Saturday 14 January 2023

The Saturday List #392 - My top ten minor indulgences

This week, my missus booked up an overnight break for us at Champneys health spa in Tring. As I don't drink for the first two weeks in January, this seemed a well timed break. It is her idea of being pampered. We splashed out and had massages and I spent most of the time readin the autobiography of Patrick MaGoohan. 

It was a real indulgence for me to have time just to read. I only ever read books on holidays and breaks, I simply don't get the chance to concentrate for long enough usually. It got me thinking, what are my top ten indulgences. When I want to treat or pamper myself, what do I do?

1. Listen to my Wire playlist in the bath. Every Thursday, apart from the first of the month when our football squad has a beer, I have a bath after 5 a side football, where I listen to my custom made Wire playlist. It is wonderful. Occasionally I listen to another list, but Wire seem just right for a bath and it is just the right length. 

2. Lying in bed every morning with a cup of tea, reading The Guardian and The Daily Express. I don't know how my wife puts up with me. Every morning, she brings me a cuppa and the papers. You may be surprised at my choice of papers, but these give me a degree of balance. Much as I dislike the political tone of the Express, it helps give me perspective. As the Mail is owned by people who backed Hitler, which my Dad would not line the cat's litter tray with and I despise the way the Sun lied about Hillsborough, if I want some right wing tabloid perspective, it's the only choice. TBH The Guardian has become almost unreadable over the last few years and seems to have got rid of all it's best writers apart from John Crace. It sets me up very well. 

3. Lying on a lounger on a summers afternoon, having a craft beer. As it is raining buckets, I can only dream of this. During lockdown, I did a lot of this. Our garden catches the afternoon sun and despite the  noise of the M1, it is glorious in the sun.

4.  Reading 2000AD comic. Back when it started and I was a teenager, I started buying the comic 2000AD, featuring Judge Dredd. I still read it. It is hilarious and at time thought provoking. So many of it's stories of the future of society have come true. Drone Surveillance, Hipsters, Banksy/Streetart, and even Donald Trump (AKA President Robert Booth)

5. Pasties De Nata (AKA Portuguese Custard Tarts). I don't have a sweet tooth. I only really buy chocolate bars if I have a cold or the flu (It's how I know I am getting ill). When we eat out, the only puddings I ever go for is apple pie and custard. I can't stand gunge and I generally avoid dairy (apart from Custard). But a few years ago we visited Lisbon, and I discovered Pasties De Nata. They are wonderful. Both M&S and Joice Cafe in Mill Hill sell them, and they are good, but still warm in Lisbon, they are divine.

6. Xmas Morning. This is the one time, as I prepare the dinner, that I insist the whole family listens to my punk rock vinyl collection at full volume. This gives me the energy to peel the spuds and do the dinner. As soon as the first guests arrive, Clare takes charge of the music, but that makes me look for ward to getting up early and do the work.

7. The Friday Night Curry. I love a good curry at The Mill Hill Tandoori, with a couple of Kingfisher beers. I don't eat meat on a Friday (I'm not very good at being a Roman Catholic, so I try and observe  the meat free Friday tradition, to get a few brownie points with the big fella. It is also quite good as it makes me try other foods. The Tandoori Salmon is amazing, I'd probably never have tried it if it wasn't for my meat free friday rule. As it is, it is possib ly my favourite Indian dish.

8. The Sunday Roast. This is a big indulgence for me. I love cooking a good roast dinner. I love experimenting, trying to make things taste better. I always try and get the best ingredients, work out the best way of cooking them, pickimng up tips, refining and improving. I think I've got beef and chicken more or less perfect. My roast spuds are also pretty damn good, as is my roast cauliflower and roast mushrooms (we have vegetarians in the house. Still got to get the perfect recepie for roast parsnips, which are best slightly burned. My mission this year is to make the perfect gravy. I've got that for Xmas dinner, with the gizzards, but I for the beef, a bit more work is required.

9. The Saturday morning fry up. I love a good fry up. We are lucky in Mill Hill that Gerards butchers do wonderful bacon and sausages. When I started eating meat again, in 2000, I vowed to only eat good quality, organic meat that was produced to humane standards and was locally sourced. Luckily Gerard can tick these boxes.

10. A good Jazz lunch at Ronnie Scotts. Soho is best in the day. I start with a beer and a Pasties De Nata at Bar Italia, have the Sunday Roast, then we have a few beers after, being home by 7pm. Wonderful! Try it!

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