31 things to try before I’m 31

Posted: September 29, 2011 in About Me, life
Tags: , , , , , , ,

It seems just a little bit crazy to be thinking of reaching the age of 31 when it actually wasn’t that long ago that I actually turned 28 years and months (30) but I decided that it might be about time to ‘broaden those horizons’ and try some new things. The difference here is that many people have a ‘things to do before I reach the age of….’ list which is usually littered with things like sky-diving, swimming to the bottom of the ocean and such like. I have to inform you, avid reader of my blogs, that this list is not as exciting as one of those kinds of lists. No, this list links to foods. I decided that it was about time that I started to try a wider variety of food items and this is my mission to complete before I am 31.

If you aren’t aware I am what some people class as a fussy eater. Personally I don’t think that this is the case but on a regular basis, both at home and work, I am reminded of this and it seems to lead to somewhat high levels of ridicule. I feel the turning point was the employment of the new chef at work. Within the space of a week she had requested that if I was ordering a lunch that the office staff informed her if it was for me. I don’t know why….

So here is my list of things that I have tried so far. I gave them a go and some I still keep trying and others, well, they are banished to the list of ‘never again’ (over time I will be adding to this list)

1) – scrambled egg on toast. This was sampled in breakfast club at work. The kids all watched as I collected it from the kitchen. I took my seat and within seconds of sitting down there was a crowd around me. Children aged between 3 and 11 waited with anticipation as the egg made its way towards my mouth on the brightly coloured fork I had been provided with. It was in. The texture is one thing  that puts me off foods and this was one that wasn’t feeling all that pleasant in my mouth but I gave a little chew and swallowed. It was down. It was staying down and to the kids delight fork number two made its way towards my mouth. Words of encouragement came from a 4-year-old…. ‘go on sir. You can do it. Try it. Just try another forkful and then if you don’t like it we won’t make you eat any more of it. You are doing well. You’re doing great!’ It was something of a role reverses going on. I was usually the one giving praise. The one encouraging them to try new things while looking on thinking that food item would never pass my lips! Then it hit me! The massive blast of eggy-ness filled my mouth. My mouth watered and all I wanted to do was be sick. But I couldn’t be. I had to swallow and show them that I could do it. Fork number two had been devoured but I couldn’t take any more. I had managed two, but another wasn’t going to pass my lips. The group of kids around me had now diminished but those left gave me a little clap for trying it. My verdict……. I will look at it, but I don’t think it will be passing my lips again.

2) – Gravy on my Sunday Lunch. Ever since I was little I have enjoyed my Sunday Roast dry. The thought of putting gravy on the plate just turns my stomach and I don’t really see the purpose of it if I am truthful. This was the start of informing the school kitchen that apparently I am a fussy eater. They had made me a roast and covered the plate in the brown liquidy stuff! I couldn’t cope with it and requested they made me a fresh one that was dry. They did and I enjoyed it. Then next time I returned ‘cook’ told me that she was going to help me try new things and that she would start with gravy. She was going to plate me a dry roast but before I could take it in future I was to have a little bit of gravy on my plate. I could pick where it was going but I had to try it. Reluctantly I agreed and we started the mission of trying to get me to try the brown stuff. As with most things we started with a small amount of it, about the amount that would fit on a tea spoon but it was a start. At the same time the Sunday Roast was becoming a bigger feature at home and gravy was involved here too, although sometimes disguised under the label ‘jus’ but it was there and I knew it had been re-labelled……. I can on occasion be a little gullible or dizzy but I was on the ball with this one…. I could see what you were doing, I was on to you! The verdict though is that although we are at about 2 teaspoons of gravy level I am actually not minding having this wetness upon my plate. Maybe this one is here to stay. Let’s see…

3) – A range of sandwich fillings. I tend to keep with the same things day in and day out. It can be said that if I am asked if I want a butty from the sandwich shop then the choice I will pick from will usually be either tuna with red onion, chicken and salad cream or chicken and beetroot. A creature of habit you may wish to label me but it’s what I like and it’s the way that I (bread) roll!! That was until one day I decided it might be time to try something new. The chicken was to stay but instead of either the salad cream or beetroot I was going to try it with stuffing. I had made up my mind, placed my order, shocked a few people and I was on it. I was going to try it, give it a whirl and be adventurous. This is one to stay!

