Archive for the ‘Food and Drink’ Category

continue our walk round …

Another successful Sunday Market Festival beckons ..

Cottingham Food Festival

Is the UK in danger of adopting a ‘Groucho Marx position’ on European Membership?

Groucho Marx

If one thinks of ‘Groucho’ and ‘Marx’ as discrete words, one conjours-up images like stubborn, dyed in the wool, small-thinking, petite bourgeoisie socialism and yes, even bolshy ’70s-style shop stewards and union members!

What Groucho Marx actually said was much more witty: “I would never join a club that would have me as a member!” 🙂

Is it ‘I’m alright Jack’ or ‘jobs for the boys’ that is really at stake?

Being fed on a diet of plenty to the point of being sick may never satisfy the truly (in)dependent addict – only exploding will suffice!

Are we being sucked-in by a Bolshevick-inspired Kafkaesque socialist movement having a seemlingly-relentless, verging-on-chronic need for administration and togetherness, brought on by the strength of the ‘union of togetherness’? Together we’re strong

Or are we being seduced by other factions? The author remembers that it’s not just governments that recruit foreign labour – it’s employers!

UK and Europe: who is the fat man, who is in danger of becoming the thin man and who is the sick man in danger of exploding?

 

This idea was depicted humerously in Monty Python’s exploding fat man being offered a further desert; “go on sir, just one more mint!” Warning: those of a delicate disposition should look away as this satire can still shock even today!

European Membership Stay or Leave Opinion: are we the straw that broke the camels back or are we more like a house of straw if we go it alone?

Will producing finer steel for example help us produce sharper tools?

No. We’re on our own if we decide to leave on account of the edicts laws and machinations emenating from Brussels. We’re more vulnerable to hostile trade deals and market pricing as hundreds and even thousands of jobs in the regions can depend upon events beyond one nation’s control as illustrated in today’s headlines threatening jobs at TATA in Port Talbot: China’s steel prices. Future trade wars cannot be ruled out.

If the City of London comes on hard times as will occur sooner or later in our global boom-bust economy, will our diversified but under-invested UK provincial manufacturing base be able to sustain us? Will we still be able to dig ourselves back out of recession as we did in the early ’80s without a substantial manufacturing base?

As Donald Trump said about abortion: will the regions be ‘punished’ either way as a consequence of poor centralised strategic decision making – either by London or from Brussels?

Will Scotland leave the UK in order to re-negotiate its European membership as a sovereign state if we vote to leave?

Will the provinces e.g. Yorkshire and the Regions wish to follow suit as the City hardly re-invests in the regions nowadays – unlike Europe with it’s Regional Development Funding? Even this regional fuding allocation is still run by the ‘old boys club’ and for the benefit of ‘jobs for the boys’ which is tolerated unfortunately however – and they’re not going to give up without a fight. Remember the QUANGOs like the bloated Yorkshire Forward which the previous administration made their election pledge to dismantle? It still goes on and Europe appears riddled with it as a Spaniard recently related to me. But that’s the point: that culture would not change if we left the EU – it would just get worse! If a reformed Europe were able to stamp-out all the low-level corruption, it would certainly be worth remaining in it to help it to bring about the changes sought.

Those with long memories may remember the post-war austerity of the 1950s where we had to make and export to the US in order to earn money to pay our way. No fat men or international trade dealing existed back then.. well, not as we know them today.

Nein, Non, No!

We’ve also been referred to as the “Insel Affen” (Island of the Planet of the Apes – loosely translated). In terms of meaning, one could describe us in the UK as being like the Ferengi citizens as reluctant and rather selfish trading members of the Federation of Planets in Star Trek!

Europe is as much a cultural union as it is a trading union!

Ferengi Citizen

Are our financial services also destined go the way of Steam?

There are large changes in the pipeline: will the City of London be left high and dry?

Will we abandon Europe at the worst possible moment as it abandons it’s out-moded primary operating culture from centralised finance directly into distributed production?

