Posted in British, experimental, fine dining, food photography, hospital, Uncategorized

A critical appraisal of hospital food

On a recent 4 night trip to hospital me and my SO had the privilege sampling the very best the NHS has to offer in terms of hospital food.

I must admit my expectations were fairly low, which is a bit harsh considering I’ve eaten a cat food stir fry; but who cares, what’s up first?


Erm. orange juice, some desert thing, pork chop avec une carrot et potato sauce.

The first thing that strikes me before I sample what I’m sure will be absolutely delicious meal, is just how accomplished the chef’s knife skills are. Every bit of carrot diced to symmetrical perfection:


And the taste? Fairly cuboid but with all the corners on the inside … and watery.

Next up the potato sauce:


This was actually quite nice; rich and umami with a dash of texture one did not expect on such a tight budget of approximately zero pence.

Next up the pork chop!


Which looks hopelessly dry and barren and chewy and lost and hopeless, but was perplexingly rather nice and edible. Shocked! I tell thee!

And finally on to dessert, which I think is some kind of crumble with custard:


Perfectly acceptable and edible.


Er, yay.

The next evening the entree was – I think – a burger. And once again our old friends carrot and potato made a welcome appearance:


One thing I need to draw your attention to is the gravy which seems to exist in a kind of quantum state. Let’s get the microscope and explore more of this microcosmos of food heaven:


As you can see, it has a gravy component and a strange unidentified negative spin anti component of yellow, which you might think is saturated fat, but I’m not so sure, I think it’s just grease. Anyway, ‘Burger Extravaganza’ was totally edible.

The next evening we were served more expertly diced vegetables, potato sauce and some kind of sausage entity:


This was fine and the sausage tasted exactly like the ones you get down the chip shop except without the batter.

On our final evening we had vegetarian calzone, or collapsed lasagne or I really have no idea what this was:


And this too was totally edible and not as sickly or undercooked as it looks!

So that’s my review of hospital food over four incredible evenings. My expectations were surpassed and I was impressed with the level of tasti-ness the food had, despite some questionable presentation skills (which I know the chef is working on).

But you may be asking, why were we in hospital?

This wee guy arrived, 8.9 lbs 6.44 PM May 23:


But what do you think? Been to hospital recently? What did you have? A girl? A potato? Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and let me know!

Posted in challenging, ethnic, fast food, fish, oriental, review, seafood, taiwan

Here’s What I Learned Eating Food In Taiwan (part 2)

IMG_20180816_135729This, my friends, is brined chicken feet, which my girlfriend’s relatives brought to a restaurant some time when I was in Taiwan recently and it serves to highlight the great variety of food one can expect to encounter when you’re out there on holiday.

As it turns out, chicken feet are ‘enormously challenging’ and it took me 45 minutes to turn one of those guys into one of these guys:


Taste: salty, vaguely sinister; texture: carteniligious, gelatinous, chewy as all hell, gristly AF. In fact, brined chicken feet taste what I expect Gremlins to taste like.



Well, hey ho! That’s me lost about 95% of my readers 🙂

Joking aside, in Taiwan you can expect a great deal of seriously amazing food – especially street food.

Like this roast pork joint in Taipei station:


Or this lunch box place in Yangmei:


And then there was this ‘bun’ place in Taipei:


Which specialises in radish cakes covered in chilli sauce:


GF (girlfriend) says this is what she used to eat most days while she was at university and it’s testimony to say that this place is still around after nearly 14 years.

In Taiwan you’re going to get taken out by the locals who will a) get you blind drunk and b) plied with enough food that you never want to eat ever again.



Which may variously consist of:


Goose a l’Orange (fatty, yet tender and flavoursome).

Taiwanese saucisson (dunno, but this is the best approximation):


Brined pork with star anise and other flavourings:


Super Mario characters:


Actually, these were from Sonic the Hedgehog and were made out of bread with sesame paste stuffed inside. They were OK I guess but I never got any power-ups after eating them.

Oh look, here’s another ‘all you can drink and eat’ dining experience somewhere north of Taoyuan:


Speciality: grilled chicken anus!


Which, you know, was actually pretty good; a  bit chewy and oddly crunchy in places but totally endorsable if you like that kind of thing.

Or how about restaurant 竹家莊避風塘漁家料理 (no translation, soz) who served an amazing duck with tarot puree and crispy topping:


This was off-the-scale rich and I could only manage one slice. But it was goddam lovely; the duck tasted a bit like pork belly and the tarot like mashed potato while the crispy stuff lent a really neat texture to everything. Plus, the gravy you can see to the left really helped to bring everything together. Nom nom nom nom.

And then there was this restaurant in Neihu:


Superpower: roast duck:


Which they will carve with military precision at the table for you:


^^^ This is probably the best crispy duck I’ve ever had and I can see why the folks come from all over Taipei to eat here; fat rendered into brittle oblivion and really tender, lean meat.

Incidentally, this place is also know for congee, which is cooked from the duck bones:


Super rich and tasty, but not too heavy.

Other highlights on my Taiwan trip included a visit to a restaurant called 吉松日本料理 (no translation again, sorry) where we had sea urchin:


And cod’s liver (oily but super flavourful):


Then there was Chilli House where we had pork belly:


Which was goddam exceptional: cooked for hours; tender and umami and something I highly recommend, just like the Michelin Guide does (it really is in the Michelin Guide).

What else to look out for? We ran into this old couple selling bamboo shoots in Taipei, but I think we we’re slightly ripped off after they charged us 300 TWD (about £7.50) for not that much:


The wee bams.

And the final thing I’d like to mention about my trip to Taiwan was this Korean BBQ in Taichung:


And I’m getting goddam hungry looking at that again FYI.

