Thursday, 30 July 2009

Romantic Dinners

“ I love you” is extremely romantic! “Get your kit off” is overtly sexual! “Dinner’s ready!” is assured to raise Morty’s endorphin levels. Combine the three and he’s mine, all mine! Maybe he’d be anybody’s!

The power of erotic food is based mainly on folklore and has never been scientifically proven. Substances that by nature symbolized "seed or semen" such as bulbs, eggs, snails and nuts were considered naturally to have sexual influence. If a food resembled the genitalia then it was reasoned it had sexual powers.

The mind itself is a powerful aphrodisiac and the sensations of touch, smell. texture, aural, heat, visual plus imagination can affect the heart rate and stimulate sexual desire. This romantic dinner for two will have length and strength, based on certain foods, drinks, fragrances, colours and the power of suggestion.

Create an Evocative Mood

We will both wear sensual black clothes, mine of lace and velvet and his of cashmere and linen. The table is covered with a deep red velour cloth and matching deep red linen napkins. There is no cutlery, just large finger bowls filled with warm water and fresh slices of lime. Our complete meal will be eaten using our own and each others fingers as our tools, enabling us to sense the feel as well as the taste of our romantic meal.

The fine china is pure white porcelain in order to display the colour and contour of the foods we are about to eat. The glasses are cut glass lead crystal. The only lighting radiates from vanilla scented candles. The fragrance of vanilla will act as a sexual stimulant. There are deep red roses, and two personal gifts we will exchange later in the evening. The music is soft, low and unobtrusive.


We begin with dry cocktails to purify and heighten our taste buds for the events that are to follow:

For Her ‘Brazen Hussey’

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce lemon juice

In a shaker half-filled with ice cubes, combine all of the ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a cocktail glass.

For Him ‘Romeo’

1 oz light rum
1 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz lemon juice
3 oz strawberry puree

Blend ingredients with crushed ice. Pour into 14 oz bulb glass. Garnish with whole strawberry.

Appetising Foreplay

Gently Steaming Asparagus

These phallus-shaped spears are thought to be stimulating and have an aphrodisiac effect. Just look at an asparagus spear and liberate your imagination. Simply tie the trimmed, fresh green asparagus spears in bundles, keeping the tightly packed tips level and open steam for ten minutes according to size, as in all things, size does matter. Toss gently in melted lemon butter, or serve cold with hollandaise, vinaigrette or mayonnaise. Feeding each other spears, sucking the delicate tips allowing the melted butter to ooze, we will use the napkins and finger bowls to mop up the juices.

A young innocent Chardonnay will balance the powerful flavour of our asparagus and lemon butter.

The Main Intercourse

New Zealand Green Lip Mussels a la Mariniere

New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels are sweet, tender, delicate, plump and juicy, and grow to about eight inches in size, though we will be eating the more acceptable four inches! Meat colour varies from apricot flesh (female) to cream (male). The elongated shells are a beautiful, brownish-green on one end but changing to green at its broad lip, broken up by dark-brown stripes, giving an illusion of mother-of-pearl. Unlike the blue mussel, the green shell mussel's shell is slightly open in its natural state, which New Zealanders refer to as "smiling." The shell closes tightly when the mussel is subjected to stress, freshwater or rough handling. Just
like us ladies!

A throbbing, gently pulsating broth of butter, shallots, white wine and chopped parsley is simmering in a large pan. We drop the mussels into the broth for two minutes, scoop them out into a large bowl and pour the liquor over them. Using an empty mussel double shell as tweezers, we pull the ample plump, inviting creamy flesh from the attractive shells and feed, all the time tearing the French bread apart and plunging it into the mussel liquor to soak up the juicy liquid.

A salad of vine ripened cherry tomatoes and rocket leaves tossed in a basil vinaigrette will accompany this seductive yet earthy dish. Raw Rocket stimulates lust, Basil is reputed by Hindu males as an aphrodisiac because it resembles the female organ, and tomato is frequently called the love apple.

We will hit the spot together and drink a full, energetic, bright and snappy, dry New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with its tart flavours and length in the mouth.

