Here for the carrot, mint and ginger salad? Can’t wait to get chomping? Well, haud yer wheesht, because as ever, we have some flimflam.
You know what I hate? Facebook’s Timehop service. Those whose internet experience amounts of replying positively to Nigerian Kings and typing ‘dancing jesus website lolz’ into google may be unfamiliar with it, so let me explain, as it’s very simple. Every other day Facebook will find a photo of you from many years ago and show you it in the vain hope you’ll go AAAH HOW LOVELY and post it. Not me. No, all I see is my youthful looks staring back at me accusatorially, demanding to know what Present James has done with his life to warrant wrecking Past James so horrifically. Occasionally the brightness of the iPad is bright enough that I can see my own current face reflected back on my young previous face and I feel like Dorian looking ashen-faced into his portrait in the attic. I know we all change (“We all change, when you think about it, we’re all different people; all through our lives, and that’s okay, that’s good, you’ve gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all the people that you used to be“) we all age, but I swear I’m not ageing so much as I am melting into a hairy, gelatinous landslide of fat. It’s like the slowest Doctor Who regeneration ever – only I’m turning from James van der Beek into Chewbacca’s stunt double. Paul would be Billie Piper, he has the three-cock-gob. So yeah, Timehop can fuck right off.
I did something yesterday which I haven’t had to do for a long time – no, it wasn’t fumbling my way around a vagina and nor was it paying my driving test examiner to pass me despite the blood congealing on my frontbumper – no, I had to learn something. See, I’ve plodded on in my job for many years (and thoroughly enjoy it, mind you) (that one’s for HR) but recently they’ve very kindly agreed that I can broaden my responsibilities and have sent me for training. This means lots of revision and travelling and attending training. Fine for most people, but I struggle to concentrate – I get distracted and tired mid-piss, for goodness sake.
Nevertheless, I gamely headed to London yesterday, making sure I get in as many people’s way as possible as I farted about trying to find my way to Canary Wharf. Unusually for me, I managed to get there without much difficulty or upset, and I took my chair as the lecture began. I’d bought myself a nice new notebook and Paul’s Christmas present to me, a fancy fountain pen. I can’t write in Biro because we were forced to use ‘proper pens’ at school – you can imagine how difficult that was for me as a left-handed eejit. Every essay I wrote was a collection of smudges, stains and wrist-stamps. I had that much black ink on the side of my hand that my doctor thought I had frostbite. I’ve mastered the art now and as long as I take my time and don’t over-excite myself, I can write coherently.
The one thing I didn’t have was a wee desk. This made the whole thing quite difficult – try writing notes whilst you’re balancing a slides handout, A4 notebook and colour examples on your knee, especially when you have to write all cack-handed anyway due to being all sinistra (did you know that was the latin root of sinister, so, left-handed people are evil? Makes sense, I had no compunction about breaking wind on the escalators on the Tube yesterday). On top of that I have the anxiety of not wanting to write too much but also not missing anything, and every time I set my pen down, the lady next to me immediately started writing. It was like that duelling banjos scene from Deliverance, only with a far less troubling outcome. In the end I managed to pay attention and have six beautiful pages of notes to coo over. After the lectures, the worst part of all: networking.
I can’t network to save my life. I know it’s an acquired skill but, despite the three years of this blog, I hate talking about myself and have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to talking about what I do. I had it in my mind that I’d make up a bewildering, breath-taking back-story, but instead I spluttered my tea and stumbled my words. I must have looked like a simpleton. It didn’t help that whilst I was talking to the vert first victim I’d picked to talk to, I dunked my cookie into my tea only for it to fall in, meanly I had to gamely drink my tea with floating crumbs bobbing around on top whilst they chatted about what they do. Next time I’ll just pick up a cookie and go hide in the toilets like everyone else.
Ah well. I might as well be remembered as the cookie guy as opposed to the heavy-breathing-notes-taking man, I suppose. Networking finished, I realised that I had three bloody hours to kill at Kings Cross before my train, thanks to my penny-pinching ways of buying a non-transferrable ticket. I couldn’t even get into the First Class lounge as you’re only allowed in there two hours before your journey. It was rush hour, there wasn’t a single place to sit anywhere in the station, my bag was too heavy to go anywhere exciting, so I just sat outside and people watched.
I know it’s an unoriginal thought, but Christ, London is so busy. Where do all these people, scurrying about like ants on a sugar pile, live? Where do they work? I like to imagine all the threads of their lives crossing over this way and that, all in one giant tangle, and then my head starts hurting so I move my thoughts back to thinking about chips. I spent 30p to have a pee, which I still think is outrageous even now – if I have to pay to piss, then surely I should have the option of saving my money and being allowed just to piss on the tracks instead? Bastards.
