The Lamb Was Sure To Go

Thursday, 9 September 2010
....the lamb was sure to go
This is a standby I use a lot ….

[ingredients - lamb, thyme, garlic, white wine, bla, bla, bla]

[method - rub with oil, lemon, soften, add, mix, taste, pour, leave, cook, serve, eat, yada yada yada]

Serve it straight at the table. Slice lamb and dole out vegetables as you go. If I'm serving it for supper I put a crusty loaf on the table. If it's for Sunday lunch there will be a bowl of crisp mixed salad leaves.
Posted by maggie at 13:47

musters said...

Thank you for this mouth watering recipe. I plan to try it this weekend as I have a young friend visiting from Redcar. I wondered, do you think the lamb would perform well with the addition of some green tomato chukney that I have in my ladder?


Dolores Musters, Miss.
15 September 2010 05:22
maggie said...

Hello Dolores

Thank you.

I think the green tomato chutney would be lovely served alongside the lamb. Very colourful too.

15 September 2010 08:47
musters said...

Thanks you ever so much Maggie. The chukney is indeed still green although perhaps less so than the green tomatoes themselves but I suppose that's to be expected. It also has raisins in it which I feel the lamb will respond favourably to. I hope you don't mind. Finally since this will be a Sunday lunch I will follow your recommendation of serving with crisps and salad. Could you recommend a salad dressing or would you serve undressed?
16 September 2010 01:35
maggie said...

Hi - your chutney sounds delicious. I would dress the salad leaves very simply with some good oil - olive or nut oil. Have a lovely lunch.

17 September 2010 01:48
musters said...

My chutney (sic), I believe, is very delicious indeed. Perhaps you or some of your viewers would like to try it? I flatter myself by providing the recipe:

Musters Green Tomato Chukney
48 green tomatoes, 1/8" diced
15 cascabel chilli apples (green) washed, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 mug silver raisins, quartered
1 mug dark brown sugar,
1 tea bag
4 tb diced rabbit (or hare)
1 very large lima bean
1 mug French shallot, crystallized , grated
50 long red chilli peppers, sun-blushed, de-seeded
26* retained seeds from (above) long red chilli peppers

Put all ingredients in wide saucepan, bring to
boil quickly, adjust heat, and boil about 300 minutes or until as thick as some jam. Stir occasionally, to prevent sticking. Spoon into hot, un-sterilized half-pint glasses; seal. Let stand at least 6 months.

*If you want a less spicy chukney, remove 6 of the seeds in the chillies.
17 September 2010 04:16
maggie said...

Very droll. Now go away and get yourself a life.
17 September 2010 05:54


Country Goes To War

International yodelling high-wire entrepreneur Garth Brooks has sensationally ditched all five of his planned Croke Park performances, after Dublin City Council (DCC) refused to license two of them.

“It’s five or none”, insisted Brooks before comparing the situation to child neglect.

“To choose which shows to do and which shows not to do, would be like asking to choose one child over another. I love all the children of Ireland. So I choose none of them”.

Brooks, who showed up in boots, said he had “Faith that his God (Episcopal) would furnish the DCC (Planning and Licensing Sub-Committee) with the strength to make the best decision for the people of Ireland” before admitting, “A show like mine takes at least five nights to get right”.

The council’s decision was made in the wake of complaints and threatened legal action by Croke Park residents who are country music fans.

Sean O’Murphy, chairman of the Croke Park Streets Committee, described the prospect of five consecutive nights of Brooks’ facile, up-tempo, big-hat, ham-Country as “totally toxic to the community”.

“As much as I love country music, the prospect of being stuck at home for five consecutive nights listening to Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash at full volume is excessive”, he added.


Why I Quit Facebook

I quit Facebook recently for the third time. The previous two attempts failed dismally. The first one after around 4 months, the second after just a couple of days. This time though, I’m off that “life-giving and life-taking elixir” (as Irvine Welsh described heroin in Trainspotting) for good. The comparison, I believe, is apt. Facebook (as a shorthand for social media generally) has replaced religion as the “opiate of the masses”.

One lunchtime, with no malice aforethought, I simply de-activated my account. In reality, deactivation is little more than logging out. I’m only a username and password away from re-activation. But I’ve disappeared to the Facebook world. “Where’s the fella gone, he was here a minute ago”, my friends will cry. “He does the same in pubs”, they might add.

