tv dinners

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

Archive for April 2008

Almost-summer Pasta Salad

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1 jar sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced or chopped

1-2 tBsp red wine vinegar

salt, pepper

Basil or other fresh herbs like parsley, oregano

Grated parmesan.

Pasta of your choice, at the moment I love Sainsbury’s fresh Fusilli which cooks in 4 minutes.

To make it

Chop 6-8 sun dried tomatoes roughly and then put into a mini chopper/food processor with the garlic, red wine vinegar, seasoning and some of the olive oil from your jar of tomatoes (you could just use extra virgin olive oil if you prefer).

Whizz this up into a dressing to toss over the freshly drained pasta (it’s important you don’t leave the pasta to dry out).

Leave to cool slightly then add some more roughly chopped sun dried tomatoes and if you like, olives, capers, toasted pine nuts etc for texture.

Before you serve, stir in roughly chopped basil and grated parmesan.

Almost-summer Pasta Salad

This is so nice warm and even better cold, days later from the fridge!

Written by Victoria

April 30, 2008 at 1:10 am

Posted in Recipes

How can we sleep while our beds are burning?

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Age of Terror

I keep missing Age of Terror – I assume at 9 on a Tuesday there just really isn’t anything worth watching, so I only caught the last 15 minutes and I have to confess every time I’ve gone to watch it is because I’m interested to see the programme on 9/11 and Al-Qaeda – but that’s next week. Tonight’s episode was about the plane hijacked for 56 hours in Paris in 1994. I really don’t remember this happening at the time, and fair enough, 16 and living in New Zealand I was probably listening to Pavement on my walkman. My only gripe is that the comments from the survivor who said she can’t watch the 9/11 footage without picturing herself back in their ordeal were chilling enough without the footage of the second plane hitting the Twin Towers repeated at least four times.

Jools.. Later Live

Apparently I should like Operator Please, because they’re from Australia. Sorry, I love the Gold Coast, their hometown, where the weather’s ‘Beautiful one day and perfect the next’ as much as the next person, but their Song about Ping Pong was all concept and hand clapping. I just find all the young bands Jools promotes so pretentious! Anyway, if you’re after Australian music you should listen to You Am I or The Pictures, god even Midnight Oil would have been better. Just like anyone in the know would holiday in Noosa not the Gold Coast.

Written by Victoria

April 30, 2008 at 1:02 am

Posted in TV

You’re boring!

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The Apprentice, You’re Fired

Was it just me, or was last night’s You’re Fired the most boring of the firing reviews so far?

Poor Lindi means well but she wasn’t just fired for not considering the consequences of offering exclusivity on their ice cream task, she was fired because Sir Alan doesn’t think she has as many skills to offer as Jenny or Lucinda – but not one person said that.

Lindi said she felt humble but there wasn’t much evidence of it, as she watched her cringe making ‘I am a walking miracle’ comment she laughed it off, ‘I still think I’m a miracle’. She didn’t seem to realise the overall effect of all this misguided confidence and talked on and on – without much real criticism from Waitrose’s boss Mark Price, Carol Thatcher and James Averdeick, MD of Gu puddings on the panel – who were nicer than the usual suspects.

Adrian Chiles didn’t even really challenger her on this gung-ho self promotion and so the show was quite sedate, with way more clips from the show than they normally have, as there wasn’t really much to say.

Come to think of it, the panels should be either Nick or Margaret, plus the previous weeks failed apprentice and one industry guru. Apparently they’re shot two days before we get to see the new episode, wonder how you get invited? Probably not by slagging off the show!

Interestingly, I found Mark Price’s blog on improving his eating habits on the Waitrose site. How cool – they have got to be the best supermarket, if only they stocked Kumara they’d be perfect…

Written by Victoria

April 24, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Posted in TV


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I’m glad Gavin & Stacey won at the BAFTAs – the episodes I’ve seen are quite decent.

Excellent timing that Heroes won best international drama series when it’s starting back on BBC this Thursday too.

As for Harry Hill

Amazon DVD rental update (did you know all Amazon DVD rental customers are being shipped over to LoveFilm in August?) – I’ve still not watched Hollywoodland, even though we’ve had this rental dvd for months now, which really makes the fact that I watched Cast Away for the third time on TV on Saturday even more mystifying.

Written by Victoria

April 21, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Posted in TV

The question is, am I this desperate?

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Oh no, just as I thought Desperate Housewives had become decent again..

