Archive for January, 2021

Is really expensive coffee a ripoff?

January 30, 2021

What do we mean by expensive coffee, really expensive coffee? And is it hype?

I pay somewhere between eight to twelve pounds sterling for a bag of coffee. Sometimes maybe fifteen a bag.

Expensive coffee is something very special, £10 for a bottle of 100g, twenty pound for a bag, maybe even twenty five a bag.

So what is really expensive coffee?

The topic for discussion in the first episode of Adventures in Coffee, a podcast by Caffeine Magazine.

Adventures in Coffee a collaboration between Caffeine Magazine, Jools Walker aka Lady Velo and Filter Stories Podcast. Presented by Jools Walker and Scott Bentley founder of Caffeine Magazine and produced by James Harper of Filter Stories Podcast.

A conversation with Rachel Petersen from Hacienda La Esmeralda, where Panama Geisha was discovered.

Coffee from this farm reaches record prices at auction. It is auctions which are driving up the price not hype not marketing. Japanese buyers are willing to pay high prices.

I have tasted Panama Geisha a few times. But be very wary of cheap Geisha. At a guess, Geisha is fussy about the growing conditions.

A couple of years ago I was shown by Stefanos Domatiotis coffee beans from the Geisha Panama estate of Ninety Plus,  a restored degraded cattle ranch.

Taf serves filter coffee from Ninety Plus.

Last year I was talking with a barista. He was in Japan, coffee at $10 a cup. He was invited to coffee cupping with Ninety Plus. He met the guy who ran the farm in Panama, who invited him to carry out soil samples on the farm. On leaving he was given coffee beans as a thank you. He said had he sold the beans it would have paid for his trip. On return home the beans made him very popular.

The world record for coffee beans was around $600 for a pound of beans. A few days later this was broken for beans from the Panama farm of Ninety Plus. The bid price was over $5,000 for a kilo. These prices are for green beans not roasted beans.

Panama Geisha from a Nespresso machine?

I was horrified when I saw a Nespresso machine on the bar in The Underdog. Earlier I had spotted on the shelves what looked like egg boxes for quail eggs. Try this. I was treated to Panama Geisha from a Nespresso machine. Wow, I could not believe it, from a 60 euro Nespresso machine.

The price for these Nespresso pods, 30 euros for 18 capsules.

Wush Wush, a very interesting Ethiopian variety from Colombia, best described as weird.

Jools Walker wanted to know was it worth spending seventy-five  pounds on a bag of coffee as a gift for a friend? I would most definitely say no. Spend the money instead on coffee making equipment.

Try coffee from Cartwheel Coffee. All their coffee is high Q grade, somewhere between high 80 and low 90.

Outpost Coffee had a Cup of Excellence, ten pounds for a bottle of 100g. I was treated to and it was excellent, but I baulked at the price. I changed my mind, thought I would treat a friend but when I returned had sold out.

If wish for something special, try Finca La Chispita Costa Rica or Finca El Mirador Colombia from Coffee Gems.

And yes, Kiss the Hippo.

When buying coffee, buy from a reputable coffee shop or roastery, check the roast date for freshness. You will not only obtain top quality coffee, but will be direct trade, a long term relationship with the growers who will be paid a higher price for quality, not the insulting FairTrade scam, a tiny margin above the price for commodity coffee. The FairTrade scam, not only paid a low price, no incentive to improve, thus maintaining the growers in poverty.

God in a Cup is an excellent account of the discovery of Panama Geisha.

Please do not buy kopi luwak.

Shy nocturnal forest creatures kept in battery cages and force fed coffee beans. A vile trade in animal cruelty that no one should support.

Coffee companies peddling kopi luwak should be named and shamed and driven out out of business. They reach new levels of bullshit, ‘connoisseurs’ ‘one of the world’s finest coffees’.

