Mar 142011
 

Japanese Quake

It’s odd you know that when the last Tsunami struck everyone around the world immediately opened their wallets and pocket books and asked where do we send the cash? So now when the disaster is just as bad why does it seem to me that the reaction is not the same. The press and almost every page you clicked onto on the net for years had “send money to help victims of the Tsunami” signs.

Just because Japan is a rich country or was until recently it doesn’t mean that they are suffering less than the unfortunate people who suffered last time. So my dear cuddly readers we have to send the Japanese some help asap.

If you do decide to help with your cash try to do so directly if you give it to most of the leading charities there is no guarantee that it will be used to help the people you want to send it to. Use the Japanese Embassies near you or a Japanese Bank that way you’ll know that the big charities haven’t taken their 40% for operating costs and then misdirect the funds you donated to some other project.

We must help these poor souls now.

Japanese Disaster

You can find a Japanese Embassy near you from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan list here Japanese Embassies. For local branches of Japanese banks your yellow pages is the best place to go.

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Dec 162010
 

It is worth mentioning, because it’s a compliment that a lot of people give me when they write to me, that readers can never guess what they are going to be delighted by and read next on my blog and I suppose that is why it is so amazingly successful.

This Cat loves to entertain and put a smile on his wonderfully cuddly readers faces and I hope that I always do, in fact judging by the very large number of books being sold around the world, especially at Amazon.com, I imagine that my readers are regularly entertained and recommend my blog, my book and my website to all of their friends.

I know how much everybody enjoyed my blog a while ago about London Bridge and so I thought I would post a picture that the ever charming daughter of my translator sent me recently.

My translator’s daughter is called Jo Woodcock and she is one of those famous humans who acts and if you type in ‘Jo Woodcock actress’ in say www.google.com or www.bing.com you’ll be able to see this picture of her and many more.

Jo Woodcock.jpg

For your information this picture (above)comes from the BBC www.bbc.co.uk and is a still from the series ‘Land Girls’ which is on your screens in the UK soon and on BBC America around Christmas too I believe.

Anyway enough of humans here is the picture.

London Bridge.jpg

When you look at the picture does it strike you that the guy on the left looks as though his batteries have run out and he has just come to a stop people in the street do that a lot don’t they tee hee! I suppose he has stopped on his way to a job he hates and is thinking “maybe I could call in sick? I just really don’t want to spend another eight hours bored stiff when I could be a… professional wreck diver in the Caribbean!”

The woman behind him is obviously humming to herself and, “think we’ll have Shepherd’s Pie tonight mmh lovely that might make Nigel take more notice of me and it is a cheap, filling and tasty meal – oh I am glad I’m not a vegetarian!”

This Cat loves Shepherd’s Pie by the way, especially when it is cooked with beef and not lamb, actually did you know that when ‘Shepherd’s Pie’ is cooked with beef it is known as ‘Cottage Pie’ and when ‘Cottage Pie’ is covered in Cheese (preferably a very orange Cheese like Double Gloucester) it’s called ‘Cumberland Pie’ I love English cooking it’s so inventive without being pretentious like some cuisines I could mention but you all know by now I mean ‘french’ don’t you!

It’s possible that some of my lovely cuddly readers are deprived – and don’t you have to be careful when you type that word? And not adding a rogue ‘a’ instead of the ‘i!’ – and that they might not have enjoyed the delightful taste of Shepherd’s Pie, Cottage Pie or indeed Cumberland Pie you poor things and so to put that right here are some pictures of what they look like and a recipe – yes that is right I am the Cat that keeps on giving! But then it is the season for that and also to be jolly apparently.

Shepherds Pie.jpg

Just think what a change a simple (and it is simple) dish of Shepherd’s Pie or any of its other incarnations will be over the holiday season, when you are stuffed to the brim with rich food and if you have any leftover meat and you don’t know what to do with it you are in for a real treat.

