he said that if I went ahead and made the Scotch eggs and sausage rolls as well, the massive hit of salt and saturated fat could lead to a stroke. You could end up spending Christmas in a bed next to Prince Philip. I think that if I woke up and and saw him I'd assume that I'd died in the ambulance of a pork overdose and been dropped off at the mortuary. 


Only about 4lbs left.
I can guarantee that none of the food will go to waste. We may not enjoy eating it, but eat it we will. If it wasn't for the dodgy fridge I would happily 'gift' some to our neighbours Helen and Rick, but I wouldn't want to take the risk as they are quite elderly, so their immune systems may be compromised. I don't want them on a drip next to Philip over the New Year.

As an aside I will pass on this gem of veterinery science. Lurchers cannot digest chesnuts. We have the stains on the carpet to prove it.


Moving on, do people really go for a walk after their Christmas dinner? This event is talked about by various TV and radio pundits over the Festive season as if it's something that everyone does. Well not in my experience. It sounds very jolly, bracing and Middle Class and you hear the likes of John Humphrys and Jeremy Vine spouting on about 'walking off' their dinner on Christmas Day, but does anyone really do it? If they do, I marvel at their stamina as after Christmas dinner I'm usually slumped on the sofa in a food and alcohol induced coma. If I ventured out in that state I'd risk being arrested or run over. The closest I've got to a Christmas Day walk is a slow waddle to the toilet and back.

I watched the TV footage of the 'sales' today. Despite reports that no one has any money the shops were packed and a Mall manager in Leeds said that customers had been queueing there all night. What can you want that much?
I really don't understand it. I will ponder it further, but I haven't eaten for at least 45 minutes so first I have to make myself a roast potato, sprout and ham sandwich in order to keep my strength up...

Friday, 23 December 2011

Tonguetastic!

Right, lets get the mice out of the way first. After getting off to a flying start by bagging three in two days, we had a couple of days where the peanut butter had been eaten but the mice had evaded the trap. It was like they were laughing at us...
Dave took this personally and started to get quite obsessed about the whole business. This culminated in his decision to sleep in the attic (no idea why), although he changed his mind after seeing a spider up there.
Instead he spent some time rethinking his baiting technique which has paid dividends, as we bagged two more. We started wondering whether we were actually luring the poor things into the house and to their death and so we have filled in several holes in the rendering on the outside of the house. Hopefully that's the end of all this unpleasantness.

Yesterday I braved the supermarkets to do the Big Christmas Shop. I was at Morrisons for 7am and it was all fairly stress free, except that Lidl and Aldi had sold out of frozen geese. So I had to buy two ducks instead, which is fine.
I was home by 9.30am and spent the rest of the day cooking.
For some reason Dave loves an ox tongue at Christmas. I can take it or leave it, but its a very cheap and tasty addition to your cold meat selection, so I thought I would run through how I deal with a tongue.
It's what Christmas is all about.
Dave larking around with the tongue.


This one cost £2.50 and weighed in at around 2kg. I must admit to being slightly spooked by raw ox tongue. It  looks like something out of a horror film and the upper surface feels like sandpaper. Dave wants me to add at this point that he thinks the 'root' end feels like a testicle....presumably his I'm guessing.
Due to it's all round repulsiveness I'm sure that tongue is quite safe from the attentions of the 'celebrity chef'. I can't see Nigella making sex noises over it on the Box anytime soon, although that would be worth watching. Daft mare.
As it was labelled as 'pickled', I soaked it in cold water overnight, in case it turned out to be too salty. Then I covered it with fresh, cold water and added some onions, carrots, celery, bay leaves and peppercorns. When it came to the boil I reduced the heat and left it to simmer for around 4 hours (it was 6.30am and this is when I went to the supermarket. Dave was left in charge and given the task of turning it over at half  time). When it's cool enough to handle you have to peel it and remove and gristly bits. Not a job for the squeamish cook. This is what it looks like once that has been done.

