Arcticterntalk.org

The blog of a travelling psychiatrist and football lover. Who happens to be a halfway decent photographer. Takes a cynical view of the world

Archive for the tag “food”

24 Hours of eating in  Berlin when working. Marriott Midtown Grill


Berlin is mostly a city that given a little time one can walk around. The train station sits centrally 15 minutes walk from Brandenburg gate and Tiergarden. 

Walking really is the best way to see this city especially if travel time is all the time you get to see the city when working. 

The food is interesting and despite a few little quirks, the Marriott Midtown Grill is not a bad little restaurant although not cheap. This time of year is white asparagus season. So a meal of asparagus, salmon and potatoes seems a good choice and it was. Cheesecake is always a good choice . Nice touches included free bread. In fact a small loaf really. A pretzel with the beer. And if one wanted toasted marshmallows with the bill! 

A few strange aspects of German cuisine include the painted boiled eggs seemingly on offer in most German airport lounges. 

The reason why no obesity in Helsinki- The Cost of Food


There is little doubt that the Finnish are an attractive and healthy looking race. There was little or no sign of obesity anywhere in Helsinki despite the city having a plethora of the same restaurants that in UK seem to carry the blame for obesity. There were a few shocks however.

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A typical Helsinki couple. Element of distance between them.

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Helsinki Fashion

In all my travels I was not prepared to see a restaurant OLO Creative Kitchen in an ordinary central Helsinki street advertising a meal for 149 euros.

IMG_2783I stood there for 5 minutes pondering both my eyesight and my cognitive ability to recognise the currency, but in the end it was euros and the cost was 149 euros. The option of then paying a higher price 315 euros to have what I take to be unlimited drinks seemed a sensible one for the reason that drinking enough might allow one to forget the cost of the meal. Amnesia may have its benefits. But the maths are curious. 166 euros gives you these unlimited drinks, but wine by the glass is 21 euros , so essentially you need to drink 8 glasses minimum to get value.

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The food generally here in restaurants is expensive compared with many other European cities, and substantially so. Eating a dinner in the Radisson Plaza hotel in Helsinki would be a nice event, nice restaurant and good service in good surroundings. Until the bill arrives. A few examples. Fried sole 36.5 euros, grilled Reindeer fillet ( like beef actually) 34 euros. An average starter such as reindeer mouse ( yes that is average here), 11.90 euros, the same as a cheese salad as a starter. Desserts again look particularly attractive but you will not pay less than 9.50 euros for Creme Brûlée, and “old-time” ice cream does not have an old-time price tag weighing in at 11.50 euros. Should we decide that reindeer and cloudberries are too exotic for a chilly and rainy April evening then a Club Sandwich will set you back 18 euros. The same price as a caesar salad with chicken.IMG_2808IMG_2801

 

There are a few ways around this if you are prepared to eat a main meal at lunchtime. There are a plethora of restaurants with either lunchtime buffet choices, which was my option, and in the Radisson Plaza I ate a nice lunch of unlimited salads and bread, and various choices that included Pork and Elk stew, fried trout and plentiful roasted root vegetables for 12 euros. Many other restaurants had their equivalent.

Street food was however plentiful and delicious and available in many places.

 

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The real way to eat? Clearly sample The Reindeer hotdog.

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Could Reindeer hotdogs catch on at football?

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Helsinki street food.

Just Nice Food Photos From Europe


Chicken and leek pie

Chicken and Leek Pie. Northumberland UK

Coffee

Coffee Zurich Airport

Croissant

Massive Croissant London UK

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Massive Croissant London UK

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Ice Cream Northumberland UK

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Bread and butter Seahouses UK

Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart Zug Switzerland

Pizza

Pizza London UK

Plum and Almond Tart

Plum and Almond Tart Northumberland UK

Prosecco

Prosecco London UK

Sticky Toffee Pudding 2

Sticky Toffee Pudding London UK

Treacle Tart

Treacle Tart Northumberland UK

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding London UK

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Chickpea and Chorizo Warm Salad London UK

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Omelette Hamburg Germany

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Waffle with golden syrup Merton UK

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Fruit Breakfast Hamburg Germany

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Chocolate Cheesecake Gothenburg Sweden

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Chocolate Muffin Gothenburg Sweden

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Burger and Chips Gothenburg Sweden

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Waffle Merton UK

London Malmaison . The Best Sunday Lunch


For around 20£ one can indulge in maybe the best sunday lunch or brunch anywhere. A three course meal in London for 20£ is not so common, but of this quality it is quite exceptional.

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A Starter of Mixed foods

The starters represent easily a meal in themselves, with various salads, cuts of meat and fish, bread, cheeses and samosas. The main courses range from typical roast meats to smoked fishcakes and the desserts include Sticky Toffee Pudding amongst other delectables.

