Archives for: March 2007

27/03/07

Permalink 10:22:31 am, Categories: Comics, 74 words   English (UK)

Order of the Stick

If you've ever played Dungeons and Dragons, or pretty much any rules based role-playing, then you should find this comic a hoot.

It follows the antics of a party of adventurers known as the Order of the Stick and despite it's simplistic appearance, it's one hell of a cleverly constructed strip.

It's been running quite a while, so there's a lot to catch up on, but there are some priceless gems along the way.

26/03/07

Permalink 09:13:14 am, Categories: Food, Review, 413 words   English (UK)

The Wharf - Teddington

We went out for dinner the other night to The Wharf, right next to Teddington Lock. The atmosphere on arrival was pleasant, although it was early and the dining room was virtually empty. There was a brisk chill in the air outside and the space heaters in the dining room had brought the temperature up nicely, it wasn't long before people were asking to have them turned off.

Things didn't get off to a brilliant start with the menu however. The only vegetarian main was off, and they obviously hadn't thought through anything to replace it. They were however prepared to consider variations on anything on the menu. In the end, we made do. There were 4 of us; we started with a Mezze plate between two, a pressed ham hock terrine and I had a caesar salad with chicken and bacon. Service was unexpectedly swift and the starters were all generous and very satisfying. My salad was simple but very well balanced and the Mezze plate contained pitta with a herd and garlic dressing, houmous, spicy baba-ganoush and a chunky guacamole, alongside that, feta and artichoke hearts.

To follow, I had a steak burger and my companions had corelli with chicken and chorizo, spiced rump of lamb, and a large plain caesar salad. The burger was tasty and succulent, presented with cheese, bacon, tomato and a tasty tomato relish. There was a mountain of fries on the plate, but they were a little underdone and somewhat anaemic.

We washed this down with mineral water and a very pleasant Laiback Pinotage from the Stellenbosch. Service was prompt and attentive almost but not quite to the point of intrusive and the staff were very helpful.

As our meal drew on, the room began to become quite full, it's obviously a popular place and my companions have failed to find a booking in the past. It didn't seem excessively noisy or crowded as things filled up, but we did notice a lot of cigarette smoke drifting in from the bar, despite having an ostensibly no-smoking table, and by the time we were leaving, the not-so-delicate sounds of a Gwen Stefani track were beginning to punctuate the hubbub.

I wasn't paying, but the prices on the menu seemed very reasonable and I think the whole experience was value for money. It's difficult to judge a place on a visit like this, but I would go again, for an early table, probably after the smoking ban comes in.

19/03/07

Permalink 04:33:35 pm, Categories: Food, Recipe, 368 words   English (UK)

Braised Venison Steaks

I got a pair of venison leg steaks at the weekend. It seemed to someone like a good plan. Then I had a good look through my collection of recipe books to figure out how to cook them.

I had no joy there. The closest thing I could find to a useful recipe was for venison loin, courtesy of Elizabeth David's 'French Provincial Cooking'.

So in the end I had to make something up.

Take 1 small red onion and two rashers of back bacon, chopped medium fine. Saute in olive oil until golden. Lift out the onion and bacon and put to one side for later, then add a little more oil if necessary and bring the pan up to just about smoking point. Add the 2 venison leg steaks and stand back. Let them brown and turn them over to brown the other side. Then I turned the heat down to a little below medium and added a half ounce of butter. (You can probably do without the butter, but I was making it up as I went along.) When the butter is melted, pour in a good glass of robust red wine, a Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon. Season and add a stock cube. Put the onions and bacon back in, along with a handful of small peeled shallots. Cover and leave to simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally and turning the meat over half way through the time. If it looks as though the wine might all boil away, add a splash more.

At the end of the hour, the wine should have produced a nice rich dark gravy, remove the lid and carefully push the ingredients to one side of the pan, to make a bit of room. Take care with the shallots and they might be very delicate by now. Add a splash of cream to the pan and stir it into the gravy. Cook it through until it thickens slightly. Now serve, take the meat out onto two plates, carefully place the shallots on top and then spoon the onion and bacon and gravy over the top.

I served this with a gratin dauphinois, steamed purple sprouting brocolli and more of the lovely red wine.

16/03/07

Permalink 01:49:57 pm, Categories: Review, Film, 426 words   English (UK)

Hot and Fuzzy

I don't get to the cinema as often as I would like. I don't want to go on my own and my tastes in film don't often coincide with those of others.

I did get to see Hot Fuzz this week. And I have to say that I was mightily impressed.

=> Read more!

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