Christmas is almost here, so this will be the last blog before. There is still quite a few things I must do, but I know I will be having a few quiet days soon. Like many of you, I’m looking forward to spending time with good friends.
Dorota wanted to know which cat Freddie loved best.
I think that question is answered by the song Delilah. Freddie loved all his feline family, but Delilah really stole his heart when she arrived at Garden Lodge.
Barbara asked if I thought Freddie and Jim would have got married, if it was possible, as it is now legal.
To be honest, I don’t think it would have happened. Freddie was very traditional in his thoughts and for him marriage was between a husband and wife. Freddie was very happy to be in a relationship with Jim, but I think Freddie carried it as far as he felt he was able to. Freddie was a very complicated person, and some of the things he did were contrary to his traditional up-bringing, but he did what HE felt comfortable doing.
Ramon refers to Montserrat’s comment in The Great Pretender documentary when she said that Freddie sang part of the Phantom of the Opera duet with her. No, there were certainly no recording’s made of this telephone call. Technology in those days was nowhere near as sophisticated as it is nowadays.
Colin wanted to know about the arrows from the Hot Space period.
I can only say that at that time Freddie had a feeling for arrows in his costume design. It is true; they were painted on the bodies of the performers in the Body Language video and also on some of his t shirts and trousers for the tour. He also had a jacket made with 100s of individually made multi coloured arrows sown onto it, at great cost, which he actually wore twice.
Seb asked about the song Scandal
I think the feeling that the band weren’t fond of this song mainly comes from the video, which, as you, say, they were not happy with. It was put together very quickly without Freddie’s usual tight control over every aspect. Brian wrote the song as a reaction to the way the press were creating great scandals around celebrities at the time, and also the way the press were particularly following Freddie to try to get anything they could.
Miriam asked if Freddie would still hate Mexico now.
I don’t think he would hate the country anymore. Everything changes with time. Remember after the first time he went to Australia and he was body searched by customs, he said he would NEVER go back to that country; and then he did go back eventually.
Yesac wanted to know….. who is in the gorilla suit in I’m Going Slightly Mad.
Sorry to disappoint so many fans, but it ISN’T Elton John. It was actually one of the film crew who volunteered, who spent quite a few hours, sweating a lot in a suit that didn’t smell to good.
Sammy asked what Freddie’s favourite champagne was.
Freddie’s favourite was Louis Roederer Cristal. He enjoyed other champagnes, Dom Perignon, Veuve Cliquot etc. but he wasn’t too fond of the other national sparkling wines, such as Sekt and Prosecco. He was once offered a 7 figure sum to make an advert for the Spanish sparkling wine, Cava, but turned it down, sticking to his principals not to advertise something he didn’t use.
Dekipema wanted to know about the Japanese words in La Japonaise.
Freddie didn’t write any of the Japanese words himself. He wrote everything in English and these were then translated into Japanese that would fit to the rhythm of the song.
Edward asked what was the biggest difference I noticed in Freddie after he found out he was ill.
I really noticed Freddie concentrated more on getting things done, and spent most of his time making music. Music was Freddie’s life, and I believe it was this love of music that gave him, and all of us, the extra time we got. Remember, we were told in October 1989 that Freddie might not see Christmas 1989, but he confounded the doctors and spent another 1 ½ years recording.
Ok, as it’s Christmas most people are thinking about Christmas dinner. I have included some recipes for some different vegetables, instead of the old standbys peas, carrots and brussel sprouts. Have a great Christmas one and all
The following is a selection of the vegetables that were served at a Sunday lunch. I have included twenty, of which we would serve maybe four or five. The provision of some would depend on the season.
Freddie hated soggy vegetables; on the other hand, they had to be fully cooked. Al dente was not really in his vocabulary! Something I always think of when preparing the vegetables is, colour! Pick a selection that will brighten up the plate!