After an hour or so I attempted to make my way to the First Class lounge only to be caught up in a giant mass of people all thundering for a train whose platform had just been announced. You know in old cartoons when they’d start fighting and disappear into a comedy smoke bubble with flailing limbs popping out? It was like that, only with a lot more cheap aftershave and hooraying. I was deposited out five minutes later all dazed and confused and, after a brief interlude where I was pushed around Little Waitrose by a heaving queue of focaccia buyers, stumbled into the First Class lounge.
I wish I could say there was respite to be had but no. It was busy, as you’d expect, but that meant it was full of the type of businessmen who need you to know how important they are by bellowing loudly into their phones. On top of this, I kept getting icy stares and extremely loud sighs and harrumphs from an older lady who seemed to take great offence to the fact I’d sat next to her in the only spare seat in the lounge. I didn’t let her know that I took great offence to the fact she’d seemingly put her make-up on four times over, so why was she giving me such cold looks? She soon stopped when I stared right back. I was tempted to do that thing of putting two fingers on my lips and flapping my tongue through but I didn’t want to be bundled out before I’d managed to secrete as many free bags of crisps as I could into my bag. As it happens, I decided to leave soon after I came in as it was all so very stuffy. I people watched for a while longer, made my way through the 5kg of Corkers crisps I had in my bag, and then got the train. Aside from having someone who was clearly unwell jibbering away across the aisle and the train being delayed thanks to ‘problems with the tension’ (I presumed it was sexual tension from seeing me dashing aboard in my Jacamo coat and sensible shoes), it was an entirely uneventful ride home. Job done. Until the next time…
Final thought – Paul has been raving at me about an online internet station that plays all the old nineties music we like without any crappy DJ linking the songs together. I mean, seriously, he hasn’t shut up about it, but I kept dismissing his bold claims because his Spotify playlist consists of Tracy Chapman, more Tracy Chapman and Now That’s What I Call Amyl Nitrates. However, he left the SONOS player open and I stuck on the previously played tracks – and they’re all brilliant. I mean, haway, the song that is playing right now is Ain’t No Doubt by Jimmy Nail, a man who is nothing more than a steel-capped workboot given a tongue and lips. The station is Pride Radio 90s. Yes, the rainbow face made my eyes bleed too, but we can overlook the trivialities, can’t we.
Proper final thought – can you lot calm the fuck down over these Fiber One bars? Jesus Christ man. I’ve seen so many fights and arguments with grown women calling each other worse than child-murderers for having the temerity to buy a few boxes of these in the supermarket. Why? They taste shite, they’re tiny, they’re full of chemicals and you’d get more flavour sucking on the doormat. I swear it’s very much a Slimming World thing – something gets ‘recommended’ on facebook by a couple of people and then hundreds of adults start storming the supermarkets like the boxes came with half an hour of cunnilingus by Tom Hardy. I’ve seen photos where people have bought 30 or 40 boxes and I just think, Christ, have some bloody dignity. It’s not about ‘saving some for other people’, you have as much right to buy them as anyone else, but you’re only buying them because you’ve seen others doing the same. Don’t be a bloody sheep, especially not one who is brawling in ASDA and calling others ‘fukin greedee slags’ all for the sake of a shit bloody brownie.
Right, with all that out of the way, let’s get this recipe done, eh? You might be thinking that a carrot salad is boring, but if you’re a fan of carrots, I can guarantee it’s worth a go. I made this for a lunch but you could easily use it as a side on one of our dishes that don’t have the third speed in it. You could add cooked noodles into this to bulk it out, if you wished. You know how Slimming World have launched those little salads in Iceland that you can have for your lunch? Think of this like those, only fresher as you’re making them yourself. Yes, it has a couple of syns, but absolutely worth it. We used two packs of Marks and Spencers rainbow carrots (£3 for two packs) but you can use bog standard carrots if you want. We won’t tell. This makes enough for three hearty portions.
to make carrot, mint and ginger salad, you’ll need:
- around 400g of carrots, baby ones are better, peeled
- two shallots
- fresh mint (or dried, but fresh always better)
- a little knob of ginger (about half an inch), peeled and grated
- tablespoon of mustard seeds
- juice of half a lime
- tablespoon of olive oil (6 syns) (you could use lemon flavoured oil here, be lovely)
- good pinch of salt and black pepper
to make carrot, mint and ginger salad, you should:
- chop your carrots into strips or, even better and far quicker, julienne them using one of these – much easier and you’ll get nice uniform strips
- thinly slice the shallots
- it’s much nicer if you toast off your mustard seeds – chuck them in a dry pan on a medium heat for a minute or two, just until you get the scent of them, and then take off the heat
- grate your ginger nice and fine (yep, I know, predictable, but please, buy a mincer for your ginger, then just freeze a big lump of ginger and grate it as and when you need it straight from frozen!
- mix everything together in a bowl and top with fresh mint and give everything a good tumble with your fingers
This can go a bit watery if left after a while, that’s fine – just dress it when you want to eat it. You could add sliced peppers and noodles, remember. This would work very well as an accompaniment to curries!
Right, that’s all done. If you want more veggie dishes, lunch ideas or other such nonsense, click the buttons below! You know you want to.