Tag Archives: Food

Beer and pizza

To celebrate the removal of a large tree in the yard and successful demolition of a problematic wall ready for the builders next week, I took a short trip out to get some beer and pizza.

The place was full of high school kids and families coming for a Friday night treat. I just kicked back and waited for my order to be processed. To be in this mini-flood of humanity after all the artificial isolation of the last two years was a curiously pleasant experience. Everyone was polite and there was no drama.

Normally I’m not someone who likes crowds all that much. I get defensive and grouchy really quickly if I’m bumping elbows for two long, but after two long years of pointless and damaging lockdowns and mandates, for some reason I just felt really comfortable.

It helps of course that I now have my own house and land to sit out on a sunny evening, glass of beer in hand after a feed of double pepperoni. Enjoying the smell of freshly turned Earth and evening birdsong.

Being in a crowd is fine, but it is also oh so nice just to sit out and watch the bees and birds forage.

An alternative Christmas dinner

Is there more to Christmas dinner than just Turkey or a roast joint? Well, if one of your much loved close family is vegetarian, and your spouse is on a strict keto diet, you have to get a bit thoughtful in order to accommodate everyone. Compromise is the keynote here.

One of the great things about this festival, although fowl is often the menu of choice, this year I have deviated, they can’t touch you for it, and gone down the piscine path, purchasing a bargain priced side of Salmon and doing the rest of the veg with my own carefully considered choices. Going for a mix of traditional and acceptable alternatives.

You don’t have to have turkey for Christmas dinner. It is not written on any graven monuments saying “Thou shalt only partake of roast fowl this holy day”. Even though that is the tradition. Jesus did not say “Hey, let’s kill a tree and eat only turkey” So while we like tradition in our household, sometimes it’s fun to try something different.

So here it is, the menu for today’s Christmas lunch.

  • Baked salmon with a Honey and Whiskey glaze
  • Sautéed buffalo spiced cabbage
  • Roast garlic butter sprouts
  • English style sprouts (For traditions sake)
  • Roast potatoes with rosemary (Roasties)
  • Riced buttered potato (Mashed spud)
  • A white parsley, dill and lemon sauce

Followed by:

  • Profiteroles (Plain and chocolate)
  • Chocolate and Jameson’s Custard

The above menu has been approved by both Mrs S and ‘North’ in advance. They have wisely left the cook to do his thing while playing with their pressies and videoconferencing in the front room. Cook (Me) is wandering around with a sly smile on his face, headphones in ears, quietly grooving away to some music and watching lovingly prepared foodstuffs bubble and brown their way to perfection.

For those of you gloomily staring at the parsons nose of yet another roast bird while thinking of having a pint in the pub, fear not, while Sunday roast style cooking is fine in moderation, every so often it’s nice to go the extra mile and do something very different. All it takes is a recipe book and a little creative thought.

Merry Christmas to you all…..

Update; A hit, a palpable hit, at least according to my diners. Have been asked to do one of my Bramley apple crumbles (Real Bramley apples, not much sugar, with a breath of cloves) later this week. Perhaps a no-bake lemon and ginger cheesecake as well. What can I say, it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Yum.

Small joys

“North’ is with us. Safe and sound. If the threatened lockdowns are applied in the New Year, she may not be able to go home to jolly old Londinium. We shall see. ‘South’, still in the fabled prison camp of Oz continues to improve although she’s still a bit snotty, but we keep up with daily contact and tell her lots of bad jokes.

Right. In keeping with the spirit of the season, a recipe. A vegetarian, nay vegan recipe. Which is a bit of a divergence for this blog as I am a committed omnivore, but as I am wont to say, chacun a son gout.

Today’s offering is:

Italianate salad dressing. For those times when too much turkey / whatever is enough. If you like a change from Caesar or Blue Cheese, this will get the taste buds talking to you again.

Now I have done this one in a previous post, but these are the detailed instructions, not the precis posted earlier. Again, the focus is on simplicity and taste. Just the thing for when you’ve had a complete day and need something tasty to give an edge to your guilt driven salad.

All salads are driven by guilt. it is in their very nature. We are told they are ‘healthy’ and ‘good for us’, but why, he asked pointedly, do so many salads have to be bland and tasteless or smothered in sugary dressings? Is all that lettuce and stuff food or punishment?