4) Rack of LambLast night (28/09/11) we went out for dinner. We visited a few restaurants, but that’s another story, then finally settled on one. We took our seats and as always after looking through the menu came the question that seems to becoming a regular feature of our dining experience ‘are we staying, I have looked at the menu and I think there are things you would eat on here, but if you want to try somewhere else then we can? You know what you are like, one day you like it then the next, well, it’s like you couldn’t even look at it. Are we good James, are we staying?’ someone would actually think that I AM a fussy eater!! It was good. On the menu there were approximately 40 dishes and out of them there were over 8 that I would eat! It’s a miracle, the variety of the dishes available for me. It wasn’t going to end there though, no way, I had decided that I was going to try something that I hadn’t had before. The waiter came to the table and I ordered. A look of shock came across the table…… ‘are you really going to eat that? are you sure, shall I get him back so that you can order something else?’ No. My mind was set and actually I liked the sound of it. Then it arrived. You may think that I had ordered the rack of lamb as that’s what this is about but no. I had ordered chicken with pasta, sun-dried tomatoes in a pine nut and cream sauce. The rack of lamb was sat opposite me, the other side of the table. The waiter put down the dishes and as always I looked at my meal, turned the plate, forked it, inspected it (I know there’s not only me that does this…Jojo!! lol) ‘do you want mine? shall I have yours? it’s ok you know, you can have my medium rare rack of lamb’ personally when I order meat it comes out as though it couldn’t be more dark. The look of the lamb on the plate, still pink, virtually bleating in front of me wasn’t my idea of a swap so I declined and tucked into my chicken pasta dish. As it was in a sauce, which I am not big on, I wasn’t sure I would like it but I did. The plate started to empty then came the fork across the table. A slice of the lamb heading towards me ‘try it. take the fork and try it. TAKE THE FORK’ I did. I quickly placed it in my mouth ( I have come to learn that if I have to eat something that I may not like, the quicker it’s in my mouth, one chew and swallowed whole, the less I taste of it) but this, although feeling a little raw in my mouth, tasted good. I chewed it three times before swallowing. This was noted, taken as an indication that I liked it. I was given a break before the next forkful came back at me. This time looking a lot pinker than the first forkful that headed not much earlier. I took the fork. closed my eyes a little, placed it on my tongue. Removed the fork, chewed once and swallowed. The second time wasn’t as good as the first. The second piece seemed a little bit more raw. It felt like I could taste the blood, but I had tried it. The lamb is to stay, but the level of cooking is maybe pushing it that little bit too far!!

5) Avocado. Green and in a salad. I do have this part of me that if I am somewhere I have never been, with someone who I don’t really know or feel that I can’t say that I don’t really like something I feel the need to eat it. This was the case the other week. It was a Monday night, the chicken had been stuffed with lemons and been roasting in the oven for hours along with the potatoes, the asparagus was steaming upon the oven top and I was on my way home from work. I got to the front door and walked in. Dinner was served. It looked lovely and I couldn’t wait to try. I sat down and waited for my plate to appear, firstly arrived a bowl. A bowl that had green leafs and avocado in it. Lightly drizzled with a mustard jus and sprinkled with a mixture of nuts. I wasn’t sure. Not quite sure that I would enjoy it or like the variety of textures upon my tongue. I needn’t of worried, it was lovely. The avocado soft in my mouth, the dressing tasty and the nuts, well, nutty. something I would definitely try again!!

7) Spicy lentil soup. Here I found myself again at work heading to the lunch hall to get something for dinner. The cook had been working hard making homemade lentil soup. She had put me a little amount in a bowl (when I say a little amount of soup, lets say a full-sized tin amount) for me to try. I took it. I thought it would be worth a try, after all I had been trying new things the night before what with the under cooked lamb. I have to say once again I enjoyed it. Liked the taste and flavours. The only thing I would request is a little less pepper next time. Next time? I’m going to try it again? Yeah I think so.

