MISSION-ROOM 41

The deep coloured greenery swelled out and spilled over the top of the plastic carrier bag, which had been handed to me. Hidden beneath the massive aromatic foliage were more interesting items. There were three Pak Choi and one splendid white Mooli.   It was lunchtime when I made my visit to the care home, carrying this abundantly overflowing bag.  In my spare hand I held a pack of raspberries, a treat.  I got curious looks from the care staff and some polite smiles.   I was on a visiting mission. I knocked on the door of room 41.

© Elegant Veg

She immediately wanted to know what I was carrying. I got her to feel through the foliage and the thin stalks. Still not sure, I encouraged her to nibble at a little of a leaf. Yes, it tasted of something but what?  She sniffed the green bunch and stroked the stalks.  Realisation; her mother used to grow this and use it in soups, make soup with it and put it with meat and gravy.  She couldn’t remember how long ago, but it made for a good flavour.   Did the Mooli have a sharp and hot radish flavour, she wanted to know and could it be boiled or steamed.  What about the other one, the Pak Choi?  She was thinking and asking questions while I gave my ideas for preparing the two vegetables.

© Our Yellow Beetroot.  Pak Choi it is not.

We shared savoury and sweet  recipe ideas  for the best part of an hour, and the time passed pleasantly and quickly. The raspberries, which all got eaten, evoked thoughts of home made cakes; puddings; jam; outings with an enamel bucket used for collecting and cooking the raspberries, in times long past.

On my way out, staff asked me about the greenery I was carrying.  One, a Bulgarian lady did not know Pak Choi, but bemoaned the fate of her garden back home without her.  A local carer had no idea about any of it.  A Chinese carer squealed with delight when she saw the Mooli and was thrilled to hear we called the other little vegetable (the Pak Choi) the same name she knew it by.

 

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WHAT AN IMPUTATION.

Certainly unexpected, but, as I was only the messenger, I put the originator into the line of fire, so-to-speak. As the recipients were out, a gift of two  cheese truckles were left by the originator for the recipients to find upon their return home. The cheeses were bought at a specialist counter, a rather special one at that too. The originator was not one to shop at the best of times.

Recipient 1. I found some cheeses here, were there a lot lying around the house.…….

Me. What?……… I will pass you on.

I repeat what has been said. Originator’s expression changes from bemusement to realisation, to irritation.

Airy Fairy Wonderland Alice…Bouncy Clown-ess and LED LADY

2

The woman in the red coat adorned with bright LED fairy lights, looked at the bakery goods displayed in the glass covered counter in  front of her, every -so- often checking her mobile phone.   Like her, I waited too.  We continued to wait…and wait.  LED lady  looked up at me and we exchanged smiles.  Two other women, dressed up for the local fun day, were serving at the far end of the counter, which provided for the Baker shop café customers.  At our end of the counter- sales – a young girl dressed up as Alice In Wonderland,(AIW) had her back to us; she studiously ignored everyone. The high visibility lady covered with sparkly LED lights glanced at her phone once more and then left the shop.  Alice in Wonderland looked round, glanced at me, then turned back to whatever it was she was doing, writing, I think.

1

I conjected that if I waited a few more moments I just might be served. I knew what I wanted to buy, it was pre-wrapped, so, it was just a question of selling it to me.  I thought my patience was being rewarded when a clown-ess, (one of the duo of staff attending to the café) bouncily arrived opposite me……. My mistake, she was involved in playing a game of choices for someone in the café, who, incidentally, arrived in the shop the same time as I did.

3

2

Excuse me, can the assistant over there serve me? I pointedly asked.  Clown-ess raised herself on tip-toes to peer over AIW’s shoulder.

1

Clown-ess -said, She’s busy doing shop admin”. With that she rushed away and with a smile called out Someone will be with you soon”.  

Me – Looking directly at Clown-ess at the far end………I’m going; that’s two customers you have just lost”.  And I went.

restart

This is not the first time me and other customers have walked from this shop.  There are two other similar business in the same vicinity that have gained from the chaotic customer service. Goodwill is fading fast.

 

 

FUN DAY

Fun day is when the festive lights are switched on. It is the day that most of the local shops put out treats for both little and big kids.  A number of shops will give shopping discounts. A raffle ticket may be on offer for something connected with the business, for no more than stepping over the threshold of the shop. I was offered a cup of coffee  and a sweet in an outdoor sports shop.

Reindeers were in a  pen with lots of straw at one end of the precinct. Children could have pictures taken with them. Encircling the pen were  very happy families in an orderly queue.

Cartoon_Reindeer_Vector_Clipart_Illustration_111123-091923-188001

Many of the shop staff dress up to a theme. I didn’t guess the Strictly Come (acrobatic ballroom) Dancing  ‘competitors’ in the hardware store, even though one lady looked drop dead gorgeous in a sleek evening dress.

Cinderella-cinderella-1647900-800-600

Cinderella, The Ugly Sisters, Prince Charming and The Fairy Godmother, appeared behind the baker shop counter.

