The Magic Of Twixmas

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Though Christmas is over
Remain in good cheer
For there’s plenty of food
To see us through to New Year

There are chocolates aplenty
A variety of cake
There are mince pies and stollen
(That I didn’t bake)

So much leftover turkey
Of that there’s no doubt
(But alas linger on
Some uneaten sprouts)

There are crisps and cashew nuts
And some more bombay mix
And to wash it all down
A glass of Rioja (or six)

So eat, drink and be merry
Without getting fatter
For until January
Calories do not matter

An Awkward Encounter at the Deli Counter

James Proclaims (4)

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Saturday lunchtimes are often a conundrum for Mrs Proclaims and I. Most meal times are pretty regulated these days due to a highly efficient grocery-shopping schedule.

(That’s right I’ve opened a post with the phrase ‘highly efficient grocery-shopping schedule’. This one’s going to be roller coaster of a post…)

Essentially we get our groceries delivered every Sunday and Wednesday by a major supermarket. We do this because neither of us can be trusted to actually go to the supermarket and restrict ourselves to purchasing the stuff we need. Very often other stuff finds its way into the trolley. Stuff that is bad for us. Continue reading An Awkward Encounter at the Deli Counter

Going Cold Turkey On The Cold Turkey

James Proclaims (4)

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The trouble with ‘Twixmas’, the period between Christmas and New Year, is it’s pretty hard to judge exactly how to play things ‘health wise’.

In many households there are still quite a lot of leftovers that ‘need’ to be eaten.

Cold turkey would be a case in point. Turkey sandwiches for days after Christmas is a tradition that I’ve always enjoyed.

Although it is a ‘Twixmas’ pleasure that I’ve actually given up in the name of love. Mrs Proclaims is a pescatarian (which is someone who doesn’t eat meat but does eat fish). So (even though I don’t really get it – why has a turkey got more right to live than a tuna?) I’ve also kind of become a pescatarian of sorts. I still eat meat on occasion but when I’m cooking for both of us I tend to cook vegetarian food or fish. I like fish so it’s really no hardship. For Christmas dinner I cooked a side of salmon rather than a turkey. A whole turkey for just for me seemed excessive and a properly cooked side of salmon is quite the festive treat. It was still too much for two people so there are still lots of leftovers – it’s just that I find myself eating a lot of cold salmon rather than cold turkey. Continue reading Going Cold Turkey On The Cold Turkey

‘Re-toxing’ on Boxing Day

James Proclaims (4)

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As I acknowledged in last year’s Boxing Day post, the day after Christmas has nothing to do with pugilism.

Nonetheless, this morning I woke up feeling like I’d done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime.

Obviously I hadn’t done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime.

For that to have happened either I or ‘young Mike Tyson’ would’ve had to have had access to a time machine and either I travelled to then or he to now and then we’d have had to have had a boxing match, in which I would’ve needed to last longer than many a top professional boxer of that era ever managed.

There are so many reasons that that couldn’t have happened. Indeed, if I’m brutally honest, I did not wake up feeling like I’d done twelve rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime and the fact that I woke up at all is proof enough of that.

No, the allusion to Mike Tyson was a metaphor and a dated one at that. Mostly because I wanted to crowbar something about boxing into this post and, even though he hasn’t really been a top level boxer for a very long time, it’s pretty hard to think of a ‘household’ name from the current era that’s as evocative as Mike Tyson.

It matters not. Continue reading ‘Re-toxing’ on Boxing Day

The Second Annual Christmas Message from James Proclaims

James Proclaims (4)

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As Noddy Holder off of Slade shouts whenever anyone cares to listen:

IT’S CHRISTMAS!

Noddy likes Christmas and if I’d written and performed one of the most successful Christmas songs of all time I’d like Christmas too.

In point of fact I have not written and performed one of the most successful Christmas songs of all time and I don’t expect I ever will. I’m going to have to find another way to ensure the festive season brings with it a massive annual royalty cheque.