8 and 9) Salt and Pepper ribs and duck (cantonese style) So the night had begun with a gathering at Lisa’s ready for the birthday bash and the meeting of Kathy, Hannah and Elisa in the city centre to hit off the night as we always do. The drinks flowed, Lisa filled us with cheese puffs and salt and vinegar sticks. The drinks in town passed over the bar, the mouth of a ‘up herself waitress’ filled the air then came the food. The rule of any night out that it has to end with a little nibble and a bite to eat. So off we headed, just like the time before to Shangri La. The chinese restaurant on Victoria Street. Yes my avid reader(s) once again something new was about to pass my lips. The week was being one of many new things and as I had said to Justin a few hours earlier I think I had my fill of new things passing my lips for a week, but it wasn’t about to end. We took our seats. We looked at the menu and although I wasn’t sure of what I wanted the waitress was on hand to take down what we wanted. There seemed to be a slight language barrier, probably not helped by my fantastic Yorkshire accent, but we eventually got there and the short wait passed, the food arrived. For starters there were some white ball things that looked a little like soggy dumplings ( I could say more but my avid reader(s) you may not wish to have the image in your head) and salt and pepper spare ribs. The three girls tucked into the balls, I declined, there was no way they were going to pass my lips. I gingerly took one of the s&p spare ribs and began to strip the meat from the bone. Surprisingly I seemed to be enjoying it. It was tasty. It was good. In fact the first one lead to me having a second. spare ribs to stay, white squidgy balls to go! After eating the starters along came the main. Kathy and I were having the same. I had ordered fried rice but had not thought about the fact that it would come with egg in it, but I ate it. It was good. It was tasty. Then came the duck. Big thick wedges on a separate plate. Enough to feed three and honestly I would have been more than willing to share with three others. I took the first piece and cut away the fat (my meat has to be fatless and skinless too. Another issue I have when Matt cooks as he tends to do things to the skin to keep it there. Not saying I won’t eat the skin but if I do I like it to be separate from my meat. It’s just my way….don’t judge me!!) The duck was good. The girls watched and tucked into theirs. In went the second, third, fourth and fifth. It was while having the fifth piece in my mouth that things took a turn. It was at this point that Elisa asked if it was good, if I liked it and was enjoying it. Up until this point I was. The duck was good, had a nice flavour and had the fat removed (by me) but not this time. I thought I had removed it but it seemed the piece at this point just seemed to be a ball of fat that was swelling in my mouth. There was no way that I could swallow. There was no way I could spit. I just sat there holding it in my mouth. Eventually I picked up a napkin and discreetly removed the offending ‘meat’ from my mouth. It didn’t stop me though from eating it, which in the past would have stopped me dead in my track. I had passed that barrier and thought I have to carry on and so I did. I ate most of the duck, cleared my plate of rice and was feeling fine. All was well and that brought to an end of my week of trying new things. The first nine spaces on my originally empty list were now filled. I was on my way, but I just would like a weeks break before the next new thing passes my lips, but I have a feeling that won’t be the case. As we speak Sunday Lunch is being cooked (not by me) and no doubt somewhere on the menu there will be new things for me to try, but I will, I won’t question and pass comment. The sooner the list is completed the better I think. After all it’s only 31 new things I have to try and after week one I have done 9. At this rate I’ll be done well before February, right?????? Something tells me that once I reach 31 I will be forced to carry on and maybe that’s when I have to say something! Oh and as for the duck it’s staying!!

Let’s see what this next week brings…

10) Grape Salad. Well it didn’t take long. Not even 2 hours after adding to this post was something different passing my lips once again. I was out for Sunday Dinner and included was a salad which consisted of spinach, rocket, mixed seeds, cucumber, grapes and a lemon and dill sauce. Firstly I insisted that it wasn’t on the plate with my chicken, roasts, carrots and gravy. Maybe it’s just me but the thought of gravy on my spinach and grapes just didn’t seem right in my mind. As asked the salad arrived in a separate bowl and nervously I tried it. I have to say, and this was backed up by my eating companion, that the dressing didn’t look the nicest due to it’s consistency, but as we know we shouldn’t judge things by their looks. It was tasty. It went well with the spinach, rocket and seeds. The grapes complimented the chicken too! In fact I was enjoying it that I finished three-quarters of the bowl!! Maybe the tables are changing and the grape salad mite for sure make a comeback one day!!

