By Aislinn De'Ath

By Aislinn De'Ath
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Monday, 30 July 2012

More tales from the callcentre of doom...

Reader, this is an actual conversation I had today

Me: Hi Mr. Oldfart, it's just Ash calling from your wine society. How are you today?

Mr. Oldfart: Who?

Me: Your wine society Mr. Oldfart. Poshies Wine. You've been with us for 7 years.

Mr. Oldfart: What are you saying now?

Me (speaking veeeeeery slowly): IT'S ASH FROM YOUR WINE SOCIETY.

Mr. Oldfart: I don't want any groceries.

Me (trying not to be rude but failing miserably): No sir, we sell wine.

Mr. Oldfart: What language are you speaking? Bloody Indians.

Me (now pissed off): Sir, I come from England. I am calling from London.

Mr. OldFart: Are you from the library? 

Me: No, I'm from POSHIES. Would you like some wine? With a discount?

Mr. Oldfart: I haven't taken out any books.

Me: Sir, shall I call back later? You seem to be having trouble hearing me.

Mr. Oldfart: Stop mumbling! No, I can hear you.

Me: You can?

Mr. Oldfart: YES. I'm not deaf you know.

Me: Oh no Sir, I was just saying would you like some wine from us?

Mr. Oldfart: From the library?

Me: No sir, from Poshies.

Mr. Oldfart: I've never got wine from them

Me: Yes you have Sir, you got a case of reds and whites in march.

Mr. Oldfart: No. I buy from Poshies.

Me: That's us Sir.

Mr. Oldfart: No, you said you were called something else.

Me: No, definitely Poshies. Did you want some wine Sir?

Mr. Oldfart: I'm not deaf you know!

Me (groaning inwardly): I wouldn't suggest it Sir! What sort of wine do you like?

Mr. Oldfart: I haven't got time to talk now, call me back tomorrow!

Me: Ok sir.


Mr. Oldfart: Bloody callcentres in bloody India.

I can't win. On the plus side, I managed to plan my outfit for the wedding today between calls! Still no idea what to wear for the hen do though. What does one wear to a hen do anyway? Feathers? I'm going to wear feathers. And possibly a beak.


Friday, 20 July 2012

Roast spectacular...

Reader, on Sunday I made a truly awesome roast dinner. It took me six hours (not including the prep work I did the night before), but it was so ridiculously amazing that there were no left overs. None. Not even a scrap. So I felt it only right that I share with you how to make some of the best bits of it.


Lemon and Garlic chicken
Wheat free Gruyère and caramelised onion tartlets (we also have these at Christmas, they're a fab veggie alternative to meat for a roast as they work brilliantly with gravy and trimmings)
Twice roasted potatoes
Mashed potatoes
Carrots (boiled)
Broccoli (boiled)
Yorkshire puds
Wheat free apple and date pie

I'd never made a roast chicken by myself before, what with becoming a veggie at 16, but it was actually a lot easier than I thought. I completely ignored the cooking time on the package and prepared it three hours in advance, then kept it warm in the oven. Before that I stuffed the chicken with half a lemon and three crushed garlic cloves and rubbed it all over with said ingredients. I then massaged it with olive oil and poured a little inside. I baked the chicken on gas mark 6 for an hour and a half before turning it over (there were quite a lot of juices at this point) and cooking again for 20 minutes, then I raised the chicken above the residual juice left in the baking tray and kept it on a low heat of gas mark 2 till we ate. The carnivores of the family said it was very moist, flavoursome and perfectly cooked so something went right!

