Archive for November, 2011

That’s irritating I had written you a nice rambling post about kids keeping us up and the WordPress App crashed on me so I lost the lot.

I’m not going to go through it all again but the gist of it was why don’t kids sleep during the hours that would match your own sleeping patterns like those when you’re not at work or should be sleeping so that you can function at work.

Any way welcome to all my new followers and thank you to my old ones for spreading the word and all the support.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

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1

My thoughts written by another

Maximum Wage

So I was on a friend’s Facebook profile and I saw what I think is the most redundant, stupid and completely idiotic way to describe your self.   “I love to laugh!”

Well who the hell doesn’t love to laugh? Really?

“I tried it one time and I almost puked…” “Laughing? no thanks, I only do that when I’m depressed.” “I prefer not to laugh, it only makes me want to hurt children.”

So on that note, here are the worst ways people describe themselves…. All of them stupid. They are pretty common and you might have seen them on internet dating or other social media websites. Enjoy.

1. “What you see is what you get” 

If I were to see a chair, or a bicycle I think this phrase applies. It doesn’t take much thought to use either one. What you’re really implying, is that you have no excuse…

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Wow!!!

Posted: 29/11/2011 in Uncategorized

I had no idea so many of my readers were foodies but thank you all for your emails and messages, I can’t wait to start trying some of your recipes which due to the response I received I’ve decided to publish not here but on a new sister site Mr Bunny Chow Cooks.

I have plenty of ideas of my own and will be throwing up my own recipes and reviews as well as anything my fellow readers think worthy of publication.

as mentioned before if you want to submit a recipe or ask anything please get in touch via the comments section or email me via rantingmrbunnychow@gmail.com

I’ll of course link back to fellow bloggers sites and give credit where credit is due.

Take care and thanks again

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

As many of you will know I’m something of an oenophile and lover of food. Although it’s a topic I have barely scraped the surface with in these pages I thought it might be fun to share some favourites with you and invite anyone out there to share one or two of their favourites either in comments or emailing me a full guest post to rantingmrbunnychow@gmail.com

This post was in part inspired by our friends Caroline and Craig over at Damn Fine Food

As I’ve named my dog and subsequently my dog in honour of the fabulous Bunny Chow I thought I’d kick things off with a simple bunny chow recipe.

The Bunny Chow despite many people’s assumptions is a style of food and there are no hard and fast rules although it generally does not actually contain bunnies, fluffy cute ones or otherwise. The recipe below is for my personal favourite type of curry mutton but feel free to substitute it with chicken, beef, venison or even if you must a vegetarian option.

Ingredients.

“The below roughly feeds a generous two but adjust to suit you”

Half a kg or so of roughly diced and preferably fatty mutton, lamb will do fine if mutton is unavailable but the cheaper the cut the better.

a couple of large onions roughly chopped

a tin of chopped tomatoes (use fresh if you prefer)

a thumb sized piece of grated ginger (the pre chopped jarred stuff is fine or even ground if in a rush I like loads)

Loads of garlic, this is down to your taste but I’d be thinking up to a full head

a couple of fresh chilli’s again down to taste with or without seeds

a teaspoon or so or turmeric

a teaspoon or three of chilli or paprika powder again down to heat preferences

a tablespoon or so of ground coriander

a teaspoon or so of garam masala (mixed spice or curry powder is fine)

a pinch of fennel seeds

a pinch of mustard seeds

a few curry leaves if you have them

any other veg you feel like but potato’s, squashes, carrots and pumpkins hold up well as do pulses and chickpeas.

optional but tasty is chopping in a couple of under ripe bananas and or some fresh coconut.  

a little flour and black pepper

A loaf of unsliced fresh crusty white bread

Method.

Bung your diced mutton, flour and black pepper in a plastic bag and do the shake shake to coat evenly.

Brown your meat in a big arse pot or Dutch oven (mine looks like this) 

then put the meat to one side and add some cooking oil or ghee to the same pot, chuck in your fennel and mustard seeds, when they begin to pop, turn the heat right down and add your onions to sweat gently.  While they are taking on a little colour grate in your ginger and pound your garlic and chillies into a paste, if they’re ready chopped then just chuck them in as is but the paste does add a little something. At this stage also add the rest of your spices whether following my earlier suggestions or using your own favourites.

Return the meat to the pot and add the chopped tomatoes and veg of choice if you’re using any, top up with stock or water to cover put the lid on and keep the heat down low and forget about it for as many hours as you can bare to or at least as long as it takes to cook the spuds and the meat to be meltingly tender. 

serve in the hollowed out centre of the bread loaf using the scooped out bread (known as the virgin) to mop up gravy.