11) Chilli with spinach. This is a dish that during my childhood I have had many times, both at my parents and my aunties. Since moving out though it is a dish that hasn’t really passed my lips for a few number of years. Here we were on a Friday night waiting to see what would happen and whether I would be dining alone or with someone else. The end result is that I dined alone. Although whether you can class two slices of bread as ‘dining’ I am not sure. The bottle of wine was chilling in the freezer and the clock was heading up to 8pm. I was ready to leave. Time to head down the road, I grabbed my coat and the wine from the freezer and off I set. Previously to this I had been to Tesco where en-route I received a phone call asking what time I would be round and whether I wanted to sample Matt’s chilli. I explained that I had ‘dined’ and wouldn’t be participating in the chilli dinner. I arrived. Placed the wine in the fridge, took a seat on the sofa while he finished off his chilli. I watched what was entering the pan. Meat, tomatoes, herbs, chilli powder, red kidney beans, mushrooms (never really had these in chilli), onions, seasoning and then on went the lid and it was left to simmer gently on the hob. Within twenty minutes he was back at the stove. The lid removed and in went chickpeas. I have never had them in my chilli but I am beginning to realise that when Matt cooks he will place anything in a dish. This was closely followed by spinach (a good source of iron, as I am told every time he eats some). The lid went back on and the art of cooking the rice was underway. Normally I would fill a pan with water, place the rice in, pop on the lid and leave on the hob, but no. apparently there is a specific way to cook rice so that it is fluffy, not stuck together and not starchy. ( I listened for a maximum of 10 seconds before turning into a nodding dog). Dinner was served. Not for me though, I had already dined remember but I was informed that I would be tasting some. I didn’t argue. There’s no point. It was going to happen whether I agreed or not. I personally have decided that it’s best to agree and go the easy route than be pinned down and force-fed something. It’s more healthy for me. Maybe a little less fun though…     The fork, as it did when we were in the restaurant with the rack of lamb came towards me. I knew what I had to do, so I grabbed it firmly, opened wide and slid it in. The flavours were immense. They were like fireworks going off upon my tongue and exploding on the roof of my mouth. It was lovely. The spinach works well and the texture of the chickpeas with the mince didn’t bother me one bit. I could have eaten a second, third or even fourth fork, but there wasn’t one on the horizon. I had tasted my offering of a small one fork portion and that was all that was coming. Yes I would. I would happily have Matt’s chilli (with spinach and chickpeas) again. That’s another to stay on the yes list!!

12) Scallops. It was decided, a quiet meal out rather than cook. I couldn’t be bothered if I am honest and felt that it’s not best to be living off a diet of Walkers Squares Salt and Vinegar crisps sandwiches, although that said it’s been a while since I have had one of them! (sounds tempting now to be honest but again, at 6.30am I don’t think it’s the best way to start the day). I have come quite accustomed to the fact that when I now go out for something to eat there is the possibility (around 99.9%) that I will be ‘made’ to try something new. Whether it’s a folkful of it across the table or an order placed on my behalf. (I have been threatened with but as of yet has not taken place. Theres time) The scallops were served with a pea puree and Bayonne ham. They looked like over sized marshmallows, toasted upon an open fire, like the ones we used to have when I was younger and went on the occasional camp. It wasn’t long before the ‘right it’s time for you to try’ phrase headed my way, along with the fork. I have also come to learn that there is no point arguing or questioning slightly, it’s best to get the fork (or food, depending how it’s offered at the time) and just eat it. I do have to confess that the first offering I didn’t try, mainly due to the size of the portion that was coming my way over the table. The second, more bitesize, I did. To be honest I couldn’t describe the flavour, in fact I think it was slightly masked by the pea puree that was upon it but I will say that it wasn’t displeasing. A dish that I am sure I may try again!!

13) Crab. The starters were polished off ( I  had French onion soup, which was very tasty!) and it was time to move to the main. I have to admit that as per usual I had played it safe. Read the menu, eyed up a few choices but in the long run settled on the 1/2 roast chicken. This can not be said for the person sat opposite. Never the case when we dine that it’s the play safe option, in my eyes anyway. The choice was crab. ( I can not remember the exact description of the dish, but the basis of it was a crab shell stuffed to the brim with crab meat. Again the offering came over the table and the forkful of crab passed my lips. It was explained beforehand that the crab was chilled. The taste that exploded in my mouth was one that took me back to the days of walking the harbour of Whitby in Yorkshire. The smell of the sea, the fish and the crabs as the boats returned home from the ‘daily catch’. It was tasty. I was slightly shocked at the thought that I may like it, but here I sit on the fence. I am not overly sure whether this is a dish I would try again or leave in the depths of ‘tried it, maybe one day’…..never to be had again. I don’t think that I could have eaten a whole main course of it.