The pies are slightly more work, I originally found the recipe in Delia Smith's Christmas Cookbook, which is an old one we've had since either the late 80s or early 90s I think. It makes 8 small tartlets


175g plain flour
75g butter (room temp)
50g strong cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

For the filling-2 eggs (beaten)
175ml single cream (I used low fat)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
75g Gruyère cheese
25g butter
240g red onions
salt and pepper to season

Heat oven to gm 4 (180 degrees C). Firstly make up the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour till it  looks a bit breadcrumby, then add grated cheddar and mustard powder plus enough water to turn the make a smoothish dough. Shove it in the fridge for 20 mins (ten mins will do in a pinch). Roll out really thin and line greased patty tins, before baking in the oven for 15-20 mins or till pastry is airtight but still pale. Cool to the side, while you caramelise the onions in butter and sugar over a low heat, till they've turned all gooey and golden brown, then take off heat. Brush pastry with a bit of the beaten egg, then put back in the oven for 5 mins (stops them getting soggy). Mix beaten eggs with cream, mustard and salt and pepper. Spoon the onions onto the pastry, top with grated Gruyère and then carefully pour the eggy mix over each tart. Bake for 30 mins or till golden. I tend to do mine the day before and then reheat them, they are also amazing cold with salad.

With the potatoes, I boil them till practically falling apart. While this is happening, I'll have a deep baking tin (Or two) in the oven doused in olive oil, salt and pepper on full temperature. Drain the potatoes, let them dry for five mins, then (wearing oven gloves and standing away from the oven) pour them into the tin. Be careful at this point, hot oil is really not your friend. Stir them round the tin and flick some knobs of butter on the top, then leave cooking for 45 minutes. Come back and toss them and then leave in oven on middle shelf for up to 3 hours on gm 3. They're ridiculously crunchy and soft on the inside-killer!

Hope you guys enjoy if you get round to trying these little methods!


Saturday, 14 July 2012

The first of many

Reader, I have about 6 blog entries I need to write. This is mainly my own fault for not writing one for so long, but then between trying to earn money, looking after my family, keeping my relationship in a happy place and feeding my ever growing Pinterest addiction, there hasn't been much time for typing up my thoughts and ideas. But I have realised that when I don't write them down, they are a lot harder to keep coherent in my brain, so I shall make much more of an effort to update weekly. Apologies for the long absence. Again.


The week before last was ridiculously full. Maybe I should make headings? That way I won't end up just mixing everything up in a big haze of bleh. Here goes..

Buffy on a big screen

So the lovely (and jaw droppingly young to be so wise) SJ had a birthday. As she works in a cinema, I found myself spending my Sunday night dressed as a geek in oversized glasses watching one of my childhood  favourites, Buffy 'Once more with feeling' (AKA the musical episode for those not acquainted with the series) on a big screen. Along with people dressed as Hans Solo, Lol Cat, My Drunk Kitchen and that masked guy from Watchmen whose name I can't spell (Rawshak? Raushack? Bollocks. I could look it up, but it's almost more fun not knowing.) Bloody brilliant. It reminded me of how good a role model Buffy (and indeed the majority of women in the series) is for young girls. I feel a bit sorry for the current generation of tweens actually. I mean...they have Bella in Twilight. I had a kick ass teenage vampire slayer. Who still found time to look after her mum and sister and do her homework. And choose bad men, not because they intrigued her with their sparkly male enigma-ness, but because if they took a step out of line, she was perfectly capable of breaking their pretty little necks. And because they were pretty (Oh Spike! Be still my beating heart! That awful accent....that gelled peroxide hair!) On reading The Hunger Games of late though, I was struck by the thought that Katniss kicks quite a bit of bum too. But there are only three books. Ideally, we need a weekly TV show with a strong female role model. I want my 8 year old cousin Daisy to aspire to fight her own battles, not to hope she'll be rescued in the nick of time by some randomer on a horse...


