Saturday, 31 October 2009

It's enough to drive you to drink!

We British are a bit soft when it comes to charities. But many charities are no longer cheerful bands of volunteers but are highly organised pressure groups, often funded by the government. What’s more, journalists rarely investigate reports or press releases from charities because they’re seen as good trustworthy guys.

Charities have changed over the years and now often have expensive overheads like posh offices, computers, photocopiers, lots of staff and executives on high salaries. It’s imperative they carry on raising money to keep their salaries coming in.

I was reminded of this today when I read a report from the British Liver Trust claiming supermarket meal deals which included wine were bad news. I decided to do a bit of research and after much googling I tracked down a copy of the BLT’s accounts, artfully hidden deep in the trust’s website. It appears that the BLT will be spending far more than it earns next year. So what do you do if you’re a charity faced with cash shortfall? Simple… you write a sensationalist report that you hope will attract a juicy research grant or some government dosh.

The report claims that the middle classes are the real alcoholics and most likely to develop liver damage. The BLT claims supermarket meal deals are 'fuelling middle-class alcohol abuse'.

That’s right, some blockhead at the BLT thinks the middle class couples eat Marks & Spencer Dine In For A Tenner meals every night, so that means they’re drinking half a bottle of wine every night. The General Household Survey says that middle class people have a drink, on average, five nights a week. On the other hand, the poor working classes only drink two nights a week.

What these morons can’t work out from that bit of research is that middle class people might just come home from work and have a small sherry or a gin and tonic before dinner. It doesn’t mention that the twice weekly working classes may be young binge drinker going out on Friday and Saturday nights and drinking themselves into oblivion. Perhaps the reason they don't drink on the other five nights of the week is that they've already spent all their money on 100 vodka shots at the weekend.

Sarah Matthews of the BLT claims that selling wine as part of meal deals helps to ‘normalise excessive drinking’. What a daft cow. Anyone who uses the word ‘normalise’ must be a halfwit. Of course it’s normal to drink wine with a meal. In continental Europe people wouldn’t dream of having a cup of tea or a carrot juice with a decent meal.

She also drones on: ‘These meal deals are prominently advertised and make regular drinking seem a perfectly normal and acceptable habit. They are totally wrong.’ I guess they're wrong because she says so? It’s the BLT’s considered opinion that we must have at least two alcohol-free days a week. In that case we better make sure we only take communion five days a week. I bet Ms Matthews is a right barrel of laughs. Remind me to cross her off my Christmas party guest list.

But it’s not only the BLT having a go at the middle classes. The charity Alcohol Concern (a government-funded fake charity) says, ‘People should be encouraged to moderate their intake. Half a bottle a day is too much. These deals look like great value but there should always be a healthy alternative offered to wine.’

I don’t think it will stop there. As soon as these killjoys get their way on banning meal deals with wine, they’ll be having a go at meat. They’ll insist there’s an alternative to meat on offer, something as bland and unseasoned as possible. It’s this sort of interfering, do-gooding puritan attitude that’s making life in Britain unbearable. These complete arses, subsidised by taxpayers, make my blood boil.

In fact, it’s enough to drive anyone to drink.

It's pasta joke

After a lovely lunch I had to face this tasteless soup

followed by pasta Bolognese and peas

It was foul!

Birthday Eve

My family arrived today bearing gifts and, more importantly, food. Despite it being out of visiting hours we managed to get special dispensation to hold a little lunch party. However, before I tucked into the decent stuff I had to contend with the hospital lunch.

Hungarian Goulash (someone's definitely giving me more meat than the other inmates)

Tastes like scourer with Cif Lemon Cream (the menu said it was lemon sponge)

Pink Champagne... a good starter

Mrs TM prepares thn lunch

Bagel and smoked salmon. Yummy birthday fayre!

Friday, 30 October 2009

The gloop is back

Gloop and peas

Words fail me

It's not Raymond Blanc

Pork chop - obviously not Halal

I think it's the first piece of meat I've seen since I got here

Look! Someone really made an effort with this.

British lemonade brews up US school row

I am indebted to Mrs Susan Gann for pointing out this marvellous piece in The Guardian. Click here to amuse yourself for five minutes.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

They're taking the pizza!

It’s not just the NHS that’s taking the Mick when it comes to serving up food to its customers. Pizza Express, the popular chain of British pizzerias has come up with a great wheeze to boost its profits by cutting back on raw materials.

