The Anonymous Widower

Where Do All The Teaspoons Go?

When I moved to London I had about a dozen teaspoons. I know I tend to use a lot in cooking, but I am now down to around six.

So where do all the teaspoons go?

I always remember seeing a spokesman for the cutlers in Sheffield on television, saying that the number of teaspoons sold far exceeds all other utensils.

December 31, 2018 Posted by | Food | | 3 Comments

It Pays To Complain Politely!

I like Nakd bars.

My favourite was the Cocoa Mint bar, but I was having difficulty getting them.

I complained politely and found out that they had been discontinued.

The company said they’d send a few others for me to try.

I wasn’t expecting a box of nine.

Note the box came in the padded bag on the left, so it came through my letterbox, without needing to be collected from the Post Office.

How many Christmas parcels have to be collected, because companies don’t pack them properly?

 

December 7, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , | 2 Comments

Gluten-Free Spinach And Ricotta Ravioli From Marks And Spencer

Gluten-free ravioli is one of the foods that I have missed, since my diagnosis as a coeliac.

But, I was able to  buy this new product this afternoon, at a cost of £3.70 for enough for two.

The proof will be in the eating.

November 26, 2018 Posted by | Food | , | 2 Comments

Contactless Payments For Food In Marks And Spencer

I have been using contactless bank cards to buy my food in Marks and Spencer for about sixteen months now.

I started making a note of my spending this way, as I wanted to check that this method of payment was secure.

It is!

What has dropped out of my research is that the average price of an item over those sixteen months, has been a couple of pence over two pounds.

So now, I usually only  buy fifteen items, so that I’m just below the contactless payment limit.

  • If it’s a couple of pounds over, I just drop a couple of pound coins in from my pocket, before using the card.
  • As it happens fifteen items always fit in my reusable bag, which I stow in my manbag.
  • I haven’t bought a new bag for a year and rarely pay 5p. for a plastic one.

The self-imposed fifteen item limit has certainly speeded up my shopping.

I wonder if other chains have the same item cost!

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , | 1 Comment

Over Four Units Of Beer

This picture shows nineteen bottles of Marks and Spencer’s Southwold Pale Ale, which is only 0.5% alcohol.

But it is brewed by Adnams in Suffolk.

I have been drinking adnams beer for over fifty years.

It should be said that you’d need to drink sixteen bottles to get to the four unit of alcohol limit for males.

I couldn’t manage eight litres of water.

I shall keep raiding Marks and Spencer in Finsbury Pavement to make sure I have enough for Christmas.

November 24, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

My Ruined Saturday Mornings!

Since, I moved to Dalston in 2010, my Saturday morning routine has been something like this.

  • Take a 30 Bus to St. Mary’s Church.
  • Visit the Carluccio’s and have a gluten-free breakfast, like a full English or an eggs benedict.
  • Visit Waitrose for half my shopping.
  • Visit Marks and Spencer for my gluten-free shopping.

But things have changed.

Egyptian Buses On Route 30

A few weeks ago, new buses started on route 30.

I don’t use them, except as a last resort.

They were built in Egypt. Now, I’ve nothing against Egyptians or their country, but we make very good buses in this country and we should have British buses for British bottoms!

The new company running the route seems to not provide the same frequency anyway, so catching a 30 bus, would often involve a longer wait.

Carluccio’s Has Closed

But the need to take a 30 bus decreased, a few weeks ago, when Carluccio’s in Islington closed.

As there is no other place in Islington to get a quick gluten-free breakfast, that put a big hole in my Saturday mornings. I could go to Bill’s or Cote, but they take a lot longer and are much more expensive.

Waitrose

Waitrose too, are annoying me.

They have redone their self-service tills and they are useless for my way of shopping.

I have a large reusable M & S bag, that folds into my man-bag and although it was fine for their original tills, it’s too big for their new tills.

So to shop in Waitrose, I put the bag in the trolley, load my purchases onto the till without a bag and then after payment move them into my shopping bag. How inefficient is that?

I now limit my purchases at Waitrose by using the much-more customer friendly Sainsburys next door.

Anyway, Sainsburys have a much better gluten-free selection, than the terrible range in Waitrose, where no care is taken to make ranges of foods like sausages and burgers gluten-free.

In fact, I wouldn’t trust Waitrose on their allergen philosophy. The labelling might be correct, but it’s all about how different product types and ranges are handled.

You wouldn’t shop in Waitrose if you were a family with one member who was coeliac or gluten-free!

Marks And Spencer

Marks and Spencer at the Angel carry on as normal, as they have done since my paternal grandmother shopped there ibefore the First World War and, when C and I used to shop there in the 1970s.

But they have competition in that I am ringed by others of their stores in Dalston, Finsbury Pavement, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and London Bridge.

Yesterday, I ate breakfast in Leon at Kings Cross and then roamed the shops before doing my Saturday shopping in their Finsbury Pavement store. That one is now opening on Saturdays and I can get two buses directly from the store to the zebra crossing by my house.

Conclusion

All of these factors are combining to make me use Islington less.

What the Angel needs is a Leon, so I can have a fast gluten-free breakfast on the go.

One of the great things about breakfast in Leon, is that there is often time and space to layout your tabloid-sized newspaper and eat a leisurely breakfast.

