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Rolled Oat Cake; It is a sign of the times - LA Times that is...

I love cake. Yup. I do.  I really, really love cake. I especially love Black Forest Cake being that it is the perfect marriage of chocolate cake and whipped cream, real dairy whipped cream that is. I love carrot cake too as long as there are no dried fruit thingies in it, like currants or raisins. Oh I hate raisins. Let me count the ways.

Angel food cake, spice cake, devils food cake, sour cream chocolate cake are top drawer for me as well, mind you, I haven't had sour cream chocolate cake in many decades, since I stopped talking to the evil woman who used to make it for me that is. She Who Will Remain Nameless was at one time a favourite family friend of mine (she continues to be liked by my parents, why? I do not know), then she stomped on my youthful aspirations like the mean, prematurely grey-haired, black-hearted stewardess that she was. Come fly with me! I'll abuse your emotions little man!!!! I digress...

But back to cake.  I subscribe to the LA Times for one reason only - the Living Section and the Food Section in particular, well, other sections are good too, so that statement is a bit of a bullshit claim, however I mostly read it for the recipes and I am going to make it my mission to try to replicate as many of them as I can before I expire, that is, as long as the recipes don't include raisins.

So one evening this week, with the wife off doing wife things, and after having surfed all the internet porn I could stand for one evening, I decided to find some other activity to occupy my hands and making a cake came to mind.  It wasn't the FIRST thing that came to mind but as I whittled the list down, however it was the only socially acceptable thing available to me at the time.

So I fired up my Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and went surfing through the Food Section of the Times and happened on to this recipe.  With the help and assistance of my youngest daughter we set to making this creation and hoped for the best as we did.

I followed the recipe exactly, well, almost exactly:

I messed up reading it given reading was never a strength of mine - too short an attention span, oh  look! A puppy!  I reversed the order of adding the flour, preferring or rather mistakenly, adding the oats to the butter sugar mixture instead of the flour first, but I soldiered on and finished it and baked it anyway. It was fantastic.

The original recipe calls for fresh figs and being that I live at the 54th parallel  and there is 3 frigging feet of snow on the lawn, fresh figs are a challenge to acquire, so I chose to use frozen blueberries and they were perfect for it.
I am posting the recipe almost verbatim except for the fruit I used, and also give the link to the web page here: LA Times Rolled Oat Cake recipe . The pictures are mine however and sorry, there is no cake left, but I plan on making it again the same way, only different.
Rolled Oat Cake

1 cup rolled oats (I used quick oats)
2 cups (16 ounces) hot milk (not boiling)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) butter
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
3 1/2 tablespoons (2.8 ounces) honey (I used 4 tablespoons or a 1/4 cup if you like)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs (I used large size eggs. Free range. Brown shells. From contented hens)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (9 ounces) spelt flour or all-purpose flour (I used AP and my scale to weigh it)
5 to 6 fresh figs, halved or quartered (I used 2 cups frozen blueberries)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar (I used brown sugar and it was just fine)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. 

In a medium bowl, combine the oats and hot milk. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the oats to absorb most of the milk and to cool down the milk slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.
Stir in the honey and vanilla extract.

Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift the baking powder and flour together, then fold into the butter mixture.

Drain any remaining liquid from the oats, then stir them into the mixing bowl.

Pour into a greased 9-inch-round cake pan and place the fig slices (or blueberries!) evenly on top. (Now I don't know what 9" pan they're using but mine was too shallow to hold all the batter so I switched up and used a 10" springform pan and it was perfect)
Sprinkle the top with the turbinado sugar. (Or brown sugar!!!)

Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 65 minutes depending on your oven (it took 70 minutes at 350 convection for me). If the cake browns too quickly, loosely cover the top with foil until the cake is done. Cool on a rack.

Sprinkle powdered sugar over it and serve with whatever the heck you want. Me? I like whipped cream.

Notes at the bottom of the page:

This is a dense cake, which is appropriate given the cook is quite dense himself.  The next time I make it, and I will, I am going to cut the flour down and increase the oats. I will report back with more pictures in that update. I'm thinking of using Saskatoon berries in the next cake as well.  Film at 11:00.

 Snowy Palms Resort

Visit To Japan Part 2 - We're Gonna To Eat What?