14 and 15) Fish pie and fish cakes. It was birthday night and the restaurant had been selected, not by me of course but by the birthday boy. It was originally decided that we would be eating geek and at the last-minute, well two days prior, changed to a fish restaurant. This was done under the guise of a few work colleagues, his not mine, who in the past had dined here, some in the not so distant past too. I ogled the menu from the point of being informed that the change was taking place and began to wonder what on earth I was going to have. Still on arrival to the restaurant I was unsure of what my choice would be. The opposite could be said for the birthday boy who at first glance of the menu knew what he was having. The waitress came and took the order. My choice was waited for with anticipation. Not by the waitress but by my dining companion who had been trying for the whole two days to convince me what to eat. My starter was to be fish cakes with green salad. My main choice was that of the fish pie. I was happy and content with my choices, then came the voice from the other side of the table. That fish pie will be full of boiled eggs, well that’s if they have made it by the right recipe. Now I know that this may not come as a major shock but I am not the biggest fan of eggs. It’s something to do with the texture. The fish cakes arrived and they looked fine. The smelt really nice and the golden colour was welcoming and inviting. It was though at this point that I realised that the main bulk of my meal was to be the mash potato. In the fish cakes and the topping for the pie. I hadn’t thought about this but it was too late. Oh well, it’s a good job I am a fan of mash. The fish cakes were tasty and even my eating companion, after reaching over and taking a sample from my plate, agreed. It was now time for the pie. It arrived. It looked good and again smelt lovely. The mash on the top looked creamy and had been hardened slightly under the grill. It reminded me of my mum’s shepherds pie that she used to make when we were little. I dug in. The steam rose from below the mash and I hesitated as to not burn my mouth. The mash was to die for and the fish was so chunky and tasty. The first piece was cod so wasn’t a massive blast of flavour to my mouth. I tucked in. Salmon followed, along with smoked haddock but there were no eggs in sight. Much to my delight! It was good. The same though couldn’t be said for the birthday boy’s. He wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t what he had expected. (he had ordered muscles but they were out of stock, so settled with lobster instead). It arrived with some kind of what looked like mash potato on it. It was hard to find the lobster and so ended up being left to one side. That main was a disaster. Mine though ended up being shared between two. It was a greed by both participants that the fish pie was good. Fish pie (and the cakes) are staying on the menu.

Dear reader, it has been a while since my last up date of the ’30 new things to try’, this hasn’t been intentional or down to the fact that I haven’t been trying new things as I have. On that front I don’t have much choice. It seems to be that in every meal there is something that I have not tried, or have years ago but not eaten for ages. This is at both home and school. My thoughts are that if I wrote every little thing that was new to my plate then my ’30 things’ would be over and done with my Christmas. Not to mention the fact that you may come to the conclusion, if you haven’t done already that I am a little bit of a fussy eater too!! It’s been worked on, believe me. If any of you know my work colleagues, or you are one, then they can (or you can) vouch for the fact that it’s taking place. They have a daily run down (usually the morning after) of the new things I have been forced to try! (maybe forced is the wrong word, but if you were to ever join me at my dining table I am sure you would hear the words ‘you better try it, you’re not leaving it, you know, you have to try’ being uttered at me. So, yeah, maybe the correct word is forced. I suppose I have to somehow show a kind of resilience to trying all these new things.