Coffee Bean Shop typical of the bullshit:

One of the world’s finest coffees, with one of the most interesting stories behind it! Fully certified, our Kopi Luwak coffee beans come from fully trusted farms where the Civet cats are treated with kindness and freedom.

The key word here is ‘farm’. These are wild animals, they do no live on farms.

They go on to say:

There’s been some bad press about the civet cats and how they are treated and force fed in the production of Kopi Luwak. To reassure you, I only buy my Kopi Luwak from an industry trusted friend, Joseph, who has meticulously visited each farm to confirm the animals’ welfare. We support these small, trusted farms where the Civet cats are treated with freedom and kindness. So, if you haven’t tried this, it’s an absolute must…

This is Del Boy at his finest, my mate Joseph checks the farms so you don’t have to. Isn’t that right Rodney?

Cowboys peddling Kopi Luwak should be named and shamed and driven out of businesses.

Drift no 9 Bali edition has an excellent account of the vile Kopi Luwak trade.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-five

January 29, 2021

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-five, very little traffic, more people on the streets than Monday.

Central Bus Station deserted.

A lot of people in Sincil Street.i.

In butcher, covidiot, leans on counter palm of hands planted on counter. What is wrong with these brain-dead morons?

But then in Guildford Brian of Brian’s Coffee Spot out and abiut visiting coffee shops in clear braech of lockdown, insisting they his reusables, then bragging about it asd encoraging other idoats to do ths esame. No one knows what is on his cuo a doesease vector.

Central Market not busy, though more people than Monday when not a soul to be seen. But contarst with lockdowdown earky akst year. Market was alsays busy fruit and begabke styall very busy ona Saturady. And that is why thre huge diffrernce, worthless jobs kcked out fruit and vegatabke run by Steve and Bethm who accounted for at least 80% of market footfall.

We ae going to see a downawards spiral zero waste stall was tw pople, now only one, they cklsloe at one. Fuit and vebgatbke stall does not get sufficent custom to have fresh produe, fishmonher only open Friday and Saturda, not owrg opending Monday to Thursday, fewre oiole will visit until finbaly thr market colaspes.

Lincln City Coun cil has received milions for refurbishment of the market. To do what? No one knows, no consulation with sytallholders, no consulation with thsoe who suppot the market.

Tbee should be a farers market in Castle Hill on Saturady. Cancelled. The maket for next month, canclleed.

I looked in Wilnkonss. I wanted a graddle pan. In stock but aluminium. I would prefeer cast iron. Reasonable price £10 but too heavy and bulky wehn have shopping to carry.

I pcked up seed red onions. Tint onions which hopefully grow. Far too many.

I see hao long the quie for cash tills, not safe


Rivr Witham high, muddy, flwing very fast.

Cappuccino from Coffe Aroma.

uick shop in M&S. Only two tills open, too long to wait. Luckily helpful assiatyance mans an automatedc till.

I make the bus.

Passing Siemnesm Sincil Drain cose to overflowing. I have never seen so high.


— to be continued —

Pork with colcannon and mustard sauce

January 27, 2021

It would help if when ordering Mindful Chef specify any extra equipment required, pots and pans a given.

Mashed potatoes requires a means to mash the potatoes, which I lack. An extra purchase, adds to the cost of the meal and not even possible as lockdown and all but non-essential shops are closed.

Therefore what to do? Various possibilities:

– par boil the potatoes then roast potatoes alongside the pork
– pop into town visit M&S Food Hall chilled ready made mashed potatoes
– pop into town visit M&S Food Hall chilled ready made colcannon potatoes

Pros and cons of all these options.

Very little fat on the pork, roasting potatoes alongside a non-starter.

Let’s see what M&S Food Hall has to offer. The two potatoes I will save and use for baked potatoes.

One reason I do not buy meat from a supermarket, apart from the low quality, is packaged in plastic. Meat supplied by Mindful Chef ticks both boxes.

Portion size? I ordered for one. The meat not sufficient for two, the potatoes and vegetables more than sufficient.