Another remarkable night among remarkable nights was an evening at a sea side spa south of Tokyo. We had ridden the Bullet Train to get to the area then boarded a small private coach to get us to the resort spa. It was a magical journey aboard the Bullet Train at 220 plus mile per hour, a Bucket List kind of event.

After settling into our appointed rooms and at the scheduled hour we gathered in a private room, now dressed in our own Kimonos, “camel toe” socks and wooden sandals and sat upon tatami mats (woven rice straw mats) to enjoy our evening.

In front of each of us was our own table and side table, a simple larger wooden table that contained dishes (charger plate kind of things), a tea cup, tea pot and assorted serving utensils and chopsticks. On another smaller table beside the table in front of each of us sat a pot atop a can of alcohol fuel and another pot also sitting atop a can of alcohol fuel. In one pot we determined it was rice and water awaiting heat to be cooked and in the other pot we were stumped as to its contents.

The second pot was larger than the one containing the rice and it had a tight fitting glass lid covering it. As we all looked at our personal pot we were stumped trying to determine what it was we were looking at, and we all ventured a guess or two as we each offered our own opinion on the “thing” contained in the glass lidded pot in front of us. Finally one of us noticed that whatever it was that rested in the pot was alive and moving, alerting the others; we then all looked down at our own pots and studied the contents through the glass lid. I was shocked to see that what I had determined was to be my dinner was moving also. Now that we had all discovered that our apparent dinners were moving we then began the guessing game that was “Name That Creature.” Our companion Mike finally broke the dam of propriety and said, “I don’t know WHAT IT IS, but I’ve named mine Spot!”

What we were participating in was called Odoriyaki, roughly translated it means, “Dancing Cooking” as it turns out. We all studied each of our pots diligently and we all ventured guesses and we all were wrong. Other than anthropomorphizing our intended dinners by naming them Spot, Thing, Alice and other such names we could not determine what it was we were looking at. To describe what it looked like it in gentlemanly terms is difficult at best, and to venture any description that adequately describes what the critter looked like as it wiggled its way, seemingly clinging, to the underside of the glass lid, may come across as crude and vulgar. But since I have never been accused of being polite or proper I will try to set the scene for you.

Clinically speaking it looked like large labia majoras. Very large ones and ones that had enough muscle control to allow them to grasp glass and traverse the circle of transparent silica that imprisoned it. It was grey in colour and had dark colouring highlighting the edges of the “thing”, kind of like an oyster on the half shell look, but with mobility and a nightmarish creature’s ability to cling to glass. Yes, it was definitely disembodied female genitalia it was decided, and we were then stuck for any further profound or pithy observations. Ten men sat there staring at the slowly moving “thing” as it slithered along the glass lid and all were wondering whether to eat it or have sex with it, at least I was.

The servers for the meal were all females in kimonos, and were very attentive to our needs. No sooner had one of us emptied our sake cup then one of these lovely ladies would appear out of thin air, refill our sake cup and then vanish, returning when needed to refill another empty cup or adjust some errant piece of furniture or piece of the table setting. They poured gallons of sake and we drank gallons of sake, not wanting to offend our hosts by refusing their hospitality because we were nothing, if not polite guests.

All the while as we drank we offered up more suggestions of what the “thing” was and what we each would do with our “thing”. Needless to say, the suggestions or activities would be considered rather “unconventional” for anyone that was not part of the event from the start or who did not drink a lot of sake. I will not wax vulgar any further. Suffice it to say it was fucking funny stuff. Very, very funny. Man stuff for sure. Very funny man stuff.

At one point in the dinner event our attendants came by with long matches and lit the burner beneath the rice pot, topped up all of our sake cups and left us to continue the important discussions we were all engrossed in (world peace, global finance, business ethics, breasts, etc...). After a number of delicious courses were served and about the time the rice was ready, our faithful attendants reappeared with the long matches once again and lit the burner beneath our wiggling and clinging acquaintances.

