Archive for July, 2022

Mushroom ravioli with butter

July 30, 2022

Yesterday picked up from Nonna Juana Deli fresh pasta, mushroom ravioli.

Preparation could not be easier.

  • bring a pot of water to the boil (with added salt)
  • add pasta simmer for four minutes
  • add a knob of butter to a pan on low heat remove from heat as melts
  • add a little pasta water to the butter
  • drain the pasta
  • add pasta to melted butter
  • serve pasta with the melted butter

Preparation could not be easier, but sometimes things go wrong. Today was one of those days when things go wrong.

I melted the butter too soon, and instead of being nice and yellow, was an ugly brown.

Taste, OK, but not as good as I would expect. My fault, not the pasta maker.

Snapshot of a BID

July 30, 2022

Or how a BID really works

CEO of Bury Beyond Parody with a single tweet gives a wonderful illustration of how a BID really works.

He praises the local rag, a freebie destined for the bin, an obscene waste of trees.

Why does he praise the local rag? Helpfully he tells us. Not shy in coming forward is Beyond Parody CEO.

  • our freebie rag praises our CEO

But not only does our freebie rag praise our local BID CEO

  • our freebie rag praises the BID
  • freebie rag praises the chair

And for good measure

  • plugs her business

This is not bad for one tweet.

But let’s dig a little deeper.

  • freebie rag sits on the board

So much for the Fourth Estate, a free press holding the local BID to account.

Now what of the chair of the BID, owner of the business given a plug?

How many failed businesses behind her? Is that a suitable person to head the board, it cannot be for her business acumen.

Her restaurant specialises in small plates and cocktails. Oh how we love restaurants that are stingy on portion size. Everywhere these days does cocktails. It is not because they have any expertise on cocktails they don’t. It is the huge mark ups to be made on cheap ingredients.

Check out her account, and vague hints she is running a personal vendetta. Hint hint, we all know who she is referring to, but she dare not name names as she could be heading for a libel suit.

Or put it another way, paranoid any criticism of the local BID, then play the victim.

Looking through Google reviews of her restaurant. Critics are wrong, one told to go and eat at Wetherspoon, another told if want a takeaway, order months in advance. It is like something out of Fawlty Towers.

If don’t like the criticism, resign. Or better still, wind up the BID.

Maybe though this tweet a one off, not the norm promoting business that sit on the board. How many times a plug for the restaurant owned by the chair?

  • 10
  • 20
  • 30
  • 40

Well let us just say forty times more than most businesses who may if they were lucky have been mentioned once.

The football season is upon us, expect self-styled footie pundit to start tweeting about Spurs. A local football club, er no. Thus of no relevance to Bury St Edmunds. Spurs must be grateful for the free publicity, especially when it is courtesy of Bury St Edmunds long suffering local businesses.

Are local businesses happy that an official BID account is being misused, BID Levy funds misused? In many organisations, this would lead to instant dismissal.

Not to be left out, the local freebie rag (with a seat on the board), promotes the restaurant of the chair of the board. Which of course CEO of Beyond Parody retweets (we would not expect anything less).

Following the recipe (I would rather look to see what expert chefs have to say), has nothing to do with saving the planet. We are told to buy from corporate chains (which extract wealth from the local economy. No reputable chef or butcher would sharpen knives in the way recommended. Use a steel. Ideally use a stone, then a steel to finish off. But yes, knives must be kept sharp. Where are the ingredients sourced from? No mention of regenerative agriculture.

If I wish for pasta, I visit a deli with excellent fresh pasta which they make on site.

He cannot resist can he, here we go again, promoting the restaurant of the chair of the BID.

Note: These tweets are within the space of 24 hours.

It is not though only tweets that are of concern. Promoting board members in a tweet, dissing businesses he does not like in an e-mail to all BID Levy payers. [extract from a recent e-mail sent to BID Levy payers]

  • Cold Call Advertising Opportunities (not supported by the BID)

Recently I have become aware of BID businesses being contacting out of the blue by phone or email offering advertising opportunities with two publications. One being the Bury & Thetford Tourist Guide and the other the Bury St Edmunds & Thetford Map.

