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Archive for the ‘Food & Drink’ Category

WE DIDN’T HAVE THE GREEN THING THEN!

In Food & Drink, Gardening, Green issues, Health, Ideas, Social History on 27 February 2012 at 12:54

I DON’T KNOW WHO WROTE THIS BUT THE MESSAGE IS VERY APPROPRIATE.

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman
that she should bring her own shopping bags because plastic bags weren’t
good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back
in my earlier days.”

The cashier responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not
care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.
Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the
store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized
and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they
really were recycled. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a
new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing
away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every shop and
office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a
300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the
throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling
machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our
clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their
brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our
day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room.
And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?),
not a screen the size of the county of Yorkshire . In the kitchen, we
blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do
everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the post, we
used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic
bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just
to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised
by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills

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Is Your Garden Plagued by Slugs?

In Business, Food & Drink, Gardening on 10 July 2011 at 11:41

While wandering around the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show (the worlds largest) last week I met Mr and Mrs Messina a charming couple who had invented a simple, yet highly effective, device known as the Slug Bell. This is a cheap, low-cost and attractively colourful little gadget that is used to ‘feed’ slugs with deadly pellets to rid them from your garden.

The Slug Bell was designed as a safe, environmentally friendly and efficient way of keeping toxic slug pellets out of reach of animals and children and was devised after Mike Messina had become ill after eating part of a slug pellet that had remained on a lettuce that had been thoroughly washed several times.

With prices ranging from £8.49 to £9.99 the all-metal Slug Bell represents excellent value for money. The product consists of a simple spike that is placed into the ground that contains a small mesh feeder partway up the spike that is used to bait the slugs. Pellets are placed in the bowl and the hungry slugs, attracted by the odour given off from the pellets, have no trouble climbing the spike to devour the bait. A small bell-shaped hood, available in an array of patterns and colours to blend in with your garden, is then placed on top of the spike to hide the slug pellets from prying pets and children and to provide protection from the rain.

Slug Bells are already in use in the gardens at Highgrove and Mike Messina proudly showed me a letter sent to him by a member of HRH Prince Charles’s staff praising the value of the products. Mike has also been interviewed by researchers from the ‘Dragon’s Den‘ programme.

The Slug Bell is available on line at the company’s official website.

Fallowfields sets news standard in fine dining

In Bartercard, Business, Fallowfields, Food & Drink, Hotels, Restaurant Reviews, Wine on 1 May 2011 at 15:43

Fallowfields Hotel and Restaurant has always had an excellent reputation for food and hospitality.

They have just announced the arrival of Shaun Dickens as Head Chef. Shaun’s sparkling career has taken him to a Who’s Who of Michelin starred restaurants; with three years at Oxfordshire’s Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons (two Michelin stars), two years at Per Se in New York (3 Michelin stars) and L’Ortolan (1 Michelin star) where he worked with Alan Murchison for the last two years. Additionally, he spent short periods with Gordon Ramsay in London and New York, Michelle Roux Junior at the Gavroche and Daniel Boulud at Restaurant Daniels. In 2009 Shaun was a finalist of the Young Chef of the Year Competition, and in 2010 won the title for the South West Region and came 3rd overall nationally.

The world of Michelin seems open for Shaun, almost wherever he has chosen to go. So, why did he choose Fallowfields? “I am at a point in my career where I needed a project”, says Shaun – “and Fallowfields, with its farm, orchards and kitchen garden, is a chef’s dream turned true. So when I saw Fallowfields was looking, I just knew this was the job for me”. There was a sense of passion about Fallowfields that struck me when I first came, that matched my own – you could feel it – and with the passion that I as chef will bring, the future of Fallowfields is unlimited. The journey starts here, today the 26th April.

Anthony Lloyd, owner of Fallowfields commented: “This is an unparalleled opportunity for a good business to become a great business. We are food led and Shaun’s arrival has been anticipated with much excitement in the last few weeks. Right from the days when my wife Peta cooked in the kitchen on an Aga and we planted our vegetable garden and orchards and then starting the farm three years ago, Fallowfields has almost been sitting waiting for a talent like Shaun to come along to make it come alive”.

The Joys of Barter

In Bartercard, Business, Food & Drink, Hotels, International Trade, Networking, Trading, Uncategorized on 5 February 2011 at 12:41

Bartering has been around ever since man began trading and despite an in-bred scepticism in the UK it can be a much more satisfying way of doing business especially when money is tight. I enjoy bartering and use it extensively to obtain goods and services that I need. It is a particularly useful way of doing business during periods when cash trade is scarce or you have excess capacity or stock that you want to shift. With the advent of the internet, most countries now have an organised barter trading system and mega businesses, even governments are not averse to trading in this way. I once worked for a client in the construction industry who regularly took payment for their projects in Nigeria with tankers of crude oil in place of hard cash, that was later sold on to one of the major oil companies.