A final tip, never throw any of the vegetable water away until you have made the gravy. I always use the vegetable water, as this all gives added taste to the gravy
Always frozen and source immaterial! They always cooked well and you didn’t have to do very much with them. Put into boiling water until they float! To brighten them up, sometimes I put some fresh mint and a little sugar into the water.
Peel enough carrots for 4 people. Normally I sliced them, but again for a change you can cut them into short sticks. I boiled them in sugared water, drained them and them gently tossed the pieces in melted butter. Sometimes I used to serve a mix of carrots and peas.
This I cut into florets and steamed until just cooked, anymore and the florets start to break up and the broccoli becomes mushy.
I used to clean up the cauliflower and remove the core. Place the whole head into a deep saucepan of boiling water, ensuring the cauliflower is completely covered with water. Again, I repeat, do not over-cook!
I often used to serve whole head of cauliflower in a dish after I had sprinkled breadcrumbs on top and then covered it with finely chopped egg! It makes a nice change. I also used to serve the chilli cauliflower as per the previous recipe.
These were served when in season. You can’t better them thinly sliced and boiled in salted water until just cooked i.e. still firm but not al dente. Some people are VERY fussy!
I didn’t use these very often, but if the same people were at lunch within a few days, they made a good change. These were always tinned!
Again, these are very tasty when they are in season. Boil in lightly salted water until just cooked.
Seasonal, but again a great different taste! Only use fresh ones. The tinned variety lacks a certain something.
There were two ways I served these. The easy way to prepare them is, clean and chop the leeks into 2cm pieces. Put into a saucepan of boiling water and cook until soft. Drain and heat through with melted butter. The other way I used to serve them was to clean the leeks thoroughly, then, leaving the root section complete, slice the leeks lengthwise so that each one resembles a bunch of spaghetti. In a large saucepan heat a little olive oil and add a tin of chopped tomatoes. When the mixture is hot, add the leeks and cook until it is ready to eat. Add some seasoning and serve. This tended to be served with other meals rather than a roast lunch, because it is quite an ample dish in itself.
These were traditionally peeled, cored, partially boiled, drained and then added to the roasting dish with the potatoes to be roasted in a medium oven (180 C, gas 4) on the top shelf. Another way was to peel, core, then chop the parsnip, boil until soft, drain then mash with a little black pepper and a tablespoon of honey. Makes a great change to mashed potato!
This was always peeled, chopped and boiled until cooked. After it is drained, I mash it with seasoning and a little butter.
Mixed Roast Vegetables
For vegetarians, this is almost a lunch on its own!
Four medium carrots, peeled and halved
Four medium onions, quartered
Four medium parsnips, peeled and halved
Four medium turnips, peeled and halved
One small swede, peeled and quartered
Two small beetroots, peeled and halved
Four medium potatoes, peeled and halved
Four whole heads of garlic, topped
Salt, pepper, one tablespoon dried mixed herbs
Heat the oven to 180C, Gas mark 4. Heat a baking tray on which two tablespoons olive oil has been poured.
Put all peeled and divided vegetables into a basin with the whole heads of garlic. Pour on two tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle on the herbs, salt and pepper to taste. Mix together until all the vegetables are thoroughly coated with oil.
Tip out vegetables onto baking tray and roast until vegetables are tender when prodded with a sharp knife.
Celeriac is a celery-flavoured root vegetable, which when combined with potatoes gives a subtly ‘different’ flavoured mashed vegetable.
Peel and chop the celeriac and also the same quantity of potatoes. Try to chop the potatoes and celeriac to the same size as they will then be cooked at the same time.
Add to a large saucepan of boiling salted water. Simmer until cooked.
Drain and then mash together with a knob of butter, a dash of cream and some seasoning.
Generally these were cleaned by removing the outside leaves and cross cutting the bottom of the sprout. Leave to rinse in a bowl of cold water.
Submerge the sprouts in a saucepan of boiling salted water and simmer for about 15 – 20 minutes until tender. Drain and serve.
