Personal and undiluted views
Halloween

226 days ago

Photo Article from the Welsh Hovel - It's Halloween and I am in the kitchen

Last year, unable to find a pumpkin to buy at the last minute, we used turnips and celeberated Hop-tu-naa This year I snapped up a pumpkin and watched by Sian the cat hollowed it out.  I am not a great pumpkin carver so by my standards this was an adequate result. Then came the pumpkin soup.

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592 days ago

Photo Article: Guy Fawkes Night in Wrexham, a nation forgets its history & the Mrs thinks I am becoming Peter Hitchens

It is only a few days ago that I was bemoaning how the true meaning and heritage of All Soul’s Night or Hop-tu-Naa had been lost into another alcohol fuelled consumer-fest that is Halloween. Now the Mrs thinks that I am turning into Peter Hitchens as we approach Guy Fawkes Night, or as it is known these day Bonfire Night. My thoughts turn to my childhood, forty five or more years ago and a different world.

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594 days ago

Photo Article: Hop-tu-naa at the Welsh Hovel

I was going to cave to that ghastly American imported idea and buy a pumpkin and make pumpkin pie. I bought the molasses and cream and was ready, all I then needed was a pumpkin…

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960 days ago

Tom Winnifrith Bearcast: happy Hop-tu-naa, my No 1 tip for dealing with Trick or Treaters

Happy Hop-tu-naa to any listeners in the Isle of Man, and happy Halloweebn to the rest of you. I start the podcast with a handy tip on dealing with the Trick or Treat menace. This afternoon I head off with Joshua to deal with the bastards at Barclays (see yesterday's bearcast) and I will report back on that tomorrow. I look at Crawshaw (CRAW), I3 Energy (I3E) doing a Cathy Newman, at Photonstar Led (PSL)) which is toast, Online Blockchain (OBC), at FastJet (FJET), lessons for Neil Woodford from GYG (GYG) and elsewhere and why Thirsty Paul Scott and others should keep December 3 free.

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1323 days ago

"After a driver in New York mowed down 8"... how the media and the libs got everything wrong and Trump was right again

The quote is from John Humphreys on BBC Radio 4. It was at least better than that from American Muslim activist Linda Sarsour who tweeted after the Halloween attack in New York 

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1568 days ago

The Field No 8 - Halloween, at last something sweet to eat

Having been deprived of chocolate and sweets for most of the year, late October until November 5th at Butterwell Farm, Byfield provided some greatly appreciated treats. 

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1690 days ago

Photo Article: Not Halloween but Hop-tu-Naa in Bristol

The younger generation suggested half term pumpkin carving. But I could not find a pumpkin in the local stores as all the chavs seemed to have got there ahead of me. But I spotted a turnip and, remembering my time in the Isle of Man, Halloween became Hop-tu-Naa.

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1713 days ago

My weekly Sainsbury shop, I am addicted to this exercise in despairing at modern life

I am the main shopper in this household, spinning down to the local Sainsbury once a week to provide for myself, the Mrs, Joshua and, most importantly of all, my morbidly obese three legged cat Oakley. I work with a mental shopping list and wander around in track suit bottoms to blend in with my fellow shoppers. I plod slowly trying to take in the full horror of life in modern Britain. It is addictive but each week I return to then emerge in ever greater despair.

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2788 days ago

Preparing for Hop-tu-Naa at Real Man Pizza – part 3: The flag goes up

Taking a brief break from the kitchen where the Manx crab and turnip creamed soup is taking shape and before Reda and I turn our attention to Soddag Valloo (dumb cake) there are a few minutes to raise the Isle of Man flag inside Real Man Pizza in Clerkenwell.

Hop-tu-naa may be the Celtic New Year but it is a uniquely isle of man celebration. And so the flag goes up.

As of tomorrow it will be joined by a few other items. If you are Manx and in London on Wednesday & Thursday and wish to celebrate with us remember that we offer a 20% discount to any customer paying their bill in Manx bank notes.

The full Hop-tu-naa menu is almost ready and you can view what is on offer here.

 

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2788 days ago

Preparing for Hop-tu-Naa at Real man Part 1 – Carving Turnips (Swedes)



Hop-tu-Naa (the Isle of Man alternative to Halloween – it is the Celtic New Year) is on Thursday but we will start celebrating at Real Man Pizza, the quirky Manx Italian outpost in Clerkenwell, tomorrow (Wednesday). And so preparations are underway all of tonight.

