Boyhood dreams

Take a picture of this… it’s 1964 and the BBC teleprinter bangs out the football scores. To my amazement there is a team called Stenhousemuir! I must go and see them… my 7 year old self decides, not knowing exactly where it is, and with no means of getting there!

Fast forward 58 years of occasionally checking out their results (usually poor!), and, well…

… it’s what dreams are made of, isnt it! The media are hyping up the Old Firm match in Glasgow between Celtic and Rangers, but I’m off to where dreams come true… it’s Stenhousemuir v Stranraer, and a 58 year wait is about to come to a conclusion.

90 minutes of nail-biting excitement and ‘my team’… The Warriors of Stenhousemuir win 3-1. Key celebrations… pigging out in a very Scottish way.

The night before… with a pig hidden beneath an egg and pineapple combo!
And after the match… another pig… Chinese style, and believe me there are wok fried vegetables hiding out beneath the pork belly desperate to avoid the lime assault!

Was it worth the wait? I could say ask me in another 58 years time, but the pig-consuming activity would have long taken its toll by then… so, yes, they did me proud.

Until we speak again, Stenhousemuir has all bases covered for pig enthusiasts… either you take the healthier route, or they accommodate the other next door?!!!

Return to Old Favourites

At least it was the 25th! A family Christmas shape shifts as the numbers change with time. My last family Christmas meal was four years ago, when five people sat around the table, but now it’s just two, as the tragic heartfelt losses mount up.

So, for my sister and I, that at least meant we could decide to check out an old favourite Cardiff restaurant, dispense with the usual Christmas Day paraphernalia, and even dispense with celebrating in December! Neither of us can trust many restaurants not to downgrade their great menu’s by replacing them with Christmas mediocrity throughout the month of December. So, whether that applies to the Bayside Brasserie or not we don’t know. What we do know, is that the same high quality experience is there for the savouring.

Whilst the menu prompted a majority of tempting memories, the power of asking for what you want was also easily accommodated by the staff. Previously, Pork Belly was a starter but now it only appears as a main. The old adage is… if you don’t ask you don’t get; so, asking for Pork Belly as a starter was not only agreed, but met with results to exceed expectations.

Perhaps it’s the sense of getting something that wasn’t there that makes it taste even better! But, though the Crispy Squid looked tempting, this Pork Belly was all mouth-watering meat with a crispy crackling covering… and that melt-in-the-mouth feeling just simply can’t be resisted.

Two or three plates of this starter alone would easily have sent me off with that satisfied feeling of a meal well-deserved… you really don’t have to be anointed as a saint to be deserving of such riches in life! But, there were other memories to be tested and satisfied, not least the vegetarians nightmare… Fillet Steak! A food that should only be allowed by law to be served with chips and peppercorn sauce. A little foliage and extra fungi provides fancy dressing for any pernickety critic.

Who needs dessert after such a meat feast? Yes, I know… the very question puts me top of the list of many of your for a cactus emema! But, for me, those glasses of a lovely Argentinian Malbec are dessert enough… but then again a properly prepared macchiato serves to bring a great early Christmas to a gentle close.

Until we speak again, have a great Christmas… whenever, wherever, and with whoever you choose to celebrate it. After all, for me and a longstanding reader of these lyrical meanderings, a great Christmas meal has even been enjoyed on a balmy night in June (for the record… Fillet Steak was also eaten there.. in Blackheath, south-east London). So, the gift of the cow is really a gift of great memories as well.