And that ends my summary of another excellent culinary adventure to the Far East. But have you been to Taiwan? What did YOU eat? What else did you eat that I didn’t that you would recommend (I’ll try anything as long as it’s not Mogwai).

I’m on Twitter for general enquiries and speaking events/weddings/funerals.

Posted in art, Uncategorized

M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi

Some people are really stupid. Some people are really funny. The Scottish Prosecution Service (SPS) falls into the former and Mark Meechan, who posted a hilarious video of his girlfriend’s dog – trained to react pavlovian style to the phrases “gas the Jews” and “siege heil” online in April 2016 – falls into the latter.  Some two years later Mark has been found guilty of a hate crime at Airdrie Sheriff Court; in itself something any sane person would think a joke.

You’ll remember Katie Hopkins calling for pictures of dead refugees and Tommy Robinson labelling an entire ethnic group as evil and you’ll hopefully be of sound body and mind to realise that this is not the same. Not even fucking close.

Unfortunately the powers at the SPS are really dim and now Mark faces possible jail time for having a sense of humour. “You’re always going to get bonkers cases like this” remarks a Sheriff neighbour of mine when I outlined the case to him. How could we? Christ, I feel like blowing an airport sky high!!

I have a dark sense of humour and it’s landed me in trouble a couple times and cost me a job. I didn’t like the job anyway… I digress. Once I was playing around with the idea of writing a food blog post inspired by Jimmy Saville called ‘Cooking With Jimmy Saville’ and I was going to go round the super market looking for really young vegetables. And then my friend Susan suggested I look for deformed young vegetables and cook with them; y’know a carrot with a tiny wiener on it. HAHAHA! SPS would think I’m a paedophile!

But I want to see how far I can push this.

Deep breath

Say what you like about the Nazis, they were efficient and got things done. Plus, they wore awesome clothes. Hugo Boss. Top fashion. I think it would be great if they were around today and had gas chambers and instead of gassing jews they gassed stupid people. Stupid people exactly like the folks at the Scottish Prosecution Service prosecuting Mark. How about the Nazis rounded up the folks at the SPS and just like, you know, gassed them? Hahahaaaa! It would be great! No more stupid people confusing humour with very real and very damaging hate speech where folks get very hurt because people suck goddamit!

As I exhale slowly let’s catch up with Mark who was recently quoted as saying:

I just want everyone to know that I don’t wish any ill-will on any race or anything, it’s just how shock comedy works.

‘It was strictly made to annoy my girlfriend and give my friends something to laugh at.

‘I am so sorry to the Jewish community for any offence I have caused them. This was never my intention and I apologise.

No need to apologise Mark, that’s how humour works. You combine a few ideas like a cute dog and Adolf Hitler and combine them into something much more; humour should explore, not exhort.

What’s happening to us?


UPDATE: June 19 2018 Mark has joined UKIP. What a twat.

Posted in chinese, ethnic, experimental, fast food, fine dining, fish, food photography, food review, fungi, fusion, holiday food, japanese, oriental, taiwan, Uncategorized

Things I’ve Learned Stuffing Myself In Taiwan

14993559_10154045512027966_8809291375523534925_nStar anise ribs, chicken with chili, potato starch prawns, intestine, stinky tofu and chili, chicken with glutenous rice flour balls, green beans, stir fried squid. 

In Taiwan you will experience things you probably wouldn’t get a chance to in the West; over the past couple weeks I’ve had things like fish jaw, intestines, jellied pork blood, sea urchin and god knows whatever else. Continue reading “Things I’ve Learned Stuffing Myself In Taiwan”

Posted in chinese, ethnic, fast food, food photography, holiday food, oriental, travel

Taiwan Day One

Looks like the only excuses I need to write about food these days are A: when a new variety of cat food comes out or B: when I go travelling abroad.

Seeing as my GF is Taiwanese and hasn’t seen her folks in nearly two years a trip to Taiwan was planned and this is the first of what will be many food travelogueablogs or blaveralallels or blogetraveloparallelograms. Continue reading “Taiwan Day One”

Posted in fine dining, food review, salads, Uncategorized

M&S Lunch Takeaway Disaster


I was down my local Marks & Spencers fancy supermarket where all the posh office workers go to buy their quinoia salads and asparagus and I was all like “I, too, would like to give the impression that I am posh and have more disposable income that I know what to do with”.

And so it came to pass that the first few minutes of my lunch hour were spent in a daze of confusion as a plethora of ethnic and exotic foods greeted me: honey glazed salmon, mustard infused balsamic dressed edamame, slow roasted ham hock and I was all like “shall I just get a cheese and onion pasty from Greggs?”. But then I walked past the salad section and for a very reasonable price of £2.30 saw a tiny tub of SPIRIT of SUMMER Rice, Aduki Bean, Mango & Coconut Salad and I was all like “uh that looks pretty pretentious and horrible. Let’s prove my simple prejudices correct by buying it” So I did!

On getting back to my professional day job’s IT desk I inspected the inside of the packet:


It appears the ingredients have infected by camera phone and forced the orientation into portrait. Anyway, how does it taste?

Even before sampling a mouthful I know how it’s going to go down: there will be an annoying taste of raw red pepper and it will smack slightly of Uncle Ben’s Rice Pots.


In addition, the rice is sticky – in an unwanted sexy way – and the pineapple sauce is really sweet. The Aduki beans could easily pass for rabbit poo and after eating half the tub I give up and toss the packet into the bin.

On the plus side…!

There is no plus side. Stick to Greggs and save yer money. While you’re at it, hook me up on Twitter.