Tags: Little Book of lunch, sandwiches
My friend and work colleague Wendy pointed out this enjoyable feature on lunchbox sandwiches in the Guardian yesterday with the instruction “scroll down”.
Ha ha! I was very pleased to see ‘The Enid Blyton’ given its full due as a valid lunch option. Sandwiches with sides of radishes and hard boiled eggs are excellent lunchtime fare, my only quibble would be to suggest that for a more aesthetically pleasing, and authentically Blytonian, experience you should wrap your dipping salt up in a little screw of paper rather than use tupperware. The sandwiches that the authors of this article and The Little Book of Lunch suggest are watercress – very tasty and classy – but Enid has a wonderful knack for making the humble sandwich sound like the most appetising thing ever, even when it includes such retro delights as Spam. So here are a few more canonical suggestions:
‘”Cucumber dipped in vinegar! Spam and lettuce! Egg! Sardine! Oooh, Mr Luffy, your sandwiches are much nicer than ours,” said Anne, beginning on two together, one cucumber and the other Spam and lettuce” (Five Go Off to Camp, sandwich-maker: Mrs Luffy).
‘”Aunt Fanny cut dozens and dozens of sandwiches,” said Anne. “She said if we kept them in this tin they wouldn’t go stale, and would last a day or two till we went back. I’m hungry. Shall we have some now?”
They sat out in the sun, munching the ham sandwiches. Anne had brought tomatoes too, and they took a bite at a sandwich and then a bite at a tomato.’ (Five on a Secret Trail, sandwich-maker: Aunt Fanny, with improvisation by Anne).
Potted meat (devoured ravenously and even two at a time by a malnourished Uncle Quentin) (Five on Kirrin Island Again, sandwich-maker: Aunt Fanny).
‘They had a magnificent lunch about half-past twelve. Really, Mrs Johnson had surpassed herself! Egg and sardine sandwiches, tomato and lettuce, ham – there seemed no end to them!’ (Five Go to Mystery Moor, sandwich-maker: Mrs Johnson, of Johnson’s Riding School).
‘”I made [Timmy's] sandwiches myself.” [said George]. And so she had! She had bought sausagemeat at the butchers and had actually made Timmy twelve sandwiches with it, all neatly cut and packed. (Five Get Into Trouble, sandwich-maker: George).
Perhaps the best sandwich-making and eating in the Famous Five books comes in Five on a Hike Together. The process of making the cheese, pork, ham and egg sandwiches (4 different types – not all together!) is stretched across no less than five pages (the children do ask for eight sandwiches each so it takes a while) and then there are seven pages of expectation and build up before the children finally sit down in the heather on Fallaway Hill in the late autumn sun to munch their sandwiches while gazing across the lonely moor.
‘At last the sandwiches were finished and the old woman appeared again. She had packed them up neatly in four parcels of grease-proof paper, and had pencilled on each what they were. Julian read what she had written and winked at the others.
“My word – we’re in for a grand time!” he said.’
(Five on a Hike Together, sandwich-maker: un-named ‘shop woman’ aka ‘old woman’ aka ‘Ma’)
Tags: Geffrye Museum, Twelfth Night, typewriter
I’ve just got back from a lovely and heart-warming way to celebrate Twelfth Night – the Geffrye Museum’s annual ‘Farewell to Christmas‘ celebration. They usually have a traditional burning of the holly and the ivy outside the museum, but unfortunately that was cancelled this year due to the blustery weather. But we did have Christmas cake, mulled wine and carols, with a fantastic brass band (the French horn player looked very red in the face). It felt like a good way to end the festive season as now it’s nearly time to return to the working world.
Since getting home I’ve been distracting myself for a little while by typing up some recipes I’ve promised to share with a work colleague (a selection of Dan Lepard’s tasty bread and cake recipes). It’s always nice to have an opportunity to get my typewriter out, but it is rather noisy and makes the kitchen table vibrate. I’ve been half expecting my next-door neighbour to come round to complain. It reminded of Enid, the BBC TV film with Helena Bonham Carter as Blyton – in which she merrily types away next to her open window, disturbing the peace of all around her. A return to the computer seemed sensible. So, to sign off, here’s a picture of the ever productive and hard-working real Enid Blyton to get us all (well, definitely me) in the mood for going back to work.
Tags: Petit Bateau, pyjamas
The Famous Five Christmas present countdown challenge is over! So, last but definitely not least, George. As we know, George would rather be a boy and likes to dress like one. She’s also a keen sailor so what could be better than this cosy pair of boys pyjamas, with a sailing boat motif and/or a stylish boy’s sailors sweater from Petit Bateau?
Happy Christmas everyone! Se you in 2014 x
Tags: On the Map, Simon Garfield, Sustrans
A Christmas gift for Julian, the boy who loves maps, planning journeys and navigating: On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does, by Simon Garfield (author of the excellent book on typography, Just My Type).
