Chickpea and red lentil soup, with a touch of curry…

For reasons I’m not entirely certain of because, in hospital, my consultant was obsessed with the “fact” that I had colon cancer – I didn’t, as it turned out – to the exclusion of almost every other aspect of my condition, I’m supposed to have a high-protein diet. And, because my diuretics cause me to pee for Britain, I need high calcium, too (a lot is lost in urine).

As I’m a veggie – mostly – that means, for the calcium, a dependence on dairy foods, and that gives me a problem. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved cheese. Apparently I wouldn’t eat meat and got most of my protein from cheese – left alone I’d have probably been a natural vegetarian, but this was the 1940s, deep in the post-war slums of Manchester, and I doubt anyone had heard of vegetarians, despite the fact that the movement had gained its first formal existence in nearby Salford.

Anyway, despite my life-long love affair with cheese, I seem, of late, to have developed an aversion to it. This is partly because Continue reading

A lost vegetarian recipe, resurrected…

While I’m typing this I’m also clarifying a kilo of butter, so if I disappear from time to time, that’s where I’ve gone.

Some years ago a veggie friend was given a huge amount of runner beans. Not being one of nature’s cooks, she passed them on to me. I made a casserole with them, and passed a few portions back. This went on for a while, and then supplies dried up.

Then we got to talking about it, recently, and I realised I no longer had a copy of the recipe – odd as I have my own recipes going back to Continue reading

Warning signs and other ramblings, with added food…

Extremely dismayed, in bed last night, to see that my right leg (I have bilateral lymphoedema, for new readers), was once again swollen. Being on my feet much of the day, and up a step-ladder at one point, probably the reasons.

It’s gone down again this morning but clearly a warning sign that I need to take much more care of myself. Trouble is, there are many things I have to do myself because there is no-one else to do them for me like, yesterday, stocking my shiny new fridge freezer, and (the ladder thing), repairing the reflective film on my window (my flat faces due south, that wall is almost all glass, and the sun can push up the temperature into the high 30s without the film – and yes, I do get tired of explaining to the witless that I’m not hiding from aliens, or CIA death rays!).

And, in the next couple of days, there are things I have to do that I wouldn’t Continue reading

Era of cheap food is over?

Tesco boss says cheap food era is over, says the Observer to which I can only say what bloody cheap food?

A year ago I would struggle to spend £40 in order to qualify for non-rip-off delivery charges at Sainsbury’s, or at all at Ocado. Now, I struggle to keep my weekly shop below £60 (and bear in mind I’m a singleton), so I ask again – where the fuck is this cheap food?

OK, I know all the major supermarkets have bargain basements but, with food as with everything else, you get what you pay for and, while I can afford it, quality matters – food is pretty much the only pleasure left in my life.

I do realise that bargain basement products are Continue reading

Beware of Tesco’s Clementines…

And yes, I am serious.

Last night I ate two of them, both almost totally tasteless (even the skin, pith removed, just tasted bitter, not orangey). Within half an hour I felt desperately nauseous and still do.

I don’t know if they’re contaminated by pesticides – though how this would Continue reading

Single? Poor? Some online grocers don’t want you…

I’ve been shopping for groceries online since there was just Tesco, when their virtual store came on a CD and was loaded into your PC. The software was subsequently updated every time you logged in – not an edifying experience, pre-broadband.

A lot of things have improved since then, as is to be expected, but some have taken a decided turn for the worse since the last time I looked at this a couple of years ago.

For openers, let’s be clear about one thing, no matter how popular it might be Continue reading

The spoonie-sapping Sainsbury’s saga…

Sitting here, surrounded by the wonderful smell of brisket, simmering in an amazingly tasty and aromatic stock, it seems churlish to grouch but, hey, what the hell? I feel like shit so I might as well vent!

I mentioned on Twitter, earlier today (for those that don’t yet know, on Twitter I’m @rantsfromron, as @ronsrants was already taken), that my local Sainsbury’s – Upton, Wirral – really, really, sucks. There’s a reason for that – quite simply, it’s badly run,** I don’t know what the overnight restocking team does, but it’s not restocking, and it almost never has the items that Sainsbury’s website says it should have which, as it’s designated a superstore, which I find infuriating.

** I once overheard two oiks arguing with a guy who was clearly their line manager, about Continue reading

The Great Potato Rip-Off – Boycott it now…

Now then, when I buy Maris Piper spuds from either Tesco or Sainsbury’s at least a third of them – and often far more – simply are not Maris Piper.

I buy Maris Piper purely for chips, crunchy on the outside, fluffy inside (yes, I know it’s a cliché – it’s also true). Yet far too many of the supermarket spuds sold as Maris Piper have horrible, wet, flesh, which will never crisp no matter what you do with them, and taste nothing like the genuine article.

And this isn’t a Continue reading

Firefox 3.5.2 and Tesco…

With Firefox 3.x, there were serious problems with the Tesco.com website. In the grocery section, accessing the vegetable section would just throw up a slab of gray where the details should be and, in the main Tesco.com site, the checkout section just wouldn’t function properly if you had a gift card to use. With the advent of Firefox 3.5.2, though, the veggie problem went away. I don’t know about the checkout glitch.

Imagine, then, my frustration when I found Continue reading

I’m 85 you know!!

Tesco have proposed a pensioner-friendly supermarket for Newcastle. If it actually happens, the store would feature extra-wide aisles, anti-slip flooring and trolleys with locking wheels, magnifying glasses and built-in seats.

Think about that for a moment – in Tesco-land, only pensioners merit anti-slip flooring. What about the rest of us, then? I walk with a crutch everywhere except Tesco and Sainsbury’s (I use the trolley for support), because in wet weather the floors, within 20 feet or so of the entrance, are lethally slippery. Surely an environment that depends almost entirely on foot traffic should have anti-slip flooring by law? And am I the only one who finds the idea of magnifying glasses and seats just a tad patronising?

As for locking wheels, anyone dysfunctional enough not to know that a trolley will roll away if you lean on it will surely have problems with the wheel-unlocking mechanism. What’s really needed is a trolley that will go in a straight line without needing the application of brutality. By the way, a recent visit to Tesco shows that they already have trolleys with locking wheels – it’s just a pity they’re not supposed to!

As for extra-wide aisles well, that fails to fill me with confidence. Based on past experience, Tesco’s staff will simply seize the opportunity to fill them with even more crap than they do now, as here.

And finally, why do old people insist on telling you how old they are, repeatedly and loudly, as if just failing to die is some sort of achievement? (And no, I’m not a callow youth, I’m headed for codgerdom myself.)