The Climax

Fruit Nipples and Spicy Chocolate Fondue

Strawberries are referred to as ‘Fruit Nipples’ in erotic literature. The spiciness in the Chocolate Fondue is from dried habaneras chillies! The chilli is thought of as a very potent sexual stimulant. Chocolate is one of the unquestionable kings of aphrodisiacs, the Indians called it the "Nourishment of the Gods".

Bring a cup of water to a boil, toss in the habaneras chillies, and cover for 10 minutes until the habaneras are mushy-soft. Pull them out, chop them as fine as can be, then mash them to a pulp. Melt chocolate in a double boiler or microwave . Add the habanera pulp, stir, and heat again until the chocolate is a thick and creamy yet liquid enough for dipping the strawberries.

Together, we will dip the strawberries into the fondue dish full of the spicy, hot melted chocolate and relish the contrast of the textures and tastes.

A bowl of fresh figs and pine nuts a
re waiting to be sampled. The erotic, fleshy fruit of the fig is said to act as a powerful sexual stimulant and has been thought of for centuries as a symbol of fertility and love. Also it is no coincidence that the fig leaf has been used to cover the genitals of those embarrassed by their nakedness.

"The Perfumed Garden" contains many references to pine nuts. Quoting Galen (circa 130-200 A.D.) it is recommended to drink a glassful of thick honey and eat twenty almonds and one hundred pine nuts before going to bed. After repeating this for three nights, men will acquire vigour for coition.

There is only one drink that will compliment our dessert. Mead or ‘Honeywine’ made from honey; Mead is at the root of the term "honeymoon"! Newlyweds would by tradition drink mead for the month after their wedding. This was supposed to help produce a baby boy.

Shakespeare, in Macbeth: Act II: Scene III writes of alcohol:

“it provokes and it unprovokes; it provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance.”

But in spite of this we will have a suitable digestive containing aniseed. Aniseed has aphrodisiac properties but I feel this may be superfluous to our needs at this stage of our meal, and we will have a small glass of the following liqueur purely for medicinal purposes ! The Italian Liqueur Sambuca con Mosca, translates as ‘Sambuca with Flies’………is aniseed based and we will drink it the traditional way with three coffee beans floating in the top, light the liqueur and watch the flame dwindle as the alcohol is burnt away.


Between the Sheets

There is only one after dinner cocktail to have at this stage of our romantic evening. The cocktail that is intended to seduce!

1 oz. cognac
1 oz. Cointreau
1 oz. Dry gin
Juice of 2 lemons

Put all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with crack
ed ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass.

The Next Morning

Morty: “What’s for breakfast babe?”
Me: “ Get up and get your own!”

Monday, 27 July 2009

A Proper Sunday Roast

This is more like it. My roast rib of beef was presented like this in our local town centre pub on Sunday lunchtime. A full and crispy Yorkshire, proper roasted potatoes and roasted parsnip with very tasty roast beef complete with some fat and a bit of blood. The gravy began it's life in a real stock-pot and we were given a gravy boat too. Fresh vegetables were served on the side.

This plate of food certainly wasn't posh looking, more family service, but the taste was perfect. Although I enjoyed a roast in Wales where they placed a mound of smooth mashed potato as a base in the centre of the plate and layered the beef on top, then topped that with a huge Yorkshire filled with creamed horseradish. Maybe height doesn't matter but it looked really good.

Meanwhile, my complaint last week to the management of another local hotel about The Roast That Wasn't A Roast resulted in a voucher for a Sunday Lunch for two and a genuine apology for the service given on the day.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, 23 July 2009

The Spy Who Came In For Lunch

It was the normal mid-week lunch service in our small, busy pub in the market square of a West Dorset town. The regular retired men sat at their usual table by the bar arguing whose round it was. Chef busy in the kitchen making crab sandwiches and cooking the fresh catch of the day. I was busy serving drinks and taking food orders. That lovely bubble of conversation, clatter of cutlery and happy customers - creating a warm atmosphere. Pretty perfect.

The bar door opened and a tall, elegant elderly man entered along with an equally well dressed male companion. The man asked where they should sit for lunch and as he seemed to expect table service I showed them to a table, pointed out the blackboard menus and gave them a wine list as requested. I sensed a kind of hush in the atmosphere of the bar. A sharp contrast to the previous relaxed noise level.

