That has got to be the understatement of the year and, to be honest, it is not so much technical problems but extreme technical incompetence. Apparantly it takes over two months for BT to set up Option 1 broadband. This morning, after spending two hours on the phone to their technical support ‘gurus’, I was told that actually no one had a clue what was going on with my internet and I would be offline until at least November the 4th.
Somewhere in India, there are two helpdesk people, sitting, shaking, and possibly crying underneath their desks. I have given up my policy of not blogging from my workplace and have come into school to write a post even though it is half term.
Other than lack of technology and blogging equipment (I also had no desktop, no photo software and my camera card reader got lost somewhere in my move) things are pretty sweet in West London. I found a flat which is essentially a large kitchen with attached sleeping area. It has an ancient rickety gas cooker, which has already caused me several burns, but, hey, at least it’s gas! The freezer is on the barely existing side, but to make up for it I have a big pink sofa. Yay!
Now that I’m back, I’m quite convinced that my irritation at living on the Islington-Hackney border was not just a case of the grass being greener. I am so happy to be back in Hammersmith. My flat is within 10 minutes walk of at least eight nice but affordable restaurants and at least two nice but more expensive restaurants. Roll on payday! A five minute detour on my way home from work takes me to what must be the best butcher in London. The supermarkets are decent. True, a floor assistant responded to my request for black pudding by taking me to the chilled dessert section, but I found brawn in the bargain bin! ! Woohoo! I also have a supply of interesting ingredients from Shepherds Bush market and a load of expensive but bizarre things to gawp at in Wholefoods.
The new job seems very promising too….. but more on that later.
I’ve been spoiling myself this month, eating and drinking far too much. This has had the effect that I am skint, yet again, until I get paid on Friday. To avoid this happening next month, I am using the fact I can’t visit my butcher on Sundays to force myself to eat more vegetarian food. Last Sunday I didn’t need much convincing. After a heavy weekend I go off the idea of meat and start craving grains and other healthy foods. I used the opportunity to make myself a few portions of a nourishing meal that would freeze well, just in case work gets more demanding as we head towards mid winter.
4 Bean Chilli
- 1 can each ready to use kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, chickpeas
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes (or 800g fresh, peeled and chopped)
- 2 medium/small onions onions, minced
- 6 small cloves garlic, minced
- vegetable oil to fry
- cayenne peper- 2-3 teaspoons
- paprika- 2-3 teaspoons
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- frehly ground cumin- about a teaspoon
- freshly ground coriander seed- a teaspoon
- a small bunch of coriander
- 3 red peppers, cored, deseeded, chopped into small pieces
- beef stock- around 500ml
- a good shake of tabasco (optional)
- Tortillas to serve with soured cream and grated manchego (or mild cheddar) cheese and possibly a nice green salad.
- Put the onion and garlic in a large saucepan and fry gently in the olive oil.
- Chop the coriander stem finely- about a handful would be good- throw this into the pan with the spices.
- When the onion is soft, add the red pepper and allow to sweat, pan covered, for a couple of minutes.
- Stir in the beans and tomatoes. Add the tomato puree and stock and stir well
- Let the mixture simmer, covered, for half an hour, stirring occasionally.
- Uncover, take off the lid and allow to bubble down to a thick sauce consistency..
- Taste, adjust spicing if you like and if you’re that way inclined, add a shake of tabasco.
- Just before serving, stir in a couple of handfuls of chopped coriander leaf.
- Serve on flour tortillas with a big dollop of sour cream, grated machego cheese, some more chopped coriander to garnish and a simply dressed green salad.
I have missed blogging a lot. Now I’ve started my new job, I should have time to write a couple of times a week so hopefully, as soon as I have a net connection I’ll be back for good and I may even be able to let you see what the kids here have been cooking in our after school club. Wish me luck!