You could just eat it like this....if there was something wrong with you. 
After that I sliced it in half lengthways and reduced the cooking liquid. The tongue goes into dish and the reduced cooking liquid is poured over it.
Yin and Yang tongues.
Finally I weighted it down and left it in a cool place for the jelly to set. The cheapest cooked tongue that I could find online was a whopping £10.50 per kg so doing your own tongue makes for a massive saving, if you like that sort of thing.
Under pressure.
I also made a pork pie. This is really easy to do and tastes much better than any ready made versions I've had. 
I used around 1.5kg of meat-a mix of streaky bacon, pork mince, sausage meat and the meat from two pork hocks. It was all mixed up with loads of black and white pepper, Worcestershire sauce, sage, allspice, nutmeg and about 2 teaspoons of salt. Last year I undersalted it so this time I microwaved a bit to check  that the seasoning was right.
I usually add anchovy essence, but I didn't have any so instead of buying some specially, I improvised with Thai fish sauce which seems to have worked just as well. I'm guessing it's all basically the same-stinky old fish juice.
I then made some hot water crust pastry  (which is very simple) and pressed it into the cooking tin. I added the meat and put the lid on. I baked mine for about 2 hours at around 160 degrees centigrade.
I had previously made a stock from boiling the pork hock bones with a few vegetables. Once the pie was cooked I poured the stock through the hole in the lid.

I like to weigh the fruits of my labour and this weighed in at just under 6lb or about 2.6kg

Worryingly, there's just the two of us for Christmas.
According to My Supermarket  the pork pies at Tesco seem to cost around £4-£8 per kilo. I reckon that this one cost about £9 to make and like most cooking (well, the cooking that I do) it's so easy that you can't really go wrong.
I'll post a picture of the inside once we've 'opened' it (unless it looks really crap, in which case I won't bring it up again).


Monday, 19 December 2011

Money saving pest control and free socks.

Vermin Update.
We set the peanut butter baited traps on Saturday and so far we have bagged 3 mice. I find it upsetting as I do not like killing creatures (hypocritical as a meat eater, I know), simply because they are in the wrong place. But something needed to be done once I discovered that mice can cause house fires by gnawing through the electricals. The thought of a potential house fire does not make for a good nights sleep. Well, that and the unbelievably loud and interminable noise they make...all chuffin' night. Mice have got to be one of the noisiest creatures on earth ounce for ounce. Either that or by some weird architectural fluke our attic has the acoustic properties of the Sydney Opera House.

But on the positive side it has proved to be a much cheaper option compared to calling out a pest control company or the council.  The total cost so far has been about £2, so its definitely to be recommended as a money saving alternative, so long as you're not too squeamish about disposing of the bodies. Another plus is that you don't have to make cringey, self conscious small talk with Gruff Men in Totectors (and possibly bicycle clips). Whenever I have workmen in I feel like a stranger in my own home. My problem, not theirs.

I expected the mice to be a bit 'mashed up' by the traps, but there seems to be no gore and judging by the look on their faces I think that it was a quick death. They had a look of surprise reminiscent of mine this morning on reading The Daily Mail online (I know, but it's free) and discovering that  The Krankies are stalwarts of the Swinging Scene. Fan dabi dozi, and all that...

Dave wanted me to add a photo at this point (of the mice, not The Krankies) but I think that a photo of either may be a step too far. Unsurprisingly Dave has busied himself by taking several photo's of the mouse corpses, even going so far as to 'pose' one to mimic Michael Jackson on the cover of the album 'Off the Wall'. Don't ask. To be honest I'm just grateful that he hasn't tried eating one yet.
Luckily he is quite distracted at the moment by his latest beery brew, which involved him steeping whisky infused barbecue wood chips in the wort. If you want to know more, just leave a comment and I shall get him to do a 'guest blog' on the subject.
Dave, with a pint of Percy Plumper, looking strangely mouselike...

I looked online for mouse recipes, but couldn't  find any, although there were a quite a few ideas for rat should you have some left over during the Festive Season. The only mouse recipe I could find was for a Chinese drink which involves drowning several newborn, bald, pink mice in a vodka-like spirit. I think that some Chinese may believe that it makes for a bigger Percy. I think I'll leave it alone as my Percy is quite large enough thanks.

Freebie Update.
In the post today I got a 'freebie' Christmas present from Innocent Drinks. They have sent me something every Christmas for at least the last three years, which is very good of them. This year it was a pair of orange socks and a voucher for £1.99 off one of their products, and a card with some jokes in.
The socks are quite large but will be ideal for Dave when on mousetrap duty as the cuff is loose, leaving plenty of room in which to tuck his moleskins.  It is a nice gesture that virtually every other manufacturer doesn't bother with. Imagine if they all did that?
I got the 'heads up' on this and many other good things from the 'Freebie' section of the MoneySavingExpert forum, which is well worth a look, in its entirety.   

