Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Loyd Grossman Carrot & Coriander Soup/Sicilian Style Tomato & Chilli with Pine Nuts & Raisins

Last time I reviewed a Loyd Grossman product I spoke about his tenure as Through The Keyhole presenter. He was also famous for presenting Masterchef from 1990 to 2000. Hands up though, I don't feel I remember it sufficiently. However, I am familiar with the current 'Goes Large'-era, so much so that I applied to go on the new series of Celebrity MasterChef*. I have to say I was flabbergasted when they turned me down. I'm a much loved blogger, hits on five continents, I said, waving Google Analytics data in their faces. New Zealand! Egypt! Vietnam! VIETNAM! They were having none of it. It's a shame, as here's what they missed out on. BLOGGING DOESN'T GET TOUGHER THAN THIS!

India Fisher: Ed has been sat on his backside for six hours.

John Torode: What are your three dishes, Ed?

Me: I'm doing Loyd Grossman Carrot and Coriander soup with a bread roll for starters followed by pasta with Loyd Grossman Sicilian Style Tomato & Chilli with Pine Nuts & Raisin pasta sauce.

Gregg Wallace: And for dessert?

Me: Based on my survey of Sainsbury's, that's an area of the market seemingly untapped by Loyd, so I'm making nothing.

Gregg: We know Ed's a celebrated blogger. He's got a lot of taste sensations to work with. Can he make them conspire to pleasure us?

John: I like a good Carrot & Coriander soup, I like a good bread roll. But together? I'm not sure it's a combination that can work.

Gregg: What about the pasta main course? Last time Ed let Loyd down with his presentation. Will he do it again?

John: I like paaaahhsta, I like paaaahhsta stauce. But together? I'm not sure it's a combination that can work.

Gregg: No dessert? It's a risk, a big, big risk.

John: How many times have we seen no dessert on this show? And how many times is it done badly? Can Ed do it right?

Me: I really want to cook them some food, and then for them to eat it, and tell me about it. If I can do that all while offering some bland soundbites, then I can go home happy.

John: Times up, guys.

India Fisher: For a starter, Ed has prepared Loyd Grossman Carrot and Coriander soup with a bread roll.


John: The spice of the coriander contrasts with the sweetness of the carrot, and then you've got the bread roll which helps soak up some of the soup. I'm really surprised it works.

India Fisher: His main course is pasta with Loyd Grossman Sicilian Style Tomato & Chilli with Pine Nuts & Raisin pasta sauce.


John: You get the solidness of the paaaahhsta contrasting with the wetness of the paaaahhsta sauce. I'm really surprised it works.

Nadia Sawalha: You've cooked the pasta really really really well.

Me: Don't patronise me, this isn't Junior MasterChef.

Loyd Grossman: I like how juicy sun ripe tomatoes and fiery chillies are complemented by the pine nuts and raisins in this sauce.

Me: Too bloody right you do, Loyd. It says so on the jar.

Gregg: It does look like it's just been slopped on the plate though. Once again you've been let down by your presentation.

India Fisher: His dessert is nothing.


John: The paucity of anything contrasts badly with the dearth of something. I could have done with at least a sorbet to cleanse the palate.

Gregg: We've made our decision....

John: The winner is.....

Gregg: Former soap star.

John: Ed, ageing popstar, British athlete who once placed 6th in an Olympic final, I'm afraid you're going home.


To be honest, the chillis made the pasta sauce a little too fiery for my liking.

Loyd Grossman: 8/10
Carrot & Coriander Soup: 7.5/10, Sicilian Style Tomato & Chilli: 5.5/10, Average: 6.5/10
Total: 14.5/20

*I may or may not be making this up.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Victoria Pendleton, Hovis Wholemeal Bread

Just like previous COP reviewee Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton is a cyclist, but unlike Hoy, she is more than a cyclist, she is a hot cyclist. This is news to the world, which had long thought that women only take part in athletics and tennis. In fact, if Vicky were a tennis player, she'd be featured on I know, that sounds like a blog I've made up for the purposes of a joke, but click the link and, lo and behold, you'll see it isn't. You'll also see that their criteria for hot female tennis players seems to be 'female' and 'plays tennis', but I suppose if, like Douglas Quaid in Total Recall, your preference is for athletic women, then all female tennis players are hot. Due to Britain's lack of elite female tennis players, us shallow male sports fans have to be thankful for the likes of Pendleton and heptathlete Kelly Sotherton, who is attractive in spite of because of her navel deficit.

Anyway I better derail this post's journey into my latent sexism. I felt sorry for Pendleton when she only got one gold medal in Beijing. Just the one. Poor her. Had she won that gold in Atlanta, she'd have received an instant damehood, but in Beijing her gold got lost among our glut of them while three golds meant Hoy emerged as a great British Olympian (Goodbye Chris, Hello Sir Chris!). Given that they ride in the same disciplines, Pendleton should have won three as well, but only one of those was an Olympic event for women. Thankfully parity will be achieved in 2012, though unfortunately at the expense of some men's disciplines. Why this needs to be done eludes me when there are seemingly countless distances for each discipline in swimming (Hey! The guy who's best at swimming the individual medley over 200m is the best at swimming the individual medlery over 400m! What a coincidence!) Furthermore, the relative paucity of cycling events makes no sense at all given that bikes are rad, as any German-speaker will tell you.

Victoria's success perplexes me to some extent. I mean, look at the thighs on the Dutch girl! She'll never beat her.....she'll never beat her.....oh she has done.

As part of this promotion, Hovis dressed Victoria up as Holly Golightly from Breakfast At Tiffany's, I guess because they're playing on the 'Breakfast' bit even though Audrey Hepburn always looked like she'd skipped a fair few (unless I'm much mistaken and it's actually a reference to Deep Blue Something).

Over at the Hovis website Victoria (read: someone else) gives us a bunch of breakfast recipes running the gamut from stuff on toast to this 'n' that on toast to thingamajig surprise (spoiler alert: the surprise is toast). Her favourite recipe is peanut butter and banana on toast, a combination which has proven dangerously divisive amongst some of my friends. It's not one that I'm particularly in favour of either, given that I'm probably allergic to bananas. I say 'probably' as it's not like I'm in the habit of eating bananas by the bunchload just to confirm this.

Anyway, bread, bread, what is there to be said about bread? When I was younger and we had picnics as a family, I would have peanut butter sandwiches on wholemeal bread, and I'm pretty sure I wasn't allowed a drink until after I'd finished them, which is enough to instil Arachibutyrophobia in anyone. In hindsight I figure this was partly down to the bread being the bog standard Safeway brand (scrimping on bread is a small price to pay if it goes a little way towards meaning you can go to Disney World). Fortunately, now I don't have this problem, partly because Safeway got gobbled up by Morrison's (I guess their way of business was not sufficiently safe), but mainly because I can have as much water as I want, and as a result my peanut butter sandwiches with Hovis bread go down pretty well.

Victoria Pendleton: 7/10
Hovis Wholemeal Bread: 7.5/10
Total: 14.5/20