Because the lovely fruit and veg account I was on at work has suddenly and unexpectedly downsized (major bummer), I spent much of the week before last training to go back on wines. I very nearly died of dull. It's not that the subject matter is boring, on the contrary, I'm actually quite into finding out about stuff like that. It's more that I did the exact same training nearly a year ago. And although it's very much needed, it was all stuff that in my heart of hearts, I knew. So although my brain needed to hear it so it could remember, it was also going 'uber yawn...I've HEARD this before!' I'm hoping that soon I'll get a nicely paid acting job that will take me away from the dreaded phonelines for a few months at least. Or maybe I'll get a promotion so I'll have to talk to people on the phones less. I am quite possibly developing a phobia of talking on the phone, having worked at the office for a year (in between various acting projects). Going away for four months to do my tour actually made it harder to come back I think! Having done something I adore for so long, going back to the daily monotony of phoning people was like going back to jail after a holiday in the sun. And speaking of holiday in the sun...


An exciting thing has happened! I've just booked my first ever holiday with just me and The Lad (apart from our two nights in a dodgy Britannia hotel in Brighton last year, which was lovely, but more mini-break than holiday). In September we'll be spending a whole week in sunny Cyprus, eating nice food, lounging by a pool, dozing in the sun, frolicking in the sea and generally hanging out. I am so excited that I've already started making a list of the perfect holiday capsule wardrobe. It will be a short list since I'm only allowed to bring hand luggage, but I feel this means it's essential to get planning early. I'm even getting a Kindle so I can bring loads of books and not have to worry about not having room for clothes! Can't wait!

Film festival

A film I made got featured in The East End Film Festival! And people seemed to like it! There was applause and everything! There was a bit of a scary minute when my sex scene came on (I'm always worried I'll overhear someone talking about how mad my sex face/noises are in it) but everyone seemed to just take it as part of the film. And no one noticed me giggling nervously into my shirt and hiding my face while it was being shown, so I didn't look too uncool. Hopefully. There were so many great shorts that night, it made me really excited about the short I'm writing at the moment, about which you'll probably hear quite a bit more over the next year or so, but for now, I'm keeping mum.


Coming back to the callcentre has made my dream life go crazy. At the moment I'm having vivid dreams every night about everything from primary school, to exploring alien planets, to cooking, to The Lad, to family, to little ruby babies with rabbit ears, to castles in the sky, to eco systems and worlds based around having water fountains everywhere, to weddings (of which I will be attending a lot next month), to acting, to poems by Blake, to dragons with opal stone scales. I'm not complaining because they're brilliantly interesting dreams, but they're a bit mad. It's like my daily working life is so boring now that my dream life has to be super interesting in comparison. Lets hope soon I have an acting job I can flood it all into!


I saw Spiderman. I kind of expected to hate it. But I loved it. I cried. Rhys was brilliant and green. I'm a little in love with Andrew Garfield right now (super strong, super cute, has big eyes and floppy hair, brings you flowers and stutters a little? Erm....yes please. Also, his and Emma Stone's on screen kisses look HAWT). On a less teenage crushy level, Garfield is a great actor. I saw him years ago at the National playing an American kid thrust into a massacre abroad and he was off the charts brilliant. He gives Spiderman something that I felt Toby Magwire lacked, a kind of teenage boy appeal that is very truthful (despite him actually being older than me). He gets bruised and battered, he can't form words without a slight lisp appearing, he walks like he's only just shot up to six foot whatever and still isn't used to it and he has a charming teenagey clumsiness to him. And Aunt May! She's so much more interesting in this film. In the last set, I always felt like she was a very 2D image, in this film they don't offer huge amounts of back story to her, but the relationship between her and her husband is so real and silly and touching that the tragedy (trying not to spell it out for anyone who somehow doesn't know what happens) is a huge blow when it actually happens. The mystery surrounding Peter's parents was also great and left me wanting more. The inevitable Stan Lee cameo was hilarious. In fact, the only thing I didn't like about the film was the teaser after the credits. It felt poorly structured and rather than exciting me about the next film (as the Avengers teaser did) it felt like an unnecessary nod to the fact that they still hadn't rounded off the narrative. Apart from that, damn fine show.


I have a fringe now.

I guess that's about it for now! Hopefully there will be another post from me tomorrow eve, quite possibly about the family day I'm going to be having!
Tarrah Reader!