Thursday, December 20, 2007

Health and safety gone bonkers

I was today denied a rare tuna steak by the catering company at work, on the basis that it was against their corporate policy -which I imagine has been devised by a health and safety consultant. I hate overcooked tuna!

The health and safety epidemic is spreading at a fast rate, at the expense of common sense -which seems to be in short supplies those days. Other examples I've come across recently include:
And I haven't even started on the subject of political correctness....

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Focussing on CO2: good for bears, bad for humans?

As environmental concerns are growing, the EU and governments, including London's and the UK's are increasing their focus on limiting CO2 emissions. I've got two issues with this strategy:

1. Unless China and Blair's Gordon's best friends across the pond actually do something, our efforts are vain. And by extension, focussing on car emissions is equally short sighted as transportation overall account for 14% of all emissions (for instance housing is 10% and industries 16%, and I don't hear of a congestion charge on steel production or house building). This is because while cars can be taxed relatively easily (unless one is prepared to get a licence plate in Andorra), establishing a carbon tax on Chinese toys imports is a bit more problematic, both on the international trade laws aspects and on the difficulty to calculate it fairly.

2. Focussing only on CO2 car emissions favours diesel cars, which emitt much more particulates and other pollutants have got serious implications for human health, especially in inner cities. To this, one needs to add other greenhouse gas such as methane (cows fart!).

I will thus continue to fill my car with unleaded to protect babies.

Read also my comment on this post from Greenmonk: On Small Changes, Small Cars, Tax and Pollution

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

From CatPro (the Campaign Against The Parking Rip Off)

This is a last minute thing we only have until MIDNIGHT TOMORROW!!!
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Scrap all existing and planned tolls, "road pricing" and so called "congestion charging".

Please pass it on.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Restaurant review: Le Vacherin in Chiswick

I had a nice lunch today a Le Vacherin, a French brasserie on Acton Common Green, in fact close to Chiswich park. For Richmondians, it's two tube stops and a 10 mn walk away (from Gunnersbury and BS.Inc. Tower).

The restaurant was empty when we arrived, which let me some time to look at the settings: restrained, classical but sleek and sober, I felt at home. It filled up with 4 other tables, which is a good sign on a mid-week lunchtime.

I had some sweetbread in tempura batter, which were surprising and good. They were really well cooked but I ended up discarding the batter because I felt it overwhelmed the taste of my favourite offal. One of my guest settled for the "Scallops, Black Pudding & Alsace Bacon", which seemed like a strange but apparently successful pairing.
I then followed through with some "Aged Beef Fillet Tail, Sauce Foie Gras", which disappointingly wasn't blue but medium rare. Excellent meat, but I hate when it's over-cooked. My two guests went with fish (dover sole and brill and seemed pleased). I un-diplomatically chose a red Burgondy (2005 Cotes de Beaune by Louis Latour, which was OK but I usually avoid large merchands): the wine list is good, not too intimidating but could do with a little more research.

The deserts were nice, I settled for the pear and almonds tarts -a little stuffy for a lunch. Cheese platter seemed a little restricted given the name of the restaurant (no Vacherin!)

Service was nice, reserved and discreet -exactely what I want.

The best news is the price: even with a £41 bottle, it all came under £60 per head, which makes it one of the best value proper restaurant around. I would definitely come back... and highly recommend it!

Le Vacherin, 76-77 South Parade, Chiswick, London, W4 5LF - Tel 020 8742 2121 -

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Good news: less flying rats...

It never cease to amaze me seeing "animal activists" who put pigeons before humans:
BBC NEWS | UK | England | London | Tests 'show pigeons are starving'

As far as I know, pigeons are not an endengered specie, but rather a nuisance....

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Richmond is strangely devoid of good fishmongers. The Manor Circus Sainsbury is simply abysmal (not fresh, incompetent staff, unchanged assortment) although the Twickenham Tesco is somewhat better (but don't go there on rugby matches days).

Johanna reminded me of two fishmongers closeby and gave a nice earth and sea recipe:
thepassionatecook: Pan-fried scallops on herbed lentils

Here are the fishmongers then:

Jarvis in Kingston: 56 Coombe Road, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey KT2 7AF (not far from Kingston hospital), 020 8296 0139
Opening Hours
: 7am - 4pm (Tue - Sat)

Sandy's in Twickenham: 56 King Street, Twickenham, 020 8892 5788. The Food Observer said: "Sandy's is proud of its British suppliers and keen to promote its good fishing practices. Don't miss the line-caught mackerel and day-boat North Sea cod."

There's a good one in Barnes too, here's what Thisislondon says:
In March 2006, the Fabray family took over the fishmonger's on Barnes High Street and renamed it the Barnes Fish Shop. The French sardines are good (£5.50 per kg), and there are plentiful fat Norwegian herrings (£4 per kg). For a change of pace try the squid (£11 per kg). Barnes Fish Shop, 18 Barnes High Street, SW13 (020 8876 1297).

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