Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas leftovers recipes

Need to find ways to use up all your unwanted, outmoded Christmas food? Here are a few ideas and suggestions to help out...

I would like to make it clear, in the third line down, that "a quarter of a pint of gun" is a typing error - this is, of course, meant to say "a quarter of a pint of gin". Unfortunately, these are made up of Tweets from over a year ago, meaning it is not possible to edit the text now.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Sandwich review: Cheese Ploughmans by delicious

The official description for this sandwich is -
Vintage Cheddar cheese with tomato, cos lettuce, pickle and seasoned mayonnaise on malted bread.
By popular demand, I am posting my first vegetarian sandwich review. I chose a classic Cheese Ploughmans sandwich, from the delicious brand, to be the subject of this groundbreaking new step.

I enjoyed this sandwich. The salad was crisp, and fresh (which is a huge positive, just in itself) and the balance between the mayonnaise and the pickle (a combination about which I admit I had my doubts) worked much better than I was expecting.

However, for a sandwich in which the main event is Cheddar cheese, it could've done with a bit more flavour in that department. The cheese is described as "vintage Cheddar", but it seemed rather milder than I had hoped, and was consequently a little disappointing.

A more mature Cheddar would do this sandwich a world of good. However, in spite of this, I would buy this sandwich again.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Sandwich review: Meat Feast Sub Roll from Morrisons' "Prepared In Store" range

The official description for this sandwich is -
Prosciutto cotto, chorizo, salami, vine ripened tomato, mozzarella, wild rocket, mayonnaise and tomato and basil sauce in a herb topped sub roll.
I have been impressed by Morrisons' sandwiches in the past, so I was looking forward to this.  The recipe is great, the ingredients are good quality and the flavours all work really well together; what's not so good, is the construction of the sandwich...

It was actually very difficult to eat this sandwich, without the filling all falling out onto the floor.  They have tried to stuff too much filling into only a moderately-sized roll, and the result is quite inconvenient.  Much as I tried to look past this, and appreciate the sandwich for what it was, that proved harder and harder as I continued eating - in the end, these problems became too large, and spoiled the enjoyment of an otherwise really excellent sandwich.

Regrettably, until Morrisons can fix the issues with constructing this sandwich, I would not buy it again.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Sandwich review: New Yorker, from deli2go

The official description for this sandwich is -
Pastrami with Emmental cheese, Iceberg lettuce, gherkins, Ameican style mustard, sour cream mayonnaise and red onion on malted bread with millet and sunflower seeds.
Quite a list, eh?! Well, there's a lot going on with this sandwich - and that means a lot of different flavours to balance...

deli2go make a valiant effort of this - and, on the whole, they don't do too badly at all. Each bite of the sandwich gives you something slightly different, while still managing to paint an overall picture of the whole.

The "American style" mustard is pleasantly tangy, without being overly tart or off-putting; likewise, the gherkins and red onions. The coolness of the sour cream mayonnaise compliments these flavours nicely, while the Emmental cheese sings out above the while ensemble in clear, nutty tones.

The only criticism I would have, then, is that the pastrami gets a little lost amidst the cacophony of other tastes flying around. That's not to say that it's bad, or that you don't notice it - it could just do with being a bit (if you'll pardon the pun) beefier.

Maybe using slightly better quality pastrami could help? Or, if not, another layer in the sandwich, just to help it stand out a little better?

Other than this (very slight) issue, I enjoyed this sandwich, and I would definitely buy it again.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Sandwich review: Chicken & Bacon Ranch by Sainsburys

The official description for this sandwich is -
British chicken breast and naturally smoked British bacon with ranch mayonnaise and apollo lettuce in a white sub roll.
As you can see, this is the first time I have reviewed any sandwich which comes on what we might call "non-standard bread" (in this case, a sub roll). It is disappointing, therefore, that this novelty bread was actually the high point of a sandwich which can best be described as "bland".

The roll was indeed very nice. The rest of the ingredients, however, failed to live up to my expectations - the "ranch mayonnaise", in particular, was something of a let-down. If I hadn't been told that it was specifically "ranch mayonnaise", I would not have known for myself - in a blind tasting, I would've guessed standard mayonnaise for sure (and pretty cheap standard mayonnaise, at that)!

The chicken, and the "naturally smoked" bacon also had very little flavour to them. This sandwich has clearly been put together with the cheapest possible ingredients, with little attention being paid to the flavour of the sandwich as a whole.

I would not buy this sandwich again.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Premier League: how things change...!

We are now twelve weeks through the 2012-13 football season.  For me, so far, this has been a tale of two teams, and their changing fortunes...

Yesterday, Norwich City beat Sunderland in the Premier League - extending an unbeaten run to nine games in all competitions.

Impressive as this is in itself, a glance at the League Table shows just how much of an achievement this is:

Premier League Table as of 3rd December, 2012

Norwich City are currently 12th in the Table (the same position in which we finished last season).  We haven't lost in eight Premier League games, and that includes victories of heavyweight clubs Manchester United and Arsenal.  What really stands out for me, though, is that we suffered some pretty heavy defeats at the beginning of the season - 5-0 to Fulham, and 5-2 to Liverpool - but that now, we are ahead of Fulham in the Table, and level on points with Liverpool.

At the start of the season, I had to read, and listen to, a lot of people telling me how badly Norwich were playing, and how we were almost certain candidates for relegation this year.  OK, we had a shaky start to the season, but I don't think it was ever as bad as some people tried to make out, when they were piling on the Norwich-slating bandwagon - and there were some pretty close results, even early on (like the 1-1 draw with Spurs, which could so easily have been a City win).

I think it just took a while to settle into the new season, following a turbulent summer with a change of manager, new players coming into the squad and doubts over the futures of other players - but we've got there now, and we're in good form; the fact that we're able to keep pace with the likes of Liverpool, even after the 5-2 thrashing they gave us, just shows how competitive we can be.

It has been just the reverse for poor old Chelsea, of course.

After such a bright start to the season, Chelsea hit a slight wobble, panicked, and sacked their manager Roberto Di Matteo - in my opinion, a very poor decision.  Bringing in Rafael Benítez instead was an unpopular choice with the fans, but I can hardly believe that there is already talk of Benítez' being replaced by formed Chelsea boss Avram Grant!  Admittedly, a 0-0 draw with Fulham, and a 3-1 defeat at West Ham (I swear more Premier League matches are London Derbies than are not London Derbies?!) is an inauspicious start to Benitez' reign, but surely even [famously tempestuous Chelsea owner] Roman Abramovich can see that you need to give a new manager more than just two matches in which to make an impact?!

The managerial merry-go-round at Chelsea brings nothing but instability and a lack of direction, and until Abramovich starts putting the club's needs ahead of his own whims and fancies - instead of sacking a manager who is the current holder of the Champions' League and the FA Cup, whose team is firmly ensconced in the Top Four of the Premier League, and who is adored by the fans - I can't really see things improving for them.