Right, there is a balance to be addressed so here goes. You will need;

  • Half a cup Olive oil. Extra virgin if you can get it. Do not substitute anything else. Other cooking oils are no good.
  • A quarter cup of of Artisan balsamic vinegar. This is the thick and gloopy sweet stuff with a high price tag, but very, very nice. I buy it in 500ml bottles from specialist stores. Each bottle lasts me about two years.
  • A quarter cup of the more commonplace Industriale Balsamic. This is the thin, runny stuff more typically found in your local supermarket. Fine for general use, but none of the complexities and nuances of the Artisan.
  • A splash of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce (For our transatlantic cousins this is properly pronounced Wooster-sheer, not War sester shyer. Be told.)
  • One clove of crushed and minced Garlic
  • A pinch (Oh all right, a quarter teaspoon) of dried Basil

It is worth noting that these are not so much amounts as proportions. This is a totally scalable recipe, so you can think of it in terms of 50% Olive oil, 25% Expensive balsamic, 25% cheap balsamic with elements of basil, garlic and Worcester sauce. Find a small clean glass bottle or jar large enough to take all ingredients with a little airspace and put all the ingredients in.

Put top on bottle very firmly. And keep your thumb on top for the next step.

Now shake very vigorously until all ingredients are mixed. Should take five to ten seconds. Leave to stand for an hour or two while the flavours suffuse.

Shake again before use.

Now drizzle (Not pour! Less is more here) a tiny trickle across your guilt trip salad. Taste. Enjoy. Somehow your day will seem a little brighter. And there’s no added sugar so you can use this to enlighten even the dullest Keto salad dish with a completely clear conscience.

In these control freak times, when our lives are subject to the oppressive diktats of panicking politicians, their ‘advisors’ and the perennially petrified, these small gustatory and family joys are a way of quietly fighting back against the bullshit.

Happy solstice.

For thy palate

Over the Yuletide period, which officially starts at solstice (tomorrow), I shall be posting a few basic recipes that have over the years, found great favour Chez Maison Sticker.

They are not fancy. They’re easy to make, but oh my goodness, do they add to a dish. Let’s start with the recipe I refined from the New York Times cookbook, that transatlantic bible of culinary excellence, for Tartare sauce, which is a wonderful complement to fish. If you’re feeling posh it makes a nice change from the heavily sugared alternative of tomato ketchup or brown sauce. And it’s so freakin’ easy. And great for diabetics because there’s no sugar.

Tartare sauce recipe: To make a batch which will last a week (About 250g / 1/2lb) or so in the fridge, you will need:

  • Shallots (Those funny little onion things)
  • A small jar of Capers
  • One clove crushed and chopped garlic
  • A teaspoon of lemon juice
  • Half a teaspoon of dried Dill
  • Mayonnaise (If you’re diabetic, check it’s a full fat, sugar free or low sugar type, or better still learn to make your own without.)

Chop your shallots very finely, down to about 1-2mm (1/16th inch) at biggest. Add an equal amount of capers. Chop equally finely to about the same size. Mix. Add garlic, dill and lemon juice. Stir. Add an equal amount of mayonnaise and stir in thoroughly. That’s it.

You could of course do the chopping by food processor, but I like to do it with a knife and cutting board, old fashioned fool that I am.

Now decant mix into a cleaned out jam jar. Stick it in the fridge and use as needed. Now with the average family, this size of batch should last about a week, but don’t bet on it. This stuff vanishes. And it’s better than store bought by a country mile.

Just desserts

Today I’m going to share something culinary. Simple, delicious and cheap. It’s a little bit involved, but it does fit in with the general ethos of ‘cooking for conspiracy theorists’. However, the results are very comestible. I would have taken some pictures but the produced desserts disappeared before I got round to picking up my camera.

Notwithstanding; here are a couple of sweet recipes which will grace the taste buds with a caress as soft as a lovers sigh, melting like snow in a rainstorm upon the palate. In short, they’re just too yummy.

Now these two dishes share a cheesecake style filling, so you can make up a batch and lob it in the fridge while you decide on how to put it all together.

Sweet chocolate roulade and Ginger chocolate cheesecake.

You will need the following for both recipes; 8oz of Mascarpone cheese. A small pot of whipping cream. The juice of a lemon. Two dessert spoons of granulated sugar. Two dessert spoons of drinking chocolate. Some form of whisk and two mixing bowls. 1 Cup plain flour. 1 medium egg and 1 cup whole milk. Also about 1 cup of crushed ginger biscuits. 3oz of butter. 1 full size frying pan.

Step one; The pancake. This is easy, throw plain flour into a mixing bowl, whisk in egg and add milk. Whisk until smooth. Put pan on med to high heat. Give a swift wipe with a small knob of butter. When pan is hot, add about half the mix and let it solidify. When it starts to brown on the underside, flip it and let that brown a bit. When cooked through, remove pan from heat, or make another pancake. Whatever you choose to do, put them aside to cool.

Step two; the filling. Also easy. Put whipping cream in bowl, whip until stiff (Peaks stay where you put them sort of thing.) Add mascarpone and mix together. Add lemon juice and sugar. Mix. Add drinking chocolate. Mix. You can either choose to stir into a uniform creamy brown, or a white streaked solid (ish) mix. Whatever floats your boat.

