tv dinners

watercooler chat about what’s on TV and what you had for dinner last night

Archive for March 2008

Apprentice Sweepstakes

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The Apprentice

What? I was away when we did our annual office Sweepstake for this years Apprentice so I was pleased to find I hadn’t got the first poor arrogant sod to get fired, Nicholas. Then this weekend several ‘papers’ rumour, Jenny Celerier, the straight talking one with the red fringe and glasses, is a bigamist! Oh my god! But wait, no she isn’t, her American ex-husband supposedly married someone else in Vegas before their divorce came through, so Jenny’s done no wrong. Just when I thought Big Love was coming back onto our screens.

James Martin was a suprise/quirky choice for guest on the Apprentice: You’re Fired last week. Without Will from Sweet Baby James to boss around he’s not very hostile though, I suppose they were thinking about the task, selling £600 worth of fish. Personally I would have gone for Rick Stein as the guest, to really hit the fish link home and also for an animated take on the Apprentice overall.

We’re still waiting for..

Next set of Lost series 4 episodes – we’re only a week behind the states though.

Heroes series 2

Big Love series 2

Arrested Development movie??

Written by Victoria

March 31, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Posted in TV

Delia, your biggest problem is not the ‘frigging cling film’

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I’ve mellowed in the last week or two towards Delia, but not her new series.

A lot of criticism has been heaped on the ‘reality’ segments of the show, as Delia goes to friends houses, book signings, the Norwich Football Club grounds (admittedly it is toe-curling when she tries to relate, cockney accent and all, with the players in the dressing room) and I think some of it’s justified. Following Delia around to support Norwich isn’t the same as Nigella shopping for food or Jamie opening a restaurant. That said, it has been an insight into her character; how she dislikes people tasting tv food with a ‘ mmm delicious, to her nerves on doing live demonstrations, to her plucky mum who raised her alone during WW2 and her faith, too. I actually like Delia a lot more from watching the shows, even her banter with husband of 37 years, Michael, which makes the dissappointement in her new recipes even worse!

Frozen fish, vegies etc are undoubtably an asset to busy cooks. Tinned meat though? Despite Delia getting the food standards people to agree it probably has the same nutritional content, providing it’s prepared in the same way you would at home.. I’m sorry but tinned meat is awful – just think what preservatives it must contain to keep it edible. If Delia is truly concerned about people not cooking she should have produced just simple cheap meals – not fancy convenient ones that use ingredients people distrust.

Nigel Slater says she’s naughty for ‘breaking the rules’.. I’m sorry but she’s not doing anything revolutionary. Nigella has been evangelical on having a good storecupboard for years so that meals after work are easy but still tasty. Unfortunately for every good recipe, sea bass with pesto, you get a weird peruvian potato wedges with hard boiled eggs, peppers, cottage cheese sauce and olives…when everyone knows you just need sour cream and salsa with wedges. All the segments where food scientists give her the OK on her cooking methods and ingredients indicate Delia knew she was going to get flac for this new angle on cookery. I bet she’s kicking herself for not filming her Kitchen Garden book she did with Gay Search ( Jamie did it instead, much more rustic though!) – it would have been less controversial – but from the reality segments, including Delia at AGM meetings and her own admission she can’t be ‘gentle’, I don’t think she’ll be bothered. Sales are going well for the book at least and the McDonald ads on her website can’t hurt the income either.

Here’s my Easter cheat, we had a half leg of lamb (NZ of course), and it weighed just under 1kg. I slashed the skin to make two big gashes and filled them with a paste made from chopped fresh rosemary, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper. Then we remembered we had a jar of Waitrose Puttanesca in the fridge, which has anchovies, capers and olives.. so we added that too. I placed the lamb with peeled butternut squash, parnsip and just quartered potatoes in the same roasting tin and cooked it all for 1 hour in a fan oven at 200 celcius.

Easter lamb

I made a gravy by adding flour, then water to the juices in the pan, plus seasoning. ‘Mmm delicious’ Sorry Delia.

Written by Victoria

March 26, 2008 at 9:56 pm

Posted in Recipes, TV

Five men and a baby?

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Ah, the Oceanic six. We now know 6 islanders make it back to life as we know it. But who are they?

Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sun, Sahid.. then Aaron the baby and/or Ben.

As Ben was never on the flight, maybe he’s just slipped under the radar somehow.. especially is Sahid is killing off the great faceless enemy.. it would make sense Ben didn’t come home with a big homecoming parade.

So – is Aaron, Claire’s baby, old enough to be a ‘six’? I guess we’ll find out this week.

Hands up who thought it was obvious that Michael was going to be Ben’s spy on the boat?

Also, Jin isn’t dead is he? I’m hoping all the crying in the graveyard last week is just a ‘oh I’m missing him’ deal.. but why would Hurley want to go to the graveyard then, makes no sense.

Relocation, relocation

Anyway back to land based activity, Relocation, Relocation seems to be getting even less relevant each week, which is bad news for Grand Designs Revisited 9pm Weds on Channel 4, which probably relies on the carry through audience, as next Wednesday it’s going to be up against the new series of the Apprentice.

