Commonwealth Day and more recipes

As a British Overseas Territory and member of the Commonwealth, Gibraltar is today enjoying a Bank Holiday for Commonwealth Day. Unlike the UK of course, which chooses not to mark it apart from a few flags, a church service and a message from the queen.

This year’s theme is ‘Connecting Cultures’ whatever that may mean.

It is a shame that whoever writes the speech for Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma does not connect their uninspired writing with their brain. This is the second year running that they have repeated an irritating factual error.

I pointed this out last year on my blog, and sent them a comment. I shall do it again this year, and no doubt next year, I will read the same mistake.

On Commonwealth Day we seek to find practical opportunities to connect and to recall our shared commitment to the young in our societies: the second Monday in March each year is Commonwealth Day because it is a day when every school in the Commonwealth is open.

No, Mr Sharma. Every school in the Commonwealth is not open. They are not open here in Gibraltar. I live in Gibraltar so I can state that one quite categorically. Very little is open here today because it is a Bank Holiday to celebrate Commonwealth Day etc etc blah blah. I, personally, am offended that you wish to override fact, and ignore what happens in Gibraltar, in order to make an idealistic point.

It would be more interesting to know if every child of school age within the commonwealth actually attends school? rather than reading some sanctimonious – and inaccurate – garbage.

My previous Commonwealth Day posts here and here.

Onto something more interesting, because until that irritating speech is changed I shall waste no more time on Commonwealth Day. Pay peanuts for speechwriters, get monkeys I suppose. Pay more than peanuts and you could get a better class of Gib monkey.

Baked beans (yes! again!)

I promised to divulge the secret ingredient in the baked bean sauce that makes it delicious. I’d looked at the Heinz tin, where the main ingredients were water, sugar and beans. Oh, maybe tomatoes too. Can’t remember the order. And – spices. But did it list the spices? Of course not.

So the next batch of beans received a thumb or so of ginger. Brilliant. It was exactly what I was looking for.

Revised ingredients:

olive oil
mixed herbs
cayenne/pimiento/chilli etc if required

I soaked far too many beans, but that was ok because it meant I didn’t have to think about breakfast, just grabbed a ladleful every morning and plonked it in the pan. Excellent. No, I didn’t freeze them because the freezer packed up years ago, the fridge didn’t, so I saw no point replacing it.

Easy breakfast

Lemon sauce without the butter

In other food news, I decided to veganise (great word) lemon butter sauce, so did the obvious and combined olive oil, veg stock and lots of lemon juice. It worked fine for me, if you want it thicker, then the only other thing to do would be to add flour to the olive oil to make a roux before adding the stock and lemon juice. Served with broccoli and cauliflower and jacket potatoes.

The stock cubes I use are Kallo Extremely Low Salt or whatever they are called. They are excellent and seem to be one of the few stock cubes that doesn’t contain sugar.

Tofu champiñones con pasta

The following night I made a different tofu pasta dish. Normally I do this one, but wanted a change so thought mushrooms would serve nicely.


tofu (I used half a cauldron block, and added some tamari beforehand to ‘marinade’ it, I use the word loosely)
olive oil
soya milk/stock/both depending on personal choice

First I cooked the pasta and added it to the oven dish, which had been olive-oiled – if there is such a word.

Next, cooked onion and tofu together, to lightly brown both. Add on top of spaghetti.

Tofu and onions on top of pasta

Cook mushrooms gently in olive oil, add flour, make roux, and then add soya milk to make sauce. Pour over tofu and spaghetti. Put in oven for around 20 minutes. Meanwhile cook any veg or prepare a salad – we had savoy cabbage and carrots, and I used the pasta pan to cook them in to cut down on washing up.

It made enough for two people for supper, and for a light lunch the following day.

[ETA just realised I never mentioned the olive oil in the ingredients, I suppose I take it for granted – but I went back to add it in case anyone wondered how I was cooking so magically]

If I get chance there may be another post over on Clouds later on today…

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18 comments on “Commonwealth Day and more recipes

  1. Ahh the secret ingredient, strangely I was talking to A about what beans to grow this year and what we could do with them only yesterday. I now have another idea.

    had you thought about drafting a speech for Mr Sharma or his successor for next year? You could include some thoughts from your blogs?


