The Anonymous Widower

Bad News for Coeliacs

The report on the price of sugar is bad for coeliacs like me.  What will happen is that more food will use wheat glucose instead of sugar, because it’s cheaper.  Unfortunately, a lot of coeliacs can’t handle this and it makes them ill.

Interestingly, the EU says that wheat glucose is alright for coeliacs to eat, so products don’t have to say they contain gluten. 

Well, here’s one who’s affected by wheat glucose (maltodextrin).  I am not alone!

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Food | | 2 Comments

Food Shortages

Isn’t the best way to cut food shortages, to cut the birthrate?  Then we should make sure people aren’t overweight and obese.

But this report today is a typical overreaction of a government that wants to frighten us all to do their bidding.  Engineers and scientists will solve the problem, just like they have every great crisis in the past.  And I suspect that we can do it without using GM crops to any great extent.

There is talk that we’ll be have a more vegetarian diet. I’m afraid that would be a severe problem for me, as all of the cereals I can eat are generally imported.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Food, News | | Leave a comment

Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie

I like this recipe as except for the potato saucepan, there isn’t too much washing up and most of the preparation is done in the dish you cook it in. It’s also very gluten-free without any dodgy ingredient at all.

Here’s what Jamie says about it.

This is a fantastically simple fish pie which doesn’t involve poaching the fish or making a tedious white sauce. Loads of good, fragrant veg are added quickly by grating them in. You can use whatever fish you like, making this as luxurious as you want it to be. If you like your fish pie to be creamy, feel free to add a few tablespoons of crème fraîche to the fish.

For four people and a typical deep dish you’ll get in somewhere like Debenhams, you’ll need the following.

  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1kg potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 sticks of celery
  • 150g good Cheddar cheese
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ a fresh red chilli
  • 4 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 300g salmon fillets, skin off and bones removed
  • 300g undyed smoked haddock fillets, skin off and bones removed
  • 125g king prawns, raw, peeled
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: a good handful of spinach, chopped
  • Optional: a couple of ripe tomatoes, quartered

Note that Waitrose will take the skin of the fish.  I suspect other places and of course real fishmongers will too.

This is the method.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil
  2. Peel the potatoes and cut into 2cm chunks
  3. Once the water is boiling, add your potatoes and cook for around 12 minutes, until soft (you can stick your knife into them to check)
  4. Meanwhile, get yourself a deep baking tray or earthenware dish and stand a box grater in it
  5. Peel the carrot
  6. Grate the celery, carrot and Cheddar on the coarse side of the grater
  7. Use the fine side of the grater to grate the zest from the lemon
  8. Finely grate or chop your chilli
  9. Finely chop the parsley leaves and stalks and add these to the tray
  10. Cut the salmon and smoked haddock into bite-size chunks and add to the tray with the prawns
  11. Squeeze over the juice from the zested lemon (no pips please!), drizzle with olive oil and add a good pinch of salt and pepper
  12. If you want to add any spinach or tomatoes, do it now
  13. Mix everything together really well
  14. By now your potatoes should be cooked, so drain them in a colander and return them to the pan
  15. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper
  16. Mash until nice and smooth, then spread evenly over the top of the fish and grated veg
  17. Place in the preheated oven for around 40 minutes, or until cooked through, crispy and golden on top

Serve piping hot with tomato ketchup, baked beans, steamed veg or a lovely green salad.

I would just point this recipe to Jamie’s site, but I like to print out the recipes as I have a bad memory.  And it doesn’t print from his site on my machine.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Food | , , , | 16 Comments

Fraudulent Tax Refunds

I’m getting a couple of these e-mails every day now.

Tax Refund Spam E-Mail

Tax Refund Spam E-Mail

My ISP marks them as spam.  But they are.

Note that it is not specifically addressed to me in any way and that there is no mention of my name or tax number.

Don’t ever login.  This one was hosted in Korea.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Computing | , , | 2 Comments

How Did They Do That?

On Saturday evening, I ordered a copy of the Dorling Kindersley guide to Brussels from Amazon.  The time on the confirming e-mail is 20:15 and I had another one on Sunday at 14:45 to say the book had been dispatched.

It arrived with the post this morning.  At least Newmarket is not on strike.

I thought too, that the Royal Mail didn’t accept letters and parcels on Sunday.  They obviously do for Amazon.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Oldham Solution to Binge Drinking

Oldham has brought in fairly draconian proposals to stop binge drinking.

You have to queue “Post Office” style for your drinks, there seem to be masses of extra staff and even police paid for by the bars.  Panorama is doing a program tonight. But one landlord feels he is being tarred with same brush and has successfully appealed against the council.

I am all for cutting down the binge drinking, but feel that if only Oldham does this, then those that just want to drink to oblivion will go elsewhere.  This may put the problem into other towns and also cause problems on the roads and public transport.

I always remember in the 1960s, that Ipswich closed the pubs at 10:30 and Suffolk at 11:00, so there was always problems as drinkers finished in Ipswich and continued in Suffolk.  When the two authorities brought things into line, everything was much calmer and there was a lot less drinking and driving.

We actually need a law, which says that alcohol must be sold at a minimum price per unit in every outlet.  But even this needs to be applied very carefully, as otherwise alcohol will be bootlegged and organised crime will get involved.  Perhaps, the value per unit would not be fixed in law, but applied so as to minimise illegal alcohol sales.

But we will only get a solution to the binge drinking problem, when people wake up to the fact that there are better things to do. 

I also think of “Education, education, education!” 

Where have I heard that before?

Will I be visiting Olham for a drink?  I don’t think so, as it would appear that the town is not to my liking.  I’ve also checked the guides and there isn’t a decent restaurant in the place!  And I suspect no-one has heard of gluten!  After all, if you can’t drink beer, you can’t be a real man!

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Health, News | , | Leave a comment

Postal Strikes

I’m not sure whether I’ll get any mail today, as there is a postal strike in Suffolk.

But does it really matter? How often do you actually get a real letter these days?  And when did you last get a postcard?

I think I’ve had about four in the last seven days and two of those could actually have been sent by e-mail, but thankfully some people like to be personally.  The other two were a water bill, which asked on the outside if we’d like an electronic bill and a letter from the NHS enclosing a bowel caner test kit.

I think the last would be a difficult one to do by e-mail, but on the other hand it isn’t very urgent.

I used to know a guy who ran BT’s telephone service in East Anglia and he told me that every interruption in the Royal Mail service moves business away to other methods like phone and e-mail.  It rarely comes back.

So what would happen, if we had a postal service that only delivered mail twice or even once a week?

In my view. Nothing!

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Business | , | 1 Comment

Female Fertility and Coeliac Disease

BBC Breakfast this morning is carrying a report saying that all women at thirty should have a fertility test.  I sent them this e-mail.

I am a coeliac, which means I have low B12 and folate levels unless I’m on a gluten-free diet. In a man this does not matter with regards fertility, but with some women undiagnosed low B12 levels means that they don’t conceive or carry to full term. I know personally of three women diagnosed at coeliacs in their earlier thirties, who cut out gluten and then very easily had the children they wanted.

I doubt they’ll read it out.

But if I trace my family back a couple of generations to where I think I’ve enherited my coeliac gene, I can’t find any woman who has given birth.  Was that due to low B12, due to that gene.

August 10, 2009 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment