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Everything posted by liuzhou

  1. I have uncovered a bizarre custom among the natives. But first I have to explain a peculiar anthropological oddity. And an economic one. A) Founded 75 years ago, Greggs is described by Wikinonsense as "the largest bakery chain in the United Kingdom", which may be technically correct but a bit misleading. They don't sell cakes and bread like a normal bakery shop might. In fact, it's more like a café, selling pies, sandwiches etc. and especially sausage rolls. They sell over two million sausage rolls a year. In 2012, ""Pasty Gate" erupted when the Conservative government decided to start taxing the take away products. This prompted a nationwide near-revolution and the tax threat was withdrawn. That is democracy! Hands off our pies! B) Scotland and England have different banknotes. English banknotes are accepted all over, but Scotland bank notes are often refused in England. It is an odd situation in that technically Scottish notes aren't legal tender in England. In fact, they aren't even legal tender in Scotland! The term "legal tender" is almost meaningless in UK law. Scottish banknotes are accepted in very few overseas banks. I can't change them in China. Only Bank of England notes are accepted. Anyway, I decided to take one for eG and sample this unique, exotic foodstuff - the Gregg's sausage roll. I strolled in and asked for two to take away (eating them on premises attracts VAT at 20%). I brandished the only currency I had (apart from some Chinese renminbi and Hong Kong dollars), a £50 note. The woman looked concerned, wandered away behind the scenes and returned to apologise, but they couldn't accept my money (despite being an English company). I explained that I had no other method of payment (after decades abroad, I have no UK cards or anything else). She sympathised but her hands were tied. First time I've had English money refused. I handed her back my two rolls which she had already wrapped. "No", she explained, "We can't accept the cash, but you can take the sausage rolls anyway!" Free sausage roll! The rolls were good (free stuff always tastes best!). Nice flaky pastry, well spiced filling and not at all greasy as some can be. I then felt thirsty. Fortunately I spotted a nearby pub I've never visited. That'll do. The barman looked vaguely familiar, but I dismissed that. I ordered my statutory Guinness. When it was handed over, I made to pay (with a Scottish note. My £50 note had been accepted in a book shop where I had made a purchase). "No. This one is on me," the barman said! I was beginning to think I was stuck in some prank for a reality television show, when he reminded me that we had met a week ago in the hotel where I was hiding from my mother. He was bar minding there as a second job. We had conversed in the hotel about why I was in Scotland and he had been entertained by the story and wanted to buy me my pint in thanks. Still. An odd day! Free Beer
  2. I've been a bit tied up in family stuff with little of culinary interest going on. Sister continues to "cook". This was all made elsewhere and heated up rather than cooked at home. except the boiled potatoes. That said it was good! The steak pie was made in-store by a local independent butcher and was lovely. The peas and cabbage were frozen. I was offered a "dessert" from a local bakery - a classic strawberry tart. I passed. Far too sweet for me.
  3. I've used them a few times quite happily (as far as flying can be happy). I only asterisked the chana dal as I once flew from Bangkok to London on Bangladesh Airlines via Dakka. Worst flight of my 100s of flights. Every meal was chick pea/garbanzo.curry. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or extracurricular snack! And, like an idiot, I booked a return flight. Two. 10 hour curry fart extravaganzas. When I booked my flight this time, through a company I have a close business relationship with and get trade prices, my friend/contact asked which airlines I preferred. My only stipulation was that I'd heard of it and it wasn't Bangladesh. Love the country, but sorry, your airline sucks.
  4. The smoked mackerel isn't so oily as the fresh version, not that I mind fresh mackerel. I would describe the texture as firm and flaky without being dry or hard. The ones I bought were simply fish, salt, black pepper and smoke. Some contain colouring and preservatives, so it's worth being careful. Sadly, I can't take cheese home to China. I could barely take it home from the cheese shop to my mother's place 10 minutes away without eating it all, never mind 8000 miles!
  5. liuzhou

