Sunday 8/5/2005

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Diary and Notes

I've been paroled! I'm getting out of gaol* early and being released from my three year sentence, six months before my planned release date. I am, as you can probably guess, quite pleased.

OK so I'm not actually in prison, Exeter isn't that bad (they let you out on weekends, which makes it an open prison). I was expecting to be here in until the start of October, but now I only have a few days to go - I've been headhunted (stop chuckling - it's true).

Yes, I too thought I was a bit of an idiot and unemployable, but it seems there is somebody so desperate for my skills that he phoned me up out of the blue and offered me a job - on the proviso that I start right away (some thing with a grant proposal and loads of people being laid off if he didn't find somebody quickly). I get the impression it's a bit more 'desperation breed strange bedfellows' than I was the best man for the job - but who cares, I'm off up North to work on the collective dynamics of insect swarms - doesn't that sound fun.

So for the next few days I am going to eating all the food in my cupboards and freezer, so as not to have to take them with me. I had a good look and found in the canned food department I had various beans (black eye, barlotti, canelleni and broad), cherry tomatoes, sweetcorn, papaya (can't remember where that came from), water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and two cans of baby clams. In the freezer there are some dolmades, prawns, peas, half a boned shoulder of lamb, some salmon, one paratha, one pitta bread and a whole duck.

I of course have every spice/flavouring/bottled sauce known to mankind.

So my plan is as follows: Eat what I have before I go and try to do interesting and tasty things without buying anything else except salad and vegetables. So that's what I'll be doing for the next few days (up to and including Thursday).

Today I decided to use up the prawns, one can of baby clams and a can of canelleni beans. I was originally going to make a sort of seafood cassoulet and pretend it was an ancient recipe my French grandmother Helene used to make us, but instead did something more Cajun style and made an excellent seafood and bean stew. I didn't have any fresh bread so used up the frozen paratha and pitta bread.

Considering I hadn't planned this it was damn fine. Have a look in your cupboards and do the same. Live dangerously.

*That's the English spelling of jail to any American's who might be reading.

Cake Blog

Co-op Blackcurrant Sundae: Almost too sickly for words.


  • Cajun Style Seafood and Bean Stew
  • Paratha
  • Pitta Bread


    Cajun Style Seafood and Bean Stew
    150g Frozen Prawns
    100g Canned Baby Clams
    200g Canned Canelleni Beans
    1/2 Onion
    1/2 Carrot
    1 Stick Celery
    1 Clove Garlic
    1 Rasher Bacon
    1 Can Cherry Tomatoes
    1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup
    Little Olive Oil
    1/2 tsp Chilli Powder
    1/4 tsp Cumin Powder
    1/4 tsp Celery Salt
    1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
    1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
    1/2 tsp Paprika
    1/4 tsp Black Pepper
    Fresh Parsley
    Lemon Wedges


  • Finely dice the onion, carrot and celery and sweat in a little oil until soft. Add the diced bacon, minced garlic and the spices and fry a minute or two more. Add the tomatoes, ketchup and a little water and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Stir in the seafood and beans, add some chopped parsley and cook for a further 5 minutes.


    *All quantities are very approximate and for a single person