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The Henry Love Page PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

The Henry Love Page
Updated December 2012

Henry Love
Winter/Spring 2011

Henry promises more periodic notes, jottings and oddities, as he motorhomes from the UK to Turkey and back in his Hymer S510. He is a classically trained Chef and will answer cooking or food questions via his email address:  

Henry's motto: Keep travelling, the rainbow ends just over there!

See also Henry Love's Spain on this website.

February 2011 - Travel Plans
I plan to leave UK at the end of March this year and take my time in the smaller towns of northern Italy - Po valley, such as Padua, Cremona, Mantova etc. Then an art fix in the Uffizi  (Florence) before a slow meander along the spine to Bari (and on to Greece and Turkey). I shall be on the road until I get back to UK some time in July 2011. I'll do my best to answer emails as quickly as possible, but often I do not pick up my mail for many days at a time

February 2011 - First Aid Kit
www.e-pax.co.Uk. This site is very good for help with travellers' health. Designed and run by a Doctor of Medicine as a safe off-route super first aid kit, for the times when you may need more than a bandage. You will see it has a list of symptoms and treatment for most things, including the morning after pill! Since many of the remedies are more easily available in some countries than in UK, it is not necessary to purchase the prescriptions from the site. But the treatment schedule is a dream for long-term travellers

March 2011 - Make Your Own Bacon
The smell of bacon cooking in the fresh air gets most travellers' juices flowing for a 'Buttie' or a 'Sarnie': the name changes at about Birmingham as you travel south. But what does the long distance traveller do when the packets of bacon have been used up. In some countries you will not find it in the shops at all - I think of northern Norway and southern Greece - but there is a simple solution to this craving for the things of home. The famous photographer Parkinson, who ended his years living away from UK, craved sausages so much he invented his own. He called them Porkinsons and had them sold in Harrods because the mix was so good. What has this to do with Bacon you ask? Can't buy it - Make it!

Your eyebrows might well be raised; we live in a motorhome not a factory. Quite right, motorhoming is the quiet adaption of house life to feasible compromises, isn't it. You can however make your own bacon without stinking the vehicle out. Here is how.

There are two main types of Bacon: Smoked and non-smoked, often called Green Bacon. Nothing to do with the colour.

Both bacon types start the same way and the smoked version is then, err, smoked. You are not likely to want to burn sawdust in a box conveniently stored in one corner of the awning, so I shall skip over that process and concentrate on Green Bacon.

Bacon is made from Pork (although I did make a variation with Beef, when living for a while in Saudi Arabia),  so you will need to get hold of some good Pork. The Back Bacon comes from the bit known by most as the Pork Loin and the Streaky from the Belly. The Bacon-making process is called Curing. To do this in a motorhome requires a bit of planning, some basic ingredients and plastic bucket with a good closing lid. I have used a big Tupperware type container very successfully.

Bacon curers (I am only one by default, as I am a classically trained Chef) use Wet or Dry Cures. Our Prince Charles makes great marketing play on using Hand Rubbed Back Bacon, sold at a premium price too. Below is the method.

You will need:

2 lbs Pork Loin (If you want traditional rind on your bacon buy the pork loin with the skin left on, if not ask the butcher to take it off for you - more sign language!)
1 lb Salt (Sea salt is good but try to avoid salt that has additives)
1/4 lb Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon of Saltpetre (Optional)*
A Bucket with a close fitting lid

* Saltpetre is now hard to get hold of because it can be used in bomb making. Try a chemist or ask a butcher to give you a little. Saltpetre is used as a deep curing salt and I use it more in hot countries than the northern climes. Overuse makes the bacon much too salty and causes a strong thirst. It is better to allow the bacon to remain in cure for longer than overdoing the saltpetre.

Method:

Mix the Salt, Sugar and optional Saltpetre together so they are well mixed.

If you are making bacon with rind on, puncture the skin many times, evenly spread over the WHOLE surface of the skin side

Now, with clean hands rub the salt/sugar mix well into the meat. Find all the little crevices and make certain that you have rubbed the mix well in. When you become more confident you will want to add flavourings to the mix before rubbing in - Black Pepper, Fennel Seeds and Coriander Seeds are popular.

Now put half the remaining mix into your bucket and lay the meat onto this, cover with the remaining mix and seal the lid.

For the next three days you will need to pour off some of the liquid that comes out of the meat (and may have to add some more salt) but you MUST rub the mixture and/or the, now wet, salt/sugar mix into the meat and turn it over each day.

