Twat! Bruce Ansderson. Twat!

Wednesday 6/4/2005

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Diary and Notes

I made a bit of a mistake today. I decided to read a newspaper on the train and bought a copy of the Independent, one of the more serious British rags which always takes itself too seriously. I was scouting through the letters page to see if anyone had written anything about how wonderful I am, or was castigating them for not offering me job of food writer or restaurant critic, when I found a letter from someone complaing about a previous article by some wanky old hack called Bruce Anderson. I don't often read Bruce, nor any other columist, but the letter said all that was necessary for me to form a judgement. Bruce had listed the five greatest people of the 20th Century as: Pope John Paul II, Churchill, Reagan, Thatcher and Roosevelt. I was to say a little perplexed, then angry. Since then I have decided that if I ever meet Bruce, I will punch him in the balls very hard, thus insuring he is unlikely to be able to sire more children and sparing the world from him spreading his obviously defective genes.

I am not so much opposed to any of these people in particular (except Thatcher, Reagan and Churchill of course) but for anyone to think that four of the five greatest people for an entire 100 years were politicians is an idiot. In this case a right wing idiot who obviously has more column inches than brain cells.

Bruce is obviously confused about many things and seems to have omitted humanitarians, freedom fighters, scientists, philosophers, Frenchman, those who stood up to tyranny, sportsmen and people who write food blogs, from his list entirely. I would argue that none of Bruce's five are actually in the top five of the entire century and there are those who would place Thatcher, in particular, in the worst.

Bruce also demonstrates a dangerously 'Atlantocentric' view of the world, whereby the only people of note are either British or American. This is obviously complete and utter crap, to assume that you have to be English speaking to be great (though the Pope was Polish and did have a very creepy 'I vant so suck your blood' accent when he spoke in English).

So Bruce and his ridiculous list irritated me for a few minutes and I thought I'd insult him in my blog as a form of catharsis. I'm feeling much better now and my tasty dinner helped no end.

And if anyone does see Bruce, tell him I'm after him.


Manchester today and I'm cooking for my friends Fran and Matt. They've just had a baby so I thought they could do with a treat. Today some traditional French food for starter and dessert and some new Californian cuisine for our main course. The mussels were delicious, I love mussels and this may be the 'standard' way of cooking them but it's among the best. You must have a glass of chilled white wine with this (unless you are Belgian when you are allowed to have beer instead). Fran has one of those griddle pan things giving the criss cross pattern on the fish and the mango salsa was really good, although I over lime juiced it a little and it was very sharp. The peach malba was a coup de cuisine and although really easy to do, should impress anyone you make it for, I recommend having a go sometime.

Cake Blog

Peach Melba: People used to have this when I was a kid, posh people that is, we just had a peach.


  • Moules Marinière
  • Bread

  • Swordfish Steak
  • Mango Salsa
  • Fried Sweet Potatoes

  • Peach Melba
  • Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Selection of Cheeses


    500g Mussels
    4 Shallots
    1 Clove Garlic
    1 Stick Celery
    Few Celery Leaves
    250ml White Wine
    25g Butter
    Olive Oil
    Fresh Parsley
    Mango Salsa
    1 Mango
    7cm Cucumber
    1 Red Onion
    1 Lime
    1 Red Pepper
    Fresh Coriander
    Black Pepper
    1/2 tsp Sugar
    Peach Melba
    3 Peaches
    300g Canned Raspberries (in juice)
    100g Sugar
    Stick Cinammon


  • Mussels: Clean the mussels and discard any that are dead. Chop the shallots and fry in a little olive oil with the minced garlic and finely diced celery. When the shallots are soft, pour in the wine and reduce for a minute, stir in the butter, some chopped celery leaves, parsley and a little pepper, then add the mussels and put the lid on. Let them steam for about 3 minutes, stir and give them another 2 minutes. Add a little more parsley and pepper and serve.
  • Swordfish: Heat the griddle pan until it's smoking. Rub a little oil on each steak and a little pepper. Cook for 2 minutes then turn 30 degrees and cook for another 2 minutes, turn over and repeat on the other side. (This gives the diamond pattern).
  • Salsa: Chop mango etc into little cubes. Dress with lime juice, sugar, coriander leaves, pepper and salt.
  • Peach Melba: Boil 200ml of water in a saucepan and plunge the peaches in for 5 minues. Peel the peaches under cold running water. Put the peaches back in the boiling water and add the cinammon stick and half the sugar. Simmer gently for 30 minutes then remove the peaches and allow to cool in the fridge. Continue simmering the liquid until a syrup forms which will be used to pour over the peach later. Mash the raspberries and simmer to reduce to a sauce with the rest of the sugar and their juice. Arrange the peach melba with a peach per person, some raspberry sauce, some peach syrup and a little ice cream.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for three people