Today's soundtrack: The Smiths - The John Peel Sessions
Given today's blog title, the soundtrack should have come from Talking Heads ("...Buildings and Food"), or perhaps The Undertones ("...Chocolate and Girls") - but no, it's The Smiths (and about time!) instead. About whom, more later.
No, the title's a cheeky reference to my mate Simon's new blog, "Planes, trains & automobiles" which you can find here. It worries me that not are only are people choosing to read all the guff I post here of their own volition, but I'm now also inspiring people to start their own blogs! But you should read Simon's stuff - he's a top man and he knows how to write as well.
And badger him for recipes. You know he really wants to go there.
And speaking of recipes, I finally got round to the smoked salmon pasta dish I promised you a few days ago. Essentially a good way of using up some leftovers, it turned into a very tasty and filling (and calorific) meal.
No pictures, I'm afraid - it didn't stay on the plate long enough.
Start by chopping and frying off some shallots in some olive oil. Add some mushrooms and garlic to the frying pan to colour and soak up the oil.
While this is going on, boil up a big pan of salted water and add a bunch of asparagus (trimmed at the bottom to remove any woody bits) - boil for about three minutes, chop into bitesize chunks and add to the pan. Then add your spaghetti to the water you've just cooked the asparagus in to cook, for around ten minutes.
Whilst all this is going on, chuck the best part of a pot of double cream into the frying pan, having turned the heat down first. If you have a calorie/cholesterol concern, use some creme fraiche instead. Stir around, and let it all warm through - keep the heat low and don't let the cream boil. Cut your smoked salmon into strips, and add to the creamy mixture. Zest a lemon, and add the fine strips of zest to the pot. Finally grate a shedload of parmesan into the pot.
Season to taste with salt and black pepper. By now your pasta should have cooked, so drain and then throw into the pot as well. Stir it all round so the pasta and sauce are well mixed, then serve and enjoy with a crisp white to cut through the cream.
Stretch out on the sofa and expire.
But all that took place at the tail end of the day. The day started with a bit of necessary pampering at the hairdressers. I've gone to the same hairdresser for the last eight or nine years, with one of the same two girls cutting my hair each time. Imagine my dismay when I noticed they'd opened a dedicated Men's hairdressers in the same village! Would they now refuse to see me and pack me off to the men's bit? Happily no - I can still go and sit with the women, have a head massage and a coffee and have my hair cut by Debra or Alison.
It was Alison today - normally Debra cuts my hair and the original plan was for her to see me at two. However my interview (see below) had been arranged for four-thirty, so I was a bit concerned about rushing and being interviewed with an itchy neck - so I brought forward the cut, which meant going with Alison instead of Debs. And which felt awfully like cheating on your girlfriend, when I saw Debs in the salon later...is that a normal reaction?
Anyway - the interview. Got there in plenty of time, and was there for a good hour and a half, interviewed by two senior members of the finance team. How did it go? Who knows. I thought it probably went well, and I think I got across all the points I wanted/needed to get across - but inevitably they have other people to see and who knows how I'll stack up against them?
Pretty well, I would hope. But now we wait.
As I said above, The Smiths today - an album pulling together all their Peel Sessions in one place. Don't look for it in the shops - it's not there. Some of the tracks have appeared on legitimate releases, including Hatful of Hollow, but you'll have to search the outer reaches of the internet if you want to find them all together in one place.
The Smiths are, of course, wonderful. You don't need me to tell you that. Accusations of miserabilism are just lazy cliché. Anything built around the wonder that is Johnny Marr's guitar could never be anything other than joyous.
This just might be my favourite Smiths song. 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out'.
"Take me out tonight - to where there's music and there's people and they're young and alive".
See? Pure joy. (We'll gloss over the rest of the lyrics, I think.)