Weight-conscious Pizza Express customers can now order a Leggera version of the restaurant’s pizzas. The Leggera version is simply a pizza which has had a large hole cut out of its base and replaced with a bit of greenery. With the hole removed, the pizza has 30% fewer calories than a regular pizza and only half the dough. And yet… the Leggera actually costs more than a standard pizza.

Pizza Express claims that it’s giving dieters the choice of ordering less fattening versions of their pizzas. Good idea. But why don’t they simply make smaller pizzas for dieters? Hang on a minute! People might not want to pay as much for a smaller pizza. To get around this, Pizza Express has come up with a cunning plan to make the pizza look like it’s the same size by cutting out the middle and filling it with a bit of salad and then charging more for it.

You’ve got to hand it to Pizza Express… they certainly know how to make more cash from less dough.

Posh supper

Wish I could have done it justice but it's not so easy when your knitting needle is playing up.

Broccoli & Cauliflower cheese with potato wedges and side salad

Not sloppy but very tasty

Cherry pie and creamy custard

Thank You... Sister Morphine

Feeling a little better thanks to the morphine so I didn't want to disappoint you by not posting my lunch. Sorry if the pics aren't quite up to scratch but you'll get the general idea:

Name that shoe!

At least it's green

The return of the custard

But look what lurks beneath the yellow peril


I'm experiencing extreme pain today, I may not be able to blog for a while. Please forgive me. If I feel better later on then I will. Thanks for understanding.


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Nothing fishy about this

It may not look much different from the fish and chips offered on the regular hospital menu, but this Chef's Special uses fresher fish and higher quality ingredients. The difference is amazing. Good quality food cooked on site really is the answer.

The Chef's Special breadcrumbed fish is crunchy not soggy. The fish has a firm flesh rather that the texture of a wet carpet that the regular menu offers.

These small polystyrene tubs of ice cream are commonplace across the NHS. They lack any useful nutritional value. There must be better desserts that could replace these ice creams such as fresh probiotic yogurt or frozen yogurts.

The chef can cook

This is the second day that I've ordered something from the Chef's Special menu. This is often available in the hospital restaurant or the private patients' wing. The taste, quality and seasoning is superb. What a shame all NHS patients can't get to choose this food.

Pasta Bolognese with a crispy side salad

Fresh bread roll and real butter!

Crispy cheese topping with fresh basil. NHS chefs can cook if given a
proper budget and freed from silly Government nutritional diktats.

Hot new cure for cancer?

Which would you prefer: months of painful chemotherapy with baldness, vomiting, bouts of diarrhoea, as well as feeling about as good looking as Ed Balls; or would you rather have a nice black pepper goat curry with a side order of onion bhaji, fresh naan bread and basmati rice?

I only ask as I’ve just been reading a report that turmeric, widely used in curries, appears to be a wonder drug when it comes to curing oesophageal cancer. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which has long been thought to harbour healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia; which sounds fine, as long as those with dementia remember to take it.

A team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre has shown that turmeric can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab. Turmeric contains a chemical called curcumin, which can start to kill cancer cells responsible for oesophageal cancer within 24 hours. The cancer cells start digesting themselves once the curcumin sends messages to the cancer cells to begin killing themselves off.

This is particularly good news since oesophageal cancer kills around 7,800 people in the UK each year and the rates have doubled over the past 30 years. Obesity and alcohol appear to be the prime suspects for the increase so the bad news is that you probably won't be able to have a nice ice-cold bottle of Cobra with your curry.

For the top 20 best recipes using turmeric, click here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

They’re not lovin’ it

Ladies and gentlemen… I think I’ve just discovered the most exclusive and venerable club in the world.  The club consists of just four countries: Iceland, Bosnia, Armenia and Albania. I’ve decided to name them the G4.

These four sovereign nations are free of one international pestilence: not Japanese knotweed; not mosquitoes and not drugs. No… these four states are simply not ‘lovin’ it’. In other words... they are McDonald’s-free.

McDonald’s is pulling out of Iceland because it can no longer compete with local fast food outlets selling beef samlokas. The poor Golden Arches corporation in Iceland must import its buns, beef and fries from Germany, but with the Euro sky high and the Icelandic Krona about as low as a limbo bar, the company simply can’t make a living from the land of ice, volcanoes and busted banks.

