Daily Archives: March 3, 2011

Saturday Kitchen: Not cool but I like it

Just look at the set in this picture. Fake stone clad walls in a strange pinky beige colour like a holiday rental cottage in Devon circa 1982. Random orange vases. Peculiar lighting. It’s a terrible set, a bit like the one you’d see in the 1970s lunchtime ‘housewives’ show Houseparty, which featured a similar fake domestic set plus a cast of various women who would ring the doorbell (did this happen or am I having a weird retro Avon lady dream here?) and happen to ‘drop by’ with a cake recipe or pink loo seat cover pattern to crochet. It was innocent, comforting and ‘hyggelig’ and I loved it to bits.

Saturday Kitchen is a bit slicker of course, but it’s just as cosy. I happened upon it when I was ill a few weeks ago. I remembered host James Martin from Ready, Steady, Cook a few years back, Fern Britton era, when he always seemed to be spinning hot sugar into baskets (pity the poor sod who had to clean the floor after he’d finished). I didn’t like him much then, but he’s lovely in Saturday Kitchen. Maybe he’s older, maybe he prefers being in charge.

It all kicks off (actually, that’s too active a description – ‘gently slides into existence’ perhaps) with him welcoming a couple of viewers, well-coiffed women in their 40s who look like they’d do well in a modern version of Houseparty. He has a couple of professional chefs that join him to cook for the celebrity guest, and these dishes also tasted by the two viewer guests. They get through quite a lot of wine, chosen by an expert such as Jolly Olly.

Last week’s smiley, unchallenging celeb was Amanda Burton, the week before, an entirely pleasant, flirty Gok Wan. Throughout the show the demonstrated recipes are interspersed with clips  from other cookery shows, such as MasterChef, Rick Stein or Antonio Carluccio. Works a treat this – none of the repetitive flannel, just a perfect bite-sized mouthful.

My favourite part is when the two chefs enter the cookery version of the ‘Star in a reasonably priced car’ bit of Top Gear by trying to make an omelette in the shortest time possible. They mostly produce a slimy mess of runny eggs, but it’s enjoyable to watch talented people doing something as silly as a Generation Game test, and also, be a bit crap at cooking like the rest of us for once.

At the end of the show, Martin will cook a dish for the celeb which is either their idea of food ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, and the decision as to which gets decided by the panel members of chefs and viewers.

It’s all terribly pleasant, sweet and gentle, like being fed spoonfuls of shepherd’s pie whilst slolloping on a La Z Boy recliner.

Posted by Inkface

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Waterloo Road: Karen Fisher – thick or what?

(Series 6, Ep.15) The thing about headmistress Karen Fisher is that she doesn’t listen. People (her family, mainly) start to tell her things, important things, and she changes the subject, cuts them off, thinks they’re talking about something else. She’s completely preoccupied with her own stuff, and those around her suffer. So this week the person who probably suffers most of all, son Harry, took it upon himself to cause a bit of mayhem by taking her phone and using it to send messages to her colleagues at the school. By lucky coincidence – or else he’s a Machiavellian genius – his emails were all perfectly designed to unsettle their recipients. For example Ms Montoya received an ominous note telling her that a grave matter had come to Karen’s attention. Cesca naturally thought this must mean her relationship with Jonah had been rumbled – unthinkable, as they’re so discreet. No-one will notice anything as long as it occurs in the bike shed, the art room that is always mysteriously empty, or the cleaning cupboard. Actually, since they only had a caretaker for a day, and they don’t seem to have school cleaners, there’s probably not a lot of use for that cleaning cupboard.

The messages Ruby Fry and others got had them so upset that Grantly Budgen summoned a union rep, and it was all a good chance for people to tell Karen what they thought of her. Everything got sorted out eventually, and Karen and Harry had a mother/son bonding moment on the stairs and went out for that classic peace-making snack, the pizza.

Meanwhile, as Karen sorted out the problems of her youngest child, middle child Jess was checking into a hotel room with the sleazy Hodge, who is using her to get at sister Bex. It’s going to take more than a pizza to sort that lot out.

The plan of segregating boys and girls in lessons is not going well, with the boys falling even further behind. Even a cunning scheme to motivate the boys by getting a local businessman in to run a kind of Dragons Den workshop ended in humiliation for Kyle Stack and a small invasion by the girls, led by Sambuca Kelly, who were angry that they’d been left out. Sadly the best invention they could come up with was a dating website. I know it’s worked well for Sarah Beeny, but honestly, girls, there’s more to life than romance, particularly when Jonah Kirby is already taken, Bolton Smiley has left, Josh Stevenson is gay and Kyle Stack is thick and unpleasant. That only leaves a choice of Ronan Burley and Finn Sharkey, and even if they concentrate full-time on romance it’s not going to be enough to keep a dating site busy.

Grantly Budgen and Ruby Fry went on a date, in the sense that they arranged to have lunch together and Grantly said “It’s a date,” as you do. But when Janeece told Ruby that she thought Grantly fancied her, Ruby went all awkward and made a huge point of telling Grantly how much she loved her husband and how she soooooo wasn’t looking for a relationship. After her little racist blip last week, Ruby was back on form, and I hope that this little double-act with Grantly keeps going because it’s very funny.

Next time: We find out what Bex did in her two-year lost weekend when pictures are discovered on the internet. And she wasn’t backpacking in Thailand.

Posted by PLA                     (more Waterloo Road here)

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