so the latest addition to the list is number 16) Moussaka. I had just arrived home from work when I got a phone call. I thought I was going to be dining at home, but this call told me it wasn’t going to be the case. I was informed that I had an hour to get ready and get round for dinner. I agreed, even before knowing what it was. I have come to realise that there is no point asking as I am going to be given it anyway. Plus the fact I was on this occasion told. Moussaka is for dinner. Excuse me for being a little dense here but I asked the following question. ‘Is it spicy? Please don’t make it spicy like you did the chilli’ The laugh that came down the phone told me that I had got it totally wrong and that this is not a spicy dish. I seemed to be getting it mixed up, somehow, with the earlier chat in the week about a lamb curry. In my defense it was nearly 7pm and I had been up since 5.30am! I am sure out there in the world there are others that at times have a mental block and forget what things are (or don’t know what they are in the first place) Mousakka is a greek dish with aubergine in the base of it, topped by lamb mince then by a white sauce. In fact it’s a little bit like a lasagne but with a few things missing and others added in. It arrived on the plate. I am not one for melted cheese either. It can make me feel a little bit sick, it’s too oily and when I have to eat it I have to build up to it. (stop looking at me like that….) It tasted good. It was lovely in fact, well the meat and the aubergine were. I then tasted the white saucy stuff on the top. It had a taste. One that was a little like flour but then egg, followed by cheese. To me it was odd, but I didn’t utter a word. Nothing, other than the food passed my lips. I cleared the plate. I ate it all. I was offered more but politely declined. It was then that I noticed that on the ‘cooks’ plate there was loads left. At least, in my eyes, half the portion that was started with. I had to question. I know that I would have been if it was the other way round. Over use of egg yolk in the white sauce was the reason given. I do have to say that although I did enjoy the meat and the aubergine it was the white sauce that put me off it big time. It was also first attempt at making so no doubt this will be a that will re-appear before my very eyes at some point. I am just hoping it’s not too soon. Sorry Mousakka you’re off my list really.

17) Chicken Noodle Soup – After a long day and changed plans for the evening it was suggested to save time that we ate out last night, something that I whole heartedly agreed with because to be honest I wasn’t in the mood to cook! (not that it was likely that I would have being doing it…), so off we went out into the night without a thought of a restaurant to eat in. Many suggestions hurtled towards me as we walked, pizza express….no, living room….heard bad things, piccallino….yeah, why not….it’s dead, 62 Hope Street….no let’s give it a miss, wagamama…don’t really fancy it, red hot…. no not impressed. As you can imagine the choice of restaurant was becoming somewhat difficult and apparently it was down to the fact that I am a fussy eater! Fussy eater?!?!?!?! who me????? Finally, after a few minutes of moaning about aching feet it was decided that Wagamama’s would be our destination. I have been once before in the past with Katie and Nial and enjoyed the food that I sampled. It was good, tasty and well presented, I just hoped that on this occasion that they didn’t mess it up as I was going with ‘Mr Critic’. We were seated, the drinks ordered and then it arrived. I had selected a simple dish of noodle soup served with chicken and a side portion of BBQ ribs. Within 5 minutes of the ribs arriving at the table some of them had disappeared and they hadn’t passed my lips!! The noodle soup obviously had noodles and chicken within it, along with spring onions and spinach. The chicken and noodles were good but the over excessive water sloshing about in the bowl really wasn’t called for. It would have been a lot tastier if it actually had more of a taste than that of a glass of corporation pop poured from the tap! Where was the seasoning? The added flavours to make the base of the soup actually taste of anything?! The chicken and noodles were good. I enjoyed them and yes, dear reader, I would be inclined to re-order this dish in the hope that some flavour might be added to the sea of water that was in my bowl!

18) butternut squash with ham. This wasnt the first time that butternut squash had passed my lips, but in the form that it was served it was. The middle of the butternut squash had been scooped out and mixed with feta cheese, red onions, a dash of cream and the butter nut squash. It was then re-filled into the exterior of the butternut squash and then baked in the oven for about 30 minutes. I wasn’t sure for a few reasons. These being the use of cheese in the dish. I don’t really like melted cheese and secondly it wasn’t the same way we have had it before, the way I liked. I was shocked though and it was very tasty. This will be another dish that will be staying on my try again list. butternut squash!

19) Olives. Sitting down at the restaurant table I skimmed the menu for what I wanted. It may not come as a shock to most but there wasn’t a great deal that caught my eye. My eating companion, my sister, would not have this issue. as long as it didn’t contain meat she would have anything! It was at this point the waitress came over and asked if we would like any bread or olives while we selected our main, here my sister agreed. Within minutes both bread and olives arrived at the table and the look of ‘go on, try them, you must’ which was all somewhat familiar with me lately showed upon my sisters’ face. ‘You need to try 14 before you can say truly whether you like them or not’ was the next comment that passed her lips. The first thing to pass mine was a black olive. Very tangy and the texture something that kind of resembled a mushroom. I wasn’t overly impressed, but then came the words ‘just 13 more to go!’ I sampled a further selection and soon it was apparent that, yes, I did like the olives, so here I can happily say the olives are to stay!!

