One of the nicest things about the singing days I am invited to lead is most organise ‘lunch to share’. Now how does this work you may ask? Very well, as is happens. I always have this slight trepidation that every one will bring humous, and I have to say, I have been to workshops in the dim and distant past where yes, there has been a plethora of plastic pots of humous and mountains of french sticks on the long table clothed  trestle table. I think seasoned workshop attendees have,  over the years  realised this just won’t cut the mustard and  many people are much more adventurous with their contributions to the  lunch table. This weekend the spread at the vegetarian school ( yes there is such a thing) included home made  risottos, samosa, falafals, a multitude of colourful salads and fruit dishes,  breads and crackers of all persuasions, home made cakes of all shapes and sizes, and even a bit of humous to boot! Last weekend  in a non vegetarian village hall the lunch to share was as varied and delicious. Often people are really good about putting little labels with their dishes so people know exactly what they are letting themselves in for….fantastic!

One last story of the vegetarian school, the venue for the singing workshop got moved at the last minute, so there was a  lady  attending the workshop who was a bit miffed as she had bought all the ingredients for a mighty fine fish salad only to be told that we had moved to a vegetarian school! Ah well, her family will be well fed.

SONG OF THE DAY – JOsie ( live) -Steely Dan

I am still totally a DAN fan ….I must go and see the Nearly Dans…a tribute band. The bass man in this  live version is so on it and the backing vocals are mighty fine, they  fade out on the intro of Deacon Blues…mmmmmm

Yesterday with Mr P.

Fishing is something I do not think I will ever be able to do, or should I say be, because I find that sitting still business really hard.  Mr P. goes fishing with Jane and they sitting totally still for hours at a time..not my idea of a good time. This is when I realise the difference between Mr P. and myself. He is  more of a a  blissful be-er ( not the stuff you drink ) and I am  more of  a  divine doer. He has always been able to be still, where as I seem to be happily spinning plates most of the time -I bet that is bad grammar!

The carp is getting ready for its closeup

One day I would like to be a blissful be-er, but right this minute I  have far too many exciting things to do to be sitting next to a pond in the cold October glow.. ha ha ha.

Oh and in case you were worried, they do not eat the fish, they go back into the pond once they have had their close up! They are also a bit bony for my liking. A bit of a Christmas delicacy in  parts of Eastern Europe, where they buy them and keep them alive in their baths until Christmas Eve when they are fried in some sort of batter. I did partake in the Czech Republic one Christmas Eve in 1999 when we had a hair brained idea that spending Christmas on a cut priced coach holiday to Prague and the Czech Republic with a load of serious beer drinkers  would be fun…ha ha ha . It was not. We spent the whole holiday trying to avoid all the other people in the party who were usually  beating each other up in  drunken late night events organised by the coach tour – deep joy for 2 teetotallers. Carp are really boney, there must be an art to eating it, unless they just gave us the tiddlers as they thought we would not know any better……..

SONG OF THE DAY – Brooklyn ( owes the charmer under me)

It has been a long time since I posted the first musical love of my life…Steely Dan, introduced to me by Don Kentish….where are you now?

Mum's 2nd Breakfast

And fat was not going to happen in France. So as I mentioned yesterday, I went on a coach trip to the Loire valley with Mr P. and my mum – a winning combination ( ha ha).  At the moment I am not eating anything with gluten, or sugar, or caffeine, or alcohol which makes the whole french experience a bit of a pig’s trotter really. I am a very difficult, but cheap date!

Mr P's Rhubarb Tart

Every time we got to lunchtime, the charming courier would announce  in his marvellous Lancastrian drawl, that there were lots of super take away options for lunch ‘ there’s a quaint little boulangerie round the corner where you can buy a delicious cheap baguette or a lovely piece of quiche’. Marvellous. So when all my fellow passengers were chomping through  brie and ham salad baguettes and pastries piled with raspberries and myrtles, with paper cups of steaming strong french coffee, I would be racing round town trying to find a place that sold; what seems to be the only take away food I can eat in France … the carotte rappe… the translation being …yup…you guessed it! grated carrots. Take away food in France revolves around wheat, wheat, and more wheat…all bread and pastry. In good old London Town there is a lot more choice for the gluten intolerant.

Thank Goodness I packed a bag of CarrotsIt was torture. While they chomped their way through all these  lunchtime goodies, mmming about how good it tasted I chomped my way through bits of old fruit and carrots that were lurking at the bottom of my rucksack, as the grated carrot shop always seemed to be closed at lunchtime. I ate a lot of cheese, ham and yoghurts for breakfast while others  bathed in carb heaven with pancakes and  maple syrup,  pastries and 17 sorts of bread.   I  started to dream about my porridge ( not completely gluten free but a lot of ‘intolerants’ can deal with a bit of oat) mashed potatoes, gravy, suchi, brown rice, quinoa, hummous….  Funny though, as I noticed that organic food has finally made it to French supermarkets. I saw in Monoprix ( the French equivalent of Woolworths  and a supermarket all rolled into one) that they had a ‘bio’ section. One of the hotel’s we stayed had an organic section at the breakfast table -mostly wheat products but hey ho you can’t have everything. Well there’s progress. Gluten free will come…it is just a matter of waiting it out. Until then I shall continue to pack carrots and a peeler, and hope they do not confiscate it at customs.

Strangely the only place I found take away gluten free food was  on the Eurostar buffet car on the way home . It served organic porridge, and  hot lentil stew with pork belly and sausage in a handy plastic pot….unbelievably yummy if you’re not a vegetarian.

SONG OF THE DAY – Prezel Logic -Steely Dan -Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald

a real gem of a live  video from around 1991…….shivery.

First I have to say how lucky I am to have choices. Pod is the new London fast healthy place to eat. There are 9 branches, mostly in the EC area and one in high Holborn. First things first, they sell  organic whole milk ( unlike Pret who have lost my custom as I feel they have lost their commitment to healthy food when they stopped selling whole milk).  Tim opened the first Pod in 2006. He couldn’t find anywhere near work that served nutritious, natural food so he decided to give it a go himself. THAT IS HOW TO START A BUSINESS….you see a hole, something you feel passionate about and you fill it!
Pod sell seasonal food, gluten free goodies, hot lunches, free range bacon and lots of superfood….All their foods are marked….GF-gluten Free, WF wheat free, DF, dairy Free Can’t wait to  get back to work so I can go in one for my luncheonette.

Thumbs Up!


 REELING IN THE YEARS  Jimmy Page of Zepplin says this guitar solo is his favourite.There is a great live version of this on youtube, from the Midnight Special which is Gold!

 but I am linking to the album track, as it has a place in my heart. Thsi is where I learned my harmony skills .