Communities have grown using the bartering system with various levels of success on a local level, but by far the most successful bartering organisation is Bartercard, an international trading portal that operates in six countries and has 75,000 trading members. Bartercard simplifies the trading process by matching the requirements of members to appropriate suppliers of products and services that they require. Payment is conducted using Trade pounds, thus when I make a sale the payment for my services will be credited to my account enabling me to spend on anything I need to buy from other member businesses. This means when I want to eat out, stay at a hotel, buy items that I need – even pay for my private dental treatment, I pay using Trade Pounds instead of spending cash. Bartercard makes its money by charging fees on every transaction, but these are tiny compared to the equivalent cash spend you might otherwise make. It is a great way of doing business and it is all ‘above board’ – with members paying tax and collecting VAT on transactions in the normal way. Being a Bartercard member also acts as a social networking forum that forges firm friendships and working relationships with other businesses.

The only downsides are that you cannot buy fuel, or use Bartercard to buy food in the supermarkets, but it is something the major companies should consider. The reserved nature of the Brits still casts a suspicion over anything innovative that can really help their businesses. But it really is time that all businesses woke up to the benefits Bartercard has to offer as an alternative to paying for everything using cash.

Further links:

Recession tips for business

Bartercard testimonials

Bartercard’s latest investment

The Legend of Jägermeister

In Food & Drink on 8 November 2010 at 15:12

There has been a recent massive revival in the sales of a seventy-four-year-old German herbal liqueur that has been adopted by young trend setters who have taken to ordering in the drink mixed with Coca-Cola. The trend has become instrumental in specialised bars being opened known as Jägermeister lounges where young people gather to hear the music of their favourite bands. Read the rest of this entry »

Château Lafite Sets New Record in Hong Kong

In Food & Drink, Wine on 7 November 2010 at 13:47

At a recent Sotheby’s auction held at the prestigious Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong several wine buying records were shattered. Three bottles of Château Lafite-Rothschild 1869 were snapped up for HK$1.8m (£143,474) each in a sale that brought in HK$5.4 million (£430,422). Two other bottles of Lafite went for HK$1m (£79,707.55) each including bottles of 1869, 1870 and 1899 vintage.

The Chinese are becoming avid collectors of rare classic wines and they are more than willing to pay record prices to get what they want. This was borne out by this auction, the eight in a series of wine sales this year in the former Crown Colony being a complete sell out and bidding far surpassed the estimates of between HK$40,000-60,000. The three bottles of Lafite set a new world record for the most expensive individual bottles ever sold at auction. The previous record, also for a Château Lafite, was for a 1787 vintage that was sold at Christie’s in London in 1985had been engraved with the initials of President Thomas Jefferson and was bought by publisher Malcolm Forbes for £105,000 (US$168,000).

Chateau Lafite Rothschild Label for the 1999 v...

Image via Wikipedia

Asian collectors are forcing prices of wines ever higher. But on this occasion the auspicious number eight (pinyin in Cantonese) that is associated with wealth and fortune by the Chinese probably had a major influence on the sale prices. It is interesting that the 2008 Lafite carries the Chinese character for eight on the label and this had led to a growing interest in this particular vintage and a case rose in price from US$14,458 to $20,884 at the end of October. This has not meant there has been no interest in the 2009 vintage with prices soaring to over US$24,000 a case.

How much will you bid for my undrinkable bottle of Lambrusco?

Where to Chill Out in Oxfordshire

In Food & Drink, Hotels, Restaurant Reviews on 2 November 2010 at 17:07

We had the privilege of spending a night at a wonderful boutique hotel owned by Anthony and Peta Lloyd, a delightful couple. Set in 12 acres of well tended grounds in the Vale of White Horse, Oxfordshire at Kingston Bagpuize, the Fallowfields Country House Hotel is very close to Oxford and approximately 50 minutes from Heathrow. Fallowfields is the perfect venue for weddings, conferences, parties and is exceptional for short breaks for anyone who enjoys a cosy ambience, home comforts, quality service from hospitable staff and perhaps the most comfortable hotel beds you will find anywhere. The hotel is passionate about providing the best English produce, from the hotel farm or sourced locally whenever possible. Fallowfields own pigs, Dexter cattle, chickens and quail supply much of what is eaten in the quintessential English restaurant is most of the seasonal produce is grown in the magnificent vegetable gardens and rare apple orchards. There is also an active falconry within the beautiful grounds. The cuisine is exceptionally fresh and creatively presented on slate plates; the wine list is particularly imaginative and individual, steering clear of the usual mass production vineyard labels that unfortunately permeate the lists of far too many hotels and restaurants. If you like to enjoy relaxing over a drink or three in front of an open log fire; prefer friendly informal family owned hotels to the impersonal chains, and feel the need to be pampered – then Fallowfields is definitely for you. I thoroughly recommend that you spend a few nights, visit the restaurant or pop in for afternoon tea. You will be pleasantly impressed by the experience.