June 2009


no, i’ve not been cooking… at least, not this time! I was lucky enough to pick up a bottle of Tesco’s Finest PX Jerez Xeres Sherry the other week, just about half price (and i very much fear they’ve stopped doing it – i cannot find it on the mysupermarket.com website.) I actually bought it as a treat for Michiel, but we both adore it so much i’m making a note of the stuff.. if i see it again, i’m buying it.

this is the label...

this is the label...

Its an intensely rich, dark, sweet dessert sherry – it knocks stuff like Harvey’s Bristol Cream and Croft’s cream sherry – the stuff i grew up with that mom would pour over the sponge in a trifle (and occasionally let me have a tiny bit out of the lid) into a cocked hat – the first flavour that comes to mind is sultanas or currants. You take a sip, roll the flavours on the tongue, then sigh softly, as you’re reminded just *how* good flavours can be…

Most people may not realise Sherry is now a protected name in the way that say, Stilton is, only fortified wines produced in a specific area of spain can call themselves a sherry. PX is actually Pedro Ximenez – the name of the grape the wine comes from.

Anyway. If anyone ever wants to buy me something, then take note. This is the stuff to buy. Rich and Fruity, PX Jerez Xeres Sherry, bottled by Luis Alvarez Garcia. I will love you forever….

other reviews: Guardian – “So syrupy it will almost have your fillings out”, Times – “Made from dried pedro ximenez grapes that yield an amazingly luscious, concentrated liquid which in turn is partially fermented to yield a rich, sweet, intense wine that oozes gorgeous, figgy, moscatel raisin scents and tastes, plus a fine toffee-charged finish.”, Telegraph – “Fortified sherries, madeiras and ports have staying power. This immensely sweet, toffee-and-raisin PX is virtually indestructible. Pour over ice-cream and vanilla panna cotta.”

doesn’t it sound simply gorgeous?

its not that i’ve exactly done any work in the garden today… but on the other hand.. the garden seems to be doing very nicely without me thankyouverymuch, so i thought i would snap some shots of various things in there this afternoon, and i’ve wound up with a bunch of pics i really like – although there are some repetitions within the set, i hope you’ll bear with me on that, cos they are gorgeous pics..

lily flower that has come into bloom in the garden

lily flower that has come into bloom in the garden

rest behind the cut, as always…

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… hot gammon and roasties*!

cider baked gammon with a sugar-mustard-spice glaze.. absolutely gorgeous.

cider baked gammon with a sugar-mustard-spice glaze.. absolutely gorgeous.

apologies to the cast of “Oliver!” but thats what we had today – i’d managed to snaffle a large smoked gammon joint from Tescos for just £3.50 (whoopsied) and I found a gorgeous recipe for it today, here. Its an absolutely fabulous ham now, and i’ve had to restrain Michiel from scarfing the lot in one go. It was served with garlic roast potatoes, peas and parsley sauce. Very very Nom. The plate only shows the carved joint, but still, it looks gorgeous enough!

More food photos behind the cut…

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spent some much overdue time working in the garden today, potting up plants, sorting out stakes and things like that. Its been a good afternoon – i’m going to sleep well tonight!

Tomorrow, if the weather co-operates, i plan to drag the strimmer out, then do some more pottering around.

Of course at the end of today i got my camera out….behind the cut as usual!

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… that first, fabulous, luscious, beautiful red, rich, sweet, oh-my-lord, toecurling goodness of the first home grown strawberry of the summer….

THAT, my friends, is what grow-yer-own is all about…. it really doesn’t get better than that…

I don’t often bring up national politics on this blog, i know, but this is something i feel quite strongly about. We’re watching this at the moment, both of us sniffling along. But does anyone else feel that Gordon Brown just has no place being there? If anyone should be there, its the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, two people who actually *saw* the war through – and both on active service. I know Prince Charles has gone there, to try to mitigate the row – but, really, what WERE the French thinking? and then for Gordon Brown to try to make out that the event is for “prime ministers and presidents, not royalty”, like somehow being a prime minister trumps royalty..

I’m watching it now and I just want to push his smarmy face off stage. Gordon is a) an unelected PM, b) a failure PM, and c) seems to have absolutely no understanding of the duty and sacrifice that the men at  the event have lived through. if he had, he’d not be attending today. He’d not even be PM. He’d have resigned last week. He just comes across as being so petty. I’ve just watched him push Sarkozy up the steps, seemingly because he couldn’t bear to be a “step lower” than the French President, even though Gordon is quite a lot taller…

I seriously hope, that the next time there’s a big commemmoration event (in 5 year’s time?) that the French see sense and invite the Queen promptly, and that Gordon is not even in politics any longer, let alone PM. Maybe then we’ll have someone who, along with the Queen, can represent this country with dignity & pride.

Edit: the latest gaffe: he referred to Omaha Beach as Obama Beach. Seriously. How STUPID can you get? He also got booed when he stepped up to speak at the commemmoration service yesterday. Not a lot, but enough. i think that says it all. (and many.. MANY kudos to the Master of Ceremonies who told the VIPs to get off their backsides under the shelter and stand out in the rain with the soldiers for Auld Lang Syne. Well done, Sir, that was a masterclass in how to shame politicians into action…) even the telegraph has noted it… I especially liked one person’s comment on that page:

Never served, never given, not even donated except on expenses, this hypocrite should not be allowed within miles of a service for those who did and do.
This man spends billions on his like minded and similarily parasitic fellow travellers at the expense of those who do stand and serve. No decent life saving equipment and weaponry for the undermanned armed forces.
To cap it all he is a gibbering inadequate who cannot even read a speech properly.

Well said.. well said…