After three days the amount of liquid coming out of the meat will reduce. If there is still more than 1/4 of a teacup full after the third day, then keep curing for another couple of days.

Your meat will now be quite grey looking, unless you added a little saltpetre, which makes the meat stay fresh pink in colour and the fat will be very white. Bacon white, to be precise.

Remove the meat and wash it in clean water until all the salt mix has been removed. Pat it dry with a paper or clean cloth and wrap it either inside a brown paper bag or a leg from clean ladies' tights, or if you are so lucky to find it, some muslin.

Put your Bacon out to mature in a cool or shady spot for a few days.

It will dry out and take on the sheen, called a pellicle, associated with Bacon. Slice, then fry or grill if you want everyone in your wild camp spot to be drooling at the mouth.

If you make streaky bacon (this is my preference when I am on the road), then you may reduce the curing time down to as little as two days. Wash as normal and keep cold for a further three to four days after drying the bacon well.

July 2011 - Camping in and Around Istanbul
To find the secure car park near the key sights, aim for the big white tower on the sea front.

Key points to consider - Istanbul traffic is very dense and driving requires high concentration, so best attempt to find it when reasonably well rested. The car park is just that: you will have minimum space, it will be noisy and if it is hot weather then you will share your peace with radios, traffic and kids in the adjacent playground.

The Selimpassa campsite (west of the city) is two and a half hours of public transport away. The northern site is two hours away and, although close to beach and shops, is very basic with cold water showers and all Turkish toilets.

For more information on this subject, see: http://www.magbaztravels.com/content/view/1136/30/

July 2011 - Norway and Fish
Enjoy the Lofoten Islands and try the lutefisk. In the very north try the frozen whale meat - treat it as you would beef. The Atlantic-fresh haddock would be good with tartar sauce maybe, although the Norsk people prefer remoulade, which is the same as tartar with addition of anchovy paste and mustard.

Lutefisk is usually Cod that has been preserved in Lye, made from running water through wood ash. After steeping, the fish is then allowed to dry. It is an old preserving method not used now except by the Sami and the Norwegians. When it is rehydrated, it goes jelly-like, and is baked off with root veggies. Not my favourite way of dealing with food, but there you go; chefs have to make what the customer wants, not what they like to eat themselves.

Most Germans love white asparagus and it marries hake wonderfully. This sounds horrible but it is delicious. Bone out the hake but leave the fish whole and fill the cavity with cooked white asparagus and fresh mayonnaise. Fry gently over a fire in a big-ish pan, with a mix of butter and a drop of oil to stop the butter going black. Allow the fish to cool and then to return to room temperature. Eat with dark rye bread and a glass of Linia Aquavite with a decent beer. You will then get the queue at the door!

September 2011

SCANDINAVIAN FISH SPECIALITIES

Herring

I am so glad you did go to the Lofoten Islands; if I was instrumental in that then I feel pleased. Travelling south you will no doubt see or be among the Sámi people with their reindeer move now going on. It may be difficult to engage with them but it is worth the effort because you will learn about a special herring process that comes from Undersalting the Herring in a tinned conservation process. The fishes are VERY strongly flavoured as the result but are worth a try, with Keks (biscuits with a hole in them) and some cold butter. A special treat would be some delightful fresh Cloudberries.

Crayfish

On a more simple note, try to get hold of some fresh Krebs. These are fresh water crayfish that Swedes value highly. If you are befriended by a Swede, it happens often, ask for a pointer to get some. Cooked in the fresh air, served with cold beer and a glass of schnaps with some ryebread on the side, you will have the picnic that a king would die for.

Stockfish (Dried Cod)

Your email correctly identifies the Stockfish effect on Italian cuisine and of course it is a staple of the Portuguese and the Basques, where it is called Bacalao.

The Italians copied the Basques for their own love affair with the head of a Torsk and like all good Italian lovers it is not a misplaced effort.

To get the best out of Torrefiske need a bit of understanding, so without being condescending I hope I can shed some appreciation of what and how it affects so many 'cuisines' including the Italian, north and south American, as well as most European countries and north Africa. I shall not divert to the suggestive titbits you dangle before me about San Francisco and those lovely chowders served in a sourdough bread. I am much tempted. We should all meet in Tuscany and get fat overnight!

In Norway, and now other places, drying the Cod was an essential for preservation for the dark cold winter months, so they got to it. The name history is important because it affects how people 'attack' the cooking and serving of this delicacy.

