Finally sorted out my holiday pictures! Been looking through them wishing I could go back there; incredible place.


Another one bites the crust

Pun courtesy of Stephen Blake

Thursday night was fry-up night with 12 guests, quite the palava. But worth it in the end, especially as they all did the washing up…! And brought chocolate!

Last night was the test run of frying pan pizza (method on my favourite website of all time: )

Made the dough 3 days in advance and it was glorious and bubbly and better than pizza stone pizza!! Two words: TRY IT!

Kissin is my business…and business is good

Alternative title: Dis-kissin Abbie’s rubbish Kissin puns

To clarify, this isn’t a post about kissing. We went to see the pianist Evgeny Kissin last week, so we tried to make the title of this post a pun around ‘Kissin’. So we put kissin into and “Kissin is my business…and business is good” (Killing is my business…and business is good) is what came out. Along with “Empire State Kissing” (Empire State Building), “Kissin women of Asia” (Missing women of Asia), and “Disability Kissin Allowance” (Disability Living Allowance).

A message from Hannah and Abbie: “Suziey’s dictatorship is being overthrown. This is going to be a better post because her two better halves…” trails off in incoherent babbling.

That’s right folks, they may not be very coherent but they’re trying their best, and this is 171’s first JOINT BLOG POST! WOOOOOOO! RAISE THE ROOOF! GO CRAZY! ABBIE’S MAKING LOUD NOISES!

Anyway, to the point. Last Thursday we celebrated Father Palmer’s birthday, with family Palmer. We were very cultured and went to Carluccio’s for dinner and then a classical music concert. We will start from the beginning:

We were late. The night was dark. The stars were shining. (That was Hannah’s bit). We walked through Symphony Hall, where we were stopped by a woman who wanted a phone. Cue awkward pause from everyone. Step forward JOSHUA PALMER, good deed doer of the day. We waited for a significant length of time while she attempted to send multiple texts from his phone, with little success. Onwards we went.

We arrived at Carluccio’s, and amused ourselves with an unintentional game of musical chairs (due to James’ several seating requests) every time the waiter went away, much to his confusion. We ordered drinks, with a longer-than-normal awkward bit at the beginning where nobody wants to go first.

Abbie’s dinner analysis: “I had venison ravioli. It was one of those dinners that you can’t decide if you like or not. A bit like marmite. I do like marmite, but I don’t know if I eat it because I eat it. But the more of the venison I ate, the more I wanted to eat. Throughout the meal, my score for the dish fluctuated between four out of ten and six out of ten.” I asked Abbie to continue but she’s been laughing (tears and all) now for the last few minutes and unable to produce actual words. Not sure why.

Hannah’s dinner analysis: “When the waiter came round with the food I couldn’t remember what I ordered so I took the last unclaimed dish.” Suziey: “Do you know what it was?” Hannah: “Perfection.” Suziey: “Right. But what was it?” Hannah: “It was pasta with spicy pork  and like tomato. It was really nice but I…by the end of it, even though it looked like I hadn’t had a lot on my plate (makes joke about having a lot on your plate), finishing it seemed like mission impossible.” (Attempts to make pun about finishing food and Finnish food. It wasn’t Finnish, it was Italian.) “I give it a seven out of ten because it was above average, but it was only two above average. It wasn’t too above average.” (That was a joke).

Suziey’s dinner analysis: “I ate some sort of pasta. It was quite nice. It had little bits of bacon in. I ate all of it. It wasn’t mission impossible. It was just nice. Eight out of ten, because it was better than seven and worse than nine. ”






H: As a non-musical person, as a non-musical listener, as a listener with a distinct lack of musical talent, I’d say Kissin played well. Reasonably well. Obviously I could give him a few tips, for example his syncopation needs improvement, and he should work on improving his key, and while he did hit the majority of the correct notes, his engagement with the audience lacked that special something clearly evident in true musical genius, namely, the hair flick. But overall, in my humble opinion, a satisfactory performance. Concert anecdote: I had ice cream in the interval but couldn’t finish it in time, so put the half-empty ice cream pot in my handbag. Then I got it out and ate it.

