Hair today…

By a very bizarre turn of events I happen to know the last time I went to a hairdresser. I’m guessing this is neither unusual nor important to most people. In my case, however…

During my first year at University the Sisters of Mercy played their tenth anniversary concerts in Leeds on the 16th and 17th February. The weekend before (which I calculate to be Saturday 9th Feb 1991) I went home to Cheltenham and had my hair cut at “His Nibs” as I always had every 3 months or so until then; just the usual crop so common to those of us with head-hair curlier than our pubes.

As it turned out that was my last haircut. I decided to let my freak flag fly from that moment on (your hair is, after all, your antenna) and have not crossed the threshold of a hairdresser since then.

This week, 2011, the Sisters play their 30th anniversary concerts at the same venue, and so I am reminded of my last haircut, twenty years ago this week.

The overwhelming question this raises is, of course, “can a man enter his forties with a ponytail?”

Answers on a postcard. please.

Halloumi Curry

A really tasty curry – the garam massala and cinnamon balance the heat of the chillis and the richness of the tomatoes nicely, while the Halloumi gives an interesting alternative to meat.

This is a simplification of the Halloumi Curry recipe on The Superflux blog (thanks to Anne for pointing me to it!)

Preparation time
Cooking time


  • 2 small onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 inch thumb of ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 birds eye chillis
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • small bunch (approx. 15g) of fresh coriander
  • 1 can whole tomatoes
  • 1 ½ tsp garam massala
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 150g pack of Halloumi cheese

Peel and finely chop the onions. Peel and grate the ginger and the garlic. Finely chop the chillis (seeds in or out, depending on your heat preference).

Get the oil good and hot over a medium flame in an oven proof dish (casserole dish preferably). Once it’s up to temperature put the mustard and cumin seeds in. As soon as the mustard seeds start to pop put the chopped chillis, the cloves, the cinnamon stick, the bay leaf and the onions, garlic, ginger and salt in the pan. Give it a good stir over a high heat for a moment or two, before turning the heat down and cooking gently until the onions go soft and translucent (which should take a little over 5 minutes). You’ll need to give it a little stir every now and again as they cook.

While you’re waiting, finely chop the tomatoes and the fresh coriander. When the onions have softened turn the heat up a little and put the chopped tomatoes and the chopped coriander in. Give it a good stir and cook the tomatoes down for another couple of minutes. Once the tomatoes have broken down nicely add the can of tomatoes. Bring it up to the boil quickly, before reducing the heat to a simmer. Now add the ground coriander, the turmeric and the garam massala.

Leave it to simmer uncovered on a low heat for about 30 minutes. You’re aiming to thicken it, but not to the point of it catching on the bottom of the pan. If it looks too thick you can always add some water. It will depend on the amount of juice in your can of tomatoes. Once you’re done pull out the cinnamon stick and the bay leaf (and the cloves if you can find them!).

At this point you can leave it to cool for later, or move straight on to the next step.

About 15 minutes before you’re ready to eat, reheat the sauce and, once it’s bubbling nicely, chop the Halloumi into cubes and add it to the pan.

When the cheese feels soft it’s ready. This should be in about 12 to 15 minutes.

Serve with Cabbage Sabzi if you’re feeling virtuous or Ginger and Pepper rice and some Naan if you fancy a full on blow out.