It is the middle of summer, and in the UK, that of course means barbecue season. Families and people across the land will be pulling out their grills from the shed after a year of hibernation to fry tonnes of burgers, chops, sausages, kebabs and other meat and vegetarian products, but not all of them will reach the perfect sizzling conclusion, with a group of researchers claiming that up to 11 million British barbecue parties will be ruined this summer alone.
The main reasons for flaming failures, according to the research by meat trade agency Simply Beef & Lamb, are poorly cooked BBQ foods, followed by unwanted company, drunken guests and snacks or drinks running out. Other al fresco eating experiences could also be derailed by a lack of alcohol and bad taste in music or radio station selection. Burnt or undercooked food was the biggest risk factor for a ruined BBQ, with one in five Britons (22 per cent) complaining about it, according to the study, which surveyed a sample of 2,000 adults.
The massive amount of failed BBQs this year can also be put down to lack of skill in the relevant techniques with the study showing that one in five barbecue organisers struggling with the finer points of well prepared meat and poultry, and almost a quarter (24%) of participants going as far as branding the UK’s collective barbecuing a national disgrace. Twenty seven per cent of the sample claimed to be disgusted by seeing their food cooked on a dirty grill, with another twenty one per cent put off their burgers by guests exhibiting nasty eating habits or ‘table manners’. One in five respondents were annoyed by the British phenomenon of the ‘back-seat BBQer’ – guest who do not cook a single thing themselves but will hover around the person manning the grill, dispensing unwanted advice and criticism of their grilling finesse. Other respondents complained about groups of people huddling around the grill, public displays of affection, a lack of food and drink variety, and controversially, having to cater for vegetarian guests who cannot eat meat.
Simply Beef & Lamb also stated that the average adult will either attend or start up four barbecues in 2017, which adds up to 108 million cookouts among the UK’s 27 million households. The agency’s spokesperson, Nick White, spoke with SWNS news outlet, encouraging British families and friends to keep barbecuing, especially with steak:
“Following our survey, we are launching a campaign to get Brits grilling like Americans, Aussies and Argentinians.
‘We’re asking Brits to banish boring barbecue food and to come together to ‘raise the steaks’.’
‘It’s a misconception that steak is difficult to cook on the barbecue – it’s actually one of the quickest and tastiest meats to prepare on the grill.
‘There are numerous ways to enjoy it, from cutting it into kebabs to marinating it in different flavours.”
TOP 10 SIGNS A BARBECUE HAS FAILED:
People who are too drunk
Not enough food
Poor BBQ skills
Boring and predictable food
TOP 10 BARBECUE BUGBEARS:
Dirty BBQ grill
People with bad eating manners
Criticism and advice from ‘back seat’ BBQ-ers
The amount of smoke from the BBQ
Same old bangers and burgers
Vegetarians being awkward
Couples’ public display of affection
All the men huddling around the BBQ
The fact you spend hours cooking and then everyone is too drunk to eat
Popular Ilford based Indian gastropub the Ashgrove Restaurant has formally announced a special New Year’s Eve night to welcome in 2017 for local partygoers to come and enjoy great music and traditional and contemporary Punjabi, Indian continental and Chinese fare, great music and visual entertainments.
The restaurant, a short walking distance from Seven Kings town centre, will have music entertainment on the night provided by DJ Kash of local outfit Kash Events, which provides party and other event planning services as well as boasting a wide music portfolio from the Bollywood, bhangra, RNB and ‘club classics’. The NYE event is currently being promoted on the restaurant’s social media page where they promise it will be an ‘amazing evening’. A finger food buffet will also be available.
Located on Green Lane, Ashgrove, which was formerly a public house, is renowned locally for its dishes, including chilli paneer (Indian cheese), lamb and chicken grills, kebabs and snacks – including vegetarian, coupled with a well-stocked bar. The restaurant is popular with local sports fans who flock to watch football matches on its many widescreen televisions. It also boasts a beer garden to round off its unique ability to combine a traditional English pub with a modern Indian restaurant.
The event will be held on 31st December 2016, with tickets costing £25 for adults and £10 for children under 12, with buffet included. People interested in attending should call +44 208 599 4181 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ashgrove Restaurant is situated at 271 Green Lane, Ilford, Redbridge, Essex, United Kingdom IG3 9TN.
You have probably landed on this blog post wondering why I would go to the length of writing an article saying that there is something special about the 4th of October. Well, to most people it is just another day in the calendar. Another long dreary few hours at work, or doing the housework. The usual stress, the usual headaches, the usual ‘life’s got to go on’.
For me however, the 4th day of the tenth month of the year has a very personal and special importance. It happens to be the day of my birth.
On the 4th of October, 1984 – at around 11:00 am, in the now-closed maternity ward of the Barking Hospital in Essex, I left the sanctuary of my mother’s womb and inhaled my first breath of the chlorine flavoured air in the big bad world.
I do like birthday parties. There is an excitable buzz about getting dressed up/suited and booted, driving down to the party place with some friends and/or family and gorging yourself silly on birthday cake, crisps, snacks, trifle etc. Then there is the inescapable compulsion to dance strangely to that ‘Celebration’ song from the Seventies – which is ubiquitous for birthday bashes here in London. The alcohol or soft drinks flow freely and the drunken uncles and dads never fail to abysmally outperform each other in the terrible body-popping competitions.
