Tag: Press

How to get ahead in journalism

I spent almost all of my adult working life feeling like a fraud. I wanted to be a journalist because of a television series in the 80s called Press Gang, to which I was completely addicted. I wanted badly to be the Julia Sawalha character: brilliant, tough, uncompromising. I was a terribly unfriendly child, very angry, resistant to organised fun, terrified of humiliation – in this cold and unbending fictional telly character I saw how some of my unfortunate personality traits could be handy.

But it became very obvious very early in the postgraduate thingummy I did in journalism after leaving university, that I was never going to be a good journalist.

Please, by the way, do not laugh at me for having done a “course”; people do these things nowadays because it’s so hard to get a job in newspapers. In fact, unless you are incredibly brilliant or insanely hard-working (with a private income), getting a job in journalism these days comes down to luck. When pompous parents tell me that their blobby children are “thinking about” going into journalism I laugh nastily and say “as if it’s that easy”.

Anyway, the course director declared to us on the first day that journalism is “not about writing. It is about information. It is about being nosy. It is about being a gossip. It is about always wanting to be the person who knows things first.”

My heart sank. I am none of those things. I am terrific at keeping secrets and I’m always the last to know everything, I don’t pry, I feel sorry for people and do not want to put them through the media mill even if they’ve done rotten things. I think pretty much everyone is entitled to a private life.

I struggled on, experiencing full-body cringes whenever I had to make awkward phone calls, hating every second of interviews, fighting with sub-editors over ultra-mean headlines to interviews with people I had thought were perfectly nice. I edited quotes so that interviewees wouldn’t get into trouble.

Years ago, before the media was in such a terrible state, I probably would have been able to swing some sort of “mummy” column when I chucked in my job and smugly retreat home with purpose. But those gigs are few and far between these days. My husband has a friend who in the early 90s earned £80,000 from writing two weekly columns. £80,000!!! Those were the days.

I resigned myself to never making any money again, and took to the internet and here we are. The internet being, as it happens, the reason that newspapers and magazines are in the toilet. But you certainly can’t beat the internet, so I joined it.

So much so that I threw open the doors of my home the other day to some of the editorial staff of a website called What’s In My Handbag.

They wanted to photograph the contents of my handbag, focusing particularly on my make-up, which they would then use to do something or other. I don’t really understand how it works. But I’ve always wanted someone to come round to my house and talk to me about make-up, so I screamed “YES!” when they emailed to ask if I wanted to do it.

Browsing their website the night before, I saw with rising panic that other handbag interviewees had prepared exciting banquets for the website’s photo shoot staff, or at least plied them with exotic breakfast liquers.

It was a full week since my last Ocado order. I had no eggs, no milk, very little butter not at freezing temperature. It was 10.30pm and I had just returned from a night out, the remains beside me of a hastily-scoffed kebab from E-Mono, London’s finest kebab house (I am not joking).

I suppressed a luscious burp. My mind started to race. These bitches would be expecting treats!! My mind first turned, as it always does, to in what ways I could throw money at the sitution. Could I beg my husband 10 minutes’ grace in the morning while I ran up the road to Sainsbury’s, bought 25 assorted pastries and then try to pass them off as being from an artisan bakery?!

No, think – think!!! I don’t know how it came to me, but it did. Divine inspiration, or something, I don’t know.

The answer was: flapjacks.

No flour, eggs or milk required. Some might say they are a thing that requires no actual cooking. But in that moment, they presented themselves not as a delirious cop-out, but as a lifesaver.

What I did happen to have, which made all the difference, was a box of extremely expensive posh museli from a company called Dorset Cereals, which are filled with all sorts of exciting nuts, grains, raisins and sultanas. I had only to bind the whole lot together with an appropriately enormous amount of melted butter and golden syrup.

I am not going to give you exact quantities for this, because flapjacks are, thank god, a thing you can basically do by guessing.

I got a square, loose-bottomed tin and filled it with museli to a depth I considered respectable for a flapjack (about 2in). Then I melted about 3/4 of a block of butter in a saucepan, added to that 3 generous tablespoon dollops of golden syrup and a big pinch of salt, poured in the museli and mixed it round.

Then at this point I, fatally, panicked and poured over a tin of condensed milk. I mean, the flapjacks were really delicious but the condensed milk made them fall apart in an annoying way and in actual fact, they were a bit too sweet. So leave the condensed milk out, if I were you. I also chopped up some chocolate and sprinkled it on the top, which probably wasn’t neccessary.

After turning out the buttery rubble, (sorry that’s all a bit Nigella isn’t it), into the square tin, I patted it down with a spatula and shoved it in the oven for 20 minutes.

They worked incredibly well, even allowing for the condensed milk over-kill and the girls pretended to like them well enough, while marvelling at how quickly and efficiently I had filed the product descriptions for my chosen make-up.

