Dining on the Gonads of Sea Urchins.


I tuned into Masterchef last week, which is as close to cutting edge cuisine as I am likely to get in the near future, and for that I am now eternally grateful.

Working in a kitchen has, to me, always looked like insanely hard work. It looks hot, it looks sweaty, and it looks like the epitome of stress. During this particular episode of Masterchef, it also looked extremely hairy.

The kitchen that the amateurs had been let loose in belongs to Michael O’Hare, who will hereafter be known as Michael ‘Oh My Hair!’ for reasons that will appear obvious if my editors choose to accompany this column with a photo of him.

During the sweaty stint in Michael Oh My Hair’s kitchen, a poor would-be chef was tasked with conjuring up one of the hirsute one’s signature dishes, namely – and I suggest you restrain your gag reflex for this – prawns with roasted skulls.

Now maybe it’s just me who has munched under the misapprehension that food is supposed to sound appealing, but surely I can’t be alone in believing that any alleged sustenance requiring roasted skull, sounds more like it belongs on Indiana Jones than in my stomach.

Best of all, once the skull was roasted, the poor fools who’d signed up to consume the resulting Bushtucker Trial, had to squeeze the brains of the prawns over the aforementioned crustacean’s body. And this was just the appetizer – I use the word loosely – for it was followed by an urchin Bolognese that was made, of course, with urchin gonads.

As a final flourish, the gonad sauce was sprinkled with what appeared to be someone’s cremated remains – or perhaps it was those of a customer for whom the I’m A Celebrity inspired menu had become simply too much.

I know that fine dining consists of teeny tiny meals that are all about flavour and presentation, but when you’re faced with what is essentially fish offal and genitalia for dinner, and then expected to pay for it, then, dining peasant that I am, I suspect you have a screw loose.

The Great British Government’s U-Turn on Academies…

At last, the government has performed the necessary u-turn on their ludicrous suggestion that all schools in the UK become academies. I can’t help but think that part of the reason behind this is the fact that teachers and parents stood side by side in their disapproval, and social media has been ablaze for months with condemnation for such a sweeping blow to the education of our children.

The lack of faith that the government has in head teachers to make adequate decisions is, for the most part, utterly displaced. And simply becoming an academy is not the educational equivalent of a magic wand. Trust me when I say that just because your child attends an academy, it doesn’t equal improvement.

Summer 2016: Gone but Not Forgotten

As I write this we are experiencing what may be our only taste of summer. No doubt by the time this goes to print, autumn will be upon us again.

However, with an optimistic attitude and our bank account banished to the back of our minds, my husband and I have invested in a new BBQ. Given that there are only 4 of us in the family, and that we are unlikely to start replicating a Neighbours episode and grilling entire marsupials upon it, I cannot help but think we have been extravagant in terms of size, let alone in the cost of the gas.

£66 for a canister of the stuff, when most mother-in-laws blow hot air for free.


First published in The Portsmouth News, Saturday 14th May 2016



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