This is very interesting when you consider that the Icelanders have a national dish that involves placing a dead shark in hole, peeing over it, then covering it with sand and leaving it to mature for six months. Then they dig it up and tuck into what has to be the world’s stinkiest hors d’oeuvre.

In my opinion, if anyone can prefer rancid old shark to a Big Mac and fries then it's little wonder that McDonald’s has decided to throw the paper serviette in!

Not as good as lunch but still ok

Celery and red pepper soup. Fairly tasty and hot

Salad is a safe bet but one small slice of processed
turkey isn't really a good dose of protein

Apple cake and custard... shame the apples were left out

Article on NHS malnutrition

This article in today's Daily Mail makes for interesting reading. Click here to read the article in full.

Yummy lunch

The kitchen has come up trumps again with a delicious beef stew and dumplings with un-murdered broccoli and succulent new potatoes. Cooked on site with fresh ingredients.

This meal was seasoned beautifully. Don't tell Mrs TM, but it was almost as good as hers, except maybe a little red wine in the stew wouldn't have gone amiss.


For all of you who wanted to see what I ate for breakfast each day, here is an annotated photo. It's not bad but does get a bit boring after a couple of months.

Monday, 26 October 2009


Freshly cooked food is much better than factory produced muck

A fresh side salad was most welcome

Plenty of lemon lemon, but the salmon and vegetables were cooked perfectly well

And a nice bread roll with real butter to finish off

Hedging my bets

I'm playing it safe today with a 'panino' that's because I'm having something from the chef's private menu this evening for my supper. To see what it's like, call back around 7pm to find out.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Now that is a pie!

A mouth-puckering tomato and butterbean soup

Look! Pastry. It must be a pie. This is a breakthrough

Er... I appear to have lost my appetite

Do they think we’re all mad?

Staying in one room on your own for a long time can have a peculiar effect on one’s mind. Those effects could even be permanent and I could end up turning into a mental vegetable (stop sniggering at the back!) unable to manage my own affairs and finances. Mind you, there’s fat chance of me having an affair in this place.

Fortunately for people who do go a bit do-lally, the Government is ready to come to the rescue. It will decide who looks after your money and what you spend it on while it judges who is competent to look after you and your assets.

I remember coming across something a bit like this some years ago when my father was taken ill in Germany and we had to fill out some court papers basically turning my father and his belongings over to the Federal Government who would then take decisions on his behalf. I thought it was a bit odd at the time but this was Germany and they do have their own special ways of dotting i’s and crossing t’s.

Well it looks like this ‘efficiency’ has now crossed the North Sea and you now have to do the same thing here if a parent or other close family member becomes mentally or physically deficient and are unable to conduct their own affairs.

If you have someone who needs their affairs taking care of, you now have to apply to the Court of Protection. The court conducts its business in secret and in the two years since it’s been running it has taken control of £3.2 billion of assets. What’s more, it charges for the privilege of doing this. If you wish to be trusted to do the job yourself then you must fill out a 50-page form and then allow yourself to be vetted by a team of civil servants based in Birmingham. These chappies go under the name of the Office of the Public Guardian. There are 300 of them beavering away at a cost of £26 million a year. They have the power to freeze assets or even raid homes for documents.

Now there’s no denying that there are some unscrupulous types who may try to bamboozle some poor sufferer of Alzheimers out of their money or get them to change their will, but surely their must be a better way of dealing with this problem instead of treating all husbands, wives and children as wicked gold diggers?

Well, fortunately there is a way but it will cost you. If you take out an enduring power of attorney (a bit pricey but worth having) or register a living will, then those nosey parkers will have to keep their invasive little snouts out of your family’s business.

So tomorrow I’m summoning a solicitor to come to my bedside so I can make my own living will. No sniveling little pen-pushing bureaucrat’s going to get their sticky little hands on my £100 of Premium Bonds or my lucky lottery numbers!

It’s the photography that makes it look good

There's a reason why they've hidden the meat under the sprouts

Cooking sprouts so they melt in your mouth takes years of experience. Not quite sure what that cardboard is doing under the sprouts

Someone asked to see a dessert that didn't feature custard... so here's some deliciously warm strawberry ice cream.

I've moved rooms

The view from the old room

The new room. Look! There's some sky...