In the language of the Norse, 'Torske' means Cod, dried is said 'Torred , thus 'Torred Torske' means Dried Cod. This is a mouthful for even the Scandinavians, who collectively do not have a language to listen to, but a throat disease!!! Get off your soapbox Henry … So, making the language and life simple, dry Cod fish was simplified to Torrefiske because other white fish were not dried in the same way: I will NOT divert to Haddock. Hence the perfume of the Lofoten Islands and a few other northern ports that you have visited.

Stockfish got its name from the Slave trade. The plantation owners of the Caribbean and some of the southern American states, before it became the United States, fed their slaves on the cheapest food available and one of these was the dried Cod brought from the NE of America after fishing on the Grand Banks. The biggest Cod of all time came from there. Because it was a 'Stock' food that did not suffer from degradation it became known as Stock-Fish. It is still a key dish in the Caribbean islands cuisine today.

Stockfish and the Italians and Basques

OK. Now to the Italians. They copied the Basques.

Italian cuisine is fundamentally family and local produce based, yet imported influences abound. Think spaghetti, found first in the Far East, or the spices imported into Venice.

The Basques were, however, the first to find ways of improving the dried cod that Norse people simply reconstructed in water, with potatoes and pickled sea cabbage, which was fried in whale blubber.

Hence the Bacalao dish, as it is revered by the present Portuguese and north-eastern Spanish, is actually a bastardisation of the original Viking dish, with oil replacing the whale fat.

Here is a Basque recipe that I cooked for the now King of Spain, on a visit to Copenhagen. The recipe goes back to the days of yore but I got it from the Dragon Lady who hailed from Muros. She was married to the Ancient Mariner, with hands like a back-spliced hawser and not to be argued with! So I didn't …

Basque Recipe: Kokochas de Bacalao Verde

Kokochas means DRIED FISH TONGUES - usually Cod, but can be done with Hake (No, I will not be diverted!!) Cod Cheeks are sometimes substituted for tongues in Italy. Never in Basque country… OK!

Ingredients

100 Grams Salt Cod Tongues (drying often needs salt to help the preservation, so it is an unacknowledged fact that dried implies salted)

Garlic according to taste

Parsley, lots and lots …

Small onion, finely chopped (brunoise – for Sally, who lives partly in Tuscany now but is from San Rafael and not a million miles from Sonoma: well, close enough for the wine anyway and, as a restaurateur, will understand the expression)

Good oil – If you can get hold of new seasons high hills olive oil this is the preferred, but a good olive oil is acceptable.

Milk – Yes, you did read it right: Milk

Method

Soak the Tongues for 24 hours, change the water three times minimum, four times for Papa and five time for guests!

Sweat the onion, parsley and garlic in the oil and then allow a touch of caramel from a high heat. Careful here: too much and the burnt onion will kill the dish, whereas un-caramelised and the dish will lack body! BODY is essential to everything Italian …

Add the Tongues

Sauté for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to rest

When the Tongues are nicely relaxed – not tough - add three tablespoons of milk and braise them

Turn off the heat, let them rest a little, serve them with, if available, a little steamed samphire. When samphire is not available, steamed dulse is good. Or if no seaweed is available, have nothing.

A small glass of good Grappa is a tongue tingle for this dish. Wonderful when watching the sun go down from Montecassino Alto.

Salmon

If you are feeling flush, try Graved Lax, Gravlax in Swedish, at the Opra Celleran Restaurant in Stockholm. When I was a guest chef there we made three whole salmons a day.

How to make Graved Lax

A bit of explanation. This is a process perfected in the homes of northern Norway, Sweden and Finland. The Danes imported the method from Norway, a country they once 'owned'. It has been copied by chefs from all over the globe and consequently bastardised to stupidity.

As a traveller with a deep interest in food, I have seen (I try not to experience) some of the most stupid concoctions - recipes that resemble a cocktail of unlikely ingredients, as well as the bottle ends of defunct bars. So in giving this recipe, I will be challenged by every commis cook in the world, and many head chefs will be absolutely certain they are right to add amongst other things: Brandy or Guinness or Blue Bols or Tequila etc. I have yet to see any of these in use in the homes of the people who consider this 'Old fashioned preservation method' as a normal way of keeping a summer fish conserved for the winter. The fish was graved, or 'buried' in English, in the snow.