I will pop to a local butcher and order a second pork loin chop.

Valentine steak. Pretentious name for a pork loin chop with a lot of waste. Equally pretentious to call it a steak. Strictly speaking a variant on a loin chop, a horizontal cut halfway into the chop. Why? What purpose does it serve?

The humble potato is an extremely versatile vegetable.

Staying in Cyprus I ate most evenings in a hotel. Not once were the potatoes served the same, not once did chips appear.

My first encounter with colcannon potatoes which until then I had never heard of was at Secret Garden, not its full name, with an excellent Irish chef. Sadly the restaurant is no more. A crying shame.

Peter O’Connor kindly shared with me his recipe for colcannon potatoes, which is different to the variants of mashed potato plus.

Colcannon potatoes can be thought of as mashed potatoes plus. Create mashed potatoes, then add shredded cabbage or kale, maybe a spring onion or two or a chopped onion.

From M&S no mash, but I did find a pot of colcannon mashed potatoes. I was going to add to it, but decided against.

Spring onions in the box, not very good condition, to the compost heap, the cabbage not much better, but neither needed.

Colcannon in the oven in an oven dish. Splosh of rapeseed oil in baking tray, salt and pepper to season the chops, to go in he oven later.

Carrots sliced lengthwise, shallot diced, added in saucepan wit ha little oil.

Mushrooms supplied were not chestnut mushrooms, Excuse chestnut mushrooms not available. I had no problem obtaining mushrooms, nor when I inquired was there a shortage. But more expensive. Difference in final result, I do not know. The mushrooms were not in good enough condition for salad, ok for cooking.

I only used half the the mushrooms supplied, ie two. A mistake, I should have used all four. Tow saved to fry with bacon.

Illustrated mushrooms in a box as would use for eggs. No, a simple card box. I would prefer carsdas an egg box, use for kitchen scraps, then onto the compost heap.

Adding to a pot in olive oil a big mistake, not unless wish to ruin the pan. Maybe get away with non-stick pan. Use a small frying pan, then add with the chicken stock to a saucepan and gently simmer.

Chops taken out of oven, water in the saucepan drained into tray and back into the oven, emptied onto plate, then the gravy added. Note gravy not mustard sauce.

A very tasty dish.

— to be continued —

Tony’s Chocolonely call foul on Nestle

January 26, 2021

According to The Grocer, Tony’s claim their chocolates are being blocked from the shelves of Sainsbury’s.

A joke, could not make it up if tried. Two low quality chocolate makers battle for supermarket shelf space. Though stretching it to call either chocolate.

What has caused the problem, other than unfair competition, bullying of a chocolate company by Nestle, is a range of ‘chocolates’ that has the look of other ‘chocolate’ bars to highlight slavery in the chocolate industry. A look that at first glance easily mistook for the originals.

But dear oh dear, look at the long list, the very very long list, of ingredients for the copycat bars from Tony’s.

I hate to have to say it, but Nestle do have grounds for complaint, a publicity stunt by Tony’s passing off their bars of sugar and fat as the genuine article, albeit for a good cause to highlight slavery on chocolate plantations.

Bars of Tony’s sugar and fat can be found in Oxfam, supermarkets and zero waste shops.

Are they ethical? On the shelves of Oxfam no guarantee. A few years ago Oxfam were selling peanut butter bulked out with palm oil, sugar and salt, in a plastic jar. On the shelves until public outcry forced them to not stock.

Extra dark chocolate 70% 180g bar: Belgian FairTrade dark chocolate, 70% minimum cocoa solids, made in Belgium. Nothing exceptional about 70% cocoa mass. Ingredients: cocoa mass, sugar, cocoa butter, fat reduced cocoa powder, emulsifier (soya lecithin).

Emulsifier is used as a cheap substitute for cocoa butter. Soya and palm oil are two of the worst additives in chocolate. Both sourced from plantations where once stood rain forest. Soya, unless organic, has high probability of being GMO.