Put mix in fridge for half an hour of so. Go play a video game, watch a couple of funny YouTube videos. Do not listen to the news, it’s all drama anyway and is designed to interfere with your karmic self.

Step three; upon your return, crush about half a pack of ginger biscuits (Ginger nuts – English style. Anything else won’t work.) Melt the remaining butter, using some to paint your cooling pancakes. This is to make them supple and prevent them drying out.

Step four; mix the rest of the butter into the crushed ginger nuts and put into a suitable container. I use one of those plastic things the takeaways put your curry in. Washed properly they make very good fridge containers for leftovers. Line container with baking parchment or foil. Press butter and ginger nut mix into a flat even layer on the bottom of whatever container you choose. Put in fridge to cool while you do the next step.

Step five; using a small spatula / spreader / knife spread the mascarpone / whipped cream chocolate mix about a quarter of an inch thick onto the pancakes. Roll tightly (But not too tightly!) so they form a roulade and none of the mix oozes out. If it does, your mix was too runny – too much cream or not whisked enough. Put in fridge to cool.

Step six; get hold of container with layer of crushed ginger nuts and butter in the bottom. Fill with remaining mix. Smooth off top. Put back in fridge.

Wait for it…. About an hour will do. Cut pancake roulades into inch thick slices and serve chilled. These will not last long.

You can keep the Ginger chocolate cheesecake for forty eight hours in the fridge if you cover it with foil. If it lasts that long. This recipe has a habit of suspiciously vanishing very rapidly. Maybe it evaporates. But I’ve never seen anything evaporate in slices before. Or leave crumbs. Should I be worried?

Any old road up. Eat drink and be merry. For tomorrow we may have to diet.

No means No

Rough night last night due to some well past sell be date cheese that was undercooked. My bad. As the cook of the household I will not be repeating that error again. Then again I was the only one who suffered, so, non fit, non injuria, eh?

Regarding our new place, the lawyers plod on with their searches and sundry details, so nothing to report there. I’m forced to sit on my hands and trudge through research topics, most of which are like revision, going over the same old ground in the same old way. There will be no house move until the new year.

As for trudging along the same old path, that is rather how I feel about all the politicians pushing the ‘no jab no job’ button. To which so many workers in the ‘health’ sector (and others) are saying “F**k your lousy job. Now where’s my redundancy money?” Because you can’t fire someone without recompense because you’ve arbitrarily changed their contract of employment. Frankly I’ve lost count of the times I’ve simply dumped a demand to ‘sign here’ in the waste bin and ignored the follow up emails. Retrospectively altering terms and conditions without overt consent of both parties beforehand isn’t exactly safe ground, contractually speaking. They can’t really force you to sign to something you don’t agree with. They can put pressure on you, but that skirts perilously close to ‘constructive dismissal’ territory.

As for a mandated third jab. Look, if the first two didn’t work very well, then what’s the point of a third? It’s just doing the same old thing over and over again in hope of a differing result.

I’ve said my piece on the dreaded lurgi and cross-immunity twice before. SARS/COV-2 is a coronavirus. As are a few variants of the common cold and influenza. Your immune system, if you keep it in good nick with a good mixed diet and moderate exercise in the fresh air, without wearing one of those ridiculous surgical or cloth masks, will, if you’ve already had a coronavirus infection, be ready to pounce on any future interlopers.

I see from my Spectator feed that scientists are suddenly ‘discovering’ cross immunity (Again) and going “Sounds good.” Now forgive me from my simple minded layman’s perspective, but I got taught this basic principle when I was an NHS employee and student over thirty freaking years ago. It’s epidemiology 101 as our transatlantic cousins say. If you get an infection from a specific disease vector, your immune system will be primed to cope with something from the same camp. It will be educated by a previous infection and ready to deal with another, similar infection from the same family of vectors.

So no, I’ve had two jabs, and if they didn’t work then I’m not bothering with a third no matter the sanction. I’ve had my dose of the dreaded lurgi prior to my vaccinations, so I’m immune. A PCR test might find viral fragments in my snotty sinuses, but as for illness, no. Mild food poisoning notwithstanding.

The good news is that ‘North’ is spending the entire festering season with us. We’ll be putting the rest of our disparate clan on our big screen in the front room using screen mirroring via our AppleTV box and Mrs S’s iPad at Solstice, Christmas and New Year. I’ll rig up a stand so her iPad camera is facing in the right direction, and Robert is one’s Father’s sibling. Easy peasy.

The downside is that because ‘North’ is a vegetarian I’m going to have to cook two Christmas dinners simultaneously. However this is not insuperable and is merely, like all cooking conundrums, simple logistics.

