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About bloody time.
Ingrid Pitt, Hammer horror’s favourite heroine, has died aged 73 in south London. The Polish-born actor, who survived imprisonment in a concentration camp during the second world war, found fame as the blood-splattered, often topless star of films such as Countess Dracula, and The Vampire Lovers.
She relished being cast as predatory baddies, rather than innocent victims. Film historian Marcus Hearn, said: “She was partly responsible for ushering in a bold and brazen era of sexually explicit horror films in the 1970s, but that should not denigrate her abilities.”
Steven Soderbergh gave her a late career boost when he cast her as a sinister aunt in his 1995 noir The Underneath. She also won fans as an author with an autobiography, Life’s a Scream, and three volumes of horror trivia, including 2000’s The Ingrid Pitt Book of Murder, Torture and Depravity.
An excellent actress … with a lovely pair of fangs. I certainly had strong feelings for her as a teenager.
I recently saw an interview with her and she looked and sounded fine. Shame how sudden illness can just strike like that. She wasn’t that old either.
I suggest of a season of Hammer films on the BBC.
The idea brings back very fond memories of my teenage years when I would come back from the pub for the late night Hammer horror film on Friday nights looking forward to bare ladies with fangs.
Perfect for those dark, cold winter evenings and all classic films.
R.I.P. Ingrid Pitt (Ingoushka Petrov) 1937-2010
The classic nursery combination should go down well with the children.
For the pastry:
110g soft butter
135g caster sugar
225g strong flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
125ml double cream
1 small egg beated to glaze
1 tbsp granulated sugar, for sprinkling
For the filling:
one third of a vanilla pod
200ml single cream
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
Cream the butter and sugar, sieve the baking powder and flour together and stir into the butter mix with the salt then slowly pour in the cream until well mixed. Chill for about 30 minutes before rolling. On a floured table, roll the pastry out to about cm thick and line four approx 8-10 x 4cm deep, lightly greased, individual tart or pie tins or 1 larger one, allowing the pastry to slightly overlap the edges. Roll 4 tops to fit the pies, then leave to rest for another 30 minutes.
Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a point of a knife. Put the cream, vanilla pod and seeds into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.
In a bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and pour on to the egg mixture and mix well with a whisk. Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens, but without letting it boil. Remove from the heat and give a final mix with a whisk and transfer to a clean bowl.
Remove the lined tart tins from the fridge for about 15 minutes then mix the bananas with the custard and spoon into the tarts (you may have some mix left over so you could make extra with pastry trimmings, or I’m sure the kids will polish it off).
Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and lay the tops on, pressing the pastry together with your thumb and forefinger to seal it then trim any excess with a knife and neaten up the edges again with your thumb and forefinger. Brush the pie tops with the beaten egg and scatter with the granulated sugar. Place on a tray and bake for about 15-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Leave to cool a little then serve hot or warm.
After a tough evening with the Beethoven crowd, she loves to relax and listen to her folk-rock records. Preferably, on your stereo. She’s open-minded. So maybe tonight you offer her a Tiparillo. She might like it – the slim cigar with the white tip. Elegant. And, you dog, you’ve got both kinds on hand. Tiparillo Regular and new Tiparillo M with menthol – her choice of mild smoke or cold smoke. Well? Should you offer? After all, if she likes the offer, she might start to play. No strings attached.
It was George Orwell, my favourite writer, who once described advertising as the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket.
There is an abundance of squashes and pumpkins on the market at the moment; the deep orange-fleshed varieties offer the best flavour and colour.
a good knob of butter
1 small leek, roughly chopped and washed
1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1kg ripe, orange-fleshed squash or pumpkin, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped
1.5 litres vegetable stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the pesto:
40g good-quality walnuts, lightly toasted
50g fresh basil leaves and any soft stalks
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
a good pinch of sea salt
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 tbsp freshly grated mature Pecorino (or use 6 tbsp Parmesan)
100-120ml extra virgin olive oil (preferably a sweeter variety)
To make the the pesto, put the walnuts, basil, garlic and salt in a liquidiser and coarsely blend. Add the cheese and blend again briefly, then transfer to a bowl.