FairTrade scam. The beans sourced not specified country of origin, and not likely if FairTrade. The FairTrade scam pay a a tiny margin above commodity price. No incentives for growers to improve quality, cocoa is cocoa. Growers maintained in poverty. A marketing ploy to make Middle Class feel good but not question who or where of what they buy.

Luisa deals direct with growers in Colombia pays a high premium for quality cocoa.

Belgium or Swiss plastered across a bar of ‘chocolate’ is no guarantee of quality, any more than gourmet coffee is a guarantee of quality coffee.

Quality chocolate

  • cocoa mass — sugar — vanilla
  • cocoa mass — cocoa butter — sugar — vanilla

The purists will not allow vanilla, others say ok if enhances the quality of the chocolate. A moot point.

Always check the list of ingredients.

Quality chocolate will be bean-to-bar. Anything that is not bean-to-bar paying a lot of money for someone to buy in chocolate and turn into bars.

The accolade for chocolate, an award from the Academy of Chocolate.

In 2020, Luisa, one silver, four bronze, an award for each and every one of her bean-to-bar chocolates. No mean feat.

Coffee and chocolate, speciality coffee roasteries, bean-to-bar chocolate makers, direct trade, not the FairTrade scam. Long term relationships with growers, higher price paid for quality. A win win for everyone.

From Bean to Bar, a whimsical tour of bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Great Britain, is an excellent guide to quality chocolate.


Buy chocolate direct from bean-to bar chocolate makers, coffee from a specialty coffee roastery, or from speciality coffee shops.

Steam Yard in Sheffield stock bean-to-bar chocolate in addition to serving excellent food and coffee, Imperial Tea and Coffee half way up Steep Hill in Lincoln purveyors of bean-to-bar chocolate, coffee and tea.

Nestle is an evil corporation, it exploits communities.

The only way to put evil corporations out of business, companies like Nestle and Facebook, is to stop using their services, stop buying their products, stop sharing your personal data.

Nestle owns Mindful Chef, a company that pretends to be ethical, makes no mention of Nestle.

Please sign and share the petition calling for an end to slavery in cocoa production. But remember the only way you can really help, is to buy bean-to-bar chocolate, speciality coffee, direct trade, transparency, where growers are paid a premium for a premium product.

According to a US Department of Labor report published in October 2020, an estimated 1.56 million children – some as young as five – are involved in harvesting cocoa in Ivory Coast and Ghana, the two countries which together supply 70% of the world’s cocoa beans. The proportion of children living in these countries who work on cocoa farms has increased from 31% to 45%.

Tony’s Chocolonely a Dutch chocolate company with around 20% of the Dutch market.

Ethical Consumer January-February 2021 has a feature on chocolate, the focus on industrial chocolate manufactures. A major omission, support local bean-to-bar craft chocolate not Big Businesses, superior chocolate and pay higher price to growers. [see Ethical Chocolate]

We all have a choice. We can sup undrinkable coffee at Costa (owned by Coca-Cola), Starbucks (dodge tax) or we can find an independent specialty coffee shop where they care about coffee, care where it comes from, and if we are lucky may have bean-to-bar chocolate on sale.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-one

January 25, 2021

Last two nights hard frost, this morning sunny day, frosty, by midday frost melted away in the sun.

Town centre deserted.

Pick up loin pork chop to pair with so-called Valentine steak from Mindful Chef.

Christmas cake from Curtis, a bargain at less than half price.

Hop on the Walk and Ride to Lincoln Cathedral. Too cold to walk down the side of the Cathedral

Half a dozen eggs from Redhill Farm shop. No ham, no sausage rolls.

Curtis no ready meals. Maybe Tuesday.

I forgot, pop back to farm shop. There will be not famers market on Saturday, no farmers market February.

Walk down Steep Hill. Not a soul to be seenn Steep Hill, The Strait, top end of the High Street.