Citrus

Those of you who bother to read my febrile ravings might have noticed a little mischievousness on my part. It’s sort of an existential protest at WordPress for changing their editor without a bye, leave or thank you. So if you read rude words spelled out down the index, please don’t take it personally. it is not meant for you.

Obviously I direct my rancorous bile toward those who screw around with the lives of others without a thought as to the consequences of their policies. Those who take bad advice and inflict it on others for example. The average modern career politician being a case in point, and aren’t they all just that? Average. Decidedly so and only good at sound bites and getting elected. Some would say by fair means or foul.

So, to the title of this post, Citrus. Well chums, I’m at it again, growing citrus plants from seed. Hopefully this time my little jungle will not be dumped because we’re moving continents yet again. The current count is 100% germination, with two lemon and one grapefruit plant germinated and developing root systems.

Simplicity appears to be the key for germination. My germinator, is a transparent plastic pot which once contained coleslaw, wadded at the bottom with a couple of damp (but not wet) squares of kitchen towel. Yes I know I could just slip out and buy a Citrus plant from a garden centre, but that’s not the point. The idea is to do it from scratch. Like I have just started doing with five navel orange seeds, and will do with limes, when of course I find some grocery store limes with seeds in them.

Essentially, my mindset is one of experimentation. Does it work or doesn’t it? If it does, wonderful, great. If not, back to the drawing board. So it has been with my experiments in growing citrus fruit plants in temperate climes.

Right, so what else? So I cultivate citrus plants, big deal. Well there is a therapeutic motivation. Firstly, growing things, like jigsaws, is good for the soul and keeps the blood pressure in check. Secondly, various fruits have real health benefits. A couple of Pineapple chunks a day, no more, I have found, keep the floaters in my eyes at bay. Something to do with an enzyme called Bromelain, or so I am informed.

Similarly Grapefruit, which is supposedly good for the old ticker, but not if you’re on heavy medications like statins, and can increase the effect of those little rhomboid shaped blue tablets we men occasionally defer to when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. But here’s a thing; I find that regular consumption of grapefruit helps clear the relevant blood vessels and saves having to take those little blue diamonds in the first place, which is nice, as those pills are expensive, and I’ve already sold my shares in Pfizer.

Downtime

I’m used to living and working online. It is, in some respects, something I’m fairly good at. For other things there is a phone, and as a trained communicator (Two ears, two eyes, two nostrils and one mouth, use in proportion). Unfortunately, when I need to talk to an overseas contact, our landline is down. Like today. So no business gets transacted. People don’t get paid on time and this reduces the sum of human happiness. Not something I like being even partially responsible for.

I could of course, if I had money to burn or an international data package, use my cell phone. But I’d rather put my funds to better use than paying cell phone companies for millivolts and sitting in a call centre queue for an hour or more while my remaining brains trickle out of my ears in tune with the bland awfulness of wait queue Muzak and their interminable adverts.

So what to do? Let my blood pressure be pushed beyond safe limits because the vagaries of fate preclude action? Or do I bugger off and do something slightly more interesting and successful while the phone company fix the lines? Dear reader, I chose the latter. Life, especially under the current pointless restrictions, demands little victories, those micro successes that bolter the shreds your self-esteem can be reduced to when utilities fail, and despite it not being your fault, guess who is first in line to get it in the neck when things aren’t done? Got it in one. Guess whose turn it is to be the office cat? Yours. Enjoy.

Here’s an interesting little life hack; did you know that an air fryer can make toast and fried bread? Well this one can. Saves putting the oven grill on. Don’t have a toaster, and didn’t fancy doing the old skillet toast trick. So my air fryer was put into service. 6 minutes at 200 Celsius lightly browns the bread and makes a nice hot slice to receive marmalade or whatever topping you fancy.

As an FYI; cast iron skillets can make seriously good toast and fried bread, which is where they score over the average toaster. Get the pan good and hot, stick in the bread and frying medium of choice (Olive oil, butter or nothing at all), flip when ready. There are more ways to make top notch toast than are thought of in anyone’s philosophy. All that is needed is a little outside the box culinary thinking and Robert is one’s father’s brother.

You can’t do fried bread in a toaster either. They’re a bit one dimensional as far as kitchen appliances go. Try putting anything but dried bread in them and the next thing you know it’s sparks and flames all round like a fork in a microwave. So I have the more versatile air fryer instead.

Another little culinary parlour trick I have to pass on is to stop your garlic going off. If, like me you don’t use more than a clove every other day, the trick is to peel the individual cloves and drop them into a jar of Olive oil. Result; garlic that doesn’t go off in a week and which keeps fairly well for a month. This also gives you a ready supply of Garlic Olive Oil, which commands a far higher price in the shops than the usual. So it’s a money saver too.

Anyway, supper beckons. Just soup and a small charcuterie and cheese board. There’s probably another glass of Pinot Noir downstairs too. And here’s me with this terrible thirst.