But I still like Christmas and today is Christmas.

Well as I’m writing this it’s Christmas Eve. Like last year’s Christmas message, I’m writing it in advance so as to allow more time for the excessive consumption of unhealthy food on the big day and like last year I’ve schedule this post to go ‘live’ at the same time the Queen makes her annual speech to the nation.

Last year Her Madge didn’t seem too perturbed by the fact I was going head-to-head with her, but then, like me, she ‘pre-recorded’ her message in advance. I have not seen or spoken to our Head of State in person since last Christmas (or indeed ever) so I’ve no idea if she’s upset by my efforts to usurp her annual message but I can only imagine that she’s seething with rage. Continue reading The Second Annual Christmas Message from James Proclaims

James Complains About Healthy Eating

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Much as it pains me to admit it, I’m already too old to ‘live fast and die young’. It’s no longer a goal I can achieve. So instead I’ve decided to ‘live at a moderate pace and die quite old’.

In order to ensure that happens I’m going to start making sensible choices about my lifestyle.

I already do a reasonable amount of exercise. I’m no fitness fanatic. I certainly don’t live by the motto ‘no pain no gain’. In my humble opinion there is much to be gained from experiencing no pain. Continue reading James Complains About Healthy Eating

Dinner Time

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Janice cut the chicken into strips and tossed them into the frying pan, along with the onions and peppers she had prepared earlier. Adding a little sauce, she stir- fried her composition for a few minutes, singing along to compilation of late-eighties pop acts that were the mainstay of her decade-old MP3 player. The kitchen was not her most natural environment, but, on reflection, she realised that this cooking malarkey wasn’t all that hard.

The family’s usual chef, Pete, was upstairs repairing the broken drawer, a task he was neither enthusiastic about, nor particularly skilled at, but he was ‘damn well not going to fork out another hundred quid’ for a replacement unit. Continue reading Dinner Time

A Christmas Message From James Proclaims

James Proclaims (4)

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‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a creature was stirring…

Except for an overweight bloke, dressed in red and filling a stocking full of presents.

No, not Father Christmas, but me. I’m not dressed entirely in red, but I am wearing a red top. It’s a replica of the rugby shirt as worn by the British and Irish Lions test team that narrowly lost the 2009 tour to South Africa. I’m wearing it because it’s comfortable. Continue reading A Christmas Message From James Proclaims

Other Yeast Extracts Are Available

James Proclaims (4)

I just enjoyed two slices of Marmite on toast.

It was a thoroughly pleasant late evening snack, which should  help me persevere with some of the tasks I need to complete before I head off to the Land of Nod.

The Land of Nod is not an actual place. It is a metaphor for being asleep.

I wish it was an actual place.

But I digress. Continue reading Other Yeast Extracts Are Available

Superfluous Spice

James Proclaims (4)

My other half occasionally claims to be a vegetarian. She knows that she isn’t really, she’s actually a pescetarian but people find it easier to understand vegetarian. For some reason it’s more difficult to accept someone not eating meat if the person in question is perfectly happy to eat fish. Not that my beloved explains her motivations particularly well for her choice of diet.

“It’s because I don’t really identify with fish,” is the justification she offers.

But she’s not exactly on first name terms with any cows that I’m aware of.

Anyway, she’s pescetarian, which pretty much makes me pescetarian, but  “I do love a tasty burger!”  to quote Samuel L Jackson ‘s character, Jules, in Pulp Fiction when he is bemoaning  a similar restriction in diet (although his girlfriend is an actual vegetarian).

Well I like offal of any kind really.

I still get my fair share of processed meat so frankly being married to my wife, and the consequent dietary restrictions, has probably benefited my health quite significantly.

And I like fish anyway so it’s really not a problem.

Recently though, we decided it would be prudent to lower our weekly shopping bill, and with that in mind we’ve even cut out the sea food and gone purely vegetarian on certain days of the week. I’ve been making lots of meals in bulk and freezing them. It’s really economical and I can knock up a batch of evening meals that will last a fortnight in about an hour, so it’s not too labour-intensive.