One of the few places open Bookstop Cafe, but custmoers a rare sight.

I decide not to have a coffee from Coffee Aroma, I will then have time to pop in M&S Food Hall an catch a bus.

No sausgae rolls left in Pepperdine’s

Be careful what you wish for. On my way to bus station, I fancy a coffee. Be careful what one wish for. I am about to board the bus, realsie no glasses. Where are they? M&S.

Back to M&S, pick up glasses, then to Coffee Aroma for a coffee.

— to be continued —

A Spy in the Struggle

January 23, 2021

When you find out who you are, you will no longer be innocent. That will be sad for others to see. All that knowledge will show on your face and change it. But sad only for others, not for yourself. You will feel you have a kind of wisdom, very mistaken, but a mistake of some power to you and so you will sadly treasure it and grow it. — Lorrie Moore, A Gate in the Stairs

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. — Isaiah 43:19

“We’re all fools,” said Clemens, “all the time. It’s just we’re a different kind each day. We think, I’m not a fool today. I’ve learned my lesson. I was a fool yesterday but not this morning. Then tomorrow we find out that, yes, we were a fool today too. I think the only way we can grow and get on in this world is to accept the fact we’re not perfect and live accordingly.” — Ray Bradbury, The Illustrated Man

The editing of your own soul. — Franz Kafka

Yolanda Vance an attractive Black woman, intelligent, successful, graduates from Harvard Law School, works for a corporate law firm, a Chelsea apartment, until six months after joining the law firm they are busted in an FBI raid, securities fraud.

Yolanda is the whistle-blower, when the FBI raided she handed over the papers she had been instructed to shred.

Now a pariah, no law firm will hire her, she decides to join the FBI. A follow up position not what she wanted, the salary is half what she was earning as a corporate lawyer, but two months behind with her rent, all other options closed to her, FBI is all that is left.

During her training she is on a firing range next to an asshole who brags about the guns he owns, he lets off shots before she had donned her ear defenders.

She complains, but to no avail. Told she has to learn to handle a gun in all situations.

Next time she is on the range the asshole is intimidating another woman. She shouts at the asshole. He cannot hear her and takes off his ear defenders. When he does she lets off a volleys of shots, the woman he was intimidating does the same.

Following training she is allocated white collar crime. She is about to show her boss what she has found on laundering dirty Russian money, when he introduces her to a colleague who wants her for an undercover operation in San Francisco. She is not their ideal person, too young, lack of training, but her background fits the profile they are looking for. Her target teenage activists.

Black teenagers join gangs, not because they wish to be gangsters or drug dealers, they join because it gives them a sense of belonging, something they lack in their lives.

Red Black GREEN is a gang of teenage climate activists, they are targeting a corporation. The corporation has been given land by the city to build a facility. No benefit to the city, no taxes paid, no employment, but the residents do have a problem of dumped hazardous waste, increased incident of cancer.

Planet Greener, a dodgy Big Bushiness environmental group, provided initial funding to establish Red Black GREEN. A PR stunt to distract from oil drilling on their land.

Yolanda finds a group of teenagers, not drug dealers, not jihadists, not domestic terrorists, a group of teenagers who wish to help their community, fight climate injustice.

FBI had described the teenagers as Black Identity Extremists. What Yolanda found was a group of teenagers who wanted decent schools, safe air and water, and not to get shot by the police. What was extreme about that? In other words she had been lied to and mislead by her superiors at the FBI who had asked her to go undercover.

She begins to doubt what she is doing, checks out COINTELPRO, learns Fred Hamptpon leader of the local Black Panthers was killed in cold blood by the police. Not a lot has changed.

She confides her concerns to a senior FBI agent who warns her to be careful, to assume she is being watched, document everything because when it all blows up they will be looking for scapegoats, will dump it on her as the rookie.

Thanks to Naomi Klein for the recommendation.

I would love to see A Spy in the Struggle dramatised by Jed Mercurio as a BBC and US network collaboration.