TTFN

So here we go

Here we go for WTO BREXIT. Amazon sent me an email the other day saying that anything ordered from their UK site (There isn’t an Amazon.ie) may be subject to extra duties, so they’re ready. The main UK ports have been ready for several years, with ‘pop-up’ customs posts ready to clear lorry loads of merchandise as they come in and go out of the UK. A good thing (for me) is the pound losing five points almost overnight against the Canadian Dollar a couple of nights ago, which made it a good idea to buy sterling. No idea why the markets react in this way. The UK is ready, customs posts set up, exporters informed and the RN getting set to arrest and detain fishing boats without proper licenses in UK waters. The only people who seem ill-prepared, bent over a chair with their trousers around their knees are the EU states.

Out here in the wilder west of Ireland, all these COVID restrictions are starting to be ignored. Dropped by my local butchers to make my Christmas order today. No masks, seasons greetings, all very civilised. The local supermarket still enforces the anti-social distancing and masks bullshit, but other people are starting to not bother.

No idea what’s going on in the US. Obvious vote rigging and dismissal of legal challenges, probably dismissed on technicalities, evidence of, but not court admissible proof. As for Biden, it’s well known he’s pro-EU, anti-BREXIT, but that’s okay because with congress and the senate on the flip side of the coin, he’s going to be in a lame duck administration. One hopes.

There’s a reported problem with the voting machines ‘flipping’ votes and all sorts of other dodgy things going on. Nothing that constitutes definitive proof, but man, I would be asking for a thorough review and re-run of the elections right now, without the voting machines, with proper oversight, with voter ID and the absolute minimum of postal voting. But that’s just me. At least an obviously fair vote would shut up all the dissenting parties and give them less to kick off about.

Up in the not so great not so white as you think it is North, there’s Trudeau allowing Chinese troops to ‘train’ on Canadian soil. Does that corrupt little toe-rag not trust his own military? How long before those exercises allow Chinese troops to ‘assist’ the Canadian armed forces against their own people? Say those uppity Midwesterners in Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan? No idea. We’re out of there and our investment money is following us.

For us the aforementioned is now rather academic. We’re hunkered down in the wilder west of Ireland. All our Christmas shopping is done. We have found out where to get some superb mini-rhubarb tarts and some of the finest Mince Pies known to man fresh on most weekdays. Right on our doorstep. Our accounts are well in the black and all credit cards fully paid off. The halls are decked etc and there’s food in the larder to see us clear through to February, and a suitably fiendish 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on the kitchen table to stretch our pattern recognition software. I might get another, just in case we get a bit too clever and finish it before Christmas. There’s Oak logs drying ready for the stoves. The kids may be with us some time in January. Fingers crossed. We’re going to be okay. Hope you will be too.

Like a lot of people I won’t be staying up for the latest end of the world show on the 21st December when an optical illusion makes it look like Saturn and Jupiter are going to collide. I’ll be hitting the ‘snooze’ button for that one. If these people are that keen to see the end of the world, I’m sure there’s a high cliff they can jump off and stop mithering the rest of us with their ridiculous utterances. All the hand-waving man made climate change panic mongers can follow them for all I care. They’re all busy telling the rest of us how to live while ignoring their own rules, buying waterfront property and jetting off to conferences all over the planet. If they didn’t clock in tomorrow on account of being too dead to work, would anybody really care?

Hope my last reader can stand the suspense.

Merry Christmas, Yuletide Greetings and all that Jazz.

Warmest regards

Bill

Lemon and Lime Mousse

Food post. As if you didn’t know from the title, but literacy is so neglected in these times that sometimes one is forced to reiterate. Right, this mousse comes with a mental health warning. If it were human it would be a bullwhip-toting dominatrix clad in white stockings, leather basque and no knickers. And heading your way with a knowing smile. Seriously. This little dish is salacious.

There are some times you luck on to something which teases some taste buds, putting the rest in chains then bending them over a chair. Similarly, this is a recipe for the BDSM crowd that punches back through your salivary glands and leaves you with a sensation of pressure at the back of your shoulders. Well it did for me. Mrs S is reporting similar sensations. Caveat; this is very, very grown up. Children will not like it because it is not very sweet. Grown ups will because it isn’t.

Mousse is normally a fairly mundane dish. Soft and billowy in the mouth, tasty and refreshing, but fairly unmemorable. Mousse can be the base of a pleasant savoury starter or a lightweight dessert but this one is neither. The texture is light and billowy like a ballerina’s tutu, but with the bite of a lime flavoured mongoose on methamphetamine.

