boil a kettle, chop an onion: melinzana and halloumi roast

i got out 'my' classic aubergine and halloumi recipe last night, which i've made a few times now to impress people. i love the mix of textures - the chewy halloumi and succulent aubergine both have quite fleshy qualities, all in a thick sauce. plus it ticks a wide range of food group boxes - you could add chick peas to make it a perfectly balanced meal if you fancy.

you need (per 2 people): 1 onion, 1 pepper, 2 aubergines, 1 pack halloumi, some coriander seeds, garlic, 1 jar of lloyd grossman tomato and chilli sauce (one can make this oneself if one's really trying to impress, but it's an extra risk, one's already got enough going on).

so, put the kettle on and pop a baking tray full of olive oil in the oven and put it on nice and hot. chop all the veg now so you can sit down later. when the oil's hot, put the onions in it, and pop the halloumi in a different tray.

when the onions are having a bit more fun (5 mins?), put the peppers, garlic, and cracked coriander seeds in too and shuffle the cheese around. when the peppers are looking all jolly (10 mins?), put the aubergines in and stir everything around. when the aubergines have had a chance to think about what they've done (another 10 mins?), pop the halloumi in with the veg and pour over the sauce. it's very nice.

serve with dimitri's 'casablanca', white rice mixed with couscous - cook them both separately then mix them together in a big baking dish and leave in the bottom of the oven while the rest of the food cookity-cooks. you could probably do it with lovely brown rice too but it wouldn't look as good on the plate. my dad serves this layered and domed on the plate.

on the side: michelle's tomato chilli jam.

to drink: big red wine.

grilly's *totally academic* guide to affairs

so i was thinking; what makes a person have an affair? if tv and movies are anything to go by, sometimes it's because there's a problem at home; but more often it's not because the cheater doesn't love their partner, they just miss the excitement of the earlier stages.

over time, relationships get more stable (hey, this is just statistics; unstable relationships ultimately fall apart, right?). they don't become any less enjoyable, perhaps they even get more enjoyable. depends on how deep or shallow you are as a person i suppose. but if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind lying continually for your whole life about who you are, why not have your cake and eat it? why not have the cuddly fireside joys of a well-established long-term relationship, while enjoying the rarefied untapped potential of a new relationship?

as relationships unfold, they unfold slower and slower. less is new every day. so there's not a linear pattern here. i reckon milestones are at 3 months, 9 months, 18 months, 3 years, 6 years, and so on. so i've been thinking about an idea of how a person who wanted to cheat and ultimately experience every stage of a relationship simultaneously should behave, and i would like to present it as an algorithm.

every three months, start having a relationship. you are only allowed one partner at any given stage of a relationship: in my opinion, 0-3 months, 3-9 months, 9-18 months, and so on. it has been suggested that maybe the milestones aren't temporal but rather more flexible; that doesn't affect the overall algorithm. why not put in your own ones? in order to experience the full joy of a long-term relationship, in case of ending up with two partners in the same stage, you dump the most recent one. this has the added benefit of protecting you from being dumped in case you are ever found out by your long-term partner; you've got another one right around the corner.

0 months: start going out with A
after 3 months, things change a bit and you (being a cheater) want to live through that time again.
3 months: start going out with B
now you have two people who are in the 3-9 month category. you don't need two, you only need one in each category, so dump B and get someone else to go through the first 3 months again.
6 months: start going out with C, dump B
9 months: you have been going out with A for 9 months, and C for 3 months. start going out with D.
12 months: dump D, start E
15 months: C now enters 9-18 month stage with A, so dump. you now have A (9-18 months), E (3-9 months). start going out with F.
18 months: dump F, start going out with G.
21 months: you have G at 3 months, E at 9 months, A at 21 months. no clashes! start going out with H.
24 months: dump H, start going out with J.
27 months: you have J at 3 months, G at 9 months, E at 15 months, and A at 27 months. why not go through those first three months again? start going out with I.

by this point, you're going out with 5 people, and you've had 10 concurrent affairs. you must have insane time management skills to last this far, especially if you've moved in with A.

i think you get the picture.

disclaimer: i take no responsibility for hearts broken, dreams shattered, or periods of depression entered as a result of reading this guide. I shouldn't have to point out that this idea developed from me thinking 'things were different when we started going out' not 'i want to cheat on my partner'.


bridget jones' diary

so so, the missus and i watched bridget jones' diary the other week - first time for me, umpteenth for her, seriously hung over from a hen party the night before. watching it the thought came to me - i bet this was a really good book.

i've never had that in a film - kind of enjoying the film but reckoning that i'd enjoy the book a lot more. i've seen films that i've loved that were based on books, which i then read and turned out to be even better (princess bride, never ending story fit very well especially as they're both recursive books); rubbish films based on books i liked, and so on. the point is the film really felt like a not-entirely-tacky romcom made out of a book that was slightly more sophisticated, with a less cringey soundtrack, and with a better structure (but without, of course, the very lovely renee. romcoms are really relationship porn).

aside from the manic flip-flopping of the ending of the film, the thing that most strikes me is the pride and prejudice riffing; in the book, we are presented with a lass who dreams of meeting her d'arcy, fresh from the bbc lake; who then actually gets to interview colin firth; and whose life turns into the plot of pride and prejudice as she dates two men who don't like each other, for dark mysterious reasons. the film on the other hand, doesn't have time for all that, actually casts colin firth as the d'arcy character, and just becomes a p&p tribute/update. i'm sure the book was more than just 'pride and predjuice in middle class 90s london'. i can feel it. but then, maybe the casting of firth as d'arcy - _again_ - is actually as close as they could get to the flavour of the book?

but, anyway, now i can't read it. i've seen the film, and i feel reading the book has been ruined for me. because the film wasn't _terrible_, i have absorbed too much of it. if it had been rubbish, i could have moved on; if it had been great, i'd have dived in; but it was just fine. which leaves me wanting to get the better, deeper experience of the book, but without the motivation. sigh. lol.


battle of cable street footage

amazing footage. i love who painfully 'impartial' the news reader is trying to appear; that mosley can't be a bad chap, look, he's wearing a trilby hat. baddies don't wear trilby hats.

i was reading up on tower hamlets - doesn't it have the highest gradient of economic difference of any borough in the country or something? i don't know, because the otherwise excellent wikipedia article is simply missing that information. given that the borough encompasses whitechapel, which is at least historically one of the poorest areas in the country, and canary wharf, 'the apprentice' land. whitechapel is quite heartbreakingly trapped between the two towers of the minas gherkin and minas wharf, like a glacial valley of shit. it's totally song worthy