Monday, 29 November 2010

Posh Food Foiled: Part 2

If you read it, you'll know that my last post was a day early because I was about to embark on a fun filled weekend, complete with posh dinner at a fine dining establishment in Nottingham. I was very excited.

Sadly, things didn’t exactly go according to plan, with the first problem making itself abundantly clear when we woke on Saturday morning to this sight:

Damn weather. It’s like Winter read my post about why I don't like it, and decided to throw its worst at the country in a childlike tantrum at learning not everyone wants to be its friend. Fortunately, our area hadn’t been the worst hit by the snow storms and by the time we’d packed our bags and were ready for the off, the retreat down our hill was fairly clear. We made it to our destination in about an hour, and spent a pleasant, if not bitterly cold, afternoon wandering around the many, many shops that the city has to offer. Before carrying our bags back up to our home for the evening, we asked the hotel receptionist to book us a taxi to transport us to the posh restaurant in which we would be dining, before heading up to get ready for our highly anticipated night out.

An hour or so later, we arrived back in the lobby and were delighted to see a cab waiting outside. Except it wasn’t our taxi. Neither was it the taxi of another couple waiting impatiently for theirs to turn up. The waiting taxi was for a room that wasn’t due to be picked up for another five minutes and whose occupants were nowhere to be seen. Another taxi turned up for them too. So there are two couples waiting, two taxis waiting, and another two taxis due to arrive (all four from the same company, I hasten to add). Despite the blindingly obvious solution to the situation, the drivers would not agree to swap and take the already waiting couples, because just screw common sense. It was at this stage that the receptionist chimed in to cheerfully inform both impatient couples that our taxis had actually been jumped and would we like her to reorder them.

We got into the next taxi that turned up – which came from a completely different company to the incompetent one apparently preferred by the hotel, leading us to suspect we may have inadvertently ‘paid it forwards’ and jumped someone else’s taxi. By this time, we were already ten minutes late so all we cared about was finally being on route.

Or were we?

No, we weren’t. The driver kept asking us about Indian restaurants, which we found to be quite strange given that Restaurant Sat Bains is vaguely French. It turns out the cabby's vigorous assurances that he knew our destination were completely incorrect. We ended up parked on a double yellow line while Fiance frantically persuaded his phone-based internet to divulge the post code of the restaurant, while the driver happily pulled out his sat nav. After a worrying hiatus, we were back on course, and eventually found the place, about half an hour late.

But no bother, we were there and our magical food-based experience was about to begin. We had a pre-dinner gin and tonic while taking in the delights of the menu – a seven course set taster menu, with an optional eighth course, comprising of the Ham, Egg and Pea starter which won the Great British Menu. 

The food was lovely, although by the time the second official course arrived, I had started to feel a bit strange and was struggling to eat. The staff clearly aren’t used to seeing food being left, and asked if everything was alright. I told them the food was lovely, but I didn’t want to fill up too early with so many courses left to come. A mouthful into the third course, and I couldn’t will myself to eat another thing. I admitted to feeling a little off colour when the waitress came to collect another practically untouched plate. Within sixty seconds, head waitress came over and asked if we wanted a fifteen minute rest from the food to see if I felt any better – she even bought over some mint tea, renowned for its stomach soothing properties.

Sadly, it didn’t work, and I found myself in a queue for the toilet, feeling ever increasingly nauseous, and trying to formulate a plan if a cubicle didn't free itself in a short space of time.  

And that was the end of my latest attempt at dinner in a posh restaurant. By the time I got back to the table, Fiance had already ordered the bill and a taxi. I am absolutely gutted that we didn't get to enjoy the entire experience, but I am looking on the positive side – last time, I didn’t make it at all. This time, I made it half way through. I take this as an omen that I will make it through the entire experience next time I venture out to a fine dining establishment. 

Oh, and I should probably clarify that I wasn't sick in a vase. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

How come I never know the date?

Up until a few years ago, I did a job that entailed writing lots of letters to lots of people about things far too boring to divulge here. It was far from a stimulating role, but it did bring one advantage that I did not appreciate at the time – I always knew what date it was thanks to the number of times I had to type it out on any chosen day.

I was able to respond with confidence when someone enquired about the day, the month and the year – a feat which made me feel like a proper grown up, an organised person.

