Girl About Swindon Town: The Greek Olive

When the tall one suggested trying out The Greek Olive on Faringdon Road I must admit I was a little thrown. In British culture you get so used to going out for either an Italian or Indian that the notion of Greek caught me off guard. However, keen to try something different I gave the suggestion my full backing.

I had high expectations of the eatery, in the weeks preceding my visit I’d heard nothing but positive feedback from my friends. As the tall one and I sat down at the table our thoughts turned to drink. We spared little time in opting for a one litre jug of Greek house wine which came in at £12. Given a lot of restaurants charge an arm and a leg for a very average bottle, we found the quality, quantity and price of the red wine to be very fair.

On this particular night we opted out of having a starter (it was a tough call, the selection to choose from was very tempting), however upon ordering our mains the waiter presented us with complimentary bread and freshly made hummus. “This is much better than the stuff in the shops!” the tall one remarked. Between us it didn’t take long to demolish the portion.

Onwards to the main course, for me a Kleftiko (slow cooked lamb) and for the tall one Beef Stifado (meat cooked in a rich red wine sauce). Despite making a classic Alice faux pas of accidentally eating some of the paper wrapping covering the lamb (I thought it was filo pastry, alright?) the food was superb. The lamb fell off the bone with ease and tasted amazing with the feta cheese and Greek seasoned vegetables. Positive feedback also shared by the consumer of the Stifado and, although the portions were enormous, we refused to let any food go to waste. Clean plates all round.

With stomachs full of rich food and wine our plan was to also skip dessert and ask for the bill. That was until the waiter gave us two pieces of Baklava, a Mediterranean sweet dish (which actually does contain filo pastry) and said my three favourite words, “on the house”. I mean the dish was pleasant enough, but even tastier given it was free. This was swiftly followed up by a complimentary shot of liqueur (“how much free stuff are they giving us?!”) which by choice had to be Greek ouzo. The reactionary head shakes of strong alcohol marked the end of a very enjoyable meal at the little restaurant.

Unsurprisingly I’d very much recommend The Greek Olive for anyone wanting a change from the standard Italian but not keen on a hot spicy Thai. The staff were unaware that I was a writer yet they went out of their way to make sure our dining experience that little bit more special versus a predictable meal out at Nandos. I’m just gutted that I’ve written an entire review on Greek food and haven’t been able to make a single reference to My Big Fat Greek Wedding (I really tried to think of one but alas I have failed).

Three word summary: So much food!

Five Minute Review: The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

Ergh, do I have to spend five minutes on this? Ok, fine.

The Food of Love by Anthony Capella is a rom-com novel, based in and around the streets of Rome, Italy. The plot follows the story of two Italian men who work in the restaurant industry, as they fight for the love of one woman (what’s new there?) The more attractive of the two, self-styled player Tommaso, woos the fair American student, Laura, first by convincing her of his extraordinary culinary skills. The catch? He cannot cook to save his life. However his roommate, the less attractive and uncharismatic chef Bruno, can. Secondary catch, he too is in love with Laura (dun, dun, duuun). So instead of confessing his love what does he do? He helps his player friend by teaching him culinary skills to charm the fair lady, thus becoming the ultimate wing man/gooseberry. Unsurprisingly as the lie gets bigger so too does the (supposedly) hilarious consequences.

As my sister noted when I told her the synopsis, The Food of Love story is basically an Italian version of the Disney film Ratatouille. If you liked that story, but wanted something with more sex, swearing and over sexualisation of mushrooms then you’ll probably enjoy this. *

I should have known that this book would not be an Austen or Orwell when I picked it up in a charity shop for 50p (on sale). At the time I needed a light read as a rest bite from more serious subject matter. No guesses for where my copy will be swiftly going back to in the next week.

*FYI rats and bestiality do not feature in this novel, at least the author didn’t stoop to that level.

