Off Menu – My perfect meal

28 03 2019

I’ve got completely addicted to James Acaster’s and Ed Gamble’s Podcast “Off Menu”, where celebrity guests discuss their perfect meal. The waiter-genie that is James offers them various choices and they construct their ideal meal this way. It’s very light hearted, a lot of chat and debate on the way through, plus sharing stories as some courses can end up being *very* specific. Geography is no object, time is no object, money is no object – he’s a Genie, remember!

I’ve actually found it’s a really fun conversation to have with your friends too, like the “dream dinner party list” conversation, and having talked about it a few times now, here’s my dream menu set out via the questions they ask (and again, sometimes very specific)!

  • Water for the table: Still, sparkling or tap?
  • Definitely tap. Sparkling water just tastes weird, and still and tap are essentially the same thing other than price.

  • Poppadoms or bread?
  • A fresh-from-the-oven tiger bread roll, crusty and chewy on the outside, soft and doughy on the inside, warm enough that the butter melts into it as you spread it.

  • Starter
  • A Chinese starters selection platter. Including:

    • 1 sesame prawn toast
    • 1 chicken satay skewer with peanut sauce
    • 1 butternut squash spring roll
    • 1 mouthful crispy seaweed
    • 1 duck pancake with the sauce and green stuff
    • 1 mouthful of deep fried crispy chilli chicken (normally a main, but couldn’t be missed out!)

    Is that too big for a starter?

  • Main Course
  • Chicken Tikka Chasni. In 2014 I went to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with a friend, and one day we were looking for somewhere for lunch, anywhere that had air-con as there was a heatwave going on (yes I know, in Scotland!) and we dived into a place called India Quay that looked like it’d do. On the menu I saw this dish with the description, “A rich creamy sauce with a twist of sweet and sour”, thought I’d give it a try and was not disappointed!

  • Side Dish
  • A big onion bhaji. Several years ago I went on a course at Oracle University in Reading, and at the canteen one day experienced the best bhaji I’ve ever had!
    None of this mixing-in-lentils nonsense, just lovely crispy onion and massive! I’ve told many people about this bhaji in the intervening years, no bhaji I’ve had since has lived up to it!

  • Drink
  • Cheap, translucent, room temperature apple juice. None of this fancy “cloudy” nonsense, and definitely no ice. When it’s chilled the flavour is so muted, and the cheap stuff is so much sweeter than the fancy stuff!

  • Dessert
  • Slug and Lettuce used to have an amazing dessert on their menu called the “Cookie Cup Explosion”. It was essentially all good things on a plate. A chewy cookie forming a shallow bowl, containing bits of brownie, chocolate honeycomb, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and ice cream, – just amazing!
    The good news is that a different part of the Stonegate Pubs family now has it on their menu!

What about you? What are your answers to these questions?

Pork, veg & couscous in apple juice

21 04 2013

I eat the same thing nearly every Sunday, partly ‘cos I think it’s pretty tasty, partly because it’s kind of healthy, but mostly because I’m a creature of habit!
I made it for my parents over the Easter weekend, and have a couple of other foody bits I keep meaning to share, so welcome to a new category on my blog!

What I like about this recipe is that it’s the meat that’s cooked healthily, and the vegetables that are less healthy, but as there’s not a whole lot of veg in some of my meals, I think this is a good one to get lots of it in my system.

Serves 2


  • 2 Boneless pork loin steaks
  • Clear apple juice
  • 1 Courgette
  • 1 Red onion
  • 1 Packet of mushrooms
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 2 Packets Mediterranean style couscous


  • Pour a thin layer of juice into an ovenproof dish to coat the bottom.
  • With the help of some scissors, pull the strip of fat off of the pork bits, and chop the meat into strips or chunks. I like to eat this meal without a knife so I cut mine mainly into bitesize chunks.
  • Put these pieces in the dish trying not to put any on top of each other – if possible keep them just one layer deep. Then pour juice over them all until all just submerged.
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  • Chop onion up into vertical segments and seperate the bits out.
  • Cut the courgette into chunky slices and quarter them all.
  • I often use baby button mushrooms for this, but if I can’t get them I quarter some normal size ones
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  • Mix the veg on an oiled baking tray and drizzle more oil over them and mix about a bit to ensure it’s all got a bit on./li>
  • Put the pork and the veg in the oven at about 200 degrees centigrade and set the timer for 15min.
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  • Chop up the pepper into long pieces and when the timer beeps, add to the vegetable tray and make sure they get a little oil.
  • Put it back in the oven and set the timer for another 15min
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  • Boil the kettle, and when the oven beeps, prepare the couscous according to packet instructions.
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  • Remove the meat and veg from the oven and turn it off.
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  • Now it’s time to plate up! Start with the couscous in the bottom of a pasta bowl.
  • Scrape the veg off the tray on top of the couscous
  • Using a ladle, scoop the pork pieces on the top of everything, make sure to include plenty of the juice from the oven in the spoonfuls, allow this to pour through the veg into the couscous
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  • Serve and enjoy with a glass of the apple juice
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Weetabix – how do you eat yours?

31 08 2011

This morning for the first time in several months I cracked open a box of Weetabix (actually, Tesco’s own brand, but same difference), as the time had come yet again to change what I have for breakfast.

I have a very set way I eat my Weetabix. After discussing this with someone at lunch today (who has given up on breakfast all together as it’s so boring!) I’ve realised my method may be a little odd. Let me share it with you, let me know what you think!

  1. Take 2 Weetabixs out of the packet. Place one in the bowl, put one to one side.
  2. Get everything else you want with your breakfast out and ready where you want to sit and eat, and make sure you have your spoon out too.
  3. Pour milk into the bowl over the first Weetabix to about level with the top of the Weetabix (obviously dependent on the size of the bowl!)
  4. Very quickly take the bowl and the spare Weetabix to where the rest of your breakfast is, rest the spare Weetabix on your knee, and eat the wet one as fast as possible before it goes soggy.
  5. Make sure all mulch is consumed.
  6. Take the second Weetabix, put it in the bowl and turn over once so both sides are wet.
  7. Repeat process of swift consumption before this Weetabix too gets soggy.
  8. Again consume any remaining mulch (if you can face it), also the remaining milk, and bin any mulch that just makes you want to gag.

That’s how I eat mine, how do you eat yours?!

What other foods do you have weird methods of eating?