It is of course your right to advertise your business with whoever you wish but it is my view opportunities like this need to be carefully considered to ensure that they represent good value for money.

Myself or my colleague Mike are very happy to have a conversation with you, should you so wish, to provide an objective view on adverting opportunities and whether they represent good value to your business. Feel free to get in touch about this should you so wish.

The BID provides over 40,000 copies of free maps throughout the year and Bury St Edmunds & Beyond is currently working with WSC to replace the existing maps around the town, where there is a charge for the maps.

BSE & B is the official Tourism brand for the town and as a BID member you are a member, at no additional cost.

BSE & B has a clear strategy of utilizing digital marketing as this can be regularly updated to ensure accuracy and accessed at any time.

Hard copy advertising, which can be very effective does not have these advantages and ”opportunities” like these two should be, in my view, considered in that context.

I know nothing of these tourist guides and maps, whether provide good value for money or not, that is for local businesses to decide, not Bury Beyond Parody.

The ‘services’ provide by Bury Beyond Parody, I use the term lightly, are not free, they are paid for by a compulsory BID Levy, you have no choice, whereas the tourist guide and map, have a choice.

It is not acceptable for CEO of a local BID whose only rationale for existence is to promote local businesses, to be dissing a business offering to promote local businesses.

It would never do of course, for a service to be provided, that shows the local BID to be redundant, grounds for it to be wound up, and the money saved, used to pay for extra services if thought to provide value for money.

BID Levy brings in £440,000. Salaries of three employees £120,000.

Maybe though they are doing an excellent job for Bury. If their recent posts earlier this month of empty streets is a guide, then maybe not. But comment on these photos, empty streets, comment will be deleted, blocked from making further comments. [see What the hell is the Our Bury St Edmunds BID doing?]

Market traders would also say not, their pitch fees have doubled. And why a one way taped of system to visit market stalls? And why are the market stalls not in one place?

Is this how local businesses in Bury St Edmunds like to see their BID Levy spent, an incestuous tweet from the CEO, an e-mail dissing business he does not like?

Afternoon in Lincoln

July 29, 2022

Two hours late in Lincoln.

Make Nonna Juana Deli before they close. Mushroom ravioli.

Head to greengrocer back of Bailgate. Make it before they close, but don’t shop.

Need to make Redhill Farm shop before they close.

I need to get into Lincoln Castle before they charge entry fee at five o’clock for the Picnic Social.

Lunch from Seasons Street Food, halloumi.

Espresso from Seven Districts.

On leaving the Castle Ground they stamp my hands in case I wish to return.

Top of Steep Hill, bar staff handing out fliers for Picnic Social. But only people around are those returning home from work.

Passing by the cocktail shop, close, always closed, a notice on the window, running cocktail stall at Picnic Social in the Castle grounds. I decide to check them out next week.

Mediterranean chicken ravioli with butter

July 28, 2022

I was a little disappointed, no spinach and ricotta ravioli, no mushroom ravioli.

Nonna Juana Deli, everything made fresh daily on site, small batches, therefore small choice. A choice of Mediterranean chicken ravioli. Mediterranean chicken ravioli it was. I was advised, cook in tomato sauce. I decided melted butter with a little pasta water.

Corn flour dusted the ravioli to prevent sticking together.

Preparation could not be easier.

  • bring a pot of water to the boil (with a little added salt)
  • add pasta simmer for three to four minutes
  • add a knob of butter to a pan on low heat remove from heat as melts
  • add a little pasta water to the butter
  • drain the pasta
  • add pasta to melted butter
  • serve pasta with the melted butter

As always, excellent fresh pasta from Nonna Juana Deli.

