Monday, 25 November 2013

Adventures in Time and Bacon

As I write I'm feeling a tad ropey - a bit of lurg has debilitated me. Nonetheless, I've not managed to finish this blog in a fortnight, so I'm taking the time to round this post off.

Being pretty short of spondoolicks, it was most opportune to be continuing MFJ's tiny budget shopping challenge. To stretch the money out a bit, this entailed eating a lot of bacon.
 
We all know Forrest Gump's simile about life was flawed. The chocolate names are all printed on the lid. So we do know what we're going to get.

Instead I propose we change it to "Life is like a pack of cooking bacon."


True, it's neither sweet, nor succinct. It doesn't have the same heartwarming, fuzzy quality. Well, the photo is fuzzy. And so might your arteries be  if you eat bacon too regularly. But you know what I mean.

You can see the bacon. You can squidge the packet about a bit. But you can't tell until you've opened it exactly what you've got. Do you have streaky, lean, back, smoky, pancetta - or a mix of the lot? Is it in familiar bacon-like thin slivers, or do you have bits with one thin end and one thick end? Or - as we once got - do you have two lovely, thick bacon slice-shaped gammon steaks?

So, what can you do with all those bits of pig?

Meal 1: Following on from discussions with Frugal Living UK I first went for a slightly skinny carbonara. To a Good Housekeeping recipe circa 1980, I removed mention of tomato (???), Parmesan (didn't have any) and cream, and added onion and skinny white sauce made of cornflour slaked in milk. I made the sauce around the fried bacon and onion, then added a mix of one egg and one egg yolk, cheese and parsley. End result was lush. We had an egg white left over though, so meal 2...

Meal 2: Breakfast sandwich. Basically weld bits of fried bacon and mushroom into sandwichable fillings using the egg white. Put in sandwich. Add brown sauce. Voila!

Meal 3: A bit similar to meal 1, but having run out of eggs added white sauce with mixed herbs to fried mushrooms and bacon, served with pasta, topped with cheese. Monica Galetti would have a special scowl reserved for my level of invention.

Meals 4, 5 and 6: Magic Bacon Soup in a Jar. A home-assembled foodie gift we got last Christmas was a jar with dried pasta, lentils, barley, stock and herbs, topped with dried peas. As per the instructions, the peas were soaked overnight, then boiled up with the rest of the contents of the jar, water and a tin of chopped tomatoes. The instructions suggested ground beef could be added to the soup. Instead we added bacon! the result was very tasty.

Cheap and nutritious, but we now need a bit of a break from bacon. Shame because I found this from the Co-Op's  Bake Your Cake and Eat it!, circa 1973.

Pensioners casserole. "A nourishing and helpful dish" Serves 2... for a bit. Then serves one. Twice.
You've got to love the 70s! All the recipes were submitted by a gazillion housewives and one man. Any hope of Delia Smith-type fame following publication is avoided by referring to all the contributors by their initials. Every other recipe contains bacon, which would make you think they're probably really nice... alas no.

There are all manner of horrible recipes in this book, from "Giblet Pie" to "Kipper Flan". The "Horseshoe Surprise" contains no actual horseshoes, which must be the surprise. And what do you think might be the principle ingredient of "Banana Doolittle"? That's right... chipolata sausages.

So it perhaps not surprising that to shift copies of this book, they needed endorsement from Gallifrey's finest. Well, he likes fish fingers and custard after all...
In his third regeneration, the Doctor found himself stuck in the UK in the 1970s and it clearly affected him as he shouted about food until he got given an enormous ham, a kugelhopf and a garibaldi biscuit. And what's going on with his eyes? But this isn't the real Doctor... oh no. This is just a drawing of Jon Pertwee. Hence the enormous kipper tie which is hardly in keeping with the Doctor's 'dandy' image. That's how you get round the image rights, is it, Co-Op? I see.

Fancy saving 2p off your next purchase of Scotchoc? How about off 15 and a half ounces of rice milk pudding? Well, all the coupons in this book are intact! Just pop in your TARDIS and use them before 30th June 1974.

Anyhoo.... Jon Pertwee isn't my Doctor. I have always loved the scary mad-eyed Tom Baker (oh what fun we had when he used to do BT's text-voice service. I sent OH a voice text by accident and he near peed himself when Tom Baker read out all the kisses as, "Ex, ex, ex, ex, ex..."). But I'm afraid there is a new Doctor in my heart... and so this Saturday on the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, I declared it (un)official David Tennant Day.

First, I went to see the encore of a live screening of Richard II. This had been recorded on November 13th at RSC in Stratford upon Avon. What an opportunity though to experience one of our best actors in my all-time favourite Shakespeare play. I love the character's vulnerability, and it's really tricky to get someone who can portray all that kingly entitlement at the beginning and his state at the end, do the whole "buckets in a well", er, well. He's also a wee bit dreamy...

David Tennant as Richard II. Oh yes.
And when I got to the theatre, the Doctor's enemies were lurking. I disabled the egg whisk on this one...
I really loved the play. Gregory Doran's production is superb, the setting both spare and rich. The whole cast do a great job. And the music is amazing too, the singers' voices absolutely gorgeous.

And then they advertised a live screening of Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston. Swoon!

After watching the play in the very comfy seats in the Errol Flynn theatre, we were kicking ourselves that the Day of the Doctor online booking had been so patchy, as we missed out on going to see the Doctor Who film there. Instead, we made our way over to Vue, where we joined a mainly teenaged audience, many of whom were resplendent in Tom Baker scarves, Matt Smith Fezzes and black marker pen tallies. They were all full of squee, as was I...
I want that one.
Yes, we could have seen it for free on the telly, but it was absolutely fantastic watching it at the cinema in the company of an appreciative crowd. I am used to watching Doctor Who at Eastercons with 500+ attendees who appreciate it a lot, and the atmosphere was almost the same, except that a lot of the jokes seemingly went a bit unnoticed by the majority. Okay, so they forgot that David Tennant's Doctor's sonic screwdriver had been fried and some of the jokes, though very funny, were a bit meta, I don't care. I really enjoyed it.

I also bumped into m'friend and fellow comedian Jon Williams  at the cinema, which was nice.

Make the most of your Doctor Who free and lovely things... I got a free audio book from a newspaper promotion on Saturday, and have watched many of the tributes available on Youtube, like How it Should Have Ended. This week on iPlayer, make sure you watch Peter Davison's brilliant The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot. It's very funny. And if you haven't seen it yet, make sure you watch Mark Gatiss's Adventures in Time and Space, a sweet, heartbreaking story of how the show started.

And yes, I am skint now after making sure we could celebrate David Tennant Day properly... but it was well worth the bacon diet. And I still have jelly babies left over. Joy!

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