Friday, 5 March 2010

I've never been much of a practical joker....

I baked a banana and chocolate chip cake today for my neighbour, in an effort to show our appreciation for them regularly taking in our packages. We often don't hear the pathetically quiet doorbell, and it seems delivery men are incredibly impatient anyways. Take the other night for example. My grandma kindly paid for M&S to deliver a rather lovely basket arrangement of flowers to me. The doorbell went and the delivery guy just left the box on the doorstep and drove off! At £40 for the arrangement, this is really shoddy service and it was a good job we were in.

Anyhow, I digress. Kim and Martin regularly take in deliveries when we aren't here, then often bring them round the same evening. Since we don't have a car, this is very nice of them indeed as we would have great difficulty getting to the most local Royal Mail depot in Gillingham, especially if the said package was particularly large.

So I bake this cake, and when I take it out the oven, I see some has overflowed and left a sizeable mound on the bottom shelf. Whilst incredibly childish, this immediately amuses me as it looks like one of those joke shop rubber poos. Now, as I've already said, I'm not much of a practical joker, in fact I am not a practical joker at all. However, this was too good an opportunity to pass up.

Every now and then one of the cats hoofs down their biscuits way too fast and end up 'bringing them back up again' and leaving one of us a little present to clean up. Nice. So, I left the cake mound on the step to the attic - the room Will spends most of his time in. Stifling laughter I ran off downstairs to fold the washing and pose innocence. About half an hour later I hear this 'Er, hun, there is some cat mess or puke, or something er on the step'. So I go upstairs and feign ignorance in form of 'Oh no! That's gross'. I do laugh at this point, but amazingly I'm still not given away. Then I assure Will that I will clear up the mess, which I confirm definitely looks like a poo rather than up-chuck. I reach out my bare hand and clean pick it up.

The look of utter disgust and amazement was priceless! I couldn't stop laughing for about 10 minutes, it's still making me snigger now. They say laughter is good for the soul, if that's true than I think a few more practical jokes may be in order.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Nice one Nestle

You may recall from my first post that I am going through something of a recovery period. This follows suit from the last two by way that I want to consume my entire body weight in chocolate and all things sweet. Today for example I have eaten two Jaffa cakes, 2 pieces of Toblerone (all that was left in the packet and it wasn't one of those super big sized packets either god dammit), and a third of an apple pie. Then when Will came home, I had to be sensible and eat corned beef hash and cabbage for tea.

For someone who usually eats very little chocolate - this is a shock to the system. Personally I think it has something to do with not boozing. Whilst I'm by no means usually a gin swilling dilly, I do like a decent glass of vino several nights a week. 10 days off the red stuff means my blood sugars are dangerously low. Or something.

Apart from not having to cook or prepare chocolate in any way (meaning it falls into my favourite category of food - 'grab 'n' go' food......also noteworthy here are hot cross buns, satsumas and bourbons), it seems by eating nearly all of the box of Quality Streets Will's mum brought us when she came to visit several weekends ago, I am also helping to save the planet. You see Nestle have been busy designing environmentally green packaging. Not only can you recycle the tinfoil from the sweets, er, covered in tinfoil - but you can also now put the plastic cellophane wrappers on the compost heap! Apparently they won first prize in the Best Marketing Initiative category in the European Bioplastics Awards 2008, and rightly so by the sounds of it. Take a look for yourselves, whilst I go and grab a slice of the chocolate toffee cheesecake I defrosted earlier......

Monday, 1 March 2010

Something about dianthus caryophyllus

Or Carnations as they're more commonly known.

Carnations have taken some stick over the years haven't they? Carnations had a well respected status in the flora-o-meter before they were scrupulously positioned on unsuspecting 7 year old taffeta-clad bridesmaids in the 80's. Mullett-sporting jocks with their suit sleeves rolled up, begrudgingly fixed them to their lapels following the barkish orders of the Main Meringue's Mother-in-law to be.

They are the national flower of Spain, and contrastly are used for funerals and deemed misfortunate in France. In the U.S.A they are used to denote fraternities and sororities, where here in the U.K, Oxford students pin them to their lapels during periods of examination, wearing a white flower to the first, pink to all following exams bar the final when a red carnation is adorned. Historically, Christian legend says that pink carnations appeared from the ground where Jesus's mother Mary cried at his carrying the cross. In an unrelated effort, carnations became the flower most associated with Mothering Sunday after founder, Anna Jarvis, honoured her mother's favourite flower and claimed that white carnations represented the 'pure love of a Mother'.

In comparison to their more popular counterparts, they are cheap. A dozen roses will likely set you back around £5 in a supermarket, whereas a bunch of carnations will probably be less than half that. But surely gone are the days when buying cheap meant you had bought something to be ashamed of?

Charlotte from Sex and the City referred to them as the 'filler flower'; only to be used to help bump out far superior and more dominant flowers in arrangements or bouquets. On the contrary, Carrie proclaimed pink ones as her favourite - and stated they were making a comeback. I happen to agree.

Recently featured on Channel 4's 'My Dream Farm', eco-friendly Kent based cut flower farm, Blooming Green, is all for only growing British flowers. Personally my favourite flower is the tulip, and we all know where the majority of those are imported from. Whilst they will always be my absolute favourite, they are flaky and last barely a week before giving up and drooping clean out of their vase. Enter the carnation. These are of course easily grown in Britain, which, if we are ever to become more aware and responsible about what we buy and where it comes from, then anything from 'home' is surely a jolly good place to start.

Speaking of home, my sister bought me the carnations you see in the picture. These are still looking as fresh as ever, and 16 days on, I think this is pretty good going. Cost effective, quintessentially gorgeous and with barely any sort of a print left behind after their purchase, let alone a foot-shaped one; dianthus caryophyllus certainly gets my vote.