Thursday, 19 February 2015


Good Afternoon to you,

On Sunday, Natasha asked George and I, to name our favourite top five black and white movies.

..... and that got us thinking.

My absolute favourite is 'Top Hat' with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.... I never tire of watching the film.... I love the song 'It's a Lovely Day'.

'Let the rain pitter patter
But it really doesn't matter
If the skies are grey
Long as I can be with you
It's a lovely day.'

Irving Berlin
It's a Lovely Day

..... and there are many more films I love, but remembering the titles of the films, well that's another story. You would have laughed, if you had been a fly on the wall, listening to the conversation I had with George.

The conversation went like this,

Me.  "George, can you remember the title of the film, which is about a man who has lost his wife and she comes back to haunt him?"

George.  "That's not like you to watch a horror film, you hate horror films".

Me.  "No it isn't a horror film".

George.  "But it sounds like a horror film if it is about a wife dying and she comes back to haunt her husband".

Me.   "No, honestly it isn't a horror film, it's a comedy.  It has that marvellous English actress who we both love watching. Remember she played Miss Marples in a few Agatha Christie films.

George.  "Oh you mean Joan Hickson".

Me.    "No, Joan Hickson was a fabulous Miss Marple, but the lady I am thinking of, used to pull the most funny faces".

George.  "Sorry you've lost me.  Why don't you stop thinking about it and it will come to you".

Me.   "Ok, I'll do that".

...... but of course I didn't. Could I get it from my mind, no I couldn't, I was like a dog with a bone, the thought was going round and round in my mind.  By bed time, I still could not remember the actresses name or the title of the film and I fell asleep with it still on my mind.  Now you will not believe this, but apparently, in the middle of the night, I awoke George when I shouted Blithe Spirit with Margaret Rutherford and went back to sleep.

In the morning George smiled and said he knew the film I was talking about, it was 'Blithe Spirit' and the actresses name was Margaret Rutherford.  "Well I never, said I, how on earth did you remember that?"

..... he burst out laughing and told me about the previous night's events.  Well, I have been known to talk in my sleep when I am worried about something, but I have never shouted before.... that's a first.

So yes, one of my favourite black and white films is the comedy Blithe Spirit, with Margaret Rutherford playing the eccentric medium, Madame Arcati.

..... and then it has to be, 

'Some Like It Hot' with Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon.

I love it when, Osgood says to Daphne (Jack Lemmon), 

"I am Osgood Fielding the third"
Daphne replies,
"I am Cinderella the second"

Then it has to be 'His Girl Friday' with Cary Grant

Closely followed by, 'Brief Encounter' with Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard.

There are so many others I could have added, such as Casablanca, 'Barefoot Contessa' and '42nd Street', but I wonder what are your favourite black and white films? I feel sure once you tell me, I am going to be thinking "Oh yes, I love that film as well".

There's even a touch of black and white in today's salad. To be honest, maybe I am stretching it a little.

The white being the giant couscous and the black, well I used a few dark plum tomatoes, which have a touch of black, but they seem to be buried amongst the salad..... I did say I was stretching the colour theme.

Now in terms of music, I think I really should be playing 'Isn't It A Lovely Day', or Dancing Cheek to Cheek' from the film 'Top Hat', but instead I have chosen something completely different.

Grover Washington, Jnr and the album 'Winelight'. I play this album when I want to listen to a mellow sound.  I do love,

'Just The Two Of Us'
'In the Name Of Love'

So it's on with the pinnie and with 'Make Me A Memory' playing, it is time to organise my ingredients.


125g giant couscous
chicken stock
1 small red onion
125g tinned brown lentils
125g tinned chickpeas
125g soya beans, broad beans and peas (frozen)
6 small tomatoes
2 handfuls of spinach


4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
sea salt and pepper to taste


Cook the giant couscous
as directed on the packet,
but instead of using water
try using chicken stock.

Cook the frozen beans and peas
Set aside for the moment.

Make the dressing.

Place the 
olive oil,
lemon juice
white wine vinegar 
in a small bowl


whisk the ingredients together.

with sea salt and black pepper.

When the giant couscous is cooked,
drain any surplus liquid
and place in a large bowl,
along with,

the beans and peas


add the 

Toss everything together.
You will find the olive oil will prevent
the giant couscous sticking together as it cools.

Chop the red onion
into small pieces
add to the bowl.

Rinse the brown lentils
in cold water, drain
add to the bowl.

Rinse the chickpeas in
cold water,
add to the bowl.

Chop the tomatoes
into small 
add to the bowl.

Wash the spinach in 
cold water
add to the bowl.

Toss everything 
until it is thoroughly
coated with the

if needs be,
add a little more lemon juice
sea salt and black pepper.

Then all there is left to do
is spoon a portion
into a bowl
and you have a very
enjoyable lunch.

Sometimes I will serve this giant couscous salad with poached chicken, or sometimes with salmon.  I find Feta cheese works well with the salad as it gives an extra tang.  Whichever way you eat it I know you will enjoy the flavours.

As a rule, I tend to use dried chickpeas and dried lentils, but when I see tinned chickpeas and lentils which are a good price, I do buy them and store them in my cupboard,  because as much as I do love cooking, sometimes, just sometimes, I need to make a quick lunch and tinned chickpeas and lentils make that possible.

Now before I leave you, Natasha asked both George and I to name our favourite films.  I have shared my favourites so I thought you would like to hear about George's favourites.

He loves,

'Angels with Dirty Faces' with James Cagney
'Arsenic and Old Lace' with Alec Guinness
'Stage Coach' with John Wayne
'White Heat' with James Cagney
'African Queen' with Humphrey Bogart

Funnily enough, when Natasha asked George what his number one black and white film was, it was exactly the same as Natasha's. 'Angel's with Dirty Faces'.

Now you might be wondering why I did not put myself out of my misery by finding out the name of the film via the internet.  Yes, I could have done so very quickly, but I wanted to use my brain and remember the name myself. I knew at some point it would come to me..... but I have to be honest, I had not expected it to be the middle of the night.

Take care of yourself and I will see you next Thursday.

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Best wishes to you.


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