First up are the turnips (what we might call Swedes in England) which the staff are now carving. As you can see Jinnie the Witch has turned up to assist Leno and Reda our ace cooks.

And so we now have our lanterns. More importantly we also have pounds of swede which Reda and I will start turning into a creamy Manx crab and swede soup which forms part of our Hop-tu-naa special menu available on both Wednesday and Thursday.


The full Menu can be found here.

More to follow...

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2793 days ago

Preparing for Hop-tu-Naa At Real Man…Its Underway

In case you had forgotten next week (the 31st) is Hop-tu-Naa. Not Halloween (All souls night) but Hop-tu-naa (the Celtic New Year). We will be celebrating at Real Man Pizza in Clerkenwell on both Wednesday and Thursday.

The turnips (what the Manx call a Swede) have been ordered and will be carved out for lanterns. And the Hop-tu-Naa Special Menu has been finalised:

A Manx crab and turnip ( swede) creamed soup

Followed by

Our Hop-tu-Naa pizza – Crab, Queenies and Olives with a strip of parmesan on a fresh spinach  base

Followed by

Either:

A special dark chocolate Hop-tu-Naa pizza (pictured)

or

Reda’s Fames chocolate mousse cake

With all meals a small piece of Soddag Valloo ( you don’t want to know) is on the house & Manx Spirit ( again you do not want to know) is only £2 a shot with your meal.

Two courses - £12, Three courses £15.

I cannot imagine any other restaurant in London will be celebrating Hop-tu-Naa next week so if you wish to make an early reservation please call us on 0207 242 3246

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2797 days ago

It’s Hop-tu-Naa in Clerkenwell but Halloween here in Bristol: the two pumpkin recipe weekend

Up in London I will be celebrating Hop-tu-Naa on October 30th and 31st at Real Man Pizza. I am working on the exact pizza to celebrate the Celtic New Year – that is a job for next week. More details of the menu here

But back in Bristol it is a weekend to brush off my two pumpkin recipes. I cannot remember when this became part of my annual ritual but it now is. All went well. Normally this is a kid’s thing but the Mrs. Has never cooked pumpkin before and so, having done it ever year for longer than I can remember, she got to be the kid this time. Take two medium sized pumpkins…

Take the “hat off” and remove all the pips and the stringy orange stuff and throw it away. This being Bristol I made sure they were thrown away in the correct bin (brown – organic matter) to avoid a Halloween fine from the eco-fascist City Council. Then scrape out as much of the “flesh” as you can with a spoon. Make sure that you do not pierce the outer skin but try to get enough flesh out so that you can see your fingers move through the wall. And you get a pumpkin ready to be a lantern…hey presto.

So we now have two lanterns ready for use next weekend.

You will now have a mound of flesh. Separate into two halves.

Half One – a Creamy pumpkin soup.

Chop two onions finely and stock in a pan with a large knob of butter and cook until soft but not brown (say 5 minutes). Add in the pumpkin flesh

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3084 days ago

All Year Round Hot Cross Buns?

Wandering around the Co-op on the 11th day of Christmas I noticed that the store was selling Hot Cross Buns (a simple bun with a cross on its front). Frankly the Co-op can sell what it wants and I gather that it sells this item all year round not just at….er…Christmas. But there is something not quite right about this.

When I was a boy my mum used to make Hot Cross Buns as a special treat for Good Friday. That was when, historically, we in Britain ate them. The cross signifies the cross on which Jesus met his end on Good Friday. The buns taste great so if folks want to eat them all year round that is their call. I just wonder how many kids growing up today actually realise how this dish came into being and what its significance is. I have a sneaking suspicion that if you polled 100 eleven year olds in Britain today very few of them could actually tell you the day of the year when we celebrate the crucifixion of Jesus.

I wonder how many could tell you what Advent means and why they have an Advent calendar. What Easter Sunday represents and why they have a chocolate egg on that day? Or indeed why we give each other presents at Christmas. I wonder if any at all could explain why they get even more chocolates at Halloween?

Though I am not a believer (I struggle to be one but just do not have faith), I do find the idea that the Christian festivals are now blurred into one great mish-mash of chocolate and consumerism as rather sad. That kids today have no idea why they celebrate as long as they can celebrate is all rather depressing. If it’s Christmas/Easter/Halloween all year round, the actual days themselves become less and less special.

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