 

November 18, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Bad Logic From Marks And Spencer

I am not the largest of individuals being around one metre seventy and sixty-one kilos.

But then many coeliacs are on the smallish side.

So when I saw this small meal which was entiled Beef Chilli & Cheese Filled Jacket Potato, I suspected that it could be gluten-free, as it seems most of Marks and Spencer’s beef chillis are made without gluten.

On turning the packet over, I found my reasoning was correct, as the dreaded g-word was missing.

Next to this baked potato on the shelf, was a Smoked Haddock Mornay Filled Jacket Potato.

Now this is where the logic is bad

  • Some of their fish dishes with a Mornay sauce are gluten-free and others are not. This was one of the ones with gluten!
  • Surely, if all chillis can be gluten-free, then all fish Mornays should be the same as to gluten.
  • Perhaps, all baked potato dishes like this should also be the same as to gluten.
  • I also think that with fish, shepherds and cottage pies with a potato topping, whether a pie is gluten-free or not depends on the range.
  • And with sausages and burgers, they are all gluten-free.

If you are vegan or need to be dairy-free, I’m certain there are other examples of similar products varying as to acceptability.

How Was The Eating?

Not bad at all! I’ll try another, but I would love to try the smoked haddock variety!

Conclusion

I believe that a regular shopper in a particular supermarket chain, should be able to ascertain, if a product is suitable by just reading the title. They can always check by reading the detailed labelling

 

November 10, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , , | Leave a comment

Fish Fingers Surprisingly Sustainable, Say Conservationists

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

When I first saw this headline, I was surprised and cynically felt that this was some put up job paid for by the producers of fish fingers or the Fish Fingers Appreciation Society.

But it appears that the research was done by the Marine Conservation Society.

This is the first paragraph of their Wikipedia entry.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK’s leading marine environment, not-for-profit organisation. It works for the increased protection of the seas around the United Kingdom, via the creation of well managed marine protected areas. It works with fishermen and industry to find more sustainable ways of fishing and with retailers and consumers to buy and choose more sustainable seafood. It involves volunteers to carry out hundreds of beach cleans and surveys annually whilst also working with water companies and local communities to ensure UK bathing waters are of an excellent standard

I think that and other facts in the entry, prove that we can take the BBC report at face value.

Incidentally of their list of the top fifteen fish fingers rated for sustainability, at least two were gluten-free.

Usually, coeliacs and others who are gluten-free are left out of the results.

My last thought, is that why if we can make fish fingers surprisingly sustainable, can’t we do that for other foods?

November 2, 2018 Posted by | Food | , , | Leave a comment

Disappointing Kiel

After my disappointment with not getting a ride on the hydrogen-powered Coradia iLint, I decided to take a trip to Kiel.

I had expected a bustling riverside with perhaps nice places to eat overlooking the water. Perhaps, I was expecting somewhere similar to Bordeaux, Gdansk or Stockholm

I was at least able to buy a drink in a cafe, but I didn’t find any suitable food.

So I retreated to a shopping centre and bought a tuna salad in a plastic bowl.

I don’t think, I’ll be going back.

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Food, Transport | , | 1 Comment

From Amsterdam To Hamburg The Hard Way

You might think that Amsterdam, which is a city of nearly two-and-a-half million people would have a good rail connection to the North German cities of Bremen and Hamburg, which have population of two-and-a-half and five million people, respectively.

But you would be wrong!

  • Amsterdam to Bremen is 354 km. and takes 3 hr. 26 min to drive, but the train takes 4 hr. 16 mins with a change at Osnabruck.
  • Amsterdam to Bremen is 464 km. and takes 4 hr. 35 min to drive, but the train takes 5 hr. 14 mins with a change at Osnabruck.

The train to Osnabruck is the same for both destinations and runs every two hours.

I arrived in Amsterdam at 12:32 and the next train left at 13:00, which I didn’t try to catch as I had to queue up for a ticket

So I caught the 15:00, as I had planned, which should get me into Hamburg at 20:14, hopefully in time for supper.

I would need the supper, when I arrived, as I could find nothing gluten-free worth eating in Amsterdam Centraal station. But I did have some EatNakd bars.

The train to Osnabruck, wasn’t one of Germany’s finest and the only customer service was the checking of tickets. I didn’t check, but I got the impression, that the onboard restaurant car had gone AWOL.

There wouldn’t have been anything I could eat, if there had been a restaurant car anyway!

Incidentally, I don’t travel First Class in Germany anymore, as all you get is a better seat, with not even any free coffee.

And you have to pay about five euros for a seat reservation!

The train to Osnabruck wasn’t the fastest either, doing about 80 mph most of the way, which compares badly to the 100 mph typically attained by trains on secondary main lines in the UK like London to Norwich.

There was also an Engine Change At Bad Bentheim.

I’ve had serious delay in Osnabruck before, as I wrote in From Hamburg To Osnabruck By Train.

For a time it looked like it would be episode two, but the Hamburg train only turned up about ten minutes late.

By running at 125 mph part of the way to Hamburg, the train had picked up a few minutes.

So I had a lovely supper as a reward.

Conclusion

I’ve had worse train journeys. But not many!

At 105.61 euros it wasn’t cheap either!

October 11, 2018 Posted by | Food, Transport | , , , , | 1 Comment