Aya de Leon is an American novelist who teaches creative writing at the University of California Berkeley.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-five

January 23, 2021

Friday Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day twenty-five.


Difficult to tell, at times more people around than last week at other times about the same.

Too many stupid people out on the streets, and that is why we are seeing record daily death toll far worse than the first lockdown, that and lockdown too late and the rules of lockdown too lax.

Why do people have to go around in twos and threes and more?

Pepperdine’s local family butcher. Limit of three people. Two covidiots walk in as a couple.

I looked at the steaks. The sirloin steak looked good. I will wait until late spring or early summer, steak with new potatoes and garden peas.

Curtis shelves almost stripped bare. I was pleased to see they have started bringing back their ready meals. Their Lincolnshire sausage mash and peas and cottage pies are excellent.

I was pleased to find fishmonger in Central Market open. Only open Friday and Saturday.

Soup mix from zero waste store. To form stock for tomato soup. I was advised soak overnight. Red pepper off fruit and vegetable stall and tomatoes. I already have tomatoes overripe and past their best, with these and the red pepper first roasted in the oven I will attempt tomato soup.

Two people hanging around fruit and vegetate stall, not wearing masks, then as I leave, woman hanging around in the doorway smoking.

Most of the market taped off and yet stall holders are still being charged rent. Why?

River Witham running very high, fast and muddy. Storm Christoph heavy rain for three days, though apart from Wednesday night missed Lincoln, but the catchment areas and the ground saturated.

Few people around in the High Street.

Walked through The Stonebow and up the High Street. Nothing open apart from Caffe Nero and Greggs, both empty. Do we really need another Greggs? Appalling the  poster in the window of Greggs encouraging people to party.

Madame Waffle closed since tier 3. No indication when or if it will ever reopen.

Popped in Curtis, They had what I wanted.

Coffee from Coffee Aroma. Drank in a sunny stop by The Stonebow.

To M&S Food Hall. Not crowded. But why only one till manned. People wish to shop and get out. To remain in store is a risk.

Coconuts shrink-wrapped in plastic.

Appalling large posting in the window promoting a Sale.

Denver steak with harissa chickpea and pea shoot salad

January 21, 2021

First impression on opening the Mindful Chef recipe box, too much plastic, second impression, recipes too complicated. Not separating out the steps leads to confusion, I had to read several times to ensure I had it correct.

One reason I do not buy meat from a supermarket, apart from the poor quality, packaged in plastic. I buy from a local family butcher, choose what I want.

Denver steak? I thought the dish. It is the cut, cf rump or sirloin steak.

I had to read the instructions several times as not all that clear. It would help if the various steps were laid out as separate steps, not jumbled together.

The instructions for cooking the steak are wrong and should be ignored. I would not cook a steak one side, then cook the other side, each side for three or more minutes.

A splash of oil in the frying pan. Use high quality olive oil or rapeseed oil. I did have picked up in Athens the very first green oil from Lesbos, first of the season, 10 euros a bottle. The rapeseed oil, extra virgin, cold pressed, is of similar high quality.

Keep turning the steak every minute, but first prepare the steak. Cover each side with olive oil or rapeseed oil, then rub into both sides salt and pepper. But first take the steak out of the fridge and allow to reach room temperature.

When steak half way cooked, add the chickpeas, which have been drained and rinsed.

A little before removing the steak, trail the coriander through the juices, brush the streak, then chop and add to the chickpeas in the pan.

Leave steak to rest, then slice.

Salad and dressing prepared in parallel whilst cooking the steak. The tahini aubergine mezze mixed in a dish with a little water and rapeseed oil added, seasoned with black pepper and salt. I did not add juice of half a lemon as what to do with half a lemon? Baffled why called a mezze, as a meze or mezze is a meal of several small dishes.

The steak I cooked too long, I prefer medium rare, which may explain why it was tough, though it was tasty.