You may also remember that in Star Trek, the need for money had been abandoned in favour of personal development, discovery and altruism, as their economy of plenty had liberated them out from a world of financial enslavement. Financial services are changing now with the introduction of automated AI trading systems and the future of employment in the City is also being called into question. As a further example of technical developments; the future role of medical doctors is also brought into question with the advent of artificial intelligence AI in our IT systems where we are diagnosed for illness by virtual doctors on-screen and plugged in for our personal MOT health checks rather like modern cars.

It would therefore be most unwise to walk away from a seat at the top table of the wealthiest diverse trading block and market on Earth – regardless of your ‘Groucho’ or ‘Karl‘ interpretation of Messrs. Marx!

Note: don’t we already have the best of both worlds – as in having your cake and eating it?

By retaining both our own currency and European membership, are we not already at liberty to trade with whomever we wish? Brazil, Russia, India and China BRIC included?

Nick

 

PS: EU Referendum Postal Poll Cards are in the post to registered voters – ours arrived today – make sure you have your say by making sure you’re registered on the voting list

All systems are go!

The Sausage Men locally-made sausages

Delicious sausages in a wide variety of flavours!

Julie Thornhill greeting customer today

Full Market! The fine sunny weather brought lots of people out in the morning- picture taken Thursday 11th. Feb PM

Cottigham Thursday Market in the afternoon sun

– it remained a chilly day despite the brilliant sunshine, so everyone was keeping well wrapped-up!

Sunny afternoon

 

Cottingham Market tomorrow (11th. Feb)!

All plots booked!

Bringing a full range of local produce and traders back for 2016

Facebook: Cottingham Thursday Market

 

The Story of the Lonesome Pine and the Giant Corporation

Or how to go from zero to hero – online

A lonesome pine neon sign in the desert (gettyimages)

Starting from scratch to go to the top of the listings, this is more than a story about neon signs in the desert: how to succeed online

it’s more than just about putting up a website and expecting people to find it ..

If you are new to using the Internet this may come as some consolation:  we know the majority of you who are fifty-plus are new to it and that many more of you are wanting to promote yourselves and your interests online.

Soon another sign followed our lonesome pine .. and another

And a poet soon arrives and before you know it ..

Home for tired aspirational neon signmakers in the desert

And who would have guessed,

they served-up the best!

Nick and his friends decided to provide shade, some lonesome pine entertainmet, rest and serve some refreshments to tired drivers!

Laurel and Hardy: in it to hit it!

Nick got so fed up of telling his life story over and over,

he decided to tell a ryme,

make a film and put it online .. (ouch)

Dive for cover!

For Nick was now about to get out his holiday snaps ..

And tell another    🙂

You also need to get yourself high-up in the search engine rankings in order to be seen

The Americans have an evocative expression for the problem: it’s like putting up a neon sign in the desert!

Fave rave

Google is the primary Internet search engine of choice that everyone uses for most routine enquiries and there are two routes to get the top of page 1. Like most things in life you need money and or much sense to get to the top of the pile! Some things in life (as online) are free but many are not. What started out as a generous and altruistic plan to improve knowledge-sharing by universities between geeky academics soon became commercialised and taken-up by governments. People and business soon followed. Cottingham.tv is also committed to the early spirit of the Internet and likes to inform and provide lots of free stuff online!

google “Google permitted use of logo images”

Some more news and views

66% of us now own a smart phone and for the younger generations it is the must-have accessory. All this information is just a few clicks away online thanks to the likes of Google, unlike in the old days when you would have to trudge down to the council offices and probably also have to visit the County archives in Leeds.

To give you an idea of how much is at stake here – with Google recently agreeing to pay a decade of UK back tax amounting to some £120m, some have said it still only represents a drop in the ocean!

Back to our story ..