To experience this sensation you will need;
1 lemon
1 lime
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar, no more
Half a pint of whipping cream
1 dessert spoon of full fat Greek Yoghurt
A large bowl and a whisk
3-4 raspberries for garnish per serving

The above recipe will make enough for three people. You may also need a bucket of water with five pounds of ice in it. Or not, depending upon your personal predilections. The great thing is that it’s very unfussy. No eggs, no gelatin, no unpleasant bending, just simple ingredients in proportion.

Squeeze the juice of both the lemon and the lime into a small glass. Remove pips but not the pulp.
Put the cream in the mixing bowl and whisk until it begins to thicken.
Add sugar and continue whipping until the cream stiffens.
When mix is stiff enough that most of it forms a soft lump inside your whisk, fold in the Yoghurt.
Mix in the lemon and lime juice.
Decant into serving bowls. I use small Ramekins.
Put in fridge for half an hour to finish setting.
Garnish with raspberries.
You may also garnish with a little lemon and lime zest. If you dare.

Eat and enjoy the savage tartness. At this point you may need to use the bucket of iced water. As for the rest, well disclaimer alert; this blog takes no responsibility for your actions during or after consumption. Do not eat in public. We will not pay your bail money.

Now I must go and polish my mistresses high leather boots.

Save the world!

Went out today. Snuck up to Galway, to see if we could get out of the rain, which has been quite persistent. Bought a Tea Brack, which is a tea cake type of halfway house between fruit cake and bread. Very nice too. But oh, the calories, the calories. This is one of those treats that has to be rationed carefully.

Ireland, we are finding, as we sneak around the tiers and lockdowns, is full of tiny places to grab some of the tastiest baked goods it’s ever been my pleasure to get teeth into. Today we stopped at a tiny filling station on the road between Tulla and Ennis. Not much of a shop to look at, but stocking exquisite individual rhubarb crumbles and mince pies, all home baked. Their flaky pastries being crunchy all the way through and cooked perfectly. I’ve had far worse at the much smarter run of cafe.

Unfortunately, according to some people our little pleasurable perambulation contributed to destroying the planet. Supposedly because of that deadly killer carbon dioxide stuff pouring out of our exhaust. We are continually told we must “Save the world” by cutting back on everything we do. No more air travel, nice meals or personal transport, and turn down that thermostat you heretic! Then when the greater number of humanity have died through cold and famine brought on by so-called anti-global warming policies the world will be ‘saved’. Or will it?

Can I ask a few pertinent questions? First; how will anyone know when the world is truly saved? Second; if most of people are dead, who is the world being ‘saved’ for? Furthermore, who gets to decide if the world is ‘saved’ or not if a bloody great asteroid (That might have been averted if there were enough people to fund an asteroid aversion programme) slams into the Earth? These things do happen from Epoch to Eon, and might it be a better idea instead of messing around with atmospheric trace gas levels, if human activity has any effect upon those at all, to ensure the Earth doesn’t get wasted by a rogue chunk of rock from outer space?

Just my ten cents worth of course, but every time you ask these serious questions, all the fanatics can do is splutter and do an impersonation of Donald Sutherland at the end of “Invasion of the body snatchers.”

Which begs the question; does the world need saving from humanity in general, or just saving from the global warming fanatics? I have formed my own opinion, what say the rest of you?

Update: or should we be more worried about the latest asteroid to explode over New York state last Wednesday? It was part of a larger debris field. So don’t say you weren’t told.

Comfort food

The main heating went down today, so while we’re waiting for the heating guy to come and fix it, I went looking for recipes for a traditional rice pudding for some good old stick to your ribs comfort food.

Frankly me deario’s the results of my digital perambulations left me distinctly underwhelmed. Is it just me or do some Interweb chef types keep trying to make things far more complicated than they should be? Eggs in rice pudding? Do me a favour.

So I went back to the recipe I learned at Ma Stickers knee, which was an occasional but avidly anticipated treat to accompany Sunday dinner. One which I have adapted for the 21st century and simplified to produce a rich, creamy rice pudding to outdo anything you can get out of a can or packet. And it doesn’t leave you with an unpleasant eggy aftertaste.

You will need:

A three pint saucepan and wooden spoon.
A half cup of Pearl or short grain rice.
A quarter cup of sugar
One pint whole, full cream milk
One half capful of vanilla essence or half a de-seeded vanilla pod if you want to be ‘authentic’
A pinch of Cinnamon or ground Nutmeg if you have it, if not, don’t worry, this dish is great without either.

Method:

Throw rice and sugar in pan. Heat up half your milk in the microwave and add to rice and sugar. Stir. Put on a low medium heat until it begins to bubble. Stir again. Add half capful of vanilla essence. Stir again. Allow to bubble gently but do not boil. Stir again every ten minutes or so until milk has been absorbed by rice and sugar and the mix has thickened. This will take a while. About an hour. Add milk and stir in to reach the desired texture. Some like it milky, I like mine as a creamy glutinous mass. Sprinkle with a small pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon if you want and stir again. Chacun à son goût.

