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Reflections 2018 w08

This looks to be the last year for my dad’s hobby –  his allotment. He has been in and out of hospital a lot over the last three years, this and the amount of time he has been on antibiotics, has meant he has not visited his plot for a long time, he however seems to think he has when we are not around.

One is trying to gather the money together to pay the rent on my own plot, just in case I can get straight on a site, there are a couple of plots within walking distance that look like they have seen very little activity for some time. so one may be lucky.

My dad’s plot and my own will be very different in styles, both what is grown and how it is grown. This has caused a clash many times the past and it will be nice to ‘just get on with it’ without the criticism. Mine also will be grown in part for the expensive veg, luxury greens, as well as trying to over produce on purpose, one enjoyed the feeling of taking the excess apples to the food bank and would like it to continue, so long as there is the need for them.

I also enjoy trying the unusual veg and the odd colours, much to my sisters dismay.  Part of the attraction is the limited availability of such veg due to the growing season, this seems to no longer exist for the main vegetables, so it makes one look forward to the start of next years season to have them again when they no longer turn up on the shelves.

This year I am going to have a play, an experiment or two, and grow as much as I possibly can.

The Korean Kimchi Experiment

I have been watching a channel on Youtube called Future Neighbor, a homemade Korean cooking show. One has to say every meal watched so far is tempting, but I was intrigued by Kimchi. What it was was explained in one episode, and how to make it, but that did not put me off – one was intrigued.

It seemed like the Korean equivalent of sauerkraut, something else I have yet to try. On the plus side it is supposed to be filled with goodness. A jar was bought, and a couple of weeks went past before it was opened, it was almost a dare to open, even though tI had  no preconceived ideas towards it.

The lid came off…

By christ I was not expecting the pungent odour assault to my nasal passages, in a word it stinks. Not in a negative way, but rather in the way that the smell of grilled sardines stink out the house, I will not be cooking them indoors again, they positively make mackerel seem odour free. One cannot even describe the smell of kimchi, it is – unique, but somehow appetising *. Nothing like the western food I usually eat.

Not put off by the smell I took my first bite, my gag reflex kicked in slightly, the same happens when I start drinking Kefir after a break from it, must be similar probiotics, however I liked the taste – not so much the texture, it was too soft. The next day I took some with my sandwich and salad, it juice ran all over my celery, spring onion and purple carrots. The people around the table kept pulling their face at an unusual smell, eventually, I owned up that it was my dinner. Note to self…not to eat in public…Still put off by the texture but loving the taste of the juices and the kick of the chillies I decided to try it one of the other ways I saw it served – with rice.

The next day one placed a large dollop of kimchi in a cup of hot rice, stirred it in, and let it sit as I ate through my salad. Once I thought that the kimchi would be sufficiently warmed I tucked in. What a difference it made to the sensation of the texture, when it was mixed with the hot rice and had warmed a little, my mind registered it as being cooked soft. It worked wonderfully with my salad and will be my go to way of eating it as a side dish.

So if you fancy something new and spicy, cook some rice and crack open a jar of Kimchi, ignore the smell and dive right in, you may be pleasantly surprised by this little pot of Korean goodness.

I was.

* The smell becomes less overpowering by the time the third jar is opened, at least for me it is 🙂

The Meal… #poetry #poem

My first poem since school, I will get better


The Meal

It had been raining,
for most of the day.
So off for a meal,
overlooking the bay.

Sea breeze blows softly,
to add a slight chill.
The sea comes in gently,
as it’s quite still.

I could not leave Spot,
alone in the car.
So we sat outside,
we both looked bizar.

Me on a blanket,
Spot on a bed,
people walked on past,
shaking their head.

I chose a burger,
in a wood box.
It felt quite natural,
sitting by rocks.

The chips they were chunky,
brioche the bun.
The clouds started breaking,
showing the sun.

It was now setting,
orange and yellow.
This made the evening,
feel rather mellow.

The castle at Criccieth,
up on the hill.
Below in the village,
it was quite still.

Dylan’s was busy,
on the inside.
The windows they steam up,
the view it did hide.

Who had the best meal?
I’ll let you decide.
But next time we go there,
we’ll be outside.

