Jay Rayner’s tweet and Harvey’s Bristol Cream

You know you are doing the wrong job when you pick up a tweet from Jay Rayner at 11.00am on the first day back in the office that reads,

“First review of 2013 written. I have fully earned the right to faff about on t’internet for the rest of the morning…”

…and that also begs the question as to how exactly does one go about becoming a restaurant critic.

Anyway – the first day of the New Year was spent picking up the pieces of the night before, feeding teenagers and waiting to go on a walk.

For the walk we parked at The Gunsite Carpark half a mile along the North Wirral Coast from where we had been on Boxing Day. The two walks could not have been more different. This time the skies were clear and a cold wind whipped in off the sea. The tide was high and the water reached all the way up to the concrete embankment.


Two windsurfers fought out on the waves. They must have been crazy and cold. Closer to shore a parcel of oystercatchers stood on the few spits of sand that had not been taken in by the tide. As we approached they hopped and hobbled nervously towards the sea, rising as one, three or four yards into the air, holding still against the wind, before they realised we were not going to get to close and they fell back down settling onto the sand.


It was the perfect way to clear the cobwebs from the night before, although we then added a few more cobwebs by going back for the exchange of more presents, tea and sherry. The sherry was one of those blue bottles of Harvey’s Bristol Cream and was a particularly good note to end on.

That evening we ate a comforting, thrown together chicken curry. The chicken again came from The International Store, a mixture of legs, thighs and breasts. I do worry about the size of their chicken breasts.

I fried the chicken pieces in groundnut oil. As it cooked I finely chopped an onion, ginger and some garlic and chilli. That was all thrown in with the chicken and given a chance to soften. I then added a very good throw on mustard seeds, turmeric and cumin. Once all that was sizzling nicely I poured in two cans of coconut milk. The heat was turned down and it was all allowed to cook through for an hour.

We ate it with rice and nan bread listening to Beach House.

1 thought on “Jay Rayner’s tweet and Harvey’s Bristol Cream

  1. Hi Ralph, I think you are right to worry about the size of their chicken breasts: Firstly if the chickens are bread genetically to make good broiler chickens they will not manage past their adolescence because they get too fat to walk, genetically. Usually this is helped by a good dose of antibiotics and hormones. I have not seen any chicken anywhere else but it makes a lot of chicken very affordable for not so rich people and the Bengali community in Birkenhead is part of that group. I am not sure whether it is possible to have chicken breasts that size without any additional ‘help’. I noticed that the halal shop on Smithdown Road has similar size chicken breasts for sale. I am not sure whether water inflation would be a sufficient explanation for the size.

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