As I got back behind the bar my old lunchtime men were huddled together and whispering. The entire bar had stopped talking. Chef and the rest of the kitchen staff appeared through the bar door and peered across to the table where the two elderly men were sitting quietly conversing. But they were well aware of the sensation they'd caused. This was 1979 and the man was Anthony Blunt 'The Fourth Man' of the Cambridge Spy Ring, the other three being Burgess, Maclean and Philby.

I struggled to keep my cool as I took their food order of fresh crayfish salads and a bottle of Chablis. I was used to serving celebrities but not a Real Spy; but they were extremely polite to me, trying to help me through my obvious awe-struck discomfort. They did play up to their audience and gave them what they wanted as they chatted to each other, with frequent touching of hands and much flirting eye contact. Quite outrageous shows of homosexuality in such a place as this. My old men didn't know where to look and grim mutterings of disapproval and '....shouldn't be allowed...' carried through the hushed pub as people couldn't bring themselves to act normally as this news had only just hit the newspapers It was big.

There were more shocks to come as news had spread, as it does, throughout the small town and as soon as we'd closed for the afternoon we had a visit from the local police telling us that MI5 would be paying us a visit later that day for questions.

And they did. MI5 wanted to know every little detail about Blunt and his companion. What they were wearing, what they ate, time of arrival and departure. Did they talk to anybody else while they were here? No. Only me. No, they didn't use the toilets. It was so exciting.

I was right excited when I 'phoned our weekly local paper telling the all about it as I fancied a bit of free publicity. It wasn't to be - the main news that week was a seagull stuck up a chimney and having to be rescued. Perhaps Blunt was too top secret.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Braised Crocodile Anyone?

And this is a dish of braised crocodile. I ate this in Cambodia. I did! I ate this and it was marginally more palatable than the razor clams - but only just. Just off for a Private Heave.
Posted by Picasa

Fresh Market Food Phnom Penh

No matter how poor a country the true sense of the people is in the fresh foods found in their local markets. The above is a very small selection of the colourful home grown foods in the market at Phnom Penh on the Mekong Delta in Camodia. I know I ate all of these foods on the boat but can't tell you what they are - aren't they appetising?
Posted by Picasa

Monday, 20 July 2009

Is This a Roast Dinner?

If you ordered a Sunday Roast Dinner in an award winning restaurant costing £10.50 for one course would you be happy with the above plate of food? I wasn't.

That is a grilled pork loin chop. The three halves of pale and soft potatoes are not roasted. They have been boiled and turned in a roasting dish to add a bit of colour. Spinach was fine. So was the braised red cabbage. The teaspoon of gravy was a meagre offering. Where is the Yorkshire pudding? The apple sauce? The gravy boat? Traditional vegetables?

We were eating outside in the courtyard and once we'd been served there were no signs of any follow up waiting staff to ask and we couldn't be bothered to leave our food and go in search. Surely we shouldn't have to even consider doing that.

I have emailed the restaurant with my complaint and asked them if they consider the above is a Sunday Roast Dinner. I would have complained to the owners if they had been present but their team of young staff had been left to manage on their own and they were harrassed and overworked with that glazed eyed look of weariness.

Seemed to have spent a large amount of money eating out this weekend and apart from the excellent fish and chips its all been a disappointment.
Posted by Picasa

Posh Fish 'n' Chips

Perfect Posh Fish and Chips. That little bit of a green splodge is a puree of mushy peas. Those Sumo chips were delicious. The batter on the fish was very light and crispy and the fish inside creamy textured and perfectly cooked. Home made tartare sauce meant I didn't have to ask for mayo on the side for chip dunking. The half a lemon had been flash heated on the grill so it didn't make the fish cold. Nice touch.

Well done The Bull Hotel.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Razor Clams

I ate these last night. They are razor clams. I will never eat them again. They are obscene.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, 10 July 2009

BT Rant and Update

At 3.30pm on the 1st of July my BT Broadband connection wimpered to a halt. There was a glimmer of hope every half hour or so as the router connected. When it did connect it took over ten minutes to open a single webpage. Outlook Express 'Could Not Find Server'.

I began my telephone campaign to BT Broadband Help on the 2nd July. I thought this could take some time. It is now the 10th July and I'm still 'phoning them and I'm still not connected for more than five minutes and when I am it is painfully slow.