Gently cook the leek and onion in the butter in a thick-bottomed saucepan until soft. Add the squash and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper then simmer for 20 minutes.
Blend in a liquidiser until smooth, then strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Re-heat the soup and adjust the consistency with a little vegetable stock or water if necessary and re-season with salt and pepper. Serve with a spoonful of the pesto on top.
The first and last singles by The Jam.
Shows I think how far The Jam (or Paul Weller) came in the space of five years.
To mark the 30th anniversary of Sound Affects.
I often wonder how foreigners cope with all our words ending in ough: enough, cough, bough, though, through, hiccough.
Then you have Worcester, Leicester, Slaithwaite, Knightsbridge, Cholmondeley and Featherstonehaugh.
As to Gaelic, how should I pronounce Dervla Kirwan? I am sure it is not pronounced as spelt.
When I was teaching English in Eastbourne it came as a surprise to me as a native speaker of the language that my students from Poland, Spain and Ukraine, some of whom were completing doctoral theses in English, really fell down when it came to phrasal verbs which are unique to English.
They really got mixed up when it came to using stand up, stand down, sit up, sit down, shut up, shut down, etc., etc.
This reminds me of a Roger McGough poem:
Cousin Angelina owned a yacht
And smoked pacht a lacht.
So when things got haght,
Away sailed Angelina (so regal)
To where the grass was greener (and legal).
3kg pork spare ribs
For the marinade:
300ml tomato ketchup
300ml soy sauce
125g clear honey
5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
4 garlic cloves, crushed
5 tbsp dry sherry
1 tspn ground star anise
1 tbsp chopped rosemary
Do not buy ready marinated foods – they are pretty average and you can do better yourself without too much time or hassle. You can buy sheets of spare ribs, which can be left whole or cut into manageable lengths for cooking, then cut into individual ribs once they have been barbecued. Serve with potato skins and chargrilled corn on the cob, with napkins and finger bowls on hand for those sticky fingers.
Put all the marinade ingredients in a large shallow dish, then mix thoroughly to combine. Add the ribs and turn them in the mixture to coat evenly. Cover and leave to marinate in a cool place for 2-4 hours, or in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Put the ribs in a large, deep saucepan – you may have to split the sheet in half to fit. Pour over the tomato ketchup mixture and add just enough water to cover the ribs completely. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook over a medium heat for about 1 hour until completely tender. Remove the ribs from the heat and transfer to a large, shallow, non-metallic dish. Allow the ribs to cool in the marinade, then chill until ready to put on the barbecue. They can be kept in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
When ready to use the ribs, carefully scoop off the fat from the top of the mixture and discard, then allow the mixture to come back to room temperature. Drain off all the marinade and pour some into a large, wide saucepan. Cook it over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a sticky coating consistency.
Set the ribs on the barbecue grill over medium-high heat and cook for 8-10 minutes each side, occasionally basting or painting the ribs with the reduced marinade until lightly charred.
Cut into single ribs to serve.
Remember, marinade is a noun, marinate is a verb.
Frank Zappa would have been 70 this year – his life and music are being celebrated in Britain and the US, 17 years after his death. Chris Hall meets his widow, Gail, and their children.
Last month, [Zappa’s widow] Gail and three of their four children – Dweezil, 41, Ahmet, 36, and Diva, 31 – went to the unveiling of a statue in honour of Frank in Baltimore, where he was born. The city also declared it Frank Zappa Day. “There were 5,000 people in the street. It was amazing,” says Gail, and they are all still clearly very touched by it.
The Czech president, Vaclav Havel, even claimed that Zappa’s music was part of the inspiration for the anti-communist revolution in 1989, and briefly made him a special cultural ambassador.