Strawberry Risotto Anyone?


Last week’s Spectator contains a review of the book High Dive* which is a fictionalized account of the bombing of Brighton’s Grand Hotel in 1984.
Fictionalised because the book contains a reference to the chef whose signature dish of  “Strawberry Risotto topped with Parmegiano Stardust would be enough to make anyone go on hunger strike”

*High Dive is by Jonathan Lee and published by Heinemann


Hadleigh Town Council

My very Whiting Rgood friend Richard Whiting has been elected Mayor of Hadleigh for the next year. He is a very experienced Councillor and will bring an appropriate level of gravitas to the job. One of his tasks will be to represent the town at social functions. Judging by the experience of his predecessors he will be invited to over fifty such occasions and will thus become an expert on canapés and outside caterers!
Richard ran on a Lib-Dem ticket and I suspect that he will be the last Lib-Dem Mayor for a considerable time.
Hadleigh Town Council meets monthly and one of my functions is to give a report on my activities and matters affecting the town. As I am no longer a District Councillor I expect my reports to be shorter than heretofore and my report for May is attached. Please see HTC Report 150517

Eating for England

Brian at Katz'sLast week I was taken to lunch at Katz’s Delicatessen, also known as Katz’s of New York City. It is a kosher style (not kosher) delicatessen restaurant located at 205 Houston Street, on the southwest corner of Houston and Ludlow Streets on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, New York City. Since its founding in 1888, it has become popular among locals and tourists alike for its pastrami sandwiches and hot dogs, both of which are widely considered among New York’s best. I went for the pastrami sandwich and as can be seen it looked as though I was eating for England. Was it worthwhile – you betcha! And I also took half a portion of chips and some dill pickles but I eschewed the lettuce as overly green things tend to be harmful.Katz's Delicatessen
As well as being a world famous delicatessen it was the feature restaurant in Where Harry met Sally and there is a sign in the restaurant indicating the exact location of that famous scene. More information can be found on

Winning isn’t Everything

Melton Mowbray Pork PieGarrison Keillor once wrote that there are some prizes which are not worth winning. He cited a pie eating contest as an example. But perhaps there are times when even the taking part may not be as worthwhile as intended. Recently World Pie Eating Championships held in Harry’s Bar in Wigan were declared invalid after suppliers sent the wrong pies to the event. The large Adlington pies were destined to go to a Divorce Party. They were twice the size of the pies specified for the contest and the organisers decided to go ahead with the contest by cutting the pies in half. A competing fitness instructor/warehouse supervisor, set the best time of 42.6 seconds for eating half a pie, but the umpires declared the results null and void because of safety concerns. They said eating the 24cm (10in) pies could result in a dangerous “swallow stall”. The pie specifications are quite detailed and include the rule that there should be no gravy due to worries that competitors would mix in cough syrup to speed-up consumption. Competitors practise pie eating to get ready for the competition but not all took the mix up in their stride. Julie Welsh hoped to be the first woman to lift the trophy but walked out before the start because of the last minute pie change. She said: “I’m sick with disappointment but there are some principles you can’t compromise. I’ll be back next year, if they see sense.” Local pie-eating athlete, Andy Driscoll, said: “My mate and I have been practicing for weeks on small, soft Wigan pies, and at the last minute, they’ve substituted these monsters.” And amid the tumult the accusations fly – the pies weren’t even from the north (of England). Vince Bowen, the pies’ maker, was slated for originating from Southern England and including steam holes that could allow the pies to be contaminated. Bowen retorted to the criticism “I may be from down south but I know what makes a good pie.”

And if all this trivia was not enough The people of Wigan are called ‘Pie-eaters’ because during the general Strike of 1926 workers from Wigan were the first to go back to work and break the strike. From then on they were called ‘Humble Pie Eaters’, now just ‘Pie eaters’.

For more information and comments please see:
The photograph is Melton Mowbray Pork Pie by Innocenceisdeath – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – httpcommons.wikimedia.orgwikiFileMelton_Mowbray_Pork_Pie.png#mediaviewerFileMelton_Mowbray_Pork_Pie.jpg

A Decent Pie at Last?

Pie TimeYesterday’s Daily Telegraph reported that a hospital canteen’s ‘fry-up’ pie had been described as a ‘heart attack on a plate’ (HAOAP).
A former government adviser called for ban on the pie crammed with bacon, sausage, black pudding and beans, with an egg on top, being sold for £1.50 at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Prof Mike Lean, former government adviser, and chair of human nutrition at Glasgow University, said it was a “shocking” example of a meal, adding: “It should never be anywhere near a hospital. It is laden with fat, salt and without a vegetable in sight. There should be strict guidelines for all food sold in hospitals.”
Prof Mike Lean obviously doesn’t consider beans as a vegetable. Nor does he consider the therapeutic effect of comfort food like this. For me the real problem is how cheap is the food for it to be sold for £1.50. Can anybody make any money from a food product like this at this price?
For many people, the HAOAP is a treat not a daily staple. The Professor’s remarks also exclude the possibility that the calories etc., may be being worked off either on the job or in the gym. If a little of what you fancy does you good, then this might be just the right thing.
Meanwhile the University of Glasgow boasts a number of cafés whose offerings include baguettes, baked potatoes, breakfast rolls, confectionery, deli cakes, desserts , hot chocolate, flavoured latte, ‘food for later’ range of soups and meals to take away, full breakfast(s), home baking, hot & cold drinks, hot filling jacket potato suppers , hot pastry savoury snacks, individual brasserie-style meals, pizza , sandwiches, soya milk options , speciality coffees and teas – made to order. There are Vegan, gluten free and vegetarian options available, but I’m sure that a closer scrutiny of the Bills of Fare would show a reasonable selection of artery hardeners. I’m glad the Professor is a former government adviser and not a current one.
The original article may be found on