This is when things got disturbing for some of the dinner companions. As the heat from the flame increased and the pot heated up, Spot, Thing, Alice and the other doomed critters began to squirm and wiggle as the heat bore upon them. Hence the name - Dancing Cooking!!! They writhed and wiggled like a drunk white guy at a disco. We all watched our individual dinners meet their demise with some manner of misgiving, perhaps some shock or anguish even, and then finally the creatures stopped moving and the steam rose from beneath the lid to offer up an oceanic-like smell, quite pleasant actually, at least for me. “Thing” had expired, leaving me with a fond memory of our brief relationship but yearning to taste what was making that great smell as the steam escaped the pot. Goodbye Thing. I hardly knew Ye...

Then with theatrical aplomb our attendants appeared once again, kneeling in front of each of us, and wielding long slender forks and knives they removed the now still creature from our pots, placing it on a wooden cutting block, removed the meat from the shell (up to this point none of us knew the critter had a shell) and began to slice it into bite size pieces. It turns out the creature was an abalone, a sea snail that has a shell on its back and the muscle (labia majora) is what keeps it clinging to a rock that it lives on, see pictures below. I had eaten them (abalone!) in the past as part of a Chinese dinner but had never seen a “live” one. So now I knew what it looked like as did the rest of the guys, and some of them were not relishing the thought of eating theirs, sitting quietly for the moment as they stared at their own personal abalone, sliced and ready to eat, lying in front of them.

I dug into mine and finished it off in short order. My dining companion to my right passed on his and I ate that one too. My dining companion to my left also passed on his so I consumed that one as well. They were delicious. The whole meal was delicious if not a trifle psychologically disturbing and we decided the only way to remove the graphic images of the dying shell fish, cum writhing female genitalia from our minds was to drink more sake. So it was and so we did. Lots and lots of delicious sake.

Once the dinner was cleared from our tables the real drinking began, (Japanese love good booze just like us Canucks), we played drinking games, drank more sake and then the Geisha performance began. Now for many people when they hear Geisha, they think escort or prostitute, and the Geisha is not that at all. Having said that, it was not uncommon in past practice for a wealthy man to keep a Geisha as a mistress but I don’t believe that is current practice. The Geisha is a hostess trained in the art of conversation, dance and song. It was at that point after the drinking games were completed that our Geisha began to dance and sing accompanied by an older Geisha that strummed a single string guitar like object as the musical accompaniment to the singer.

I will not criticize the performance but I cannot say I enjoyed it either. It was an “experience” for sure, but one that if I never repeated I would not be disappointed. The singing is an acquired taste for sure and given it was sung in Japanese made it just sounds for me. The guitar thing however was horrid, again an acquired taste to be sure. I am used to western music whereby the musicians layout a melody that the singer sings into. Flowing and harmonic melodies, enhancing the singer and the song, honouring the lyrics and producing enjoyment to the listener, this Geisha plucking guitar thingy did none of that.

It seemed to me that the plucking of the single string was a random act intended to put the singer off balance vocally and physically, and if that was the intent, it succeeded admirably. If it was intended to be music it failed for me and the others, but it was an experience that while not Bucket List, was time well spent I have to admit.

Prior to the performance beginning and at some point throughout, our guide and translator offered up a description and the intended meaning of the dance and the lyrics the Geisha was singing and performing for us. He went on to describe the guitar thingy as an ichigenkin and the ichigenkin is strung with cat gut. At that point Gary closed the show and brought down the house by declaring loudly, “Finally! Someone found a good use for a cat!” Thus spoke a drunken sod and so too did the rest of us drunken sods laugh hysterically.

After a couple of eating adventures in Japan I have developed a fond admiration for those people on television that travel the world filming exotic locales and the foods of those exotic places. No one does it better than Anthony Bourdain in his TV shows and anytime I watch him eat something that would normally be sent to the garburator in most kitchens, like the episode in which he ate deep fried pork anuses in some Asian location, I ask myself as I watch “I wonder if I could do that?” Usually my swallower does a quick flip at the thought and I immediately tell myself, “Not fucking likely!” Go for it Anthony. I will live vicariously through your exploits.

The term for the abalone slaughter /meal is - awabi no odoriyaki. Mmmmmmmm..... The recipes that follow are very, very good and no abalone will be harmed in their preparation.

Visit To Japan Part 1 - It and Thing, The Unswallowable Critters

Back in November 2008 I was part of a group that traveled to Japan to tour some factories along with some select customers and meet with representatives of those factories. In the group I was the senior company employee and we were joined by a factory representative, another company senior manager and seven customers or the customer’s representative. It was a great group to travel with for the week we were there and many laughs and fond memories were created. Many of the fond memories were because of the food.