Serve hot or cold with a dab of jam. I like raspberry, but this is a cooks choice. Kids love this as they get to stir the jam into a warming pink mix which isn’t too sweet yet is very grown up. This has always been an instant hit Chez maison Sticker, and in these times when economical and low cost comfort food is an essential to keeping sane, will gain you high praise and esteem, even from teenagers, been there, done that and survived with kudos. May you be accorded the same success.

Happy eating.

Good gravy! Or rather not

I’ve been trying to ignore the US elections by playing with my new kitchen gadget / toy. Specifically an air fryer, which does pretty good roast vegetables and makes a reasonable fist of out-of-a-packet frozen stuff that can get a bit soggy if the oven isn’t set up right. It’s also quicker than an oven. I’ve nicknamed it, as is my wont; ‘The Fat Dalek’ because it sits in my kitchen, balefully but harmlessly glowering at the rest of my kitchen appliances through three neon blue slits.

Fortunately the one thing it does not do with my cooking is try to exterminate anything. It also saves me a fortune on cooking oil. Very clean too. All I have to do is cut up the veg right, spice and toss in a little olive oil, throw it in the little container, set it running and bingo! Tasty roast veg. Much nicer than the alternatives, and much better portion control.

Mrs S asked me last night whether it did sauces as well, to which I had to go into a long, convoluted explanation of how the device works and why no, it does not do sauces. Anything breadcrumb coated from the freezer, great, roasts a resounding yes, roasted veg tossed in Olive oil and chips definitely, but nothing ‘wet’ like a pasta sauce, which is tonights culinary offering as part of a nice spaghetti bolognese. My ‘Fat Dalek’ will be a mute bystander to that process.

On the news however, and this is a massive however, you can’t switch on a ‘pooter without getting bombarded with stuff about the US elections. Sounds like Biden might not be in after all. See Viva Frei’s delve through the legalities below.

Well, he said, picking his jaw off the floor, if what the allegations say is only fifty percent true, then the whole Michigan election staff should end up in jail and the new guys forced to redo the entire vote from start to finish with cops and adjudicators standing over them, watching hawkishly for the first hint of impropriety. Oh my. This does rather call the behaviour of certain officials into question and no mistake. Coaching voters? Duplicate voting? Excluding ajudicators / ‘challengers’ from the counting rooms? Stuffing ballot boxes? Falsely registering votes? Blood and sand. Sounds like the soap opera is truly off and running. Wonder if any of those officials likely to be indicted over this matter will flip and turn states evidence? The fallout from those conversations would be illuminating.

Don’t know if the officials in question were going for the contest in how many ways to to skew a vote, but this must be some kind of a record outside of the third world, and I don’t care who was doing it for whom. If the republicans were accused of even five percent of the fraudulent activity alleged, the fourth estate would be screaming from the rooftops that not only is ‘Orange Man Bad’, but a cheat as well and therefore sent home with a sharp note to his mother and no longer allowed to play at elections any more, ever again with brass knobs on, so there and no returns. But they won’t do that for the other side of the aisle because it’s become painfully obvious that much of the US media is bent as a three cent note and not to be trusted without a sworn statement from three independent witnesses and video corroboration from it’s own mother. And probably not even then.

This whole US election business is like the ‘science’ of lockdowns, you know instinctively that something is well dodgy, but there’s bugger all you can do about it but point it out to others and laugh piteously when they regurgitate the nonsense they have been programmed with. They’re invariably those who trust government, not seeing it for the monster big government truly is. Because people who believe that ‘government’ can keep them ‘safe’ don’t understand the Godzilla effect big government can have on the poor bloody individual. Word to the wise; don’t get under it’s feet. Being squished is no fun at all.

Unlike my ‘Fat Dalek’, the gaze of big government is rarely harmless to the individual and should be avoided at all times where possible. As Reagan once said. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’ Sends a shudder down my spine every time.

This is going to get real interesting, real fast. Let’s see what the courts say.

Update: The FEC is demanding (and getting) recounts of votes, and the overall picture is of massive ‘irregularities favouring the Democrat party.’ This ain’t over. Not by a long chalk.

Additional 15th November; the private Michigan vote challenge has been dismissed on a technicality by a Judge, but the other challenges are still ongoing. Oh well, it passes the time while these pointless bloody lockdowns continue.

Grilled Mac and Cheese

Food, glorious food. It’s been a long time since I wrote one of my favourite family recipes down and presented it for the delectation of the general dyslexic. I’ve been too preoccupied with other things. Wasting my time railing against the wind.

