Sunday, 2 August 2009


I almost bought a wok today. That was on account of having mucked up my arrangements for the weekend. And being in Cambridge. And not finding my baking dishes.

That all makes perfect sense to me, so why you don't follow it beats me.

After finishing my LEJOG (over two years ago now; time has flown...) I quite surprised myself at how I had changed and actually now look forward to meeting new people, whereas before I had always bided my time and tried to get the measure of someone before I committed to any form of friendship. In my 'other life,' I organise people who need help with their businesses in times of crisis - and indeed I think I am quite good at it. I am almost ruthlessly organised at work - I love sorting out the chaos and stepping up and straightening things out.

The trouble is, when I get home, shut the door and sink into my settee (did you know that the settee is my friend?) I seem to abandon all those admirable qualities of transparency, communication and organisation.

I had planned on making a fish pie and a lamb hot-pot this weekend for a friend who I thought I had invited down. I was convinced that I had no large square baking dishes and so this was not going to be possible in the time I had available - as I had no time to go out and buy new dishes. I settled on a simpler menu.

Well, it looks like the personal management of my life went a bit awry: My friend didn't show and so I had two lovely trout in paper bag suppers in a row. All quite delicious with a gorgeous bottle of Sancerre. Instead of wild socialising, yesterday was spent sorting out shrubs in the garden, and general patio weeding after giving the place a damn good late Spring-clean.

So today I had as spare and so took a trip to Don's In Cambridge to read the Sundays and have an espresso and Peroni whilst watching the tourists. I sat there wondering about the Welsh lamb I had in the fridge and resolved to go and buy a wok. Cambridge isn't good for Woks.

Having strolled about the available Cambridge cook shops, inspecting every conceivable brand, size and shape of wok on the shelves, I decided that there was nothing that my amateur cook's eye fancied. I am a very picky amateur. I need a trip to London to buy my wok.

I trundled home and found that in fact I did have a beautiful square baking dish that was hiding in the plastic bag cupboard, buried beneath myriad Waitrose plastic bags. So there is now a rather nice aroma drifting around the cottage of a wonderful Lamb hot-pot slowly turning to a golden brown in the oven.

I will now try to sort out my life at home - I must be more organised. I shall write myself a stern note. That should do it. And go to London to buy a wok.


  1. Al
    Very pleased to hear that you have been taming your garden. You can't possibly go all the way to London to buy your starter wok. Anyway you're in Bristol at the weekend. We have woks you know

    Rach x x

  2. No, id disagree you must head to the glowing light of china town in london to buy your wok.If not there then china its self.
    I wish i could get organized,so much to do and not enough hours in the day

  3. It's only Wok 'n' a (Spring) Roll. But I like it ...

  4. "With Son Number One well and truly launched on his way to his wedding at the weekend"
    Was there not a wedding to go to? Are you going blind? - there must be loads of woks in Cambridge!
    Go for a long walk, Alan, it'll do you good!

  5. Rach, sweetie: Will there be the right wok for me though? Perhaps I need Fe to help me through the maze, the countless wonderful woks doubtless there, all presenting themsleves to me eagerly screaming "Take me!"

    Do we have a day to spare to make my choice?

    'Mike the Chef': I think I am with you on this one - I think that China town is the only place to buy a wok, having seen the miserable selection in Cambridge.

    Humph: Hello Sunbeam.

    Martin: Son Number One was launched last weekend - the maiden voyage (ooh!) is at the end of this month. Admittedly it was written in a slightly unclear fashion - possibly confusing for an old fella but you do need to keep up. The previous post had mentioned the wedding diary. Good effort: Nine out of ten, but you must try harder!

    It was as well that you walked with Gayle last weekend - she would look after you.

    If you are not careful your kids will put you in a home (Mine are always threatening that...)

  6. Curiosity has got the better of me...and I'm sure I'm going to regret this but...what were you going to cook in the wok Alan?

    Crispy shredded lamb?

  7. Wowza fatdog - Hello, good evening and welcome! Nice to have you here. Now then - rules is rules.

    I cook whatever I can in either a casserole, or a frting pan at the moment, on account of the cook (separated wife) having buzzed off nine months ago. Now the trouble with frying pans is that they have very low sides and all that sizzling grub goes flying over the edges and onto the otherwise clean hob. This is a disaster - as it takes lots of elbow grease to remove the baked-on grease which is the consistency of hard welded toffee.

    So the theory goes that if I get a pan with a lot higher sides it won't all go spinning off into the sunset. If it is a rounded shape the chances are it might stay within the confines of the pan too! Easy, eh?

    Lamb, Chicken, strips of succulent beef, (whatever really!) all with those lovely stir-fry packs of veg from Waitrose and some yummy Wing Yip sauces, toasted pine nuts and a nice glass or three of Gigondas alngside does it for me!

    Regretting it already? - I can sense it....

    Perhaps I need to read the one cook-book she left then? She could have opened a library with all the cook books she had...


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