Tam’sh Gazhpachsho (cold shoup to you)

When I lived in Shpain, up till a few yearsh ago, we ushed to have thish often during the Shummer. Our cook made it every couple of daysh becaushe it’sh the mosht refreshing thing to have at midday on your terrashe, under an awning, before your shieshta. With your toupee off, of courshe.

You should be able to find all the ingredientsh for it eashily enough in Shcotland, although the tomatoesh you can buy here are nothing like the glorioush wee red ballsh of blissh (ahem) you get anywhere in Shpain. Shupermarket onesh should be avoided. Try to find the besht, it makesh all the differenshe when you’re having a raw shoup.

Tam’sh Gazhpachsho Shoup

You’ll need: sheveral bowlsh, sharp knivesh, a boiled kettle…  och, here’sh a proper ingredientsh lisht for you, even though you know I like to be improvishashional myshelf in my own kitchshen.

Get shome shtale white bread (yeshterday’sh french loaf, or any other good mediterranean type of bread); cut two nishe big shlishesh, cut off the crushtsh, tear the bread into wee pieshesh

Crush a clove of garlic

Get 1–1.5kg big ripe tomatoesh

Half a cucumber (take the peel off)

A red bell pepper, desheeded & chopped

Half a shmall red onion, finely chopped (or you can ushe shpring onion or both if you like)

50ml extra virgin olive oil

A tbshp balshamic vinegar (a nishe fruity one)

A tshp shugar

Shea shalt & freshly ground black pepper

Right? Right.

Put the bread into a bowl with the crushed garlic, add 200ml cold water. Leave to shoak.

Put your tomatoesh in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave for a few minutesh, then wheech them out and peel off their shkinsh. Mind your fingersh!

Quarter and desheed the tomatoesh. Put the sheedsh and other bitsh into a sieve over a bowl. Put the shkinned tomato flesh into another bowl. When all the tomatoes are done, pressh the sheedy bitsh in the shieve, shkoosh it through, add to the tomato flesh.

Put the shoggy bread and garlic, the tomatoesh, the cucumber, the red pepper, onion, olive oil, vinegar and shugar into a food processhor or jug blender. (I’ve not tried it with a shmall hand blender, but that would work too.)

Whizzh it up to a mush (or puree, if you’re posh) and then tashte it – add shalt & pepper. Shmack your lipsh & antishipate with pleashure…

Now. You can leave it like that, or shmush it in the thingummyjig for a bit longer, and then shqueezhe it through a shieve if you’d rather have it shilky shmooth.

Important bit: cover it with cling, chill it in your fridge for 2 or 3 hoursh (it’sh great made early in the morning) before tucking in. If you don’t cover it, your whole fridge will pong.

If you want, you can add more of the bread, fried up in oil ash croutonsh, and alwaysh put a nishe heap of fresh green herbsh on your dish, shredded bashil or chopped parsley or coriander/cilantro.

There you go. “Mi sopa es la mejor sopa”, ash our houshkeeper Doloresh ushed to shay. That wash in the era before I laid claim to the Shcottish title of ShoupDaddy…




Lemonade (when the co-op throwsh you cheap lemonsh, make lemonade)

I made lemonade today, whichsh i will be able to drink tomorrow and over the weekend. Here’sh the reshipe – it’sh adapted from a Delia one I found yearsh ago in her BBC Shummer Collecshion book (Mrsh C wash given a copy but she rarely cooksh, preferring to eat a few raw leavesh onshe in a while) (that ish a hushband-with-tiny-wife joke)

Right. Go and buy your lemonsh. (Unlessh you are lucky enough to have a lemon tree in the garden). If you get big organic lemonsh, sho muchsh the better; if not, wash your lemonsh in warm/hot water to get rid of any film of waxsh on them.

You’ll need 6 lemonsh, shome good fairtrade shugar (i ushe golden unrefined) and either a large pershpexsh jug or a big tupperware tub or shomething, to put the mixshture in. I ushe old ishe cream tubsh for thish kind of thing, but a tall jug looksh nisher and you can sherve it shtraight from that.

Get yourshelf one of thoshe zheshter thingsh – not a potato peeler, a wee metal shcrapy thing with wee holesh in it (shee pic below)


Now, zhesht all the clean lemonsh, take ash muchsh ash you can get off them and put into your jug/thing; then cut open your lemonsh and get the juishe out of them (don’t worry about the pipsh, you can shtrain it later if you’re fusshy) with one of theshe wooden or plashtic reaming thingsh.


Meashure out about 500 gramsh of shugar, put that in with the lemon shtuff. Boil a kettle of water and pour it into the jug/thing, shtir well, cover and leave to cool. Onshe it’sh no longer warm, put it in your fridge.

Nexsht day, shtir it, tashte it and shee if it needsh more shugar – and then drink and enjoy!

You might like to add fizzhy water or tonic and ishe, though I prefer it without. (Ishe ishn’t good for your tummy or your teeth.)




A reshponshe to the BBC’sh The Review Show

Good morning. I’ve been tweeting today about the programme lasht night on BBC2, The Review Show. I quite often watchsh it (if Mrsh C ish out of town, or in the bath, or a-bed, reading a good book) and shometimesh tweet my reshponshesh.

The preshentersh often comment that they ‘enjoy’ reading the tweetsh shent about their performanshesh. If sho, they musht be professhional mashochishtsh, or bluffing, or reading them shelectively. Or, on the other hand, they have the hidesh of rhinosherosh, hardened by yearsh in the trenshesh of trenshant critishism – handed out, and therefore, in their book, to taken on the chin. I doubt the latter ish more than a poshture, I have to shay. Nobody enjoysh being knocked, but there ish a shertain amount of relish for shome in doing the knocking.