Right. Mac and Cheese, grilled. Cheap, easy and filling. You can buy those ghastly Kraft dinners, but frankly you’re better off doing it from scratch. The end result is far better than the packet varieties. Tastier, more filling. All you will need is;

A cup and a bit of elbow macaroni
About an ounce of butter.
A tablespoon of cornflour, cornstarch or flour.
Two ounces of strong cheese.
A quarter teaspoon of ground chili flakes.
A quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper.
A teaspoon of finely grated Parmesan cheese. The cheap stuff is fine.
A cup and a bit of milk. Doesn’t matter what kind, although 2% is best.
About a litre and a half of water.
Half a teaspoon of salt.
A handful of frozen peas.
One large, one medium saucepans and a casserole dish.

Method;
Put water in large large saucepan, all salt.
Bring to boil. Throw in macaroni. Put to simmer.
Put smaller saucepan on heat, melt butter. Stir in cornstarch until it forms a paste, stir in milk, cheese, Parmesan, chili and black pepper until it forms a thick sauce, keep stirring even after you take it off the heat.
When macaroni is soft, add frozen peas. Cook for five more minutes before taking off the heat and draining. Stir in cheese sauce and put resulting mass into the casserole dish.
Put casserole dish under grill and set on two thirds until it goes medium brown.
Remove and serve to grateful audience.
Serves two hearty adult appetites. Can be eaten hot or cold.

Accept praise and the sensation of your grateful stomach hugging your spine. Double up on ingredients to serve 4-5 people. Barricade doors to keep out unwanted dinner guests. Enjoy.

Best wishes, Bill.

About time, maybe…

Mrs S and I are taking a time out today, as she has been spending far too much time behind a keyboard. I have baked bread this morning and being an habitual early riser, left it to cool ready for her breakfast. When she gets out of bed there will be tea, coffee and toast. I like early mornings. There’s time to think and consider before the sun comes up and the noise of the day crowds around you. And who doesn’t like waking up to the smell of fresh baking and new brewed tea or coffee?

One of today’s tasks is getting out and about, checking on what’s open and what isn’t. Looking around and packing our bags for the next part of our journey. I’ve been taking advice from locals and they say that as we’re far out of Dublin, there won’t be much to worry about. I fancy a trip around the Dingle peninsula. Our last trip to a beach was a bit lonely as we were the only people in sight. Today’s forecast is for rain, but I have a seeming that it will pass and I’ll end up needing sunglasses by early afternoon.

Well now, we’re well into the third week of the ‘second spike’ or ‘second wave’ of ‘cases’, so can I ask a few questions? What’s the death and hospitalisation count? Anyone? Come on chaps, the rise in cases started over a couple of weeks ago, so hundreds of people should start to drop like flies around about now. Anybody seeing that? No? Riight.

Does this whole wavy hand panicmongering start to look more than a bit foolish to you? Because all the detected SARS/COV-2 infections should start to cycle through the system by now, surely? The ICU’s should be standing room only and the mortuaries should be starting to stack ’em up in refrigerated containers, right? What? It’s not happening? All the potential COVID-19 deaths the ‘Government scientists’ have been banging on about, where are they? Where are they hiding? Is there some dark and super secret government base where all the excess stiffs are being disposed of in huge crematoria, or on ‘black sites’ known only to a privileged few? Do you mean to tell me there aren’t any? What? Only one or two ‘extra’ deaths? Well that’s no fun. I feel rather cheated. I was promised a proper apocalypse and I want this one sent back for a refund.

All that drama, all the flashing red and blue lights and people in smart new uniforms dashing back and forth doing derring deeds? Or is the sad truth that there are few who need saving, apart from the usual falling over a toy on the stairs or one of the many banal banana skins of life. Even Trump is back in the saddle after only a weekend’s treatment. Much to the elevated blood pressure of all those deluded lefties who seem to be seriously intellectually challenged when it comes to understanding how the world works.

I hate to be a Donnie Downer (No I don’t – I love it), forever raining on the panicmongers parade, but the SARS/COV-2 crisis is over. The ‘second wave’ should be crashing down about our ears like a massive Tsunami right about now if all the ‘experts’ had even the faintest scintilla of credibility.

Let’s face it, as I’ve said before, these are the same clique of ‘experts’ whose advice led to the foot and mouth debacle, decimating UK beef and dairy herds, sending family farms into bankruptcy. And the same people who predicted an epidemic of Mad Cow disease in humans. Whatever happened to that?

Where are the zombie hordes staggering around the streets… no, sorry, you’re quite right, they’re the ones still wearing masks, wearing masks in their car with the windows rolled up, or all alone walking across an empty car park, glaring and shaking their heads at people going about their business maskless. Forgot about those. Apologies. The unthinking Zeeps. Gotcha.

Those are the people I intend to avoid today. Despite the forecast rain it might just be a lovely day.