Life’s Little Joys

I think it’s very important to pay close attention to the things that make you smile, each and every day. The little things. You life will be infinitely better if you do.

For example: I no longer work in East Acton. This is one of those things that’s continually brought home to me, and always makes me smile. Today, it was brought home to me because I have just eaten a sausage roll for lunch.

Were I in East Acton, this would have been a Greggs special, made from lips and eyes and genital parts. Grey, and rubbery and flavourless, encased in pastry made from salt and lard.

But I am in Battersea and the local sandwich shop sells sausage rolls that are sourced from a particular farm, and made with real meat taken from lovely, lovely Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. I half-suspect that if I had pressed him, the owner might have been able to tell me the name of the specific pig whose fleshy parts I have just had for lunch. It was spicy and meaty, and the pastry was perfect. Hurrah.

So, now I have a new thing to be happy about.

What has life brought you today to make you smile?

This evening, I have made myself steak sandwiches, on ciabatta with mixed leaves mozzarella, sundried tomatoes and a little balsamic vinegar, drunk a bottle of pretty reasonable quality french red wine, and am now sipping an oak-aged Macallan single malt. What would make the night complete is a really good cigar, but one can’t have everything.

I assure you that at some point, I will stop taking about food and drink. Possibly when I’m dead.

At some point, I must bore those of you who haven’t seen Boston Legal by going on about how great it is at length. It’s not the first season of the West Wing, or anything, but it’s probably the best TV I’m currently watching, if only by virtue of the fact that it’s a bit less formulaic than House. Which, love it though I do, is just about the most formulaic show (that I’m willing to watch) on telly.

In the meantime: “Denny Crane! Trix are for kids!”

Pour Him Over Ice Cream For A Nice Parfait

This evening, I spent two hours eating chocolate.

OK, maybe not quite. But I spent two and half hours learning about chocolate, and there was tasting involved. Because zoo_music_girl and I were at a tasting at my favourite chocolate shop in London (and therefore, the world) L’Artisan Du Chocolat, run by the man behind the chocolate, Gerard Coleman.

I’m talking about food here, so obviously, I’m going to go on a bit…

The Fat Duck

It’s a bit of a mission, getting there and back. Forty minutes by train from Paddington, then queuing for fifteen minutes to get a five minute taxi ride, then doing the reverse at the end of the meal, to get back into London and then spend an hour and half on night busses to get home. For those keeping score, that’s about three hours forty minutes of travelling, total.

That’s OK. It took us a bit over five hours to eat the meal (which is, in many respects, the best way to think about the prices, but more about that later), and there were no pauses of longer than a couple of minutes between courses.

But, having told you that it took five hours to eat, you should be duly warned that this is going to be a very, very long entry. Strap in. And no slacking. There will be questions at the end.

How we won at food.