Normally I tend not to make a big deal about my birthday. Mainly because when I was a child, I never had a birthday party really. My father was not bothered about organising a party to celebrate his son’s birth, but then, he never was particularly that bothered about his son. My first celebration was when I turned eight at the women’s refuge where we ended up at. I received with unbridled joy my first ever birthday presents (unfortunately, I do not remember what they were) and there was a gorgeous sponge cake specially made for me. The other children in the refuge, Upkar and her brother Brahmy, Arjun, and the other women living and working there (Serpil, Narinder, Dipa, Ruby, Gina, Zara etc) alongside my amazing family – helped truly make my eighth year in this life special. By and large, they were wonderful people and I have never forgotten them.
Twenty years later, I am now at the grand old age of 28. This year, 2012, my birthday fell on a Thursday – which was the day I was born on incidentally. I kept it a a low-key affair as one of my family was meant to go into UCL Hospital for a scan because she had very high blood pressure and leg pains. As a result, I was worrying about her a lot, and that worry did dampen the mood significantly.
On the day itself, I was at my day job. As a treat for my team, I picked up a deep rich chocolate cake from the Sainsbury’s beneath our office which set me back just over £5. It had to be one of the richest, tastiest and heaviest cakes I have ever had the fortune to grace my lips. Just layers of thick chocolate buttercream and fondant. The chocolate sponge between those layers must have felt very insignificant. I really enjoyed that cake…the only thing that would have topped it was seeing it baked by Nigella Lawson in a little black dress. That would have made my day right there.
In my office, we have this birth anniversary tradition, where an empty envelope is passed around to everyone at their desks. They put in what spare silver change or pound coins they can spare, and later, at lunchtime someone is nominated to go out and purchase a small gift or two. Anyone who adds a 1-penny or 2-pence piece is instantly sent into exile or more likely, gains an unsavoury reputation as a ‘cheapskate’. For the girls, the ‘cadeaux du jour’ are usually earrings or other jewellery and bath sets, scarfs sometimes. For the guys, the standard is aftershave sets or clothes. It is really heartwarming to receive little gifts like that from your colleagues. I received a Next Custom Blend No. 1 set of eau de toilette, facial moisturiser and a shampoo/shower gel thang. It was a quality present; elegant in all the right places. The product even self-described as “a custom blend of precious woods, warm amber and aromatic spices”. That will keep any sneaking body odours at bay!
Next day, Friday, was a little get-together at my sister’s place with some mutual friends, brother and brother-in-law. Her Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, Zeus, jumpstarted the festive vibe by escaping from his room in the back of my sister’s kitchen. He charged into the living room and devoured a cupcake that had been left out for my niece. Within a minute, little Zeus had ended that cupcake’s existence. My niece was not pleased.
It was a little celebration, with a little chocolate cake complete with traditional candles and Party Poppers exploding everywhere. I also got a dinner treat: my sister’s special homemade chicken & potato curry – the best in the business. I cannot get enough of my sister’s cooking. Her lamb keema curry (‘keema’ is mincemeat) has to be tasted to be believed. I spent the rest of the evening sitting around with everyone in the kitchen, twitching and getting paranoid because I could see them plotting to surround me and give me ‘birthday beats’.
That is the best thing about birthdays. They are your own unique celebration, a moment that is special and dear to you. The best way to spend them, in my opinion anyway, is in the company of the people who care for you the most – friends and family. It is nice to feel and be the centre of attention, even for a modest, behind-the-scenes fellow like me. It just leaves you with a warm and fuzzy glow inside. Even if your nearest and dearest give you a ribbing – “you’re a granddad now”.
Just to round this limited-edition birthday post on the Half-Eaten Mind here is a list of events that took place on the 4th October 1984:
Elena Katina, singer/songwriter from Russia was born on this day as well. She used to be a member of the band T.A.T.U.
Also born on this day was the US Major League Baseball player Drew Stubbs. A very productive player, he currently plies his trade with the Cincinnati Reds.
Tim Macartney-Snape and his associate Greg Mortimer become the first Australians to climb and reach the summit of Mount Everest/Chomolumgma in the Himalayas.
The government of the United States of America closes down due to budgeting problems.
“I Just Called to Say I Love You” by US singer Stevie Wonder makes it to the top of the UK pop music charts.
Hurricane Polo strikes the coast of Baja California, a peninsula off Mexico’s western coast.
The rapist and killer Victor Dewayne Taylor, who slaughtered 2 students from the Trinity High school in Louisville USA, was apprehended by local police after a week-long manhunt. He was sentenced to death two years later.
“Sambad”, the largest circulating vernacular newspaper in India’s Orissa state begins trading for the first time. Sambad was the first publication to use offset printing technology and revolutionised the Oriya-language newspaper industry.
The Abu Musa organisation, a group of terrorists, detonates a car bomb in the grounds of the Israeli embassy in the Cyprus capital, Nicosia. The building sustains heavy damage, but no fatalities are reported at that time.