Sunday, 10 February 2019

The Green Book

There was something happening yesterday morning at a local sports club of mine, CIYMS, or "CI" as we call it.

There were cars lining the road, some with Irish registration numbers.

The time was about ten twenty-five.

I was meeting my aunt for coffee and a Chelsea bun at S D Bell's Leaf & Berry tea-room.

I don't think Bell's has changed very much in its traditional character for - shall we say - fifty years.

Indeed it has tripled in size, with a few flat-screen televisions, a shop, and so on, though essentially it remains a thriving, popular place.

In the afternoon I swam the customary eighty lengths of my health club (Bannatyne's), wallowing in the hot tub adjacent to the pool thereafter.

Self at Campbell

The club has undergone major renovation recently, though the swimming-pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam-room and changing-rooms haven't been refurbished at all.

Now I have to admit that I do enjoy a good Chinese meal, particularly the sweet-and-sour prawns or chicken.

I've been making my own for about a year, and this was one of my better decisions.

I buy battered chicken pieces and those handy pouches of egg-fried rice.

The sauce is easy and quick to make: wine vinegar, stevia brown sugar, pineapple juice, tomato ketchup, cornflour paste to thicken; onion chunks, garlic, pineapple chunks, finely-sliced red pepper or carrot.

Of course the quantity of these ingredients and the method matters.

I consider the quality, viscosity and taste of the sauce to be essential, so I have it precisely to my liking, and judge restaurant sweet-and-sour sauces by my own.

I've more or less stopped drinking now, unless you count the odd half-glass of wine.

My aunt had recommended a film when we were at S D Bell's, The Green Book.

The intention had been to go and see The Favourite, though my aunt's thumb's-up to The Green Book was so good that I climbed into the jalopy and made a bee-line for Queen's Quay in Belfast, viz. the Odyssey Pavilion, where there's a cinema.

This pavilion, as they call it, is a ghost-town these days, because all the restaurants have closed, apart from about two.

There is one bar at the front entrance, the W5 science museum, and the multi-screen cinema.

The splendid IMAX theatre was closed down many years ago and appears to be in moth-balls.

What a shame!

Still, I did enjoy The Green Book, a really lovely film about Dr Don Shirley, an eccentric black-American concert pianist and his journey to various American venues in the Deep South with his bodyguard/driver, Tony Lip, a gruff, no-nonsense Italian-American bloke.

Remarkably I counted a mere six couples in Screen Seven, a number that certainly doesn't reflect the excellence of the film.

If you get a chance, do and see it.


Handelian said...

A fine figure of a man. On an entirely unrelated point, where do you get the battered chicken pieces? I see any number of recipes for sweet and sour sauce but I‘d only have a go if I could buy the chicken? Are we talking chicken nuggets here?

Timothy Belmont said...

I buy Chicken Chunks in Home Bargains store. There are 16 pieces and I use half per helping. They're in the freezer cabinet and cost about £1.80 or so. Terrific value. Tim.