Now that my job doesn’t involve writing any letters, it takes me about a fortnight to realise the month has changed, let alone having the ability to reel off the number that correlates to the day I am experiencing. And I don’t think I ever fully acclimatise to a new year –  I even managed to tell my sister that our wedding date is in April 2010… which is physically impossible without the accomplishment of time travel. She was kind enough not to mention it.

The thing is, it’s not like I don’t encounter the date now that I don’t write letters for a living. In fact, the date is a string of characters I see on a worryingly frequent basis.

So, that’s at least four times I see the particulars of any given day, but for some reason my brain refuses to acknowledge it.

In fact, as if on cue, I had just decided on using today’s date in those drawings – and then I realised that I didn’t know what it was, despite it nearly being tomorrow and having had a full day to acclimatise. I am a law unto myself.

It was only by pure chance that I realised I should post the second blog of the week today. This is because I have lots of fun things planned over the next few days and I have only just realised that the first one falls on a Thursday, and the next few keep me busy until Monday. They are all written on the calendar that sits right next to me at work, but I only just figured out the fun is due to start tomorrow and that tomorrow is scheduled blog day. 

Tomorrow, evening I shall mostly be drinking lots of wine and eating delicious Spanish food at a fab tapas restaurant that’s doing a food and wine evening. I shall try to pace the food and wine more evenly this time because I like to think I am capable of learning a lesson.

Friday we shall be having a couple of drinks with old friends... but it needs to be a fairly sedate one, because on Saturday:

We’re off to Nottingham to do some touristy stuff – none of which will be Robin Hood related – and to have a 7 course meal at Sat Bains’ restaurant. Even the thought of browsing the art and craft market that’s within strolling distance of our hotel is eclipsed by the prospect of eating proper nice tucker.

I is, as they say, well excited. Especially because my inability to keep track of the date means that the fun times start, unexpectedly, tomorrow. Being unable to pay attention can be a great benefit sometimes.


Monday, 22 November 2010

The Nark Monster

At 29 years old, I am convinced that there is a monster living under my bed.

Its name is the Nark Monster, and its purpose is to direct my mood towards distinctly grumpy when I wake up in the morning. I suspect it does this by waiting until I am obliviously asleep before swapping the signs which indicate the best side to get out of bed on any given morning. 

Once the Nark Monster has got me in its grip, all hope is lost for the day. It follows me round, making sure I focus as much as possible on the worst in every situation, thus feeding its insatiable appetite for bad vibes and foul language.

I get caught in a vicious circle of narkiness - the more I grump and swear, the grumpier and swearier I get which means I find more to grump and swear about, and so the circle of mard continues. The tiniest little thing can set me off - reading a self-pitying Facebook status update or watching a neighbour park outside our house elicits an elegant and yet passionate rant. And I am entirely capable of holding a one way (shouted) conversation with/at the TV during particularly annoying on-screen moments (this week, Gillian 'Poo Doctor' McKeith, that honour goes entirely to you).

When the Nark Monster is in charge, I am victim to its every whim, and my response usually involves a lengthy ‘chunter’ – a barely under the breath conversation with myself about the nature of the problem, its many downsides and the potential ways of solving it.

Fortunately, I have discovered a few ways to temporarily alleviate the symptoms of waking with the Nark Monster, each of which I know have the ability to lift me out of my grumps for a few blissful moments.

Singing (and occasionally dancing) with the music turned up loud during a car journey is soothing to the soul:

Making a lovely cup of tea not only gets me away from the situation for a short while, it also results in me having a lovely cup of tea - an instant improvement to any situation:

If I happen to have a few minutes leisure time, I think about shoes:

Or an even better way of spending my leisure time is actually buying shoes (or a couple of pairs of shoes, or some boots, or a jumper):

But there is one guaranteed method I know I can fall back on when I get home, which without fail, will send the Nark Monster back to its hiding place under my bed:

What I'm saying today is that if you're in an inexplicable grumpy mood, do as I do and keep the Nark Monster at bay by singing, daydreaming and shopping the day away until you can drink wine with someone you care about. The monster won't know what hit it. 

Thursday, 18 November 2010

A Short Tale (and a cryptic note)

Standing short at 5ft 3 and ¾ (which I round up to 5ft 4, obviously), I am not exactly the tiniest person in the world, but I do frequently find myself living below the natural eye line of friends and family. This includes my ‘little’ sister, as measured by age, who quickly becomes my ‘big’ sister when measured by height. This is disappointing to me.

It was not always this way though. I have previously been a tall person (well, relatively speaking, at least).