During Year 1 we struggled with the main Internet search engine page ratings to climb up the ratings for the keyword “Cottingham”. We are now jockeying for key position with Wikipedia for the keyword Cottingham! For months we were repeatedly hurled back from Page 3 to Page 12 on Google and we got “spammed” with thousands of junk emails, so we decided to discontinue our inbox and let social media take the strain (you can find us on Facebook and Twitter). Some say it’s a war for ratings out there online, as it is in real life. Seeking a new start in a fresh place is like the wild west – hence sometimes it makes sense to be a lonesome pine – and tell a ryme, or two!

We say with hindsight: early set-backs just made us all the more determined. Getting good back-links to tell your story online helps your ratings too and they are the equivalent of references in real life.

read on ..

You’ve got to be in it to hit it!

We at Cottingham.tv are now in pole position to help others with their search engine promotions online!

Equiries welcome to Cottingham Allsorts

Nick

Aldi is really going for innovation and quality now to make your job in the kitchen easier all-round!

Another supermarket takes up Cottingham.tv’s cook in the bag challege* to make cooking vegetables easier!

Food construction rather than food deconstruction: slow food is more fun to construct with yourself if you can avoid the work it creates as well as the time it consumes! Buying  pre-prepared vegetables** is making slow food easier to prepare and become more like fast food – but still keeps it ‘ethical’! Aldi is planning opening a store in Cottingham!

Nick

Cottingham.tv

Foods that fight ageing

** Pre-prepared vegetables are peeled, cut, mixed and bagged

What’s really going wrong with our food and drink industry?

So why are manufacturers really putting so much sugar, salt and artificial flavourings into what we eat and drink?

To answer that question, we’re going to take you on a journey through a fictional food company with laboratories and explain what one particular group of our bespectacled white-coated specialists are getting up to behind closed doors these days. Naturally you are each sworn to secrecy and have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before we can begin our tour as many food preparation processes contain closely-guarded industrial secrets. Any unauthorised disclosure may result in you becoming unable to find employment in the industry afterwards!

Let’s begin our tour with a visit to the tasting laboratory..

This is run on a strictly departmental basis by psychologists rather than cooks. In here, conditions are carefully controlled and “double-blind experiments” are performed on “subjects” to prevent “contamination” of results by “environmental variables” including heat, light, colour, smell, noise and even the experimenter. As you can imagine, the lab appears as a series of identical white cubicles with chairs, tables ad hatches through which food and drink samples can be placed in identical hygienic white paper cups and tasted anonymously. Our subjects, who may comprise students and other volunteers, sometimes “chosen at random from the user population” (members of the public) are unaware of  what happens behind the hatches.

The food tasting laboratory is kept separate from the factory production lines so the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. These white coated lab guys are sometimes seen walking around the factory with clip boards and nowadays tablets mysteriously. Their word is however god. What ever they say must be obeyed to the letter. Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir!

Now we’ll take a look at what goes on behind those secret hatches.

Each subject has rated the taste of those food and drink items placed those white paper cups. Cup ‘A’ is preferred to cup ‘B’ for texture; cup ‘C’ is preferred to cup ‘D’ for being more sweet and less bitter, etc. Dozens of individual blind tastings have typically been carried out and may ingredients, recipes and flavouring additives evaluated. Tables and graphs of the results are drawn up. Statistical analysis is performed. By the time the answer comes out, all are convinced that recipe ‘F’ is superior to ‘G’. People will prefer food and drink product ‘F’! All is perfect in their uncontaminated world. The numbers add-up correctly. Instructions are passed and recommended by management and passed to the factory. People will buy more of product F. It is deemed superior and product G will be progressively removed from the shelves of the supermarket to be replaced by product F. Survival of the fittest rules, according to the commercial world. We’re all right Jack. You may not be in good shape physically, but by golly we are financially! No spots on us. Profits are up and we operate strictly by the numbers!

