Sunday, 24 November 2013

Restaurant Review: Al Baik, Newcastle upon Tyne

I've held the view for quite some time now that Lebanese is one of the premier pre-piss up cuisines. The conviviality of shared mezze starters, the light and zingy flavours and the wilful contrariness of starting your evening off with a kebab are all very much in its favour in this regard. And anyone who doesn't enjoy scooping up mounds of silky smooth hummus with those airily light breads you get at the start of the meal is sadly defective in a quite significant way. There was no piss-up happening when we visited Al Baik recently to celebrate a family birthday, but I was looking forward to it nonetheless, not least as there had been furtive whisperings that we might take on the "Super Al Baik Special Mixed Grill", of which more later...

Branching Out

A tree, in a car, today. Fancy that!
Just back from the plot, which, if things continue apace, is going to have to be referred to in future as the orchard. You see we've expanded our fruit tree empire by 100%, adding an apple to the plum that we planted a couple of weeks ago. Heady times. In so doing we've also rediscovered (we had been once before, but then sort of forgot where it was) a genuinely excellent garden centre. Cowell's, near Woolsington, had an impressively comprehensive range of all manner of fruit trees and were able to dispense some really useful advice about planting them. Never again, Homebase.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Reaping the Remaining Wintery Roots

As I type these words the rain is teeming down outside against a darkened backdrop of utter gloom. In the "news", that fine upholder of the British tradition of talking complete toss to anyone within earshot that is The Daily Express is predicting apocalyptic scenes of snow-laden Armageddon. That's right people, winter's here.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Late Season Gardening in Slow Motion

A suitably crisp autumnal day off work, and the first visit to the plot in nearly a month. If we were still in the midst of summer, I'd have been full of guilty trepidation at the prospect of the weed-fest our neglect would have dealt us. At this time of year however growth has slowed down to comparative slow motion which, after the frantic dash of the high season, comes as something of a relief and allows you the pleasure of just wandering round a bit and realising that things are much as you had left them. With a couple of notable exceptions.
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