Another, more exiting way to prepare sprouts is as follows:
Heat a large frying pan with a little oil over a medium flame. Add 1 medium onion, chopped, and 4 rashers of bacon, roughly chopped. Fry until the onion is opaque and the bacon juice is evaporated. Add the cleaned sprouts and enough vegetable stock to half cover the sprouts. Cover with a tight lid and simmer until the sprouts are tender. You must stir the sprouts occasionally. When they are cooked, remove the sprouts and reduce the liquid to a fairly stiff consistency. It is also good if you add some white wine to the stock before cooking!
Cut the cabbage into quarters and take out the core. Shred the cabbage and rinse in fresh, cold water. Add to a large saucepan of boiling, salted water and simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes until cooked. Drain and serve. Occasionally I would add a pinch or two of cumin seeds to the water.
Prepare and cook the cabbage the same way as white cabbage. You can also cook it the same as the second Brussels sprouts recipe.
This really needs a list of ingredients, so here they are.
1 red cabbage, quartered, cored and shredded
450gm onions, chopped
250gm cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
¼ whole nutmeg, grated
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons soft brown sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
Salt & pepper
In a large saucepan, layer all the ingredients until everything is used. Add the vinegar and the knob of butter and place on a burner. Bring to the boil, reduce to a very low heat and cook for about 2 hours, stirring two or three times, until everything has blended and the cabbage emerges with a glistening coating.
Thoroughly clean the greens in fresh water. I always added salt to the water as this generally loosened any stray caterpillars that clung to the leaves. Roughly chop and add to a small amount of boiling, salted water in a large saucepan for a few minutes, until soft. Drain well, as this vegetable can retain a lot of water.
Peel and seed the squash. Chop into 4cm pieces and add to a saucepan of boiling, salted water. Simmer until cooked. You can either mash it with some butter, salt and pepper, or serve it as chunks, seasoned and served with knobs of butter.
I can’t remember who told me this recipe, but it does taste good and with crusty bread would make a very acceptable lunchtime dish!
Heat a little oil in a flame proof casserole dish. Add ½ medium onion, chopped and 1 crushed clove of garlic. Fry until the onion is soft. Add ½ tin chopped tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes. Using a young marrow, approx. 600gms, chop into 4 cm chunks and add to the tomato mixture. Mix well with ½ teaspoon ground coriander, cover and place into a preheated oven mark 4, 180C, for about 1 hour or until the marrow is cooked. Season and serve.
These were generally cleaned and then sliced into ½ cm pieces, with the top and toe thrown away. Add some olive oil to a large frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Add the courgettes in a single layer and fry until golden, turning the pieces every few minutes. Drain on kitchen paper and serve.
Generally, these were presented in three ways. For a particular lunch all three made an appearance. There were always roast potatoes and these might or might not be accompanied by either boiled old or boiled new potatoes or mashed, depending on which other vegetables were being served. For example, if mashed swede was on the menu, then we would have boiled potatoes!
To roast the potatoes, I always peeled and parboiled them. After, draining them, (keeping the water) I let them dry off as this causes less splattering of fat when they are put onto a roasting tray. Preheat the oven to gas 7, 220C. Put a roasting tray with some lard into the oven and heat until it is smoking a little. Add the potatoes and return to the oven quickly to lose as little heat as possible. After ½ hour, turn the potatoes over and place back in the oven. After a further ½ hour drain and serve immediately!
To mash the potatoes I used the Delia Smith method of draining them completely after cooking, replacing in the saucepan with a good knob of butter, some cream and seasoning, and then cream the potatoes using an electric hand whisk. Start slowly and increase the speed gently until there are no lumps. It really works well.
I always add some sprigs of fresh mint to new potatoes while they are boiling. It does give them some extra flavour and the very special, early Spring, Jersey Royal potatoes don’t taste quite the same without it. For all boiled potatoes, new or peeled, I serve with some butter thrown on top.
I thought you might like to see one of Freddie’s fridges before a small party. On the right are bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal!
19 Dec 2013 by Phoebe Freestone