Quorn-tastic and not so Quorn-tastic

Hamburgers, "Quorn Style."
Hamburgers, “Quorn Style.”

As Meg and I continue our search for more Quorn products as part of our new “healthy” eating regime we have actually found some Quorn things we don’t like. But before we venture into that territory, I would like to say that we love the hamburger patties that we found.

They look sort of like “fast food” burgers and taste excellent. Almost like having a McDonald’s or Burger King, which does kind of make you wonder just what they are really putting into the BK and Mickey D burgers. With or without garnish (we use lettuce and cucumber) they are a tasty  meal that  makes you feel like you’re indulging in a forbidden treat.

So a big “thumbs up” for the faux hamburgers.

I’ve already said about the bacon substitute so I’ll just reiterate that it tasted more like baloney and not like bacon at all. It had a tendency to burn when cooked (although to be far, it was our first time at preparing the stuff) and only had any real taste when it was piping hot.

We have resorted to using the Tesco’s healthy option bacon. This is middle bacon with all the fat removed except for the tiniest sliver on the edge. Now I will point out that this is Dutch bacon. You can’t seem to get the healthy option in British bacon which is disappointing.

I don’t know if any of you have seen how they “raise” pork in Holland, but it is very off-putting. I am not an avid animal rights activist or anything, but even I could see that the way they treat the pigs is cruel. So we are kind of putting our favourite treat on hold for the moment until we can find a viable substitute. In other words, one where the bacon has not been grotesquely treated when it was still on the hoof.

Not to be mistaken for food.
Not to be mistaken for food.

Now for the Quorn product which failed the taste test abysmally. The “shaped lamb” cutlets smelled great (when cooked) and had been flavoured with Rosemary and Mint.

Unfortunately, the aroma was the only thing that these cutlets had going for them. Meg pointed out that the finished (cooked) product resembled tree bark. I had to agree that it did look an awful lot like a huge slab of tree bark.

Meg took one mouthful and after making the sort of facial contortions associated with the Bush Tucker Trials on the I’m a Celebrity show, swallowed the stuff and declared, “I really don’t like it.” After which,  she moved the offending tree bark to the edge of her plate. She later removed it completely and it was relegated to her napkin for the remainder of the meal.

I did not have quite as strong a reaction to it. I ate mine, but did not really enjoy it, and wound up eating hers as well. The only thing I did not like was the amount of Rosemary they had infused the cutlet with. Very overpowering and not at all pleasant. So needless to say, we will not be getting those again.

The final verdict on Quorn thus far is this: if it is  chicken or beef replicated products, the manufacturer wins hands down. If it is pork, that would be a (insert buzzer sound here) no. So in future if we decide to try any new products, they will be of the chicken or beef variety.

The lamb will not be tried again either, whether it is in the shape of a cutlet or not. Although I did manage to choke down both portions, it was not enjoyable and eaten mainly because I could not bear the thought of all those starving Chinese children. *See ma! You did scar me for life with that phrase!*

But all joking aside, we are not just eating healthier, we are living healthier. We walk more or less daily (Meg slows her pace to match mine after she realizes that I am no longer reacting to her conversation as I’ve fallen too far back) I am still too afraid of doing any weights, no matter how light, until the doc says my chest bones have healed.

I’m also a bit leery of walking too damn fast in case I blow out my aorta. I am sure that I’ll be full of confidence after I meet with my surgeon again.

The most important bit is that I do feel healthier each day and I am able to walk faster and further each time I go out. Of course this is not due to a meat free diet. I have  been eating meat as well in the form of tuna sandwiches (with light mayo) and since my return home we had one Kentucky and one Burger King.

I don’t count Chinese food from Michael’s Kitchen (a healthy restaurant that cooks everything in olive oil or non saturated fat oil). I don’t know if I am allowed cookies or ice cream but I eat both, although the ice cream is low fat.

I would have had a lot more to write about in the way of recipes today, but work has reared its ugly head. I won’t go into what is going on at the moment as it is all very up in the air. The moment I find out anything interesting or, at the very least, amusing I’ll be sure to pass it on.

Français : Un MacDonald's, un KFC et un Pizza ...
Death on a plate? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Too Much Phone

I have had my Blackberry Curve for about a year now. (And yes, that is Buzz Lightyear‘s reflection in the phone.) I got a really good deal on it and only pay £15 a month on my phone plan.