The trip started as we all gathered In Vancouver the evening before the flight and with that, a welcome dinner was organized at Gotham’s Steakhouse and great steaks and fine wine and liqueur were in abundance. Along with some great food and table service were great jokes and fits of hysterical laughter, usually at someone’s expense, and at that point I knew we were in for a great trip. Male bonding is done best with steak and liquor, the more the better and we had plenty of both.

Once aboard the Japan Airlines 747 we were treated to service beyond compare as we luxuriated in First Class watching TV, sipping cocktails and eating damn good food. Being in the front of the plane we were also able to walk around to keep the blood flowing and chatted and visited with each other at a bulkhead that offered snacks and a place to set our drinks, it was marvelous.

At one point I walked up to a couple of guys in our group that were standing there sipping their drinks and eating some snacks, as I looked at the packages of Japanese snacks laid out before them one package caught my eye. It was a package containing a dried seafood thingy, in fact, I think it was dried squid, but I’m not altogether sure, regardless, it looked like a male foreskin except it was dried out completely and flat, but the shape was reminiscent of it so I commented, “That looks like foreskin!”, at which point one of the four guys standing there replied in a deadpan retort, “Funny, it doesn’t taste like foreskin.” We all dropped laughing hysterically given his response and the trip remained at that level for the duration. Men, liquor and free time; a dangerous combination resulting in juvenile antics and comments. Such fun....

Throughout the trip we were blessed to be dining on fantastic food, touring interesting places and viewing dramatic architecture that fills Japan from ancient to ultramodern. We spent a night on a private boat or better yet, a floating restaurant/ karaoke bar, slowly touring Tokyo Bay and viewing the jaw dropping skyline of downtown Tokyo as it illuminated the night sky, casting spiritually warming reflections on the water. As the night-time panorama unfolded before us on the boat we dined on a feast of traditional Japanese foods like sushi, sashimi, tempura and a host of other items too numerous to mention but all fantastic and delicious, unbelievably so . Then with enough liquor to instill courage, the karaoke began and a full on frontal assault of the sensibilities began. What a night, and not a singer in the bunch, except for Sam.

We ate world class Italian food, had some of the best Chinese food I have ever sampled, great steaks and the Japanese food! Oh my God, the fantastic Japanese food! I will savour the memories till the day I die. Teriyaki, Shabu Shabu, Seafood, Tempura, interesting varieties of rice and my favourite discovery - Japanese curry. The recipe in this link Japanese Style Beef Curry is my recreation of that wonderful curry dish I enjoyed at the Hotel Okura in Tokyo and it blew my mind, so I had to find and tailor a recipe to try to honour the Chef at that fine hotel with my effort and I think it worked very well. But first I must describe a couple of nights that will live in memory - forever.

One evening a dinner was organized in our honour at the Seryna restaurant on the 52nd floor of the Sumitomo Building in Tokyo. Seryna is a Shabu-Shabu restaurant, Shab-Shabu translated means, “Swish-Swish” - you swish the food in, what is in essence, a hot pot full of boiling broth, and the ingredients are served fondue style. You are served thinly sliced meats (in our case it was Kobe Beef), seafood and a wide variety of vegetables. You then dip the offerings into the boiling broth that is placed in front of you until the item is cooked to your liking then you eat it. Simple and very, very, very delicious. Expensive too, but worth every yen. 

The restaurant is on the top floor of the building and our seats overlooked Tokyo Bay and as we looked out at the scene before us I am not ashamed to say it was an emotions triggering view. Awe inspiring does not describe the scene adequately.

The table was set up for fourteen of us to sit seven aside, facing someone, and sharing a hot pot with that person as well. At the center of the table on my side was Mr. Big a senior executive with the company ownership and our host for the evening. Mr. Big is a well spoken and well educated man who spent time in Canada and his English language skills were top notch, he is very bright and is a very enjoyable person to spend time with. Seated across and diagonally from me was Gary, a senior manager with the company and a very bright, well spoken man, and a very funny guy, he was seated directly across from Mr. Big and one needs to know that Mr. Big was our boss ultimately.