What can I say? I should have been a journalist.

 

Quick Cherry Turnovers

Quick Cherry Turnovers

by Pam on September 13, 2012

I was recently sent the new Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes[1] cookbook.  It is full of 1,485 different recipes that range from elegant and gourmet to comforting and simple.  I have had a great time looking through this cookbook, reading the recipes, and looking at the tempting photos.  I wanted to make my kids a special after school snack but I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store so I looked through this book to see what I could find.  I found this turnover recipe that was quick, easy, and best of all, I had all the ingredients on hand… you can’t beat that.  They were fun to make and they gave my kids the biggest smile when they walked through the door and saw these warm turnovers waiting for them.   I think I might just be a pretty cool mom in their eyes today.  Thanks for the great cookbook Taste of Home[2]!

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat.

Unroll the crescent roll dough and separate into four squares; place them on the silpat mat lined baking sheet.  Press the seams and perforations together by pinching them.  Spoon a 1/4 cup of pie filling in one corner of each square.  Fold to make triangles; pinch the sides to seal then press them down with a fork.

Place into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Prepare the frosting while the turnovers are baking.  Combine the sugar, milk, and vanilla together.  Drizzle  the frosting over the warm turnovers.

These cherry turnovers are best when served immediately.  Enjoy.

Print[3]



Quick Cherry Turnovers




Yield: 4

Prep Time: 10 min.

Cook Time: 10 min.

Total Time: 20 min.



Ingredients:

Turnovers:

1 tube of crescent rolls
1 cup of cherry pie filling

Frosting:

1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silpat mat.

Unroll the crescent roll dough and separate into four squares; place them on the silpat mat lined baking sheet. Press the seams and perforations together by pinching them. Spoon a 1/4 cup of pie filling in one corner of each square. Fold to make triangles; pinch the sides to seal then press them down with a fork.

Place into the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Prepare the frosting while the turnovers are baking. Combine the sugar, milk, and vanilla together. Drizzle over the warm turnovers. Serve immediately. Enjoy.



Adapted recipe by For the Love of Cooking.net
Original recipe by Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes

References

  1. ^ Taste of Home Best Loved Recipes (www.facebook.com)
  2. ^ Taste of Home (www.tasteofhome.com)
  3. ^ Print Recipe (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)

Dijon and Herb Panko-Crusted Halibut

Dijon and Herb Panko-Crusted Halibut

by Pam on August 20, 2013

My kids have been asking for more fish recipes lately. I picked up some freshly caught wild halibut and decided to season it with lemon juice, Dijon mustard and seasonings before topping it with a lemony herb panko topping. I baked it at a really high heat and it turned out moist, flaky, and absolutely delicious. My husband and I both thought it was excellent. My daughter scraped off the topping but loved the fish and my son had thirds and absolutely loved it. This fish paired nicely with the Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic[1].

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the panko crumbs with the parsley, fresh basil, lemon zest, minced garlic, olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste.  Combine with your fingers until evenly mixed.

Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the halibut fillet. Spoon the Dijon mustard on top of the halibut and spread evenly.  Season the fish with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard… the mustard will help the panko adhere.

Heat the vegetable oil in an OVEN PROOF skillet or Dutch oven.  When the oil is very hot, add the halibut fillet, skin side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.

Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 15-20 minute or until the thickest part of the halibut flakes easily.  Remove from the oven and cover with a tin foil tent for 5 minutes.  Serve the halibut with lemon wedges.  Enjoy.

 



Print[2]

Save[3]



Dijon and Herb Panko-Crusted Halibut




Yield: 4

Prep Time: 5 min.

Cook Time: 20 min.

Total Time: 25 min.



Ingredients:

3/4 cup of plain panko crumbs
1 tbsp of fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp of fresh basil, minced
Zest of one lemon
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tsp olive oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 large wild halibut fillet
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp canola oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine the panko crumbs with the parsley, fresh basil, lemon zest, minced garlic, olive oil, sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste. Combine with your fingers until evenly mixed.

Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the halibut fillet. Spoon the Dijon mustard on top of the halibut and spread evenly. Season the fish with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper. Press the panko mixture thickly on top of the mustard… the mustard will help the panko adhere.

Heat the vegetable oil in an OVEN PROOF skillet or Dutch oven. When the oil is very hot, add the halibut fillet, skin side down, and sear for 3-4 minutes, without turning, to brown the skin.

Transfer the pan to the hot oven for 15-20 minute or until the thickest part of the halibut flakes easily. Remove from the oven and cover with a tin foil tent for 5 minutes. Serve the halibut with lemon wedges. Enjoy.



Recipe and photos by For the Love of Cooking.net

References

  1. ^ Green Beans with Lemon and Garlic (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  2. ^ Print Recipe (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)
  3. ^ Save to ZipList Recipe Box (www.gordon-ramsay-recipe.com)

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