A: Kissin was great, however, he was not the number one provider of entertainment that night. He was outclassed by a certain young gentleman sitting on the fourth row who had an incomprehensible ability to clap in a very…now no words will describe this, that’s the issue…flamboyant? Like a seal? No he was so genuine, like it was the best thing he’d ever seen. I feel very strongly about this, because this man’s sincerity should be cherished by all who see him and learn to love him. I feel like we need to dwell on the fact that he clapped….I can’t even explain! Throughout the innumerable number (yes, she did say that) of clapping sessions, my dear young friend did not waver in his clapping enthusiasm for Kissin. He should also win Clapper of the Year 2012 of the UK and Europe. One more thing to note, our dear young friend clearly felt that all those around him should be showing their enthusiasm in like manner, and was baffled by everyone else’s only adequate appreciation for such a spectacular performance.

S: I would like to dwell on the fact that Kissin was actually very very very good, since nobody can ever really tell when Hannah’s joking or not. We were treated to a double encore, and some cracking headbanging from the gentleman on the front row. I was restricted from my full enjoyment of the concert by having to restrain my cough throughout each piece. Also we had a really good view. And we got coke in the interval but the queue was so long that we only got it as the next half was about to start, so we had to speed drink it straight from the bottles, but they were glass bottles which are really hard to drink from because they suck your mouth in so you can’t drink anything.




The Sound of Kissin 

Joshua Palmer, 2012


Get yourselves to Digbeth

I’ve been on a bit of a mission to find the best pizza in Birmingham over the last few weeks. It wasn’t a particularly long mission; I could only find one place in the whole of Birmingham that serves Neapolitan pizza. But it’s very good.

It’s called Rossopomodoro and it’s in the Selfridges food hall (googling it will give you much much better pictures than my pretty awful phone pictures here- but it will also make you very hungry). The pizza was soooooo good (and not too expensive), and you could see them make it in a very very very beautiful gold tiled wood fired oven (anyone not sure what to buy me for Christmas…?). (I recognise that I used a few too many brackets in this paragraph).

Anyway, the point is, you really really need to go there. Here’s some pictures. – don’t go on it if you’re feeling hungry, it will make you cry.

Anyway, on my mission to find Birmingham’s ultimate pizza, I stumbled across the gem that is Digbeth Dining Club. It’s held every Friday at Spotlight (an old Warehouse unit in the middle of Digbeth), and basically they have a bar, a DJ and a couple of street food stalls every week. James and I went on Friday and grabbed ourselves some wood-fired pizza. Unfortunately we did have to walk for twenty minutes in freezing cold rain through the streets of Digbeth, but it was so worth it. Would have been better with a big group of people to make the trek a bit more worth it. Have a look at for the food line-up each week.

Bar in a warehouse…

She didn’t really have pink hair

James enjoying the ridiculous red lighting; we couldn’t even see what we were eating

THE PIZZA! It was glorious. Made by The Pizza Monkeys if you want yourself some of that delicious pizzery goodness


People always give me very strange looks when I mention chicken crumble because they’ve only ever had fruit crumble. It’s my mum’s friend’s invention and one of the dinners I grew up with, so to me the idea of having fruit in a crumble is much stranger than having a chicken crumble.

Anyway, last night I attempted to convert a few friends to savoury crumble. I burnt the top a little so the picture isn’t great but it tasted pretty nice.

I mixed it up with my veg like I did when I was five years old; it’s not baby food, honest…

I’ll give you the recipe and also a cooking challenge: go and make a savoury crumble this week!


  • 1 onion
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • One little packet of pancetta cubes
  • 500ml milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour (Could use double cream instead of white sauce)
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 170g plain flour
  • 85g margarine



Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius.

Chop the onion finely and fry in oil on a low heat. While the onion is frying, chop the chicken breasts into small chunks. When the onion is soft, turn the heat up and add the chicken and the pancetta cubes to the pan.

White Sauce:If you want your sauce more or less creamy, use more white sauce and less chicken stock or vice versa.                    In a jug, heat the milk in the microwaveon full power for around 3 minutes (you can do this in a pan-this is my cheat’s way!). While it is in the microwave, mix the cornflour in a cup with a small splash of milk until smooth. Mix with the milk when it comes out of the microwave, and put back in the microwave for thirty more seconds or until it starts to bubble up.

When the outside of the chicken is cooked, pour in the chicken stock and the white sauce and mix. Turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.

Crumble: Measure the flour and margarine into a bowl and mix. Rub together with your fingers until it reaches a crumb-like texture.

When the chicken is ready, pour it into an oven proof dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the top. Put in the oven for around 25 minutes, or until the crumble is slightly golden.