ASDA Cumberland Pie – Meal for One

Asda Hollingbury has a delicatessen counter. At the deli counter, they offer low-grade chicken cooked in a variety of sauces, at a fraction of the price of a sandwich or similar snack. As such their hot counter has become something of a lunchtime altar, where workers from around Hollingbury come for their 47p Reggae Reggae chicken thighs.

Today, to the shock and dismay of the devout, Asda failed to provide. The bags – apparently critically important to the smooth dispensation of chicken – had not arrived for two days. As such, the chicken counter stood empty and bare, with its normally bustling workforce stood forlornly in front of cold ovens.

We live in a consumer age, however. The congregation swiftly chose another aisle of enquiry, and at the ‘ready meals’ section there was umming and ahhing but, ultimately, we all found a suitable substitute.

I chose, from the Meal for One range, Cumberland Pie. Cumberland pie is a traditioal English dish, a pie consisting of three layers – beef, mashed potato, and a topping of cheesey breadcrumbs. It shares heritage with the cottage pie. The Asda example boasts “tender minced British beef in a rich onion gravy, topped with maris piper buttery mashed potato and a crispy cheddar cheese crumb”.

It was not unpleasant. The mashed potato floats as a sort of raft on a largely meaty gravy, without much onion or flavour but without any actually offensive content. There were a surprising number of carrot batons amongst the meat, and these had absorbed the “rich onion gravy” quite thoroughly. Beneath the stodgy meat lurked a slimy layer of congealed instant mash powder. On top of the characterless potato sat a layer of cheese, which offered a pleasant (if artificial) salty flavour that complimented the meat below perfectly.

The Asda Cumberland Pie Meal for One does not scrimp on nutrition, either. With 15.5 grams of saturated fat, the small tub I have just eaten represents 78% of my recommended daily allowance. It also contains 47% of my daily allowance of salt (2.8g) and 38% of my allowance of fat (26.8g). It provided me with 626 calories.

I’d give the meal two stars out of a possible five.

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The Paywall and ‘i’

The Independent, currently ailing in the same price group as the Times and the Guardian but languishing far below in terms of quality, will be marketing a new spin-off publication from next Tuesday, according to Lebedev. Aimed at “readers or lapsed readers of quality newspapers”, the appallingly named i will cost just 20p and “will combine intelligence with brevity, and depth with speed of reading, providing essential daily briefing.”

The newspaper is apparently reader-led, in that the time-poor commuter audience do not have the time or the inclination to wade through a proper broadsheet every morning. At twenty pence, the i will be the most affordable publication on the newsstand. But its awful title is not the only doubt over its birth. Will the low price tag have any effect on editorial quality? How will the i fare in competition with the web, where free, easy-to-access news is brief and succinct enough to absorb in seconds?

The Paywall has been built around the News of the World, leaving only the Sun outside the perimeter. News International will charge £1.99 a month for the News of the World online, and an iPhone app is in development. With The Times already behind the fortifications, the i has the upper hand. At 2op – £1 a week – it represents better value than News International’s £2 per week Times and Sunday Times package. And it folds and might have a crossword. But with so much news available on the internet for free – the i will be news-in-brief rather than comment – it will have to be much better than The Independent to succeed.

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Some footage of the SmashEDO demo

Should probably have uploaded these sooner. Subscribe to me on Youtube – slash goodmorningbrighton.

There’s always one! Here’s the man who tried to break the barriers. He has a light head wound which I understand was dealt with by a medic.

Here they all are trudging back down to the Lewes Road.

And here they are running amok on the Lewes Road.

Once again, all of these are on – subscribe to the channel for more cameraphone footage from Brighton.

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Brighton Best

A delicious saviour waded into Brighton’s ale scene on Thursday in the form of Brighton Best, a new beer brewed by WJ King. Critically acclaimed and enthusiastically quaffed at its launch party last night, it is now available in about forty pubs around the city.

Brighton Best is a “great drink for Brighton people wo care where their food comes from”, according to Nigel Lambe. Indeed, it is brewed in Horsham, just up the road, and was brewed specifically for the Brighton market. Brighton Best is an enjoyably well balanced ale, with a complex finish and refreshing mouthfeel. Ian from the Earth and Stars reckons it has hints of apricot. At 4% it is not overwhelmingly strong, so will nestle nicely amongst the beer pumps of Brighton and Hove, and it is supposed to be straightforward to look after.

At the moment, the brewery is at capacity in terms of Brighton Best production. It is their first new beer since the reshuffle and incorporates a complicated combination of Progress, Goldings and Fuggles hops. Steve Burgess says “it is sold in Brighton, designed for Brighton, and built to be a session beer.” I’m sure there are plenty of Brightonians ready to prove this statement correct.

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About 112,000,000 blogs pollute the internet, largely without any real content or consequence. I bowed to peer pressure a month ago and started Good Morning Brighton, which was going to be an occasionally updated chronicle of my new life in Brighton.

Four weeks later and Good Morning Brighton has little to do with me and more to do with what’s happening in the city. What I found was that I had no time to blog about what I was doing because I was too busy doing what I was doing, and that what made it onto Good Morning Brighton and Twitter tended to be what I’d seen while out and about.

WordPress offer all sorts of statistics, so it isn’t hard to see which posts are popular and what days have been successful. I tagged along with the SmashEDO protesters yesterday, and using a plethora of social media I was able to upload photographs and text while in a field or behind a police cordon. The last two days have seen a massive spike in views, as people tune in to Good Morning Brighton and my Twitter page, @morningbrighton, to see photographs and a first hand account of what happened on the Downs and on Lewes Road yesterday.

The most interesting blogs aren’t about their author.

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SmashEDO – the day after. Also Twitter.

Yesterday’s festivities involved terribly misguided activism and dubious crowd control. SmashEDO had not spoken with police or each other, and as such the demo began in the same way it finished – messily and with much confusion. Sussex Police escorted thirty people from a squat to Wild Park in a procession down Lewes Road involving about a hundred officers. The police kept them in a small group, where they chanted a bit and made horrible speeches. Meanwhile, hundreds of other demonstrators turned up unannounced, and about half an hour later everybody was running through the woods.

The police were firm but fair, so you can basically ignore any reports of brutality or undue lenience, but the demonstration passed largely without incident. One man decided he’d try to tackle a dozen policemen by himself – he was quickly overwhelmed and hauled off. One man was found with a “bladed article”. All the other arrested protesters were nicked to prevent a breach of the peace, not for actually doing anything. The police never found the pair who tried to glue themselves to RBS.

The whole fiasco yesterday seems to have left Brighton feeling relieved, but has also consolidated the city’s dim view of SmashEDO. The ENA tried to pick a fight with them on London Road, but even the rest of the city is more irritated by the protesters (and by the six-figure cost of the police operation) than by the presence of an arms factory. I don’t know if this is indicative of SmashEDO’s violent tactics or Britain’s ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality.

Who saw my Tweets? Many of my Tweets were rapidly ReTweeted, and I’m pleased that my legwork sped up the process just a tad. It goes to show how slow the Argus website is at reacting to stories – I was ahead of their game by about an hour and a half.

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A few more photos of the SmashEDO demo

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