Wine wise I’d serve this with a hearty meaty red something like a South African Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz blend, Nederburg Baronne immediately springs to mind.

Speaking of wines we’ve recently been doing our wine shopping with www.nakedwines.com and I’d be tempted to try the above with this Shiraz from them.

Anyway I look forward to seeing some of your recipes and hearing about your favourite wines.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

thrills and excitement

Posted: 28/11/2011 in Uncategorized

Not really it’s been a fairly uneventful week but I thought I’d mention a few things that have happened since we last spoke.

Firstly we have moved nearly all of our possessions back into the house following the debacle that was selling the house earlier in the year, this does mean that we have boxes of stuff all over the place but we are finally getting some semblance of normality back into our lives.

We also rearranged all of the furniture in our bedroom to make room for a full-sized cotbed for The Bug. He even pretty much slept through on Saturday night and last night slept from 9pm until 4am which is pretty good going even if not the ideal bracket.

We have also spent the last of our insurance payout on a new fridge freezer so now our kitchen has all matching silver, white goods. 

We went to look at new cars on Saturday but despite Mrs Bunny Chow being rather taken with a Ford Galaxy in champagne gold, I thought it was overpriced and very plasticky so it stayed where it was.  

My grumbling this week is confined to neighbours who can’t park and the ever-present scum who live in the addiction/rehab/rehoming centre at the end of the road hanging around in the street and our being unable to do anything about them.

anyway I told you this week had been thrilling and exciting.

so for now as always

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

As some of you will know I’m an amateur when it comes to photography but it’s a medium I adore and am always looking to learn.

I shoot a lot using my iPhone 4 and it’s built-in camera as well as several of the well-known apps like hipstamatic and instagram to play with colours etc which is great fun and certainly easy to create stunning and thoughtful pictures with.

Earlier in the year we were burgled and our insurance payout meant that I could replace my old Fuji S5000, with a more modern camera and following much soul searching and thought decided against buying a full fat DSLR, partly because of the prohibitive cost of zoom lenses and even more because of the flexibility given by modern super zoom bridge camera’s right out of the box.

I researched dozens of models but having so loved my old Fuji I set my heart on the excellent HS20EXR it’s a stunning bit of kit with a zoom range from 24mm to 720mm equivalent or 30x optical zoom in new money. It also retained my preference for using standard AA batteries as rechargeables are cheap and they’re available worldwide.

In the few months that I’ve had it I’ve managed to capture some stunning pictures and I’ve not regretted my choice one iota.

As a father of two under two’s I don’t have a huge amount of free time to go out and play with my camera, but alongside taking hundreds of pictures of them I’m hoping to set myself some challenges or learning assignments to take my photography to the next level and would appreciate any reader ideas and feedback for what I should take on.

I’d also be keen on taking part in photowalks in the greater London area if anyone knows of any coming up.

As time is not something I have in abundance I’m also keen to try to keep my photography pure and stay out of the editing room so am not interested in learning about HDR style photography or playing in lightroom or other expensive adobe software hourstealers. I might use Picnik to change to black and white and fill highlights or shadows but that’s my lot.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

I know that a couple of years ago I’d have given no thought to todays topic, yet here I am now expounding on how much it irks me.

On Saturday we were meeting with some friends (Mr and Mrs Duglost) who are leaving the country for warmer climes at the end of the month. They chose the restaurant and with them not having kids I can understand why. It certainly sounded good The Gourmet Pizza Company (they don’t appear to have their own website so the link’s to toptable) but very quickly things began to go wrong.

If you need to get in with a pram or wheelchair then they need to dismantle their outside fence to let you in as the front entrance is stairs only. Although this is not the end of the world it’s not ideal and does cause some inconvenience to those people already dining in that area. I would ask why they don’t just move their front entrance to this side as it wouldn’t cost them anything to do so.

The restaurant itself was fine – the pizzas were not particularly memorable but certainly not bad either and the pricing was reasonable. If forced to make a comparison I’d describe them as Pizza Express with a bit of character. I’d even go back to them if it wasn’t for one major failing! Come nappy change time,the long-suffering Mrs Bunny Chow was forced to endure kneeling on the floor of a cubicle in the lady’s toilet using a blow up change mat. Not only does this place not think that people might bring their children and invest in the facilities to make their visit a more pleasant one, it also does not appear to have a toilet with disabled access. Seconds worth of online research showed me that wall mounted fold up changing tables are available for under £50 yet someone has taken the decision to alienate this proportion of their clientele.