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Overrun by vermin...

It has been very cold here of late and it seems to have encouraged the local rodent population to move into our place.
For the last two nights we have been kept awake by scratching noises coming from the attic. After being woken up again last night, we decamped to the living room to sleep on the sofas, only to be kept awake by scratching noises that seemed to be coming from inside the living room walls....
I looked at the local council website and found out that they offer a 'mouse treatment' at £44.86, although interestingly their 'rat service' is free. It's the same for cockroaches.
Dave has found some tiny droppings in the attic so it's likely to be mice, but the scratching sounded so loud and powerful, I'm not convinced that we haven't got a rat or two as well. Either that or a nocturnal wood whittler is squatting in the loft.
Rather than paying the council, and in true money saving style, we headed off to the local shop to buy some mousetraps.
While driving to the shop I mused on how today is supposed to be the 'Busiest Shopping Day of the Year'. I imagine well dressed women in heels are currently tripping around Bond Street buying expensive trinkets from Asprey and stopping at lunchtime for glass of Chablis and half a dozen oysters at Claridges.
I'm buying mousetraps and coal, but I may have a snifter of carrot wine later.

We opted for the 'Little Nipper' trap which cost 95p each. We bought two and used peanut butter as the bait.
'Value' of course.

Setting the traps is not easy. It is an extremely stressful business and not for someone who is 'highly strung', like me. It reminded me of a game of Extreme Buckaroo, with the potential of a trip to casualty and a finger splint for the loser. By the time that I had finished I felt quite 'nervy', a bit like I was after watching The Hurt Locker .
Strictly speaking we shouldn't need mousetraps as we have a Bedlington terrier. This breed has been bred over the centuries with the sole purpose of making it a fearless and efficient Verminator. I don't think anyone had told Monty this as he is totally disinterested in mice, rabbits, cats or rats, but loves a tennis ball or a bowl of full fat milk.
The Killing Machine
Talking of peanuts, I thought that I would give these a mention:
The catchily named 'Mister Choc Peanut Choco' bars are available from your local Lidl. For around £1.50 you get over a pound of delicious Snickeresque goodness. Well worth the money and perfect for keeping out the cold. Or baiting a mouse trap, if you want to give them one last fleeting treat.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Snout Snugglers and Rakfisk.

I am one of those people that 'feels the cold'.
So I am sat here typing whilst wearing a vest, jumper, cardigan and body warmer, some thick trousers, a stout pair of socks, sheepskin boots and a ridiculous looking hat and if it gets any colder the Slanket is going to have to come out.  
According to the thermometer its 13C/55F, which isn't actually that cold and the heating has been on for the customary 7 minutes every single morning and evening for the last week, whether it needed to be or not.
I get cold hands and feet, but a hot water bottle sorts that out. The thing that I find difficult to deal with is that my nose gets really cold. Due to gravity, and the risk of suffocation there aren't many options available when it comes to nose warming, but I think that I may have come up with a remedy.

When I was researching last weeks blog on novelty Christmas gifts I came across the unpleasantness that is the 'Willy Warmer'. At the time I thought that it was nothing more than a useless, mildly offensive frippery but now I'm thinking that it might be the Next Big Thing in the world of optimum nasal temperature maintenance. With a minor adjustment to the design and a piece of elastic to go around the back of the head, the Snout Snuggler would make a  functional and glamorous addition to every winter wardrobe.
Well it's no more stupid than ear muffs.

This could be the money making idea that I have been looking for, so I shall crochet a prototype and post it to Duncan Bannatyne with a note offering him a 20% stake for an investment of around £60k (for wool). Hopefully he won't retaliate by threatening to break my arms or by getting funny with me if I try to cancel my gym membership.
I could also offer a Deluxe version, with a built in hanky-gusset impregnated with Vicks.


Just a temporary measure until the Snout Snuggler goes into production.



No shower this morning as by the time I'd got all my clothes off the water was cold and the heating had gone off. Is it just me that finds the thought of a shower in this weather quite repellent?
It seems that a daily shower or heaven forbid, bath, is essential within polite society these days. This is a relatively recent development that came about in the Eighties. I blame Noels House Party.