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Chickpea and Chorizo Salad

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Mixed Meats and Fish

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Sticky Toffee Pudding

Do allow three hours to consume this feast .

The decor is also grand and typically Malmaison with dark themes and somewhat quirky colour schemes.

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Food Photos From Europe


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Gothenburg Burger Max Pleasure

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Chocolate Cheesecake from Gothenburg. The most delicious dessert.

Food Photographs


An eclectic mixture of food and drink photos from around Europe. Nothing special as they have all been taken with the I Phone which is not the best camera at all. But hopefully enough to make you hungry and thirsty.

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Lemon Tart. Switzerland. With Raspberry Coulis and precisely three redcurrants

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Starbucks Coffee Zurich Airport

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Pizza London

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Birmingham Street Food

Beirut Restaurant Auckland


A new Lebanese restuarant in the heart of Auckland. Weather permitting one can sit inside on some elegant chairs or outside on the pavement, where the views are not idyllic but some warmth does pervade in the summer months.

The menu is small and generally it is best to select maybe 5-6 dishes between two people. The food is not however typically Lebanese at all. So those expecting skewers of meat and chicken will be dissapointed. A good mixture would be some breads like the Persian flatbread or Afghan bread, made with black courgette hummus and poppy seed. Combined with a salad such as Fattoush or maybe Bubba (burnt aubergine,  sujak, toasted sesame and black cabbage).

Pehrpas the most visual dish is the Fattoush with amazing colours and textures . Looks almost like food art.  The portions are also not huge so those with an american accent might be dissapointed.

IMG_0439after midday — Click here to see what the menu looks like.

 

Lebanese Salad in Auckland Fattoush Photographs


Does anyone recognise what type of salad this is? It was eaten in an excellent Lebanese restaurant in Auckland called Beirut. It was called Fattoush. The food was excellent and was best eaten as a number of small dishes to be shared.

Fattoush traditionally is different to this version and is described as containing watermelon, beetroot, cucumber, parsley and orange blossom.

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Fattoush

The menu contains a mixture of excellent other items. However not all versions of Fattoush are the same it seems. If we go to other websites we it described very differently

Fattoush is a Lebanese salad made with vegetables and crispy toasted flatbread, which soaks up the dressing beautifully. It’s a simple recipe, packed with freshness and flavour – serve this salad as a side to grilled meats.after midday —after midday —

Should Football Managers Harangue Officials on the pitch? Tommy Williams and Kingstonian


As a football fan I see plenty of occasions each game where the officials get it wrong and sometimes badly so. Having said that players and managers also are culpable of making errors plenty of times in any given game. I do however take a view that officials should be allowed to do their jobs with the expectation that they will not be perfect and certainly should be protected from on-pitch haranguing and demonstrations of anger on the pitch itself. At the recent Met Police v Kingstonian game at half time, immediately before which Met Police had scored direct from a corner, the officials were approached by the Kingstonian manager Tommy Williams clearly angry at some percieved error of judgement, and in a finger waving manner. We all in non-league should have respect for the officials and I personally cannot condone this behaviour. I am sure there are other views out there and it would be interesting to hear them.

Angry Tommy Williams Kingstonian manager confronts the officials at half time. Why is this acceptable?

Angry Tommy Williams Kingstonian manager confronts the officials at half time. Why is this acceptable?

Environmental Enforcement in Wimbledon. What is happening to my world?


Firstly please share this post with friends and colleagues. What I am about to describe is a worrying trend and one that I would not like to see expanding. A kind of “legal ” vigilante going under the euphemism of ” Environmental Enforcement”. OK. Picture the scenario. A short one hour visit to Wimbledon and returning to the train station and about to enter.  What did I visualise?

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I am appalled. There are three I will call them officers with the gentle demeanour of harsh traffic wardens crossed with prison wardens who are ticketing folks under the name of environmental enforcement. Their crimes? Seems throwing cigarette ends anywhere than some specific receptacle. Fixed penalty fines of 75£ or 80£. Those being questioned had a poor grasp of the English language. Apparently this is a criminal offence to throw cigarette ends away like this as one officer explained.
My views on this were heavily influenced by recent reports that police no longer routinely investigate burglaries. And around 10 yards away a homeless man was prostrate and sleeping and would have been a better beneficiary of their wise input and assistance. One might also argue that folks needing help such as this man might be better recipients of environmental protection than inadvertent or even deliberate throwing of cigarette ends on the ground outside a station . Am I right to be angry about this?