I guess they figure they are on the South Bank and the majority of their business is going to be passing trade so who cares if people with small kids don’t come back.

Then to add insult to injury yesterday we had arranged to meet up with our friends the Islanders for lunch. The agreed venue was a country pub not that far from where we live called The White Bear. We’d not been before but the Islanders had and we’d heard other good things about the place (especially if you want somewhere to take the dog).

We were early as they don’t open the doors until 12pm on Sundays but it was nice to be out in the countryside and The Monkey Boy and The Islanders young lad were able to look at some horses in an adjoining field as well as point at numerous small planes which I presume were flying out of nearby Biggin Hill and shout useful things like “airpane ky” and “airpane ky orgone” when there were no planes in the sky. We’ve gotten pretty good at translation and it’s pretty cute so it was smiles all round when the pub doors opened.

Inside the pub is stunning – it’s been there for hundreds of years and retains plenty of original features which is where the problem comes in. They have retained the beautiful open fireplaces but chosen not to provide children’s high chairs or a safe area away from the fires. The lady who showed us in specifically said that they do not cater for children as they “have open fires”. There was therefore (in their minds) no way that The Bunny Chows or The Islanders would have been able to protect our toddlers from leaping into the inferno.

This pub has less of an excuse as less of their trade is going to just be wandering past looking for somewhere to meet so I must ask how much of an investment would half a dozen high chairs with straps and a couple of fire screens come to when considering the continued trade that a family like ours could bring in down the years? Now they’ve lost us and anyone I can persuade to follow. Shame, poor them.

The main result of yesterday’s problem meant that we ended up in the local Harvester who offer inoffensive pub food and drink to the mass market at very reasonable prices (£50 for four adults two toddlers and a baby) and actively encourage you to bring along the whole family. Good for them! It’s a pity they lack character but until our kids grow up a bit I know that their style of restaurant will be getting our trade.

Anyway I’ve had my say.

TTFN

A I’m sure you all know by now I’m a bit of a grumpy old man, but this year for the first time in years I find myself getting excited about the festive season.

My oldest boy is still a little young to understand the concept of Christmas but he sure is capable of being excitable and showing joy and pleasure, and despite the financial constraints of our shrunken economy and having to run our household now that there are two children as well as the menagerie The Monkey boy is as excited by wrapping paper and boxes as by what they contain. We will also have the pleasure of dressing him up in outfits that the photo’s of them will be able to embarrass him in later years.

Gift wise, I have no idea what to get for The Bug, he has no concept of anything beyond feed/change/cuddle me now. I’m sure we’ll come up with something though, and likewise we can dress him up in silly outfits, preferably ones with reindeer horns or pixie ears.

The big day itself will hopefully be a relatively relaxed affair, as thus far at least, we have failed to attract any of the waifs and strays that we have in previous years so it should just be the core of our family, the menagerie and lots of food and bad television.

For food I fully plan to go way over the top on gluttonous goodness, beginning with a Champagne and bacon sarnie breakfast, a luncheon of crock pot slow roasted chicken, with all the trimmings and a boiled then slow roasted ham with maraschino cherries, pineapple and cloves cooked till the fat is gooey and unctuous and the fruit has sticky burned bits.

The best thing about all of that food is we probably won’t eat all of it and we’ll have loads of lazy leftovers to keep us going on a diet of chicken mayo toasties and croque monsieur for days afterwards.

But the absolute best bit of Christmas will be being with my beloved Mrs Bunny Chow and our little family, that and the fact that no one will be able to tell me that I have to eat brussels bloody sprouts.

Good Morning all,

I’ve discovered something I hate almost as much as B&Q and Addison Lee, what’s that I hear you cry?

Glitter, as some of you may know I’ve been organising a kids art competition and that combined with ferrying my own little angels nursery paintings and I use the term loosely here means that the interior of my car, my clothes and occasionally even my skin shimmers  whenever I move.

Why, what is the need for it, surely there must be an effective way of getting rid of every last speck of it, why does it cling on and deposit itself across so wide an area.

Ban it, ban it all.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow

 

 

G’day to you all dear readers,

as you know my last post was a bit of a rambler well this one has pulled in some material written in the same sessions but I thought would be more relevant as an individual post.