But why did I do it? I’ll try and explain in more detail, but basically it came down to this. For me, Facebook was more negative than positive. That’s the most important point and I want to remember it clearly in case I weaken, as I surely will, and decide to return to the fold.

I almost did just that within 24 hours. During the football, Martin Tyler described Chelsea’s David Luiz as “the bushy-haired Brazilian”. I thought of a great comment (you can probably guess it) which might have garnered any number of “likes”. I came very close to re-activating but manly fought off the impulse settling instead to simply share the comment (verbally, like they used to do in the olden-times) with my wife who laughed tolerantly. It wasn’t a “like” though and I felt cheated.

When you deactivate, Facebook asks you for a reason. It presents you with a list including:

My account was hacked.
I don’t feel safe on Facebook.
This is temporary, I’ll be back.

I selected Other and left the Please Explain Further box empty, considering it to be insolence of the first water. But then when I confirmed, it demurred:

Please select a reason for deactivating. If you choose "Other", please explain your reason.

So polite enough (two pleases if you please!) but firm with it. Unless you choose one of our reasons you must – MUST – extrapolate on your own. I was in no mood for extrapolation (I wanted out while my nerve held firm) so I unclicked Other and selected I spend too much time on Facebook. This is probably true, although “too much” is clearly subjective. I was spending around an hour a day. I also could also have happily stood over any of the following:

I don’t find Facebook useful.
I don’t understand how to use Facebook.
Facebook is boring.

The latter option, sadly (like the idiotic Carlos Tevez – who is off to Disneyland for the summer, rather than the World Cup in Brazil), being unavailable for selection.

Now I’m back in real life. The offline world you might say. And I’ve been listening to the new Eels album lots (twice). I think it’s fabulous, a thing of great beauty. I recommend it to you. So it occurred to me to share this insight. Ah but no Facebook! I can’t share my news about the new Eels album being a thing of great and fabulous beauty. And if I can’t share it, is it really beautifully fabulous?

It’s like the philosophical thought experiment:

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? 

A Facebook version of this might be:

If I cook a plate of “Linguine a la Vongole” and I don’t post a picture of it on Facebook, does it taste good?

Yes of course it does, it tastes brilliant (assuming I cooked it) but, given the number of pictures of plates of food shared on Facebook, you might think otherwise, or at least that sharing the picture was as important as actually cooking and eating the food. And some pictures are so good (airbrushed to within an inch of their life godammit!) you wonder if the meal has gone stone cold before the diner has deigned to eat it. Of course the picture could have been uploaded post-prandially, as it were, but I’ll bet it wasn’t.  Uploading that foody image is, by some distance, top of the Facebook user’s to-do list and if it didn’t get done now, well, it might not get done at all and then what? A bloody good meal wasted that’s what.

I believe this mind-set, this need to share almost as a validation of life’s everyday events, is common to many Facebook users and is, not to put too fine a point on it, a modern curse. Nothing can simply be enjoyed in the present. Not only must it be shared, it must be shared via an excellent photograph, with effects and borders and a jocose bon mot to accompany it. The good news is, as someone who successfully quit Facebook for 4 whole months, I can confirm that the mood passes. If you can stay clean for a couple of weeks, you lose this unhealthy compulsion and start to breathe easy again.

At base, Facebook, if it’s about anything at all, is about mild boasting. Most people don’t do this in an overt “Look at me, isn’t my life great” kind of way. But, of course, everyone likes to paint a positive picture of themselves, and Facebook provides a perfect platform for this without letting pesky light in on the magic. Hey, I might be a 45 year-old functioning alcoholic with a dead-end job but I still listen to cool music like The Eels and, look, I made this lamb tagine. From scratch!

So is Facebook boring? I believe yes. At least 95% so. I have, or rather had, around 300 Facebook friends. In real-life, at a push, 15. If I’d shared my insight into the new Eels album, perhaps those 15 would have found it interesting. Some may even have “liked” my post and my heart would have swelled with pride.  Vindication and glory would be mine. The new Eels album would have been confirmed, beyond any reasonable doubt, as fabulously beautiful. However, around 95% of my friends would have found it boring and ignored it. What’s this got to do with dinner or babies or Candy Crush (whatever that is) they might have thought. If they thought anything at all.