When I left primary school, I was second tallest in our class – obviously an important fact, given that I recall it some eighteen years later. Being one of the tallest was a way of life that I had spent 11 years becoming accustomed to, so I wasn’t exactly prepared when I started high school and within a year, witnessed everyone around me shooting up to the size of giants while my height stubbornly refused to change. 

I still remember the first time I realised that I was officially ‘short’. It was during a PE lesson when I was sixteen and we were told to measure our height and compare it to the expected average for our age. I was not only below average for my age, but fell squarely into the average height of a thirteen year old. I wasn’t even the same height as a tall thirteen year old. And the thing is, I’m pretty sure I spent the next thirteen years failing to get any taller, which means I’m now the same height as sixteen year old me when I was the average height of a thirteen year old.

And that is a pain in the ass, because being the height of a just-teenager makes things more difficult than they need to be. For example, I can’t stand flat footed in front of the mirror on our bathroom cupboard, because if I do, this is what I see:

I have to rely on Fiance to get down any ingredients I need that happen to reside on the top shelf in the kitchen cupboard. (I did actually buy a little foldaway stool that was very handy for a while. But then I found a dead spider stuck to it, and it will probably come back to life and eat me if I try to dispose of it).

And when I go to a gig, I can pretty much guarantee that this is going to be my view of the whole show: 

But these are mere trifles compared to the ultimate challenge I was faced with earlier today. I have been expecting a DVD box set (House M.D. Season 2 – late to discover it, but seriously addicted) to arrive since Monday, and its non-arrival was slowly leading me to suspect that our slightly unreliable post man had delivered my post to someone else’s house, rather then his usual tactic of delivering everyone else’s post to our house (regardless whether or not the intended address was remotely similar to ours). He is a special postman.

I got back from work to once again find a distinct lack of package waiting for me. Stopping mid-way through a sigh of resignation, I spotted this scribbled note from Postie on the envelope of a letter lying on the mat. 

Forgetting the parcel I was expecting in order to make the most of my imagination, I asked myself what the cryptic message could mean. I studied the words. 'You have A PUT IN BLUE BIN'. What is a ‘put’? I have never heard of a put – is it good or bad? Why the capitalisation of the words 'put in blue bin'? Is Postie letting me in on a secret about some wonderful object that resides in the blue bin, or is he sending a warning because he discovered a horrible creature dwelling within?

Or maybe it was an algebraic code, and scribbled on another envelope was the information required to decipher his message. Something like 'A = a package that looks like a DVD box set'.

Eventually, I stopped playing Poirot, and checked the contents of the blue bin (which I should probably point out is for recyclable material, rather than grimy rubbish), hoping Postie’s message did indeed mean the DVDs were here. And joy to the world, it did and they were! I was delighted.

There was just one small problem. 

Despite tipping the bin to various different angles and shifting my position slightly to the left or to the right, I could not will my arms to be long enough to reach the parcel sitting so demurely at the bottom of the bin. After five minutes, I was forced to give up that tactic when an unexpected movement from the bin during a particularly vigorous reach led to me to realise that Fiance could well come home and find this vision waiting for him at the front door:

Managing to defy physics, I manipulated the bin onto its side within the minuscule amount of space available to me and just about succeeded in using one arm to tip the bottom of the bin gradually upwards, whilst leaving the other in charge of making sure the lid didn’t flop open (thus saving the box set from an ungraceful fall into a dangerously close patch of muddy soil).

While the tactic worked, it was not my most successful – thanks to the rain that kindly coincided with my retrieval mission, I got soaked by the water that hadn’t run off the bin because my arms weren’t long enough to stretch along its length without body hugging it.

So technically, while the operation was a success on the basis that I successfully retrieved a slightly soggy DVD box set-shaped package from the bin, I have to say the process was a tad unnecessary, and a lot damper than it needed to be. That is my main reason for saying that being short sucks, because if I was taller, then maybe I wouldn't have had to hug a wet bin.

Monday, 15 November 2010

My Last Bike Ride (the journey to Hell)

Let me be honest – I am probably one of the least fit people I know. I am not a member of a gym, I do not go swimming unless I am on holiday and I do not have a penchant for jogging. In fact, my exercise is pretty much limited to an energetic burst of dancing at the Christmas party, and lugging my wares around for hours on end during lengthy shopping trips. 

Oh, and sometimes I pop out a few moves when I’m doing the dishes with my i-pod on.