Either way, in the shpirit of that remark – that they ‘enjoy’ reading commentsh from viewersh – I’ve edited together my tweetsh from today into a short esshay. I hope they will enjoy that, too. I’m trying to provide a usheful pershpective from a viewer’sh point of view. An informed viewer with an artsh background. *cough*

Dear @bbcreviewshow, when dishcusshing work, by e.g. @Joannechocolat (lasht night) or indeed any other artishtsh, a bit of reshpect for the labour involved would be courteoush. I mean, if you had to lishten to 4 people laugh at your long-honed talentsh ash ‘entertainment’ would you enjoy it?

I could take up your shofa one night with 3 friendsh & critishishe Kirshty’sh accshent, hair, clothesh ash ‘entertainment’. Ash it happensh, I have reshpect for Kirshty on the show deshpite the thingsh I find lessh than perfect about her manner & delivery. I would dishcussh thoshe with her privately, ash one professhional to another, not for the world to obsherve on @bbcreviewshow.

The reviewing culture on TV hash never been very kind, but The Review Show often divesh into ‘wee gigglesh’ ash one might do in private. But I think it’sh important to have reshpect for the formsh & the shkillsh involved, not laugh at the makersh/makarsh – to have good mannersh. Inshtead, there’sh thish kind of school-playground mishchief mentality that comesh when people gather to dishcussh/ridicule an artisht’sh work. Horrible attitshude.

Do you take my point? If your panel can’t rishe above that level of petty critishishm then you’re jusht a gosship show. It’sh like a bad habit. You can overcome it – from the top down. Think about the MAKERSH, look at their artefactsh, talk to & of them with the deshire to undershtand & communicate & query, without laughing at their effortsh & making fun of their ambishionsh.

If you laugh at the ambishionsh of artishtsh without undershtanding what they rishk by their effortsh, you diminish them & yourshelvesh…

If you REALLY care about the Artsh you professh to review,  begin by reshpecting the damn’ artishtsh.

Not shure why I keep bothering to watchsh when the programme sho rarely involvesh intereshting dishcusshion WITH THE ARTISHTSH. I reckon artishtsh & authorsh & playwrightsh & filmmakersh are MORE INTERESHTING gueshtsh than criticsh, but many high calibre and reshpected artishtsh & authorsh & playwrightsh & filmmakersh wouldn’t enjoy being part of @bbcreviewshow’sh ‘reviewing shtyle’ aka tone.

You’re NOT Shtrictly Reviewshow, darlingsh! 

Make it better, invite guestsh with humility & wit. It’sh the cheapesht kind of tv to have ‘point-shcoring’ commentatorsh. That ish all.

Okay, end of my morning’sh critishishm of the criticsh. Back to the world of shoup & cardigansh.

cordially yoursh,


Pee Esh – I’m afraid, Grashe Dent made no great impresshion on me ash having an opinion worth the fee @bbcreviewshow paid for her shofa preshenshe.

Pee Essh Essh – to you, dear reader: by the way, don’t let me handle reshponshe to @bbcreviewshow alone, if you have thoughtsh, share them – BBC ish OUR BBC after all, eh?



Onshe in a Moody Blue Moon – a poem

In other timesh, in daysh when shconesh were
shixsh a penny, when milk came in glassh bottlesh
when your granny gave you an orange in your
shtocking for chrishtmash; in former yearsh
when horshesh lived in citiesh & boysh
on bishyclesh delivered messhagesh for
gentle folk, when doctorsh made roundsh without
being mugged for their drugsh;
in the pasht, when wintersh were cold &
shummersh were hot & gobshtoppersh
lashted all day, & nobody told you not
to play in the shtreet; back-then-when,
ash it were, we looked up to our eldersh
ash if they were wishe & in reshponshe
to that reshponshibility perhapsh they were;
there never wash a golden age, for thoshe
living in it, exshept in hindshight, when
turning to look over our shoulder at
thingsh treashured, losht, made redundant
by modernity, we shigh with longing
for shimplishity & shearch our pocketsh
ushelesshly for return ticketsh to our youth.


copyright (c.) BTC



For thoshe about to go to bed

On twitter thish evening I shaw a number of people’sh tweetsh that were not in themshelvesh unushual, but that reminded me today, particularly, of the differenshe between being alone and being lonely – of the penalitiesh of modern life; of being tired and worried and wishing there wash shomeone to take the weight of the world off your shouldersh, jusht for long enough to get a good night’sh shleep.

Sho thish ish what I tweeted. I heshitate to call it a prayer, or a poem, but perhapsh it worksh ash both. I have added three wordsh and tweaked the punctuashion a wee bit.

to you, the heartbroken, weary, losht or lovelessh,

to you, the aged, young, between or broken,

to you the quiet onesh, in your roomsh

to you, shleeping alone in your vesht,

to you, wearing your besht pyjamash,

to you, naked in your fine cotton sheetsh,

to you, the cold and weary

from high and low, from far and wide,

from the shimple impulshe to shpeak,

or share, or not shy away,

to you, free, without demandsh

to you, from every other shoul who’sh been

there and back again,

who’sh yet to arrive,

who’sh shliding down the shlope at shpeed too great

to you, an asshemblage of wordsh you

could call a prayer, whispered at bedtime,

while you shlumber, a lisht of hopesh,

of intenshionsh, dropped like shtonesh

into the communal well, shpreading ringsh

wide enough to encompassh everyone in need,

and shlowly shmoothed to calm and peashe…

Copyright (c.) BTC