As much as I love Phil and Kirstie, last night’s episode was a jip. Firstly the house the picky family moved into wasn’t even a house the realty duo found, and secondly there wasn’t enough time for a re-anything. We want years to have passed and to see an actual change, preferrably an amazing transformation in the house they bought originally.

At least Grand Designs revisited delivers on this – 5 years later we get to go back and see if they actually like it still and aren’t completely broke. There are brand new extensions and strange decor and people being enriched by their environment. Despite the poor re-packaging of the original shows, Phil and Kirsty do have a chemistry that can’t be beaten and house hunting, already intriguing, is never more fun then when you Sky+ the episode and can fast forward through all the ads..

Easter Plans

Catch up on Mad Men, anticipate Dirty Sexy Money and the next Lost and Damages. Movies too, as the weather is going to be wintry!

Written by Victoria

March 20, 2008 at 8:37 pm

Posted in TV

Dawn & the faux Apprentice

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Dawn gets a Man

I really didn’t hold much hope for Dawn Porter’s man mission – how can a show about dating be anything but cringe making? 

Compared to last weeks Dawn Gets a Baby – which frankly horrified the prospect of motherhood right out of me – there was no prospect of gore and horror so I tuned in. I’m not sure what I think of Dawn Porter, but she’s definitely got the charisma to pull off this search in a way that was personal enough but not gloomy, not sentimental. Plus, where else do you get to see someone stage a break in to an upmarket mens salon to stalk down Mr England?  


Dawn set about building her own Mr Dawn Porter competition, complete with dancing test, astrology and pheremone testing. Interestingly, the Australian guy who’s star chart matched best with Dawns astro makeup did win. I felt sorry for Barry, the Physics lecturer though, who was really enthusiastic and tried so hard at the dancing, I hope his students aren’t giving him a hard time.

Whilst Dawn didn’t meet anyone promising the show was fun. It’s the last in her BBC3 series, hopefully she’ll be back with more documentaries, even better if they stray from her tried and tested love/sex/relationships genre.

Sports Relief does the Apprentice

Are there not any successful male celebrities without ego that could be great fundraisers? Last time Piers Morgan and Alistair Campbell were reduced to attacking Trinny, this time they all attacked Lembit for not being macho enough  when Hardeep proved too tyrannical.

The cutlery set was the death knell really – the boys could choose anything from John Lewis that one team member could carry – so instead of choosing hi-tech gadgets or designer clothes and handbags (they only took one ugly patent black one, despite Hardeep confessing to a designer shoe crush in the latest Observer Woman mag): they chose a huge clunking set of cutlery costing 6 grand. Who exactly would want to buy that? They missed the point entirely – their sales were for the well off to give generously.

The girls team though were on form, Louise, Eleanor and Kirsty, especially, for her brilliant ‘I’m not your darling’ outburst. Let’s hope this bodes well for the next Apprentice series, can’t wait!

Written by Victoria

March 13, 2008 at 3:53 pm

Posted in Astrology, TV

Sick TV

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Cable for the ailing..

Homegrown on Horse & Country (I kid you not).

After the Home & Country, Switch onto a celebration of rural and equestrian life – yay for the horses, intro played 4 times in a row, Homegrown finally started, with peppy Italian theme music. Bit incongruous for a show on Loch Fyne cheeses but hey. The presenter, whose name I can’t find anywhere – this really is amateur hour (I mean both me and Horse & Country) was a really normal middle aged woman who had normal recipes for this fine local cheese. How refreshing. She was upset Brits didn’t go in for Jerusalem Artichokes more and ecstatic that the Loch Fyne cheese isn’t pasteurised. The strange thing about the show was she kept making dishes but not showing the final result – until the end when she invited one of the cheese factory workers to taste the results. The cheese producer was solemn and vaguely impressed, which makes a change from Ina Garten...

Barefoot Contessa

Ina Garten is a stockier, older American Nigella – she’s a former White House analyst who bought a food store in the Hamptons on a whim and in the 25 years she ran it and built up a catering business Barefoot Contessa, the store, became a local landmark. & google images

Ina is friends with Martha Stewart (The US Delia) and this comes through in the style of her show on UKTVFood. Each episode is based on a social occasion – eg picnic at the lake and involves Ina discussing what flowers, cutlery, themed napkins, dishes and glasses she’ll be serving with. At the end of the episode Ina gives her guests a friendly interrogation “Is it good?” “Do you like it?” and invariably they fawn, when did you get time to make this? Hello – she’s a food writer/presenter, it’s not exactly amazing that the meal you’re eating, whilst being filmed, is so great. Her food is great by the way and “the good news is” (Ina’s catchphrase), there’s lots of fun in trying to guess the UK equivalent of the ingredients she uses and repeating her pronunciation of baysil and ohraygahno.

Pignoles = pine nuts or pine kernels, Scallions = spring onion and more.

Finally – I’ve already written a disparaging review of Rachel Allen so will leave her alone except to say her latest series is just as awkward, ” I have .. ….an oven”.

Written by Victoria

March 7, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Posted in Recipes, TV