And if Julian’s been especially good this year, he could have an additional present in the form of a donation to Sustrans, the charitable organisation that supports the creation of National Cycle Routes. Sustrans are currently doing a cute Christmas gift scheme where, for £30, you can sponsor a mile of a cycle route. So Julian (or whoever) would get their name published on the online map listing sponsors, and would also receive a thank you pack, sponsorship certificate and special reflective bike sticker. And most importantly, when the Famous Five set off on a cycling adventure in the spring, they’ll have safer routes to ride along (well, safe apart from the baddies they’ll inevitably encounter).
Ooops. I went to the panto (Puss in Boots) last night and got home too late to post. So two suggestions today.
For everyone’s favourite gourmet and gourmand, Dick: A Neal’s Yard Cheese Box. A fine box of cheeses from the British Isles can be a one-off gift, or be delivered to their lucky recipient monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly.
For scientist Uncle Quentin, who spends much time working in his study, a LED spiral helix standing lamp from the Science Museum.
Tags: anchor rubber stamp, National Gallery, Paint Your Own Postcards
Whew! Just made my (self-imposed) deadline…
In a pre-mobile phone era, when the Five go off on adventures they have to send postcards back home to let their parents/aunt & uncle know all is well. Anne has, on occasion, expressed a desire to become an artist, so this Paint Your Own Postcards kitswill encourage her to produce works of art with a purpose, inspired by the glorious landscapes the Five encounter on their travels. It contains 20 sheets of thick paper with pre-printed address lines and a stamp square on the reverse.
As an added bonus, while online or visiting the National Gallery shop, you could also pick up this rather stylish anchor rubber stamp that might be a nice stocking filler for Alf the Fisherboy.
Tags: Bertinet, bread-making
For Aunt Fanny - the gift that keeps on giving: A baking class at the Bertinet Cookery School in Bath. I visited the Bertinet Bakery when in Bath over the summer and sampled a range of delicious breads and pastries. If the Five clubbed together to send Aunt Fanny on one of these courses – either the 3 day bread making course or the one day French pastry class, they’ll be amply rewarded over the holidays when Aunt Fanny can pack them off on gourmet picnics. Sometimes it really is better to give than receive.
Tags: Bethnal Green Banger, Brian Roberts Butchers, dog christmas gift, Ginger Pig, sausages, squeaky meat toy
I’m unnervingly on top of my Christmas shopping this year so I thought I would set myself a separate gift challenge. For the next week I will post one present suggestion every day for each member of the Famous Five, plus Aunt Fanny and (argh, difficult to buy for) Uncle Quentin. I’ve got no idea what to get them yet, so I now have a familiar and reassuring sense of Christmas anxiety.
First up – Timmy the Dog!
I’ve actually got two suggestions for Timmy:
1) Faux meat toy. I saw this on Norwich market when I was last there a few weeks ago. I took a picture of it as I thought it would be PERFECT for Timmy. Various baddies try to poison Timmy with dodgy meat throughout the series, much to George’s distress. This faux meat provides a handy distraction, plus hours of entertainment as it squeaks. A bargain at £3.
2) Sausage variety pack. In case Timmy is really peeved by the fake meat, some good butchers’ sausages will cheer him up and restore harmony in the Kirrin home. These are from The Ginger Pig in Victoria Park. I love the green wooden meat cleaver decoration.
My local butchers, Brian Roberts, on Roman Road, East London also does homemade sausages including their house special, the Bethnal Green Banger. As we know, the rest of the Five are partial to sausages (see my previous post on the topic here) so do make sure your meaty gift gets to its intended recipient.
Tags: Ginger Beer Engine, London Fields Schoolyard
Happy Autumn everyone! I’ve been super busy on other projects, mostly film-related for work and pleasure, but had to take a little time out to share this – spotted (and tasted) today at London Fields schoolyard market. Yes, it is a ginger beer wagon.
The Ginger Beer Engine travels around with barrels of delicious home-brewed beverages (ginger beer, dandelion & burdock and lemonade) that are dispensed via a series of exciting-looking pipes and taps. The kind gentleman pouring said beverages generously offered up some samples and I’m pleased to report that the GB is excellent (and just the teeniest bit alcoholic, as all good ginger beer should be).
You can find out more by visiting the Ginger Beer Engine website here. Rather thrillingly, the Engine can be hired for private events. It may make an appearance at my next birthday party.
Tags: airmail recipe cards, polyhedra rubber stamps, Present & Correct, set square beaker, stationery heaven
I was delighted to encounter, en route to the Harlequin pub this evening, the new(ish) Present & Correct shop on Arlington Way, just behind Rosebery Avenue. They have beautiful things that will appeal to any stationery lover, all beautifully laid out in a way that makes you want to buy EVERYTHING. I’ve previously recommended them as a good place to buy Famous Five suitable Christmas presents (there’s a lot that you can imagine Julian et al using at school) but why wait when there are polyhedra rubber stamps, school pencils, set square beakers and airmail recipe cards to buy?