Apart from the fact that the buttons are a little on the small size I’ve gotten on with it fairly well. Technologically it is not on-par with the iPhone, or even the iPad, in terms of quality of downloads (it can take ages to buffer and still gives you a choppy “outer space” video to watch.

But I decided I needed to gear my mobile communications device up into the 21st century. I could not afford an iPhone 4 or 5 and no other manufacturer could come close to them. Unless of course you want to purchase a “no brand” phone and then you just look cheap.

After looking at the other phones on offer at the Tesco’s electrical section, I opted for the Blackberry. My daughter Meg had one when she went to university and it was pretty handy. Although neither of us could figure out how to use the internet option or the Wi-Fi application, despite the fact that the city that she lived in was one huge Wi-Fi hotspot.

I didn’t have that problem with mine. I could jump on any Wi-Fi signal and could read my emails unhindered.


I have only been able to email myself a couple of times. Both times were because I was too lazy to find the usb connector that allowed me to attach the phone to my laptop and upload a picture. When I attempted to email myself last night it failed each and every time I tried it. And before you say anything, it was not an email address associated with my Blackberry.

In the end I had to give up and look for the damn usb connector and upload that way. Now at least I can do my blog post about our latest Quorn recipes and our reaction to them.

But the fact that I’ve had the phone for so long and still haven’t mastered the full use of it says a lot. I am not technologically stupid or stunted. I have in my time hooked up external hard drives via a pig-tail connection to an existing computer. I have installed new graphics cards and extra memory cards for RAM.

So why can’t I come to grips with everything that my phone can do?

I only discovered last night (completely by accident, mind you) how to zoom my Blackberry camera to take close up pictures! If I hadn’t brushed my finger across the “mouse” button on the phone, I still wouldn’t know how to zoom.

Of course you might be asking, “Why didn’t you just read the instruction manual?” Good question. I did sort of read it. Which means that I skip read and probably missed loads of things that my phone can do. But that would be the total amount of “research” I would have done when I got the phone.

These days you can Google most questions you might have on your new “product” and find an immediate answer to your particular dilemma. If you can be bothered that is.

But I guess the point I’m trying to make is this. I think I “over bought” in the phone department. The Blackberry might be perfect for a businessman or the entrepreneur who wants to look stunningly professional. But I don’t really think it fits my somewhat limited needs.

There is a scene in one of my favourite westerns True Grit, I hasten to add that it is the John Wayne 1969 film that I’m referring to here, Texas Ranger La Boeuf (Glen Campbell) has just shot a turkey with his prized .56 Sharps Rifle. [Now the .56 Sharps was used to shoot buffalo, not turkeys.] As La Boeuf stands holding the dead bird, with a look of pride on his face, Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) pauses in mid conversation and nods at the turkey. “And we’ll clean your turkey.”

Mattie Ross (Kim Darby) says, “I don’t know how, it looks all messed up.”

Rooster grins and says, “Yeah.”

Then as an aside to Mattie, Rooster says, “Too much gun.”

I kind of feel like La Boeuf right now, every time I go to do something on my Blackberry phone and get stymied or have to search for instructions I can hear Rooster in my head saying, “Too much phone.”


The Jimmy Savile Scandal: Paedophilia by Any Other Name

The late Jimmy Savile

If you live in America you can be forgiven if you haven’t heard about the Jimmy Savile uproar here in England. After all there is a lot of water between the two countries and I’m pretty sure most Americans have never seen “Jim’ll Fix It” or even heard of it.

*it’s interesting to note that after the resultant scandal involving Savile’s sexual escapades with underage girls that the title of his old Show, Jim’ll Fix It, now sounds like the prelude or a punch line to a dirty joke. I suppose that with new “evidence” being unearthed almost daily it has.*

Jimmy Savile had been a national institution in England for years. This eccentric DJ who raised millions for charity and was universally loved by most of the country for his seemingly never-ending generosity has turned out to be “a kiddie fiddler” in sheep’s clothing; at least according to the many people who are coming forward after his death to point an accusatory finger at him.

These posthumous accusations have resulted in the “Knight of the Realm” in being publicly vilified and his reputation is in tatters. His surviving family have been rocked by the news and the public (and the BBC) have been busily taking down plaques and signs that glorified Sir Jimmy’s works and deeds.

