My new favourite cheese

23 01 2015

A pretty random “oo that looks interesting” purchase the other day at Canadian Superstore, and I absolutely love it.

PC Black Label Jura Montagne Hard Ripened Cheese Aged 10 Months | Loblaws.

According to the reasonably reliable Wikipedia, the Jura Mountains are in Switzerland and France. Oh – and the moon, though I suspect the former is the more likely source of the cheese.

Being an own brand cheese I didn’t have particularly high expectations, but I have to say this is a quality piece of sour milk, for sure!


Wisconsin Cheese Cupid

22 01 2013

“Proudly honoring Wisconsin cheese

Well – you just HAVE to look, don’t you?!

Wisconsin Cheese Cupid.

This neat little marketing page purports to help you pair your favourite tipple with one or more cheese selections from Wisconsin, or vice versa if you’ve only got the one cheese to hand. The sultry voice-over doesn’t hurt either…

Cheese Cupid

Cheese Cupid

Well THAT was a funny old day…

29 07 2012

As I get older I realise that there’s no such thing as “normal” – just varying degrees of “weird”.

Things got off to a bad start due to the normal miscommunication anyone with children will be very familiar with. It doesn’t get any better… get used to it. I’m 48 now, and my parents understand me no better today than when I was a teenager bristling with attitude and bad skin. I’d spoken briefly with my father over in Blighty on Friday and he’d said my mum was very keen to chat via Skype, as we hadn’t spoken for several weeks. (Now well into retirement, they make good use of their abundant free time and travel extensively around the UK and Europe.) This was also father-speak for “I’m uncomfortable speaking to you, male offspring, so I’ll leave that to your mother – and she’s not here right now.”

So anyway, I’d reminded him that BC is -8hrs from Yorkshire (well, 8 hours behind, and a few centuries ahead, all at the same time), and that if she really wanted to call me on Sunday, please make it after 4pm their time, which is 8am in BC. So anyway, at 8:15am the phone rang, and with bleary eyes I answered. My mum said she was surprised I’d wanted her to call so early, and wouldn’t it have been better to call a bit later?

“After 8am” had become “at 8am” somewhere along the way. No matter. I made arrangements to reconvene on Skype – keeping emigrant offspring connected to long-distance parents, the world over – and blundered my way downstairs to be regaled with tales of my sister’s exploits in Spain, and her concern at my nephew travelling to Italy with his girlfriend. (He’s almost 21 now, and she seemed to think he was in imminent danger of getting engaged.)Que Du Vent

Mrs E rescued me from falling asleep by delivering me my morning tea at the PC. Morning tea – a ritual that, should it be missed, can result in near-fatal consequences for those around me. It’s not so much a mug of tea, as a small bucket. Anyway, once my mum had run out of things to tell me, and failed to ask me anything at all about events in BC, we hung up and my day began in earnest. Well, not really. I had some thick sliced toast and marmalade, got washed, shaved, and tried to look human, then watched a film (something I’ve not done in too long).

I had a tasty, but lingering Mexican bean salad for lunch (it’s the raw onion… overdone a little), and generally wasted my limited time on this spinning globe. After lunch, we offloaded half a garage worth of empty bottles and cans at the recycling, and went “barbecue shopping” on the proceeds.

This became quite stressful as Mrs E forgot the first cardinal rule, and considered it the same as normal shopping. Barbecue shopping is the sacred domain of the male of the species. It is when he pretends that he knows all about home economics, and good choices in nutrition. Or not. A wise woman will find her “happy place” and just let the moment pass. Mrs E, on the other hand questioned why I was looking at peppered goat’s cheese. I was merely interested in it as a product, with no particular interest in actually purchasing it, I might add. And then the blue touch-paper was lit: “It’s a bit expensive, isn’t it?” Despite the fact that I had no real interest in purchasing the goat’s cheese in the first place, this was breaking the second cardinal rule “barbecues are not a particularly cost-effective way of feeding a family of four (or five with an absentee student), so ignore all the price tags”.

