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No I haven’t got TB! I did make a to-die-for damson tart thing but the stoning didn’t go too well. I managed to poke out four stones with a skewer but the intact damson to waste ratio was about 1:5 and it was too depressing. I googled the problem but what I needed was a cherry stoner. I have never heard of one, let alone seen one – so I took the pragmatic approach and cooked them in all their good potential-for-choking-on-a-stone glory. Truly delicious! Fortunately trying not to crack teeth on a stone was only a minor inconvenience. I did wonder what Michel Roux would have had to say about it though…

Anyway, I woke up this morning with stuff on my mind.


except that I think both are wrong.

What made me think of it was the news that some thinktank are proposing that there should be more environmental taxes , basically rising from about 7% (of total taxation I presume) to around 30% in the future. Maybe I am missing something, but would not a more effective solution be to consume a lot less, rather than pay through the nose to consume more? The whole economy seems underpinned on excessive consumption yet technology offers a way to consume with less impact. Take for instance the whole BBC online content argument and the fact that the daily newspapers are struggling to make ends meet. This industry and discussion reminds me of nothing more than old stags (with bits of fur hanging off) clashing antlers somewhere on a wild moor. Do the kids buy papers, I don’t think they do. They are happy to get their “news” online, onphone, onthebus, or wherever they are. Whilst the Press Barons bemoan their lot, the rest of the world are getting on with consuming information without the need for using paper and oil in production and distribution, and like dinosaurs (sorry to mix the animal similes and metaphors) they and their paper-based news need to either evolve (and fast) or become extinct.

I know that this is not a terribly fully-formed thought but it’s mine and I needed to pop it out there before I could “carry on”!

P.S. The Liverpool fan came out of the cupboard under-the-stairs in time to take his place at Anfield yesterday. The vacancy was swiftly filled by the Gooner, who is sobbing like a baby as I type.

They shall remain nameless

They shall remain nameless


In an attempt to portray myself as a wholesome mothering type of person, as opposed to a shambolic, scruffy and lately unsuccessful punter, we have been baking.

This week we did banana cake, with pecans instead of walnuts, and lemon and raspberry muffins. The banana cake was nice but the kids refused to eat it unless it was raw in the bowl, or hot. The muffins lasted barely 24 hours.

I have a bag of damsons in the freezer that need some form of processing and they are my half-term culinary project – I expect the defrosting and stoning will take until about Wednesday. When we reach that happy point I have a Nigel Slater spelt flour and ground almond recipe in mind.

I expect we’ll also be carving pumpkins and watching Fantastic Mr Fox (thankfully by Wes Anderson and not the ubiquitous Pixar), so all in all autumn’s not a bad place to be, providing it doesn’t rain too much in East Sussex…

Mr Fox, probably stoning damsons

Mr Fox, probably stoning damsons