It is interesting to see another country besides Russia making a public person disappear. Will England go as far as “Ivan” and eradicate Savile’s physical presence from old publicity photo’s?

I wouldn’t be surprised.

Now don’t get me wrong. It makes me feel quite ill to think of anyone sexualizing young underage girls. It makes perfect sense that entertainers like Gary Glitter (real name Paul Gadd) should be sent to prison for having sex with minors. It’s called child abuse and it is illegal. Not to mention immoral. But Glitter despite his similarity to Savile is still alive. Savile is not and he cannot, therefore be tried for his alleged crimes.

Gary Glitter aka Paul Gadd under arrest earlier this year.

What is interesting about the whole thing is how former “colleagues” of Sir Jimmy are “coming forward” to tell anyone who will listen about how they knew all along that Jim was messing with young underage girls. “They wanted to say something, they really did, but Jimmy was a public institution. Who would believe them?” In an earlier day and age that would have been, sadly, true. In most cases, back in the 70’s (When Jim’ll Fix It was in its heyday and Savile was still a very public figure) people would not have believed that such a thing went on.

But that sort of naivety is astonishing. At the bottom line of all the allegations, the vast majority of which centre around his dealing with young girls on his Jim’ll Fix It show, the show itself was on television. And what is television? It is part of the entertainment industry. And what is the entertainment industry well-known for? Sexual advances to young women (and men) aka “the casting couch.”

Especially in television there have always been the tales (told out of school, of course) about sexual advances, favours, and acts being exchanged, forced, or implied as part of a contractual agreement. Okay, so I am talking about actors and actresses here, folks who know about the less savoury aspects of working on television, but really most folks like directors and producers and other assorted members of any film crew etc will know of the practises that go on.

The fact that these “knowledgeable” colleagues are only coming forward now is reprehensible and disgusting. Why? Because if they did really know what he was up to, they should have said so then; even if they had waited till Savile had retired, it would have been more admirable and given the authorities a chance to investigate. Savile could have defended himself and, more importantly, been punished or acquitted via the legal system. His alleged victims could then have the closure they so desperately need.

Now that he has passed on, the legal system and the BBC have instigated a “closing the barn door after the bull’s got out” type of witch-hunt where they are arresting and questioning a lot of celebrities who have had access to underage girls. This act of “tarring with the same brush” is not only unfair, but the publicity it is garnering is harmful to the people involved.

Fair enough if they are guilty as charged but if they are innocent? If this knee jerk reaction to the Sir Jimmy Savile debacle is anything to go by, we are heading towards dangerous ground friends and neighbours.

One of the causes of the mass child abuse hysteria. False memories.

The public are heading to that “overly sensitive” awareness of child abuse (in the sexual area) that got America in so much trouble a few years back. Have we forgotten how “well-meaning” therapists and psychiatrists misdiagnosed entire day care facilities of ritualised child abuse in the form of Satanic ceremonies and child porn? Just type in Child Care Sex Abuse Hysteria into your Google search engine and an entry to Wikipedia will list 13 day care facilities that were hit by this.

In a world where the media sexualises children to a huge extent, we need to be careful to look at the source and not chase non-existent “boogey-men” or create an “over awareness” of the problem. We need to be dealing with the media that consistently sexualises children.

As sad and horrible as the accusations against the late Jimmy Savile are, we need to keep everything in perspective here. These accusations and allegations are not proven, nor are they likely to be. The witch-hunting by the press, police and the BBC are still ongoing. Everyone needs to take a breath and step back from the whole sordid mess.

A newspaper blogger has opined that if you were abused by Savile, the best course of action might be to be quiet about it. The issue was that you would never get closure and would be tagged as a victim, a wounded soul who deserved sympathy rather than the person that you are. A valid point in this case.

It is my honest opinion that the folks in the business who are now coming forward to state that they knew this was going on should be vilified. If they couldn’t be brave or upstanding enough to say something when it would have accomplished something apart from publicity, they should pay a price. It makes common sense.

No one has ever been rewarded for yelling fire after the house has burned down. And neither should they benefit from shouting abuse after the individual named can no longer be punished by the law.

Rest In Peace?