Archive for April, 2015

Appearing in London

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

Appearing in London 

ROYSTON REPORTS Number 252

Sunday 26 April 2015.

Greetings to readers, especially to those who can join me in London on Friday 29 May.

London appearance

My US publisher, Kicks Books, has sent out a bold flyer to promote my appearances in London next month. 5pm-7.30pm Friday 29 May

THE RETURN OF THE PAPERBACK WRITER       

at the Kings Head Private Theatre Bar, Westmorland Street, Off New Cavendish Street. Nearest Tube Station: Oxford Circus   (10 min walk).

This is a Tales From The Woods function: http://www.tftw.org.uk

I’ll be talking about being the paperback writer of the Beatles’ hit; my Cliff Richard & The Shadows rock and roll memoir; and will be happy to sign copies of that and of the new edition of my 1960 bestseller: The Big Beat Scene, both available from UK bookshops or www.amazon.co.uk. I shall also have some copies of my Kicks Books hip pocket paperbacks imported from the USA to sell and sign.

From 8.30pm Friday 29 May

THE FIRST BRITISH BEAT POET  

reads at The Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9BX. Admission £8.00 (http://www.poetrysociety.org.uk/). I shall be reading from my Kicks Books collection: Gone Man Squared.

Kicks Books flyer

Kicks Books flyer

Vesak

Next Sunday, 3 May, is the Vesak Full Moon Poya Day, a holiday in Sri Lanka. The next day, Monday 4 May, is also a holiday and the whole week is being set aside for Vesak celebrations. It’s an important time in predominantly Buddhist Sri Lanka as Vesak marks the birth, enlightenment and the demise of Gautama Buddha.

Streets in towns throughout the country are bright with colourful paper lanterns and electrically-enhanced pandals (structures depicting Buddhist scenes) while religious activities as well as the distribution of alms in the form of free food and drink from stalls, termed dansalas, take place.

Children and adults alike wear white, the colour of purity, as they attend prayer ceremonies at their neighbourhood temples. Most Buddhist homes show off their Vesak lantern-making skills by hanging up a vibrant display of homemade contraptions.

Flying Vesak lantern

Flying Vesak lantern

 

Eggciting

One of my favourite newsletters (http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com)took a look at Scotch Eggs recently from which I learned that instead of originating from Scotland as the name suggests, the word “scotch” originates from “scotched”, meaning processed.

“Luxury London store Fortnum & Mason lays claim to having created the Scotch egg in 1738 for hungry travellers seeking portable nourishment before a long journey from Piccadilly.The earliest printed recipe appears in the 1809 edition of Mrs. Rundell’s A New System of Domestic Cookery using a hen’s egg and served with gravy. Soon after, the humble Scotch egg’s popularity soared and it went on to become a popular picnic snack among wealthy Victorians.”

According to the findings of the website’s team who scoffed Scotch eggs throughout London, Fulham seems to be the place for Good Eggs. “The Sands End, 135-137 Stephendale Road, London SW6 2PR, is an unassuming pub that was one of the first to champion gourmet Scotch eggs and has gained a reputation for them.

“Cooked to perfection, the sunshine yellow yolks are pleasingly oozy, while the sausage meat is moist and tender. The best part? They come with homemade spicy tomato sauce. £ 5.”

Sands End scotch egg

Sands End scotch egg

However, declares the author of the survey, “there could only be one winner. These bad boys from the Fulham gastropub, Harwood Arms, Walham Grove, London, SW6 1QPK, co-owned by The Ledbury’s head chef, Brett Graham, as so divine, I could happily scoff three in one sitting. The secret to their success is the use of venison in place of sausage meat, which adds a rich, gamey element. The Veuve Clicquot yellow yolks are bursting with flavour, and their coats of armour are fantastically crunchy. You owe it to yourself to try one, or three for that matter. £ 4.”

Harwood Arms scotch eggs

Harwood Arms scotch eggs

I’ve only found Scotch Eggs on a menu in Sri Lanka at the Villa Café in Bentota at Rs750 [£ 4.05; $ 6.11] for one. They certainly look heavier than the Fulham versions and this one was a bit dry to eat; more expensive, too!

Sri Lankan scotch egg

Sri Lankan scotch egg

Quotch Egg 

Regular readers will know I have a daily supply of quail eggs so I wondered about trying Scotch Quail Eggs at home. The recipe I found in Mrs Beeton’s huge Household Management book (dated 1948) seemed simple enough, but I had to make changes in the ingredients to cater for my gluten-free diet. Instead of sausage meat (which would have cereal filler), I used minced beef and for breadcrumbs, I crumbled a hopper (a crisp crepe made with rice flour).

Since boiled quail eggs are difficult to peel, I hard boiled them rather than trying to replicate the “Veuve Clicquot yellow yolk.” I mixed the mince with seasoning and a quail egg to bind it, flattened the mix on the palm of my hand and then coated each peeled boiled egg with rice flour before enveloping it with the mince mixture.

Ready to roll

Ready to roll

Next, I dipped the coated creation into beaten quail egg before rolling it in hopper crumbs. Then I wrapped each egg in cling foil and left them to firm and set in the fridge for four hours. In the evening, I popped them into a pan of hot sunflower oil for a few minutes and served them straight from the pan with sundowners. They emerged a little charred, but still smashing.

Scotch quail eggs at sunset

Scotch quail eggs at sunset

Card Slot

(From 50 years ago. Issued by British grocers Seymour Mead & Co Ltd)

No. 5  Fishing

“The waters around Ceylon have been called “the deep-sea fisherman’s paradise.” Game fish abound – barracuda, albacore, sailfish and swordfish, and the singing fish of Batticaloa. The village fishermen use outrigger canoes. They go out at night and their tiny lights may be seen for miles. When they return in the morning, the catch is sold from the beach. Another variation is stilt fishing. A crude fence is driven into the sea-bed offshore and from this “pier” the hardy fishermen try to earn a livelihood. Pearl fishing is less important than it used to be, but still takes place from time to time near Trincomalee.”

 

Apologies

Gremlins attacked again, so my apologies for the late delivery (and odd layout) of last week’s newsletter. Strange that, after five years of writing and circulating these newsletters, we still can’t get it right every time!

Beat regards

Royston