A New Year, A New You
Paul Johnston is trying to kick start his writing with A New Year, A New You - here's an excerpt;
There was no need to call in Kofi Annan or Henry Kissinger but things threatened to get heated. We were adamant. Okay, I was adamant. We wanted to keep the questions we’d been given because we’d got them right and we didn’t want to risk having those racing certainties replaced by a couple of right scunners (or “doozies” as my mate Dave would call them). Word went up and down the chain of command for what seemed like an eternity and anxious discussions were held. Production assistants scurried around like dogs just let off their leashes as we stood impassively behind a curtain, out of sight of the audience. They must have wondered what on earth was going on. So did we.
Bearing in mind the recent wave of scandals that had rocked the genteel world of quiz shows, game shows and phone-in competitions, the production team weren’t taking any chances. I was digging in my heels about keeping the correct answers when, like a bolt from the blue - a revelation if you like - it all became very clear. There was no bright light calling me, no heavenly visions, just a realisation. We’d got it wrong! The penny had dropped and it dawned on me that Melton Mowbray pies were indeed from Leicestershire. (I can’t look at a Melton Mowbray pie anymore without thinking about that day. I always look at the company address on the wrapper too, just in case).
No doubt to the vast majority of the English-born and bred viewers the answer to the Melton Mowbray question was clearer than the clearest crystal from the Clearland Crystal Factory Shop in Clearshire. It may have seemed blatantly obvious to those screaming at their telly box south of the border but when your local television diet doesn’t stretch much beyond the Lothians, Central region and the Kingdom of Fife your knowledge of English counties and where they all fit in is more serendipitous than encyclopaedic. I’ve no doubt that the much travelled of the British Isles, like lorry drivers, sales people and prison escapees would be choking on their Ginsters pasties if they witnessed our aberration. If the question had been thrown their way they would’ve treated such a poser as an affront to their intelligence, a slight on their very being and with utter disdain. But, as a well-worn quiz maxim says, they’re only easy if you know the answer. (Sure Chris Tarrant took this saying on and made it his own on Millionaire but it’d been around a lot longer. Hadn’t it?).
As the Good Lady Wife often points out, there are two topics on which she hates to be asked questions. One is cricket and the other is English counties; two topics which are forever intertwined. To use a cricketing analogy, for the first question we had seen the ball early and taken a step down the pitch in the hope of launching the ball down the ground. But we’d misread the pitch and flight of the ball, only to turn and see a grateful wicketkeeper (played by Richard Arnold resplendent in whites and oven gloves) unceremoniously whip off the bails, scattering them to the four winds. The cock-up on the second question would be the “No Ball” we longed, nay prayed, for. Pointing out the show’s error on the Little House on the Prairie question was our equivalent of the modern-day cricket referral and, after much humming and hawing, we’d been given the green light so beloved of many an anxious batsmen awaiting the Out/Not Out verdict. We’d had a let off, a second chance and like my Fifteen To One lifeline I saw it as a sign. It was fate. It was kismet. It was bloody lucky! Could we make the most of our slice of good fortune or would we be lulled into a false sense of security.
A New Year, A New You
Euan McIlwraith wrote up a recipe for The Out of Doors Cookbook this week - anyone for The Orra Omelette?
The Chanterelle is the magic ingredient in this omelette. Firm nutty with a real taste of the woods.
Often found at the foot of a beech tree and easy to identify from a good mushroom book, but if in doubt take an expert!
The Chanterelle, unlike many fungi, which live by breaking down dead material, has a living symbiotic relationship with the tree (often a beech) . It breaks down organic material for the tree and the tree supplies sugars.
The Orra loon in the northeast is a general handyman that does any job on the farm.
The Orra omelette makes use of anything local that is to hand and is perfect for hoovering up leftovers before you leave! The addition of Chanterelle really lifts this dish to a higher plane. Like Basil and tomato, chanterelle, eggs and potatoes are made for each other.
Three free range local eggs
Local chopped dry cure bacon.
Left over cooked King Edward potatoes
North east grown garlic.
North east Cheese
North East Rape seed Oil
Fresh Chanterelle give off a fair bit of liquid when cooked so driying them for two days on a rack allows storage and they lose none of the flavour.
Before leaving home: break the eggs and pour them into an empty fresh orange bottle. Add the grated cheese. Put in an outside pocket of the rucksack. To make the process even faster cook the chopped bacon and pop in a bag with the cooked potato and mushrooms.
As the dawn breaks fire up the frying pan.
Fry the bacon in Rape oil, add chanterelle and garlic.
Sweat for two minutes. (Note local bacon has no white scum)
Add chopped potato.
Shake up the eggs and cheese in the bottle and add to pan.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Cook till omelette is firm
This has to be one of the great ways to start a day in the out doors and the extra time taken to source the chanterelle’s is time well spent. The hint of apricot from the mushrooms adds a magic touch. They keep well and when dried and stored in a jar can last till the spring.
Bringing you the funny bits from the last week on BBC Radio Scotland.