So anyway, since the arrival of boy number two I have come to realise that our purchase of a sensible family estate (station wagon) car (namely my beloved Audi) after the birth of our first son did not take into account that having a second child would render the backseat into little more than a repository for two car seats with a miniscule gap in between them and what once seemed a cavernous boot space is now almost entirely filled with the double buggy.

It also means that should we want to go anywhere with more than just the four core members of the family it means taking two cars. I know a lot of people would say that’s just tough for anyone else but our social life has been battered as it is by our little bundles of mayhem and disease. We love taking our friends like The Kiwi with us even if it’s just for some shopping and some lunch and this is now difficult.

There is also the problem when friends and family visit from overseas, we managed to insure my father on one of the cars while they were here but being from the other side of the world we fairly regularly have visitors, although whether they come to see us or the kids is debatable.

We also need to take into consideration that for most of the time there is no need for us to have two cars, certainly while Mrs Bunny Chow is working her car spends 99% of its time depreciating on the driveway whilst racking up the insurance, tax, evaporated fuel and maintenance/MOT bills for very little return in use.

Funny how the most manly thing you can do i.e. producing progeny can go such a long way to removing any vestige of testosterone you possess from changing nappies and singing nursery rhymes to having dull but practical cars.

I think this is where you can see the return to the title coming into this post, I have realised that in order to overcome these irritating dilemma’s that as soon as Mrs Bunny Chow returns to work from maternity leave both cars have to go and we will have to use them to fund something even more sensible and boring than a japanese hatchback and german estate. Whisper it horror of all horrors maybe even an MPV.

I’ve begun doing a little research into the matter and there are a huge number of 7 seaters on the market although I am able to disable most of them straight off the bat. As always there will be no French cars on my driveway so that rules out the Renault Espace and Citroen Mad Spaniard. I don’t even know or care if Peugeot make such a thing as I’m not buying one.

We can also rule out General Motors products so the Vauxhall Zafira is out as is any Chevrolet that might fit the 7 seat bill.

Toyota would normally be my first port of call for a sensible, reliable, well made, practical car but their local dealer are incredibly useless to the point where they tried to persuade us against test driving a car last time we visited as it was too expensive, despite not having asked our budget. Their parts department also couldn’t be bothered to reply to my requests for a rear windscreen wiper until I took some leave to visit them. I’d have gone elsewhere but no one makes a pattern part rear wiper for an 2002 Corolla. Besides, the Verso is heinous and I’m terrified of the running costs on the Land Cruiser which seem to be the only options on the regular UK market.

I’m intrigued by the Koreans and would appreciate the thoughts of anyone who has experience with either Hyundai or Kia, they don’t appear to be especially cheap but I believe their reliability is good now and their warranties are very attractive with a three-year old Kia potentially still having four years to run on theirs. Their newer 4×4’s are also rather handsome.

Mrs Bunny Chow has said a point-blank no to a Defender which to be honest with I’m not overly gutted by as it would be a pig to drive in traffic and painful on the motorway which is 99% of what I do anyway. The Discovery is attractive but expensive and there isn’t much boot with the rear seats in place, I also have concerns about their reliability and running costs.

Nissan make several handsome 7 seater 4×4’s that seem to fit the bill including the Pathfinder, Patrol and the ubiquitous cross over Qashqai+2, does anyone out there have any opinions on any of these options? I’ve heard both good and bad things about Nissan so am curious as to others experiences.

I’ve never liked the Mitsubishi Pajero or it’s derivatives for no particular rational reason other than that I think they are dull and ugly but still I am not going to look there, the Honda FRV is also dull and butt ugly so is out. Budgetary constraints also rule out any of the big three german offerings even though an older M-Class might work the thought of trying to run the thing and big repair bills should anything go wrong pretty much rule them out of the running.

Ford have a couple of offerings and I must confess that I am strangely drawn to the S-Max, which is based on the Mondeo platform just bloated. I’m very keen to test drive one. The Galaxy is another option as basically an even more stretched S-Max but they are available in lower trim levels so can be found cheaper than the S-Max, they are also more commonly fitted with an auto gearbox which appeals to me as mentioned before I spend 99% of my time on the road either in traffic or on the motorway. Yes a manual is more fun but only for those rare occasions that you can give it the beans and anyway if I’m going to emasculate myself I may as well do it properly.

I’m sure there are other options out there that I’ve not thought of, does anyone have any ideas for alternatives to look at or experience of any of the above mentioned cars?

I look forward to your mocking and jeering as well as any practical advice short of a vasectomy that you can give me.

TTFN

Mr Bunny Chow