I’ll set this up for you – I watched Mad Men before DH on Sunday, which may have coloured my view that the season’s already going downhill.

DH starts with a new couple moving in, Susan (Teri/Lois) runs over covered in yellow paint, to introduce herself – as you would (not). Susan’s new gay neighbours have a dog called Rafael. Half way through the episode Susan’s daughter comes home with Rafael. She found him on the street, the neighbours aren’t home.. what to do? So, ditsy Susan takes the dog into her garage, planning to play hero when the neighbours go looking for him. Sure enough, Susan creepily offers to help look for the dog, running around Wisteria Lane in her stilettos..”Rafael… here puppy!”

Mike, her handsome and honest fiance arrives home in his 4×4 and pops the button for the garage – cue Rafael, covered in yellow paint running out from their house to jump on the gay couple, one in a ‘Dolce’ suit, which poor honest (used to be a hired gun, mind) Mike now has to do some emergency plumbing work to pay for. Now, (thanks for reading this far by the way, you’re patient!) this is where it gets interesting.

What would you do? What would anyone do? Confess? No way! Susan’s got two options. I thought .. say her daughter must have found the dog (true), the neighbours weren’t home (true) so she must have left it in the garage until they got back. My colleague had another plausible explanation.. say the dog must have got trapped accidentally as the garage had been open earlier.

Easy! but no, the writers insult everyone’s intelligence by letting Susan acknowledge that she trapped the dog, which is desperate. DH is on notice now, one more week!

Mad Men

DH does have something in common with Mad Men though, actor John Slattery as Roger Stirling in MM and Victor (Gabby (Eva Longoria’s) husband in DH). He’s good in both, but had a brilliant storyline in this weeks Red in the Face. Bored and lonely without Joan (his uber secretary and mistress ‘Red’), Roger invites himself to Don and Betty’s for dinner, drinks all their liquor then hits on Betty.

// Joan (Christina Hendricks) - Photos copyright

Come to think of it, a drinking game for Mad Men would be very generous if based on lit cigarettes. I didn’t think the show could top Don’s comedic/tragic drunken cake fetching for his daughters birthday, but Roger does.. smoking, drinking n driving in style with a follow up Martini and Muscles platter competition with Don the next day.

Watching MM makes you look at your unpainted nails with disdain, plus it’s so novel to have the characters called Joan, Betty and Don that are sexy! The series is half way through on BBC4, Sundays, but you’ve not missed too much. We’re still way behind the states though, so for spoilers check out the show’s blog.

Written by Victoria

April 15, 2008 at 10:59 pm

Posted in TV

C’mon spring

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The weather is still far too Crowded House for my liking and I managed to miss Friday’s episode of Gardener’s World, how is this possible? I have Sky+!

Nevermind you might say, there’s always BBC iplayer, but GW isn’t working on iplayer! To get over all this garden angst I’ve starter (another) blog about my garden. I wouldn’t inflict any kind of gardening narrative on anyone who doesn’t like growing potatoes, so for those who do like their Monthy Don’s and Rachel de Thames, visit my garden project here.


Ah, my last ever post on Damages. We now have to wait for another year until the BBC start playing the second series at a ridiculous late hour. The finale wasn’t as exciting, in some ways as I’d thought, a bit more calculating and less blood and guts now that we’ve come to a conclusion. Still I’d recommend this to anyone buy it on DVD for your parents for Christmas, definitely.

Written by Victoria

April 13, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Posted in TV

It’s a glut of American Pie

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Channel 4 is all of a sudden awash with good-looking American comedies of the dramatic variety but is there any substance there?

Dirty Sexy Money

How could a show with Peter Krause and Donald Sutherland ever fail, really? The opening shows have been funny and have given enough of a hook for us to believe that good guy Nick George (Peter Krause) would want to stay around the fairly unlikeable Darling family.

Gossip Girl

Not sure on this one, or maybe I’m just outside the target market, hidden away on ITV2, Gossip Girl will probably be hugely popular with people who liked the OC. It’s all fashion, young love, catty prom queens and unrealistically cool parents.

Brothers & Sisters

Sally Field, Rob Lowe, Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Balthazar Getty – you’ll know a couple of the main leads in Brothers & Sisters and if you like farce, American politics played out on a politics is personal storyline, drama – read affairs, don’t mind a tidge of sentimentality and like if not strong, then complex, female characters you’ll like this.

This week the Walkers are phoning in Republican radio shows to suggest Abe Lincoln was gay and the family collectively worry when Justin will be home from Iraq. It’s funny though!