THE RECIPE

Boil and mash 2lbs (1kg) of big, floury potatoes, adding a thick slice of butter and some cream as you mash.

Soften 2 large onions, peeled and chopped, in a little butter. If the fancy takes you you can add a few diced carrots and celery now. Some people also add Baked Beans or peas – basically if you like ‘it’ throw ‘it’ in – within reason of course Prawns don’t work in Shepherd’s Pie – but they really do in the other ‘Pie’ variation on the mashed potato topped theme ‘Ocean Pie’ which is all fish, delightful cod, delicious haddock, wonderful smoked salmon more fish than you can imagine and I once imagined a swimming pool filled to the brim with Prawns – sorry I have to stop for a minute and regain my composure.

Where was I – oh yes – Onions!

When the onions are golden, add about a 1.5 pounds (600g) of minced lamb and cook it until is thoroughly browned.

At this point you can add salt (if you want to), pepper, thyme, a bit of marjoram, some sage and some ground rosemary and dribble one or two drops of Worcestershire Sauce over the mixture.

Next add about two thirds of a pint (350ml) of stock and allow the mixture simmer gently for 30 minutes or so.

When the meat is soft put the lamb mixture into a shallow baking dish and add the topping of mashed potato, dot it with a little butter and bake for about 35 – 40 minutes in a hot oven. You will know that it is cooked when the surface of the mashed potato is crisp.

This recipe will serves 4 adults or one peckish Cat.

Note

Don’t worry about weighing anything or indeed the weight of the ingredients at all this recipe can cope with twice as much meat or half as much, especially if you have a near empty larger/purse and a few vegetables to replace the meat.

Some tips

Here are a few tips to make sure that the Shepherd’s Pie is not just good but divine, make sure that the onions are nicely browned, use cream, butter and milk when you mash the potatoes for a very creamy result and if you fancy a bit of extra spice add pepper to the mash.

If your meat mixture is a little runny either take out some of the stock and make a wonderfully tasty gravy with it or use a sheet of tin foil to catch any drips that don’t bubble over the mashed potato and form a wonderful crunchy crust.

Of course the mashed potato crust should be crisp on top and you can achieve this easily by either pull a fork across its surface to create “furrows” or pile it up into clouds with a spoon.

Truly flexible

As I said above you can use beef instead of lamb and turn the recipe into Cottage Pie. In addition you can add a layer of grated cheese and made a Cumberland Pie (below in a picture I have just borrowed – personally I would add even more Cheese, then a little more Cheese on top of that! But then like most Cats I like Cheese).

Cumberland Pie.jpg

This is a great way to enjoy a hearty meal in these cold snowy days and better still it is one of the ways to help stretch your budget, after the bankers have ruined the world’s economy and the politicians and other idiots have turned a financial disaster into a monetary Tsunami, and to eat heartily but cheaply is not only a bonus to some it is a way of life.

Gosh I didn’t expect to be giving recipes and cooking tips when I started this blog all those ages ago, but then I suppose this is why my blog is so popular I cover all sorts of subjects.

Actually just there is a little example of a pet project I have – why can’t we create a word that combines the two words all and sorts into ‘alsorts’ but I better not get started on that subject!

As usual do let me know if any or all of the above was helpful/interesting – I would hate to think that I was talking to myself and my thousands of fans had just suddenly disappeared!

Author’s background information

The Cat is one of the most successful feline authors in history, his sharp elegant wit has produced the bestselling book ‘Getting out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and of course the much plagiarised gag of the same name which appears on all of the funniest joke sites on the internet.

Copies of the Cat’s masterpiece of feline literature ‘Getting out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ can be purchased at a bookstore near you or at Amazon.com or at what The Cat calls his www – wickedly wonderful website hereĀ www.thecatsdiary.com where you can not only learn more about me the genius Cat but also play my games they are all paw picked by me and have been described as “exactly what free on-line games should be, fun, free and fantastic.”

The Cat & Kindle.png

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