A § M

To avocado or not to avocado


I know of the health benefits for eating the avocado and I know of the versatility in its food application. Heck I have just tried a chocolate mousse recipe, one of which I was really looking forward to, after all who would pass up a chocolate dessert?

I  mixed the ingredients together into a wonderfully creamy consistency, the avocado just ripe. A small taster on the tip of the spoon caressed my taste buds, the mix between sweet and bitter balanced in a rich velvety textured delight.

My next heaped spoon of this delight was shovelled in with total abandon. The texture once more caressing the inside of the mouth, bitter and sweet danced on my tongue.

Then the avocado started to add its distinct flavour to the mix, subtle at first, even when swallowed the flavour kept increasing. The flavour reached a point I needed to swill it away, swill it would not. I write this chewing gum, but still the taste lingers, my mind not wanting to let go of the flavour.

The humble avocado, oft mistaken for a veg, when in reality, it is the Marmite of the fruit world; you either love it or hate it.

Unfortunately I hate it, sweet or savoury.

A meal with the dog

A meal with the dog

my mealtime view

First one pub, meals were sold out. Then another, once more sold out. A change of tact, try a restaurant, fully booked, we didn’t think it would be this hard to get Sunday tea. I remembered a restaurant (Dylan’s*) at the end of Criccieth , the place we were staying near, result we could get in.

This is the first time we have been here and with no expectations we entered. The inside was inviting and the staff welcoming, but Spot was left in the car, safe but alone, we both suffer from separation anxiety at times like these. The rain was starting to stop but the seating outside was sodden from the near constant downpour we have had all day. After the meal was chosen from the menu, a varied choice of meals and an even wider choice of prices, I went out to check how spot was doing. She was doing her usual peering out of the window and then started running up and down the car when she caught sight of me, I thought about how I could eat outside without having a sodden butt, dogs are allowed at the outside tables, they even have a bowl full of water, then it hit me, I have a thick blanket in the car that is for emergencies; I have broken down numerous times in some remote places!

So off from the carpark to the tables outside the restaurant, blanket over one chair and I was sorted. Spot looked up from the floor with her big sad eyes, pleading to share the blanket. I cannot resist, I know the whimpering is next, along with the Jack Russell shake. Another chair pulled up and the blanket shared between. Spot did the normal laps of honour before lying down with a satisfied look upon her face before falling asleep.

Truth be told I think that saying spot is the reason to eat outside is more an excuse than fact, I had the sea breaking onto the shore with the occasional bird singing as the background music and the view of the sea, castle and colourful buildings of Criccieth as the backdrop, a little rain is not a problem, even in shorts, and a low wall blocked nearly all the wind.

So this is the scene as people walk from the carpark to the restaurant. A shaven headed middle aged bloke with a fleece and jacket on, sitting under a dripping cloth patio umbrella eating a wooden boxed chicken burger and fries in the light rain wearing shorts. This got some strange looks as they walked past, even if they tried to not look it was evident they were trying not to do so. And then they rounded the corner, saw Spot and, the ladies went ahhh. From weirdo to making sense, in one footstep.

The meal was delicious and I even finished my dads’ drunken muscles, well, I had to try them, so I can say that they were worth having as well, large portions seem to be the norm. As the meal settled down with a nice cup of tea, a chocolate was spied hiding behind the cup, unusual for tea, it’s normally a coffee drinkers treat, but not one to turn down a free chocolate it was eaten. The wrapper caught my eye, it was the castle that was my meals backdrop and on the flip side the restaurants name. How many free chocolates have I eaten and not noticed this little detail? Is it common? Can you collect a full set of Welsh castles? Many a question as to the validity of advertising this way, but they are in a blog, so for them it might just be working.

Before I left I took the photo at the top, but as always the camera did not capture the colours I saw, they are so muted. I sat contemplating a painting whilst eating and the photo will help with the composition, the colours will probably be more ‘free range’.


It may seem strange to go out for a meal with family and then sit alone with the dog, but then family meals are common, a meal with a view is not. Although my family don’t quite get sitting outside on sitting inside weather, they understand it’s me, after making sure I’m ok that is.

*I have no affiliation to the restaurant and have not been bribed in any form to put them in this blog, but I would not turn down a seafood platter if you wish to try.