All of this is obviously my own opinion and reflects my personal experience. I’m sure plenty people don’t find Facebook in the least boring. Or only a bit boring, say, 25%. More likely they haven’t measured how boring their Facebook is or even thought about it. And that leads into why:

I don’t understand how to use Facebook.

It’s true, if I’d clicked that box it would be at as genuine the one I did pick. You see, I don’t think all this stuff I said earlier about “excellent photograph, with effects and borders and a jocose tagline” really comes into play for many people. They’ll post any old rubbish and wouldn’t dream of spending half an hour crafting the perfect comment. And maybe that’s how Facebook should be used, put it out there, I’m sharing something with you, the quality is irrelevant, this is my experience, I’m telling you about. You can like it (pun intended), or lump it.

The other reason I suspect I don’t really understand how to use Facebook is that I’m sometimes a tad controversial. Hopefully not in an offensive way but I wouldn’t shy away from posting something about divisive issues such as religion, sexuality or the former Glasgow Rangers football club (not to be confused with the current club by that name). Woops, I’ve just been controversial there.

This is probably an attempt to pep up my daily toil and, in some ways, an effort, now that I rarely get out to the pub, to have a cyber-pub conversation where, at least amongst men, being cheeky and irreverent is a la mode. Trust me friends, 


This kind of cheek and nonsense rarely goes down well.  Facebook is about being positive and nice all the time. “If you can’t say something nice don’t say nothing at all” as Thumper’s Mum reproved in Bambi. This is why there’s no “dislike” button.

Let me paint a picture. It’s Friday night, pizza night. My wife and I are having, as is our wont, gin and tonics. The kids are happy pottering about or watching daft programs about performing arts schools in LA on the tablet. Music is blasting from the stereo. It’s the new Eels album. Lovely pizza smells are drifting from the even. It’s blue cheese and red onion. All is well with the world. But is all really well unless Facebook knows about how well it is? As we (or at least I) concluded above there is a piece of the jigsaw missing. We must have validation. I grab my phone and what’s on my mind, Facebook, is the following:

Pizza in the oven, the slightest dribble of tonic in the gin, the new Eels on the stereogram (a thing of great beauty). I love Fridays.

I click “POST”.

Now we have closure. The evening may proceed as before.

Except it can’t, can it? Because now fifteen minutes have passed, the album is over, the glass is half-empty (literally) and...


A melancholy sets in. Here I am surrounded by my beautiful family, it’s Friday night, I’m pleasantly tipsy and have pizza and a couple of episodes of “True Detective” ahead of me. But I’m at least 5% depressed because 100% of my Facebook friends, 95% of whom I barely know, have ignored me. It’s now 30 minutes since I posted and still radio silence is maintained. I wouldn’t say I was exactly disgruntled, but I’m far from being gruntled. If it’s dramatic effect you’re after (and I get the distinct impression it is)...


Perhaps Facebook isn’t like this for you.  I certainly hope not. The above scenario only partially reflects any reality for me. I’ve exaggerated for effect. I’m not that sad (honestly). What’s true about it is that, for me, posting on Facebook, both the before and after, is on balance a negative experience. That’s why I packed it in three times, hopefully this time for good. I want a quieter, more pastoral existence.  One where I can head down to the pub with the paper and simply enjoy a pint and a bag of nuts without worrying about whether a photo of a pint and a bag of nuts would look better with a soft or subtle effect or what kind of chemical burn would enhance the shot.

And whether the comment Dinner would garner a few blessed “likes”?


An Italian Tragedy (or A Restaurant Review)

The fat man left his hotel and went to the restaurant across the road. He was on business in Milan.

The restaurant was like the proverbial curate’s egg meaning it was good in parts. It was very good in the parts it was good in, and it was very bad in the parts it was bad in. The fat man considered that the good outweighed the bad but that was only his personal opinion. You might beg to differ.

On the good side, the fat man was made to feel very welcome. The people working in the restaurant were extremely affable. The food in the restaurant was “molto buona” in the fat man’s opinion. He started with a plate of cold meats and cheese. He ate the meats together with some olives and garlic and held most of the cheese back to finish the wine. The “vino della casa” was more than decent for the price.