“What can I get you?” asked the fairy godmother.

Me -“A glass slipper please“.

FG -looking  quite perplexed…….”What?”

Me- “A glass slipper please“.

FG -“You’ll have to get Cinderella over  for that…anything else?”

I pointed to a round wholemeal loaf, which FG wrapped in a small paper bag- I love bread wrapped in the good old fashioned paper bag -paid my dues and was offered a free raffle ticket for their draw.

stock-photo-side-view-of-a-rustic-loaf-of-bread-on-an-old-wooden-table-280831313

THOUGHTS ON THE BRITISH RESPONSE TO THE REFUGEE CRISIS.

Apart from a rumble of disgust at the British Government’s response to the refugee crisis, I have not heard much discussion about the U.K’s sorting criteria for ‘acceptable’ refugees.  Britain is not open to refugees on the move, irrespective of the reasons why.  What we hear, is that any refugees that Britain accepts will have to be in the official camps  They will include the most vulnerable, (whatever that means) and likely, orphan children.  Alarmist voices quickly channeled all the resources arguments against giving refuge to unaccompanied children. The same arguments have been raised in respect of the trickle of ‘acceptable’ refugees over five years that Britain may give refuge too, 4000 per year.  In this instance the Westminster Government response was to offer time-limited assistance in areas where any refugees may be settled.

Funding the needs of extra people is a consideration, it has to be.  While that discussion is being resolved both domestically and internationally, it is worth remembering history shows that  previous waves of refugees who arrived in Britain have and still do substantially contribute to the wealth of this country.

Britain has not been mean with aid on the ground, far from it.  A major slice of basic aid in forming the camps, in particular, in Lebanon, has been given through the generosity of the British people.   But, not all refugees are in camps, there are a large number eking out an existence in  sub-standard conditions in countries like Jordan.  That said, their need to  be fed is no different from the refugees in the other camps.   Like many  in camps, (including camps in Turkey) they are now being forced to move on because the United Nations (U.N) which has been supporting these camps with food aid, has run out of money for food aid for  the refugees. The U.N has been reliant on international financial donations to support vast numbers of people with food.  Starkly put, the refugees, whether in camps or shacks, can no longer be fed.  Their choices for survival – the basic human instinct – are limited to moving on, to attempt to survive.  Life becomes a lottery. In trying to survive many die.

Communities around the U.K have spontaneously been taking practical steps; there have been collections of warm clothing for people stuck at Calais and other ports, who have arrived  at these places wearing their sandals and lightweight clothing, none of which is suitable for surviving Northern European Winters. In Vienna,  clothing donated from many sources  is given to the refugees as they arrive in the city. I expect the same scenario will have been enacted throughout other refugee arrival points, where refugees are being treated  with dignity.  Sad to say, treating the refugees with dignity  is not universal.

I was appalled to hear the rhetoric of Fascism by the Hungarian Government and from other Eastern European States. The Balkan Wars and the Hungarian uprising against Russian suppression  are all still within living memory.  They created refugees who were desperate for help.  Some of my faith in humanity was restored when I saw and heard the reports of the Hungarian people individually helping refugees, irrespective of their Government’s distasteful stance.

The UK has no need to swell its population with young and intelligent people from elsewhere to support an ageing population as much as some of our neighbour countries do, (like France and Germany, for example).   So, to minimise our responsibility to what the world has now accepted is a true refugee crisis, (as opposed to economic migrants) from Africa and the Middle East,  this is what the British Government says it is going to do over five years.  Britain will consider taking  a total of 20,000 ‘acceptable’ Refugees, (4000 per year) who are in official refugee camps.  Perhaps, from those selected  there will be orphan children.  You are definitely not going to be offered refuge in the U.K if you are a refugee with the many thousands on the move,  who are  risking life and limb to survive.

 

 

Mmmm…YUMMY

Lots of little children have their special comforters, like a little blanket, or, a toy, or, a taste.  So it was, in a Bohemian meeting place called Tmol Shilshom, in Jerusalem,  a friend got talking to us about his special childhood comfort memory.

What is real

What is real

His mum used to make him a special drink  some evenings, in which she mixed very finely chopped nuts, honey and spices…the names of which, in English, he did not know.

IMG_0076 signboard

IMG_0074 T'mol Shil Shom Menu 2

Here, in Tmol Shilshom, he could re-live the comfort tastes of his childhood; the drink was good, almost as good as the one his mother used to make for him. He was going to order it and if we liked it,  we could order more.  With a recommendation like that, who could refuse at the very least to try this magical experience and share with him just a little of his personal memory.  I couldn’t refuse.  it was a very special gift.