Lincoln Central RMT train strike

July 27, 2022

I thought I would join the RMT picket line outside Lincoln Central train station.

There was no RMT picket line. Lincoln Central was closed, no trains.

I guess if station closed, no trains, no need for a picket line, if can deploy resources elsewhere.

But I would argue there is a need to have a presence, to explain their case and counter government propaganda.

Afternoon in Lincoln

July 27, 2022

An hour late setting off, then missed a bus. An hour and a half late into Lincoln.

Warm and muggy, then turned hot.

I thought I would join the RMT rail strike picket line outside Lincoln Central Station. No picket line, no trains, Lincoln Central closed.

Nonna Juana Deli, no mushroom ravioli, no riccota and spinach ravioli. I settled for Mediterranean chicken ravioli. I was advised tomato sauce. And beef brisket sandwich, a dessert and two brownies.

It would have been easier to have walked through the Castle grounds, but I had to get to the greengrocer beefore they closed and visit a couple of shops in Bailgate

Picnic Social Lincoln Castle grounds deserted, half the to stalls closed.

I ate half of my brisket sandwich washed down with Picnic Social lager, followed by coffee from Seven Districts.

Looked in Dough LoCo, then walked back down into the city centre

…. To be continued…

Sugar snap peas petty pan squash peanut butter brown rice noodles

July 26, 2022

Recipe box from Riverford.


Patty Pan squash, is a summer squash, thin skin, no need to peel.

Seasonal sugar snap peas offer a sweet and crunchy finish to the dish.

ingredients

  • dried mushrooms
  • Patty Pan squash
  • new season’s onions
  • ginger
  • garlic clove
  • chillies add to taste
  • sugar snap peas
  • sesame seeds
  • brown rice noodles
  • peanut butter
  • pack ketjap manis
  • coriander
  • mint

method

  • Dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Set aside to soak.
  • Chop the squash into thin wedges (no need to peel). Trim and thinly slice the onions. Finely chop ginger and garlic.
  • Thinely slice a red chilli pepper leghthwise, scrape out the seeds. Finely sliced.
  • Top and tail the sugar snaps peas.
  • Toast the sesame seeds in a dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a plate.
  • Rice noodles for 3-4 minutes in boiling water, stirring occasionally to stop them from sticking, until just tender. Drain. Set aside.
  • Refill the pan with water and heat until boiling.
  • Splash of oil in a hot pan and fry the squash on both sides for a few minutes, until lightly coloured in places.
  • Add the onions, ginger and garlic; stir-fry gently for 1-2 minutes to soften.
  • Add the peanut butter to a bowl and pour over a small amount of the mushroom soaking liquor. Whisk with a fork, until combined.
  • Add to the squash, stir the peanut butter mix and ketjap manis.
  • Empty the bowl of soaked mushrooms including their liquor into the frying pan with the squash.
  • Add sliced red hot chilli.
  • Simmer for approximateky four minutes or so, until the squash is just tender.
  • Chop the coriander, stalks and all and shred a couple of tbsp of mint leaves. Together with the sugar snap peas add to the squash. Remove from the heat.
  • Divide the noodles between 2 bowls. Spoon over the squash and broth. Sit the sugar snaps on top. Scatter over the remaining coriander and shredded mint, more chilli if you like, and the sesame seeds.

thoughts

Very tasty dish. Well proportioned.

For a vegan dish, which are usually vety bland, very tasty.

Do not overdo the spices.

Box from Riverford

July 26, 2022

A long time since I have ordered from Riverford.

Placing an order, an opportunity for the boxes I have accumulated to be collected.

Riverford deliver early in the morning. Good because cool. When I do not know, other than the box was sitting outside at 0720 this morning.

If order a recipe box, can add further items.

Inside the box, recipe box, tucked down the side of the recipe box, sweetcorn and tubs of double cream and creme fraiche.

The sweetcorn inside a paper bag.

Baffled why the recipe box inside a paper carrier bag.


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