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After a little research tonight it seems Merton Council have a zero tolerance to littering, or so they say.  The wording from their website tells us this

Due to the high number of pedestrians visiting the town centre, Wimbledon has the highest rate of cigarette litter in Merton with over 1,500 FPNs being issued since June. As well as taking a zero-tolerance approach to enforcement, the council works to educate residents and visitors to the borough about environmental crime and the likelihood that they will be fined £75 for littering”

http://news.merton.gov.uk/2014/10/24/merton-council-tells-smokers-to-watch-their-butt/

With their website explaining in graphic detail how to pay the £75 fine.

http://www.merton.gov.uk/environment/fixedpenaltynotices.htm

What however is worrying is that there is no right of appeal against a fixed penalty notice. So we all understand the situation that littering is not a good thing and the majority of us would agree that we should do it. However there are limits. And those limits to me are exceeded by seeing in practice that people who were it seems unaware of this draconian zero tolerance to cigarette ends, and we are not talking about littering huge amounts of kebab shop waste or newspapers on the streets, but cigarette ends, are being fined what seems an excessive amount. Furthermore to see a homeless man prostrate, rather curiously by a gritting bin, and these environmental enforcement officers take no action in the 15 minutes that I observed them was to say the least disheartening. That ” society” , well the council , cares more extracting punitive fines than humane care, speaks volumes.

The next aspect that we need to address is the actual environmental enforcement officers. Their attire of a kind of jump suit more often associated with prison, with their waists surrounded by more equipment than many would need to climb Mount Everest or contain a whole ward of rioting patients in Broadmoor, seems excessive to say the least. Together with mounted CCTV on their uniforms. I am sure Neil Armstrong had less equipment when he set foot on the moon with Apollo 11 in july 1969.

Many or even most of these officers it seems are supplied by a company called Kingdom. A press release from March 2014 stated that the council’s own enforcement officers will work alongside the Kingdom enforcement team from the end of April as they go out and about around Merton to make sure the borough is kept litter-free. Kingdom’s team is led by ” experts with an ex-military and police background”. Quite why this is so necessary to deal with ordinary folks who have thrown cigarette ends on the ground is not so clear. They issue these fixed penalty notices to those breaking the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

http://blog.kingdom.co.uk/2014/04/kingdom-part-of-merton-councils-zero.html

Where it however gets more interesting is that Merton Council has come under fire for reducing street cleaning in town centres on Sundays – while spending nearly £130,000 a year on four environment enforcement officers. So photographs published in March 2015 show far worse littering caused by the overflowing of these bins than I certainly visualised on the pavements of Wimbledon. In fact I saw nothing other than the poor homeless man. There is a lot of information provided by the government on how councils can issue FPNs and also how they should use the funds accrued.

http://www.wimbledonguardian.co.uk/news/11863279.Merton_Council_cuts_back_Sunday_street_cleaning_to_combat___1_2m_overspend/

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fixed-penalty-notices-issuing-and-enforcement-by-councils

The same site above lists the various offences for which FPNs can be given and it is immediately obvious that some of these are serious and should be punished in a punitive manner, however in the context cigarette ends must be at the lower if not lowest end of the spectrum.

graffiti
littering
fly-posting
nuisance parking (people selling or repairing cars on the road)
dog control offences
abandoned vehicles
leafleting without permission on land where leafleting is restricted (‘designated land’)
failing to nominate a key holder or give the council key holder details in an alarm notification area
failing to provide a waste carrier licence (for businesses transporting their own waste)
failing to provide a waste transfer note when moving non-hazardous waste

There is a world of difference between for example “littering” with an abandoned vehicle and a cigarette end. Yet the difference in fine amounts is surprisingly small. £200 for abandoning a car and £75 for abandoning a cigarette end. The money must also be put to specified uses.

Councils must use income from FPNs as set out :

Offence FPN money can be spent on functions relating to:
Litter – Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Graffiti – Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Dog control -Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Fly-posting -Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting
Unauthorised distribution of free printed material on designated land- Litter, dog control, graffiti and fly-posting

So what I am left wondering is what training is given to these officers, what degree of latitude do they have in not administering a FPN, if they have any targets, and of course how much money is raised and exactly to what purpose is it put. There is clear guidance on publishing not only the enforcement strategy but also to how the money will be used. 

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/fixed-penalty-notices-issuing-and-enforcement-by-councils

So in my world there would be some degree of spectrum here on exactly what constitutes a littering offence and throwing a single cigarette end does not equate to toxic pollution of the planet. Maybe also these officers can not only look at the bigger picture, but as today adopt a more humane approach. To have allowed that homeless man to remain on the ground lying prostrate would not be their greatest achievement in their day.  Littering does have context and we need to be careful not to be too literal and punitive. If Merton Council want and feel they should adopt a zero tolerance approach, then this should be reflected in not only this aspect but all aspects of their work. Finally what exactly are they doing with the money, that was not happening before? I have developed a zero tolerance approach to not knowing the answers to these reasonable questions. 

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