In the Seventies everyone had a designated weekly 'bath night' and it was usually a Sunday, unless you were foreign (on a different Time Zone). Even the middle classes made do with a 'strip wash'. You only have to watch a few episodes of The Good Life, Terry and June or The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin to work that one out.

Dave needs a shower every day for medical reasons. He has sweating issues and can quickly develop a smell redolent of Rakfisk, but I'm sure the less clammy amongst us don't need to be so rigorous with our personal hygiene.
And if Snout Snugglers take off we won't be able to smell whether someone needs a bath or not so it's a 'win win' situation all round.





Monday, 12 December 2011

Well Cheesed Off.

I've got to be honest, I'm feeling pretty cheesed off today. A week ago I applied for a job that I knew I would be good at and enjoy doing, but it seems like I haven't even got an interview....
Add to this the fact that I have won nothing, not even some more eggcups, and it all makes for a bit of a Perfect Storm. A Black Monday if you will.


It was mine and Dave's 'anniversary' yesterday and I cooked a special dinner of scallops (the fishy sort, not the sort I lived on as a child which cost 3p each) sauteed in butter and garlic, slow roast shoulder of lamb with all the trimmings and Bakewell tart. Anyway, I was just serving up the lamb when I had a really heavy nosebleed that lasted long enough for my dinner to go very cold. Great.
Dave still tucked into his though, only stopping to go and get a bag of peas out of the freezer for me to hold against my nose. What a gent.
I haven't had a nosebleed in years. I'm hoping its a sign of good luck rather than a brain tumour.
 
Anyway at least I got the Christmas cake finished over the weekend. I made it in September and it has been regularly 'fed' with brandy and whisky, much like myself. I loosely follow the Delia Smith Classic Christmas Cake recipe and usually get good results.
Naked and weighing in at 2kg.
Should the marzipan and icing really add another kilo?
And here it is having been marzipanned and iced. Although I love cooking I haven't the patience or talent to do fancy cake decorating so this is the finished product. Rustic.

I put the Christmas tree up on Friday. I like Christmas and enjoy seeing the decorations up, but I find the process of actually doing it quite irritating and a bit of a faff. The tree is artificial and although I cannot dispute the fact that real trees look a hundred times better, in my opinion they are a total waste of money.
If the tree was something that stayed in the house for longer than a few weeks I would view it differently, but the fact that they have such a short lifespan just makes the act of buying one seem very extravagant. It's the same with stick insects.

I really wasn't looking forward to decorating the tree as last year I had the bright idea of not removing the lights or baubles before putting it away. I just folded up the 'branches' with the decorations still in situ. The tree is 8 foot tall, comes in three sections and is quite heavy.
Having carried out this experiment I wouldn't recommend it as it took me about an hour on Friday to untangle the fairy lights. I had to do a lot of thinking and it left me feeling quite wrung out. I've severed a few branches in the process and several baubles have been broken, but strangely most of the lights are still working.  Also, manoeuvring the tree sections all linked by several strings of fairy lights, with baubles and suchlike dangling off them, out of the attic and down the stairs, did not bring out the Festive Spirit in either me or Dave. There was much effing and jeffing. It seemed like a really good, time saving idea last January...

After the swearing had died down and the lights finally untangled, here it is, resplendent in it's immortal, plasticky cheapness...







Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Christmas Do. Don't.

Well it's  time for the 'Works Do' again. Being one of the Feckless Unemployed, I don't have to worry about it but even when grafting and wherever I've worked, I haven't touched it with a bargepole for years.

Here's why:

In my experience the workplace is overpopulated by people that you wouldn't dream of spending 8 hours a day with unless you were being paid. Even then its a Big Ask given the disturbingly high Tool count.

The thought of having to endure their tiresome, rude, irritating, tedious, charmless selves in my spare time and when no one is paying me makes me feel quite unwell.
Maybe I've just been unlucky or perhaps I'm not a 'people person'....

Another reason that I avoid the Work Do is that in my experience they are a TOTAL RIP OFF, and that's not just me being tight.
I think that the owners of venues where work 'Do's' get 'done' must wet themselves with delight every time the phone goes and they get a booking. The thought of another gaggle of overexcited workers paying around £20 a head in order to drink too much and engage in general buffoonery must have them stuffing their fist in their mouth to prevent 'whooping' with delight down the blower.


