Esther McVey is the new work and pensions secretary. What next? Atilla the Hun as minister for defence? Let’s have Farage in to deal with the homeless. You can just imagine it; he’ll fly around the country visiting doorways and underpasses:
“Get yourselves a bloody job you lazy bastards. This country has barriers to build. We’re busy enough keeping out the foreign scroungers to be bothered with stinking unwashed scumbags like you. If you don’t find work I’ll set fire to your piss stained cardboard boxes.”
Here are sme facts about our new ministerial glamour puss:
- Consistently voted against raising welfare benefits at least in line with prices
- Consistently voted against paying higher benefits over longer periods for those unable to work due to illness or disability
- Consistently voted for a reduction in spending on welfare benefits
She said it was good that people were going to food banks. As for benefit sanctions:
Comparing claimants to badly behaved school pupils, Ms McVey, in her role as employment minister, defended the sanctions system for people who fail to attend a meeting with an adviser in a 2013 meeting with the Work and Pensions Committee.
“What does a teacher do in a school? A teacher would tell you off or give you lines or whatever it is, detentions, but at the same times they are wanting your best interests at heart,” she said.
“They are teaching you, they are educating you but at the same time they will also have the ability to sanction you.”
She claims to be looking to the future. How can you look to the future with such archaic assumptions? Disability is obviously a weakness which should be punished. And if you are mentally ill?
“Snap out of it you weak minded little turd. You deserve a jolly good beating. Why should the wonderful Daily Mail, Express and sun (et al) readers be expected to be taxed to support neurotic work-shy non-entities like you?”
Sounds a bit too much like our lovely Nigel but I know this is an attitude festering under the surface of millions of short-sighted bigots. I’m not saying all readers of these papers hide this dark silent desire in their thinly disguised elitist closets but I am aware of a general body of thought in and around these publications.
My assumtions may be a trifle exaggerated but I know a trend when I see one. Look how so many people on social media go off on one without knowing the full facts. Why do you think comprehension is taught in schools? Like many who question the use of maths in later life, I feel like some of my time has been wasted. Heaven help us.
Thank you for reading.
Not my usual sort of blog but I know people, including myself who crave this food. Here is Ching-He Huang’s recipe from the BBC food website. If they want to do me for copyright infringement I will plead insanity.
- 1 tbsp groundnut oil, plus extra for deep-frying
- 200g/7oz skinless chicken breast fillets, chopped into small pea-sized pieces
- 4 dried Chinese mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, drained and finely chopped
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tbsp five-spice powder
- 1 tsp grated fresh root ginger
- 75g/3oz beansprouts
- 2 large spring onions, finely sliced lengthways
- 1 small carrot, julienned
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- ½ tbsp light soy sauce
- sea salt and ground white pepper
- 16 ready-made large spring roll wrappers, thawed if frozen (available from Asian supermarkets)
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
Today I took out a pork leg out of the freezer. It was half of a huge joint I’d bought from some on line butchers. They’re called Heartier. (Look them up; good value.) After trimming off the rind and the bigger bits of fat, I diced it up and took a third for my dinner. It was so easy and so tasty. It was marinated for an hour in gochujang (Korean fermented chilli paste; good old Amazon), tomato puree, soy, red wine vinegar, pepper and sliced apple. It was cooked with chopped onions, garlic and ginger. It rocked. Sorry, no photo; reader, I ate it.
It left me thinking about my lifetime love of home-made food. My earliest memory is of a pan of scouse. You could call it hot pot but to me it was scouse. Neck end of lamb, onions, carrots with thinly sliced potatoes and water had been left in the oven all day. Even the bones were soft enough to eat.
From that time, I began to know food as an occasion of great comfort and social interaction. We’d be at the table, talking about the day and of the things we looked forward to. It was Fazakerley, my nan’s council house and a time of great adventure. The estate was surrounded by fields and woods. After running a pub, Mum and Dad were starting day jobs. They were saving to buy a house. We were going to be a family.
Fifty four years on I’m proud of our family. We’ve been through so much shit. But here we are, still together and laughing. (Miss you Mum) Mum was so good in the kitchen. How did she do it? She was working, giving us breakfast and tea, doing the washing, the ironing and keeping the house clean.
Monday was shepherds’ pie. Tuesday could be fish fingers. Wednesday was heart csserole; I stll make it now. That was an all day in the oven job. It was no good being sqeamish about the cheaper cuts. It was eat or starve. There could be liver and onions, steak and kidney pudding or sausage and mash. Mum would do sausage and mash with tinned tomatoes. (Inspirational).
The sunday roasts were epic. This was basic food cooked with love. Of course there were treats. In addition to the delicious conveniences of Angel Delight, Chiver’s Jelly and blancmange there were the Saturday afternoon steamed puddings. Oh yes! But Mum’s apple pie was just sensational. I can make apple pie and stuff which may be equally delicious but Mum did it with her special touch.
One of my real favourites would appear sometime just after Christmas. Turkey curry. It was soft, sweet and delicious. When I was a grown up, (yes, it happened) I used to ask Mum how she managed to make such wonderful food. She was very matter of fact:
“Oh I do this then just stick it in the oven.” I have tried for years to match her roast potatoes. My roasties are good but they will never reach the heights of the crispy outsides and soft creamy insides. Many TV chefs will crow about their “perfect roasties”. I’ve tried them all but they still fall short. But I think I’ve managed it on the pastry front. Those apple pies were packed with delicious sweet chunky fruit in the thinnest, crumbliest pastry.
I can do pastry now but it’s taken years of subtle questioning to discover the secrets. I’m sure she’d love it if she could taste it now.
In 1969 Mum threw the chip pan out. The health police had entered 28 Kenilworth. We switched to boiled potatoes. I lke potatoes. Our teas had more gravy. It was that lovely sensation when the meat and veg had gone:
I’d mash the soft white spuds into the gravy and luxuriate over the residual meaty flavour in an ocean of toothsome carbohydrate.
The Monday night shepherds’ pie was the most enduring tea. We were still gobbling it down in the eighties. But the eighties were lean years. Thatcher’s Britain was pulverising our community with the stark grey hammer of poverty.
Meat was scarce. But every saturday morning, Mum produced he best ever riposte to the sneering hobnail jackboots of Thatcher’s tyrants. From almost nothing, she produced the best ever soup. It was fashioned in the pressure cooker with spare bacon ribs and barley. it was filling and nutritious. Every spoonful put two fingers up to the government intent on breaking the spirit of the terraced dwellers.
“They could take away our jobs and livlihoods but they never took away my mum’s soup!”
(That was shouted from the roof of the flats in a William Wallace accent. The drunken couple down below looked momentarily confused before continuing on with their staggering gait in the company of two rancid kebabs.) I thank Mum and Dad for my food enthusiasm. Mum was a miracle worker whilst Dad showed me that the male of the species was capable as well. But they never told me about the washing up!
Oh well, I’ve got a machine to do that now.