All appears fit and well in the commercial world at least; but there are murmurings of disquiet from the Health Service: tooth decay and obesity in the children that consume the food and drink product are on the increase. Conflicting sets of numbers research begin to emerge.

You might engage with one of the older workers in casual conversation, which is incidentally generally discouraged by company policy, who may predictably come across as ‘cautiously guarded’: “In the old days when the factory was run by Uncle Joe, a cook who invented our original pies, we used to have informal suggestions and safeguards to prevent problems from developing. Now the factory is owned by the shareholders and run strictly on a departmental basis by specialists – and by the numbers. Our raw food is sourced by price rather than location and producer. Everybody is micro-managed and has to do exactly as they are told – or they’re out”.

Addicted to love (sugar)

As a criticism of the of the above experimental procedure (experimental design), you could argue that ‘subjects’ who exhibit a preference for food and drink with more sugar, salt and mono for example are expressing a preference for more sensation – more taste. You could also argue that bland-tasting food is becoming boring and that our pallets are changing over time, requiring ever-greater ‘sugar hits’, and that to counter the increasing sweetness, more and more salt and other bitter additives are required to provide a counter-balance. Sugar and salt are valuable and essential parts of a healthy diet, however balance and moderation are required in our increasingly sedentry world.

To conclude: are we becoming increasingly addicted to glucose?

As any chef can advise, there is more to flavour than sugar, salt and mono!

The need to deconstruct our food into its underlying flavour components as a requirement held by by taste and psychology researchers in the belief that somehow unaltered natural food is a naive and simplistic notion is just plain wrong! We may be naive consumers but I’m sorry; an orange really is an orange, a cut of meat really is a cut of meat! An apple really is green! Get real! *

You’d be surprised just how much backgroud reading * it took to have the confidence to say that and not to be fearful of immediate rejection by the scientific community.. 

Stop using science as a excuse to cut corners with our food!

We need to be able to trust our science – as well as our food!

Stop press:

Heinz are now reducing the sugar levels in more of their iconic products. **

Further reading

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201101/accounting-taste

http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4613-1221-5_1

* http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/

** http://www.foodingredientsfirst.com/news/Heinz-Latest-Ketchup-Variant-Offers-50-Less-Sugar.html

 

Nick

 

‘Cook in the bag’ style roast vegetables product innovation trials at Morrisons!

Local inventor Nicholas Robinson has inspired a new generation of ‘cook in the bag’ style roast vegetables!

‘Slow foods’ get to copy fast foods for convenience!

#kindnesstovegetables

Supervillians: this week we’re featuring the dreaded dyno-sprout!

Fear not: sprouts really needn’t taste awful!

Follow our step-by-step guide and you too can produce veges that you and your kids will actually like!

One of the problems with the well-known purveyors of “fast food” is that they too understand our preferences and especially the younger mind with it’s shorter route to gratification! We need therefore to make good ‘slow food’ more accessible like fast food! If you’re watching MacDonalds, here’s an autumnal serving tip for you!

Learn how to emulate their tricks using healthier fresher ‘un-processed food’ ingredients with our step-by-step guide ..

Our series continues with some flavorsome additions

We’ve given ourselves a 90-minute time frame for scheduling the cooking into a ‘Brussels away match’ with quarter-time, half-time and three-quarter-time sequenced activities – and even allowed ourselves 10 mins extra time for penalties!

Showing you how to bake your vegies rather than boil them to death!

 

Continued ..

Tips for midnight fridge-raiders .. keep a plate of roast veges under cling-film in the fridge – this will stop them drying-out

Continued ..

continued ..

continued ..

continued ..

Dyno-sprouts on the vine can be twice as big as their smaller relatives served-up in-the-bag .. the final reckoning is to cut them in half so they will cook within the 45 minute time-frame allotted – without requiring extra-time!

 

Final stages – finishing touches

Review and feedback

Stop Press!

Cottingham.tv is  getting noticed! Step into the Adventure this Christmas with Sky Movies!

Nick