As is expected in a formal dining setting, as each dish or course was served, all diners would wait to ensure all others were served before beginning to enjoy theirs, so once the last person received their dish the rest of us would begin to eat ours - all together now, anna one, anna two, anna three... Very polite dining choreography if you will.

The dinner was served in many courses and each course was presented in a visually appealing manner, deftly and professionally placed in front of us to enjoy. It seemed the appetizers would never stop but the servings were small and they kept coming and coming and coming. When each one was placed in front of me I went in with gusto and slurped it up quickly, eagerly awaiting the next ones arrival. At about the third offering a little cup was placed in front of me and I looked down at it to take in the artistic presentation which was absolutely wonderful, then after admiring it for a suitable and respectful period of time, the chopsticks went in for the retrieval. Up to this point the food was met with great delight by my taste buds.

I placed the chopsticks into the little ceramic cup, about the size of a shot glass, and lifted the morsel out and placed it in my mouth. As I bit down on the “thing”, my internal “this is not going to end well” alarm went off, a disturbing five senses full blown alarm, but I gamely soldiered on. I decided that chewing the “thing” was not going to end well so I swallowed “It” quickly, or rather tried to swallow “It”, but “It” was not interested in being swallowed, no, “It” wanted to come back to my mouth to be chewed some more. So as I sat there trying to force the “It” down my gullet, “It” was resisting with some equal and indestructible force. I was beginning to sweat.

My heart was screaming at my swallower to swallow and my mind was yelling at my uvula, “Be still uvula, be still!”, but my uvula was having contrarian ideas thus “It” was going up and down my throat, repetitively and quickly - like a hookers panties when the ships are in port. I was in full heavy sweat mode by this time, desperately trying to force “It” down my throat and avoid an international and potentially career limiting dining faux pas.

I was in trouble. Big trouble. Unfortunately for me as I was having this seemingly lethal internal fight, I happened to look up across the table at my Shabu-Shabu dining co-pilot and I discovered that he too was having a gustatory disagreement with himself. I looked at him as I was trying to swallow “It” one more time, he looked at me, our eyes met, and there was an immediate awakening that told each of us, that each other is in big trouble. Very big trouble. As is the norm in a situation like this where plenty of liquor has been consumed (sake in our case) and death seems imminent, the combatants bond as one to take on the enemy whilst laughing as they head to what will be their last stand. And so we ventured into the abyss together. It’s a guy thing.

As he kept his stare on my eyes and I kept my gaze on his eyes, he cracked an involuntary, fear induced, wide eyed and shocked “Oh fuck! This will not end well" bemused smile and I uncontrollably did the same in return. Soon the smiles became snickers and then full on roaring laughter, all the while we were trying desperately to keep it quiet, respecting the dignity of the environment and our host, but we were quickly losing that battle too.

As we were trying to do the Marcel Marceau laugh I happened to look over at Gary who was chatting with Mr. Big as he was eating his morsel and I see that he is also having difficulty trying to put “It” down his gullet. He looked at me, tears were running down my face, and I seen immediate alarm registered on his face as he gave me the “You prick! Do you know what you have done now?" look. He started to crack an involuntary smile while he continued to try to avoid his own potentially career limiting swallowing incident in front of Mr. Big. He was failing fast.

Being the professionals that we were, we pushed on, and “It” finally succumbed to our masticating efforts - we swallowed it, in unison, en masse. As we sat there still shaking, trying to calm our swallowers, we all reached for our sake cup and took a shot, and then another and another, celebrating our victory over “It”. We had more or less gathered our wits or rather half wits by this time, and waited for the now empty cup that had contained “It” to be removed and another dish presented to take its place, knowing for certain that anything that came after “It” would be far better and easier to swallow. We were all wrong. Very, very, very wrong.

Our Kimono clad server placed another cup in front of us, again, it was on a plate and surrounded by greenery and shredded vegetables, completing yet another artful presentation of the food, eerily similar to the last swallower reversing offering we did battle with. Like the previous four offerings we all waited until all others were served before going in with the chopsticks. Alarmingly like before, we all ended up engaged in our own personal battle with what turned out to be another critter or piece of critter that refused to be swallowed, and we all privately prayed that the hoped for end result would be similar to the “It” incident ending, meaning, no projectiling. Or so we hoped (I discovered that hope is indeed the last refuge of the doomed that evening). Turns out the fight was far worse and the desired end result was more difficult to obtain with the latest iteration of “It”. Far, far more difficult.

