Chutney, Stew, Beer, iPhone, and Game

Note: This entry has been restored from old archives.

As I write this there’s 5 litres of chutney simmering on the stove. I find the name used in one of my books rather apt: Glutney! I’m doing away with 2kg of courgettes, nearly a kg of green tomatoes from my poor blight-stricken plants, and a kg of apples lopped from the tree hanging over our fence (from which we’ve sadly binned many kg of apples that’ve fallen onto the concrete over the last few weeks – just think of all the starving piglets that could be enjoying them.) I only wish I had more jars! If the chutney works out well I’ll put some words together along with the photos I’ve taken and whack it up here when I have the time.

There’s also a full, large, Chasseur of beef, potato, and celeriac stew in the oven. This is part of my “decent lunch” scheme. Trying to make up enough food on the weekend to carry through the week. I have so much less free time these days – welcome to the normal world! Thank goodness for boiled eggs and dried fruit, is all I can say. Not that I’m complaining, being busy is both enjoyable and fulfilling as far as I’m concerned. Right now I’m regretting buying pre-chopped “stewing steak” rather than my usual beef shin. Shin always works out juicy and tender for me, but I usually encounter dryness with “stewing steak” – as I seem to have this time around. Oh well, it’ll taste good all the same, hard to go wrong with celeriac.

Last weekend we went to the Letchworth Beer Festival, a CAMRA event, and drank far, far too much Real Ale. Walking back in the chilly evening was a lesson to us: drink enough beer and you don’t notice it is absolutely freezing. This weekend we went to yet another beer festival, a smaller do at the Plume of Feathers pub over in Ickleford (a 30 minute walk away.) The smaller do was far more satisfying I felt, with 15 beers available rather than 50 there is much less pressure put on by bewildering forests of choice. We also met an interesting older (offspring post-university age) couple who seemed to have an interest in “greener” living, allotments, reduced carbon footprints, and all that malarky. There’s some “Green Drinks” meeting every first Tuesday in Hitchin, sounds interesting. Might go an heckle some Greenies sometime, will write about it if we do. Never know, they might be the sensible sort.

There’s plenty I could say about the iPhone at this stage too, after almost a month with the thing. But it’d include a lot of whinging of the “but my Symbian/IQ phone 5 years ago did this so much better” sort, it isn’t worth bothering. Apple aren’t winning any friends of the non-iBimbo sort by being total fascists about the platform either. Too many shitty apps of the same general type, yet they don’t permit apps that “compete” with their built in shitty-apps. Face it, their calender, email, and contacts apps are all painful to use. And talk about lack of any sort of neat integration between applications! (I’ve already complained about the actual phone functions of the iPhone over on that facebook thingymo.) Sadly the new gPhone looks like a pile of dingo crap… but there will be more to come, I expect (hope) to see a good gPhone surface in the future. Not that I’m at all comfortable with a platform that seems to be geared towards giving Google yet more of my information. Despite all the complaining I’m generally happy with the iPhone and do think that it is the best thing currently available on the market for me. The lack of real progress over the last few years is sad though, the iPhone has broken a popularity barrier but not pushed any technology barriers at all.

Getting back away from the technocrap front, we haven’t had much fungal luck lately. We’re hoping for better results from this season, nothing to beat our little Amethyst Deceiver stash from last year yet though. A nice, but rather small, puffball is about it. We’ve come across a couple of fairy rings, but both times in inconvenient circumstances. We’ll keep at it! The haws, sloes, and hips are starting to look good though. Some rosehip and haw jelly could be on the cards, and possibly (post duty-free) some sloe-gin (or vodka.)

On a similar topic, we’re well into the game season now, so some birdies must appear in the not too distant future. It is well past the “Glorious 12th” (of August) after all. Just today we were overhearing a man talking about the 6 grouse in his freezer – my thought on the topic being “you utter bastard.” I’d be happy to have just a couple. I must endeavour to know someone, who knows someone, … etc. High-street market rates for these things are entirely fixed at the “ho ho, we’ll rip off some stoopid yuppies” level. I’m entirely unhappy about paying £4.50 for a little bunny, even if it is a pretty darn good bunny. When we were in Ricky, and before Hambings closed, we’d get excellent bunnies for 3 quid. I need to know a bunny man I think. Or snare them myself, my earlier attempt to snare a pesky squirrel wasn’t successful enough (I snared it alright, but it snapped my insufficiently strong snare wire.) Squirrels are supposed to be rather good about now in fact, fattened up for the winter.