T'Mol Shil Shom A reading Room with a restaurnt

TMol Shil Shom A reading Room with a cafe/ restaurant

The order was given. You could hear a lot of whipping and stirring going on in the nearby kitchen. Very soon a long heat -proof glass arrived filled with a thick creamy substance.  My friend dipped the long handled spoon in to the glass; offering it  to me, he gently said….. Taste a little… perhaps, in just the same way his mum had  once said it to him.  On top was a sprinkling of ground pistachios and almonds around which, was a fine circle of  light  brown powder.  The dessert texture was smooth, the flavours were yummy. I could distinguish the delicate flavour of cinnamon and a blend of nut flavours. He watched me closely as I hummed a long ‘mmmmmm’.  With a big smile my friend said, ‘ It is yours…you have that one, I will order another one for myself……..this is salep’.

Back in Jerusalem two years later we found our own way to TMol Shilshom, where I ordered salep, of course.  We met up with our friend a few days later and talked of our shared memory: shared, except for one detail, we were unsure about the main ingredient of it.  Maybe, by now, the little mystery had become part of the charm.  My friend took me to a small grocery store where I was shown a packet mix of salep I could buy to take home with me.  The two boxes contained two packets and each packet made two portions of dessert similar to those we had.

The main ingredient given on the box was  corn starch. Who would have thought it!

Sahleb

Sahleb 2

I have heard since of a very similar dessert, with a similar sound name, being made with extra fine (powdery) ground rice,

Irrespective of the variations,  I can vouch that the dessert I had was a delicious comforter . 🙂

 

MISSION – ROOM 41

The deep coloured greenery swelled out and spilled over the top of the plastic carrier bag, which had been handed to me. Hidden beneath the massive aromatic foliage were more interesting items. There were three Pak Choi and one splendid white Mooli.   It was lunchtime when I made my visit to the care home, carrying this abundantly overflowing bag.  In my spare hand I held a pack of raspberries, a treat.  I got curious looks from the care staff and some polite smiles.   I was on a visiting mission. I knocked on the door of room 41.

© Elegant Veg

She immediately wanted to know what I was carrying. I got her to feel through the foliage and the thin stalks. Still not sure, I encouraged her to nibble at a little of a leaf. Yes, it tasted of something but what?  She sniffed the green bunch and stroked the stalks.  Realisation; her mother used to grow this and use it in soups, make soup with it and put it with meat and gravy.  She couldn’t remember how long ago, but it made for a good flavour.   Did the Mooli have a sharp and hot radish flavour, she wanted to know and could it be boiled or steamed.  What about the other one, the Pak Choi?  She was thinking and asking questions while I gave my ideas for preparing the two vegetables.

© Our Yellow Beetroot.  Pak Choi it is not.

We shared savoury and sweet   recipe ideas  for the best part of an hour, and the time passed pleasantly and quickly. The raspberries, which all got eaten, evoked thoughts of home made cakes; puddings; jam; outings with an enamel bucket used for collecting and cooking the raspberries, in times long past.

On my way out, staff asked me about the greenery I was carrying.  One, a Bulgarian lady did not know Pak Choi, but bemoaned the fate of her garden back home without her.  A local carer had no idea about any of it.  A Chinese carer squealed with delight when she saw the Mooli and was thrilled to hear we called the other little vegetable (the Pak Choi) the same name she knew it by.

 

BON APPETIT

The blog feeder wouldn’t budge when I went to look at it. Perhaps I haven’t offered it the right food to tempt it into activity. C’est la vie.

When I arrived home yesterday lunch time, my daughter had turned the kitchen into a steam laundry. I have no idea how, I haven’t managed to perform that feat yet!

Tonight, I am roasting vegetables, including my swede (see my post, Gourmet sheep)butternut squash and home grown potatoes.

Ah; there are the dulcet beeps the fire alarm – dinner’s ready.

Bon Appetit… :DD

IN THE SOUP

With Halloween around the corner and an interest in the pumpkin soup I made the other night, abounding -well, anyway, creating some interest – I thought I would write up the recipe and method for your delectation.

PUMPKIN STILTON AND APRICOT SOUP

2 Tablespoons olive oil
900g (2lbs) Diced pumpkin
1 Onion, chopped
225g (8oz) potatoes
225g (8oz) Sliced carrot
1Tsp ground coriander
1Tsp Cumin Seeds
1.1ltr (2pts) Vegetable stock
225g (8oz) White stilton with apricots

METHOD:

1. Fry the vegetables and spices for 5 minutes
2. Add the vegetable stock,
3. Simmer in a covered pan for about 30 minutes or till all vegetables are tender
4. Blend the soup
5. Return the pan to the heat break up cheese and let it melt into the soup.
6. Serve…

I did not quite stick to the quantities, I reckoned that the recipe wasn’t going to argue with me for an extra 100gr of pumpkin which I had, and extra 25g of potato (which probably balanced off the quantities). The cheese was about 80gr less but that seemed okay too. White Stilton not being a very oily cheese (otherwise I might not have used cheese at all) was very acceptable to my palate and the apricots just gave the added touch of magic .

The fruit in the cheese seemed quite moist. A nice Caerphilly and some semi dried apricots might be an alternative if you can’t get the Stilton with Apricots.

ENJOY!