It wasn’t always this way though.

Several years ago, my parents were clearing out the shed and came across the bike I had spent so much time on as a teenager. It was promptly offered to me, just in case twenty-one-year-old me would be enamoured with the thought of reliving my youth and becoming a bike lover again. I remember being rather taken with the idea, and picked the bike up as soon as I could, my mind a whirl with the new life I was going to adopt aboard my rediscovered two-wheeled transportation.

On the first Monday of my bike-ownership, I woke with excitement at the prospect of cycling into work. It was a sunny day, and I was relishing the thought of spending time outside before being stuck in an office for seven hours. I leapt into the saddle and headed off down the road, exhilarated by the feeling of wind rushing through my hair.

Aside from one nervous moment I encountered whilst crossing a very busy roundabout, the journey went sweetly. I arrived at work in a buzz of energy, noticing with surprise that I had barely broken a sweat, despite covering a distance of 3 miles. There was an important reason for this, as I discovered to my cost on the way back home.

I have mentioned previously that I currently live at the top of a hill – as I have always done during my time in this city, built as it is on seven hills, a geographical phenomenon which makes it practically impossible to not live on a hill. The important detail I had failed to realise until it was too late is that the journey into work had been almost entirely downhill. I don’t know how I missed this fact, but I know how stupid I felt when the reason for my speedy acceleration towards complete body hurt became apparent.

After a mile I gave up with two wheels and proceeded to push the bike up the consistently uphill road, shooting evil glances through the windows of the cars whizzing past me with such ease. A mile and a half later, and I had completed my transformation into a quivering, sweating wreck who was seriously questioning whether or not she was physically capable of making it home

I trudged on, all too aware of the sun beating down on my hunched form as it forced one leg in front of the other, cursing the moment I said ‘yes’ to my parents’ offer of the bike and letting myself become enveloped in an unrealistic dream without fully considering the logistics of the plan.

By the time I made it back home, I felt like I had sweated every last drop of water out of my body and doggedly threw the bike into the shed before crawling up the steps leading to the back door, the last obstacle between me and my greatest desire: water. 

After gulping down a glass of liquid heaven, I spent an hour and a half standing in the shower, trying to muster the energy to reach the soap that was located on the edge of the bath, before dedicating the rest of the evening to the task of staring blankly at the TV in a haze of self-inflicted fatigue. 


How I crawled up the stairs to bed that night is something I will never know, but I awoke in bed the next morning with my body clenched into a mass of seriously disgruntled, under-prepared and overworked muscle. Even the tiniest movement seemed to use the entire network of muscles in my body and it somewhat unkindly chose to respond with pain – I could barely lift my arm to slap myself in the forehead while proclaiming a loud ‘doh’ at the easily avoided mess I had ended up in. I spent that day mostly in bed, tenderly hobbling to the nearest tap as frequently as I could manage to keep a glass of water nearby, and generally feeling very sorry for myself.

I got the bus to work the next day...

...and haven't sat in the saddle of a bike since then. 

Saturday, 13 November 2010

A Pie of Extreme Awesomeness

As any readers of my last post will know, I got a little carried away when I went to the supermarket sans Fiance last week, and ended up bringing home a veritable cow’s worth of beef – some to roast, the rest to accompany the roast leftovers in a pie of significant size.

Wednesday night was pie night, which meant two things. The first was that I would have to face my pastry demons and attempt once more to transform flour and butter into breadcrumbs – a feat I was understandably nervous about after the buttery slop I made last time I tried:

The second was the seemingly impossible task of wrestling the extreme volume of meat into a form suitable for enveloping in pastry. It didn’t help that the dish seemed to be entirely inadequate for the task laid out for it.

Undaunted, I proceeded to start work on the pie filling with gusto (thanks largely to the confidence-boosting lager that I had consumed prior to starting the process). Within half an hour, the uncooked meat had been browned, the carrot and onion had been softened, and all elements had been brought together in an ale gravy responsible for sending delicious aromas wafting through the house.

The next step was pretty easy – cook slowly in the oven and wait for the meat to soften.

So we waited. 

And waited.

And waited.

Eventually I realised that I couldn’t put the moment off forever, and that I was actually going to have to make pastry, or forever be scared of the stuff. All in all, it took me about two hours to muster up the courage to bite the bullet and weigh out the essential ingredients. A seed of confidence began to take root as I noted that the amounts the recipe called for did mean that the Great Apple Fuck Up only happened because I didn’t read the instructions properly, rather than as a result of me developing clumsy fingers that instantly offend all things baked.

