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Thoughts from February 2009

gav came home

Gav

So the idea was that our Gav (on the left in the photo) would go off around the world and post interesting things on the blog whenever he saw something, erm, interesting. It worked for a while, but in the end we only got three posts out of him. Still, mustn't grumble, especially when we got this excellent and slightly moving email from him a few days ago:

The last time I sent one of these [emails], was about 5 months ago, and took you up until the end of my time in the monkey sanctuary in Bolivia. Since then I have been through 9 more countries, and now I land in Heathrow in 29 hours.

The trip has given me exactly what I wanted it to; good memories and hilarious stories. Some of these involve monkeys and condoms, or cycling, and how I HATE cycling. Some are of bus rides, some of pooing. One is of having to sing the first verse of Hotel California with my brother at a village wedding in Northern Laos. Some are emotional, some are not emotional, and all of them have found me some life long friends, many acquaintances, and a sprinkle of tosspots. I have slept in airports, park benches, on bags of corn in a truck and even a beach club i was at for two good friends' birthdays. I have learnt to surf, fish, make b***s, tshirts and 'mania' as the spanish call them, as friendship bracelets just doesn't sound as good.

What I have discovered, is not much different from what I knew when I left. I want to grow old in London. I want to grow old with all of you. The point of the trip was to give me time to stare out of bus windows for a year, and have a good think of what I want to do when I get home. I think it's going to be sandwiches. And muffins. And cookies. And brownies. All in a little cafe, somewhere in London, called the [name protected so no-one nicks it before Gav's had a chance to set it all up]. It will take me a few years to get there, but expect to taste the 'getting there' on a very regular basis.

As for me as a person, I still dress like sh*t, my hair's a mess, I cannot lie to save my life, and I still think I know it all. Although I don't know how to make a coffee, or bake, or ride a motorcycle, but starting tomorrow, I'm going to rectify these holes in my worldly knowledge.

See you all this weekend, my first real weekend in 10 months, or sometime during the baking week.

Gav sent that to all of his friends and family, and we asked him if he minded us posting it up here. He said yes, so we did, because it made us feel good and reminded us that we'll be very lucky to have him back in London, scheming away, planning the opening of his cafe.

Welcome home Gav.

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looking for 11 special people

Eleven

Way back in autumn 1999 we sent out our first email newsletter. It wasn't part of a clever digital marketing strategy. They didn't really exist in 1999. But we did know that there were 11 people who often sent us mail or phoned us up to ask us what we were up to.

So we asked them if they'd like to get our news in their inbox every week, instead of them having to visit our website.

They said yes, and an innocent tradition was born. We still send out our news every week (you can sign up for it here), and these days it goes out to thousands of people.

We're looking for the original eleven - the people who received the first ever email newsletter.

We've tried tracking them down in a number of ways, but so far we've drawn a blank. So if you think you were one of them, or you think you know who one of them might be, let us know. We'd appreciate it.

PS don't let the photo fool you. Those aren't the eleven people we're looking for. It's just our favourite photo of eleven people. See if you can work out who they are. Clue - it's not Arsenal's reserve team. Second clue - study the face of the young chap in the bottom left corner very closely - you might recognise him.

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master chef (sort of)

"Cooking doesn't get any tougher than this."

Or maybe it does...

Chef

Whether you were a fan of the red, blue and yellow kitchen and the dulcet tones of Mr. Loyd Grossman or it's Gregg and John shouting at each other that tickles your culinary fancy, if you've always dreamed of being a Masterchef, then here's your chance.

Sort of.

We'd like to see how you jazz up your veg pots for an evening meal. In short, we want to crown our very own innocent Masterchef.

All you have to do is add a comment at the bottom of this post, telling us the best veg dish you've ever made (if it involves a veg pot you'll get bonus points) and giving us one good reason why you should be in with a chance of becoming our very own Masterchef.

Then in a couple of weeks we'll draw up a shortlist and ask you to vote for the finalists – we'll ask the top 3 chefs to come into Fruit Towers and compete in our very own version of Masterchef, right here, in our kitchen. The challenge will be to do something magical with one (or more) of our veg pots and a bunch of other ingredients.

We hope you're up for it. In the mean time, here's something to tide you over, in the shape of an example of how to fix up your veg pot real sharp.

Spicy Prawn Thai Curry (with a veg pot)

Take 2 innocent thai coconut curry veg pots

Pots

Search the freezer.

Freezer choices

Choose your additional ingredients.

Extras

Fry up your prawns in some garlic, ginger and chilli.

Prawn fry

Heat up your veg pots in a pan and add a generous squeeze of lime.

Pots in pan

Serve (and then realise you're fresh out of coriander to jazz up the presentation).

Et voila

Await the judge's decision

Looks good

Fork it in

(The obligatory fork shot)

Lime

"I'm getting lime, I'm liking the crunch of those water chesnuts and the plumpness of those prawns.

(pause for savouring)

"You've cooked them beautifully."

Lime lime lime

"The combination is just stunning. But you could add a little something extra. Maybe some coriander. Naan bread. Some more heat, some more sweetness...to really make it sing to me".

You get the idea.

So get those culinary thinking caps on, post your entry as a comment below by Friday 13th February and may the pots be with you.

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oh honey honey

Sophie

This month's rate & review winner is Sophie from Sunderland who suggested we removed the honey from our moroccan squash tagine veg pot so that it was suitable for both vegetarians and vegans. You may have read on the blog a while back that we did exactly this and now have two vegan friendly veg pots.

A box of innocent shaped stuff goes to Sophie for her suggestion. To be in with a chance of winning February's prize yourself just leave your most insightful and useful comments on any of the things we make pages.

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