    Breakfast 2019

    Brunch. Hot smoked mackerel, sourghdough and butter.
  6. Brunch. Hot smoked mackerel, sourghdough and butter.
  7. It is possible that I may have escaped on the odd occasion for a pint or three of With a sister, two nieces, three great-nieces and two great-nephews in the house, I need the odd break - I'm too used to living alone, as is my mother.
  8. The day after the party, I checked out of the hotel and moved into my mother's house where I've been basically doing nothing very much. My younger sister has appointed herself as head cook, despite not being a very good cook. She thinks she is, but while she is a great baker, I beg to differ regarding any other kitchen skills. Still, it's edible. -ish. The first meal was steak-based. The steak was well cooked but the veg were boiled to death in true Scottish style and she over-relies on industrial shortcuts such as the potato croquettes she served with the steaks. The serving was also ridiculously large , provoking hilarity among the assembled family. A second meal was more sensibly sized and somewhat better. Seabass fillet, but again with the industrial potatoes and over-cooked veg. Spag bol. Bottled sauce. But tasty. I don't mean to sound ungrateful. She is a real carer, and we all tease her about it and she takes it well. I did go off to look at the local supermarket's selection. All the fresh ingredients were there. I ended up buying far too much cheese - brie, smoked goat's, Wensleydale, smoked Bavarian, white stilton. And a sourdough bread. And more oatcakes. Snacking on them throughout the day. Funky goat's cheese on toasted sourdough. She's heading back to London later today, so I'll probably be cooking again soon.
  9. Two "meals" from my recent flights from Hong Kong to Edinburgh, Scotland via Dubai on Air Emirates. HK-Dubai After the pleasant cheese panini (not pictured), I went with the noodles. This wasn't terrible, but the saucing was a bit over-powerfully flavoured and the greenery overcooked. DBX-EDI By the time they got to me, the turkey sandwiches had run out, so I was forced to settle for the mozz and cuke. It was OK. I did enjoy the date and ginger cake (to my surprise), but I can't find the picture I'm sure I took. For lunch, I warily chose the chicken chana dal*, but first I had to deal with the appetiser - pasta salad. It looked great but lurking under the orzo (which I love) and black beans was the dreaded yellow insult to food. Pass! Back to the chana dal. This was by far the least appealing dish visually, but was by far the tastiest. I would have been happy to pay serious money for that in a restaurant. I even enjoyed the milk chocolate mousse, despite a notorious lack of sweet tooth. Despite the c*rn disgrace, I had a really nice meal. At some point I forget, some cheese and crackers also turned up. I'll post the return flights when they occur. I'll have the dal for sure, should it be on offer again.
  10. Because ramen noodles aren't curly.
  11. I have tried, but they never germinated.
  12. If you had asked the question 23 year ago when I moved to China, the list would be very long. However, I can now get most things. online if not in the local markets or shops. The only thing that springs to mind now is fresh herbs other than coriander leaf/cilantro and mint. I managed to find some basil seeds and had a healthy crop when I left for three weeks in the UK. Hope they survive. I'd grow more but it's illegal to import the seeds.
  13. I can get it in China, so I'd be suprised if you can't. Not that I want it.
  14. 😕 I know Guinness is Irish! I used this cunning literary device known as irony! I'm surprised you didn't tell me off for describing Eggs Benedict as Scottish, too!
  15. I have a video of that moment which I've tried to post, but failed. I'll do so when I get back to China, but that won't be for a couple of weeks.
  16. @kayb Oatcakes with goats cheese.
  17. Thanks. Everyone agrees she doesn't look 90!
  18. Soon, we received reports that my youngest brother was pulling into the car park with my mother aboard. We had a long table like the Last Supper, but with the narrow end nearest the door. I was sitting to the left of Christ's empty seat. My mother came in and was immediately surprised at the size of the crowd, but didn't really register who was there and who wasn't. She headed to the narrow end nearest her, but was soon redirected to her alloted position at the table centre. She walked down the long edge of the table saying hello to family who live near her, then stopped, saw me, pointed in utter surprise, but I like to think, delighted. Here, captured by my daughter, is the moment she saw me. and here is the gathering. My family (almost - 6 were unable to come) I suppose I should mention food, but in the excitement I only photographed my meal. Fish and chips. Very good! Hours passed in seconds and then people started to disperse. I returned to my hotel and had a pint of and to bed, tired but happy.
  19. I arrived at the birthday venue far too early, but the logistics were that I could either be early or unforgivably late. We all had to be there when my mother arrived. This means that there may be a decided lack of images of Guinness in this post. I didn't want to be half-cut by the time she arrived, so, to my eternal shame, I requested an alcohol free drink. They gave me some revolting concoction which they called "non alcoholic cider". Now, in British English, "cider" is apple based and alcoholic. The American term ""Apple Cider" baffles me. This obnoxous "drink" was 90% sugar and 10% cherries. Disgusting. I felt quite nauseous by the time any action happened. Anyway, I was sitting at the bar of the restaurant, near the door, so I could see everyone who came in. The first thing that confused me was a young mid-twenty year old girl who came in and looked me, screamed and threw herself into my arms. This, I assure you, doesn't happen on a regular basis. This tall, beautiful woman looked vaguely familiar and it clicked that she must be my niece. She is now 27 and I hadn't seen her 19 years. Minutes later, her younger sister arrived together with a bunch of children who meant nothing to me. Then the first niece ran out to the car park and dragged her mother, my sister in. I haven't seen her for 19 years, either. She just stopped dead and stared at me in confusion for what seemed a long time, then ran as fast as she can (not fast at all - she is a large woman) and gave me what is probàbly the biggest hug she ever gave me. Next was my daughter, one of only two people who did know I'd be there along with her two daughters and with whom I've been in constant contact on Facebook, but hadn't seen for 12 years. Almost finally my younger brother, his wife and his daughter and children were there. The scene was set. All we were for waiting for was the star of the show.
  20. There is zero chance of me getting a tattoo. I loathe them nearly as much as c*rn!
  21. Yes, I experienced that syndrome. I remembered the walk from the station to that beach being a long one, but it only took about 4 minutes.
  22. I've already had a few oatcakes! Right next door to the place I ate the Ploughman's is a bakery I first visited about 60 years ago. They have great oatcakes. Several were purchased and consumed in the hotel room wiith goats' cheese at strange hours of the night / morning when the jet lag started demanding food.
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