The seed grew into a vibrant shoot of confidence as the flour and butter slowly but surely turned into breadcrumbs, and the shoot soon transformed into a giant tree of smugness as water was added and the pastry began to take shape. I placed my ball of triumph tenderly in the fridge to chill, remembering with scorn the lump of stuff I had thrown into the same spot with disgust, merely days earlier.

There was only one flaw in my great pie plan, and that was the timing. We had already waited two hours for me to start thinking about making pastry, so by the time it was ready to roll and bake, it was already 9 o’clock. By the time I stuffed the pie to overflowing with the huge amount of filling and put the whole giant affair in the oven, it was closer to 10.

Much to the disgust of our loudly rumbling stomachs, the pie wasn’t actually ready until 10.30 - a rather disappointingly late time to be sitting down to dinner. But all that was forgotten as I took my first mouthful of pie. It was a resounding success. 

Here is a picture of success:

Look! It even has little pastry leaves for decoration! Although I think, traditionally, leaves are meant to be reserved for apple pies, because apples grow on trees and trees have a lot more leaves than cows do. But still, I was proud of my work and I had some pastry left over, so I decided to show off. As a result, I did briefly consider whether Fiance’s original name for the Great Apple Fuck up would be a suitable moniker for my creation, on the basis that it certainly would be an Apple Surprise.

I guess the moral of the story is that it is much better to just get on with something than it is to procrastinate and put it off. You see, I am proud that I made breadcrumbs, from which I made pastry from which I made a pie of most extreme awesomeness. Once again I am convinced that I am a natural when it comes to baking. I am just a bit gutted that the journey to the pie of extreme awesomeness and the rediscovery of my pastry kick-assness was only achieved after unnecessarily starving Fiance for four hours.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


So I accidentally fell asleep on the couch and only woke up about half an hour ago, annoyed that I had slept through stuff I wanted to watch but more importantly, all too aware that I hadn't yet finished the post I started writing some five hours ago. Despite my best efforts, I found that waking in a haze of oh God, please let me sleep some more was not the most helpful mindset with which to write and so I have admitted defeat - today's post should be up tomorrow instead.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Sunday dinner (and the Great Apple Fuck Up)

I volunteered to do a solo ‘big shop’ at the local supermarket yesterday, after a (partially) unexpected late wake up time made it impossible to shop and get back in time for the start of the football, a task which Fiance had previously requested we attempt to achieve. Given how infrequently he gets to watch his team on TV, and how excited he'd been when telling me about the game's scheduled presence on channel-I-can't-remember-what, I graciously stepped up to the plate, threw my hat into the ring and headed off to the shop on my own. How awesome am I?

Actually, the answer is 'not very'. I'm disappointed to reveal that I made the fatal error of going without eating first. I know better than this – because I know that food shopping when hungry means that I will create a wonderful, yet overly ambitious recipe for every single item I see.

This week, my inspiration was a huge roast dinner, mainly because it was Sunday and it is winter, and that is what people do on Sundays in winter. On this occasion, the big dinner wasn't the ambitious bit - me and Fiance are dab hands at knocking out a superb roast, even if I do say so myself. The ambitious accolade fell to the plan for the leftovers, and to coming up with something a little more adventurous than your traditional bubble-n-squeak. The dialogue that ran through my head as I wandered down the meat aisle went along the lines of: “I know! The left over meat from the roast can be used in a nice pie. Ooh, I could eat a nice pie right now. I’ll get a nice joint of beef, this lump will do. Although… it isn’t really big enough to do a roast and a pie, so I’ll buy some more stewing beef to add to the leftovers. Then we can have a big roast, and a big pie. Would you look at that, the diced beef is on offer – I’ll buy two packets. Hmm on second thoughts, that beef joint isn't going to leave enough for a big dinner today and an even mixture of roast and stewing beef in the pie – I’ll have a look for a bigger piece. Aah yes, this huge hunk of beef will be much better”.

When I got home, I would wonder exactly how I ended up with so much meat.