I looked at Gary as he placed “It, The Sequel” in his mouth, I did the same, as did my fearless table mate across from me, we did this simultaneously, and the realization that we were each facing our own personal train wreck came to each of us simultaneously as well. The texture of the “It, The Sequel” was very soft, almost squishy, “It, The Sequel” was definitely a raw, ocean-sourced something or other, and very unpleasant to the sake drowned taste buds that occupied our throats at that time. “It, The Sequel” was fishy-like, gelatinous, wiggly, but “It, The Sequel” was fortunately dead, non-animate or non functioning even, but it was a traumatic shock to the uninitiated palate none the less, for had “It, The Sequel” not been so (dead), there would have been a cacophony of sounds emanating from our mouths not heard since the Donner Party sat for dinner in the snow bank. I shudder at the thought...

My brained sensed “It, The Sequel” was not to its liking after the first chew so the brain then put the jaw muscle into the feared “mandible lock” position, and there I sat, alarms ringing in my head, sweat gathering on my brow, my swallower had the emergency brake fully applied and was now shifting into full hi-range reverse. I was picturing in the theater of my mind all manner of unpleasantness that was about to be unleashed by my swallower; from ruining the now bubbling cauldron of broth in front of me, to unemployment, and on to me suffering shame and ridicule due to my faltering swallower, these thoughts all occurring in an instant. I had only two questions in my mind that needed answering at that moment, they were: “Do these windows open?” and “Will my life insurance pay out if I am successful?”

It was Gary who smiled first, he was the first to usher in the chaos that was soon to engulf the three of us, then it was I, followed quickly by my table mate, “Once again into the breach dear friends” was our mantra, and the fight began again. I started to laugh, out loud, unrestrained, as I tried to chew “It, The Sequel” then swallow said critter. Gary was heading for the hysteria induced unemployment line also and my customer and table mate was gasping for air, laughing hysterically without much sound and grabbing his stomach. All of this was happening in as circumspect a manner as was possible given the circumstance.

I laughed, coughed, swallowed, swallowed again, and again, and again, and again. Gary and our comrade in arms did the same. We were diligent swallowers it turns out but what was needed was not diligence, it was help from above. I invoked Gods Grace to help me get though that situation and for an Agnostic that is saying something and He mercifully granted me Providence and began to calm my internal conflict. Then I looked at Gary once more and my internal conflict overpowered the Divinely granted Providence and what was up till then circumspect and stifled laughter, became full blown guffaws exploding from my mouth, my tablemate following suit. There we were the two of us engaging in hysteria induced by our gag reflexes, laughing uncontrollably gasping for air. Pity Gary who, facing our boss, was desperately trying to hold it all together. He was failing fast.

Gary looked at the two of us laughing our asses off having finally achieved victory by swallowing “It, The Sequel” in all its wiggling fish flavoured Jello wiggling glory and he started to laugh as he looked at us, which then caused Mr. Big to look our way and what he saw by that time was two guys laughing at what could only be a funny joke and he too smiled at us. The growing choruses of smiles caused us to laugh harder, inducing stomach muscle cramps which forced me to launch from the table allowing me to look away from my table mate and Gary, and I began to calm down. After a moment or two, calmer now, I looked back at Gary again to see how he was faring, I then had to look away again. Turned away. Looked again. Turned away. Looked across. Turned away. Looked again. Each time I looked at them, things got worse for all of us.

With tear stained faces and aching core group muscles, civility and decorum finally reappeared and we completed the Shabu-Shabu meal that was nearly our career ending evening. It was quite a night as we sat above Tokyo Bay enjoying each other’s company and fighting “It” and “It The Sequel” to a satisfactory conclusion, together as one. Comrades. Drunken, silly comrades. We did not dishonour Mr. Big that night I believe and we marched together, victorious, unknowingly as it turned out, to another encounter with a tenacious enemy at a spa a day later. See spa visit and Dancing Cooking in a later posting...

Click here to read Part 2