For each kg of Salmon you will need:

¾ decilitre of salt and the same amount of sugar

Two teaspoons of pepper corns, freshly ground

Lots of fresh dill

Split the fish, fillet and remove the 'pin' bones. Leave skin on and DO NOT wash the fish.

Mix the salt and sugar together and rub this into the salmon. Rub it well in but take care not to break the fish.

In a dish long enough for the fish, lay one half of the fish skin side down.

Freely put the pepper and lots of chopped fresh dill onto the fillet in the dish and lay the next fillet on top. (A little weight such as a clean piece of wood can be used to ensure the two fillets remain nicely sandwiched, especially if the fish is so fresh that it is still firm.)

Leave this in the fridge, or outside away from animals if the outside temperature is about 5 deg C, FOR TWO WHOLE DAYS i.e. 48 hours.

Periodically drain off the liquid that is drawn out of the fish.

The Graved lax is now ready.

The way it is mostly consumed in Scandinavia is sliced and served with fresh chopped dill, decoratively arranged on rye bread that has been thickly covered in COLD fresh, lightly salted or unsalted, butter.

A sauce made from French mustard, chopped dill and good oil is made by the same emulsion method as mayonnaise.

It has become a restaurant habit to serve lemon with this dish, but it really is not a good accompaniment.

A nice glass of ice cold snaps and a light beer such as Carlsberg or Tuborg –green is the drink of choice.

If I were to attend my own wake, I would have this!

Swordfish and Garfish

We sent Henry the following link to a Greek site giving information about Swordfish (written in wonderful English):

http://fotis-fishingingreece.blogspot.com/2009/09/swordfish-greek.html?spref=b

From this site you can click on other Mediterranean fish. Did you know that Swordfish hunt with warm eyes or that an Octopus has 9 hearts. Makes them sound friendlier! Henry replies:

What an interesting site. I didn't know about warm eyes. I actually thought that meant an invitation would not be rejected! Talking of swordfish, do remember that Scandinavians like garfish. It is a thin fish with a sword and has a nice peculiarity too. When cooked, its bones turn viridian green! A simple way is to fillet it, toss the fillets in seasoned flour and pan fry quickly in a mix of oil and butter. Serve with lemon and white potatoes (these are simply boiled potatoes done the English way).

Arctic Char

You now start to get to the Baltic fishes and that superb fish, the landlocked salmon. The English name is Arctic Char and translated to Swedish it becomes Röding, which actually means reddened. However, it is better known in Switzerland where it has the delightful title Omble Chevalier. A freak of nature trapped these fishes in lakes, where they have adapted and spawned. Somewhat like a trout to look at but with the Kype of a salmon and some of the oiliness. Expensive though.

Henry's Majik (or the Love Mixture)

Inspiration comes in small containers …

The gift is a little bottle of perfume with its own spay, encased in a quality card with an historic picture reminder of the majesty of a hotel.

The Hotel Grand Europa in St Petersburg is one of the legends in the world of international hotel keeping. The hotel is a classic Grand Dame of fine service, impeccable food and finest wines, in an atmosphere that has the absolute smell of traditional, refined, hedonism. The perfume is gifted to bring it all back, and it does.

Thinking of this reminded me of one of the great chefs of such an era: August Escoffier who, along with César Ritz, made Richard D'Oyly Carte's hotel The Savoy in London famous. The reason much of Escoffier's work and ideas fell out of favour is because today we eschew such rich, fat laden sauces and garnishes as were the fashion in the very late 1880s. Yet his inspiration is something so up to date and essential for every modern galley cook, home cook and professional chef. Modern professional chefs still study Escoffier.

Let me explain how this simple Escoffier 'fond de cuisine – foundation of the kitchen' is used by modern high end restaurant chefs today.

A chef is valued for the skill of making food look, taste and feel, good to eat. Being a chef is nothing like a TV episode of the job, with or without the bad language and intimidated subservience of the 'Brigade'.

Once a head chef has designed a dish and tested it on some friends, relatives, staff, colleagues and perhaps a trusted customer, it gets its place on the menu. To maintain consistency the specification for the ingredients is written down and in some cases passed to the supplier as the buying spec. The Recipe is written out and the cooks trained.

But! Can cooks be trained to be 'consistent'? A pinch or even a small pinch of this or that can change a dish's flavour completely. How can a chef maintain this consistency, when different junior chefs will actually prepare the dish for the customer? It is an age old question and has been the complaint of many husbands of new wives, who are using Mother-in-Law's recipe: “It is never quite right”.

