Saturday, 29 May 2010

The Recovery Position

Whisky is clearly helping me to recover by recharging his own batteries. Tough life being a cat!


I'm out of hospital and resting at home. Things are going well and I feel far better than I have a right to. Thanks for all your good wishes and messages.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

To conclude

I've been here a week now and since my last stay in November I have to say the quality of the food is more consistent and slightly better. The recipes could be a bit more imaginative and ingredients more local and fresher.
Tonight's Scotch broth was tasty but strangely contained not a single shred of lamb in it. No doubt a cost-saving exercise but scrag end of lamb is not expensive and would have transformed this soup and made it more nourishing.
This cheese and tomato sandwich doesn't look too bad but the use of an extremely low-grade, non-dairy spread spoils the bread which itself is nothing special and certainly not local. The tomatoes were good but the amount of cheese in the sandwich is so small it's nutritional value is negligible.
At least the sandwich was better filled than previous examples I've been served but as a main course choice it is a bit pathetic. That said, I'm pleasantly surprised that there has been an improvement since my last stay when I fear I thoroughly embarrassed the hospital's management board. It's a small step but I really think change is on the way and the importance of the message of good nutrition in hospital food is finally getting through.

Healthy lunch

Someone in the kitchen must have read my comments about the omelette masquerading as a shoe insole. Today's cheese omelette was very good indeed and accompanied by a passable salad.

Finally, a rather tasty apple crumble with pretty good custard. Move along please... nothing to see here!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New chef?

Mushroom soup isn't my favourite but this one was perfectly adequate.

The vegetables may have been waterlogged but the Lancashire hotpot was very tasty.

Well, two out of three isn't bad!

New organic shoe insole launched

This should sort out my slight leg-length difference.

The yellow peril returns. The custard has been resaturated with Agent Orange. I wasn't sure what the pastry thing underneath was, but don't expect to find it stocked in Waitrose or M&S in the near future

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Why me?

Sometimes you eat something and you know... you just know it's been recycled. Today's broccoli and cheese soup was just such a dish. I distinctly remember leaving some of my cheese last night and no one eats their broccoli in this hospital. Normally I have no intention of eating the soup I order as it's uniformly awful, but like some poor sucker who does the lottery each week, I tick the box just in case it might actually be edible for a change. The truth is we have more chance of being hit by a giant asteroid than I do of getting a soup that doesn't taste of sick. So here it is...
Oh well, I thought I was on to a winner with my main course. I mean, who can screw up Macaroni Provençale? A bit of pasta, some tomato sauce, handful of herbs and maybe a bit of cheese. Job done! Sadly I didn't get Macaroni Provençale. I got this instead.

I think even Stevie Wonder and Andrea Boccelli could work out that that was no Macaroni Provençale. I consulted the menu and soon deduced that this was chicken and leek pie. It was available with gravy but as I hadn't ticked the chicken and leek pie box, I obviously hadn't ticked the gravy box on the menu so I didn't get that either. I did however order green beans and croquette potatoes just for a giggle. As you can see, the green beans morphed into cauliflower while the potato croquettes somehow turned into something like turkey twizzlers. As for the pie crust... there's enough material there to repair all of last winter's potholes.
Apple Cake and Custard. It looks like a half a loaf of Mother's Pride sliced bread that's been ripped up in temper, added to stewed apple and lovingly smothered with NHS premium custard. What have I done to deserve this?

Lunch lotto

Okay... what is it? Come on! Don't be shy. Tell me what you think this dish is called. To avoid any doubt, this was photographed before being eaten.

What a breakfast

This morning my two free-range eggs nestled lovingly on all-butter muffins which had been lightly toasted and spread with fresh Normandy butter. The rindless back bacon with its distinct maple cure had to be one of the best rashers I've ever tasted. And as for the sausage... a perfect melange of spices and pork with a little wild boar to provide a subtle gamey undertone was just sublime. Finally, sun-ripened Pomodoro tomatoes and sweet button mushrooms, lightly sauteed  in extra virgin olive oil finished off what has to be one of the best breakfasts I've ever tasted. I rounded the meal off with a slice of freshly toasted bread and Frank Cooper's Oxford marmalade, washed down with a cup or two of a most excellent Kenyan Peaberry coffee.

Then I woke up!

Monday, 24 May 2010

It didn't start off well

In cooking, poor presentation can destroy even the tastiest dish. Still, you can't go wrong with a baked potato with cheese and butter, can you?

Oh dear, not quite what I had in mind but then I spied the tempting little tubs of low-fat, non-dairy spread. I also found a plastic cup of factory shredded cheese. Difficult to say what cheese it was. The menu said "cheddar" but quite how you turn fresh milk into something more garish that a Liberal Democrat poster remains a mystery to me.