Knowing that calm is often restored to my fetid mind by taking photos, I took my trusty Canon for a walk. Together we perused the neighbourhood. Its gardens, its shopping centre… and its cricket match. Yup… there was a full on Sunday league match in full swing. Oh – and a beach volley ball game.

Finally it was time to start the barbie, and the womenfolk had figured it was best just to keep out of the way, since sharp objects and flames were involved. Not a bad little spread really. Grilled veggies (red peppers, sliced portabello mushrooms [OK, not technically a vegetable], courgettes, red onion), steamed sweetcorn, burgers, bangers, Maui marinaded steak and chicken. Garlic bread of course, and ciabatta for stopping the meat burning your fingers.

The dog surprised me by asking most politely for a sweetcorn of her own, and I resisted alcohol preferring instead fizzy water with a few squirts of angostura bitters.

So I sit here now drinking “False Creek Raspberry Ale” from Granville Island Brewing Co., (having sworn that beer and fruit should never mix – don’t tell anyone I know… it’s actually quite passable at 4.5%), and listening to “Que de Vent” by “Les Cowboys Fringants” from Quebec.

Now tell me that’s not odd…

Nettles and furry caterpillars

11 01 2012

So I was going to write to you tonight about the humble nettle. I was floored the other day by Bunbury claiming he didn’t know what a nettle was. Having decided I wasn’t having my leg pulled (natural first assumption), I pulled up Google and confirmed that the plant in question was indeed unknown to Bunbury. Incredible. A closer read of Wikipedia tells me that although it’s also known as the European stinging nettle, it is in fact very common across Canada as well as all states of the US (except Hawaii, where the traditional grass skirts probably made it a tad inconvenient).

Wikipedia: Stinging Nettle

Wikipedia: Stinging Nettle

Well, I suppose that since I’ve actually begun to talk about the humble nettle after all, I might as well continue. By all means check out Wikipedia for proper made up facts, but my own education regarding nettles is basically thus:

  • They bloody sting when you fall in them
  • It’s inevitable you’ll fall in them (the trees gang up and lift their roots)
  • At least in the UK, they always seem to grow near dock leaves
  • Rubbing dock leaves on nettle stings soothes the pain
  • They’re high in iron, and are supposedly good for you to eat (like spinach)… after you cook them to get rid of the sting!
  • You can make tea or wine out of them
It is only now as I come to realise I’ve seen negligible numbers of dock leaves in and around White Rock’s woods that I realise I’ve not actually fallen into any nettles for around 11 years either. Coincidence? I think not!
Wikipedia: Rumex obtusifolius foliage (dock leaves)

Wikipedia: Rumex obtusifolius foliage (dock leaves)

The only other gem of useless nettle irrelevance I wanted to impart was around cheese. Yes – seriously! We went to a dairy in Cornwall once and bought some Yarg cheese. Sounds a bit piratical I know, but it turned out the family name was Gray, and they weren’t very imaginative. Anyway, one of the ways they made their cheese unique was to cover it in a lovely intricate pattern of… you guessed it… nettles! Apparently one becomes hardened to the continual sting when harvesting the fresh nettles. (Wearing gloves didn’t seem to have occurred to anyone!) As the cheese matures, various natural moulds colour the nettles and help the cheese itself ripen.
I can tell you think I’m making this all up, so here’s their web site where you can even buy it online: Lynher Dairies.
Yarg cheese

Yarg cheese

OK, so now I’m in a fix! Having decided that I wasn’t actually going to write about nettles after all, and having now done so, I’m left with this photo I took of a caterpillar this last summer in Nanaimo. It was to be your consolation prize, just so I would keep my irrelevence index high. I have been accused of having disproportionately luxuriant eyebrows, and this little chap caught my eye because he too seemed to have the affliction. Of course, he didn’t seem to know if he was coming or going either, so the similarity didn’t end there…