I have been to Do's where the food was miserable, but I'd expected that. What adds insult to injury is that its miserable and there's hardly any of it. That's just rubbing my nose in it.
On more than one occasion and at different venues, it has been generally assumed that the small bowl of lukewarm vegetables or chips or heaven forbid, dough balls, slapped on the table were for the individual, only to find out that it's to share with five others.....Since when has two chips each been a 'serving'?


I have been further scarred by the Work Do as for many years I was a vegetarian. The vegetarian main course (or 'Main' as those who have watched too many episodes of Masterchef call it) was usually some kind of sprout based 'bake'-(vague term that covers a multitude of sins, approach with caution), topped with 'wafer of Pringle' and concocted from the previous days leftovers mashed up with half a jar of peanut butter. It probably cost about 7p to make, but the cost was the same as the meat eaters dinner. That's just wrong, like being charged for a cod at the chippy when you've only had a fishcake. 


Finally there's the whole dressing up thing. I hate dressing up and don't like spending money on clothes. I dislike how the shops are all flogging their 'Party Wear Tarty Tat' lines, comprising of clothes made of black/silky/metallic/glittery highly flammable fabrics designed to trigger contact dermatitis just as you're tucking into the starter of reincarnated leftovers. Sorry, soup.

And don't get me started on Secret Santa's or The Worst Case Scenario, logistical nightmare that is..... hiring a minibus.

I'm sure a lot of people go to these things as they feel that its something they 'should' do. Well it isn't. Things that you should do include flushing after a number two and washing your flannel when it gets slimy.
Stay in and do something more enjoyable like scrubbing the mould off your grouting. I guarantee that you won't regret it and you'll save a few quid too.

I think I'd better leave it there. I could go on for hours but am conscious that I am sounding like a miserable git, so I will finish up with these.
They are quite good but I heard on the radio today that sales at Tesco have fallen in recent weeks. They were 15p but are now 19p. This is why.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Step away from the Novelty Gifts....

This is the time of year when we can all start to go a bit silly with money. The pressure to buy all the presents and get them out of the way can be intense. Just try and stay away from 'novelty gifts'.
I speak from experience and even now will still happily spend hours in my local Gadget Emporium, although Dave only lets me in there if he's taken my wallet off me.

 
Men are notoriously difficult to buy for but there is really no need to resort to ball scratchers and their brethren.
If a man has itchy balls he has several options-a good wash, changing his pants, a light dusting of medicated talcum, a trip to the GP or a scratch using his hands, just like his forefathers. This item is useless unless he is unfortunate enough to have no arms and the handle is long enough to enable him to get to the itch using his mouth. Which it isn't as it is only 9 inches long (unless he's very supple).

This is the spiel that goes with the product:
"Need to get to rid of an itch in an intimate spot discreetly? The Gentleman's Ball Scratcher is just what you need. Its in the shape of a delicate female hand and will provide a welcome relief for his itching nether regions. The perfect gift for the busy male executive"

Now lets just break that down.
"Discreetly"- That's about as discreet as getting teaspoon out of your pocket and using it to pick your nose.
"Delicate female hand"-The relevance of this evades me...  
"The perfect gift for the busy male executive" What, too busy to go to the toilet and have a good Brands Hatch? I cannot believe that whipping out your ball scratcher during a brainstorming session is acceptable behaviour even if you work in The Media.



My point is that these products cost money and are useless. I guarantee that if you buy this for someone this year they will not be able to recall it next year. Just as well really.
The Ball Scratchers that I have researched today cost between £6-£17. You can buy two chickens for £6. If so inclined he could rub his nether regions on those (which is probably quite cooling), and they could still double up as Christmas Dinner after a quick rinse. 



Where will it be on Boxing Day? Languishing in the pickled onion jar I wager. Best not to think about where it may have been on Christmas Day...

And the Penis Pasta? Well this costs £3.99 for 250g. That is ridiculous.You can get 500g of Value spaghetti from Tesco for 25p. Soak it in hot water and spend many happy hours crafting it into a representation of whatever part of the body you want. Perhaps even get the Little Ones to join in as a change from making mince pies.
Fusilli Willi with Spaghetti Hairs. Yours for a fiver. 
Take my advice. Just get him a Chocolate Orange....