The real skill for getting the flavour right is in the seasoning. To ensure consistency a seasoning 'mix' is made up for the dish. All we can now have is either too much or not enough, but it will be the correct flavour - just strong or weak.

I have a base 'mix' that I have made up for my sailing and motorhome cooking. I call it Henry's Majik. There are a few sailors around Ramsgate that will be very aware of my Majik.

Here is the basic mix suggested by August Escoffier: This comes direct from Escoffier's 'Guide to Modern Cookery' first published in 1907.

5 parts Bay leaves
3 parts Thyme
3 parts Coriander
4 parts Cinnamon
6 parts Nutmeg
4 parts Cloves
3 parts Ginger root
3 parts Mace
10 parts Black and white pepper (Mixed)
1 part Cayenne

Pound this in a mortar, or use the coffee grinder, and keep in a close sealed container. Use as a base flavouring.

My own Majik is a variation on this principle. I can, and do, sharpen or flatten it by adding other flavourings and spices; and once on a sail boat, I used it as a base for curry!

Make your own and then make your reputation.

October 2012

More News and Comment from Henry in Spain:

Currently I am sitting in the Burgos (Spain, not USA) campsite enjoying the autumn leaves, an impending windstorm with promises of lightning. Spain is now a rather sad country in many places. There are the usual northern Europeans who escape the cold and dark nights for the not so long sunsets and dawn, but equally dark nights. They still seem to enjoy the €1.70 two-litre bottles of red, with the thinnest roll up fags I have ever seen, maintain a mahogany sun tan and manage to live most of their life in shorts as they read the recycled war stories and romances. The 'Grey' erotica doesn't seem to ever get recycled, I wonder why?

Amidst this scene are the shells of partially completed concrete frame buildings, many with a partly tiled roof and a half-full cement mixer for decoration. 'To let', 'to acquire', 'for sale' and 'offers accepted' signs in as many languages clutter the villages and urbanisations, while the stray cats and other animals find shelter in the nooks that were to be shiny tiled shower rooms or hard surface kitchens.

Fortunately, the sense of humour hasn't deserted the people, in spite of the complete absence of any youthful employment. The older people, who at one time made a lot of money from their unbelievable good luck - when they owned a bit of scrub, without water or soil, but which fortunately had a coastal border so they could sell it to a foreigner who used borrowed money, or perhaps money acquired without too many questions about its source - now have to support the whole extended family, at an age when they should be looking to wind down their economic activity. Instead they share their house and home with adult children and grandchildren and find themselves settled in a high rise edificio with a broken elevator.

Hymer Motorhomes

Turning to motorhome frustrations, here is a sort of 'heads up' for anyone choosing to acquire a Hymer motorhome. I have been trying to get some grey touch-up paint for my Hymer motorhome. Without going into the boring, stupid and ridiculous attempts that have been made to obtain a couple of aerosol cans and some touch up 'lipstick' brushes, I have concluded that Brownhills offer of £22 plus postage and packaging for 15 millilitres is the best I shall ever find.

Hymer in Germany say go to a dealer; dealers in UK, France, Spain and even Germany say 'We don't carry this because it goes off so quickly, it will never match, that goes for the new Gold colours as well. Sorry we can't help.'

Thus, this is just another example of foolish designers getting their marketing department to make them look good, but of course the end buyer is left unsupported.

I don't know how a body shop works for matching paint, do they use a Pantene chart?

If anyone has a suggestion THAT DOES NOT INVOLVE ME DEALING WITH HYMER OR THEIR SO-CALLED DEALER please let me know. Alternatively look out for a multi-grey Hymer and a time seasoned traveller.

Prawn Tapas Recipe

A quick and easy Tapas with prawns:

Shell a cooked prawn, or shrimp if you are Canadian or American.
Dip it in well beaten egg white.
Dip it in broken almond nuts.
Pan fry it fast in a very light oil - avoid olive oil as it is too dense for frying.
Serve the prawn with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
You can cheat by adding just a tiniest drop of Tabasco sauce instead of the lemon and Cayenne.

Enjoy.

Greece

After we had written back to Henry about the situation in Greece:

What a fast and lovely response. The Greek situation is of course dire, but it really defines the problem of a spender not knowing what an earner makes.