I tend to make four different things, which we then eat in rotation. They are:

A root vegetable soup

A ‘chicken’ curry

Bolognaise

Chilli con carne.

The last three sound like meat dishes but I use that meat substitute ‘Quorn’  instead. It’s not as nice as actual meat, but it’s cheaper, allegedly healthier (I remain unconvinced on this point, but if it’s good enough for Mo Farah it’s good enough for me) and by the time it’s marinated in the sauce it’s convincing enough for a work night meal.

Anyway I’ve been employing this economical and convenient solution to the evening meal for a few months to great effect. I’ve noticed significant weekly savings, which we then blow on takeaways on the weekend (you can’t be good all of the time).

But I encountered a problem with the last batch I made. I use chilli in all of the meals bar the bolognaise. Normally I use frozen chillies, which are conveniently pre-chopped. They bring a cheeky zing to the meals. But in the middle of my producing my last consignment, I realised, too late, that I’d run out, so I nipped to the nearest convenience store and they had neither fresh, nor frozen chilli peppers, but they did have chilli powder. I had a choice between normal chilli powder and ‘hot’ chilli powder.  As both of us like a bit of kick to our curry, I went for the hot one. And applied it liberally to the soup, the curry and the chilli con carne.

I misjudged this slightly.

It’s been a challenging fortnight.

But despite some of the meals being borderline inedible, we’ve persevered with stiff upper lips.

Waste not, want not…

Buffet Bliss

James Proclaims (4)

If you ask me what my favourite food is, on any given day I would probably give you a different answer. It’s really down to what mood I’m in at that particular moment.

I’m not really that discerning. The French would definitely not describe me as a gourmet (dictionary definition – a person who cultivates a discriminating palate for the enjoyment of good food and drink), they would more likely classify me as a gourmand (dictionary definition – one who is fond of good eating, often to excess).

Like all gourmands, I particularly enjoy accessing my food through the medium of buffet. I love a good buffet, because you get to have a bit of everything.

Or in my case, a lot of everything.

My mum lays on a good buffet. When I was younger, she always made wait until all the other guests had had an opportunity to get to the table first. She knew my plate-loading capabilities. I like to think I show a little more restraint nowadays. I’m probably deluding myself.

I attended a family gathering with an excellent buffet today. There was plenty of food to go around, arguably too much as there was no shortage of leftovers at the end.

It’s always a sign of a well stocked buffet, when even I am unable to make much of a dent.

But I gave it a good go.

Glorious Gluttony

James Proclaims (4)

I went to the pub last night. I didn’t drink that much, but I ended up being a tiny bit drunk. Certainly I was drunk enough that when I went to the chip shop on the way home I bought a significantly larger amount of food than I would have had I not been imbibing alcohol.

Normally my other half and I split a large portion of fish and chips between us and it’s more than enough. Last night I bought a portion of fish and chips for my wife and a pie and chips for me and then I stole half of hers, which she was very good about (probably because unlike me, she wasn’t in the least bit inebriated).

Despite having her portion significantly diminished, my beloved managed to leave quite a lot on her plate, whereas I scoffed all of mine, which left me feeling a little bit ill. But it was really hard, in spite of this, for me not to then finish off all that she had left.

At this point I was almost turning green, but, alas, I had not just stopped at the chip shop, I had also popped into the Co-op, and bought a profiterole based dessert, which was clearly not needed.

But even though it would have kept for a few days if left unopened in the fridge, I insisted we have it (at this point I realise I may have been a little more intoxicated than I had first suspected). To be fair my spouse held her own for this course. Nonetheless 50% of what was quite a large chocolate and cream based pudding was enough to leave me virtually immobile.

I had just enough energy to stumble up the stairs to bed whereupon I collapsed in a gratified heap and slept it off.

So it was something of a surprise when I woke up this morning, not with a hangover, but a perplexingly empty stomach.