On the 2nd July, after five different technical advisors involving five individual 'phonecalls and all my security stuff repeated over and over, I was told it was my router - it was broken. We've tried three different routers since then. They can't all be broken can they? No improvement. During this three hours on the 'phone to BT an advisor commented that I was still on Classic Broadband with a speed of 2.2Mbps. Apparently I should be on a speed of about 8 Mbps.

Up until July 1st I was happy with this low speed. It all seemed fast enough to me - until that afternoon. Why haven't I been upgraded before?

I was given the BT Customer Sales number where I was told my BT Broadband would be updated on the 9th July. And this will cost less monthly than I'm paying at the moment. They tried to sell me a package involving televisions, telephones and hubs. I told the advisor I didn't want any packages and didn't need a new hub because on BT's advice I'd replaced it already. But of course it wasn't a BT Hub. It was a third party Hub. But you need a BT Router/Hub. I remained calm as I told him I had been using a BT Router, had been told it was broken by the technical advisor so had replaced it with a Third Party Router/Hub. And that as well as the three different Router/Hubs tested on my Home Networking System the original, allegedly broken BT Router/Hub wasn't broke. It worked as well, or as badly as the three test ones.

Surely the fault isn't here with me? It must be with BT Broadband? No, your line has been tested and it is fine. So I resigned myself to waiting for the 9th of July. All would be well. I would be zinging my way around the InterWeb at speeds faster than I could cope with.

A week is a long time to be disconnected. From the 2nd July until the 9th I have had to telephone bank. Pay some bills with a cheque and stick a stamp on an envelope. Go to the supermarket rather than an online Tesco Home Delivery. Couldn't do my dear Mum's Tesco shopping online for her home delivery 200 miles away. Couldn't buy a frock I don't need online. This way of communicating, doing business, socialising, shopping is integral to my way of living.

Might as well take the washing machine away and tell me I have to do laundry in the stream and bash clothes clean with a rock.

But of course this didn't happen. On the morning of the 10th my BT Broadband has not been upgraded. Nothing's changed. I am still limping along. So I begin 'phoning BT Broadband again at nine o'clock this morning. As of now I have spoken to six seperate BT Advisors. By the fifth I start to get a picture. The fifth tells me at last that There Is A Fault with my Broadband connection. Just like I've been telling them for over a week. That there is a fault and it is at their end and not here. They tell me their 'Offline Team' are working on it now. Is the 'Offline Team' men with ladders and vans?

I have just 'phoned BT Broadband again to get the latest information on my upgrade. The 'Offline Team' are not working on it right now. My upgrade is guess where? In a Flossing Queue. I have been given yet another new Direct Line to 'phone tomorrow - if perchance the fault hasn't been located and repaired - which will take me to Order Management.

I have a sheet of paper with at least one dozen BT contact numbers with titles such as Customer Options, Customer Sales, Direct Customer Options, Order Management, BT TV Management, BT Yahoo Broadband and so on..and on..and on.

Update to follow. And here it is.

Today 11th July I have been told by Order Management that the Equipment That Tests the Broadband is - yes - you've guessed it - It Is Broken. It Is Broken. Just like my Broadband has been broken since the 1st July.

Today 12th July: I phone Order Management at 9.00am. I am told my Broadband Can't be updated. Something about my line. I didn't ask for an upgrade I tell him. I just wanted my almost non-existent Broadband connection running like it was at 2.2 before July 1st. He tells me to phone Technical Help. No I scream. That's India. I can't go there again. He wishes me a nice day and the call ends.

I phone Customer Sales and begin all over again. I am asked to hold while she talks to a colleague. I hold. She has put me through to India and Technical Help. I faint. Repeat all my details for the hundreth time. I am in shock. I am asked to hold again while he talks to another colleague and when he returns he tells me he has spoken to Order Managment, where I was one hour ago. He tells me Order Management will upgrade my BB on Tuesday 14th July. How can this be? More lies?

So I phone Order Management again. I repeat what I was told at nine this morning and ask him to confirm what India has told me; that I will be upgraded on the 14th with an upgrade I haven't asked for because I only want what is broken right now mended. He confirms the first upgrade failed and it is booked for Tuesday the 14th July. Oh woe.

Meanwhile I have composed a very much tidied up version of this frantic Blog entry and am poised ready to send this less manic version to Ofcom and BT Complaints.