The chickpeas I burnt slightly. Maybe cooked too long, maybe added a little more oil.

The tomatoes were of poor quality, little taste. I would have chosen a superior variety with taste for example piccolini.

The steak, the dish was for one person, not sufficient for two people. The salad was more than sufficient, and had left over half a baby cucumber and a few tomatoes.

I was going to wash down with Brew Dog Punk IPA but forgot to get a bottle out of the fridge.

If I cooked the dish again, I would wait until the spring, then modify the dish.

  • steak from a local butcher
  • Jersey or English new potatoes with lashings of butter
  • fresh picked garden peas

Comparable with a steak from Wetherspoon, where the cost would have been around £8-50 including a pint of real ale, though quality varies considerably at Wetherspoon.

Not comparable with steak at rooftop restaurant The Athens Gate overlooking The Acropolis and Temple of Zeus. But then the cost around 30 euros.

The recipe unnecessarily  complicated. Maybe that is part of the illusion, giving value for money when paying more than double the cost of the ingredients.

How easy could a steak and salad be than that cooked by Laura Angelia?

Mindful Chef recipe box DPD delivery

January 21, 2021

Service provided by Mindful Chef appalling. An order placed with Mindful Chef a couple of weeks ago should have arrived Sunday a week ago.

  • Mexican-style steak, avocado salsa & brown rice
  • Swedish-style pork meatballs & potato mash
  • Steak with salsa verde & parsnip fries

Nothing. I was given the run around. Friday I called, after being on hold for ten minutes whilst  insulted by a robot it’s quicker to e-mail, finally I had a human on the line. The lady apologised said I would have to order again, had the gall to charge me, and the order was no longer what I had originally ordered, the choices vary each week, though in reality a subtle variation.

  • Denver steak with harissa chickpea & pea shoot salad
  • Pork with colcannon and mustard sauce
  • Asian pork meatballs, kale & brown rice

Tuesday my second order arrived. A week and two days late from when I should have had a delivery.

The appalling service by Mindful Chef gets worse.

Tuesday morning a delivery, a delivery one week and two days late from scheduled Sunday a week ago.

Waiting all morning for a delivery. Will it arrive in time for lunch?

1225 Blinds to conservatory opened to find a large box sitting by the back door.

Not knowing it was there, had anyone opened the back door not expecting a parcel as a trip hazard, they would have tripped over, down three steps and smashed their head on concrete path, or worse, slammed head on the side of a low wall and split their skull open.

I was baffled, why was the plastic sealing tape covered in large drops of water, why was the box soaking wet? It was not raining.

I then found the card that had been left. Timed 0822. In other words, the large box had been sat outside for over four hours, sat outside in the rain.

Card left claimed I would find in porch, e-mail rear porch. There is no rear porch, there is no porch The parcel was dumped in the rain on the back doorstep. Whoever dumped parcel blatantly lied.

Weather forecast very heavy rain for next three days including Tuesday, Storm Christoph.

As yet I did not know if contents damaged. I left left sat outside on a bench to dry out whilst not raining.

Why ask for delivery instructions, if ignored?

A week ago, I asked this be escalated to CEO. I was still waiting.

Yet another complaint filed with Mindful Chef, to which I received a prompt, detailed response including an apology. A novelty on all three counts.

Opening the box a few hours later, the contents appeared to be undamaged, apart from a booklet at the bottom. of the box.

To me recipe boxes a novelty, I had heard of veg boxes though never used but not recipe boxes where all the ingredients for a meal contained in the box plus a recipe.

Opening the box when it had been left for three hours on a bench to dry I found

  • three plastic package with meat for each dish
  • three ingredient bags labelled with numbers which corresponded to numbers in the recipe booklet
  • a booklet about Mindful Chef
  • a recipe booklet
  • a Mindful Chef calendar

One of the reasons I do not buy meat from a supermarket, apart from the very poor quality, is that it is packed in plastic. I buy from a local family butcher, quality meat and they cut off what I ask for.