    • Haricot beans or ginger??

      That’s a good idea. As I haven’t sent my snotty email yet again for the second year running, I may make the offer – thanks for that advice. I shall need to be nice Roughseas of course :D


      • Both, not grown Haricot before. Tried to grow ginger, got lots of leaf but nothing you would want to eat.

        Knock them dead with a speech and who knows where it will lead. Of course you could just carry on having fun!


        • If you read the meaningless tosh on the commonwealth website you will possibly realise my current style may not be entirely to their liking. Which isn’t to say I can’t write meaningless tosh of course. Think I am quite proficient really, just a different type of tosh.

          Wouldn’t have thought ginger would grow too well where you are, I’ve never tried it. Love growing hot chillies in Spain though :)


          • If you mean, ‘Did you read my interesting and informative blog …’ Then yes I am catching up on it. I do think it would be quite amusing to hear ‘them’ being forced to use your material in an official speech, the reaction of the establishment would be worth watching.
            Quite right ginger doesn’t do well but I thought I would try it indoors. Won’t bother with that again though. Chillies, now there’s a thing. Don’t know if you have heard of Lidl, very cheap German supermarket. The Brit comedians love to take the piss because it is so cheap and not what your upwardly mobile like. However, bought a Chilli plant from there last spring and it is still producing. Cost me a pound. I call that value.


          • No I meant the boring and uninformative commonwealth website, unlike my absolutely fabulous blog.

            Anyone who has worked for the UK govt as a press officer knows how to toe the line so I’m sure I could write as banal a speech as anyone else.

            We have Lidl in Spain. I have a tale about it, but for later. We don’t use it. I am, of course, upwardly mobile. There is one near here, Campamento I think. We pass on by.

            My chilli plants come free from my neighbours. I call trumps, and much better value. Oh and they also seed and grow new plants pretty easily too. I just chuck ’em in the ground wintertime. But they do lose their heat if you don’t use a new batch of seeds at some point.


          • Those pesky neighbours again. Mine just borrow things, in fact one has just walked away with my ladder.

            I am sure you know HOW to toe the line, its just a question of wanting to. From what I have read here I suspect you might be too independently minded for that anymore.

            My choice of supermarket it somewhat limited. I won’t use Tesco, they are taking over the world. Waitrose are nice but expensive and I am very poor (all say ahhhhh) We get as much as we can from there, I too aspire to the finer things of life, but everything else is Lidl or out of the ground.

            However, we did find a wild flower seed mix in Lidl that seems to contain mostly native species. I shall be running down the road sprinkling it on grass verges to try and help the bugs and bees.


  2. I scanned through this post before reading thoroughly & got lost in the foody part and found it hard to make my way back to the information/opinion part but anyway…mmm Tofu champiñones con pasta. One of my favourite breakfasts, done well, is tofu scramble. Oddly enough, the G.O., hates veges aka green stuff, but is happy to eat tofu. I also find ginger handy to add to everything.


    • I don’t think I’ve ever got the hang of tofu scramble. I guess I really ought to practice as it would be a good alternative for me. I’ll look forward to your post on it (hint!!). I nearly always have some ginger in the fridge, but don’t think about adding it to enough things, so thanks for that tip. I suppose I should have mentioend above about it’s huge health benefits too. For a later post I guess.


  3. Maybe you will be successful this year in getting the speech corrected. Your beans still look and sound so yummy. Hugs and nose kisses from Chancy and me!


    • Who knows regarding the speech? Perhaps I should send more than a simple email as suggested above.

      The beans were totally delicious. I need to buy some more tomatoes for the next batch.


  4. I happened to notice it was Commonwealth Day here as well, because it said so on my calendar that hangs above my desk at work. That is, I had noticed ahead of time, that this was so. Somehow it escaped my notice yesterday, and today I am informed once again as I read your blog.
    Silly speech oversight. In any event, hope you had a nice holiday. And on to the main point in your post – your baked beans look yummy. And your slideshow is very impressive :) Even though this is even less of a photo blog than your official non-photo blog, I especially like the click of the tomatoes sitting near the red pot. That is one image I could imagine DT taking to very kindly.


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