20) Chicken and sweetcorn soup. After 6 months of experiencing our new cook at school, and her way of making me try new things, the next on the menu was the soup. Something that never appeals to me, chicken and sweetcorn soup. The thought takes me back to when I was younger and if you were ill in our house it was soup that you were given. The thought of chicken and little yellow sweetcorn bits bobbing around in some watery liquid is enough to turn my stomach. But as with most things these days, a no from me wasn’t going to be taken. Before long my soup portion arrived and watched over I had to try some. Without going into further detail, let’s just say it won’t be coming back!

21)Medium rare beef. I have dined at a local restaurant on a number of occasions now. Sampled a range of their menu and I have to say it’s a great place to eat. Here, at Marco Pierrre Whites, in Liverpool city centre was the first time to sample medium rare beef. The fact that I could still hear the cow moo-ing as the waitress carried it out of the kitchen to our table did slightly put me off, not to mention the fact it was still ‘running’ as the plate laid there before me. I had to try it, again a pair of watchful eyes were lurking from the other side of the table. I cut, I forked and I headed towards my mouth. The look of anticipation from the other side of the dining table was overwhelming, but didn’t beat that of the flavours that seemed to be exploding within my mouth. Flavours that I had never tasted before. I could taste the beef. Not like the usual Sunday roast, slightly crispy on the edges and no flavour. This danced in my mouth. Would I try it again, maybe, yes!26

22) Seafood Paella. Something that I would never sample in a restaurant, seafood, not paella. I am not the biggest fan of the stuff, mainly due to stories of reactions to it I have heard about, but still it’s a ’31 things’ mission and we have to have things in there that I would shy away from. And I think we have. It arrived looking slightly seafoody for my liking, but presented well. Tasty looking I could even say. But one thing I wouldn’t be rushing out to try again!

23) Gherkins. It’s that food item that most likely 85% of the UK public pull out of their McDonald’s burger before they eat it. The one that’s high on the list of pregnant womans cravings and another item that really I hadn’t sampled. Here I was sat at home knowing that a roast chicken was well on its way for lunch and that today it was going to be accompanied by a salad. Something that didn’t really feature within my life, but has now begun to appear on many a dish! But this salad was to be different. We had already introduced tomatoes, avocado and seeds to it, but no, we weren’t done yet. The next secret ingredient was to be the gherkin. I had seen them for weeks peeking through the yoghurt, hiding behind the bertolli, on the top shelf of the fridge, but until now, they had remained there, unopened. Something caught my eye and I saw that the jar had been taken out of the fridge, placed on the kitchen counter top and the lid removed. I watched. I looked. I waited. They were taken from the jar, sliced and tossed into the salad. I knew not to question as I wouldn’t be told what they were. I would have to wait. Within 20 minutes dinner was ready and my seat was taken at the table. The balsamic vinegar was the last thing to enter the bowl and then with a quick toss it was ready to be shared. They appeared upon my plate in full view. No longer hiding behind things, but now small green rings, looking a little like cucumber decorated my salad. I tried one, I tried a second. I moved onto a third. I enjoyed them, they were tasty and one thing that will definately be remaining on my list of 31. So much so, that a few months later and on a rare visit to the golden arch I requested a plain chicken burger with extra gherkins. The girl’s face spoke a thousands words, but I dare you, go on, try it!

24) Artichoke. Another item added to the salad over the coming weeks. Another taste that just helped to infuse the flavours already in there. I like!!!!

(At this point during the challenge  home life changed. I found myself moving out of the apartment that I shared and into my own place)

25) Rainbow Trout. I have always been a lover of fish but have tendered to stick with the haddock, pollock, tuna spectrum of the fish counter, but something, this day at Morrisons caught my eye! It was the meaty looking, sparkling rainbow trout. Grilled with garlic it tasted fantastic and something that I will be having again!!

26) Wild mushroom risotto. A packet. Something that I had seen in the cupboard of the old apartment but something that we hadn’t tried yet. I followed the instructions, put water into the pan and then emptied the ‘dust’ into it too. After a few minutes it started to resemble something that looked remarkably like wallpaper paste. This wasn’t going to stop me though and soon it was on my plate. It had a strange consistency but a great flavour. I think it may be one to stay!

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