FEBRUARY BRINGS THE SNOW, MAKES OUR FEET AND FINGERS GLOW...
Not this year it doesn't, this is the mildest winter I remember since I came here from Africa umpteen years ago; thought provoking, worrying, what IS my carbon footprint?
So Many Ways to Begin by Jon McGregor was listed for the Booker Prize in 2006. I read and enjoyed his first novel and I think that this, his second book, is even better.
This is the story of a life, of a marriage, and of beginnings. It starts with David as a small boy growing up in
And sure enough, he becomes a curator in the first museum in
Perhaps the beginning is not what he thought it was, perhaps his beginning was when his adoptive mother, took him in her arms. McGregor is marvellous at making the reader look at the minutiae of life, and ponder on how small chains of events can have large personal consequences. Cause and effect. The same idea was explored in the film “Sliding Doors” with Gwyneth Paltrow. We can all look back at our lives in that way…if I hadn’t missed that bus I wouldn’t have met… because I was on a business trip I discovered…and so…two minutes later and I’d have been in that motorway pile-up…one could go on and on, after all, there are so many ways to begin.
Her Majesty’s Government, Gordon Brown in particular, don’t think that the airlines are doing their bit for the environment, and to help reduce CO2 emissions caused by burning fossil fuels. So what have they done, they have increased the Air Passenger Duty as of yesterday. Who pays APD? Not the airlines that’s for sure, it would reduce their profits; no, no it is each and every passenger who will pay. The airlines will just act as glorified Tax Collectors for the Treasury
The various Government spokespersons can go on TV and radio as much as they like making self-righteous speeches about this being part of the Government’s environmental strategy to help stop global warming, and trying to make us feel all warm green and fuzzy about them, but it won’t wash, at least not with me. This is yet ANOTHER stealth tax
Why does our Government not take a lead and make the airlines pay tax on the fuels they use, that would focus their minds on the environment. This increase in the APD merely taxes individuals (who are already paying several sets of taxes in order to take a flight), and puts money into the Treasury’s big pot. They might use it for environmental causes, but then again they might not, the money is not being specifically ring fenced.
I've been in court all day - Family Proceedings; emotionally very draining, so it's lucky I prepared dinner yesterday evening as my darling daughter and her squeeze are with us tonight en route to skiing/snowboarding in Avoriaz - is there enough snow what with this mild winter?
PORK & CHORIZO CASSEROLE – SPANISH STYLE
1 Kg lean pork, cubed
250g chorizo, peeled and cut into chunks (do NOT use pre-sliced chorizo, ask for cooking chorizo)
2 medium red onions peeled and thickly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
400g tin of chopped tomatoes or tomato passatta
1 tin (420g) chickpeas, drained
300g roasted red peppers in brine or oil, drained (I buy these in a local Greek Cypriot greengrocers)
250ml white wine
12-18 pitted black olives
5-6 sprigs fresh thyme
Saffron, generous pinch of strands
2 Tablespoons wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil.
Put the cubed pork, chorizo, red onion, and garlic into a large flame proof casserole. Cut the drained red pepper into large pieces and add them, together with the wine, passatta, olives, and chickpeas. Put the strands of saffron into a pestle and mortar (or a cup) and grind to make a powder, pour the vinegar onto the saffron, stir, and add the mixture to the casserole. Drizzle the olive oil over everything, season well with salt and pepper and stir the whole lot together with a wooden spoon. Place over a medium heat and bring up to simmering point. Transfer the casserole to the pre-heated oven and cook for 1½ -2 hours until the pork is tender and everything has amalgamated. Can be kept for 24 hours if needed before heating again and serving.
Serve with rice and/or crusty bread with a green salad – and a large glass of Rioja!