When I joined my first newspaper office it was the customary greeting on the first of the month. Normally one would say, ‘Morning’ or ‘Good morning’.
But on the first it was White Rabbits.
Bizarre. Totally. And when I woke up on 1 September, I thought ‘White Rabbits’. Luckily I didn’t say it to anyone.
But from white rabbits to white jasmine and mosquitoes.
‘Mosquito’ said Partner helpfully in the night. He’s chatty like that.
He was right. I’d woken up scratching my legs.
I depilated the jasmine bush and stuffed three glasses full of it.
One on the table near me, one on the windowsill, and one in the bathroom.
It smelled beautiful. And … no more bites.
Next, idiot features managed to stick her arm over the spout of the boiling pot of beans. And got a very nasty steam burn. Ouch!
I went for soap but that didn’t fix it so I decided on the aloe vera plaster, wrapped up with a crepe bandage.
And stress. Ugh. I read recently that performing artists regularly vomit before going on stage.
Last month’s palaver with the electricity company and missing bills left me sadly under the weather with a dodgy guts. Yoghurt, I decided. And promptly felt better with a yoghurt a day for breakfast.
The routine continued back in Gib eating Yeo Valley Organic (natural) yoghurt. I only ever eat plain yoghurt.
The phone rang. ‘There’s no normal yoghurt, is low fat/no fat ok?’ asked my personal shopper aka Partner.
Yes, it was.
Except when I looked at it, I noticed the low fat yoghurt was vanilla. OK, I can live with vanilla extract. I looked at the ingredients and nearly dropped the pot. Sugar, corn starch, goodness knows what else. It was all organic but not what I want from yoghurt. But still, ’twas all I had, so I plonked some in a pot and took a spoonful.
It. Was. Vile.
Far from resolving a dodgy guts, it was more likely to make me throw up. Who on earth eats these bizarre concoctions?
I went down the town to the health food shops. Not a yoghurt in sight, let alone a plain one. The joys of living in Gibraltar when Morrisons runs out of plain yoghurt and there is none in the high street.
Still on food, and my quest to inform the world that Parmesan cheese is not vegetarian, I notice one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants has no-meat options, that include Parmesan, spinach and ricotta ravioli with Parmesan cream sauce. Equally interestingly, it isn’t actually labelled as vegetarian however.
The problem with chefs who aren’t vegetarian is they have no imagination and insist on putting cheese in everything. On the a la carte menu at The Narrow, in London, there is sweetcorn soup with cheddar crostini, and burrata di puglia, tomatoes and basil for starters, followed by squash and goat cheese ravioli with sage cream sauce. But still Ramsey is hardly known for his tolerance towards vegetarians. After all he has been known to say he served vegetarians soup made with chicken stock, although later claimed it was a joke.
On the bright side, dogs are allowed at The Narrow. Presumably as long as they aren’t vegetarian.
I didn’t bother contacting Ramsay about his overly cheesy menu.
I did however contact The Lounge in Gib, on Queensway Quay, which after taking over from Sam some years ago has expanded rapidly and become quite an upmarket restaurant (website coming soon it says, so no link). I did get a reply which said that dishes could be served with or without Parmesan. Well, that’s fair enough, but the amount of people who don’t know about vegetarian/animal/microbial rennet is staggering so for restaurants to describe a dish with Parmesan as vegetarian is just plain misleading. Not everyone has been vegetarian for thirty years.
And what about aubergine stuffed with … pesto? Vegetarian pesto?
Now, regular readers may remember I fired off a couple of emails last week to two restaurants querying their menus. I received an extremely pleasant and civilised reply from The Pony and Trap despite my sarky comment about ram’s curd v ewe’s curd. Apparently they use a variety of curd cheeses so this was to differentiate between cow’s, or presumably goat’s. I’d have put sheep’s curd, but hey their choice. And they amended Scoth egg to Scotch egg. Top marks to Holly Eggleston for her well written response and excellent PR when her initial reaction was probably ‘Push off roughseas, you smart-arse’.
catering school high-end culinary academy I wrote to – Tante Marie – has not replied about why they describe meals with Parmesan as vegetarian. Why am I not surprised? In 2008 Gordon Ramsay Holdings became one of the new co-owners. Incidentally, it only costs a mere £15,000–£20,000 for a professional Cordon Bleu course at the culinary academy.
And on money, my old school, recently sent me a promo leaflet. Not content with selling off the family bronze, this was a begging letter to donate and fund bursaries. Plus, in true double-glazing style, a current pupil would be ringing me to discuss my career/life after school and then try and get me to sign up to a subscription. I think not. Especially when someone addressed said begging letter to Gibraltar in Aylesbury. Hardly a glowing recommend.
Luckily someone at the post office had the foresight to realise Gib is not in Aylesbury, Bucks, UK, but actually at the tip of the Iberian peninsula. Did the post office person have a £12,000 a year education, like my school now costs?
I’ve ignored the double-glazing girl’s phone calls.
And from secular education to religious education. Two of our young neighbours are off to college in Gateshead tomorrow. Gateshead? Who the hell goes to tertiary education in Gateshead? Strict orthodox Jews, that’s who.
Ten years living in Newcastle and I never knew that Gateshead has the largest Jewish community in the north-east and the only one that is expanding. It’s got an extremely acclaimed set of strict Jewish colleges attended by students from all over the world.
Religion. Today, Partner was working in a Jewish flat and the mother was reading out loud from the bible, or the torah, or whatever. In Hebrew.
But when her daughter goes to Gateshead, let’s hope she doesn’t face jew-bashing.
Two of the four teenage attackers had previous for robbery and assault.
Got to love the multi-cultural UK that promotes such diversity, religious freedom and ends up with jew-bashing.
Jewish community in Gateshead:
And here’s a gecko.