However, as I meandered around the store, I did not have the foresight to realise that the significant amount of meat already on the menu made a meal of intimidating proportion, and so I foolishly let my stomach tell me that we needed more. Hit by a pang of hunger, and a flashback to the wonderfully huge Sunday dinners I used to eat as a kid, I decided we needed pudding too (yes, this does mean I’m turning into my Mum and my Nan). As I have recently been inducted into the ‘home-made pastry baking club’ – by which I mean I made pastry for the first time without screwing it up, thus convincing myself I have a natural affinity for all things baked – I decided I would repeat my success and make us an apple pie for afters.

Racing towards the apple section of the store in a frenzy of baking potential, I neglected to remember that we only have one pie dish and that had already been earmarked for the beef pie. I remembered that particularly annoying fact when I got home and started considering the logistics. As even my hunger-driven body admitted that we would never eat a whole apple pie after the huge roast dinner, I realised we were faced with a serious crockery based dilemma. Fortunately, it didn't take Fiance long to come up with the winning idea:

Don’t ask me why a pie and a crumble dish are different – something (most likely my natural instinct) told me they are, so I leapt at his idea. Basking in the glory of my singular pastry success, and happy for the chance to prove my skills by fashioning more than pies, I decided the crumble mix would be easy money.

Taking a recipe for crumble topping from the intermanetawebs, I weighed out my flour and butter in equal measures and proceeded to fail spectacularly at turning them into a mixture resembling breadcrumbs.

Either my scales suffered a catastrophic breakdown, the butter wasn’t cold enough, or the recipe was way off base because I ended up with a gloopy mass of extremely soft butter that had consumed all traces of flour.*  I asked Fiance to add more flour, just in case the addition would magically transform the slop into breadcrumbs… but it didn’t.

Despite things clearly not going according to the recipe, I figured I might as well continue to follow it blindly and decided to shove some sugar in anyway – things certainly weren’t going to get any worse. I ended up with what I can only describe as a grainy and sticky ball of stuff.

I have definitely had moments in my life where I have been prouder.

Discounting the graininess and the stickiness and the colour, I figured the thing my creation resembled most was pastry – so I decided to treat it as such and threw it in the fridge to chill while I begrudgingly started work on the apple concoction.

Racing against the clock to get the sixth apple peeled before the first turned brown, I successfully managed to avoid peeling my fingers, and tossed the skinless apples into the butter/sugar/spice mixture that was bubbling merrily away on the hob. Within ten minutes, I had actually managed to conjure up a surprisingly tasty apple/butter/sugar/spice concoction. I lifted my chin by a millimetre.

I retrieved the previously flung un-breadcrumb thing from the fridge, shaped it into a number of patties and dubiously placed them over the apple mixture. The result was quite embarrassing. Fiance kindly suggested a name of Apple Surprise, but I was not to be placated. I duly christened my creation a Great Apple Fuck up.

This is what it looked like:

It was certainly looking rather sorry for itself - so much so, its appearance led me to bid a fond farewell to the natural instinct I was sure I had possessed. Reluctantly, I placed the Thing in the oven while we proceed to eat our delicious (and huge) roast dinner.

Half an hour after we’d finished the main meal, I decided the Thing was as ready as it was ever going to be and took it out of the oven. The situation had somewhat surprisingly improved (kind of). This is what improvement looked like:

And this is what improvement with custard looked like:

Now, I wouldn’t say the texture of the topping was like anything I’ve ever encountered before – it was not pastry, it was not sponge, it was not biscuit, it was definitely not crumble – but it wasn’t too bad at all. In fact, it tasted pretty damn good once you’d picked the extremely chewy crust out of your molars. The apple filling was, even by the high standards set by my bruised ego, very nice. And with custard over the whole thing, I’d even go so far as to suggest it was actually a success, albeit one that I’d rather not repeat.

Naturally, I am now rather nervous at the pastry-making that I must face in order to do justice to the cow’s worth of beef we have sitting in the fridge, mainly because arrrrggggghhhhh what will I do if I fail to make breadcrumbs out of flour and butter again?

Well, actually, I guess I’ll just plow on regardless and hope I end up with another unusual yet hopefully delicious invention. 

* Update: I've literally just gone to find the recipe I tried to follow for the crumble topping (here it is, by the way) and upon a re-read, I have noticed what I suspect may not be an insignificant fact. Apparently, the sugar was meant to be in with the flour before attempting to achieve breadcrumb status. The lack of sugar - an amount equal to that of flour - suggests, to my novice mind anyway, that I did indeed have far too much butter for the amount of dry ingredients I was trying to combine it with. Um, oops.

Ah well, I guess this means I can now say 'bring on the beef pie' and actually mean it.