Food Geekery

TV election debates create ‘plausible tarts’, warns historian

Peter Hennessy said that he had “grave reservations” about the broadcasting of the leadership debates, which took place in Britain for the first time before the 2010 ­general election.

Warning that they meant future leaders would be selected for being “plausible tarts” rather than simply “decent”, he said a culture of “celebritocracy” could blight politics.

Lord Hennessy, a cross-bench peer, added that Clement Attlee, the post-war Labour prime minister, would never be elected today because his “considerable virtues” would be eclipsed by his “charisma and presence of a gerbil”.

“The problem with the debates is that the structure of them, the nature of the celebrity in Britain in parts of the media these days, mean that to shine in leadership debates before a general election, you need the characteristics of a plausible tart,” he said.

“Now, being a plausible tart is about 10 per cent of the requirement of being prime minister — no more. It’s not the most important bit.

“My fear is that we’ll be stuck with these leadership elections and when parties choose leaders in the future, the plausible tart bit will play too powerfully in their choice of leader and therefore rule out the decent but non-tarty people.”

“They’re only happy in their own company.

Speaking of the perils of 24-hour news, Lord Hennessy also criticised the habit of parties to rush into responses and “collapse in tittishness” by posting reactions to everything on Twitter.

“The cumulative power of celebritocracy and soundbitery means that it’s an ever narrower spectrum in which you operate,” he said.

“Clement Attlee wouldn’t get through any selection process now because his answers would be monosyllabic.

“He was a man of considerable virtue but it would be unimaginable today, because he had all the charisma and presence of a gerbil. It’s inconceivable now. If there was such a character around, he or she wouldn’t make it.”

via Ways With Words 2013: TV election debates create ‘plausible tarts’, warns historian – Telegraph.


Crunchy spanicopita

I hate it when I make this and it always emerges soggy from the oven, so today I decided to prebake the base and cook the egg to the point of very loose scrambled egg before filling the pie. Other ingredients: feta cheese, spinach prefried in garlic, cinnamon or nutmeg. And of course butter/olive oil between sheets. Works great – just waiting for it to cool now!


Chicken + Noodle

Sorry for the delayed follow up. The method is very easy, just needs a lot of veg chopping.
Fry some or all of the following cut in 1 inch squares or circles:
courgette, red pepper, leek, sprouts, red onion etc plus the ginger chicken.
When cooked add noodles and the sauce you prepared 2 weeks ago and chicken stock if you got some from roasting the marinade.


Evil Wagamama Chicken Chilli Men Recipe

Not sure why this is one of the most popular recipes. First make the sauce by chopping quite finely but not blitzing the following ingredients:
lemongrass stalks, peeled
fresh chilli
red onion
and fry for 6-8 minutes without colouring.
Add red pepper slices and sauté a further 8-10 minutes.
Add salt, sugar, light soy, chilli sauce and tomato sauce. For the last two I used a chilli and garlic sauce, and puree of tomato as there is already sugar in there.
Finally blitz with half a pint and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Next week – combining with the chicken & noodles!