It tasted okay but nothing like baked potato with butter and cheese. I won't mention the carrot and coriander soup I chose for starters... you've been punished enough.

Standards remain good

Okay, so it does have peas in it, but this chicken casserole with white wine and rice was actually very tasty. I'm getting worried now... I've got to get a really bad meal or else no one is going to want to visit the blog.

Apricot crumble was a bit tart (not sure how a crumble can be a tart but there you are) and even the custard was less obnoxious than usual. Someone is clearly trying hard.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

With this minestrone you are really spoiling us!

I've made better but generally not a bad bowl of soup. I'm beginning to get worried about this. Could the hospital have drafted in an elite squad of chefs?

Er no... forget that. Here we are back at the wallpaper paste pasta with sluiced broccoli and bitter peppers with the occasional crusty bit of cheese thrown in. Obviously this one slipped under the radar.

Not bad

This is an ocean pie. Very tasty with some nice baby carrots. I'm convinced hospital chefs can get it right if they try.

Unfortunately the chocolate sponge pudding and custard wasn't quite as nice. But notice how the custard almost looks normal. Someone's been tipped off.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Suppertime and the food is revolting

Starring on tonight's menu is minted pea soup. I'm not sure if I spelled pea correctly but given its viscous nature it could be some other waste product.

It's a pie, Jim... but not as we know it. Turkey and ham, apparently. The regeneration pods certainly heat the food up well. Shame it doesn't taste of anything. That mashed potatoes would make good caulk for sealing boat decks.

And finally, I offer you the 'Baked Lemon Tart with Custard'. I think the lemon must have been a typo as it tasted just like the baked each tart that I was offered back in my days of traction. I understand that Iran has reached an agreement with Turkey to send its custard there for enrichment and hence onwards to Britain for use s a weapon of mass destruction within the NHS.

Buffalo ahead

Yesterday I felt very cheerful in the recovery room considering I'd had a four-hour operation to break one of my legs. Today it's a different story. I'm lying down in bed, unable to move and I feels as though I've been trampled half to death by a herd of very angry buffaloes. The strong anaesthetics and painkillers have worn off and the morphine pump next to the bed mocks me with its pathetic 1mg every five minutes.

Never mind, it's all for a good cause and I'm hoping to be well enough to go home at the end of next week, as long as I don't encounter any more buffaloes.

By the way, those of you interested in what I chose for lunch today: I finally plumped for the honey-glazed ham sandwich with farmhouse pickle. All I can say is that the honey glaze was thicker than the ham and the pickle had never been within a hundred miles of a farmhouse. Good job Mrs XTM brought me in an M&S BLT.

Friday, 21 May 2010

I'm back

I've just got back from recovery. Consultant said it went very well. He's pleased. I needed a blood transfusion but I'm okay. Even got most of my leg length back. I'm really hopeful. Update tomorrow if I can.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Nil by mouth.

It's coming up to the witching hour after which no more water. I was so sleepy I thought I'd just drop off without any problem. Now I'm sat here in the twilight of the ward with the soft footsteps of nurses padding up and down the corridor while mad old biddies press their buzzers every few minutes. I'd forgotten how much fun ward life could be. Nurse! More drugs please...

Treacle roly-poly

It's all yours, Chris!

Oh no... What is it?

Can you guess what it is yet?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Hospital food doesn't get much worse

Tam sends me this disgusting shot from her recent stay in hospital. She had very specific nutritional needs and it seems the hospital just couldn't rise to the occasion. Fortunately Tam had a husband to hand to bring her some iron-rich treats or else she would have been in serious trouble.

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Whisky is wondering

Whisky is behaving a little oddly at the moment. He always knows when I'm about to go off and starts getting very clingy and affectionate. I wish he could come too but I'm guessing pets won't be allowed on the ward. Shame...

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Not long now

I don't know whether to be excited or nervous. In less than two weeks' time I will either be on my way to recovery or else wondering what happens next. I have one of the best surgeons in the UK overseeing my operation on what is, by his own admission, a very complex and difficult case. It's been so long since I walked that I find it hard to imagine what it will be like if the operation is successful. I also know that the breaking of my femur, the reshaping of the bone and then the plating and screwing of the bone will be something of a marathon and very painful. I really hope that I can regain most of the length lost during my spell in traction and that the pain I live with every day will slowly subside. I know I will need and appreciate everyone's support and I'll do my best to blog from hospital; I'll even let you know what the food is like. Perhaps it's improved since my last stay.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

The date is set

I heard today that I'm going to have a femoral osteotomy on May 21st. In other words, the doctors are going to break my leg and then reconstruct it before sticking it together with a metal plate and screws. It's sooner than I expected and brings my operations over the past 12 months or so to a round dozen. I'm really hoping this is the last one. I'm going to take my laptop into hospital with me so I can keep you posted.