Next the fat man had pappardelle with a wild boar ragu which he took this picture of.
He enjoyed this immensely and congratulated the chef personally offering an enthusiastic "molto molto buona". The cost of the meal, including a healthy tip, was €35 and the fat man considered this excellent value.

On the bad side, the restaurant’s lighting was far too bright. The fat man abhorred bright lights. He preferred strategic lighting. The décor was modern and shiny and the fat man considered it to be tacky. And worst of all the music in the restaurant was all eighties hits which Sky Music happened to be shitting out that night.

On balance the fat man believed the restaurant was very much like life. Good in parts, bad in parts but overall good. That was his personal opinion.

Many years later as the fat man (who was no longer fat but cancer-thin) was on the very edge of his final sleep, he happened to think of that "Pappardelle al Ragu Di Cinghiale" and considered it one of the great meals of his life. He died with this thought sountracked, for all eternity, by Midge Ure singing “Vienna”.


The Story Of The Oyster Shell

When we visited the Great Barrier Reef a couple of years ago, I picked up an enormous oyster shell and showed it to my wife.

"It’s beautiful" she said, "Now put it back".
"It is very beautiful" I said. "And so smooth".
"Put it back" she said.

She was right of course. 

You're not allowed to take anything, dead or alive, from the Great Barrier Reef. It's the world's largest coral reef system you see. It's composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres. It's the oyster shells, not rocks, which provide the hard surface on which reef organisms like sponges can grow.

"They provide protection for fish like gobies and a food source", she added.

I took this picture earlier today of the shell in our downstairs toilet. It’s under the stairs.


Rory McIlroy undecided

Rory McIlroy undecided over Europe or USA spot


With the Ryder Cup only minutes  away, Rory McIlroy says he is yet to decide whether he will opt to represent Europe or USA.

Media reports yesterday suggested the Northern Irishman was leaning towards his adopted homeland.

However, McIlroy said he had not yet made up his mind yet.

"Read my lips. I have totally not made a decision yet," said the world number one.

“From the moment I deplaned I have been busy acclimating myself to this awesome country. I just need some normalcy.”

McIlroy was clearly in a reflective mood as he practised whilst sucking saltwater taffy. “Oftentimes it’s hard to believe this is my sophomore Ryder Cup” he said, adding “Listen Fella, whoever I play the golf-game for I’ll make sure we are the winningest team. I’ll kick my opponents fanny left and right”.

A decision is expected in the next few minutes.



GREEN: "We 'aven't spat on anyone".

Rangers chief executive Charles Green believes Scottish football must do "what is right financially" as the club await a vote on their future status.

Green told the Rangers website:
"My family came up poor, we didn't have two brass farthings to rub together us britches showin', muck an splat reet up t'neck but we made our way up through 'ard graft" adding "Let me make this very simple for you, fancy ideas about sporting integrity are all well and good in that fancy London but it won't butter thee parsnips will it?"

Scottish Premier League clubs will decide on 4 July whether Green's 'newco' Rangers can replace the old club in the top flight.
Should Green not get the necessary support, Rangers would have to apply to the Scottish Football League for the vacancy that would arise in Division Three after various clubs are moved up a division.

He added:
"Look I'm poor me, I still 'aven't got nowt and I didn't buy this club t'play in't third bloody division". "A've saved this club from t'brink and ah don't do owt for nowt me".

Rangers are currently facing charges of bringing the game into disrepute and illegal registration of players by Scottish Football Authorities.

Mr Green went on:
"C'mon we may 'ave broken few rules, with'eld tax t'bloody government, cheated a few titles here and there but it's not as if we spat on anyone ", adding "We certainly 'aven't spat on anyone". "Any proper football person'll tell you that's the worst thing you can do in football".

Our sources have confirmed that various ongoing investigations into the club being conducted by liquidators on behalf of HMRC, the Scottish Football Association, the Scottish Premier League and the Strathclyde Police Force are not concerned with any saliva related rule breaches.



"Our players are fully mowtivated"

RFC PLC (in administration) were today given some good news when it was revealed that a troublesome cutting mechanism on the club's Ransome TG 3400 7-head hydraulic trailed chassis cylinder mower (Sports Edition) had improved somewhat. It is believed that a deep overlay sprocket (end angle) had been up to 2.5 degrees over "edged" and this had been causing surface scarification compaction.

