Thursday 10/2/1976

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Diary and Notes

I thought I'd go brown today, that being the predominant colour in 1976. Anyone who remembers the 70's as being psychadelic obviously didn't live in Wiltshire - unless by pshychadelic you mean that in a group of ten people there will be over 100 different shades of brown present in their clothing.

Anyway: Imagine the scene. A young couple are sitting at the dinner table. As always the table is adorned with some brown sauce (with dried on drips down the bottle), tomato ketchup (likewise with drips), mustard, salt, vinegar, white pepper etc... (and a big plate with Sunblest white bread and Blue Ribband margarine, in the centre of course)
"What's this stuff here Marjory?"

Marjory looks a little cowed, her eyes down, staring at the brown, checked, table cloth, "Mustard, Gerald. You like mustard with your beef."

"Mustard! That's not bloody mustard, that's French mustard. We don't eat French mustard, that's for poofs."

"But I thought we'd try something new."

"I like English mustard, proper mustard. That French stuff doesn't taste of anything." Gerald reaches forwards and picks up the horseradish and has a sniff, "This horseradish is mild horseradish!" His voice raised in righteous indignation, "We don't eat mild horseradish, that's for poofs."

"But I don't like strong horseradish, it burns my nose, and English mustard is too strong."

Gerald turns bright red from the bare faced cheek of his wife's backchat. "And what's this?" He stares down to his plate in disgust.

"Chilli con carne, I found the recipe in Womans Own. It's spicy."

"Spicy, I'm not eating that stuff I don't like spicy food!"


Am I exaggerating this little discourse? I don't think so.

I know people, even now, who wont touch anything spicy, but will smother everything they eat in Coleman's English mustard.

So what's for today's treat?

Beef olives. A seventies classic that I am absolutely sure hasn't been eaten by anyone since that grey decade (they had grey as well as brown). I have no idea why it's called olives, there are no olives in it at all, but I didn't invent the dish, so don't complain to me.

In true seventies style I put this and the potatoes in the oven and went down the pub for a beer (I couldn't find any Watney's Red Barrel or Double Diamond so had a Guinness instead). When I got back the spuds were just a little overdone, but it was a fairly decent evening's meal. I did however notice a lack of colour in my dinner and that's what reminded me of the brown of the times.

Oh, and as a coup de theatre, I managed to find a half bottle of Mateus Rose wine in Sainsbury's as well. I drank this fruity little number alongside my food and pretended I was having a posh dinner party and had invited the neighbours around in the hopes of getting some swinging going. Fat chance.

Cake Blog

A stuffed apple. I bought some sultanas and desiccated coconut for tomorrow and this was the obvious thing to do. I can remember eating these as a child, very 1976 indeed.


  • Beef Olives
  • Roast Potatoes
  • Cabbage

  • Stuffed Apple

  • Wine: Mateus Rose (my uncle John still swears by this stuff)


  • Beef Olives: Topside of beef (thin slices), onions, bacon, breadcrumbs, suet, mixed herbs, fresh parsley, egg, mustard, butter, flour, beef stock.
  • Apple: Granny Smith apple, sultanas, dessicated coconut, sugar, mixed spice.


  • Sandwich the beef between some cling film and bash it until it's really thin with a rolling pin. Spread some strong English mustard on the beef. To make the stuffing: Finely dice some onion and bacon and mix with a little suet, mixed herbs, parsley, pepper and salt. Stir in the breadcrumbs and some beaten egg. Agg a little hot water to make it into a thick paste. Spread over the beef and roll. Skewer the rolls with cocktail sticks. Fry the beef rolls in a little oil until brown and move into an casserole dish. Add a little butter to the frying pan then some flour and make a roux with the beef scrapings. Pour over some stock to make the gravy and pour the gravy onto the beef. Slice some onions and scatter over the top, put the lid on and bake gently for about an hour.
  • Apple: Core the apple, stuff with the coconut, sugar, sultanas and spice, wrap in foil and bake for 30 minutes.