Desperate Housewives

Well you get even amounts of farce and sentimentality here, plus you have to put up with long-dead Mary Ellen’s voiceovers framing every episode.  These housewives are desperate though, murder, secret, forbidden lemon meringue recipes.. nothing is sacred and Felicity Huffman as a high Lynette, karate kicking lamps off tables at the neighbourhood charades party as a pre-taster to miming one of the guests suicide attempt is worth watching for.

Written by Victoria

April 7, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Posted in TV

Afternoon delight

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Why is BBC2 showing double bills of Arrested Development at 10 to midnight? Great if you can tape it, but otherwise what a waste. Why do all the decent American shows the BBC buy get shelved after 11pm? There really must be an unwritten agreement that British programming needs to be prime time, to simply increase the ratings, which isn’t fair play, or a good use of the licensing fee. Catch them if you can though, last night had Michael (Jason Bateman) embarking on a kareoke session with his young niece Maebe which goes awry when the lyrics of “Afternoon Delight” turn out to be dirtier than you’d think.

The Apprentice ep. 2 Frankly the girls team is too depressing to say much about. Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe did a brilliant take on how these reality shows manipulate the contestants but I honestly think the girls team leader, Jenny, was ruthless enough to join the Damages cast and the boys, despite their class-jesting, seem to have pulled together, their good spirits noticed by Adrian Chiles, revealing too much maybe of his version of homo-erotic behaviour – a pat on the back, some gurning and bad dancing.

Jools later and live or whatever

I wish he wouldn’t. It’s great that the show is live now I thought, that means less pointless interviews and circus ringmaster/Oprah style bellowing of band names but no, even on the shorter Tuesday night version Jools manages to sneak in Lenny Henry doing nothing at a table in the crowd. This inbreeding isn’t cool on Harry Hill and it’s really awkard here. Speaking of relationships though, Jools must love Adele as she’s back, singing the same song, again! At least there were the Only Ones. You’ve got to wonder when the next generation of BBC TV presenters are going to break through.

Tonight’s TV Dinner – Pesto Chicken Pasta

This takes 10 minutes to get on the table..

350gm skinned chicken breast – cut into strips like you would for stir fry

Garlic olive oil

Dried oregano (or basil)

Fresh parsley and grated parmesan

1 pack fresh tagliatelle pasta

Single cream – small pottle

Pesto if you have it, or pine nuts blitzed with fresh basil leaves torn off a supermarket plant. (Or forego entirely if you don’t have anything like it in the house)

1 pack green beans (french/dwarf) Topped, not tailed.

In a non-stick pan, stir fry the strips of chicken in a drizzle of garlic olive oil.

Put water on to boil.

When the chicken is browned, sprinkle over a heaped teaspoon of dried oregano and season. Lower the heat.

Boil the green beans for 1 minute then put in your tagliatelle and cook per instructions – usually 3 mins then drain (try to keep a couple of spoonfuls of the cooking liquid in the pan)

Once the pasta is on, pour in your cream, as much parmesan as you like and pesto if you have it. Season with black pepper and stir over a low heat to warm the cream through. Alternatively you could just use the pesto.

Toss the sauce through the drained pasta and add a big handful of chopped parsley.

Serve with extra parmesan on top and stir through cherry tomatoes and baby spinach too for freshness.

Written by Victoria

April 4, 2008 at 1:37 am

Posted in Recipes, TV

Light change

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Well I’ve known since the first episode that David (Noah Bean) was going to die at the end of this series of Damages, so I was really suprised by how upset I was by it.

Last nights Damages Ellen walked out of prison and into normal colour, (the accent lighting, e.g. sepia for the future is like Heroes) we got to see most of the crime that the series hinges on too, and it was punchy. The night David dies his flat turns into a revolving door of characters, I was even considering maybe his sister Katie as killer, so that when the thugs are finally in, and smack the NYC ornament into his forehead I had no nerves left.

The violence wasn’t graphic, but it was sickening, from the first blow when I was thought he was dead to the calm tracking of the blood splatter still on the tiles as Ellen comes back in real time and the door closes on David alive for the last time. The weight of all the recent death isn’t sentimental though, with Art (Danson) trying to comfort Rays widow after snorting coke. One episode left for all the fans who’ve managed to keep up with the late Monday night showing, for the rest of you – buy the DVD.

Written by Victoria

April 1, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Posted in TV