The meat was packed with two ice packs within an insulated bag. The insulated bags they ask to be returned to be reused.

The ice packs were rock solid. What to do with? I popped in the freezer. Would be cold in the summer unless delivered in a refrigerator van? Why use DPD, why not use food delivery service ocado?

Ingredients not yet examined. Box placed in a cool place for later examination.

The recipe booklet well produced, but if I expected to be easy, oh I was in for a surprise.

The recipes are not simple, not easy to follow, though with practice maybe would not be a problem. That the recipes are complicated would appear to defeat the entire rationale of a recipe box to make home cooking easy.

What is missing and an absolute must videos posted on vimeo for each and every recipe. Can then make oneself and to make easy, order from Mindful Chef.

A criticism when ordering, no mention of extra equipment may need to prepare the dish. Pots and pans a given, but not grater, a potato masher, which I do not have.

The recipe booklets useful if wish to go it alone without ordering a recipe box.

At £11 a dish, expensive. I could eat out cheaper, and not have to prepare, cook and do the washing up after.

Other dishes more expensive, salmon £12-50, venison £14.

A few dishes were cheaper, but with very cheap ingredients, for example beans and potato wedges £8 or chick peas and fried sweet potato wedges £9-50, although lentils and cauliflower £10.

To put in context, cod and sweet potato chips, with a tiny bit of salad £12, whereas if I pop along to High Farm fish n chip shop I can pick up excellent takeaway haddock and chips at a little over half the price, order on-line and ready for me to collect, or if it was open, Elite Fish Restaurant one of the best fish n chip restaurants in the country excellent haddock and chips and I am still paying less.

Note: Prices quoted single person per dish. If ordered for two or four, the cost would be lower, significantly lower, per person.

To also put in context compare with the disgusting lunch boxes shipped out to school children, not sufficient for a day, expected to provide five meals, and of very poor quality. These lunch boxes cost £30. With Mindful Chef, only three meals but enough for two kids or a kid and an adult, and as already noted the price drops significantly if for more than one person, and a bulk order would easily get costs down to £30 for a weekly delivery. Not that I am suggesting schools order from Mindful Chef, even though it would be better than what they currently receive in terms of quality and quantity, I would prefer to see schools contract local pubs and restaurants currently closed to supply delicious meals, local control, a lifeline to local businesses and the money is retained within the local community.

Whatever the quality of the meals, cost to one side, the ease or otherwise of the menus, what is hard to stomach is that Mindful Chef is owned by Nestle, especially when the founders had a choice, Nestle or Waitrose. A choice between a greedy rapacious corporation that destroys communities or a worker owned cooperative. A third option, was it even considered, the Brew Dog model, sell shares to customers.

The Hill We Climb

January 20, 2021

Amanda Gorman Poet Laurate reading of Inaugural Day Poem

The day started with Donald Trump leaving via the back door, a quick word with staff, Marine One to Andrews Airforce Base, a, subdued speech in front of Air Force One, incoming Administration wished well.

Joe Biden sworn in, a very powerful and moving Inauguration Acceptance Speech.

He said he works for the people. The people, not lobbyist, not Big Business, not Banks, not Big Oil.

To stop something worse than Trump, President Joe Biden must push through a Green New Deal, a radical progressive agenda, address genuine grievances of Trump supporters.

No partying, no celebrations, President Joe Biden got straight down to work.

Executive Orders to stop Keystone XL, re-joining WHO and The Paris Accord.

An executive order to wear a mask on Federal Property a step in the right direction to halt spread of Covid-19. 400,000 Americans have died, more than died during WWII.

A warning to White House staff during their swearing in. Anyone who shows disrespect to their colleagues will be fired. Bullying will no be tolerated.

Incredible and moving poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, 22-year-old Poet Laurate.

Press Conference later in the day by newly appointed White House Press Secretary a breath of fresh air.

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