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Showing posts from January, 2013

Filling v Satisfying

I am starving and excited to discover a pack of beef sausages in the fridge that my step-daughter bought for me at Christmas: part of a 'tastes of Tottenham' hamper that included chinese rice crackers, mango, fresh ginger, coconut, garlic cloves in chilli and greek yoghurt. 

98% beef the label says and they have a delicious piquant aroma while they're cooking. I love merguez, the north african spicy lamb sausages so popular in France, so I have high hopes for these. 

A dish of shredded steamed cabbage sounds like the ideal vegetable to go with them although the idea of 'sausage and cabbage' immediately conjures the image of a toothless and head-scarfed eastern-European woman ladling soup into a wooden bowl. Any fertile imagination will sometimes draw on a bank of absurd racial cliches... 

But I do want to like this dish so much. It sounds tasty. And it looks lovely:

And it's not that it tastes bad exactly, more that it has all the characteristics of 'filling…

Writing maps and writer's block

The inspiration for this post comes from Shaun Levin's Writing Maps.

I'm beginning to think about other writing projects because I'm close to finishing the MSS for Real Port Talbot. I've overdone the required word count by about 5,000 but I've always found it easier to edit than write so I don't think I'll have a problem whittling away and compressing. 

Once the MSS is with the publisher I'll be free to start something else. But what? I have some vague ideas but nothing concrete and little writing tools like these maps, creative kick-starts to the imagination, are ideal in uncovering what's lurking in my subconscious as well as the dark and dusty places of my conscious mind.

I took a tour around my kitchen today (one of the maps is called Write Around the House), taking photos at random so I can use them as prompts later. 

Colours are good: brainstorming around them taps into all kinds of memories.

And time. The time spent in different rooms. Or the pass…

Let's do breakfast...

Are you a black coffee and a cigarette? Three cups of tea? Juice and toast? A bowl of cereal? Eggs? Full English? Or a Full Welsh - with laverbread and/or cockles? Kippers? Here's one of the loveliest breakfasts I've ever had: A poached egg and thick cut bacon on a slice of Welsh Rarebit at the Gwesty Cymru in Aberystwyth. I tend not to make poached eggs at home. They make me nervous... you can never be sure there'll be no sloppy white inside until you cut them open and then it's too late to do anything about it. If anyone has a fool proof way of cooking them then please, please let me know. So scrambled is my fallback process at home: with a good dollop of creme fraiche added towards the end of cooking to keep them creamy, a sprinkling of chopped chives and, when I have them in the bread bin, dry-fried croissant slices. In his book, At Home, Bill Bryson describes a breakfast eaten by the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852): 'two pigeons and three beef steaks, three part…