Some families live like this and they find it difficult, so when nations do it, it is bound to be fraught. Unfortunately politicians and civil servants are not responsible to anyone. The electorate only find out the problem when a different politician is in post and civil servants know too much about all politicians, so they will be forever protected from their own errors, intentional or not.

Cycling

Your robust knowledge of German is certainly getting a fillip from all this winter cycling. I have only experienced the real advantages of good cycle roads in Denmark and some canal tracks in Holland, but I did enjoy the rather lovely camaraderie that develops when everyone is doing it with their legs. I have to say it did take me a while to adjust to the right turn caution, when driving in Denmark. If you so much as shock a cyclist by attempting to turn right when the cyclist is going straight on it is an automatic fine. It was a high price then, so I am sure it has not gone down.

My base in UK is, as you know, Bristol. That City is the host to Sustrans, the cyclist's great mobilizer and motivator. The road quality is so bad that buses avoid the potholes. What chance has a cyclist got?

Hymer again

You say the Germans can do no wrong. I'll accept that, with the exception of the Directors of Hymer - they never seem to do it right. I am going grey again, last week I was white! And it has nothing to do with spray-on colour either.

Spain again

Since we last communicated, the mother and father of the Rains in Spain have been falling from the sky. Looking out , it could be the Rhine, I suppose.

I shall not make any comments about shrink wrapped muscles being the vogue that has displaced the lederhosen, but I do have to say that the cycling style seems to have grabbed the youff of Spain. Most people who are possibly in their twenties seem to have moved away from those ghastly saggy jeans to cyclists' shrink wrapped thighs and ballet dancers' bottoms.

Maybe it is an Olympics effect!

Eggy Bread or Pain Perdu

Here is A QUICK SWEET SNACK.

The film Kramer vs Kramer gave 'Eggy Bread' this American name, and left the French Pain Perdu, a rather forlorn name for what can be a nice treat on a cold day.

What you need....

Some slices of white bread with a proper crust about 1 inch or more thick
An egg for each slice of bread
A teaspoon of honey for each slice
A half teacup of milk, or made up powdered milk and water
Some crystallised sugar or castor sugar
A generous teaspoonfull of ground cinnamon.
Some oil and butter mixed together for frying

Method

Mix together the milk, eggs and honey, beat well. A purist would strain the mix, but dammit, we are camping aren't we?

Soak the bread in the mixture until it is almost impossible to keep the bread in one piece.

Heat the oil and butter mixture to spitting hot.

Place the soggy bread slices into the fat and fry quite quickly until they stiffen up enough to be gently turned over.

Fry the other side, but at a slightly lower temperature. This is to allow the heat to penetrate and completely cook the egg milk mixture in the centre of the slices.

When cooked remove the slices and drain, so easy on a sieve or collander turned upside down. Kitchen paper is what food writers use but cooks abhor for this sort of job.

While still hot sprinkle with castor sugar and cinnamon, be generous.

Serve warm.

DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT CALORIES..........

This is comfort food with warm bedsocks on.

December 2012

Celebrity Chefs, Working Chefs and Cooks

I have greater faith in the university findings than in chefs' recipes. Most chefs just do not think nutritionally at all and the ones that appear on TV care only for pleasing a producer and the photographer. The principle is quite simple really. The restaurant chef is trained to please, with food for the special occasion, whereas the hospital chef has, or should have, the role of making essential meals appetising within a very small budget. The latter is closer to the role of a good home cook.

The other key element that should be remembered is the impact factor. The publishers always want a couple of recipes in every book that will dress up well – pulled-sugar fairies sitting on top of mushroom-looking cakes, or something sensational like steamed fillet of seahorse served with grated oxo cubes and pickled popcorn, presented on a shaving foam whirl decorated with lipstick snippings. Chefs are always happy to get attention, so oblige.

It is as it always was. Home food for living, hospital food for dying and restaurant food for fun. However, there are very few home cooks writing cookery books anymore.

The food contradiction is indeed a very frustrating thing. To my mind, there are those people who consider food to be status play toys and those that are desperate for a drink of water.

This for me is similar to the war and soldiers. Some are covered in clean bright 'scrambled egg' but work at killing people thousands of miles away and then go home for dinner, sitting at a table with linen and shiny glasses filled with wine. Others are desperate to crawl with a child or old person to the nearest water hole for a sip of a dirty puddle. Neither are there because they choose to be in conflict, but suffer the soldier's dilemma expressed in the poem(s). I ask myself, who enfranchised these people to their life? Is this the achievement of democracy?

(to be continued)