Nablopomo Day 16: A Messed up Food Diary

Typical Dietary Routine on a Weekday

(08:00 – Wake up)

(08:45 – Get into work)

09:15 – Water/breakfast tea/coffee

10:30 – 11:00 – Breakfast (porridge oats in water, aka gruel)

11:30 – Frusli (cereal bar)

11:45 – Herbal/breakfast tea

12:30 – (On a bad day) additional Frusli bar or pack of Cadbury Mini Animals (because I’m a big girl)

13:30 – Whole carrot

(14:00 – 15:00 – Lunch break)

15:05 – Eat lunch (cheese sandwich and apple squash)

16:15 – Yoghurt

(17:00 – Home time)

17:30 – Cheap coffee and crisps

18:30 – Chocolate snack bar

20:30 – Assorted dinner

22:00 – Chocolate/dessert and breakfast tea

23:00 – Half a Frusli bar (on a bad day)

(23:30 – Bed)

Typical Dietary Routine on Weekends When Visiting Family

(10:30 – Get up)

10:45 – Nice coffee

10:50 – Croissants

11:30 – Chocolate

12:30 – More nice coffee at home/out and about with cake

14:00 – Biggest roast in the world

14:45 – Breakfast tea

16:00 – Dessert/cake (forced consumption on account of the large lunch)

20:00 – Dinner

21:00 – Ice cream/dessert

22:00 – Breakfast tea

(00:00 – Bed)

How am I not morbidly obese? How? I tell you what, if I stop my exercise routine I’m stuffed, quite literally.

There’s Some Weird Shizz in My Cupboard

On Friday I did my weekly food shop. To redeem a £2.25 money off voucher I ended up spending £20, forcing myself to buy enough juice, milk, bread etc. to keep me going until the next millennia. Single handedly lugging this weight back home I was winning at life but losing at the will to live it.

Once back I faced a new, equally crushing, task. I now had to find somewhere to put all this food. My attitude to unpacking shopping is usually to stuff it anywhere there is space. If I manage to put the correct food in the fridge/cupboard then it’s a bonus. However the draw back of this laid back attitude is a cupboard space full of, well, rubbish which in a house share environment with limited personal space isn’t really the most practical way to store food. After a long period of time trying to find a way around the problem I decided the only way to tackle the issue was to have a full on clear out.

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Very quickly I realised I had accumulated a lot of random items over the past year. That or items severely damaged from the the random items. For example, this ‘good luck in your new house/job’ bag of fudge given to me last year…

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Due to high temperatures and other items the individual pieces of fudge had become a super block of fudge, so flat my cup could sit comfortably on it:

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There were the compulsory random assortment of mugs deep in my cupboard that I’d completely forgotten about:

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There was also half a packet of Bachelor’s pasta, from where I’d clearly tried it but given up:

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I’m not a student any more, I can afford better.

There was some random rubbish in there:

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(The bin is literally two steps away, yet I made the effort to reach up and put the rubbish in the cupboard. Why would I do that?!)

Also had a container with a small amount of squash in it (I had just bought back a vat of the same flavour. Must be destiny!)

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Start digging further back though and things get weird.

There’s a battery:

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A piece of random string:

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There was also a carton(?) of UHT milk:

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I guess I’ll never experience the “tastes like fresh milk” feeling. It was the first item to be binned.

The carrots which have been in there so long they’ve attempted to grow but then died:

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I’m assuming this is tea, but then it’s not in my tea tin with the regular, circular, tea bags.

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Who knows what could be in it…

It made me think of this clip from the Inbetweeners:

Come on though, this is me here. It’s tea.

*Bing, bonk* “Sugar leakage in cupboard three!”

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Ooooh hello, some decent coffee. I actually could do with this!

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Better see how many months I’ve got left to use up…

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Oh.

There was some powder mix stuff in there that I’m sure dates back from my student days:

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Still, at least that was in date.

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There was also some cause for concern items in there. Notably the very close proximity of my vegetable sock cubes and the descaler tablets for my coffee machine.

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(They were very quickly separated).

Three broken/badly damaged lunch bags? Check.

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Every cupboard has that tin of tomato soup that everyone has but never actually wants to consume. You know, the one that would sell better in supermarkets if it skipped the bull and said “consume when sick: Eat when taste and quality are your lowest priorities.”

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There is a happy end to all this though. No clear out would be complete without finding that gift card someone gave you at Christmas where you don’t know if it’s value is £0 or £1,000,000,000:

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Knowing me it’ll probably be the former. A girl can dream.

So clear out complete and items reorganised I was able to fit the old rubbish food with the new. All categorised based on usage frequency and what time of the day they get used (breakfast, baking, dinner)*. Everything fitted in perfectly for once.

*Except the pittas. They are a category by themselves for some reason.

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Now as long as I don’t accumulate any large or awkward items I’ll be fine…

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For Christ’s sake.