Head groundsman David Roxburgh expressed his delight "We'd been aware of this problem for a while now and 'Coisty came down suggested I push it (the sprocket) in a wee bit and that seems to have made all the difference" adding "It's been a tough week for this great club but hopefully this will see us turning the corner".

RFC PLC (in administration) have suffered a number of injuries this season to key players including Steven Naismith and Kyle Lafferty and this along with being deducted ten points for tax avoidance has hampered their league challenge. The club's mascot, Ian Durrant said "Hopefully if we can continue to maintain the surface aeration to aid root growth this will help 'Naisy and Laffs in their recovery" adding "Our players are fully mowtivated".

It is believed that the injured players have being paying the top band of tax to the club and this is deducted from their salary directly at source although not passed on to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

Another good news story emerged yesterday when it was revealed that the club's under-13 star centre forward Rory McCrorie celebrated his 13th birthday. He received an ipod touch, some computer games and was taken to Nando's by his Mum and Dad for a slap-up tea.



“it takes a siege mentality to really unite you with your fellow fans”

As Scottish football begins to take in the scale of the crisis at "Rangers FC PLC (in administration)" the club's fans are in buoyant mood.

The biggest crowd of the season attended the match between "RFC PLC (ia)" and Kilmarnock on Saturday at their current home, Ibrox Stadium. There was a carnival atmosphere which many fans described as being reminiscent of Victory in Europe Day 1945 as that heaving emotional cauldron reverberated to the sound of "We're having a party, We're going to die" and "Always look on the bright side of death".

It was also a busy day for the Scottish Ambulance Service as several hundred younger fans fainted due to "emotional stretching" and fellow supporters were able to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Sixty-five year old father of four Ivan Smith said "I don't mind admitting, it was rather thrilling".

After the match, one fan told me "It takes a siege mentality to really unite you with your fellow fans" adding "I've been coming to watch this team for thirty-five years and today is the first time I've even spoken to anyone - it's magic!!!".

This view was shared around the ground as grown men danced and kissed each other playfully on the lips. The chairman of the Milngavie Rangers Supporters Club, Findlay Sykes-Ogilvie, told me "This is the finest day in our proud 140 year history. The emotional intensity of the match was utterly beautiful and losing the match one nil, if anything, enhanced our shared experience".

Alistair McCoist, the current manager of "RFC PLC (ia)", choked back tears of joy as he said "I'm so proud of my players today. The performance was understandably below par but we got the result we needed to get that magnificent crowd behind us". Asked if he had a message for the fans McCoist, holding a bottle of vintage Champagne, said simply "WE ARRA PEOPLE!!!" before tightly hugging Ian Durrant.

The club's next game is due to take place on Sunday away to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Those lucky fans who have secured tickets will be hoping for an even more convincing result.



Fears emerged today that the current crisis at the beleaguered “Rangers FC PLC (in administration)” will result in an increase in the secretarial problems which have dogged the club for years.
Paul Clark, of administrators Duff and Phelps, said yesterday “We are looking into all areas of expenditure and, yes, it does look from our initial review that there has been an endemic culture of secretarial abuse from within the club”. When asked to clarify this point Mr Clark said “For example, there is evidence that notepads were used for only one or possibly two MAX meetings before being discarded” adding that “These notepads are 80 pages, ruled with margins and should, by any reasonable standards, last for at least a couple of months”. It is believed that an investigation has been launched into the whereabouts of these partially used notepads.
With staff cuts impending the positions of thirty-five ladies currently working in the typing pool are particularly under threat. One worker told us that club officials as well as players would often go into her desk in the evening, remove the key for the stationery cupboard and help themselves to all manner of embossed high-end envelopes, writing-paper, burnished paper-weights and tippex. It is believed that should these secretarial positions be lost it would, in the words of one lady, lead to “open season” on the company supplies.
Meanwhile, Rangers erstwhile owner Craig Whyte is himself not beyond reproach and is thought to have been guilty of some of the most extreme secretarial misconduct during his eight month tenure. An insider told us “Mr Whyte would routinely throw staple guns out his window when they ran out of staples. He would send one of his servants for a fresh staple gun on a weekly basis”.
Gordon Smith, the Rangers Director of Football, expressed surprise that this was still an ongoing issue at the club stating that “Rangers FC PLC (in administration) have long since recognised there were hardcore elements within the club and have attempted to tackle the problem”.